I must say that seeing the treatment meted out to Jacob Rees-Mogg on Good Morning Britain, and the subsequent reaction of the Grand Inquisition of Tolerant Intoleristas was actually quite a liberating experience. I came away from it the following thought: “You know. I really don’t care one teensy weensy little jot what these people say or think.”
But why? Why oh why do I find myself not caring very much that someone somewhere might be offended at my failure to assent to their idea that a marriage needeth neither a woman or a man? I think it must be something to do with the fact that whenever someone does come out with this perfectly reasonable view, held by almost everyone up until about 10 minutes ago, the Grand Inquisition without hesitation comes out in its by now well practiced, and frankly tedious squawk: “Bigot.” “Extremist.” “Homophobe.” “Fascist.” “Nazi.” “Out-of-touch.” “Dinosaur.” “Blah.” “Blah.” “Blah.” Well I don’t know about you but I learned to stop caring for puerile taunts when I heard them yelled by the playground bully some decades ago. I’m not sure why I should start listening to them again all these years later.
My favourite of all those taunts is the dinosaur one. That’s very funny, and not a little ironic. There was Christianity doing a marvellous job of civilising us, yet in a few short years all the progress we were making has been flushed down the toilet. Those who routinely try to drown out their opponents by saying things like, “You just want to turn the clock back”, have managed to turn the clock back in a manner that not even the most crusty conservative reactionary type could ever have thought possible. If indeed Colonel Barking from Royal Tunbridge Wells really had wanted to turn the clock back, he might have gone for the 1950s perhaps. But these people have managed the momentous achievement of hurling us back nearly three-and-a-half thousand years, to the land of Canaan, circa 1,400 BC. Molech now gets his fill of 200,000 infants every year, and Ashtoreth gets her dues paid once more in the land of the sexual free-for-all. Granted, they didn’t have iPhones back then, but otherwise the similarities are uncanny.
One of the questions asked of Mr Rees-Mogg is becoming a bit of a favourite for the Grand Inquisition. Do you think that gay sex is a sin? Nice question to ask whilst people are munching on their cornflakes, I’m sure, but what I love about it is the way it exposes so much of the folly of modernity:
“Sorry, what was that word you used? Sin? Now what in the world could you be meaning by that?”
“You know, sin. Something that’s wrong or immoral.”
“Ah, I’m with you. But tell me, who gets to define sin? Is it you? Is it me? Is it Good Morning Britain presenters? Is it the media? What are you going to go for?”
“Well the majority of people in Britain don’t think it’s a sin.”
“Oh so it’s defined by the majority, is it? Well the majority of people in Africa think it’s a sin. So I guess it must be a sin in Africa then. The majority of people in Britain used to think it a sin. So it must have been a sin back then, right?”
“Well, we’ve moved on since then.”
“Oh I see. There I was, supposing that sin and morality must be fixed, else they are meaningless, but you’re telling me they’re on wheels, ready to be moved to wherever the zeitgeist and the majority want to place them?”
The question is a delightfully ironic one in modern secular Britain. Last time I looked it was God who defined what is and what isn’t sin, not you, not me, not Good Morning Britain presenters and not the 51%. But since we decided as a nation some time ago that we didn’t want him to rule over us, what exactly do we even mean by sin? The concept is completely meaningless. It’s just a sea of competing opinions, and you never know, one day the majority just might change its mind again.
If you want to ask questions like “Do you think gay sex is a sin?” you’re going to have to do better than expect everyone to answer on the basis of the received wisdom of the day. You’re going to have to define what you actually mean by the word sin and – here’s the shocker – it’s going to have to be a bit more robust than “whatever we say so.”
So how about this for a definition. It was written by some very learned chaps back in the 17th century who appear to have thought about the issue in rather more detail than your average Good Morning Britain presenter in the 21st century:
“Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God” (Westminster Shorter Catechism Q.14)
Ah, so sin is something to do with not complying with, or wilfully breaking God’s law. Okay, so what does God say about the issue at hand? Through his chief apostle, the one who also wrote the famous “love” passage that even the Grand Inquisitors think is great:
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
Pretty clear huh? There’s some sins defined. There’s what they prevent you from entering. And there’s the remedy – repentance towards God through the death of his Son.
But it’s interesting that the members of the Grand Inquisition only choose to focus on one issue from that list. It’s a shame really because there’s so much more they could choose. “So, Mr Rees-Mogg, do you think being a drunkard is a sin?”. Shock, horror: Politician thinks being a drunkard is a sin. So, Mr Rees-Mogg, do you think reviling is a sin?”. Shock, horror: Politician thinks reviling is a sin. That would be an interesting one for the Grand Inquisitors themselves, since their treatment of Mr Rees-Mogg undoubtedly falls into that category.
Here’s one to ask the Grand Inquisitors themselves: “Do you think that believing gay sex is a sin, is a sin?” Of course they clearly do, which neatly demonstrates how they now think that they are the ones who get to define what is and what isn’t sin. They actually think that believing what God calls sinful to be sinful, is sinful. Well, good luck explaining that one to God when he calls you to account.
But of course they weren’t finished with Mr R-M yet. Smelling blood, they went for the abortion question. But which one? Each year 200,000 babies in Britain are sacrificed to Molech. Of these less than 1% are rape cases. One is a Very Big number. The other is a Much Smaller number. Yet which one does the Grand Inquisition always choose to concentrate on? Why the less than 1% of course. If you listen to the interview carefully again, you can just about hear the presenters as they chomp down their camels and then choke on their gnats.
Apparently the 200,000 that are “lifestyled to death” are not worth asking about. I mean, when was the last time you heard a Good Morning Britain presenter, or any member of the Grand Inquisition going after a politician in this manner:
“So in your view, the slaughter of 200,000 babies every year, most of which are killed out of lifestyle choice, is perfectly acceptable and not at all sinful?”
Of course the answer is never. It’s fine to be in favour of Molech getting his fill and nobody will question your morals and intentions. You could even run for PM and nobody would bat an eyelid. But woe betide that man or woman who believes that killing babies on an industrial scale is a great evil.
The whole interview and aftermath was nothing but a circus, and so much more a reflection of our pitiful understanding of what does and doesn’t constitute sin than it is a reflection on Mr Rees-Mogg’s fitness for office. As I said at the start, looked at in the right light, the whole affair is hugely liberating. The cry of bigot and extremist should be treated as it deserves to be treated: ignore it completely.