First of all, if you are a gay Christian who is struggling to reconcile who you are with your faith, worry not. There are churches, like St Mary's Cathedral in Glasgow where you will be more than welcome. They have an LGBT group on a Monday night and the Provost there, my lovely friend Kelvin, writes this fabulous blog.
I wanted to say that first, because I know how awful it is for gay people to read reports like this. The Tory candidate for Sutton and Cheam apparently once established a Church in which a part of the so called ministry was to pray over gay people with the aim of releasing the "demons" which were possessing them. Make no mistake - I know people who have been driven to the brink of suicide because of the sort of attitudes Philippa Stroud embodies.
My own personal path to atheism was aided by attitudes like those shown by Philippa Stroud. At university I was appalled by the attitudes shown towards my gay friends who were basically told they couldn't join the Christian Union. The day I sat in a prayer meeting when somebody prayed for a person (who wasn't present) to be released from their homosexuality, I felt such massive chill in my spine. That was it for me. It was the last prayer meeting I ever attended.
The reason that the Tories are so dangerous in this election is that they are trying to portray themselves as these nice, fluffy, inclusive teddy bears, far removed from the offensiveness of things like Clause 28 of their last period in office. The truth, however, is somewhat different. There have been 4 major incidents in 4 weeks which give the lie to their claims of inclusiveness:
1. Chris Grayling's support for Christian b and b owners to have the right to turn away gay couples
2. Tory front bencher Julian Lewis saying age of consent for gay people should not have been lowered.
3. North Ayrshire and Arran Tory candidate Philip Lardner suspended over comments that homosexuality isn't normal as Andrew Reeves reported last week.
4. The Philippa Stroud revelations today.
Now, bear with me for a minute, but I have a theory about this. I wonder if the Tories are trying to play up to both sides here. While portraying a veneer of commitment to equality, they also aren't that bothered if stories of what they are really like get into the press, to try to reassure some of their core vote who might not like such things. Their actions might be seen to bear that out - I mean, how likely was Philip Lardner to win in North Ayrshire and Arran? Really? He's easily sacrificed, yet we have two frontbenchers making equally offensive comments and they stay in post.
If you are angry by what you've read, why not help Paul Burstow keep Philippa Stroud at bay? I am absolutely sure that he would welcome some help with leaflet delivery, canvassing, or, if you live too far away, money in these last few days of the campaign.