Sunday, May 02, 2010

Tory candidate Philippa Stroud prayed for gay people to be released from demons

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.

4 comments:

Jae said...

The Tory party has changed policy wise, but Cameron seems to have failed to realise that his supporters haven't changed one bit. He's going to get a nasty surprise soon when they turn round and get rid of him when his fortunes start to turn.

Sadly too many have already fallen for his "we're not the nasty party anymore" claims. They too will soon get a shock.

Johnathan Meyrick-Cole said...

I don't understand what the big who-ha is all about. The fact is that homosexuality is not normal. It does not work alongside nature otherwise, surely, men would be able to procreate with other men and likewise for women. Therefore continuing along these lines, surely it is not that unreasonable for people to think that, since there is something wrong, there must be a cure?
Furthermore Section 28 back in the 1980s was a good thing. It did not ban homosexuality, it merely stopped local authorities from promoting it, and it stopped schools from teaching that homosexual relationships are normal; which they are not. It is unfair on children to have them believe that having two fathers or two mothers is normal.
The only way this country is going to move forward is if the Conservatives gain power.

Thomas said...

Really, someone should take action against you because you participated in the prayer meeting where this terrible thing happened. Why haven't you contacted the police to tell them the names of the people who prayed in this way? If you ask me you're an accessory to a crime and should be dealt with accordingly- how can people trust you when you fail to inform as a good citizen should? As a well-known "out" person I think it's not enough for people like you to make political gain out of others' complicity in homophobia. You must go the whole way and prosecute your former friends.

Caron said...

Johnathan, you rather make my point about the Conservatives for me.

Thomas, I'm talking about an event over 20 years ago when I was very young and far from the most powerful person in the room. For me it felt very wrong. The point is that I don't want people with these sorts of views in government.

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