miss_s_b: (Who: Six (ot3))
miss_s_b ([personal profile] miss_s_b) wrote2017-04-19 08:07 am

An open letter on the subject of Tim Farron's "homophobia" from the acting chair of LGBT+ Lib Dems

Dear media people,

I see that, thanks to Cathy Newman's interview last night, the thorny theological topic of Sin has raised its ugly head once more.

Let me get this right out in the beginning: I don't give a fig what Tim Farron's religious beliefs are. You know why? Because I am a Liberal. He could believe the sky is made from Puff the Magic Dragon's bumfluff, and I wouldn't care one jot, whit or iota. What I do care about, and care deeply about, is
  1. How Tim Farron votes in parliament

  2. How he treats people - LGBT+ people in particular - in everyday life
So lets do a little list of things which illustrate how Tim Farron views LGBT people:
  1. With one exception, Tim Farron voted fully in favour of same sex marriage. The one time he abstained? That was because he was trying to get an amendment passed on the Spousal Veto, a really nasty little clause which shafts trans people. Yep, that's right, even the time he abstained was because he was fighting for LGBT+ rights, not against them.

  2. He was the first party leader to issue a statement on the gay concentration camps in Chechenya. He condemned them in the strongest terms. And while the Greens have since joined in, none of the Tories, Labour, or UKIP have.

  3. He campaigned against section 28 from its inception, and thinks that refusing people service for their sexuality (like bakeries not baking cakes for gay marriages) is unchristian.

  4. He spoke out on the blood donation ban (I'm still banned from giving blood, by the way - because I have had sexual relations with bisexual men).

  5. He has campaigned tirelessly for the rights of trans women in prisons, and trans issues in general. When we had a trans rights motion before conference, he was there at 9.30am in the front row to vote for it. Not because of the cameras - there were no cameras - but because he is enthusiastic about LGBT+ rights, and not just G rights with a smattering of L like many politicians.

  6. When Lib Dem conference brought in an accreditation scheme that inadvertently discriminated against LGBT+ people, he listened to us at LGBT+LDs, and then he went to head office and batted for us till the scheme was changed, and eventually dropped.

  7. He has said to me personally that when poly marriage is made legal he wants to be the first on the invite list to our wedding.
Look, I could go on for hours here, but it is as plain as the nose on my face that Tim Farron is no homophobe. So why do the media keep treating him like he is? Well, in the past, he has made some missteps - accepting that intern from the gay cure people, for example. But if you actually look at what happened in that case? The second he confirmed those people were campaigners for a gay cure, he backed away, apologised fulsomely, and campaigned hard against the concept of curing gay people. Me, personally? I value a leader who will listen and change his mind when someone points out he's wrong - Cthulhu alone knows Cleggy never did.

The other reason is possibly a conflation of the word "sin" with the concept of "bad thing for which I am judging you" in general parlance.

Reverend Lovejoy delineates what sin is

I'm an atheist. Yes, I have A-level RE, but I do not know Christianity from the inside. However, even I have heard of the Christian concept of "judge not lest ye be judged". As Tom King says at some length in this twitter thread, the Christian belief means that you explicitly do not condemn people who sin, because we are all sinners and judging people is God's job. Whether or not Tim Farron believes that homosexual sex (or heterosexual sex, or wanking, or eating beef on Fridays, or anything) is sinful, this has no bearing on his actions because it is not his place to judge.

I don't pretend to understand that belief system. But I accept it, just as I accept Islam, and paganism, and the church of the flying spaghetti monster. I accept it because to not accept that people can differ in their beliefs from you and yet still be worthwhile people is fundamentally illiberal. I'll tell you something that is liberal, though. If a person believes in their heart of hearts that something is wrong, and yet still campaigns for the right of other people to do it because it's other people's right to make their own moral choices?

That, my friends, that is liberalism.

I await your forensic questioning of the Prime Minister on her voting record with regard to LGBT+ rights with interest.

Lots of love

Acting chair LGBT+ Lib Dems, bisexual polyamorist, and person who voted for Tim Farron to be her party leader and is happy that she did.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)

[personal profile] rmc28 2017-04-19 08:49 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you for writing this.
nickbarlow: (Default)

[personal profile] nickbarlow 2017-04-19 09:05 am (UTC)(link)
This, this and so much this. Thanks for writing it.

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sfred: (Default)

[personal profile] sfred 2017-04-19 09:06 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you.
strange_complex: (Liberalism)

[personal profile] strange_complex 2017-04-19 09:10 am (UTC)(link)
Bookmarking this...
hollymath: (Default)

[personal profile] hollymath 2017-04-19 09:15 am (UTC)(link)
It's great to be reminded of how awesome Tim is and how articulate my friends are in the cause of showing how awesome he is.

Just a shame it has to be because so many people fundamentally misunderstand the nature of religion and politics, and assume that what Tim's religion wants is what his politics does. And assume that since he's leader his party does what he wants. And assume that we who stand up for him do so out of slavish loyalty because we're in the same party. I wish we didn't have to argue on those points. We've got so much else to do.

But I guess part of what we have to do is educate people that politics doesn't have to be a top-down imposition of views held in lockstep.
Edited 2017-04-19 09:16 (UTC)
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)

[personal profile] rmc28 2017-04-19 09:26 am (UTC)(link)
Jennie, can you update the "only party leader to make a statement on Chechnya" bit? My friend in the Green Party has a point: https://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2017/04/13/green-party-condemns-atrocities-in-chechnya/

(and given what we LibDems owe the Greens for stepping aside in Richmond, we shouldn't minimise them)
hollymath: (Default)

[personal profile] hollymath 2017-04-19 09:29 am (UTC)(link)
Yeah, he was still the first by some way, which is worth mentioning.

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[identity profile] badly-drawn-llama.blogspot.com 2017-04-19 09:59 am (UTC)(link)
Cathy Newman is so obnoxious that it's hardly worth bothering with her BUT I asked at the time of the london elections whether she would put the same questions to sadiq khan, of course she didn't.
legionseagle: (Default)

[personal profile] legionseagle 2017-04-19 10:12 am (UTC)(link)
If you're going to put the snide and knee-jerk suggesting that Sadiq Khan must be homophobic because he's Muslim despite his track record don't you think you're rather underming the work being done in this very post which invites people to look at Tim Farron's track record rather than assuming he's homophobic because he's Christian?
rhythmaning: (Default)

[personal profile] rhythmaning 2017-04-19 10:33 am (UTC)(link)
Excellent post.
nanila: me (Default)

[personal profile] nanila 2017-04-19 11:19 am (UTC)(link)
*applauds* Is linkage allowed?

(Anonymous) 2017-04-19 11:35 am (UTC)(link)
On the other hand, while Tim Farron has every right to his religious views, however weird they may be, if he is standing for public office the electorate has every right to take his religious views into account when deciding how to vote.

It is also not true that when he abstained in the parliamentary vote on same-sex marriage "he was trying to get an amendment passed". What happened was that the amendments had failed, so he abstained on the third reading vote of the unamended bill. Nor had the amendments only concerned the spousal veto. Farron had voted to allow registrars to refuse to carry out same-sex marriages, if they had religious objections.

Frankly, I do not believe that Farron's voting record - on same-sex marriage or on abortion - has not been influenced in the past by his religious beliefs.


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nadriel: (Default)

[personal profile] nadriel 2017-04-19 12:58 pm (UTC)(link)
May I link to this, got some acquaintances who might benefit from reading it...
bagfish: (Default)

[personal profile] bagfish 2017-04-19 06:08 pm (UTC)(link)
Thanks for writing this Jennie, I'm having a major argument on a FB page "Women Against Tories" who are bringing up "his gay voting record" as reasons for not supporting LDs in marginals. Looks like you can only be a woman against Tories if you vote Labour :head-desk:

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good post

(Anonymous) 2017-04-20 08:47 am (UTC)(link)
Good post -I've been screening theyworkforyou (dot com) to see how individual MPs voted as a way of pushing past all the propaganda. Actions speak louder than words.

Gay man

(Anonymous) 2017-04-20 09:03 am (UTC)(link)
Great letter - thanks for this, will spread far and wide......as a gay man the only reason when I was 18 yrs old to join the LDs was because of our LGBT support.....Tim is unwavering in his support - I am not a believer of any faith, agnostic if you will. I have no truck with his faith because it makes him no less liberal than me. I supported him for leader, drove him around in that campaign during which time we spoke about this and many issues.....there is no issue! I voted for him as leader and he has turned out to be an energetic and thoughtful leader. A good man. Press be damned.
Christian Martin
cesy: "Cesy" - An old-fashioned quill and ink (Default)

[personal profile] cesy 2017-04-21 10:13 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you for this.

Good Work Jennie

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