(Credit: Getty images)
22 February 2023
Let me get this right. In Scotland’s political class it is de rigueur to believe that someone with a penis can literally be a woman but it is the height of bigotry to think marriage should be for heterosexuals only? It is good and ‘progressive’ to say that men, even rapists, should be put in women’s prisons if they claim to be women, but it is a cancel-worthy speechcrime to say marriage should be between men and women only? Scotland, you are so lost.
We need to talk about the persecution of Kate Forbes. It is revealing so much about our febrile and unforgiving political climate. For me the big takeaway is just how disorientated so-called progressive politics has become. We’ve now reached a situation where if you discard biological science, observable reality and a truth humankind has known since the very beginning – namely, that there are men and women and they are different – you’ll be praised to the hilt. But if you express a view that was completely mainstream for millennia, which in fact was the organising principle of human society – namely, that marriage is something entered into by a man and a woman – you’ll be shamed, damned and all but hounded out of respectable society. This is not normal.
The social-media mauling of Ms Forbes has been horrendous. Simply for expressing her deeply held religious beliefs – such as that marriage is for men and women and that it’s wrong to have children out of wedlock – she has been denounced as a gross, immoral homophobe who has no place in political life. What is essentially being said here is that traditionally minded Christians should be barred from high office. The intolerance of it all is chilling.
There’s a twisted irony in the Forbesphobia. She’s branded a bigot but it’s her hectoring denouncers who are the true bigots. It’s time to remind people what the word bigotry means. Bigotry is ‘intolerance towards those who hold different opinions from oneself’, says the Oxford Dictionary of English. Who does that better describe? Forbes, who has merely given polite and honest expression to her Christian convictions? Or the foaming Twittermobs who’ve responded to her religious utterances by calling her every name under the sun and insisting she mustn’t be allowed to lead the SNP? Bigots, heal thyselves.
The social-media mauling of Ms Forbes has been horrendous
The fire and brimstone is coming, not from Forbes, but from her haters. Forbes has been a paragon of reason and decency in comparison with her seething condemners in right-on circles. It’s they who are behaving like old-world religious hotheads, desperate to damn into obscurity anyone who dares to transgress their eccentric moral code. Surely it’s this neo-religious creed, this fundamentalist opposition to alternative ways of thinking, that has no place in political life?
The Forbes affair has got me thinking about one of the most pernicious claims in public life today – that it’s homophobic to oppose same-sex marriage. It is time to take down this myth. The branding of discomfort with same-sex marriage as a ‘phobia’, a prejudiced malady, instantly makes bigots of millions of our religiously minded citizens. Not just Christians but Muslims, Hindus and Orthodox Jews too. If support for same-sex marriage becomes a condition of engaging in polite society, of entering the political realm, then millions of people will be locked out. That backing same-sex marriage has become a new kind of religious test, a means of measuring someone’s fitness for public life, is nothing short of surreal.
What’s more, there are many non-religious people out there who think same-sex marriage is wrong, or just unnecessary. Including gay people. You can believe that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being gay, and that the dismantling of the vile laws that discriminated against gay people was one of the great progressive gains of the modern era, and still think same-sex marriage is a strange institution that weakens the meaning of marriage and might, in the long run, have problematic social consequences. That’s my view: gay liberation, brilliant; gay marriage, a bit silly.
The ‘progressive’ elites have no idea how ridiculous they look to millions of ordinary people. They have created a world in which kids can’t read the original Roald Dahl books in case they feel offended by the word ‘fat’ but they can be read stories by drag queens with names like Flow Job. A world in which you’re more likely to do well if you believe the violent male tormentor of women is himself a woman than if you believe what the Bible says about marriage. Listen, it isn’t Kate Forbes who’s crazy.