Hypocritical media is new guardian of society's morals
In the reporting of the O’Brien story, the public has persistently been reminded that, last year, the cardinal was named “bigot of the year” by the gay rights charity Stonewall. One Observer report asserted: “The cardinal consistently condemned homosexuality during his reign, vociferously opposing gay adoption and same-sex marriage.” Ah!
But, the Martian might infuriatingly object, there is surely a difference between gay people’s right to practise their sexuality and the issue of gay marriage. It’s true: although liberal media persistently insinuate that opposition to gay marriage is “homophobic”, many gay men and women themselves oppose this development. A recent public demonstration against gay marriage in Paris included a significant cohort of gays. Some gay people have no interest in gay marriage, not wishing to be absorbed into what they regard as a bourgeois institution. Others fear that unforeseeable consequences of gay marriage and adoption may one day result in a backlash against gays. Some even agree with “traditionalists” that children should, where possible, be reared by a father and mother.
Hence, there is not ipso facto a conflict between Cardinal O’Brien’s exercising of his homosexual tendencies and his opposition to gay marriage.
In seeking to enlighten my putative space-travelling interlocutor, I vacillate between two possible metaphors. One relates to what I call “Protection Racket Journalism”, which whispers, in effect: “If you say only things that we agree with, we will refrain from breaking your spectacles.” Hence, anybody who seeks to articulate any kind of principle repugnant to liberals risks having every facet of his or her life opened up to public scrutiny.
The other image depicts a changing of the guard. It is as though, despite fashion or superficial appearances of progressiveness and permissiveness, earthly society retains a deep and abiding need for a voice that judges and rules over sexual behaviour. Once, it was the churches, thumping their Bibles and warning about the sins of the flesh. Nowadays it is the media, fulminating about sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour.