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PInk Pound

Agnostics anonymous

The ideology behind Nazism's defining act of evil was derived from the anti-semitic demonology of European Christendom. The Vatican's grudging 1998 apology for its highly equivocal stance during the Holocaust acknowledged that. As such, you'd think Christians would give Nazism a wide berth, but some can't help themselves. One such is Alan Craig, who, in the Church of England Newspaper, deplored gay rights groups' attempts to 'annex our wider culture'.

Craig wrote of 'gay-rights stormtroopers' overrunning Britain, a 'victorious Gaystapo' of thought-police. Nazi Germany's mass-murder of homosexuals, for which Germany's government issued a formal apology all of nine years ago, apparently doesn't give Craig pause for thought in his deployment of this charming metaphor.

From the logic of Craig's remarks one would assume that homosexuality is now being enforced by the occupying power, dissenters are being herded off to extermination camps, and heterosexuality is disappearing under 'the pink jackboot' (Craig). At the time of writing, none of these things appear to be happening. What maddens Craig is not that homosexuals are demanding rulership, but that they want equality.

Craig's grotesque remarks also illuminate the Christian attitude to secularism. Secularism too is held to be an occupying power, stamping out Christianity one Penzance guesthouse at a time. Currently, the Commons' 'Clearing the Ground' inquiry is investigating whether Christianity is being marginalised in the UK. The MP leading it says 'the majority has rights too'. But Christian pressure groups are not only seeking to ensure that the country's dubious Christian majority has the right to practice their religion but also that they have the right to discriminate against minorities.

Perhaps belief, like sex, is a basic human impulse. Most humans have channelled these impulses into religion and heterosexuality. But there's more than one channel. Some humans have always been irreligious, and some homosexual. Both groups can look to the example of Socrates, rejecting the gods and championing homosexual love. In the West both groups have always been a persecuted minority, but have increasingly gone overground since the 1960s.

Perhaps both groups will ultimately be marginalised again, by force of demography: worldwide, the religious are the breeders. But acceptance of irreligion and homosexuality in mainstream culture is a rarefied and fragile civilisational achievement, and it needs to be defended. Contra Craig, 'They' will not be coming for the believers or the heterosexuals any time soon.