Honouring a Bigot

The Voice reports:

A gay rights campaigner who actively opposes black equality has been voted Britain’s most inspirational gay person.

He garnered 54 per cent of votes in the poll organised by Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Metro newspaper.

The competition was held to mark Gay History Month, which champions gay culture every year.

Of course, this isn’t true.

Here’s the full story in The Metro:

Agu Irukwu was chosen by 54 per cent of voters in a competition organised by Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Metro.

He was picked from a shortlist that also included US president Barack Obama, former South  African leader Nelson Mandela and US human rights activist Martin Luther King.

The competition takes place during Black History Month, which champions black culture, history and heritage, and seeks to recognise the contribution made by black people to Britain.

The country’s first black woman MP, Diane Abbot, Notting Hill Carnival founder Claudia Jones and singer Leona Lewis were also among the 61 candidates shortlisted.

Here is a letter to the Daily Telegraph signed by Irukwu, and many many other largely Nigerian pastors:

We write as pastors on behalf of tens of thousands of black British Christians. Many members of our congregations in London left their home countries to come to England to experience the freedom of living according to their Christian beliefs in a Christian democratic country.

But increasingly the Labour Government is discriminating against Christians in order to appease minority groups. From the Government’s behaviour, it seems that those minority groups have disproportionate access to the ears of politicians and use that access to promote views and values that are contrary to the views and values which have been at the centre of protecting and promoting British families, schools and local communities for centuries.

The latest discrimination against Christians is the new law called the Sexual Orientation Regulations, said to combat the problem of homophobia in Britain. It alarms us that the Government’s only evidence for a problem actually existing is “accounts in national newspapers”.

The regulations force Christians in churches, businesses, charities and informal associations to accept and even promote the idea that homosexuality is equal to heterosexuality.

For the sake of clarity, this is not what the Bible teaches and it is not what we believe to be the truth. In our view, these regulations are an affront to our freedom to be Christians.

If the Government thinks that we will accept this law lying down, they are mistaken. This sort of Christianophobia from the Government is no longer acceptable.

Here is the press release from City Hall launching the competition.

If you look at the Metro page promoting this poll, and the poll page itself it is pretty clear what has happened. A huge number of nominees have been put on the list, most of which have won relatively small percentages of the votes cast. However, Pastor Irukwu’s congregants at Jesus House have been busy and have single-mindedly been voting for their man.

So it is difficult to read anything particularly profound into this poll.

On Irukwu’s substantive objection to equality between persons: here is Stonewall’s briefing on the Equality Act 2010:

The legislation outlaws discrimination in a range of important areas, from hospitals to schools in the public sector and B&Bs to banking in the private sector.

All organisations in the public sector are covered by the legislation. Gay people pay taxes like everyone else, so service providers such as hospitals, GPs and schools are obliged to treat everyone equally.

The same goes for the private sector. It’s now illegal for businesses including banks, estate agents, hotels and bars to turn away gay customers or discriminate against them when providing goods or services.

Religious organisations
There’ve been demands in recent years for religious organisations to be exempted from anti-discrimination laws. Stonewall’s view, that we’ve emphasised to politicians, continues to be that any organisation in receipt of funding or subsidy from the public purse should not be able to discriminate. Religious groups providing publicly-funded welfare services to the community, like meals on wheels or drug rehabilitation have no more right to discriminate than anyone else. Religious services like weddings or baptisms are not covered by these laws.

A search through Jesus House’s archive suggests that this organisation is preoccupied with homosexuality.

Religious people are perfectly entitled to hold the view that homosexuality is sinful: or not. It is possibly to do so in a manner which minimises the danger that hatred will be whipped up against a gay people. There’s a world of difference between expressing a theological view, and the sort of anti-gay hysteria, usually fed by canards and lies, that some religious organisations specialise in.

There is something deeply unimpressive about a member of one minority group promoting loathing of, and discrimination against members of another group, isn’t there?

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