Having been away from a computer for most of last week, I didn’t get a chance to comment on the fuss that erupted over the proposed gay/not-gay/ex-gay/post-gay London bus ads that area and aren’t happening this month.
For those not up to speed, on April 3rd Stonewall announced that they are funding 1000 London bus adverts this month in support of equal marriage with the slogan ‘SOME PEOPLE ARE GAY. GET OVER IT!’ Following on from this it was announced last Thursday that in response Anglican Mainstream and the Core Issues Trust were to run bus adverts on five London routes with the slogan ‘NOT GAY! POST_GAY, EX-GAY AND PROUD. GET OVER IT!’
This comes over at one level as little more than childish tactics from both sides deliberately designed to offend those of opposing opinions. However, whilst the Stonewall adverts will be happening, the Anglican Mainstream/Core Issues Trust ones will not after Mayor Boris Johnson intervened the same day the news was released announcing he was stopping the adverts saying, “London is one of the most tolerant cities in the world and intolerant of intolerance. It is clearly offensive to suggest that being gay is an illness that someone recovers from and I am not prepared to have that suggestion driven around London on our buses.”
Anglican Mainstream and Core Issues Trust are now reportedly suing Transport for London and Boris Johnson, which leaves things in a rather big mess. Their advert was not clever, poorly worded and unlikely to do their cause any favours, but to say that one advert was significantly more offensive than the other is hard to justify.
There have been some excellent blog articles on all of this that make some valid and lucid points. These are the best ones I’ve found:
Stuart James at eChurch Blog has come up with a much better bus advert that would have been a far better one to use.
You can even have a go at designing your own London bus advert if you’re in the mood here.
I’ve also read this article by Jon Chilvers at Resistance and Renewal which argues that the Church has forfeited the right to have a say on gay marriage. I can’t say I agree with this viewpoint, but there are some valid points to make you think.
On a completely different subject, I found three articles over the Easter weekend all focusing on how those who actively oppose Christianity have failed to appreciate just how much it has made this country a better place:
And finally, there appears to be a growing sense of annoyance amongst churches over George Osborne’s plan to impose VAT on improvements to cathedrals and church buildings. This will add huge costs to these works on some of Britain’s most historically important buildings. The London Evening Standard’s article yesterday is the most up-to-date one I’ve found with the latest news.
There is currently a Government e-petition asking the VAT plans to be scrapped. You can find it on the Campaigns Hub, but here’s the direct link if you want to sign the petition.
A couple of weeks ago on Twitter I linked to the YouTube video below which features Pamela Greener, the wife of the Dean of Wakefield Cathedral who has taken things a step further performing her own song in the cathedral to highlight the consequences of the VAT plan.
Wakefield Cathedral’s renovations commenced just a few days before the budget, at a cost of around £3million. With an added VAT bill they will now need to find an extra £600,000 to pay for the work.