Magnanimous in Victory

Ed Shaw 2 years ago
Blog 3 mins
Found in: Culture

UK writer and journalist Douglas Murray provokes people. Anyone who has read his The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity 1 will know that. Few will agree with everything he writes – I was certainly left with many questions and concerns. But that is because he goes where others fear to tread. Just one example is his reflections (writing as a gay man) on contemporary, western LGBT rights activists:

The manner in which people and movements behave at the point of victory can be the most revealing thing about them. Do you allow arguments that have worked for you to work for others? Are reciprocity and tolerance principles or fig-leaves? Do those who have been censored go on to censor others when the ability is in their own
hands? 2

Now I doubt many campaigning for LGBT rights would see themselves as near victors, but they have undoubtedly won most of the recent battles they have fought in western societies: equalising the age of consent, legal protections in both the workplace and provision of services, overwhelming cultural acceptance of same-sex sexual relationships, the introduction of same-sex marriage. Where are they going to take the fight next?

Well for some LGBT activists another longed-for step on the road to true victory is an end to all Christian disapproval of same-sex sexual relationships. Individuals, churches, and organisations that say that sex is for the lifelong and exclusive marriage relationship of a man and woman are to be silenced as soon as possible by a variety of means (including cultural, financial and legal pressures).

One result of this is that it can be as difficult to ‘come out’ as a Christian in some workplaces today as it was to admit you were gay a generation or so ago. The circumstances can be very similar: an insistence on preserving cultural norms, vilification and ostracization if you fail to do so, the fear of losing your job if some people discover who you really are and what you get up to in your spare time.  

How have the LGBT rights movement changed things so significantly in a just few decades? By consistently appealing to human rights shared by us all: real freedom to express yourself in the light of your feelings and conscience, true tolerance of different worldviews and lifestyle choices, and proper protection of marginalised minority groups. Murray is now right to ask whether these same values will be magnanimously applied to someone like me, my local church and Living Out as we seek to enjoy our human rights of ‘…freedom of thought, conscience and religion’. 3

  1. Douglas Murray, The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity (Bloomsbury, 2019).
  2. Murray, The Madness of Crowds, p.16.
  3. From Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Accessed 6 November 2020.