Rant in B-sharp: Interfering Wowsers

Last night, in the few minutes between getting into bed and falling asleep, one question wafted into my mind:

Why do some people believe it’s okay to interfere in, criticise or control the lives and choices of others?

In Australia and New Zealand, they have a brilliant word for such people: wowsers. People so prim, proper and moralistic, they suck the fun out of everything. People so easily-offended, freedom of choice and freedom of expression is a scary prospect to them.

Thinking about it further got me more than a little wound up. I’ve been on the receiving end of a fair share of criticism over the years from people who saw themselves on the moral or cultural high ground and saw it as their right to pass comment on others. Therefore, this post may get rather ranty, a bit sarcastic and perhaps a little satirical too. We all need to vent sometimes.

I’d been watching a video on the sexual double standard. If you’re not already familiar with the term, it’s where having many sexual partners is regarded negatively for women, but virtuous for men. From what I gathered, it’s an anachronistic and conservative throwback to the days before contraceptives, where promiscuous women were seen as potential harbingers of venereal diseases… so don’t go there! As such, a woman with no, or few, previous sexual partners was seen as appropriate; however, a man with a similar history must have something seriously wrong with him. How on earth is this still relevant today, and what right do we have to criticise others for what they get up to in the bedroom anyway? If you’re happy and healthy, who cares?!

The same goes for those who believe conversion therapy works, and either encourage, pressure or force their friends or family members to undergo such treatment. What’s the matter? Is the shame of having a gay person in the family so bad that you’ll gladly chip away at your loved ones’ mind through extreme, Clockwork Orange-style therapies; just so you can sleep a little easier? I’m sorry, but if you’re only willing to say “I love you” after you’ve had their nuts wired to a car battery, then you’re the one who needs to seek help.

And while we’re on the subject, stop lobbying your representatives in Government to legally remove the rights of others based on your personal religious views. The same goes for international religious lobby groups too. If you want the freedom to practice your religion without discrimination, then keep your nose out of civic affairsFreedom of religion is a universal human right, as is freedom of conscience, which applies to all and not just your little collective. Freedom from offence is not a human right… so put the placard down and move along.

And finally, here’s a list of a few more things people publicly criticise others for that really pisses me off:

  • Their physical appearance.
  • Their wardrobe choices. There’s a reason Trinny and Susannah aren’t on the air anymore.
  • Their gender identity. Is that stranger over there confusing you because they don’t look quite right? If I were you, I’d go home and take a couple of paracetamol if thinking is making your head hurt.
  • Their diet. Are you a doctor or a nutritionist? No? Then shut up!
  • Their political beliefs. There is no right and wrong on the political spectrum – contribute to the debate or go back to your right-wing safe space on the Daily Mail forums!
  • Their mental health. No, we can’t just “cheer up” or “snap out of it”.
  • Their possessions. Am I making you late for work by not driving a faster car? Sue me.
  • Their personal tastes. I quite liked Pink Floyd’s Endless River. Deal with it.
  • Their accent. I’m sick of hearing how disliked or “unattractive” the West Midlands accent is, or how it makes us sound unintelligent! Yow can bugger off, arroight!

Rant over.

Losing My Religion Part II: Dealing with the last big trigger

Although such a thing doesn’t happen as much as it used to, whenever my mood takes a significant dip, Captain Paranoia burrows deep into my long-term memory, resurfacing with a handful of mental images I believed were long-forgotten. Stupid things I’ve said or done, mistakes I’ve made, chances I’ve wasted and any number of past regrets. When the Captain returns from the depths, he always says “Do you remember these? You were soooooo stupid back then! What on earth were you thinking?! You want to learn about who you really are? Well there you go. That’s you in a nutshell: complete and total idiot… and once an idiot, always an idiot!

It’s getting easier to ignore the Captain, but sometimes the painful reminders don’t come from him.

Trying to distance myself from, or come to terms with, my time in the church is still a major hurdle because the triggers are all the more real. I’m still, technically-speaking, a member of the church. I’m still on the electoral roll (not that I’ve been to an AGM in five years), and the Standing Order still goes out every month in my name for tax purposes. Even small things can trigger bad memories – earlier, when I saw a Phatfish CD in a local charity shop, it reminded me of the many times I was required to lead the music group in yet another rendition of This is My Worship. That’s another thing – in my head, I’m well and truly done with the music group, but I’ve never officially left. It just feels like a loose end I don’t want to tie up.

One thing I’ve managed to avoid so far is a face-to-face confrontation. I’ve seen a few members around, and have exchanged a pleasantry or two with them, but there are some members who I hope I never bump into. They will ask the one question I don’t want to be asked: why don’t you come to church any more? In their eyes, I’ve just gotten a little lost and they can help me find my way back to the right path. All it takes is an invitation to the Alpha course… or to Back to Church Sunday… or to one of the more “fun” services… or, better yet, to a social. Something to ease me back onto the path of salvation by showing me that church, and church members, aren’t always dull and dreary.

They assume my faith is intact but my relationship with the church needs a bit of a bandage, and a little pastoral care will soon fix that. It’s not that simple. I’d woken up to realise that my faith was always paper-thin, and I was merely trying to convince others that it wasn’t. My path is no longer the Christian path: they mostly run parallel with each other, and occasionally merge, but I simply cannot let myself sleep-walk through the rest of my life. For me, living equals learning, and you can’t learn anything with a centuries-old book filtering what you see.

Most importantly, though: I’m not going to try and change your path – please don’t try to change mine.

Conservative Christianity + Politics = Baffled!!

Vinyl records have been a passion of mine since my mid-teens, but I’ve never actually owned an old 78 – the ones I tend to come across are rather scabby and all scratched up and, even if they were still in pristine condition, they weren’t my kind of music anyway. I know in order to play these old records I’d need a special 3 mil stylus to track the much wider grooves, but say I’d got one and some records to play – how would I go about cleaning them?

Well, I found a page telling me everything I needed to know, just in case, and I thought I’d take a look around the website – after all, with a URL of 78rpm.com, they sound like they’re the experts.

The first thing that greeted me on their homepage was a reaction to the recent US Election. I read it, and was rather baffled by it. I just don’t get the mindset of fundamentalist Christians. They say one thing, but they want the opposite.

The pundits and pollsters will debate the cause of this new American revolution for years to come, but the Church should understand one thing: God has moved.

Are you sure it was God that intervened? Some news sources say it was Vladimir Putin.

President-elect Trump is a very flawed man. As far as we can see, his greatest weakness is his pride, and we know how God feels about that. It was pride that caused the downfall of Lucifer, and it may be his pride that brings about the downfall of Trump (and with him, this country) if he doesn’t also humble himself and seek God.

This is where I begin to get baffled. Do you want the full-on, ultra-confident and assertive Trump who will mince all those nasty liberals into slurry, keep those pesky Mexicans away from your stuff, and stop Muslims practising their religion near your children… or do you want a humble, peaceful and Christ-like Trump? I don’t think you can have both.

God, please forgive us for neglecting this most important discipline of the Christian life, and strengthen us to engage the enemy and advance Your kingdom in prayer from this day forward.

And whom, may I ask, is this so-called “enemy”? Why is everything always “Us vs. Them”?

The return to righteousness and the rollback of ungodly laws will not happen without serious battles, perhaps not unlike the fight that led to this historic moment.

Wait, what?! I thought America was supposed to be the land of hope, freedom, glory with liberty and justice and Cable TV for all etc… it kind-of sounds like they’d exchange all of that to live in a Conservative Christian theocracy.

Economic decisions and foreign policy shifts will be easy compared to the fundamental cultural and moral issues we face. Whatever we do regarding the former will ultimately be of no value if we do not attend to the latter

Oh here we go.

For God has chosen to bring judgement upon this country in the form of foreign aggression and a crumbling economy precisely because we have allowed our nation to descend into a moral pit

No, your economy is crumbling because you elect the economically-incompetent. Foreign powers act aggressive towards the US because aggression is all they get from the US. Study economics, stop acting like the playground bully and you’ll find “immorality” was not to blame for the country’s woes… well, not the cultural immorality I’m sure we’ll hear about soon enough.

The end of abortion … If we don’t rid ourselves of this abomination, nothing else will matter. Trump has pledged his support for this cause and we must hold his feet to the fire.

I’m so not going there. Abortion is not a black-and-white issue, and I find it hugely hypocritical when those who cry about the “right to life” only define “life” as the mere state of being alive. They have no concern for the mother or her well-being, and they have no concern for the child’s quality of life post-partum. If you’ve not been in that position, having to make that decision for yourself, you are not qualified on the subject. I find it even more hypocritical when said “pro-lifers” want to retain the death penalty and/or protest against gun control. It’s not okay to kill someone still in the womb, but they’re fair game once they’re on the outside? I don’t always agree with him, but I’m with George Carlin on this one.

The restoration of traditional marriage. This will be even more difficult than ending abortion, and it may not be something the administration wishes to pursue

I’ve said before, each person interprets scripture differently and there is no universal consensus on this issue. If churches want to keep marriages wholly traditional, that’s their prerogative, but civil and non-Christian marriages are none of their business.

The return of God to our schools, government, institutions and the public arena. Our gracious Father enters where He is invited, and we need to replace political correctness with spiritual correctness.

Or, in other words, create a theocracy. Get ’em while they’re young, eh?

The appointment of godly men and women to our federal, state and municipal courts and most especially to the Supreme Court.

Or, in other words, create a theocracy. How “godly” would they have to be: Moby, Ned Flanders or Fred Phelps? Am I alone in thinking that if you hand full legal and judicial control to a group of fundamentalist Christians, it won’t be long before someone is in the dock accused of witchcraft?

We must seek to restore the proper role of government in our society and restrain politicians, ideologues and bureaucrats from unwarranted intrusion into our lives.

You are joking, right? The bulk of this document has been advocating turning the US into a theocracy based on one particular Christian ideology. You also have no qualms about intruding into peoples lives when it’s something you don’t agree with – or does telling women what they can and can’t do with their bodies fall under “warranted intrusion”? How do you think they feel about that? Or are their feelings secondary concerns because what (you think) God wants, God gets?

A greater respect for the privacy, freedoms and property rights of all US citizens. A government with unbridled access to unlimited data detailing the personal lives of the American populace is a threat to democracy, a boon to tyranny and a powerful tool in the hands of the Enemy

I do actually agree with this, but I doubt that if such fundamentalists were in power, liberally covering all that is civil and judicial with their scriptural interpretations, they’d be all that quick to close down the data farms. Aren’t you even tempted to find out who has been checking out Richard Dawkins books from the library? Wouldn’t you like to see who on Facebook recently changed their marital status so you can verify the sexes of the happy couple?

You can’t say you want to respect people’s freedoms while, at the same time, imposing restrictions on said freedoms based on your religious ideology.

If I were you, I’d stay out of politics and stick to selling records.

A Completely (funda)Mental View of a Woman’s Role in Marriage

1996
The web design is the most modern thing about this website.

I’m actually quite enjoying taking the piss out of fundamentalist dogmas, especially ones that want to “educate” women. I saw this one page about “The Woman’s Role in Marriage” by David J. Stewart (no, not the bloke out of Eurythmics) and I thought I’d take a peek to see how it reflects my wife’s role in our marriage.

Long story short, it doesn’t. Not one bit. My wife is my equal, not my subordinate, and if I spoke to her the way that article does, I’d be dragged into court answering divorce proceedings within 10 minutes flat. And I’d deserve it too.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Fundamentalist Christians – they’re just the same as any normal sociopath – but you’ve got to admit that they’re more than a little behind the times.

Let the piss-taking commence!


I wish it were a crime for churches to interfere in people’s marriages, because a lot of pastors and pastor’s wives would be in prison today. Church people will ruin your marriage faster than the heathens down at the local tavern. I’ve seen it happen again and again.

And yet they never learn. I’m all for church people advising others on their marriages, but they have to bear in mind these two things:

  1. There’s no such thing as a generic, bog-standard, biscuit-cutter marriage.
  2. If you insist on poking your nose in where it’s not wanted, don’t be surprised if said nose gets broken!

There is a cocky arrogance in many of our churches today, where people view the pastor as a type of god, where whatever he says is law, and his wife is a feminist in sheep’s clothing. This is tragic.

If we’re talking about Jack Hyles here, I think that grumpy old sod got off on giving his parishioners commands and laws to follow so that he didn’t have to deal with anything “modern” that the antiquated lump of fossilised wood known as his “brain” couldn’t cope with.

As for the wife being a “feminist in sheep’s clothing” – what definition of feminist are we talking here? Are we talking the accepted definition of feminism where men and women have equal rights and opportunities, or the conservative alarmist definition of feminism (which is actually closer to misandry) used to brainwash people so that they don’t find out what the word actually means?

And besides – what’s wrong with sheep’s clothing? Wool can be very comfortable, unless you’re allergic.

The Authority of the Church is the Word of God; and not the pastor. Such pastors feel they have a right to advice women in their church to go against their husband’s decisions.

Nothing wrong with advising if it’s asked for – you still have a choice on whether to follow or reject that advice.

Going against their husband’s decisions? That’s a different matter. If your husband’s decision would be considered idiotic by anyone with an IQ of 6 or above, nobody is going to blame you for going against him. Alternatively, work on a water-tight escape plan so that when his idiotic decision goes belly-up, you can walk out of there with your head held high, leaving the bastard to clean up his own mess.

A perfect example is church attendance. I know of numerous Baptist pastors who teach that a wife should go to church, even if her husband says “no.” This is rebellion on the part of the wife.

Argh! Not rebellion! For the love of God, man, CONTROL YOUR WOMAN! One day it’s church, next day she’s donning leathers and joining a biker gang! Do you REALLY want your pastor to call you a sissy in front of the whole congregation?!

(O sarcasm, how I love thee)

Pastor Hutson teaches that a wife should stay home from church if her husband tells her to. I know this may harelip every dog in the county; but it is Biblical. Before God ever created a church, a family, or kids — He created the MARRIAGE!

But before God could create marriage, he had to create people to marry. Those people were once kids, so he’d have had to have created the kids before he created marriage, right? But then the kids would’ve had parents who would have had to have been married before marriage was even created. I’m assuming they’re not advocating sex before marriage or having children out of wedlock – that’s not usually their thing.

I’m confused – it’s the Chicken and the Egg all over again! Which idiot was it that said religion has all the answers?

Besides, shouldn’t the wife be free to attend church? I thought this was America: land of FREEDOM, hope, glory, bald eagles and all that starry-stripy type stuff….?

You are to show the world the relationship of the church of Christ, and your part is to make the church look best you can.

Literally translated: The flower-arranging rota is over there. Here’s a pen.

It is the husband’s part to make Christ look as good to the world as he can by playing the part of Christ.

What, even in the Nativity play? They make adult-sized mangers now? Who’d have thunk it!?

The Holy Spirit says, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ. so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”

True – but it also said “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” and “In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” To me, that reads like husbands and wives become one and have equal duty to each other, not a biblical edict to yell:

cartman_pie

I made a mistake as a young pastor that I corrected later. I told a lady, when her husband told her not to go to church, “You just tell him you are going to church anyway. You are going to live for God.”

Yeah. You go, girl!

I gave her unscriptural advice. You are to be to your husband what the church is to Christ — submissive, obedient.

You mean like a dog?! This is sooooooo not going to end well.

Submission is a right attitude, recognizing that the husband is the head. That doesn’t mean the wife can’t make suggestions–that she can’t tell him what she wants. But the husband is to lead the home, and he is make the final decision.

I’m the man of my family so you’re saying that what I say goes. Well, I say we work through the decision together, each adding our own input, and arriving at a conclusion that will provide a more satisfactory outcome! I’m a man – I can waive my male privilege if I want to! Don’t like it? Well…

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Someone says, “Now, wait a minute. I have said, ‘I do,’ The drama is on. I know my role. Now, what is my husband’s role?”

[Drum roll]

But there is no need to talk about him; he is not here.

“In which case, and I’m sorry to ask this of you – me being a mere woman and all, but could you tell Joe to get his arse out of that manger and come here please?”

Your role is to be submissive. Look at Titus 2. Your role is to love your husband. Your role is to be discrete, chaste, keepers at home. Did you know a woman’s home is her career? It should be…

I warned you this was not going to end well!

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It is easy to forget your role. When your husband asks you to do something, it is easy to say, “Do it yourself. I am not your slave.” Remember, you are not playing the role of the church when you do that.

So what you’re ultimately saying is that wives ARE the slaves of their husbands? What’s the matter – you can’t tear West Africans from their homes any more, so you go for the next best thing?

You know what? If you think the Bible gives you carte blanche to be a sexist dinosaur, go right ahead.

Here’s the recipe.

Make your own fucking pie.

Mahler and Me: Triggering Transformation

It’s funny how something as seemingly-unimportant as a piece of music can cause such an upheaval in one’s life.

gustav-mahler-kohutYesterday, I bought a copy of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 from a local charity shop, a 1987 recording by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO), then under the direction of Simon Rattle. I used to have it as part of a CD box set, but I got rid of it. I can’t really explain why, but I found having all 10 of Mahler’s Symphonies in one set was a bit overwhelming. Hunting down and spending time with each one individually works much better.

I’ve loved this piece of music ever since I first heard it – it normally takes a symphony 4-5 times to work its magic on me, but Mahler’s 2nd slapped me in the face with its brilliance. When I listened to the final five minutes earlier this morning, I felt as if I wanted to burst out into tears. I’d never felt that way before about this music – why now?

My mind was cast back to the last time I played it in full: It was the day I learned that my paternal grandmother had died. That was just over 3 years ago. To save writing reams of family history, my parents split up when I was 8 years old and, after that, family relations got a little icy – especially towards my dad’s side of the family – so any contact I had with them was minimal. I used to visit my nan from time-to-time as I studied at Dudley College and she lived about 15 minutes walk away, a stone’s throw away from where comedian Lenny Henry grew up. I could tell back then she was showing signs of Alzheimers. When I started university and taking part-time jobs, I saw her less and less – within a few years, her memory had degenerated so far that she was moved to a local care home.

I never went to visit her at the home. When I heard she’d passed away, I felt guilty for not paying her a visit or showing her her new great-grandchildren, and for letting family politics get in the way of seeing her more before the dementia set in deeply. At the same time, I was glad I never saw her at her worst – I had some very fond memories of her, and they remain untainted. If I did go to see her at the home, she wouldn’t have recognise me: I’d heard from other family members that, in her mind, I was still a young child.

That lunchtime, I felt I needed to play Mahler 2. I don’t know why – I was just drawn to it.

It spoke to me.

That’s when the transformation began.

My then-regular church life fell apart as I tried to comprehend and validate it all. I’ve already written about that part of the story. Last year, my mental health worsened and I was signed-off for a few months with anxiety and depression, at which point I took one-on-one counselling with cognitive behavioural therapy to help improve my mood, cope with all the pressure I was under, and deal with my almost non-existent self-esteem. Earlier this year, when I was at risk of losing my job, I knew I needed to change who I was. Not so much ‘change’, but scrape away the ugly parasites clinging on to my true self. I’ve already written about that part of the story too.

But what has Malher got to do with this? Looking back at it now, the words in the final choral movement of his second symphony are quite profound:

O believe, my heart, O believe:
Nothing to you is lost!
Yours is, yes yours, is what you desired
Yours, what you have loved
What you have fought for!
O believe,
You were not born for nothing!
Have not for nothing, lived, suffered!
What was created
Must perish,
What perished, rise again!
Cease from trembling!
Prepare yourself to live!
O Pain, You piercer of all things,
From you, I have been wrested!
O Death, You conqueror of all things,
Now, are you conquered!
With wings which I have won for myself,
In love’s fierce striving,
I shall soar upwards
To the light which no eye has penetrated!
Die shall I in order to live.
Rise again, yes, rise again,
Will you, my heart, in an instant!
That for which you suffered,
To God shall it carry you!

The music in the final five minutes of the piece is, without question, the most perfect finale I have ever heard. When I hear it, I picture music so powerful it will open the pearly gates themselves, revealing the glory of Heaven to the mortal world.

The symphony represents the finality of an old life, and the powerful creation of the new, condensed into 80 minutes of music.

The symphony represents my new life.

Meet Brother Hyles Part 2: Walk This Way!

Ladies, Gentlemen and everybody in-between… I am proud to present… more from Fundamentalist Christianity’s answer to Trinny and Susannah… PASTOR JACK HYLES!

In the first part, we learned that:

1. Pastor Hyles doesn’t like men with long hair
2. Pastor Hyles doesn’t like women wearing trousers
3. Pastor Hyles thinks that those who do are going to hell

I pick things up at the second part of his sermon, entitled “The Devil is using long hair on men to break down the barrier between the sexes.”

In the first part, I could respond to some of the sections quite seriously but, in the second half of the sermon, he goes way off the chart so what some of my responses lack in length, they make up for in flippancy.


Marshall McLuhan asked theoretically, “In what may seem a ludicrous statement, they are sending a message to all who will listen: ‘We are no longer afraid to display what you may call feminine. We are willing to reveal that we have feelings and weaknesses'”

Yes. We all do. It’s part and parcel of being human. We all have strengths and weaknesses, even Pastor Hyles, but we play to our strengths. I have quite a strong sense of detail and logic, but I don’t have an abundance of confidence and charisma. That’s why I work as an Analyst and not a Sales Rep.

“Well,”” somebody says, “what about Jesus? He had long hair.” You’ve got to be kidding! “Well,” you say, “in all the pictures I’ve seen of Him, He had long hair.” What kind of camera was used to take that picture? Was it a Kodak? You know where we got those pictures? We got them from sissy artist who had long hair. If I drew a picture of Jesus, He would be balding!

Nobody really knows what Jesus looked like. He may have had long hair, he may have been balding, he may have had short hair. We’re in the realms of Schrödinger’s Haircut, where Jesus has every conceivable hairstyle… even a Skullet. Nobody is right, nobody is wrong. Nil points all round.

In Asia, men hold hands. Why? They do it because pagan religion is in Asia.

No, they do so because it’s how their culture expresses friendliness – just because it translates into something else in America does not change its original context. Also, congratulations on potentially offending almost half a billion people. Have you met Boris Johnson, by any chance?

In Russia, men kiss each other on the mouth! Boy! I’d go to the electric chair first!

Again, culture. That’s another 70 million people potentially offended. I’d recommend you stay out of Russia but, given that this is 1972, you probably weren’t planning a visit.

EDIT: Hyles’ ultimate fear:

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I was watching a basketball game the other day. The announcer came on, and he was a doll! You men who cover up you ears with your hair, you’re pitiful! It just curls around so only your beautician knows! Ladies, if your boy doesn’t want to show his ears, cut them off!

So, by that logic, if the boy doesn’t want to show his doodle, that should be cut off too? Wouldn’t that make him even more of a woman? Come on, Hyles – show some consistency man!

You high school girls ought to go home tonight, take every pair of slacks you own, and destroy them. A lot of them would if you mothers would keep you noses out of their business in that respect.

Being a bit paternalistic, aren’t we? I think someone’s taking a bit too much interest in the teenage girls’ wardrobes.

Let me tell you one reason why I’m against a female wearing slacks. A female in slacks can sit like a man with one leg up on the other knee, and they do it. No female ought to sit like that!

Show me the passage in the Bible that explicitly tells women how to sit.

Go on.

There isn’t one, is there?

Thought so.

Do you know what? We ought to have more girls at this meeting on Thursday night to learn how to be gracious and feminine than we have at any other activity in this church, apart from soul winning. You mothers ought to insist that your daughters get up here and let someone teach them how to walk and sit.

In other words, you want girls to come to what is, in effect, an obedience school. You’re equating teenage girls with unruly dogs – you know that, right?

I go to Hammond Baptist High School sometimes an, even though the skirts are long enough, you can see as much when the girl sits down as you can see when a girl is wearing a miniskirt. Why? They have not been taught how to sit.

How about we teach Pastors not to look up girls’ skirts when they sit down?! No wonder rape culture is still an issue.

In this class, on Thursday nights, they have the girls bring an encyclopaedia. Do you think they study that encyclopaedia? No. They put it on their heads and the girls learn to walk like girls. (Any boy who can take three steps without dropping is not right with God!) A girl ought to know how to walk like a girl. Girls are not “one of the guys.” Don’t walk like one!

Girls are also not robots, yet it sounds like you’re training them to be one.

Walk this way! Talk this way! Hey… there’s a hit song in there somewhere…

Bugger, Aerosmith beat me to it.

(EDIT: I can access the whole of Wikipedia on my phone. With my phone on top of my head, I was able to take more than 3 steps before it fell off. So does that mean I walk like a girl? To be honest, I couldn’t give a rats arse if it does.)

You say, “Brother Hyles, I’ll just pack up and go some place where a preacher doesn’t preach like this.” Well, good! It will keep us from borrowing two and three quarters of a million dollars. You can do it, but you know that the unisex crowd is pleased with your trousers. It’s time we had an old-fashioned altar call about women wearing britches, just like we do about drinking and smoking and gambling and everything else.

And you’ll be preaching to an old-fashioned congregation that, in time, will dwindle into nothing. If the Great Commission calls on you to spread the Gospel to all corners of the earth, why are you so intent on pushing people away from it?

While I’m at it, let me just pay my respects to the women’s liberation movement. I think everyone in it is right.

Wait. WHAT?!

They’re not women; they ought to be liberated! I think they’re right; they’re not Miss or Mister or Mrs. They’re just Ms.!

Oh, you were demeaning women again. This is becoming a recurring thing.

Then you fellows, for Pete’s sake, or Harry’s sake, or anybody’s sake, don’t walk like a girl- swinging your hips and being prissy as you walk! If I walked like that, I would go down to some Texas ranch and ride the wildest Brahma bull they had. You say, “I might get thrown off!” That’s exactly what I had in mind! You say, “He might stick his horns right through my gizzard!” You’ve got my second idea too, but at least I would come back a man! I would rather my boy have a bull’s horn through his gizzard and bury him tomorrow than for him to priss across the platform like Miss America.

I could hear through the channels of history the collective relief of all the women in the congregation as he lays into the men for once.

So, basically, what you’re saying is that in order to be a REAL MAN, you have to be BRAVE… and that bravery should come in the form of RECKLESS STUPIDITY. Tell me this, if America needs REAL MEN, then why are you trying to get them to come within an inch of killing themselves just to prove that they are?!

I’m teaching grown men how to walk. I’m teaching them that a man doesn’t lean back when he walks; a man bounces when he walks and walks like he’s going somewhere. I wouldn’t have to teach them if you moms and dads would teach them when they were kids. Cut their hair! Take the make-up off of their faces! Take your dresses off their bodies! Put some blue jeans on them! Let them get in a fight every once in a while! Make boys out of them, and I won’t have to try to correct them when they grow up!

If he seriously wants men to be strong, brave, decisive and dominant – what’s he going to do when someone squares up to him, decides he’s having no more of this crap and tells Brother Hyles EXACTLY where he can stick his walking lessons!


To be honest, I’m glad I’m now at the end of that sermon. That was gruelling! Obviously, I never knew Pastor Hyles, but based on this one sermon, I don’t think I’d want to.

It sounds like he has absolutely no respect for other people, as if he seriously wants to put hard limits on their individual expression so they conduct themselves the way he wants them to – if this was any random person in the street, they’d be brushed aside or dismissed, so he claims God’s authority for himself and uses the threat of damnation to scare his congregation into conformity. Well, the less critically-thinking ones at least. The man sounds like an absolute control freak! He told the women they were behaving like men, the men they were behaving like women and the parents that they weren’t doing a good enough job – pardon my French, but I’d have stood up and told him to mind his own business and go raise his own fucking kids!

It’s worth noting that, throughout the whole sermon, Jesus was only mentioned 5 times. Four of those times were when he was slating the “sissy, long-haired, effeminate, homosexual” artists who painted pictures of Jesus with long hair. That leads me to believe that his sermon was based more on his political beliefs than his spiritual beliefs. The Jesus I read about several years ago was far more concerned about people’s hearts than their clothes.

I’d even go as far as saying he’s afraid. Very afraid. What of, I can’t be too sure. It’s a bit concerning that he spent a portion of the second part sticking his nose into girls’ wardrobes and looking up their skirts to see if they’re “sitting correctly”. And why is he so afraid of men showing even the slightest bit of effeminacy? My guess is that he’s no different from any other ultra-conservative: keep the nuclear family sacrosanct so that more people get married and have children. There’s a 50/50 chance they’ll have a boy and, if they do, buy him some toy soldiers and teach him how to be strong and tough. Got to replenish the army somehow, haven’t we? Especially as, at the time, the US had sacrificed so many families’ sons in Vietnam.

I’m sorry, but just don’t get the “fundamentalist” way of thinking. From this angle, it looks comparable to a factory farm where people are caged, confined and fed a special diet so that they emerge with the most desirable attributes. But like a battery hen, there is no chance at a full life – you’re bound by what is and isn’t written in a centuries-old collection of books because the fear of eternal torment prevents you from taking a gamble on a less-literal interpretation. When I studied the Bible, I always saw the Old Testament as the historical context for the “life manual” of the Gospels. I cannot say with any certainty that Jesus existed and the records in the Gospels are historically accurate, but even if that Jesus exists only on paper, the teachings of that literary Jesus are still highly significant and relevant today. If there is a god (again, I’m uncertain yet open-minded) and Jesus is wholly representative of that god, it gives life a much fuller purpose than the god described by Pastor Hyles.

One thing I am certain though: whether or not a Heaven is waiting for us after death, there’s absolutely no reason why we can’t create one while we’re still alive.

Meet Brother Hyles Part 1: God wants REAL MEN.

I was in major need of a laugh, so I went back and had a look at the Divided by Truth website that I talked about earlier – in particular, the page that equated Feminism with Satanism. I’m not really going to comment on that article in particular (I’m still seething at the sexist “Mack Truck” comment) but, at the bottom of the article is a link to a sermon by Pastor Jack Hyles decrying the whole “unisex” movement.

As the page contains a transcription and not a recording of the sermon, I’m going to take it that the sermon actually took place and was not just fabricated and posted on the website posthumously. From the plethora of exclamation marks within the text, I’m also going to take it that there was a lot of shouting coming from the pulpit.

I’m going to go through the sermon, much in the way I did with their “kilts are for sinners” article but, as it’s quite long, I’m going to go through it in two parts – much like the sermon itself – and focus on some of the more “absurdly alarmist” points.


One social expert has said, “By the year 2000, Father will do the dishes and wash the diapers while Mom washes the car and mows the lawn.”

I’m guessing this quotation is meant to imply that, by the turn of the century, traditional gender roles will have swapped around. They haven’t – they’re still the same old-fashioned gender roles. The only real difference is that very few people actually pay them any attention.

I became a father in 2007, and I have changed my fair share of nappies. Even some of the really nasty ones. I’ve cleaned up almost every kind of fluid my kids have spewed, spilled or excreted over the furniture. I do the washing up, I mow the lawn, I clean the car (well, as we don’t have a driveway or a garage, I take the car to someone who will do a far better job than I can for a few quid), I cook, I clean and I do the ironing.

And so does my wife. It’s called “co-operation”. It’s what married couples do.

When a little boy is born, we let him grow long hair and look like a girl, (now I’m going to make someone mad here) we name him Francis, (and one of the best friends I have in this world is named Francis) we curl his hair and put him in what we call a diaper shirt, (which is no more than a dress) and then we wonder why he turns out to be a sissy! Brother, when a boy gets home from the hospital, put him in blue jeans and cut his hair! If you don’t, he’s going to grow up and look like some of you Samsons sitting here in this room tonight!

For the first 18 months of his life, we let my son’s hair grow long. We never curled his hair (he has my genetics so it’d go that way on its own eventually) nor did we put him in a “diaper shirt”. Having had to attempt to remove my son’s dungarees after a rather nasty nappy, I can see why some parents would put their boys in (ahem) “dresses”.

If my son turns out to be what Brother Hyles so bluntly defines as a “sissy”… great! I’d rather him be an honest, compassionate and sensitive member of society than a brutish, domineering oaf.

I believe that ladies ought to be feminine and sweet and lovely and charming. I believe men ought to be strong and masculine and decisive. I’m opposed to anything that makes a man and a woman act alike, look alike, dress alike, or talk alike.

Okay, fair enough. It’s not my place to tell you what to believe, but you are kind-of describing a fantasy land. If you expect women to repress their negative emotions in order to be that sweet, lovely and charming woman you want them to be, you’re likely creating an emotional time-bomb. When she explodes in front of you and gives you a harsh lesson in what reality is like for a “conservative” woman, you’d be wise not to remind her just how ‘un-lady-like’ it is to have an angry outburst. And what happens to the men who are more creative and intellectual than strong and decisive? One person from history had an idea of what to do with the less-desirable members of society. It wasn’t pretty.

But I am the man about whom Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey them that have rule over you.” You’ll be a lot better off to tell your girl she can’t wear her slacks because the preacher says it’s wrong- by the way, it won’t hurt her not to wear them- than if you just go ahead and let her wear them.

If you’re going to give people a list of expected behaviours based on what’s between their legs, you’re wasting your time. Micromanaging children is a futile and completely counter-productive effort: the more you try and control them, the more likely they are to resent and rebel against you. I’ve mentioned before – if you are in a position of authority, you must be able to justify why you hold that authority. The same goes for parents too. If you want your children to obey you, you’ve got to convince them as to why it’s in their best interest to do so. Finally, if you want them to approach God with a pure heart, making them so shit scared of eternal torment is NOT going to achieve that.

I am never purposely unkind to anybody who dresses contrary to the way I preach. But I’ll say this much: You’re going to face God for being a part of the unisex movement just as much as a man who wears makeup.

Somehow I think God has bigger fish to fry than who is and isn’t wearing makeup. Personally, when Eddie Izzard goes to meet his maker, I think said maker is going to be far more interested in his inexhaustible charity work than his shade of lipstick.

You know it’s true that if you’re walking down the sidewalk behind some couples, it’s hard to tell which is the male and which is the female.

Why is it so important that you need to be able to visually identify the sexes of two people YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW!? They’re walking down the street minding their own business – perhaps you should try doing that too.

“Today, mothers continue to work their way steadily back toward babyhood, trying on the looks of baby doll, little soldier doll, and little boy doll.” Let me stop and say a word about this. I don’t mind your boys having little soldiers to play with, but don’t give your boy a doll to play with.

[in sarcastic, mocking tone] Because it’s a sin for boys to learn how to become confident parents! That’s a woman’s jon! Men should be out shooting and killing foreign people and stealing their oil! Pacifism is for sissies!

Ad nauseam.

She goes on to say, “Simultaneously the teenage boy, the source of all this feminine emulation, was revolting against his father in the strongest way he could find to express disapproval- unmasculinity. Ornamented in fancy clothes, the young men now seem to dress as young women, masquerading as boys.” That’s not a Christian person saying that; that is the world saying that men and women dressing alike is part of the unisex movement.

This does make some sense, but as I’ve said before, if you’re more of a dictator than a parent you shouldn’t be surprised that your children turn against you. I’ve heard stories of how children in similar relationships can’t wait to start college/university so they can get away from their fathers’ strict control and constant condemnation.

The fact that celebrities like Mick Jagger and David Bowie were crossing the gender boundary shows how lateral thinking became more liberated during the 60’s and 70’s. They had an air of femininity in their appearance, but you never doubted their masculinity. That post-war generation saw women becoming more independent in their appearance and aspirations – the fact that young males were keen to emulate women’s appearance can be regarded as validating their independence and equality. This effeminacy in men was by no means undesirable – a man in tune with his feminine side (we all have one, however small) was less likely to become an abusive or misogynistic husband.

Girls come to my office in deep trouble, and practically every one who does has been told by her mother or dad, or in some cases by both, “Brother Hyles isn’t God. You don’t have to do everything he says.”

Correct. Brother Hyles is a human being and is as corruptible by “the devil” as everybody else. When I was an active church-goer and Bible-studier, I theorised that if “the devil” is the ultimate trickster and liar, then it’s not improbable for him to sow confusion by pretending to be God. This is why I always felt that, if it wasn’t in the Gospel, it wasn’t a true reflection of God. Even though I no longer identify as a Christian, I still follow the Gospel from a philosophical point of view.

Dr. Ralph Grimson is a clinical professor of psychiatry at U.C.L.A. School of Medicine; he told the American Medical Association, “I believe one of the reasons that young males and females wear their hair alike and dress alike stems from their fear of the opposite sex.”

I’m beginning to think this whole sermon is a result of Hyles’ own fear of the opposite sex. He doesn’t seem to have a lot of respect for women. Or for men, if I’m honest.

For 14 years and 3 months there has been a man behind this pulpit. I may be mean and stubborn, and I may be bigoted, and I may be right-winged- in fact, I happily plead guilty to all of those things- but there is one thing you have had for all of these 14 years. You’ve had a fellow whose tail you couldn’t twist! This country is in dire need of men!

When you have such a stubborn and inflexible approach to life, you lose the ability and the willingness to move beyond the obstacles in your way. In those 14 years and 3 months, the congregation has moved on with their lives, but Hyles refuses to. Rather than catch up with his congregation, his stubborn and conservative solution is to get everybody else to roll back to a point more suitable to him.

Maybe that’s why, almost 45 years later, his words still sound stubborn, bigoted and right-winged. Throughout the course of the sermon, he has chastised and brow-beaten many of the people present. That was never going to work. If you want people to change, you inspire them… and you can’t inspire people with such hostile negativity.

Back in my Bible study days, I concluded that God doesn’t make mistakes, but challenges. If you believe that God created two sexes, male and female, and that all people are created by God – where does that leave the intersex minority? They’re not mentioned in the Bible anywhere purely because the people of the time would not be able to comprehend the complexities of child development and hormones, but if they’re still God’s creation, where do you stand? Do you twist some OT verses into black-and-white rhetoric like “God created Man and Woman – you’re neither, therefore you must be the work of the devil”, or do you follow Jesus’ commandment to “love one another”? Last time I read that chapter, there weren’t any specifications or conditions.

I don’t believe anybody ought to be a big bully and go around picking fights. I don’t believe you ought to want to fight. But I’ll tell you one thing! I don’t believe a boy ought to open his purse and get out scented tissue to wipe his tears because he is afraid of the big bully in the school!

And finally, something we can both agree on, but also something of a circular argument. If you emphasise to your kids the need to be strong, assertive and dominant, as Brother Hyles commands, then they will practice that dominance and assertion on others – they will become, in effect, bullies. Instil them with confidence and empathy, and they become productive members of society. No bullies and no fighting equals no scented tissues. Job done.

Ironically, by using the threat of eternal torment to scare the congregation into conforming to your world view, I’m afraid that makes you the bully.

“I’m holding a Bible… do as I say!”

With Theresa May blabbing on about how her Christian faith is guiding her Brexit strategy, I started getting a rather horrible image of Religion and Politics becoming as intertwined here as it is over in the US. The 2015 General Election was a bit of an eye-opener for me when I saw a handful of Christians, who had up to that point been very vocal about alleviating poverty, voting Conservative on the grounds that David Cameron was a Christian; completely ignoring (or ignorant of) the statistics showing that Foodbank usage had risen exponentially during his austerity-driven premiership. It highlighted a couple of things to me:

  1. Some Christians will take care of their own before anyone else, regardless of need
  2. Religion can so easily be hijacked

As of the 2011 Census, there were 37.5m Christians in the UK, or approximately 60% of the population. Assuming they’re all practising Christians, how many of them, on hearing Theresa May’s statement, will think either:

  1. “she’s being guided by God, so who am I to interfere?”
  2. “is she really, or is she just saying that?”

In Christian belief, God holds ultimate power and authority, but the word of God is inexplicit and open to interpretation. The two together are incredibly dangerous in the wrong hands. Take Leviticus 18:20 (“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination”), combine it with Proverbs 11:19 (“And he who pursues evil will bring about his own death”) and Ezekiel 18:4 (“The soul who sins will die”), coat it in a whole heap of God’s highest authority, and you potentially have someone who believes it’s okay to murder gay people. The commandment of “You shall not murder” is equally inexplicit and will do little to quell such extreme actions – they could still be justified as a form of moral warfare or capital punishment, depending on your interpretation.

Freedom of religion, along with the freedom to hold no religion at all, is a fundamental human right; as religion is personal and religious texts open to interpretation, it is my view that the state should be entirely secular; Government officials are there to serve an entire population, not a selected subset of that population, and therefore should only pass legislation on actual, rather than perceived, immorality.

Take, for example, the oft-reported case of a Christian-run bakery refusing to provide a cake celebrating a gay wedding on the grounds of their religious beliefs. While I believe it is their right to refuse service on what they regard as a moral issue (I’m sure their less-objective competitors agree), the right to refuse service cannot be a one-sided affair. Say, for example, the same Christian couple who ran the bakery went to a catering firm to provide food for a baby’s baptism, only for the caterer to refuse based on their belief that it is immoral for baptism to be forced upon a child by their parents. The couple would have no right to complain or cry discrimination if they enforce their right to moral objection in their own business.

Beliefs are not necessarily facts but, because the Bible lays down God’s authority, such beliefs do become considered as facts. To me, it appears as if you can interpret a few Bible verses a certain way and, just by holding up a copy of the Bible, get others to subscribe to your belief as if it was fact – much like this woman in Target did:

You never see someone holding a Bible aloft and yelling “Jesus tells us in John 13:34 to love one another without condition. I don’t care whether you’re black, white, male, female, gay, straight, cis, trans, Christian, Muslim, animal, vegetable or mineral – I LOVE YOU ALL!!!”.

I have absolutely nothing against anybody using their respective Holy texts to inspire positivity.

So if those were Jesus’ words, and Jesus is God incarnate, and God has absolute authority… why are Christians putting words into God’s mouth and not doing as he commands?

If you absolutely NEED something to hate: hate violence, injustice and ignorance.

The Story of the Modern-Day Samaritan

One widely-used quotation spread around the internet comes from Dr. Milton Diamond:

“nature loves diversity, society hates it”

I don’t think it’s as much society that hates diversity as the media, although the two do kind of go hand-in-hand.

You probably get the picture by now that I get a little worked up by people who feel it is their business to discriminate against others simply because they are different. It’s one of the main reasons why I don’t read any print media – without even touching a copy of one of the British Tabloid newspapers, I can see how they persistently poison us against “the enemy” – whether that be migrants, gay people, transgender people – anyone who is not “normal”; in other words, anyone who doesn’t conform to the profile of the majority.

Reality paints a rather different picture. Despite the publicity given to views not unlike those of ultra-conservative groups like Britain First or Westboro Baptist Church, their views are by no means mainstream. The UK’s more extreme political parties have no real power, and any open protests against such minority groups rarely come without a much larger counter-protest.

Britain First are, on the other hand, home to one of the biggest ironies in politics. In among their policies rallying against immigration and Islam (and the one ‘better support for the NHS’ policy that’s a complete no-brainer), you’ll find the one where they want to promote Christianity. I was a church-goer for several years, and studied the Bible in depth during that time, and I can honestly say that the Christian philosophy is almost diametrically-opposite to that of Britain First. I think the only reason Britain First actively promote Christianity is due to the widespread influence of Anglicanism and its historical origins in Britain.

I’d like to see how they explain away the parable of the Good Samaritan – a story of how the more “high-class” people in society neglected to help a man robbed and left at death’s door, yet it was the “low-class” Samaritan who stopped to help. It’s easily the strongest and most prolific anti-discrimination stories ever written.

Let’s put it in a modern context…


A man was walking down a quiet side-street on his way to work, when a gang of thugs grabbed him, threw him to the floor, kicked and stabbed him repeatedly. When they’d had their fun, they took his wallet, phone and anything else of value, and left the man bleeding to death on the street.

The first person to walk past was a Stockbroker. The man weakly turned his head to face the stockbroker and whispered “please help me”. Just then, the bell at the London Stock Exchange rang; the stockbroker simply replied “sorry – I’m needed somewhere else” and went on his way.

The second person to walk past was an MP. Again, the man turned to him and, in an agonised whisper, asked “please can you help me”. The MP asked him “where do you live?”; when the man told him, the MP replied “sorry, you’re not one of my constituents – I cannot help you” and walked off.

The third person to walk past was a clergyman. Surely a man of the cloth would help someone in need? Once again, the man turned and asked “please can you help me”. The clergyman looked at how beaten and bloodied the man was, and took pity. At that time, the bell at his church started ringing and the clergyman simply said “sorry – my congregation need me. You’ll be in my prayers!” before hurrying off.

The last person to walk past was a refugee from Syria. One last time, the man asked him if he could help. The Syrian didn’t understand English, but he could see how badly hurt he was. He called to his friend, and between them, they lifted the man up and carried him to the nearest hospital.

Outside the hospital, the junior doctors were calling another strike. The MP had been to see them just moments before to tell them about their new contracts, which would have them working longer hours for less pay. One of the doctors looked at the man and could see he was in immediate need of help. He threw down his placard and ushered the Syrians towards A&E where he would be waiting with his team. The junior doctor and his team cleaned and disinfected his wounds, and replaced the blood he lost. They took care of the fractures in his ribs and skull.

When the man was in a stable condition, they moved him on to the ward. A Polish nurse made sure all his dressings were clean, a Romanian lady from the kitchens brought him the food and drink he needed to regain his strength, and the Syrians who stopped to help him came to visit every day – the patient in the adjacent bed spoke fluent Arabic, and translated for them. The man expressed his eternal gratitude towards them for saving his life when nobody else would. A life-long friendship began that day.

Watching from a distance, a journalist witnessed the whole incident and wrote the whole story down. He told of how the Stockbroker, MP and Clergyman all passed him by. He told of how the Syrian refugees stopped to help him, and how the junior doctor abandoned his picket to help save that man’s life. When his story was complete, he went to see his editor. His editor read it, screwed it up into a ball, and threw it away. Shocked, the journalist asked “why did you just throw my story in the bin?!”. His editor swiveled his chair to face the journalist, put on a serious face and said…

“The owner of this newspaper netted a cool £20m thanks to that stockbroker, the MP is voting against further regulation of the press, and the vicar is a very respectable member of my country club. I can’t print anything that tarnishes their reputations.”

The journalist wasn’t impressed. “It’s never stopped you before. Go on… what’s the real reason?”. The editor returned a knowing smile and replied:

“We can’t have the plebs thinking refugees are good people. We don’t want to look like hypocrites, now do we?”

Transgender Children: They exist. Get over it.

I don’t know why, but whenever I view or read something online, I feel the desire to scroll down to the bottom of the page to read the comments. I’d been watching another TEDx video, one about a parent coming to terms with the unexpected revelation that their middle child, assigned male at birth, wanted to be a girl, and wondered what the public’s reaction would be towards it.

I’ve watched a number of these TEDx presentations, and they’ve all been pretty progressive on the topic of gender, validated by presenters who were speaking from experience rather than opinion. For the most part, the comments posted were positive or at least supportive, but there’s always the odd few that post a negative reaction. Whether they’re speaking from the heart or just engaging in trolling remains to be seen, but there were common threads running throughout.

They weren’t speaking from experience

Unless you’re the parent of a transgender child, comments are superficial at best. The same applies to me too as neither of my children are transgender as far as I’m aware, so I can’t speak from experience either. The difference is that I will happily listen to and learn from other people’s experiences rather than jump in and add my 2p worth of bigotry.

They believe it is their business to determine how another person raises their child

Again, the same applies to me too – it’s none of my business either – but if you’re willing to give unsolicited parenting advice to complete strangers, you should be willing to accept advice from them in return; given that neither parent would act on the other’s advice, it’s just a complete waste of bandwidth. Besides, all children are unique and a parenting style that works for one child would not necessarily work with another.

They won’t leave the Bible out of this

There’s always the one über-Flanders type who dusts off their Bible and starts quoting cherry-picked verses out of context as a means to accuse parents of raising an ‘abomination’. Speaking as someone who has done his fair share of Bible study, I’d like to point out that Jesus had no real interest in the so-called “holy people”, preferring to reach out to those marginalized by society: tax collectors, lepers, women and so on. Based on that information, if Jesus came back tomorrow, would he be more likely to (a) visit a conservative church and give them all the thumbs up for enforcing conformity to Old Testament laws, or (b) visit a transgender child and tell them that, despite the teasing and bullying they receive, they are very much loved?

They’re ignorant of history (but they’ll try to prove otherwise)

“You never heard about Transgenderism until recently, which must make it a relatively new thing. There are no examples throughout history, so it must be some kind of modern (mental illness/liberal lunacy/Satanic work)*”

I always find this kind of talk rather amusing since it ignores the very meaning of recorded history. A lack of historical evidence supporting Transgenderism does not implicitly mean that it didn’t exist in previous centuries – gender dysphoria was neither as widely-reported as it is in this internet age, nor as widely-understood. It’s equally plausible that those who did experience gender dysphoria back then suffered in silence.

*Delete as applicable


Let’s say, for example, that one of these YouTube pundits finds themselves in the same room as a transgender child. What is the worst that’s going to happen to them? The risks are exactly the same whether the child is trans- or cis-gender: you may be subjected to a conversation about Pokémon or One Direction. Why? Because children are children. End of.

Ultimately, such comments are prejudiced, plain and simple; and there is no excuse for prejudice. My nan was quite conservative in many ways, but quite liberal in others. As a religious person, she was always conscious of the parable of the Good Samaritan and what it says about holding prejudices. When you’re in a life-or-death situation and somebody is standing in the middle, you’re not going to refuse their help on something as trivial as their sex, gender, race, religion or nationality.