There was a time, sadly long gone, when the Church of England could be described as “the Conservative Party at prayer”. These days, “the Fabian Society at prayer” might be more accurate.
I have crossed swords in the past with the Bishop of Leicester over his knee-jerk support for climate alarmism. I was very concerned recently when the Bishops in the House of Lords voted against the IDS welfare cap. But then again I was very pleased to see the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey come out and insist that they were wrong to do so, and that the greatest moral lapse of government today was a debt of a trillion pounds which would hang over our children and our grandchildren. He insisted that the proposed welfare cap was a reasonable and proportionate measure to address the debt problem.
I was pleased to see through the week that the Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu, had come out against same-sex “marriage”, and called on David Cameron to abandon plans to legislate for it. Quite right too. It is not the business of governments to legislate to change the meaning of words, nor to undermine millennia of cultural norms, nor (arguably) to dilute and demean the institution of marriage itself.
And now the Bishops have turned to an issue which got me into a certain amount of hot water a year ago. A psychotherapist, Lesley Pilkington, had been entrapped into a meeting with a radical homosexual journalist, masquerading as a patient unhappy with his homosexual inclinations and seeking counselling. Mrs. Pilkington was struck off by her professional body, the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), for offering to help him.
I was horrified by the broadside of abuse and vilification heaped on Mrs. Pilkington by the strident “gay rights” lobby, and I said so in a blog . I immediately became a target for similar treatment. I was accused of saying that homosexuality was a disease (I said no such thing), and that it could or should be “cured”. I didn’t say that either. I was merely arguing for the right of an individual, concerned about what he sees as a problem, to seek advice and counselling; and the right of therapists who believe that they can help, to attempt to do so. The BACP described the treatment proposed by Mrs. Pilkington as “absurd”, but I suspect that this was simply a modish, politically-correct and ideological 21st-Century prejudice, rather than a science-based assessment of the treatment itself.
Now Mrs. Pilkington’s appeal to the BACP against her striking-off is about to be heard, and Lord Carey, and the eminently sound Rt. Rev. Nazir-Ali and others, have written to the BACP in her support. Well done them. They say: “Psychological care for those depressed by unwanted homosexual attractions has been shown to yield a range of beneficial client outcomes, especially in motivated clients … Such therapy does not do harm”. They continue: “Competent practitioners, including those working with Biblical Judeo-Christian values, should be free to assist those seeking their help”.
In this case, I have to say that I think the Bishops have a point. But I dare say that the strident “gay rights” lobby will wade in anyway, with their usual intemperate and spiteful criticism. They claim to be in favour of the rights of homosexuals, but not, apparently, the right of homosexuals to seek to modify their life-style.