Intolerance of intolerance
Nick Griffin was, at some point, elected (by god knows who) to represent the people of this country in the European Parliament. It is with great relief that I note he is but one of many MEP’s (Member of the European Parliament) who are largely unimportant when they’re not involved in passing legislation on things that they know nothing about or banning the things that are good for you.
It is not Nick’s role as an MEP that has gotten him into the press this time however; it is his use of the micro-blogging site Twitter. Nick had his Twitter account suspended yesterday after posting the address of a same sex couple on the social media site and calling for a ‘British Justice’ team to visit them and give them ‘a…bit of drama by way of reminding you that an English couple’s home is their castle’. His final words on the matter were “Say No to heterophobia!”.
I’ve seen lots of personal criticisms of Nick Griffin on the internet in response to this, but no one has stopped to ask ‘Has he actually got a point?’. The simple reason for this is that the answer to the question should be obvious – it’s ‘No’.
The couple in question are Michael Black and John Morgan, who took legal action against a ‘Christian’ bed and breakfast owner (Susanne Wilkinson) after they were refused accommodation in 2010, despite having made a reservation and paid a deposit. Seeing as the ‘good Christian’ had discriminated against them solely based on their sexuality and thrown them out, they quite rightly won their court case this week. I say ‘Christian’ in inverted commas because I really don’t believe that all Christians would act as she did.
I’ve seen lots of personal criticisms of Nick Griffin on the internet in response to this, but no one has stopped to ask ‘Has he actually got a point?’. The simple reason for this is that the answer to the question should be obvious – it’s ‘No’. The man comes across as a raving lunatic. However, it is worth addressing his reasoning to get a better understanding of the man. His argument has two points; that a) An English couple in their home should have the right to refuse entry to anyone they please and that b) the ruling is biased against the Wilkinsons because of their heterosexuality.
These are both plainly non-arguments. Firstly it’s a B&B – a business, and no business owner would dream of turning someone away based solely on their skin colour or religion, and secondly… ‘Heterophobia’!? A legal process populated predominately by heterosexual people, in a predominately heterosexual country, heard a case of discrimination against a same-sex couple, yet somehow Nick Griffin has come to the conclusion that the Wilkinsons were discriminated against? This astounding idiocy can only be designed to detract from the homophobic nature of the case and this threat against Black and Morgan. It should undoubtedly be taken as a threat too, considering the most radical BNP supporters have strongly and publicly advocated violence. I hardly imagine that the ‘British Justice team’ are planning to write angry letters and sing hymns.
Nick Griffin seems to be doing his best to show himself to be small-minded and intolerant, but what worries me is that his views are not just the views of one man. Enough people agree with the bigoted BNP (British National Party) leader and his army of backwards-thinking knuckle-draggers to ask him to represent them in the European Parliament. What’s worse is that the B&B owner who refused to provide her services to the couple in question had her legal defence paid for by the ‘Christian Institute’. This national charity are currently doing their utmost to distance themselves from Nick Griffin, but seem to hold exactly the same views – that business owners who dislike ‘gays’ shouldn’t have to put up with having them on their premises. They argue that she refused them accommodation because of their marital status. However, as the Wilkinsons didn’t set these conditions out in an agreement governing Black and Morgan’s stay at their B&B I doubt that was the case, somehow.
It seems then, that we should all be very, very worried. It seems that Nick is only the tip of the iceberg and that he represents a much larger group of British people who are intolerant of others of a different race, religion or sexual orientation. In a modern day society we simply shouldn’t accept this – regardless of who the groups that hold these beliefs are, we should not tolerate intolerance.
Susanne Wilkinson, who refused to provide accommodation to the couple in question, said this in her statement – “People’s beliefs about marriage are coming under increasing attack, and I am concerned about people’s freedom to speak and act upon these beliefs. I am a Christian, not just on a Sunday in church, but in every area of my life – as Jesus expects from his followers. That’s all I was trying to do and I think it’s quite wrong to punish me for that, especially after enduring over two years of vile abuse and threats. We find this a strange justice in a society that aspires to be increasingly tolerant.”
This is the very essence of the problem that the vast majority of decent people face. This woman seems to strongly believe that her views and beliefs carry more weight and deserve more respect than basic respect for our fellow human beings, and she is not the only one. It puzzles me then, that I can’t seem to find any references to B&B owners rejecting same-sex couples in the Old Testament to support her case. This attitude is no better than Nick Griffin’s – attempting to play the victim whilst persecuting a minority. I do hope that no Christians reading this or any other article on the subject feel that their beliefs are really under attack from anyone. Any and all right-thinking, good people – Christian, Muslim, Jewish, atheist, Humanist or otherwise – should challenge this behaviour and hold each other to the highest standards of decency towards each other.