Peter Tatchell is opposing the pope's visit this afternoon by participating at the Protest the Pope event in central London.
Mr Tatchell is quoted on the BBC News Channel as saying:
"We profoundly disagree with the Pope's opposition to women's rights, gay equality and the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV."
Ever the politician, Tatchell goes on to say:
"This is not an attack on Catholic people or the Catholic faith. We are critical of certain policies of the Pope."
Ah. Those pesky policies. They're always causing problems to right-thinking people everywhere.
Polytechnic of North London graduate (Sociology, 2:1) Peter Tatchell is not a newcomer to theological reflection. Earlier this year, the gay rights activist was quick to instruct the Anglican Bishop of Rochester (Cambridge, MLitt; Oxford, MLitt; ThD; DD) on the correct interpretation of the teachings of Christ and the gospel.
The bishop's call earlier in the year to homosexuals to "repent and be changed" we were informed at the time by Britain's new voice of Smörgåsbord theology, "goes against Christ's gospel of love and compassion."
This is, presumably, the same gospel of love and compassion that prompted Christ to utter such loving words as, "Unless you repent, you too will all perish", or to encourage his followers to, "be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell."
Peter Tatchell's "gospel of love and compassion" comes under strain when faced with Christ's strongly-worded statement in Matthew chapter thirteen that, "The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Christ's compassionate counsel on dealing with sin is tenderly put, furthermore, in Mark chapter nine: "And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched."
Peter Tatchell, of course, is perfectly at liberty to disagree with the Bible. Billions around the world and throughout history have done so.
My plea, however, is for the participants in today's protest to be more honest about their objections. Disagree with the Bible and argue your case in pursuit of your political objectives, but please do not assume that you can so distort the message of this ancient book in order to fit your very novel and contemporary opinions. Such an approach is as dishonest as it is patronizing.
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