Younger evangelicals less homophobic than their elders, says Blair

Younger evangelicals less homophobic than their elders, says Blair April 9, 2009

A DIVISION is emerging between younger and older evangelicals on the issue of homosexuality, with younger people being less likely to want to be labeled anti-gay.
That’s the view of ex-PM-turned-Roman-Catholic Tony Blair, who also says that the Catholic Church should change with the times.

Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Blair, according to this report, made his comments in an interview with the British gay magazine Attitude.
He said:

In my Faith Foundation I have a lot of links with some of the evangelical groups in the US and elsewhere, and, actually, I think there is a generational shift that is happening there. If you talk to the older generation, yes, you will still get a lot of pushback, and parts of the Bible quoted, and so on. But actually, if you look at the younger generation of evangelicals, this is increasingly for them something that they wish to be out of – at least in terms of having their position confined to being anti-gay.

He added:

I think, increasingly in America amongst the younger generation, even if they’re on the Republican right, even if they’re evangelical, I just don’t think the attitude of being anti-gay is of the same force as it was the previous generation.

Blair said that his own background had led to his liberal views on the subject of homosexuality.

Because I came to a religious faith through people who were themselves very much open and liberal on all these issues, and who would have regarded it as bizarre to have attitudes of hostility to gay people.

Given the divisions that exist in the Anglican community alone over homosexuality, it is difficult to see how Blair’s Faith Foundation will ever achieve its lofty ideal of bringing about better cohesion and understanding among the world’s major religions on this, or any other contentious issue.
In The New Statesman in March, Blair set out the aims of his Faith Foundation. He concluded:

The 21st century will be poorer in spirit and ambition, less focused on social justice, less sensitive to conscience and the common good, without a full and proper recognition of the role that the great faiths can and do play. I hope my foundation, in its own way, can work with others in those faiths to help harness their full power to transform our world for the better.

Prof Richard Dawkins
Prof Richard Dawkins
This prompted Professor Richard Dawkins to pen a cutting retort – in the form of an open letter to “Dear Person of Faith” – in which he comprehensively rubbished Blair’s piece.
Addressing Blair’s assertion that, under FF plans, “children of one faith and culture will have the chance to interact with children of another, getting a real sense of each other’s lived experience”, Dawkins said:

Cool! And, thanks to Tony’s policy of putting as many children as possible in faith schools where they can’t befriend kids from other backgrounds, the need for this interaction and mutual understanding has never been so strong. You see how it all hangs together? Sheer genius!
So strongly do we support the principle that children should be sent to schools which will identify them with their parents’ beliefs, that we think there is a real opportunity here to broaden it out. In Phase 2, we look to facilitate separate schools for Postmodernist children, Leavisite children and Saussurian Structuralist children. And in Phase 3 we shall roll out yet more separate schools, for Keynesian children, Monetarist children and even neo-Marxist children.

Dawkins concluded:

I hope this letter will have shown you some of the reasons why you might consider supporting Tony’s Foundation. Because hey, let’s face it, a world without religion doesn’t have a prayer. With so many of the world’s problems caused by religion, what better solution could there possibly be than to promote yet more of it?

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  • Angela K

    Tony Blair, mine and many thousands of others most hated person on the planet. The man who has done more to promote, empower and give lots of cash to religion. The man whose imaginary friend ‘guided’ him but still failed to find those pesky WMDs. Can anyone – except his delusional friends – believe a word he says? So is there any evidence that young religious nutters are less bigoted than their elders? I doubt it, this is just a classic piece of Blair ‘spin’ to try and make the religious dogmatists appear tolerant.

  • So now Tony Blair wants tolerance? Puh-lease!

  • Kev

    OK…so young evengelicals are more tolerant hey? That would explain why last week in my local town my 14 year old son and I were accosted by four young men, abut 19/20 years old, in black suits and crisp white shirts trying to talk religion to us. When I told them we were not interested they started to walk with us, two either side of us, telling us that the invisible friend in the sky wanted us. In the end I was polite but blunt and told them that in no way was I interested in their delusional ramblings. They then tried to separate us, three of them positioning themselves between my son and me. I made it quite clear that this was not acceptable. My son tried to walk away but they were having none of it…they had a job to do. I tried to get back to my son and the individual who had herded me in the opposite direction did his best to stop me. Finally I had to inform him that if he didn’t move I would report him for obstruction…why I thought that would work I don’t know since he informed me that he answered to a higher law than the boys in blue!!! Funnily enough when I threatened to smack him in the mouth if he didn’t move he decided that the use of a lower level of law maker would be ok. He informed me that I was typical of the unbeliever and had no self control, no manners, no morals and no respect for other peoples beliefs…the sight of a clenched fist did the job at last. I later saw them employing the same tactic several times through the morning. Everyone from teenagers to old people were fair targets for them. I even had to go and help one old chap on sticks get away from them. Strange how the sight of me made them go pale even though their god was looking after them…perhaps he never played front row rugby!! I reported their behaviour to a police officer but they said they could do nothing. Very tolerant Mr B. I’m sure.

  • Hmmmm………I wonder if one of the Blair boys is showing homosexual tendencies, just a thought.

  • Hmmmm………I wonder if one of the Blair boys is showing homosexual tendencies, just a thought.

  • dead yeti

    Kev your a more patient man than me.
    i got followed a few days ago by 2 guys in kingston upon thames high st telling me how because i’m gay (i’m actually straight, but they asked me if i had recieved jesus and i liked to watch their reaction as i told them that i’m gay and he would probably be the reciever) that i would be damned for all time they even gave me a leaflet to hammer home the point anyway after walking the entire length of the street with me telling constantly to go away – first politely then not so much i threatened to throw one of them through a wall (i’m only 5’7 65kg i work out but am not scary) they went very white then accused me of being a typical atheist being threatening and aggressive, i pointed out the threatened me first with hell but they claimed it was ok because they were trying to help me, and that its not evil if god does the threating, i pointed out they’re not god or even close, and that if they ever approached me again i’d wouldn’t be so nice (as a side note an old boy in my local used the leaflet to roach his ciggies that night)

  • H. Davids

    The 21st century will be poorer in spirit and ambition, less focused on social justice, less sensitive to conscience and the common good, without a full and proper recognition of the role that the great faiths can and do play. And, of course, Blair and Bush are just the kind of people to point that out to us. I wonder how many people really buy his shit?

  • Broga

    Blair is a man who makes my skin crawl. This inventor of the dodgy document, defender and indeed protector of faith schools and colleges supporting Intelligent Design, a man who colluded with the liar Bush to send young men into a phony war based on a dishonest document, who knows that the dead were brought home at night and the crippled not allowed to be at the forefront in parades. In short, a morally sick man, a contemptible excuse for a man and someone who MUST be brought to trial to face his accusers. Winkle him out of his protective shell; stop him strutting the world pretending to solve problems; get him before a serious, determined Investigative body.
    How many families today mourn young men and women who were sent to satisfy Blair’s vanity and promises to Bush; how many are blinded, without arms or legs, suffering, sleepless. Not Blair’s kids, of course. Not bloody likely.
    Faith, religion, Blair – do we need to say more.

  • Me

    He is *extremely* careful to say that what the young christians dislike is being *categorised* as being anti-gay; he is far more vague on whether or not they are actually anti-gay.
    This trend is not particularly new; back in the day, religious groups were basically proud of being anti-gay. They advertised the fact. Nowadays, (a lot of) groups that are anti-gay claim that they don’t, in fact, have any problem with homosexuality… they just… don’t want gay people to have rights.
    Their attitudes haven’t changed, they’ve just realised that they need to pretend they’re actually open minded about homosexuality, rather than randomly hating on them as the older groups did. This is why anti-gay groups now try to spin the situation as gay rights groups actively hurting the “traditional family” rather than just saying “GAYS ARE BAD YARRR”.

  • Broga

    Something I forgot in my rant: oh, fuck it, I can’t be bothered. I’m going to have a Whisky Mac (very large) instead.

  • Godless not gormless

    nice ranting mate!

  • Broga,
    nice ranting mate!
    Oops…forgot to say great post! Looking forward to your next one.

  • remigius

    Sanctimonious cunt!

  • Stonyground

    I remember a guy from the Evangelical Alliance being interviewed on Radio 4, he was trying to claim that his organisation was inclusive while at the same time not allowing gays to join. I don’t recall that the interviewer pressed him very much on this contradiction.
    As for the loathsome Tony Blair, I think Broga has said it all.

  • Stuart H.

    Hello Kev, Dead Yeti – if being pestered by evangelicals is getting to be a regular pain ,you could always try what I did following a trend for ‘street pastors’ round my way.
    There’s a rarely used law preventing ‘aggressive begging’ which police have been known to revive as a way to get beggars away from cash machines and so on. Not that I defend that,but just note it’s there and been used.
    I wrote an open letter to the local police, published in the local paper, suggesting that if evangelicals act like thugs the law should be used to get them off the streets. I argued that if threatening pensioners and small kids with hellfire and damnation wasn’t ‘demanding money with menaces’ then what was.
    Jokey approach, but it worked. Locals had a good laugh, and the police had quiet words with the worst offenders. They even had to bin a dopey project to let evangelicals tag along with them and ‘counsel’ kids outside nightclubs which the churches concerned hoped would be a nice little earner from public funds.

  • Rosemarie

    Please, someone tell me if B(liar) thinks or does not think:
    “I think, increasingly in America amongst the younger generation, even if they’re on the Republican right, even if they’re evangelical, I just don’t think the attitude of being anti-gay is of the same force as it was the previous generation.”
    To think that I voted for him in 1997 and even joined the Labour Party until I left in protest less than six years later, makes me blush with shame. Will I ever be forgiven?

  • remigius

    ‘Will I ever be forgiven?’

  • Mike

    And i’d actually started to forget what a c***t he is. Good to be reminded now and then.