Tim Farron is the illiberal Liberal
Tim Farron is the LibDem’s leader. He’s an Evangelical Christian. Does he think gay sex is a mortal sin, a crime against God? Conservative MP and former deputy speaker Nigel Evans asked him. “I do not,” says Farron. “I am very proud to have gone through the lobby behind the Honourable Gentleman under the Coalition Government where the Liberal Democrats introduced gay marriage, equal marriage and, indeed, did not go as far as it should in terms of recognising transgender rights. There’s so much more to be done. If we campaign in this election for an open, united and tolerant society, then we need to make sure we are not complacent in any way about LGBT rights.”
Farron was asked the same thing on Channel 4 News. “A while back I asked you whether it was true that you believed homosexuality was a sin, and you struggled to answer,” said Cathy Newman. “Now you’ve had a while to consider that question, what is the answer?” “I don’t think I struggled to answer, I talked about how I’m not in a position to be making theological pronouncements,” replied Tim.”…As a liberal, I’m passionate about equality – about equal marriage, about equal rights for LGBT people, fighting not just for LGBT rights in this country but overseas.”
Tim Farron’s beliefs are his own affair. You can believe what you like. When he abstained from voting for same-sex marriage in May 2013, he did so because it felt the right thing to do. Good for him. Not every movement necessitates the crushing and humiliation of our enemies. Freedom means expressing our heartfelt beliefs and causing offence. Hathos draws many towards religion and strict god-given moral codes as it once drew censors to outlaw gay sex. It exists for knowing narcissists to mock and use to define our righteous selves – we are what we are not. And we are not wrong.
We could be generous to Tim and think that he’s recognised his prejudices and done the liberal thing in discounting them in policy for the common good? Love for the ineffable and all human beings propels his support for gay rights. Maybe. Maybe not.
The gut feeling is that Tim Farron speaks with the conviction of a man who has read one book and agreed with everything in it. He says, “We are all sinners.” That’s a cop out. He’s an illiberal Liberal.