Resignations All Around – So Long Bigots

Lewis Shepherd

Lewis Shepherd is a freelance journalist who has covered a wide range of subjects in his work such as: film, music, television, travel, health, relationships, LGBT affairs and student news. He currently writes for a number of websites including the Huffington Post.

This week it looks as though resignation is at the top of the agenda for a few people. Firstly we have heard the news of how a Conservative town councillor quit his position because of his disapproval of the advancement of the Equal Marriage bill. Secondly, it has been announced that the grand dame of religion himself, Pope Benedict XVI will also step down from his position due to ill health, which is slightly dubious to say the least.

He is relinquishing his post after eight years of being the head of the Catholic Church, doing what exactly I’m still unsure of (in fact does anyone actually know what he does apart from stand/sit around in a rather fetching robe and hat combo promoting Catholic guilt?). Anyway, after eight years he has decided to step down because as he states “after having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.”

Now you can’t blame anyone for not having much sympathy for the wicked witch of the Church in this instance. On my part this lack of sympathy stems from the anti-gay rhetoric that he’s constantly bombarded us with over the best part of the last decade.

Over this period he’s said that gay people are a “defection of human nature,” he warned the world that the introduction of equal marriage would risk the future of humanity, and on the World Day of Peace 2013 he released a message that said that not only is same-sex marriage unnatural but it also poses a threat to “justice and peace.”

This is just what you want to hear from the man who is the spiritual figurehead of the 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide. The list of his intolerance does not stop there however. In 2008 he said that the existence of gay people threatened humanity in the same way as the destruction of the rainforests, and that “blurring” genders through the acceptance of transgender people would kill off the human race. Someone really needs to send this man back to a classroom.

However, despite the fact that ill health has been used as the reason for him resigning, it has already been cast into doubt by numerous experts who believe it is most likely due to his controversial stance on homosexuality, along with the legacy of a number of paedophile priest scandals and cover-ups that have destroyed the integrity of the Church in certain areas.

I myself would not be surprised if this was the case, or if it has anything to do with the fact that no matter how hard he tries and no matter how much he shakes his heavily adorned head, gay marriage equality seems to look inevitable. You only have to cast your mind back to the debate in the UK last week.

This brings us onto our second resignation of the week, the resignation of Matty Donnelly. You may be wondering who this is as his fan base isn’t quite as large as the Pope’s. Well, he was the town councillor for Hexam, Northumberland, until he quit on February 10th due to the Conservative Party’s backing of equal marriage.

Now talk about throwing your toys out of the pram. Mr. Donnelly quit just after last Tuesday’s vote, which says to me he had this whole thing planned. His reasons for resigning were because he was “brought up as a Christian” and because of this he knew “the difference between right and wrong.” It is a shame that no one taught him about tolerance and acceptance whilst they were at it.

Because of this he decided he could no longer agree with David Cameron and the other members who voted for the Equal Marriage bill. However, in Mr. Donnelly’s defence he did say, “I am old-fashioned and cannot for the world of me get my head round gay marriage, same-sex marriage, call it what you will.”

This just shows us that for many people it is a generational issue when it comes to equal marriage, but this still does not excuse intolerance, whether in our daily or working lives.

So there we have it, two resignations in the matter of a week. One that is clearly because of gay marriage and the other because of ill health, which in all honesty probably has something to do with his opposition to the gays. Luckily, when it comes to parliament there are many people fighting for equality. With a couple less intolerant people in power things can only get better. However, in terms of the Church, the future trajectory of acceptance depends largely on the election of a new Pope. We can only hope that he is not as intolerant as the last. I won’t hold my breath.