Blair Confronts Benedict On Gays


This is, in many ways, a remarkable turn of events. A newly converted Catholic directly challenges the old guard's continuing stigmatization and denigration of homosexuals:

In the interview Mr Blair spoke of a “quiet revolution in thinking” and implied that he believed the Pope to be out of step with the public.

“There are many good and great things the Catholic Church does, and there are many fantastic things this Pope stands for, but I think what is interesting is that if you went into any Catholic Church, particularly a wellattended one, on any Sunday here and did a poll of the congregation, you’d be surprised at how liberal-minded people were.” The faith of ordinary Catholics is rarely found “in those types of entrenched attitudes”, he said...

People’s thinking had changed fundamentally, he added. “Now, that doesn’t mean to say there’s not still a lot of homophobia and a lot of things to be done. But the fact that it is unacceptable for any mainstream political party to be anything other than on the side of equality and respect is, in a way, the biggest change. The items of individual legislation matter a lot, but I think it’s the general shift in climate that is perhaps the most important point.”

This shift in climate is, of course, what the GOP is now determined to resist and attack. But Blair is as adamant on this as the Tory leader, David Cameron:

He said: “When people quote the passages in Leviticus condemning homosexuality, I say to them if you read the whole of the Old Testament and took everything that was there in a literal way, as being what God and religion is about, you’d have some pretty tough policies across the whole of the piece.”

He continued: “What people often forget about, for example, Jesus or, indeed, the Prophet Muhammad, is that their whole raison d’être was to change the way that people thought traditionally.”

Am I dreaming or do we seem to be reaching a cultural tipping point?

)Photo: Stephen Hird/AFP/Getty.)