Yesterday's Today was a balanced affair in which two Roman Catholic high heedyins, Rocco Buttiglione (the bigot who wasn't allowed to become the European Commissioner overseeing anti-discrimination law) and Archbishop of Westminster Cormac Murphy-O'Connor got to moan about how Christians are excluded from political and social life (like Tony Blair, perhaps). Roz Kaveney was listening to this programme, and to this morning's edition of Sunday, and was not impressed:
Cormac Murphy-O'Connor was clearly embarrassed to be in this company, but not so much so as to disavow it. And was very much taking the line that Christians are being persecuted by not automatically having the political power to impose their views on everyone.
This is very much the position of the Evangelical woman who wrote the report arguing that Christians faced persecution in a secular society and was talking on the Sunday Programme this morning. Apparently the occasional mockery of people who have faith is economic discrimination because there are jobs they feel unable to apply for. Part of the point here is that, given the way Christian groups exclude others from employment whenever they have the power to do so, and have managed to keep that right enshrined in law, this is pretty rich. The other is that, frankly, those of us who grew up queer, and live as queer in a society that her sort of Christian still has some power in, know a lot more about the experience of persecution than she can begin to imagine.
What she was offering is a softer version of the standard US Christian claim that Christians are being persecuted if they are not allowed to preach their message. Oddly, this tends to be about other people's sex lives, not about economic justice, a subject on which the Jesus of the Gospels had a lot to say.