jacob rees-mogg bigot
Politicians

If a bigot can’t be PM, why should one be allowed to become an MP?

Jacob Rees-Mogg walks into a TV studio. Grand Inquisitor Piers Torquemorgan has wheeled out his rack; his beatific assistant Susanna Reid has greased up the Judas cradle. Heresy is not merely suspected, but presumed. The heretic must be exposed; his abhorrent views combatted, for punishment does not take place primarily and per se for the correction and good of the person punished, but for the public good in order that others may become terrified and weaned away from the evils they would commit.

Reid: What are your views on same-sex marriage? Is that something you support?

Rees-Mogg: I’m a Catholic, and I take the teaching of the Catholic Church seriously…

Reid: There are plenty of Catholics who support same-sex marriage.

Rees-Mogg: …both faith and morals. But marriage is a sacrament, and the decision of what is a sacrament lies with the Church, not with Parliament.

Reid: Okay, does that mean that you oppose same-sex marriage?

Rees-Mogg: I support the teaching of the Catholic Church.

Reid: And can I just establish, do you oppose same-sex…

Rees-Mogg: I support the teaching of the Catholic Church.

Torquemorgan: But that means you oppose – I mean, I’m a Catholic, and I actually don’t agree with the Catholic Church…

Rees-Mogg: Well that’s fair enough…

Torquemorgan: But you do?

Rees-Mogg: I support the teaching of the Catholic Church.

Reid:: Do you oppose same sex marriage?

Torquemorgan: Why are you afraid to say you oppose it?

Rees-Mogg: The teaching of the Catholic Church is completely clear. But it’s…

Reid: You voted against it, didn’t you?

Rees-Mogg: I did. The marriage issue is the important thing. This is not how people arrange their lives; it’s that marriage is a sacrament, and a sacrament is under the authority of the Church, not of the State. This is exactly that Thomas More made in opposition to the marriage of Henry VIII and Ann Boleyn.

Reid: So religion plays a big part in your politics, it seems. Do you think that gay sex is a sin?

Rees-Mogg: Um… again… on the issue of sin, it is quite clearly under the teaching of the Church not for me to judge. I very strongly feel that I should not judge what other people do. If you think – if you want to be religious this early in the morning – if you look at the woman taken in adultery, what does Christ say? That he who is without sin cast the first stone. It is not for me to cast stones.

Torquemorgan: So you’ve just hidden – not hidden – but used…

Rees-Mogg: No, I haven’t…

Torquemorgan: No, I’m going to re-phrase that. You have used your Catholic belief to rather than say you oppose same-sex marriage, to say you support the Catholic Church’s teaching. The Catholic Church…

Rees-Mogg: Well…

Torquemorgan: The Catholic Church believes that gay sex is a sin, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask you, as indeed Tim Farron was asked, and it caused him a lot of damage, just a straight question, whether you think it’s a sin.

Rees-Mogg: I think I’ve answered the straight question, that is that the teaching of the Church in matters of faith and morals is authoritative, but it is equally within the teaching of the Church that it is not for me to judge others.

Reid: Okay, so if you were Prime Minister…

Rees-Mogg: Hold on just a moment…

Reid: …would the teachings of the Church take precedence over your political views?

Rees-Mogg: These matters within the House of Commons are free votes: they’re not party votes; they’re not an issue of party politics. Um, so…

Reid: But you are being tipped as someone who would lead a party…

Rees-Mogg: No, no, no…

Reid: …and potentially become Prime Minister…

Rees-Mogg: But, but, but…

Reid: …of a multi-faith country.

Rees-Mogg: Hold on, hold on… None of these issues are party political. They are issues that are decided by Parliament on free votes. They are not determined by the Prime Minister. There’s no question of any of these laws being changed: there would not be a majority in the House of Commons for that. But why I emphasise the teaching of the Church is that I want to make it clear that I am supporting something, not opposing something. That is to say…

Torquemorgan: Same thing though, isn’t it?

Rees-Mogg: No, no, it’s not actually. It’s subtly different. I don’t want to criticise people who lead lives that are different to mine. But equally I don’t want to divert from the historic teaching of the Catholic Church…

Reid: Okay…

Rees-Mogg: …so if I were, say, to oppose, I would be inadvertently condemning people, and I don’t…

Torquemorgan: So what is your view on abortion?

Rees-Mogg: I’m completely opposed to abortion. Life begins at the point of conception…

Torquemorgan: So why are you prepared to say you’re opposed to abortion but not opposed to same-sex marriage?

Rees-Mogg: Because it’s a completely different kettle of fish. That with…

Torquemorgan: It’s a Catholic teaching.

Rees-Mogg: No, we – no, hold on, it’s a different kettle of fish, that with same-sex marriage, that is something that people are doing for themselves. With abortion, it is something that is done to the unborn child, and therefore it is different.

Reid: Are you completely opposed to abortion in all circumstances?

Rees-Mogg: Um… yes, I am.

Torquemorgan: Rape and incest?

Reid: Sexual violence?

Rees-Mogg: I’m afraid so. Life is sacrosanct and begins at the point of conception, and I think it is wrong…

Torquemorgan: So if a woman is raped – say you were prime minister, and a woman is raped by a family member, right, you would say she had absolutely no right to have that baby aborted?

Rees-Mogg: No, she would have a right under UK law.

Torquemorgan: But you wouldn’t agree with that right?

Rees-Mogg: But that law is not going to change.

Torquemorgan: But what’s your personal opinion?

Rees-Mogg: My personal opinion is that life begins at the point of conception, and that abortion is morally indefensible.

Torquemorgan: You would make her have that baby?

Rees-Mogg: Well, I wouldn’t, because that wouldn’t be the law of the land.

Torquemorgan: I understand that, but…

Rees-Mogg: But this is very important. No, no, this is really important

Torquemorgan: But you know that Tim Farron, for example, it basically depth-charged his leadership campaign, when he became leader, almost immediately, because he was challenged on his religious beliefs and people didn’t like it.

Rees-Mogg: Well, he’s a Liberal Democrat, and the LibDems have a very different tolerance. It’s what we were discussing earlier, oddly the Conservative Party is much more tolerant of religious faith than the LibDems are. The LibDems pretend that they’re liberal but they could not cope with having a Christian as their leader. I think the Conservatives are much more tolerant of religious faith, and so they should be. It’s all very well to say we live in a multicultural country – until you’re a Christian, until you hold the traditional views of the Catholic Church, and that seems to me to be fundamentally wrong. People are entitled to hold these views, but also the democratic majority is entitled to have the laws of the land as they are, which do not go with the teaching of the Catholic Church, and will not go with the teaching of the Catholic Church.

Reid: Unfortunately there we must leave it, but it’s fascinating getting to know you, Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Torquemorgan: You’re going to get a lot more of this now.

Rees-Mogg: I thought we were going to talk about Brexit, but there we go.

Torquemorgan: You know what, come back. Let’s talk again about Brexit. You’ve become now a fascinating political figure in this country, and you are going to get challenged on a lot on your personal views, and it’s interesting to hear them.

Rees-Mogg: I am very happy to be challenged on my views, and to be a loyal son of the Catholic Church, a loyal Conservative, and a loyal subject of Her Majesty.

Cue outrage, indignation and the wrath of enlightened liberals everywhere: bigot, bigot bigot…. “Rees-Mogg’s religious faith is used to excuse his appalling bigotry. He is a Catholic and this kind of fundamentalism is always anti-women, but for some reason we are to respect it. I don’t. It has no place in public life,” writes Suzanne Moore in the Guardian. In a different context and speaking of someone else (though the censorious parameters would doubtless extend to include Jacob Rees-Mogg’s views), Owen Jones writes in the, um… Guardian:

He should remain free to express them wherever he chooses: in his home, in a pub, standing on a soapbox in the street, distributing his own vile leaflets. That does not mean he should be granted a platform by broadcasters to disseminate his harmful bile. Being provided with a platform is not the same thing as free speech, however much it is falsely and disingenuously portrayed as such. If someone refuses to lend you a megaphone, they are not infringing your right to say what you believe: they are simply not offering you their own resources to amplify your views to a broader audience. The millions of people who never appear on TV or radio and are never provided with newspaper space to promote their views are not having their right to free speech undermined or attacked.

The left is waging war on free speech, screeches the populist right on both sides of the Atlantic. Yet its interpretation of free speech is: “The right to say whatever I like about minorities without facing any challenge.” Any criticism of their expressed prejudices is treated somehow as an attack on their free speech. Like oppressors throughout history, they portray themselves as the ones who are really oppressed: they are free speech martyrs, besieged by an intolerant leftwing rabble.

The one freedom they seem to truly care about is the freedom to incite bigotry; this freedom trumps the freedom of minorities to live unencumbered by prejudice, threats to personal safety, and discrimination. Words do indeed have consequences. The vilification of immigrants in the EU referendum led Britain’s small minority of abusive bigots to believe they had been legitimised and now had a mandate: hate crimes soared on Britain’s streets as a result.

Bigot, bigot, bigot…

The man must never become leader of the Conservative Party, let alone Prime Minister.

Bigot, bigot, bigot…

His views are abhorrent, medieval, prejudiced, anti-women, anti-equality…

Bigot, bigot, bigot…

anti-gay-marriage, anti-abortion, anti-climate-change, anti-immigration…

Bigot, bigot, bigot…

…backwards, fascist, hater, nasty, right-wing…

Bigot, bigot, bigot…

There’s no plausible defence, because there’s no intellectual nuance. Oh, you can try: “Mogg is a Catholic,” writes fellow Roman Catholic Freddie Gray in the Speccie. “He thinks marriage is a sacramental institution for the union of men and women. This may be hard for many gays to accept but it is not automatically homophobic.”

Oh, but it is! It is!

Don’t you see? If you oppose same sex marriage, you’re a homophobic bigot. If you oppose abortion, you’re a misogynistic bigot. If you oppose uncontrolled immigration, you’re a racist bigot. If you’re concerned about what Muslims get taught in Wahhabi-funded mosques, you’re an Islamophobic bigot. If you support Brexit, you’re a xenophobic bigot.

Bigot, bigot, bigot…

It has become the cry of the secular sharia: the infallible law of the illiberal liberals who seek to crush all dissent and censor every utterance of Christian orthodoxy from the public sphere. It is designed to silence dissonance: there is simply no debate to be had if it might incite hate or hurt feelings. The only views which are worthy of broadcast airtime are those which don’t offend against the zeitgeist: the objective is to elevate sexual equality and human rights to suppress unaccommodating religious orthodoxy and oppress the recalcitrant religious conscience. “Socially conservative moral views are now teetering on the edge of criminality,” observed Charles Moore a few years ago. It has become unthinkable that a committed Christian (ie one of devout faith and orthodox morals) could ever again become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

And soon, no doubt, it will not be possible for one to be selected even as a Conservative Party candidate. All MPs and everyone in public life will be sifted by the emerging new Test Act and required to assent to the precepts of the new secular sharia, swearing fidelity to its immutable creed of sexual uniformity and gender equality. This is the new quasi-religious truth: heretics will not be tolerated. So, sadly, Jacob Rees-Mogg must ultimately go to the stake.

God bless him, along with all loyal and faithful Christian bigots everywhere.