“Hate won’t win”

I’ve been in Peel Cathedral once in recent years for the funeral of a close friend, because I owed him that. It was an awful funeral and I’ve never been able to set foot in the place since. When showing some guests around the island and they wanted to take a look in there I actually had to stand outside, because I felt physically sick.

The sad thing is that there are increasing efforts to create a myth of the Cathedral as a place which celebrates diversity, cares about human rights. An excuse for more public subsidy, more like.

Actually, that is not a cheap crack. In fact the joke is a very expensive one, considering the public money that is being poured into a vacuous scheme to turn a cold faith-barn into some sort of educational resource where local school-kids can go to learn about, say, the Holocaust or more recent atrocities.

Given, for example, the Manx church’s direct involvement in the oppression of gays and lesbians for years, this suggests that Manx civil servants – especially in the Education Department – must get through the day on very powerful medication.

And to add to the hilarity, tomorrow there is to be a vigil for the Orlando victims in the Cathedral (see http://www.isleofman.com/News/details/79516/vigil-reaches-out-to-lgbti-community ). Not only that, but this week in the Cathedral gardens you could actually see the rainbow flag at half-mast for a day. No, seriously, you could.

Out of curiosity, when Manx Rainbow Association forwarded the image from the Cathedral’s Facebook page, I asked the Cathedral what happens the next day. Is it back to “business as usual” for the other 364?

Anyone familiar with the Manx church’s usual stance on gay issues would get the joke immediately. And anyone who read their way through the appalling “contributions” by local churches to a 2014 government consultation on equal marriage would be far too angry.

The Cathedral did not get the joke. A spokesperson just replied to say all were welcome at the vigil. I doubt it, and am not about to go in order to check. I would strongly recommend others also boycott this cheap stunt.

The event looks set to be a smaller scale version of the annual Holocaust Memorial Service which, while initiated and organised entirely by Jewish volunteers, must take place in a church and be overseen by the bishop and his staff in order for senior politicians to grace it with their presence.

For the last two years, in an effort to help my long-suffering Jewish friends on the committee turn it into something genuinely open to participation by those of all faiths and none, I’ve attended as a speaker, and even that is a struggle. The attitude is so oppressive that I am usually the first out of the door.

Tea and stickies with hatemongering hypocrites who are only there because they can claim expenses? No thanks. In fact I am seriously thinking of asking if someone else will represent the human rights group I speak for. The whole event really does upset me so much.

Like the Holocaust, Orlando was an atrocity entirely caused by religious hatred, so for the same bigots to monopolise “official” efforts to grieve or show sympathy is ridiculous.

But as I finish this, an e-mail pinged in from Southern Poverty Law Center noting that today is the anniversary of the killing of nine black people in a Charleston church by a white supremacist. SPLC quote the brave words spoken by one woman to the killer of her grandfather, “Hate won’t win”.

We cannot let it, just as we cannot let the haters dominate our attempts to remember their victims.


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