Stephen Green and the sins of Tesco

Symon Hill

 

Yesterday, I read something by Stephen Green that I agreed with. This may surprise you, given that he is the director of the right-wing fundamentalist group, Christian Voice.

Before you get worried, I should explain that I agreed with only a tiny part of an article by Green that was, on the whole, as morally repugnant as most of his other writings.

Stephen Green has now declared that Tesco are sinful. “Well done, Stephen!” I hear you cry. “At least you’ve recognised that Tesco rip off their suppliers, exploit millions of people in the global south, pay poverty wages and undermine local communities in Britain.”

Sadly, he hasn’t. Despite Jesus’ solidarity with the poor, and the Bible’s repeated condemnations of those who exploit them, Christian Voice don’t seem to regard these things as sinful. Christian Voice have declared that Tesco are sinful because they sponsored the Pride march in London on Saturday (7 July).

Stephen Green believes that corporations should not be sponsoring Pride. So do I. Stephen objects to such sponsorship because he thinks it encourages social acceptance of homosexuality. I object to it because Pride is a demonstration that is supposed to be part of a radical movement, not an advertising opportunity for exploitative multinationals.

It is because of the wider social acceptance of homosexuality that corporations such as Tesco want to jump on the bandwagon to improve their reputation. But oppressive attitudes to sexuality and gender have long been associated with economic systems that benefit from them. We will not be liberated by allying ourselves with the rich and powerful. Nor will we be true to the Gospel by ignoring the sins of economic injustice, which were such a central theme of Jesus’ teachings.

Christian Voice’s report on Pride accuses groups such as Queer Resistance – a queer anti-capitalist group – of being “aggressive and intolerant”. This is from Christian Voice, an  organisation that promotes the criminalisation of same-sex relationships but believes that it should be legal for men to rape their wives. They also oppose the welfare state and the United Nations, and support capital punishment.

Their website’s article on Pride is illustrated with photographs that seem to have been picked out because they look particularly bizarre (for example, some of them show people in fetish clothing). Christian Voice have not chosen to show thousands of people calmly calling for equality and dignity, the individuals who feel they can only be honest about themselves on this one day of the year, or the hundreds of Christians singing hymns as they marched in Pride.

Stephen Green accuses the groups involved in Pride of trying “to present homosexuals as normal people”.

Yes, Stephen. That’s exactly what we were doing.

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4 thoughts on “Stephen Green and the sins of Tesco

  1. amywriting says:

    I think I may actually love you!!

  2. […] ago, I’ve written about the reality of the “Keep Marriage Special” campaign and the bizarre claims of Christian Voice regarding Tesco and the Pride festival. Jay’s written on “queer bouncy castles” and the need for queers to stand […]

  3. jan says:

    Tesco et al should be allowed to sponsor who it pleases. A lot of LGBT and cisgendered people shop in Tesco, ans some work in Tesco too. If it had a record of homophobic or even ‘cisphobic’ actions like Christian Voice does then that would be different.

    • But what does Tesco gain from sponsoring Pride? The money it is spending is essentially buying a product: Tesco are hoping to buy people’s belief that they are somehow Good for supporting Gay people’s events. Should the LGBT community allow itself to be sold in this way, to be used as a seal of approval by a company? Look at this from the other end: should Pride marches have to accept money from companies just because they don’t persecute gay people? Shouldn’t Pride marches by independent and free to speak as they wish? Why should Pride be about demonstrating respectability and desirability as an object of sponsorship?

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