Sir Keir & Jesus House

Sir Keir Starmer is the kind of Labour leader whom many sensible people might vote for. Untainted by antisemitism, unashamed of the flag, an intelligent former lawyer, he looks the type who might give Boris Johnson a run for his money. Yet this week he issued an apology. His offence? He visited a church whose views on LGBTQ+ issues are theologically orthodox. He wasn’t even attending worship, but was seeing how they had given their building for use as a vaccination centre. This is what he said, after metropolitan liberals in his party performed their stock-in-trade outrage:

“I completely disagree with Jesus House’s beliefs on LGBT+ rights, which I was not aware of before my visit. I apologise for the hurt my visit caused and have taken down the video. It was a mistake and I accept that.”

It is fine to disagree with the church’s theological views. After all, if he fully subscribed to them, one might have expected him to be a member. Yet he goes further. Apparently, before he visited the vaccination centre, he should have checked more thoroughly his hosts’ theological and ethical positions to ensure they exactly mirrored his own. By even darkening their door, he conceded the hurt he had caused, and duly removed all evidence of so shameful an association. Why can’t such an intelligent and reasonable senior politician stand up to the baying crowds of the equality brigade, and say:

‘Yeah, they have some views I don’t agree with. That’s their entitlement. Live with it. Still, I’m pleased they are helping the vaccination scheme”

-instead of hastily issuing apologies and flapping about offending all those people who love to be offended? If only Sir Keir’s team had done more research. I have it on good authority that the church in question- Jesus House in Brent, North London- believes in God. That’s right. They actually think there is a divine Being. Labour’s metropolitan cheerleaders will howl with outrage when they realise. How could their leader offend the capital’s atheist and humanist communities by being so reckless with his choice of venues to visit? Of course, the people who run the church are black, but they are the wrong type of black people. Their socially conservative views must not be tolerated. Ironically, many senior figures in the Labour Party have fewer scruples when dealing with Hamas, the Islamist group which controls Gaza and the West Bank. Section 152 of the Penal Code applicable in Gaza criminalises consensual same-sex sexual activity and makes it punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment. But it’s ok to associate with them.

Sadly, although the Conservatives are really no better in this regard, Labour will be out of power until it stops being wagged by the metropolitan tail. We need a decent Loyal Opposition; we need leaders who will tolerate Christian beliefs, even if they themselves cannot subscribe to them.