Thursday, May 11, 2006

Kelly, Buttiglione and so on

There has been something of a hooh-hah over the appointment of Ruth Kelly as minister in charge of social inclusion (or some such ludicrous post). The primary reason is that Kelly, as a member of Opus Dei, presumably supports orthodox catholic views on homosexuality, abortion and the family. Some of this is, no doubt, because Opus Dei are the pantomime villains de nos jours, who are defined in terms of Dan Brown's execrable book.

The focus of these complaints is that Kelly twice refused to answer questions put to her on the BBC, and then did it again on Sky, as to whether she considered homosexuality as a sin. She has never attended a Commons vote on the matter (whether on age of consent or gay adoption). All of this, obviously brings Rocco Buttiglione to mind. He was Berlusconi's attempted appointee to the European Commission who admitted that he followed Catholic doctrine and therefore considered homosexuality a sin, but not a crime. Buttiglione was swiftly removed from the reckoning by the Parliament.

My view of Kelly is that, had she followed the Buttiglione route, stated her views on the matter, justified them as a matter of private faith and stated that policy would be unaffected, she would have been in a better moral position. What Chris says, with which I generally agree, is that Kelly's personal beliefs, whether irrational or not, make absolutely no difference as to discrimination. This is what I would have said had Kelly openly stated and defended her beliefs.

But she didn't. And it is her evasion that I find rather distasteful. If she has confidence in her faith, which as Opus Dei member she must, she should have the courage to say so.


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