What Does Resignation of Christian Lib Dem Leader Farron Tell Us about Society?

The Scotsman, June 16, 2017 | Go to article overview

What Does Resignation of Christian Lib Dem Leader Farron Tell Us about Society?


We pride ourselves on bring a tolerant society, but are we? What does it tell us when LibDem Tim Farron feels he cannot reconcile his deeply held Christian faith with being a party leader? Could anyone, seriously, imagine a Muslm MP being interrogated about their faith and held up to similar ridicule? JOHN V LLOYD The Maltings, Keith Place Inverkeithing, Fife The "society" that former Lib-Dem leader Tim Farron says is "intolerant" of his Christianity is in fact supremely tolerant of it. It supports Tim's right to be a Christian of the denomination of his choosing, and to change his religious belief or not have one at all. It supports his right not to be gay, not to have a same sex marriage and not to seek abortion services should such a need in his life ever arise. It also supports his right to raise his children in his faith, and to express that faith in the public sphere. It even allows 26 representatives of Tim's faith to sit in the House of Lords to shape all our lives. It is in fact a socially liberal society, last point notwithstanding. What this society doesn't do is mandate that Tim's views be imposed on everyone else just because they happen to be views based on his religious belief, or that those who hold different views shouldn't express them or challenge Tim's views because that would be "persecuting" him on the grounds of his faith.

Tim Farron has belatedly made his choice as to his personal identity that trumps all, and he's made it in a society that ensures he is free to do so. That his views appear to be at odds with what the Lib Dems or society stand for, if we are to read between the lines, is not their fault. That Tim's views may not be popular in society doesn't prevent him holding them or living his own life in accordance with them.

ALISTAIR McBAY National Secular Society Atholl Crescent, Edinburgh Tim Farron's statement about not being able to reconcile his Christian faith with some aspects of the general thrust of his party's approach to such matters as the rights of homosexuals is not very convincing.

Former Liberal leader Lord Steel managed in the 1960s, in the face of fierce controversy, to reconcile his Church of Scotland background with steering through complex legislation on abortion. For his pains he quickly became known as one of the pillars of the permissive society, a fact that did not spoil his political ambitions to any great extent.

It seems Mr Farron was unable to deal satisfactorily with repeated questions about whether he thought homosexuality was a sin. …

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