October 9, 2012 by Nash Riggins
The former Archbishop of Canterbury may have single-handedly lost the battle against same-sex marriage on Sunday, when he equated the struggles of those who share his viewpoint with that of “the Jews in Nazi Germany.”
At a mass anti-marriage reform rally in Birmingham on Sunday, Lord George Carey – who retired in 2002 from his post as England’s top Church figure – claimed that labelling the opponents of same-sex marriage as “bigots” is in some way similar to the discrimination experienced by Jews throughout the early stages of Hitler’s Final Solution.
“Let us remember the Jews in Nazi Germany – what started against them was when they started to be called names,” Carey said. “And that was the first stage towards that totalitarian state. We have to resist them. We treasure democracy. We treasure our Christian inheritance and we want to debate this in a fair way”.
Yet if ever there was a way not to debate a social issue “in a fair way”, evoking images of the Holocaust is the shining example. How could a supposed ‘man of God’ equate the systematic mass-slaughter of 6 million human beings with the likes of one leaked press release that dismissed those who oppress an inherent human right as ‘bigots’?
In fact, the name-calling to which Mr Carey referred was an early draft of a press release that originated from the office of Nick Clegg one month ago – which the Liberal Democrat leader immediately retracted and apologised for.
“Those extracts were neither written or approved by me,” Clegg apologised in September. “They do not represent my views, which is why they were subsequently withdrawn. While I am a committed advocate of equal marriage, I would never refer to people who oppose it in this way. Indeed, I know people myself who do not support equal marriage and, although I disagree with them, clearly I do not think they are bigots.”
As usual, Nick Clegg’s apology should fall on deaf ears – after all, the Collins English Dictionary defines the word “bigot” as being “a person who is intolerant of any ideas other than his or her own, esp on religion, politics, or race”. In fact, Lord George Carey fits this definition so well that he very well may have been designed specifically by God to serve the universe as a text-book example of bigotry. Indeed, perhaps Mr Carey knows this to be true – which is why he’s decided to ignore Nick Clegg’s apology.
Yet in what parallel 21st century universe would Westminster toss Mr Carey into a gas chamber simply for being bigoted? Everyone in the UK, however liberal, is bigoted towards at least one issue in their society – be it gay marriage, Scottish independence or gender representation in the Sun. Bigotry is an inherent symptom of the human condition – as is the desire to form a life-long partnership that is universally accepted by society as equal to all others.
Unfortunately, Mr Carey lives in a society in which it has become disturbingly commonplace for any form of censorship to be thoughtlessly compared with Nazism – and apparently the former Archbishop is not above making the same irritably deplorable association. Yet if history has any light to shed on the matter, it’s that Mr Carey’s words should be just enough to drive the last nail into the coffin surrounding the fight against same-sex marriage.
If anything, using the word “Nazi” to discredit a single, retracted charge of bigotry clearly indicates the former Archbishop’s inability to find a fair and justifiable argument against same-sex marriage. Just by conjuring up images of the brutal murders committed by the pinnacle of human cruelty, does Mr Carey honestly believe that the people of the UK will realise the ‘true hurt’ in which they have imposed upon the world by supporting universal human rights? This assumption should be pegged as a massive insult to the intelligence of every UK citizen – let alone to the millions who were touched by the atrocities committed throughout the Holocaust.
Advocates for same-sex marriage tend to argue its validity in a clear and viable manner – not by accusing Westminster of Nazism. As a result, logic dictates that this desperate effort to discredit marriage equality should be considered nothing more than the pathetic, last-ditch effort of a bigoted old man to stifle the freedoms of others.