Fanning the flames

Skuds reported earlier this week on nine firefighters who were disciplined after refusing to hand out fire safety leaflets at a gay pride march. According to the BBC:

Some of the firefighters involved had argued it would be embarrassing for them to turn up in uniform to the Pride Scotia event, while others claimed it would contradict their moral beliefs.

At least the ‘moral beliefs’ argument is honest, if stupid. ‘Embarrassing’? What this really means is ‘people might think we’re gay’. The only way it would be embarrassing to turn up in uniform would be if you think there’s something wrong with being homosexual, so let’s just say what this really is: your basic homophobia, bordering on outright bigotry.

It’s entirely correct that the fire service should punish the firefighters involved. If you take a job, you have made an agreement to do whatever that job entails. If you are required to do something with which you disagree, you’re free to argue, but not to opt-out. You’re also free to leave.

Who could possibly disagree with this? Who would dare publicly support the firefighters? What organisation could be so morally bankrupt that they would support such monstrous anti-gay sentiment? Ah yes: the Roman Catholic Church1. Says Glasgow Archbishop Mario Conti:

“They were asked, while in uniform, to hand out leaflets during a demonstration where they had legitimate concerns about being the subject of taunts and jokes, and in which in some cases, their religious sensibilities would have been grossly offended by people dressed as priests and nuns lampooning the Church.”

We can’t have people’s religious sensibilities being offended, can we? That would mean, um, that people would be offended. And that would mean, um, that, you know, um, it’s just bad, ok? Don’t give me that crap. It’s obvious why they’re wading in, and it’s appalling.

It’s tempting to think that we should all just ignore such bigots and they’ll go away, but I don’t think that’s true. I hope the fire service comes back with a strong statement disagreeing with the church’s position.

  1. it is regularly pointed out to me that the RCC only abhors homosexuality, they still respect homosexuals as people. If anybody ever figures out how this makes any sense at all, please let me know []