Political

Tim Farron reveals he regrets saying that gay sex is not a sin

Oh, Tim:

Former leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron has spoken of his “regret” at bowing to pressure he felt to say homosexual sex is not sinful.

The Christian politician also voiced frustration that his views on sexuality distracted attention away from the Lib Dem’s General Election campaigning last year.

Speaking exclusively with Premier’s Inspirational Breakfast presenters John Pantry and Rosie Wright, he said: “The bottom line is, of course, I did [feel pressured] and there are things – including that – that I said that I regret.

The full interview with Premier Christian Radio emphasises how difficult Tim Farron felt it was to reconcile public pressure on him and his personal religious views. At the heart of it he felt that sticking to his faith was not compatible with the sort of public comments a party leader has to make – such as being asked about sin in interviews.

It’s worth noting that those questions to Tim Farron last year weren’t some special, unfair treatment directed towards him. Other party leaders get them, as did Theresa May. The difference is that her answer whether or not she thinks gay sex is a sin was a prompt and clear ‘No’. That’s why Tim Farron kept on getting asked questions in 2017 whilst the Prime Minister didn’t. One gave a clear, unequivocal and confident answer, the other didn’t. Nor were such questions a surprise. The topic had come up in the 2015 leadership contest near the start and in the media at the end.

Regrettably, in the interview Tim Farron says you have to pretend not to have a Christian faith to be a public political figure in the UK. Not only do people like Theresa May show otherwise, so do many Liberal Democrats, including the party’s current President, member of the House of Lords and former target seat candidate, Sal Brinton. She writes openly about her Christian faith. It’s hard to reconcile Tim’s comments with the examples of so many others. Some – most famously Tony Blair – do indeed decide not to talk about their religious views at all when in office or seeking office. But that’s not the only route people can, and do, take. And on the off-chance anyone of faith is reading this and is in any way influenced by my views, I hope you will look to the examples of people such as Sal to see that there is very much a role for people of public faith in politics and in the Liberal Democrats.

(It’s also worth adding that if the media had really wanted to treat Tim Farron badly, there’s much more that could have been raised which wasn’t. His past controversies over whether claims about prayer in advertising and his choice of religious interns barely got a mention in 2017. Tough and relentless though the media pressure on him undoubtedly felt, it was in truth rather less tough than it could have been, or probably would have been had the party being going up sharply in the polls.)

As far as I can work it out from having read and listened to Tim Farron at length on the issue, his views come down to ‘I think same-sex relationships are wrong and go against God’s teachings, but I think you should be free to make that I decision and I still love and respect many people who do’.

Hence the number of people in same-sex relations who have known him closely for long periods of time and are convinced he does not bear them any ill will. Hence his voting record. Hence also his comments in interviews like the one today.

Perhaps had he ever been able to find a way of saying something along these lines in public, things would have turned out differently.

The interview has not gone down well with other Liberal Democrats:

Here’s the interview with Tim Farron about same-sex relationships, and other matters, in full:

There are 9 comments Share your views

Share your views

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments and data you submit with them will be handled in line with the privacy and moderation policies.