Dec 20, 2019: Open

I like to think I’m pretty tolerant when it comes to things.

Which is a weird thing to say considering, on the whole, people annoy me no end. But I think I’m pretty open-minded. There are a few things my mind is fully closed for – flat Earthers, for example, especially after watching some of their videos.

I’m also, I’ve discovered, not very tolerant towards the entitled slice of society who like to complain on the internet that the show/movie/music/book or game that they’ve been waiting for or are a fan of is not up to the standard that they expected. Or the ones who feel the need to tell you they’re boycotting something for the same reasons – like when it turns out a book-to-film adaptation casts a black actor/actress in a role that they’re previously only read as white. You know, that shit. I am very intolerant of that.

One of my open-minded grey areas is that of religion. I don’t go in for that sort of thing at all. I have more than my fair share of run ins with Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons to last a life time, usually on the bus when I’m a captive audience. I just don’t get on board with the whole religion thing (unless I don’t notice them at the bus stop…. badooom tish) – especially when it’s used as an excuse to be an absolute shitbox to other people.

One of the – very few – religious figures I genuinely enjoy listening to is the Reverend Richard Coles. Previously a member of the Communards, he donned a dog collar and took to the church but is sort of a showbiz vicar, I guess. He does panel shows, he pops up on things. He’s very entertaining to listen to, in all honesty. He’s, of sorts, one of the go to “religious experts” for shows like The Infinite Monkey Cage because he can talk about aspects of religious but isn’t afraid to include science in things where, sometimes, it’s entirely missed out when other people speak on it. He’s funny, he’s engaging, he’s generally – it would appear – a really nice bloke.

This week, his partner died following an illness. They had been in a civil partnership since civil partnerships became a thing in 2005. I read the news and I was sad. I was sad for the Reverend Coles for all the reasons above. And because it’s a decent thing to do.

I happened to pop onto Twitter on Wednesday for something and nothing and saw a tweet from Rev Coles saying that he had received a letter – courageously unsigned, as he put it – from someone who said that they were extremely happy to hear the news of the death of his partner, and that they had been praying for this to come for some time.

I mean, in all honesty, WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?

For starters, that’s an absolutely fricking disgusting thing to do in the first place – to take pen to paper, whether there’s religious fuckwittery behind it or not, and say “hey, glad the person you loved is dead” is just a dick move of the highest order.

But secondly, to then bring in the religious angle – to say that you have been praying for someone to die, and that you’re happy about it. I thought people – particularly the ones who bandy about the need to prayer and listen to God’s word at any given opportunity are supposed to be righteous people. They’re the ones who are right. The ones who follow the good book. Or the bits of the book that fit whatever point they need to make. Most of that, incidentally, is in the Old Testament – a work which, in the New Testament, Jesus tells people to ignore because the teachings are out-dated.

The crux of this religious ire is that Rev Coles dared to be in a same sex relationship. A happy same-sex relationship. And that his partner, in passing, would be consigned to hell and that Richard would – when the time came – join him.

When he shared this on Twitter, a number of people put their names forward for also going to hell with him. Which I thought was absolutely lovely. People asking where they could sign up, because they thought that hell with the two Coles in it would be brilliant, while – presumably – in the other place, a load of people with mouths like duck’s arses sat around hoping for something they could complain or pour religious scorn at.

People volunteered to open the Rev’s post for him, some offered to burn it all. A police officer even offered to look into the matter further as, technically, it falls under the banner of a hate crime.

I hate people.

But sometimes I absolutely fucking love them.