A conversation about homosexuality this week with a class of A-Level Psychology students led me to write ‘Just how many homosexuals are there really?’ for this Blog.
However, as my thoughts developed, it seemed to me there is an issue our kingdom is going to face in the not-too-distant future which CHE-UK really will have to address so that we have something to offer when the issue starts to become pressing.
Put simply: Muslims are the fastest growing ethnic group in our population. Islam condemns homosexuality as sinful – eg: Qur’an 7:80-81, 26:165. As Muslims become more and more a sizeable percentage of our population and political parties are obliged to compete for their vote, how will that fare with liberal policies on social moral issues such as homosexuality?
Now, when I talk about Muslims, I don’t mean the relatively small number of fanatical fundamentalist Jihadists who aim to bring terror to our kingdom as a precursor to an Islamic caliphate. I mean the ordinary men and women who want little more than decent jobs (usually for the men), a good education for their kids, effective health care, some reasonable leisure opportunities…and the freedom to pursue their religion. They’re not particularly out to convert anyone but they’ll gladly welcome someone who wants to convert.
They’re a bit like many British Christians were in the 1930s and 1940s. Their religion was there, a key part of their life – eg: regular Sunday worship and maybe attendance at a mid-week service – but it wasn’t all there was to life. And they’d do a bit of sinning every now and again: getting drunk on a Sunday or having a flutter on the horses. Just like many Muslims today are partial to a drop of alcohol and will eat non-halal meat on occasion. All followed the next day by some degree of guilt!
These Muslims may not necessarily want Sharia Law to become the central legal code of our kingdom but, on issues like homosexuality, they are likely to want an end to its status as legitimate in the UK, the end of its portrayal as normal and even desirable in the media and possibly even prosecution of practising homosexuals.
This – and not just on homosexuality but other issues to do with sex and morality – are likely to become big issues in elections over the next 10-20 years. And CHE-UK needs to have some design solutions ready to implement before the issue exacerbates already-existing ethnic tensions in various parts of the country.
BLUE vs GREEN
If we go back to those ‘Christian’ 1930s and 1940s, practising homosexual activity was a criminal offence, punishable by imprisonment and often mandatory ‘psychiatric treatment’.
What Spiral Dynamics calls the BLUE way of thinking dominated culturally in many aspects of policy making in those days which means, in this instance, Christianity’s condemnation of homosexual activity – eg: Leviticus 20:13, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 – was enforced in law.
Come the 1960s and GREEN liberalism starts to penetrate social and political thinking, putting forward increasingly the idea that anything which liberates the human spirit is OK. Thus, the decriminalisation of homosexual activity between consenting adults in 1968, reflected 5 years later in the American Psychiatric Association delisting homosexuality as a psychiatric condition.
While GREEN liberalism has by no means totally dominated culturally throughout Britain over the last 40 years, it has, if anything, increased its hold over social moral policy making, with Civic Partnerships and many accompanying legal rights available as marriage-in-all-but-name to gay and lesbian couples.
The very BLUE strictures of Islam – one right way and punish sin – do not recognise the validity of this approach to homosexuality. In Islamic states in the Middle and Far East, practising homosexuals are likely to find themselves imprisoned or even executed if they get caught. While I’m not necessarily suggesting British Muslims are of such a mind, it’s clear that adherents to Islam in this country are most likely going to find British laws on homosexuality offensive and want to change them as their electoral power grows.
I’ve heard Spiral Dynamics co-developer Don Beck bemoan the relative absence of BLUE in the British churches several times in respect of the breakdown of family values and morality in much of this kingdom. We may well find ourselves with a resurgence of BLUE as a cultural force in the not too distant future…but coming from the mosques rather than the churches.
It could be hoped, of course, that the thinking of many Muslims might upgrade to ORANGE as they integrate more into the Western way of life. But, with our economic outlook bleak in the short-to-medium term (as the Tories have been pointing out at their conference all week), the opportunities for self-advancement which should stimulate the emergence of ORANGE are likely to be in short supply. Cue a hunkering down into BLUE certainties, exacerbated by PURPLE’s marking of ethnic fault lines.
GREEN liberalism will come under pressure from BLUE Puritanism.
We’ve got what we’ve got
The British National Party’s racist ship-‘em-back policies are simply unacceptable to the majority of the British electorate. (After all, how do you ship back someone who’s born and bred in this country…back to where exactly?!?) Which is not to say that there aren’t significant and growing numbers of BNP voters – but it is inconceivable (in any terms most people accept) that the BNP could ever form even a minority government.
The (ostensibly) non-racist English Defence League make many valid points about the Islamisation of parts of the UK – but shouting “No more mosques!” and kicking members of Unite Against Fascism is a bit like King Canute commanding the waves to halt as they washed over his feet. It’s unrealistic. Unless you are actually prepared to go to the fascistic lengths the BNP say they would, we have what we have: a significant and rapidly-growing Muslim population, many of whom are opposed to liberal public policies on issues like homosexuality.
With Spiral Dynamics we are able to understand BLUE vs GREEN conflicts like these. Our next step needs to be designing natural solutions that balance out competing needs and interests for the benefit of the whole. And those solutions need to be on the workbench before the issues become too pressing.