Mosaic restored In the visitor centre, there is a Roman mosaic excavated here twenty years ago. It cost £10,000 to restore. Now it hangs on the wall, and I went especially to see it. It is something the local wealthy walked on, 1700 years ago.

What I feel about it relates entirely to its antiquity. Were it new, I might note the effort taken to assemble all those tiny tiles, but find the design like a doodle: a bit repetitive. I would move on. Now my mind moves over its meaning to those who owned it originally, or saw it before it was buried in the ruin, or walked on it, and those who restored it, handling the same pieces as the original crafters. What matters to me, looking at it, is its value to all those different people and its survival. My awe is at the experience rather than the object.


Horrible man said homophobic rubbish and got suspended. Boring. What do bloggers say about it?

GLAAD called it “far outside of the mainstream understanding of LGBT people.” Al Mohler picked up on that: So the controversy over Duck Dynasty sends a clear signal to anyone who has anything to risk in public life: Say nothing about the sinfulness of homosexual acts or risk sure and certain destruction by the revolutionaries of the new morality. You have been warned.

This is the objectionable bit of Duck’s rant:

-What, in your mind, is sinful?
Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there…. Bestiality… Er, no. Homosexuality does not lead to bestiality, and homosexuality is not the most serious sin of all, in Christianity. Do they not get it?

Imagine this: “Alcoholism leads to dealing crystal meth”. Duck also talks of desiring a vagina, as if a woman was no more than that.

If someone does not see this is offensive, how may we get through to them?


Possibly, the answer is not to be offended. Duck believes the Bible condemns gays. That is the problem. Duck probably won’t change his mind, especially not because GLAAD tells him he is wrong. There are partisans who see Duck being condemned by gay people, so defend him noisily.

Billie-Holiday-1I had thought to end this with some way of getting along, of cleansing the boil, reducing the anger: something Christmassy, in fact. Turn the other cheek, or something. Though something must be done about white Louisianans saying the Blacks were happy under Jim Crow. Perhaps I can stand up for NAACP- those happy, singing black people would have seen strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees, or known someone who had. 

Alternatively, let me try to show why his expression of his views is not maturely Christian, from the point of view that gay sex is sinful. First, he says that a vagina is attractive, and an anus is unattractive. The point of sin is that it is tempting. Basic empathy says that gay men find gay sex tempting. Jesus starts from where the person is, and enters into our concerns. Second, Duck does not go beyond a dismissive stereotype. Stephen Fry has denied using anal sex: there is intercrural sex, and other ways of making love. There can be no love without empathy, and Duck shows no love.

From the other way: there are people who find gay sex disgusting, and believe it is condemned in the Bible. They see gay characters on TV, and are disgusted: their way of life is being threatened. They don’t see Duck’s comments as objectionable: they would not be more articulate, and so shutting Duck up is shutting them up. So they object, and I sympathise.

I can do no better than this. Merry Christmas.

12 thoughts on “Mosaic

  1. I love mosaics, but from the art form, although I do appreciate the work that goes in to put those tiny tiles together to create a work of beauty. It may stem from gazing at them on OHP slides for so many years at university so it was always nice to try and visit the real thing. I dislike intensely those fake mosaic tiles where you get a large tile with lots of little fake tiles on it. Looks so false.

    What I dislike about these sort of outbursts (I’m sure there is no need to even know what was said as the principle is the same) is that people use their religion to criticise and judge and interfere with other peoples’ lives. Or you could say that they use religion to justify their own views, whether racist, anti gay, or sexist/misogynistic. One very big reason for not following a religion.

    Merry Christmas to you too Clare.


    • I hope my use of my religion is different. The problem with Christianity is that it has been a state ideology which produces a moral conformity among the citizens, and that heightens that human desire that others conform to a way of being. For me religion helps me live better.


      • I’m sure it is as I don’t see judgemental posts from you about any sector or group in society. I often admired some of my Catholic girlfriends, who took out of their religion what they found appropriate but ignored other aspects eg contraception, as most were on the pill. Perhaps that is the best way to approach religion, but I’m no expert.


      • It seems to me that the problem with religion is that its power is too easily corrupted. Instead of using it to transform ourselves, the fragile ego turns toward the world which it perceives as other than itself and therefore unknown and threatening. The ego then attempts to control and mold that world “in its own likeness” to remove the threat, but since that likeness is corrupted by fear, the result is only more fear and all that entails.

        Too few heed the message: “First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” (Luke 6:42, NLT)


      • Yes.

        I doubt you can understand “Judge not” while still dividing people into the Good people and the Bad people. Unfortunately, lots of Bible interpretation does just that. I don’t even know if religion can bring one closer to Judge not, but at least we have Jesus saying it, and we are supposed to value what Jesus says.


  2. It has always been the case that persecutors say of those they torment, “Ah, but you don’t really suffer” or ” you actually enjoyed that” or “you deserve it”. Majorities often use that sort of reasoning to keep minorities in subjection, and a social observer might say, that in a place or world where majority rules, that will always be so. It takes a peculiarly enlightened crowd to see past that. But there are enlightened crowds, and we should not assume either that the vocally expressed prejudices carry weight with the silent majority; or that the silent majority have no opinions.

    Have faith. Bless you, darling. We will always be prejudiced in your favour. :-)))) Merry Christmas.


  3. Religion should help one live better … not looking backward or upside down, but straight on. I wish I knew what I believed regarding Christianity. I have a character in a story who says, “I wish I believed in something.” I do believe in many things … but I don’t know if I believe that any religion is capable of addressing the fundamental violence in humanity, the intolerance, the hate, since much of the violence, intolerance and hate appears to come from self-styled religious people ! Oh … Merry Christmas.


    • Whom do you know?

      The Piskie priest who took my father’s funeral is a loving generous sweet man. In my Quaker meeting there are people with great wisdom. If you know Christianity from Conservative Evangelical blogs, you get a different view of Christianity than you would from most congregations.


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