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.