Image from Jim Winstead’s Flickr.
I hate Christmas adverts with their stupid, fake, 2.4 children families. Unless you are eight years old and living in a family with Stepford wife, Christmas will never be that shiny, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t be absolutely, stunningly brilliant in its own way.
Next year I don’t want to see wives slaving over stoves to create Christmas dinners while their husband takes several hours to bring a bottle of Champagne downstairs which, apparently, is supposed to erase the fact he hasn’t helped at all with the food or the 2.4 children. I also don’t want to see snowmen only becoming happy after struggling to the shops to get their perfect snowwoman a gift. I definitely don’t want to see dogs being fed Christmas pudding (it causes kidney failure).
What I do want to see is single mums or dads happily opening presents with their kids, same-sex couples visiting inlaws, grandparents watching the Queen’s speech with their grandchildren and singletons indulging in their favourite activities with Christmas lights in the background. I want to see cat people giving their pet a stocking, volunteers serving up Christmas dinners at homeless shelters, mixed-race couples watching Elf and soliders celebrating in Afghanistan. Think about how diverse we are as a society and how this is completely ignored in the advertising.
My message is you don’t have to be the ideal, perfect family doing a traditional meal to have a great Christmas. To me, Christmas is about being with those you love, thinking of them if you can’t be with them and enjoying yourself. Are you listening ad people? I just gave you a fully-formed idea, let’s split it 70:30. What do you think?
The pope has announced that he will visit the UK in September. He then marred this plan by immediately and eloquently stating that he thinks the Equality Policy currently under discussion by the Government is a mistake for us. This policy will give more rights to gay men and women, including stating explicitly where discrimination on the basis of sexuality can not take place. So we’re clear, this could include the church, an area that has remained untouched since the beginning of time. No wonder the pope is concerned. Equality? Who has ever heard of that? It’s not, like, allowed in western communities is it? God forbid (pardon the pun).
I’m not actually that surprised at this. What I was quite shocked by was the blatant threat to those in the church who do believe in tolerance and understanding. He wrote, “In a social milieu that encourages the expression of a variety of opinions on every question that arises, it is important to recognise dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate.” Umm what? It is a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate. And “it is important to recognise dissent”, that is a veiled threat if ever a heard one. Open-minded priests are now going to be subject to even more judgment amongst their own, and potentially from their congregations. As if they weren’t suffering enough already.
I have no problem with the church in any of its forms (although I have a problem with fundamentalists in all forms). I just wish that religion was not used to promote ignorant theories. In my opinion, if there is a God, he loves us all in equal proportion with no thought to sexuality. Although I sort of hope that maybe he loves those with open minds that little bit more.
You can read more about the pope’s announcement here on The Independent’s Website.