Al draws our attention to this report about the Co-Op’s decision to close the bank account of Christian Voice. CV’s response is to be found here.
Personally, I am not a great fan of CV. I agree with their positions on all issues (I think – to be honest I have not checked every jot and tittle) but their tactics leave a lot to be desired. Nevertheless, whatever one’s view of CV, this is a remarkably illiberal move by the Co-op Bank. Not only do they take a position themselves in regard to ‘diversity’, which they have a right to do I suppose, but they require their customers to agree with them or they will not do business with them.
In other words, they disagree with with what a segment of society says and they oppose its right to say it. Let’s see where this kind of thinking takes our society in the coming days.
3 thoughts on “The Co-op and Christians”
AIUI, Christian Voice were asked to leave the Co-op not because of their opinions but because of the ways they choose to express them. Thus, many conservative churches probably have cop-op accounts, but wouldn’t be asked to leave unless they start vociferously and venomously attacking people, as CV have done on several occasions. In other words, it’s not that they disagree with what CV says so much as how they say it.
It’s a difficult question. The Co-op’s foundation is one of acceptance, working together, mutual dependence and mutual respect. Thus, if CV stamps all over these principles (as they often seem to), is the Co-op really obiligated to deal with them?
pax et bonum
No, it is not the manner of the expression of the views held but the views themselves. You cannot make a nice clean distinction like that. To attack the manner of expression is a subterfuge for attacking the view. Now, that in itself is fine. People should be ready to justify and defend a view – there is no problem with that. But the Co-op is seems to be penalising the view.
Now this in itself need not be a problem, but of course you must then allow other businesses to do similar. Business owners should be free to serve whom they wish and refuse service to whom they wish, don’t you think? Why stop at the views of some Christians? Why shouldn’t some shops and businesses refuse to serve atheists? Why not … etc. etc.? Why not refuse to serve those who agree that homosexual practice is OK? Now, how do you think that would go down?
Can’t you see how this secularist, intolerant ‘diversity’ way thinking is riddled with inconsistency once you get beneath the slogans?
I suspect that it is the manner of expression that got CV into trouble – despite your statement that the two aren’t separable, I believe that they surely are. Certainly, that is what the Co-op said:
“It has come to the bank’s attention that Christian Voice is engaged in discriminatory pronouncements based on the grounds of sexual orientation” (my emphasis). It is the pronouncements that the bank object to – i.e. the manner in which CV promulgates its views.
Many conservative churches will have Co-op accounts – how many of them have been asked to move their accounts because of their stance on this issue or any other? It is the sound and fury that CV has raised in the press that has caused the bank to make this move. The Co-op isn’t penalising the view. They’re penalising the offensive way in which CV publicise their view.
One may oppose a manner of expression without attacking the view. Indeed, I sometimes have to oppose people with very similar views to my own simply because of the way they express themselves. It is possible to oppose those on either side or both sides of any issue if they are being offensive. Their opinions aren’t the issue – their manner is.
pax et bonum
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