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Opinion

M

y new book might surprise some people. Truth

be told, it surprisedme somewhat and, if you’d

told me 10 years ago that I was the author of

something called “Epiphany: A Christian’s Change of

Heart and Mind over Same-Sex Marriage,” I would have

thought you were mad. But there it is. I have, yes, changed

my heart and mind. When I told my publisher, Signal/

Random House, that this was the next book I wanted to

write, they were mildly surprised; which is my attempt

at gentle euphemism. Th ey were incredulous. “We’ve

published four books in a row from you written from a

conservative Christian point of view and they’ve done

very well. Now you want to write this?”But they were

extremely understanding in the end, and I did.

I’ve been very fortunate in that the author, actor and

international celebrity Stephen Fry wrote me an entire

letter of support and endorsement, concluding that,

“Michael Coren’s

Epiphany

is a wonderfully revealing

read – an epiphany in itself. I urge anyone interested in

the conjunction of faith and free thought to read this

engrossing and fascinating book.” In that I have revered

the man for many years, this was praise indeed.

But there have been the usual type of attacks as well, of

course. I reversed my position on equal marriage more

than two years ago but as soon as it became public that

I had, as it were, come out, I was subject to the most

venomous abuse. I was accused of being a liar, an adulterer,

of having a gay lover, of supporting the gay community

for money. In fact, I’m way too unattractive to have an

affair; I’mboringly heterosexual and as for money – I wish

I could work this one out. Whenmy views became known,

I lost newspaper and magazine columns, speeches and

a regular guest host spot on a television show. If I were

doing it all for money, I’m even more stupid than I look.

More seriously, however, members of my family were

attacked and some of my new critics trolledmy children’s

Facebook pages and accused them of all sorts of things.

Th ere is none so angry as a fundamentalist scorned. I can

joke about it now but, at the time, it was nasty, worrying

and bewildering.

I don’t have the space in a single column to outline

my reasons for this reform of opinion, which is why

I’ve written an entire book about the subject. Let me

emphasize, though, that it’s not in spite of my Christian

faith but precisely because of it. I could no longer reconcile

the life and teachings of Jesus with the harshness and

even anger of so many churches. Not that all Christian

opponents of equal marriage and full gay rights are bad

people – far from it – but I now believe that they are

wrong on this particular subject. I changed because I

realized that my faith was based less on laws than on love.

I suppose I am late to the game and for that I apologize,

but I am not as late as are many churches. Because what

we have seen in mainstream Western society, from

conservatives as well as liberals, is a total, complete and

absolute acceptance of gay men and women and thank

God for that. Most of us have realized that we should be

judged not by what we are, but by how we behave; not

by our sexuality, but by our character and that if at all

possible, we shouldn’t be judged at all. Th at’s what the

churches need to grasp.

It’s partly generational of course, and our four children,

ranging from 18 to 27, can’t even comprehend opposition

to same-sex marriage, let alone homophobia. It’s more

challenging for older people and defi nitely for a middle-

aged Englishman like me. But it’s worth it, because I have

never felt more grounded inmy faith. I have met so many

magnifi cent and kind people, have grown through having

to questionmyself and have also matured by standing up

to the criticism and the attacks.

Th e world needs more inclusion and tolerance and not

less of it, and those who fear change – and this was me

for the longest time – usually discover that the fear was

misplaced and the change was benefi cial. So, my epiphany

is something that I would not change for anything. Let’s

hope the people who read my book agree with me.

with

Michael Coren

CSANews

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SPRING 2016

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