Picking and choosing which bits of the Bible to follow?


Jock Coats writes excellently about the Christian B&B owners who turned away a gay couple, allegedly in contravention of the law.

It would be interesting to know if the B&B owners have a similarly stringent policy against adulterous mixed-sex couples. Adultery is arguably a greater sin, according to the Bible, than homosexuality, as it forms one of the Ten Commandments.

Similarly, one wonders if they have a similarly stringent policy against unmarried mixed-sex couples. Or is “Mr and Mrs Jones” and a curtain ring on the wedding ring finger enough for them?

One wonders if an unmarried couple, the woman pregnant, who had come to Berkshire for tax census reporting purposes, would be turned away. Have they got a stable? ;-)
There are several bits of the Bible which advise Christians to obey the law of the land. Obviously, if there is a law which requires Christians to go against Biblically-based principles, then one can envisage situations of peaceful non-obedience of the law. However, in this case noone is forcing the B&B owners to go against their principles. They don’t have to run a B&B.

That, obviously, is easy to say but then such a course may well leave them in a very bad situation financially and they may not be able to find any other form of remunerated employment in their specific situation. However, in the long term, as this law becomes established and known well in advance of people deciding whether or not to enter the B&B business, then people will have ample time to follow other employment avenues if they feel their faith precludes them from following the law in the B&B business.

One thing rankles from the news report. The B&B owner comments:

These people are very organised

Oh dear. When phrases such as “these people” and “they” enter debates, cool-headed British tolerance┬átends to fly out of the window.


  1. But the point is whether it is a just law.

    When does someone’s private capital become the state’s to decide how it may be used? They already take their tribute to dispose of as they wish!

  2. Of course, the other thing is that most people are focussing on, and perhaps my post did little to dispel, are the rights of the business to discriminate.

    My main point, believe it or not, is that I do not want to be conned out of *my* money because the simpering smiling bigot cannot reveal to me that he’d actually prefer me to be in some special part of hell with a special devil of my own massaging my intestines with boiling sulphur.

    I happen to also believe that it is an infringement of their property rights, but am more interested in me having the opportunity not to contribute to the bank balance or success of someone who would tell me just how much they dislike me if only they were allowed to.

  3. Jock,

    The homeowners have every right and opportunity to cease their trade if they do not wish to allow certain types of people sleeping in it.

    While they are open for B&B, their home, or parts of it, are a trade area or business premise, as Alix Mortimer has very clearly explained here:


    In many ways your argument is highly attractive and difficult to argue with: Everyone should have the right to do what they want with their property.

    But it seems fair that there is a balance in society and equality laws are part of that.

    I repeat, the B&B owners are not being forced to have gay couples in their home. No one is forcing them to run a B&B business.

    I can see your main point. But if you don’t mind me saying so, it is a bit obscure. As long as you receive a good and polite service, does it matter? Are we really going to run society based on unexpressed views? How can we know what people are thinking? And does it matter if a good service is given?

    And why narrow down such a view to B&Bs anyway? You must have been served in pubs, taxis etc etc by all manner of homophobes. So are you saying that pubs and taxis should also have the right to exclude gays from their establishments or vehicles if they have homophobic views – just like you are arguing for B&Bs? After all, often pubs are also the home of the landlord/landlady and taxis are often the private car of the taxi driver.

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