January 25th, 2007

God Hates Gays

The government proposes legislation requiring that all state-funded adoption agencies consider gay couples. The Archbishop of Westminster (Roman Catholic) lobbies for the right to opt out and gets the backing of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York (Anglican). But government stands firm and says, no. 

Because, as Angela Eagle MP (I've met her !) says  (in more diplomatic language than I'm going to use) if you allow exceptions on religious grounds to a law forbidding bigotry all that will happen is that every homophobe will suddenly develop a personal relationship with Jesus.

If Tony Blair (who wants to be a catholic when he grows up) were still in the ascendant he might well have given the Cardinal what he wants. It's a sign of how his authority has waned that the Cardinal got knocked back.


And the other thing it demonstrates is how Christian leaders are losing their grip.  Do they really want to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ as being primarily about hawt gay sex? Surely not? But to judge by the headlines they provoke, this is about the only thing on their minds these days. 

The Chamber Of Secrets

Chamber of Secrets is the book in which Rowling becomes a pro. Maybe it's because they gave her a better editor, maybe it's because her style really had improved,  but I don't find myself tripping over the frequent infelicities that made Philosopher's Stone such an obstacle course for me. I'm a writer; I care about these things. I don't insist on great writing; I'm perfectly happy with the plainest prose, but I do object to clumsiness.

But it's not just about sentence structure, the plotting has improved as well. PS is a bit rickety- even though everything comes together in the end- but CoS is very well-made. It's like a good piece of furniture; the joints dovetail; you give it a good, hard smack and it doesn't wobble.

There's a certain lessening of joi de vivre. This happens with sequels. A first book is all "look at me, I'm dancing", a second book is about improving one's craft. This registers as a darkening of tone. There's less invention. Take the denouements: a guy with a face on the back of his head is more original and more fun than a big, old snake.  But, never mind- CoS is still compulsively readable.

And now for The Prisoner of Azkaban.