First it was Tim Farron and then Andrew Turner. There are a few trifling things for the world to worry about, such as the war in Syria, starvation in East Africa, or maybe even a lunatic with his finger on the nuclear button in North Korea. But the first week of the election campaign was devoted to the Lib Dem leader’s views on homosexuality, and specifically to the question of whether he considered sexual acts between people of the same sex to be a sin.

That is interesting phraseology. Sin? Not just “wrong”, but a sin. How often do reporters refer to sin in the normal course of their jobs?

No wonder Farron said that an election was not the forum in which to make theological pronouncements, because the choice of the word “sin” was asking him to do just that. He knew that the overwhelming majority of what is now a theologically illiterate country would not have the smallest idea what “sin” meant. To many, it conjures up something uniquely bad or presages a descent into hell.

Trying to explain that we all sin all day long, because any offence, however minor, against Infinite Goodness is a sin, meets only with baffled looks, and one can only begin to imagine the introduction of such concepts into political hustings.

So Farron spent a lot of time prevaricating. Andrew Turner, the Conservative MP for the Isle of Wight, did not prevaricate and as a result fell foul of political correctness (to say nothing of political cowardice). After reportedly telling A-level students that homosexuality was “wrong”, he had to withdraw his candidature, despite having been loyal to the seat when he lost it and having continued to serve it through a major stroke.

It is ironic that a general election which is supposed to be all about free speech and free choice has now become a vehicle for suppressing freedom of belief and conscience. What is more worrying is that such suppression is aimed at Christians. There are practising Muslims standing in this election. Why are they not similarly challenged?

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