He's Sleazy So Sack him?
- Created: Monday, 26 January 2015 16:34
- Written by Tim Bairstow
Interesting article this: A Sports Science Professor at Winchester University, Prof Eric Anderson, is facing calls that he should be dismissed from his university post because, way back in 2011, the then 43 year old professor took part in a debate at Oxford University in which he admitted to having slept with a thousand men and hoped that he would sleep with a thousand more before he died. He added that he especially likes sex with 16, 17 and 18 year old men! http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2014/11/09/christian-group-calls-for-sacking-of-gay-winchester-professor/
Cue major outpouring of bile (albeit rather belated!) For sure, one might react to the idea of a middle aged man hooking up with teenagers with a little distaste. Some might even be envious. Others might be envious but hide there own confusion about that behind a façade of horror and condemnation - it is a known cover-up technique after all. NOT that I am saying as much about Alan Titchmarsh who has emerged from his garden-bound world to attack the said professor. He's actually the Chancellor of Winchester University .... I make no comment .... nope .... not one! Oh, alright then: how in the hell did Alan Titchmarsh get to be a university chancellor????
The problem is that, if the professor is true to his word and takes as sexual partners only those over the age of 16, he is doing nothing wrong legally. The teenagers are, by law, held to be old enough to make informed consent to a sexual relationship with whomsoever they please. Professor Anderson is not their school teacher even if they are still at school. If he were, he would be in serious trouble. As it is, he is not. Young men on his sports science course may or may not choose to sleep with their tutor - they are over 18 after all and such things are hardly unknown.
Still ... I suspect that many of us will share a little shudder of distaste. It's a tricky one: the power relationship, the fact that teenagers are impressionable and, perhaps, ought to be regarded as off-limits by well-intentioned middle aged men.
The crux of the issue is this, however: is it right to take our possible distaste at someone's sexual preferences, honestly and openly expressed, and use this as an argument to demand that he lose his job, his professional reputation and be pilloried as a 'bad man'. I think not. I may or may not like what someone does in their private life but, so long as it is legal and consensual, I have to say that its none of my damned business. No more is it the business of his employer. If we hold that it is, we are on a slippery slope back to the narrow and possibly bigoted 'boss' being able to sack someone on account of their private life.
We do seem to be developing a very censorious side to our society, almost Victorian in its prurience. We claim the right to sit in judgment over someone's intimate and private life, aspects of their behaviour, mistakes that they may or may not have made and to appoint ourselves judge, jury and public executioner.
Sadly, the Christian church can usually be relied upon to be in the forefront when it comes to morally outraged condemnation of those who's lifestyles do not conform to its own standards. This always strikes me as odd since they are supposedly followers of Jesus of Nazareth: a man whose lifestyle back in 1st Century Palestine was held by the religious authorities of his day to be absolutely scandalous, to say nothing of the claims made about him after his death! Christianity is a religion of the edge, the marginalised, the rule-breakers and those whose only rule is love.
Worse still, a group calling itself 'Because Children Matter' is the organisation that is calling for Prof Anderson's dismissal. Talk about a wolf hiding in sheep's clothing! Of course children matter, you don't need to be an Evangelical Christian to think that you just have to be a properly functioning human being. But it is this Evangelical Christian group that has got the blood-lust up for the slightly sleazy professor whilst disguising itself as a philanthropic, child centred organisation. That, frankly, stinks!
Were I a father, I would certainly be unhappy about Prof Anderson taking my 16 year old son out for a pizza, shall we say. But, were I a father, I would want to protect my children from the narrow-minded, judgmental, bigoted, hypocritical morons that set up such organisations as 'Because Children Matter'. They damage lives, they hurt people emotionally and spiritually and they are a menace to right-thinking society. In to the bargain, they are a stain on the face of the very beautiful faith that they claim to espouse and do much to discredit it in the eyes of the public. Being anti-gay is simply incompatible with the Christian Faith ... end of!
As to Prof Anderson ... we may not like it or we may not be bothered but no-one has the right to sack a law-abiding citizen for what he does in the privacy of his own bedroom. That's his business, not ours and I think that is how it really should stay.