Bristol SU is currently lodging a complaint against the potential appearance of philosopher and writer Sir Roger Scruton as part of the Richmond Lectures in the second or third teaching blocks, due to concerns relating to homophobic comments he has previously made.
In 2012 on a blog post in The Spectator, Scruton wrote a controversial article relating to gay marriage, stating that:
‘We have profound reservations about same sex marriage not just because of the harm it does to a vital heterosexual institution but also because we reject the implication that in order to be equal and respected homosexuals should conform to heterosexual norms and be in effect the same as heterosexuals. In this sense we believe same sex marriage to be homophobic.’
‘I took the view that feeling repelled by something might have a justification’
Additionally, he has argued in the past that homophobia can be justified:
‘I took the view that feeling repelled by something might have a justification, even if it’s not a justification that the person themselves can give. Like, we’re all repelled by incest – well, not all, but most people are. And there’s a perfectly good justification, if you look at it in terms of the long-term interest of society.’
However, in the very same interview with The Guardian he did state that he no longer shares this view.
President of the Richmond Lectures, Joshua Mudie, sent an email to both the Philosophy and Journalism societies inviting them to co-host the event. Though Mudie explains in the email that ‘By accepting the invitation to host you would have to hold the belief that you would like to see him speak at Bristol and represent his invitation despite these issues.’
In a statement from the SU regarding the matter, they said that ‘Given our commitment to equality and diversity, the SU officer team have expressed concerns […] given his published views on homosexuality and have raised this with the student led committee of the initiative for them to consider.’
The outcome of the SU complaint upon Sir Roger Scruton’s appearance has yet to be released.
What do you think about Sir Roger Scruton appearing at Richmond Lectures? Let us know.