“Congregation please turn to Combat Rock, side one, track three”


‘God Calling’: Rev. Steele used Clash hit to explain his religious predicament

By Kevin Duguid

REBELIOUS rockers The Clash have been dragged in to the row over gay clergy in the Church of Scotland.

The Rev Leslie Steele is threatening to quit his church, complaining that people have been

“brainwashed’ into accepting homosexuality.

But the Galashiels-based, conservative minister told his flock a classic song by the legendary, left wing punk band summed up the predicament he faced.

In a stern newsletter to church goers, he warned he was prepared to leave after 23 years if gay and lesbian ministers were ordained.

He wrote:

“The pop group The Clash had a song Should I Stay or Should I Go?

“The lyrics said:

“Should I stay or should I go? If I go there will be trouble. And if I stay it will be double. So come on and let me know.” “

Rev Steele explained:

“There are those in the revisionist side who want us to go and are holding the door open for us.

“There are others who want us to stay, though under what terms it is difficult to imagine. “

Explaining his opposition to gay clergy, he added:

“Leaving the Bible aside there exists every argument from physiology, psychology and sociology against the practice of homosexuality.

“The Bible happens to agree with those arguments and that shouldn’t be a surprise.

“What is a surprise is how the minds of modern Western people have been brainwashed into believing that it is just an abstract social question. “

The Kirk is due to decide in 2013 whether to admit gay clergy.

Rev Steele said it was clear to him that the church was planning to open its doors to openly-gay ministers.

“It remains for ministers, elders and members of the Church to consider what they should do. I for one am doing that. “

Alastair Lings, of the Borders Bisexual Lesbian and Gay group, said:

“This form of prejudice is very dated and really belongs in the Bronze Age.

“The church has a real fight on at the moment for its integrity between the traditionalists and modernists, and it really needs the modernists to win. “

The co-chairman of the Scottish Borders LGBT Equality Forum, Andrew Stillwell, added:

“Obviously the forum would support the right to be a practising Christian and be gay. I think the Church of Scotland will allow gay and lesbian ministers – it has already happened in England. “

Rev Steele has previously been outspoken in his condemnation of a film screening of the musical Jerry Springer: The Opera at the Wynd Theatre in 2006.

The production, which contained 8,000 obscenities and depicted Jesus Christ as a homosexual, was described as a vilification of Christians by the minister.

The Clash was formed in 1976 and the group became widely referred to as

“The Only Band That Matters.”

Should I Stay or Should I Go was written in 1981 and became the band’s only number-one single in the UK singles chart a decade after it was originally released.