Never has it addressed the moral complexities of performing a blowjob on a public beach – until today.
Angela Tilby, Cannon Emeritus of Christchurch Cathedral in Oxford, was addressing the furore around this picture…
Matthew and Carly Lunn’s photo of themselves simulating a sex act at St Paul’s Chapel, Rhodes, has led not only to a threatened ban on tourist weddings at the venue but also potential lawsuits against the couple from those planning to tie the knot there.
Yet Tilby’s monologue wasn’t just a simple case of condemning bad behaviour – she asserted she’s guilty of doing something just as “morally dubious”.
“The nation was divided last week on whether to snigger or be appalled at a newlywed couple who staged a sex act at a holy site in Rhodes and posted it on social media.
“Personally I found the behaviour of the couple nauseating and their excuses lame.
“In this case a boundary was crossed and a problem caused.
“I think the problem is not just the sex but the unacknowledged sense of entitlement behind it and this is something which many of us have when we go abroad.
“We are irredeemable consumers, assuming the right to capture what grabs us and take it home.
“As it happens I went to Rhodes on holiday this year and visited a church in Lindos near where the couple were married. The church was dedicated to the Panagia, the local title for the Virgin Mary.
“We were scrutinised on arrival and those with bare shoulders or wearing shorts were told to cover up. Then we went down to the church and as our eyes adjusted to the dimness we began to make out vivid coloured frescoes with Biblical scenes on the walls, stretching up to the barrel-vaulted ceiling.
“The quality and the colours were overwhelming and their were unexpected touches – an angel pointing out the star to Wise Men… the baby Jesus being carried on Joseph’s shoulders.
“Without thinking I got out my camera and started taking pictures. Somehow the huge sign saying ‘NO PHOTOGRAPHS’ had not quite registered.
“There was a sense of entitlement you see, without a moment’s reflection I acted as if I had some inalienable right to make these treasures my own, no matter that my desire, perhaps to turn the Wise Men and the star into a really original Christmas card, overrode the local rules, the local sense of propriety – even the needs of the local economy.
“We carry this sense of entitlement, we tourists who can afford to travel. It’s one of our deep-seated sins against our neighbours, breaking the Biblical obligation to love our neighbours as we love ourselves.
“What I did so thoughtlessly wasn’t as embarrassing as the sad sex-posing of the young couple but morally it was just as dubious.
“It shattered the unspoken rules of hospitality just as surely as I would have done if I’d been to a dinner party and quietly raided the wine cellar.
“Such guests are not welcome.”
Don’t worry Angela, we’re sure Rhodes will welcome you back regardless.
That couple on the other hand…