“Michael Coren’s Epiphany is a wonderfully revealing read – an epiphany in itself. The ‘shout line’ as we say in show business is right wing Catholic apologist does 180º switch over same-sex marriage and finds himself despised and excoriated by his coreligionists. It would be tempting for a degenerate atheist like me gloatingly welcome this lost sheep that now is found and to crow about scales falling from eyes. But the honesty of Coren’s soul-searching journey is much more subtle and graduated than that. He emerges as perhaps more faithful and devout a Christian at the book’s close than he was when first we meet him, a convinced, dogmatic believer in all tenets of the Church – most especially and headline-grabbingly – its rulings on gay life and love.
Impressively Coren didn’t change his mind because of any gay feelings of his own, or the coming out of a beloved son or daughter, but purely through an examination of what Christianity might mean by enjoining its followers to love. Sensible people are puzzled by biblical excuses for disallowing same-sex sex partnership or marriage: we have long tired of listing instructions from that book which are much more clear and just as bewilderingly silly (except in terms of outmoded social-anthropological taboo) – diet, clothing, slavery, the necessity for the genital mutilation of male babies especially, which is something of an obsession, harped upon many many more times than the lying of one man with another. We know that it is not only the devil who can quote scripture to his advantage – the Pharisee and Zealot is just as capable – and anyone who believes in moral honesty and clear thinking wants to hear something better than a quotation from St. Paul or Deuteronomy as a reason to deny people of the same gender the right to live and love together.
Michael Coren for many years seems to have believed that obedience (as the Mother of Churches has long taught) is a moral quality and an ethical duty in and of itself. So for many years he not only obeyed, but went to bat for the Vatican on a number of issues, becoming in his native Canada the go-to man for a ready quote on anything from abortion coeducation, from homosexuality to women priests. The moment he examined one weak link, in this case the gay marriage issue, he found the whole chain of obedience seemed to fall apart. But not, crucially his love of Christ and his need to worship, pray and live a life of Christian faith. So he as it were crossed the floor of the house and sat with the Anglicans. Interesting that as I write, the primate and bishops of the Episcopalian Church in the United States have found that their acceptance of same sex marriage has caused their collective wrists to be slapped by His Grace of Canterbury as a rather unconvincing sop to the intolerant African wing of the communion.
The most memorable parts of the book show the quite shocking and vituperative response to Coren’s volte face. In all my years of writing or talking about religion and churches from time to time, I have never received a tithe of the hate-filled vilification that fell on him the moment he made known his change of mind. It is entirely to his credit that Coren was not swerved from his course or moved to give back in frothing, vengeful kind.
I urge anyone interested in the conjunction of faith and free thought to read this engrossing and fascinating book.” –Stephen Fry
“Fearless. Unpredictable. Funny. Never boring. There’s nobody and nothing like Michael Coren in journalism anywhere.” –David Frum
“By turns witty, angry, rueful and moving, Michael Coren’s passionate foray into theology and contemporary society is a hugely valuable contribution to the Church’s rethinking of its approach to sexual morality.” –Rev. Prof. Diarmaid MacCulloch, Professor of the History of the Church in the University of Oxford.
“A thoughtful, humane and honest book that deepens our joy that love is for everyone.” –Canon Mark Oakley, Chancellor, St Paul’s Cathedral, London