Alan Turing

Just days ago, I added my name to a petition asking the Government to make some kind of apology on behalf of the mathematician Alan Turing. I’m consequently delighted to see that Gordon Brown has issued just such a statement.

I remember hearing about Alan Turing when I was a young mathematics student. Brilliant, troubled, persecuted, he was one of the people whose skills made a world war end earlier than it otherwise might have done. It is very good to see Gordon Brown make the statement that people hoped for. It helps underline how unacceptable anti-gay prejudice has become in the public sphere in this country and it is most welcome.

It is funny how a statement from a figure with some authority can make a differerence. Gordon Brown is quite right that Alan Turing was judged under the standards of his own time, and equally right to use that to show how far we have come.

I remember a few years ago, when the Anglican Communion stuff was hotting up, that Bishop Idris made a comment at a synod recognising the hard work that gay clergy were doing in the diocese in the face of it all. That little comment meant quite a lot to a number of people who were working incredibly hard to keep both the Diocese and the Province alive.

Have a look at Gordon Brown’s statement. One day, bishops and archbishops will be making similar statements about the persecution of gay people in the church. At the moment, most of our bishops in Scotland seem to think it is helpful to offer their support to gay people merely in private. That dynamic is becoming increasingly unhelpful and there are other, more ugly, words that could be used to describe it, than support.


  1. Elizabeth says

    Hear, hear!

  2. RosemaryHannah says

    Yes, and yes.

    It is always hard to know when to wait for attitudes to change, and when to take firm action. It becomes clearer and clearer to me that the time for patience over the issue of LGBT clergy is well and truly over.

    Meanwhile, old monsters raise newly made-over heads. The BNP becomes ever more respectable. I was seriously informed yesterday by an apparently educated person that were it not for our immigrants, who were bleeding the country dry, Britain would be prosperous and crime free. And most worryingly, legitimate concerns over aspects of traditional Islamic culture turn into a desire to hound Islam itself, which to me raises spectre of our anti-Semitic past.

  3. David |Dah • veed| says

    It is sad that the church(es) actually owe so many people apologies;
    murdered catholics
    murdered protestants
    murdered pagans
    murdered atheists
    sexual minorities
    indigenous cultures world-wide

    It really is too bad that she lost track of the Gospel for so many centuries.

  4. brad evans says

    No, Dah-veed, the really sad thing is that you’re still pretending to talk to people that don’t exist.
    That goes for the woman who keeps appeariing to illegal aliens on tortillas and as cement stains, too.

  5. Andrew says

    An apology is not enough. Turing was one of the greatest scientists of the 20th Century. As well as helping us win the war against the Nazis, he laid the foundations of Computer Science. This should be recognised publicly through statues, street names, festivals, etc.

    I once met Alan Turing’s mother. She did not accept the suicide theory, but maintained that his death was an accident which occurred when he was working in is home chemistry laboratory.


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