This particular train of thought had an odd start - I was watching Speedy Gonzales cartoons yesterday afternoon at work (it WAS work - supporting a service user, honest guv!) and was slightly baffled for a moment by the disclaimer at the beginning of the DVD which said : "The cartoons you are about to see are products of their time. They may depict some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that were commonplace in American society. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. While the following does not represent the WB (Warner Brothers) view of society, these cartoons are being presented as they were originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as to claim these prejudices never existed".
As I watched the cartoons I laughed heartily. I always enjoyed Glen Michael's Cartoon Cavalcade as a child. But as I watched I was aware that some of the stuff I laughed at quite innocently as a kid in the late 70's/early 80's would not really be stuff anyone would find comfortably amusing today. The assumption of what Mexicans were like apart from heroic Speedy were pretty demeaning. As I thought about it I realised that I've lived through quite a social revolution without really noticing it for much of the time - and certainly not while it was happening. I was born in the year homosexuality was decriminalised in the UK and abortion was legalised. The Race Relations and Equal Opportunities Acts were passed when I was at Primary School. Today, I'm watching a country in which Same Sex marriage will almost certainly be made legal very shortly.
Social revolutions are a bit of a mystery in some ways. They seem to occur when ideas gain a currency and momentum that is irresistible. this comes certainly through campaigning, which looks and sounds lunatic fringe at the beginning but which gradually comes to be the mindset of the majority. Which is kinda what happened with Christianity. The dangerous, socially destabilising fringe Jewish cult that Sanhedrin and procurator alike pursued with the death penalty gradually became mainstream and then majority. Of course, the pendulum of history is gradually swinging again (not that it's ever still) and Christianity is losing it's"establishment" and majority status in the UK. That why the likes of the retired Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey and the like have been railing against the Same Sex marriage legislation at Westminster from the privileged perch in the Lords. They can see Christian influence declining in the counsels of the body politic and they don't like it when the Church's opinion is ignored. Of course, if the Established Church hadn't been so ungracious about Civil Partnerships and positively stupid about the recent Women Bishop's legislation in the last few years, the Body Politic might have been more inclined to listen to them. it's better tuned to the nuances of social evolution then the English House of Bishops.