I had never heard of gran'pa Skinner, so I immediately consulted that 21st century idiot savant, Google, to find out more about the man who sent me the email.
Apart from learning that he is a Baptist, a retired art teacher and a pathological hater of all things gay, I discovered that he was once quoted on the front page of the Church of England Newspaper as saying that "There is no such thing as homophobia, because there are no such things as homosexuals. Homosexuals are the invention of a German in the 19th century who was a pederast."
My eyebrows practically went into orbit. When they returned safely to base I did some further digging. The "German" Skinner referred to was in fact an Hungarian born in Austria – and there is no evidence that he was either gay or a pederast. Wikipedia tells us that Kertbeny developed an interest in the subject of homosexuality as a result of his close friendship with a young gay man who killed himself after being blackmailed by an extortionist.
Kertbeny put forward the view that homosexuality was inborn and unchangeable, an argument which would later be called the "medical model" of homosexuality. This contradicted the dominant view up to that time that men committed "sodomy" out of mere wickedness. Homosexual men, he said, were not by nature effeminate, and he pointed out that many of the great heroes of history were homosexual.
So, a thoroughly good egg, by all account.
Not so Skinner, whose talent for misrepresentation, hysteria and hyperbole reaches Olympian heights in a piece he penned for the Anglican Mainstream website.
For example: "London Pride is at heart a bacchanalian celebration of high-risk sexual lifestyles for gays. We would be equally concerned if London Pride celebrated 'straight' recreational sex. Gay sex activities damage those who do them, ie gay men. And far from stopping the spread of diseases, national gay 'health' charities like the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) which claim to speak for and to the gay comunity describe, explain and give tips on performing high-risk, illegal types of sex 'safely' (an oxymoron)."
And: "If Tesco insists upon supporting gay groups, then in terms of fairness, it ought to support post-gay groups. One such group [is] CORE Issues led by post-gay Dr Mike Davidson. CORE works with individuals unhappy with their homosexual feelings who want to develop their heterosexual potential. Because of political correctness, these individuals live in a climate of fear; often they cannot afford to 'come out'. However, their wishes and desires are, in our opinion, just as legitimate as those of happily 'out' gay men, and we are able to help many embrace their heterosexual potential."
In his email to me, the hyperventilating nitwit wrote: "Clearly a disturbed minority, aided and abetted by our institutions, like Tesco, are attempting to impose homosexuality on our children. In all these issues I will gladly go to prison rather than remain silent about this evil or have it forced upon me or my family. I want the right to choose what I teach my children and grandchildren – not be forced to teach them about fornication, adultery and sexual perversions. I will not teach this to my grandchildren, nor stand by and agree to someone else doing so, and sincerely hope that are still people left in Britain who think the same way."
Skinner is but a minnow in the UK's shark-tank of gay-baiters. But unlike posturing ninnies like Stephen Green, of Christian Voice, who is also running a "Boycott Tesco" petition, and Alan Craig, of the Christian Peoples Alliance, who caused outrage last month by comparing gays to Nazis, Skinner perfers to keep his head well below the parapet. In short, he is a coward.
There was so little personal information about him on the Internet that I felt compelled to ask him to fill in the blanks. I said in my reply to his missive: "Many thanks for your lengthy and quite hysterical diatribe, which has had me chuckling all afternoon. More importantly, it gave me an idea for a regular feature in an on-line magazine which I am about to launch in December on behalf of The Pink Triangle Trust, the UK's only gay charity. The feature I have in mind is "Know Thine Enemies" and I thought you would be an excellent person to profile in the first issue ...
"I have read quite a lot of your writing, but I have simply been unable to track down a photograph of your good self. I am therefore asking you to send me a high-resolution image, together with a brief biography, including your location (town or city will suffice). I know you are a retired art teacher and a Baptist, but that's all I have so far ascertained.
"Apart from it's chief aim of promoting humanism, atheism and scepticism among the worldwide gay community, as well as educating the public at large about gay issues, The Pink Humanist aims to entertain its readers with amusing accounts of the many lunacies associated with religion, which is why I think you are an ideal choice for the inaugural feature. I look forward to your co-operation in this matter."
No such cooperation was forthcoming, although the old loony did respond with a pathetic attempt at humour: "I am lost for words; no higher honour, except maybe to be chosen as Stonewall's Bigot of the Year, could I imagine in my wildest fancies than to figure in the Pink Pantheon of Aunt Sallys ... A word of warning before you become too emboldened and reckless in your Pink Pride; make sure that if you do find a photograph of David Skinner that it is me and not another that Pink News foolishly posted on its site a couple of years ago."
There a reward of a free annual subscription to the Freethinker magazine – which I also edit – to the first person who sends me a good quality, verifiable mugshot of this gibbering dipstick.