Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Catholic Church sways Scottish faithful away from Labour

While the leader of Scotland’s Roman Catholics, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, is away on matters sub-continental, it has fallen to the Archbishop of Glasgow, Mario Conti, to speak on behalf the Caledonian faithful in response to the Government’s decision to impose its anti-gay discrimination regulations upon Catholic adoption agencies. The Archbishop is not one for trivial posturing, and has threatened to instruct priests to use Mass in an attempt to influence the outcome of the elections for the Scottish Parliament in May.

When one considers the meaning of the Mass, the belief in and adoration of the real presence, and the theological centrality of the act of transubstantiation, to use the mesmerism of religious devotion in order to inculcate a political message is appallingly manipulative. This fusion of the religious with the political is certain to endanger Labour’s electoral hopes. They are already trailing in the polls, and are likely to lose control of the 129-member parliament to the Scottish Nationalists, who have now made a pledge to exempt Catholic adoption agencies from the Government’s legislation.

Now that David Cameron has come down in agreement with the Government (albeit accompanied by a free vote), there is little likelihood that the Scottish Conservatives will emit any pro-gay-discrimination utterances in favour of the church, so the SNP has become the last refuge of Scotland’s Roman Catholics.

This is quite convenient, considering Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s recent pronouncements in favour of Scottish secession from the Union. By directing the faithful towards nationalism, the Roman Catholic Church is making a politically aggressive manoeuvre towards the break-up of the United Kingdom. Such actions undermine the Throne, move to deprive Her Majesty of her title to the Crown of the United Kingdom, and are an affront to her dignity and privilege. Pope Pius V must be jubilant.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Bolton bans Holocaust Memorial Day

The European Commission is supporting a German proposal to push through new rules which would make denying the Holocaust a crime all over the European Union. Yet while the EU moves towards a union-wide prohibition, there is already a corner of this blessed plot where mention of it is being - how shall Cranmer put it - ‘discouraged’?

Bolton Council has replaced Holocaust Memorial Day with Genocide Memorial Day, which is the stated policy of the Muslim Council of Britain. This is to ensure the inclusion of other human tragedies in the world, but in particular ‘the genocide of Palestinians by the Israelis’.

If one happens to be a Jew in Bolton, or a Christian, or kaffir generally, your views have not been sought, and your opinions are not required. Mohammedan pressure demanded a change, so a change was wrought. The council said the decision was made ‘in consultation with the town's Interfaith Council’, but Rabbi Joseph Lever, who has participated in the Bolton event in previous years, was not consulted on the decision, and he ‘mourns’ its eradication. Louis Rapaport, president of the Jewish Representative Council of Greater Manchester, has stated unequivocally that the Jewish community was not consulted. He said: ‘I can't help feeling the decision was influenced by Bolton's large Muslim community’.

The Dar al-Islam does not recognise any ‘interfaith council’, and neither does it recognise the Jewish holocaust. Its truth is immutable, and its history inviolable. Anything which does not accord with its politico-theology is purged: if necessary, gradually, but certainly most thoroughly. When a battle has been won in the Dar al-Harb, the territory belongs to the Dar al-Islam. There may be no reversion without Jihad, and Jihad will be waged until there is victory.

Bolton has just ended commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day for ever.

Cranmer asks his communicants to forgive a little mischievous thought… But might it not be a lesser evil to support the European Commission’s proposals to outlaw holocaust denial, just to see how they handle the millions of holocaust-denying Mohammedans all over the EU?

Or might the Mohammedans seek and be awarded exemption from such a law…

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Big Brother’s ‘racism’ and Undercover Mosque’s ‘homophobia’

Quite a few of Cranmer’s communicants have expressed disappointment that he did not comment on the C4 Dispatches programme ‘Undercover Mosque’. A few also sought his opinion on Big Brother and the allegations of racism. With due respect to the sensitivies of animal rights activists, he shall endeavour to euthenise two avian creatures with one lapillus.

In truth, His Grace does not watch Big Brother. It is a programme for the socially inept and mentally challenged, who are transfixed by the ignorance and hysteria of largely unknown social misfits who consider themselves to be of a certain celebrity status, and who desire entertainment on the lowest possible cerebral plane possible: that of the amoeba. However, its consequences are a little harder to avoid. When the entire nation is judged to be bigoted, intolerant and racist, simply because one girl with a single brain cell makes some comments which are totally consistent with her intellectual capacity, it is a sign that the world has gone mad.

The Prime Minister and the Prime-Minister-in-waiting were both drawn into the national breast beating, and the Chancellor was obliged to respond to India with an apology on the Government’s behalf. Absurd. His Grace is of the opinion that if C4 is intent on making the Jade Goody’s of this world famous, it should hardly be surprised if she opens her very large mouth and occasionally puts several feet in it. That this should then involve the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer is indicative of the very sorry state of national and international politics.

‘Undercover Mosque’, however, was quite a different matter. The essential discovery was that ‘moderate’ mosques, praised by the Prime Minister for the multi-faith tolerance, invited respected imams who preached that homosexuals should be killed, that Mohammed’s example of being betrothed to a 9-year-old should be emulated, that women are deficient and should be beaten, as should all girls who do not wear the hijab, and lastly, that Islam should take over the UK by forming a state-within-a-state, and run it under Shari’a law whilst waging Jihad against the infidels. The transcript may be found here.

Of course, not all Mohammedans accord with the Wahhabi doctrine, and many would assert that members of this sect are not ‘true Muslims’. It is, however, time for Mohammedans to take responsibility for what is preached in their name. If they don't like the way they are portrayed in the media, they should expel the imams who preach intolerance. In response to the news that a British Mohammedan solider was killed fighting the Taliban, one imam declares: “The hero of Islam is the one who separated his head from his shoulders.” Another speaker says Muslims cannot accept the rule of non-Muslims: “You cannot accept the rule of the kaffir.”

And, please, Cranmer does not want a barrage of emails insisting that comments were ‘taken out of context. Communicants may observe excerpts here, and he himself heard one imam say: "Allah has created the woman deficient, her intellect is incomplete," and "By the age of 10, if she doesn't wear hijab, we hit her." There is no context which would render such comments acceptable.

Cranmer would like his communicants to consider two points. Firstly, it appears that HM Constabulory has not yet investigated the comments of these imams, nor visited the mosques. It seems, however, that Miss Goody is already being questioned by the police. One wonders if they are afraid of appearing ‘institutionally racist’? But secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the Government involved itself very publicly with the alleged racism of Big Brother, but has said not a word about the bile that is being preached in these mosques. One wonders why...

Saturday, January 27, 2007

German minister says niqab is antithetical to EU values

While Buckinghamshire County Council abandons Wycombe High School to fend for itself in its dispute over a pupil who is asserting her ‘right’ to wear a niqab, Germany is following France in an onslaught against religious symbols which are deemed antithetical to the Enlightenment values of the European Union.

According to Wolfgang Schaeuble, the interior minister of the German EU presidency, ‘the full veil runs contrary to the achievements of the European civilization’. He is kind enough to say that it should be for member states to make up their own minds on the wearing of full-face veils, but he asserts unequivocally that ‘the practice runs against European values’. Apparently, EU citizens have a new ‘responsibility’ (though quite where this is written eludes Cranmer). Mr Schaeuble argued: ‘Communication is viewed as one of the responsibilities of European citizens and the full veils as worn by some Muslim women prevent this.’ While Cranmer agrees with the Minister on his conclusion, his persuasion is profoundly flawed. Do EU citizens no longer have the right to not communicate?

Religious symbols in schools are forbidden by law in France and Turkey, and the Dutch government has also recently adopted a proposal to ban Muslim women from wearing the burqa in public places. While the United Kingdom dithers, the practice is being randomly accommodated hither and thither, making eventual prohibition all the more politically unattainable (if, indeed, it were desirable). The wonder in this case is that a Conservative-led county council is not supporting a head and governors on a matter of school uniform policy. The silence of the Conservative Party on this, and also on the Church-State issue below, is simply the result of HM Opposition being so afraid of saying the wrong thing, it is no longer prepared to say what is right; for fear of offending and alienating one group, it no longer prepared to defend the liberties of the other. Compassionate conservatism is all well and good, until compassion begins to supplant justice. A Conservative Party which ceases to pursue justice on behalf of individuals or groups is not remotely likely to pursue it on behalf of the nation.

He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Catholic Church blackmails Government

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster (and Cranmer notes far too many media outlets simply referring to him as ‘the Archbishop of Westminster’…), has written to every member of the Cabinet asking them to exempt Catholic adoption agencies from their imminent Sexual Orientation Regulations which will outlaw discrimination on the grounds of sexuality in the provision of ‘services’. It seems that the closet-Catholic PM and the representative of Opus Dei to HM Government are one side, and the rest of the Cabinet on the ‘anti-discrimination’ other.

Since the orthodox teaching of the Church is that marriage is monogamous and heterosexual, the Cardinal has said that its adoption agencies ‘would not be able to recruit and consider homosexual couples as potential adoptive parents’. To be obliged to do so would be ‘unreasonable, unnecessary, and unjust discrimination against Catholics’, and he has threatened the Government with the closure of his adoption agencies if they are obliged to conform to the law.

Cranmer has some sympathy with this whole ‘competing rights’ argument, but in the Anglican Church, the policy is to place children with couples or individuals who are assessed according to their suitability and to the needs of the child. There are 4000 children in Britain awaiting adoptive parents, loving families, somewhere they can feel secure and call ‘home’. While the traditional family unit is being challenged on all fronts, it is not for the Church – any denomination – to assert a blanket ban upon any human being in the provision of social service. The world is broken; marriages fail; all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and love can abound in the most surprising of places. If the Roman Catholic Church is only prepared to entertain couples as potential adoptive parents provided they are heterosexual, it begs the question as to how it pastors its own single parents, who manifestly fall short of its marital ideal.

Cranmer asks his communicants to consider that the Catholic Adoption Agency has conformed to race relations law without any problem; it has happily been placing needy children with married couples of manifold faiths. Cranmer wonders which is the lesser evil here. If the Roman Catholic Church is so prioritising the needs of the child, why is it prepared to place vulnerable children with heterosexual Muslims (a faith about which the Cardinal has already expressed a certain disquiet), but not homosexual Christians?

Monday, January 22, 2007

British Government agrees to illegal EU laws

According to The Telegraph, this ‘whiter than white’ Labour government signs up to new EU laws even though they may be illegal. Geoff Hoon, the Europe Minister, explains that this is because the practice somehow gives the UK a ‘trade-off’ in future EU negotiations.

So now we know why the Government is not overly bothered by years and years of un-audited accounts, billions of euros disappearing through fraud and mis-management, or the morass of constitutional confusion their whole EU policy is producing. Now we know why the Government is balkanising Britain into Euro-regions and imposing EU-style unaccountable bureaucracies rendering county councils increasingly impotent. Now we know why whatever emanates from Brussels, however it may hinder the UK’s competitiveness in the world, it is embraced wholeheartedly by this discredited, incompetent, hypocritical government.

It is simply that agreeing to potentially illegal laws and shady deals is ‘in the public interest’. By doing so European business can be done ‘expeditiously’, and it ‘demonstrates a willingness to be flexible on one proposal so as to support the Government's negotiation position on others’.

So, that’s alright then.

It is good to know that their motives are purer than pure.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Irish Primate-elect calls for abolition of the Act of Settlement

He is not yet installed in his post, yet already Bishop Alan Harper, who is to succeed Dr Robin Eames as leader of the Anglican Church in Ireland, is demanding that the ban on Catholics becoming or marrying the Monarch should be abolished. He also calls for the disestablishment of the Church of England, declaring that we would ‘not only get over, but would be the better for it’.

Quite a few of Cranmer’s communicants have emailed him this story, and he has turned to their blogs to observe the ensuing discussion. Opinion invariably falls into two camps: the outdated anachronism camp, and the constitutional traditionalist camp. Whilst acknowledging the undoubted theological validity of both of these perspectives, Cranmer wishes to highlight the problems and legislative nightmare which would ensue, and thereby enlighten his communicants of the sheer practical impossibility of repealing the Act of Settlement 1701. This may be termed the politically pragmatic camp.

Our forebears made the Protestant Constitution so watertight as to be virtually impossible to undo; indeed, one clause declares that the terms of the Settlement are ‘for ever’. Repeal of this Act would demand the consequent repeal of nine further Acts, including the Bill of Rights (1688), the Coronation Oaths Act (1688), the Crown in Parliament Act (1689), the Act of Union (1707), and the Royal Marriages Act (1772). On top of this, fifteen Commonwealth countries of which the British Monarch is also Head of State would also have to enact similar legislation, committing them to months of legislative scrutiny on the implications of repeal for their own constitutions. Even with minimal opposition (and this should not be taken for granted), the parliamentary time involved over the entire British Commonwealth would be colossal. In the UK alone it has been estimated that it could dominate an entire parliamentary year – around a quarter of a government’s legislative programme.

What government is going to suspend all of its manifesto commitments on such bread-and-butter issues as health or education while it navel-gazes for a whole year on what is considered an issue of such microscopic unimportance to 99% of the British people?

Cranmer prophesies that this Act will not be repealed. Amendment, however, is an entirely different matter altogether…

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Niqabs in schools

Mr Iain Dale has an interesting exclusive today concerning a Muslim girl asserting her right to wear a niqab at school. The head teacher of Wycombe High School, Jane Wainwright, has threatened the child with exclusion if she insists on wearing her niqab, which is deemed inconsistent with school uniform policy. The school permits the hijab, and is not therefore discriminating against Islam, or being what some may term ‘racist’.

For some reason, Buckinghamshire County Council is not supporting the head teacher in her actions.

Cranmer is unsure how this differs from a previous case which went to litigation. In the case of Begum v Head Teacher and Governors of Denbigh High School, Begum lost in the House of Lords. Muslim students may wear a hijab, but a school is within its rights to prohibit the niqab.

But Cranmer would like to know, with the present threats to national security, if it is in any way sensible to have masked and unidentifiable people walking around a school. There could be anything from a bomb to a paedophile lurking beneath a thick black sheet…

And how does a teacher actually know that they are in fact teaching the student they think they are?

How is a teacher meant to ‘read’ the facial expressions of students which communicate so much to a teacher of a child’s comprehension (or lack of it).

And during exams, how do staff know that it is indeed the student sitting the papers?

Is all this common sense beyond the wit of Buckinghamshire County Council?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The EU Constitution is ‘Europe’s soul’

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has discovered the messianic mission of her EU presidency – a quest to find Europe's soul. She is determined to breathe life into the dead dormant document, declaring: ‘We must give Europe a soul. We have to find the soul of Europe.’

This was a favoured theme of Pope John Paul II, and for a politician to make the demand fuses the EU temporal with the EU spiritual. There already exists an official EU body called ‘A Soul for Europe’, composed of Roman Catholic ecumenical representatives who dispense millions of euros to religious organisations in quasi-spiritual pursuits whose objective is to persuade the ignorant laity that the EU is indeed divinely inspired. It is so important that it operates directly from the office of the President of the European Commission, and its job is to administer what our overlords call the ‘faith-sector of civil society’.

Chancellor Merkel is supported by Hans-Gert Pöttering, and Jose Manuel Barroso, who states: ‘We need the settlement to clear the clouds of doubt which hang over parts of Europe.’ Once again, the language is pseudo-religious: without a constitution, the people perish.

To fail to recognise the Chancellor’s calling would be ‘a historic failure’, she told the European parliament. Significantly, she rejects utterly any further public consultation ‘because it has already taken place’. She may conveniently have chosen to forget the outcome of those consultations, but effectively the assertion is that plebiscites needn’t happen because we’ve had them…

She may awake from her delusions, or she may not. If she fails to respond to British diplomacy, and insists on asserting her Germanic divine right, it will once again be for the United Kingdom to save Europe from itself.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

It’s official: God is off the EU agenda

The forces of secularism seem to have prevailed, now that the new president of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Poettering, has declared that he ‘will no longer press for a reference to God in the revised EU constitution’. Boris Johnson’s revived Roman Empire is not once again to be ‘Holy’ in any sense,

The ditching of God is, of course, always a concern, but so is the implicit declaration here that there is a ‘revised EU constitution’. This comes as no surprise to Cranmer; it is typical of the EU modus operandi that the people would be consulted and their voice completely ignored. Instead of a focus on the EU’s ‘Christian roots’, the key priority now will be ‘dialogue between cultures’, ie, between Christianity and Islam.

Cranmer reported last year on Chancellor Merkel’s visit to the Pope, and her desire to revisit the God clause in a re-drafted constitution. She said: ‘We need a European identity in the form of a constitutional treaty and I think it should be connected to Christianity and God, as Christianity has forged Europe in a decisive way.’ Poettering was asked by journalists if he would press for a reference to God or Christianity to be introduced in a new version of the EU constitution, and he responded: ‘As a president, I can't do it… As chairman of the EPP-ED group in the European Parliament, I favoured the mentioning of Christian values in a constitution but now I have to represent a majority position.’

Is this really now the function of a politician, to ‘represent a majority position’ on every facet of existence? Is there no leadership, no swimming against the tide, no confrontation with the spirit of the age? The ‘majority position’ within the EU is to sustain the erosion of a sense of nationhood, and an assessment of the history of Christianity illustrates why the EU should seek to marginalise the faith. Christianity amounts to a system of beliefs and values at the centre of which is a belief in God. Outwardly, this is demonstrated in worship and denominational adherence, but there remains a uniformity of syncretism which has permitted these denominations to develop particular characteristics in accordance with prevailing custom and national culture. A central feature of Christianity has been its association, to a lesser or greater degree, with national culture, and to a lesser or greater degree, with the national spirit.

In the United Kingdom, the Church developed in tandem with national institutions, becoming part of the body politic, playing an active role in government - a position which is enshrined in various constitutional acts, sustained to this day. To weaken or eradicate the role of the national church is to undermine the system of government and lessen the identity of the nation state. Since the signing of the Treaty of Rome, the concept of human rights has become central to Community law, covering virtually every area allegedly vulnerable to so-called discrimination. Such a humanist (in the modern sense) agenda is fundamentally antithetical to any notion of Christian values, and (since Community law is supreme) it must necessarily override national traditions and moral values. The unequivocal support which both the Roman Catholic and the Church of England have given the EU now appears somewhat misguided.

By EU rules, Christian teaching in so many areas is discriminatory; indeed, the very foundation of the UK’s Protestant settlement is fundamentally so. There may be a temporary derogation, but ultimately there may not be coexistence with the EU’s Marxist programme of soviet uniformity.

So ‘God’ is out. But Cranmer wonders if The Almighty was ever consulted on whether or not he wanted any mention in the ‘Constitution for Europe’ in the first place. What, after all, hath Jerusalem to do with Brussels?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Act of Union 1707 – ‘an act for securing of the Protestant religion’

Today is the tercentenary of the signing of the Act of Union 1707, which united the parliaments of England and Scotland, cementing the union of crowns from a century before. The Act had effect from May 1st of that year. It is easy to forget, in an age where religion has to be of the ecumenical, multi-faith, whatever-you-believe-is-true genre, that this Act was a radical and revolutionary document in its day, the effects of which were to place the religion of the United Kingdom at the centre of world affairs.

Out of sensitivity to the Scottish Nationalists, and also to Cardinal Keith O’Brien, neither the United Kingdom Parliament nor the Scottish Executive intend to do much by way of commemoration of this anniversary. Gordon Brown has announced that a new £2 coin will be issued next year to mark the event, but that (for some reason) is a year late.

Of course one is under no obligation to agree with the Act of Union 1707, but every British citizen ought to know why it should be commemorated. It is of intrinsic historical importance to the contemporary lives of the British people because it reiterated so many of the stipulations of the Act of Settlement 1701, which helped to secure religious liberty, and laid the foundations for three centuries of (for the most part) peace and safety in the realm.

The religious settlement was crucial to the Act, and remains so to this day:

…and it being reasonable and necessary that the true Protestant religion, as presently professed within this kingdom, with the worship, discipline, and government of this church, should be effectually and unalterably secured: therefore Her Majesty, with advice and consent of the said Estates of Parliament, does hereby establish and confirm the said true Protestant religion, and the worship, discipline, and government of this church, to continue without any alteration to the people of this land in all succeeding generations.

…And further, Her Majesty, with advice aforesaid, expressly declares and statutes, That none of the subjects of this kingdom shall be liable to, but all and every one of them forever free of any oath, test or subscription within this kingdom, contrary to, or inconsistent with the aforesaid true Protestant religion and Presbyterian church government, worship, and discipline, as above established; and that the same within the bounds of this church and kingdom, shall never be imposed upon, or required of them, in any sort.

...and whereas it is reasonable and necessary that the true Protestant religion professed and established by law in the Church of England and the doctrine, worship, discipline and government thereof should be effectually and unalterably secured, be it enacted . . . that an act made in the thirteenth year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth of famous memory intituled, An act for the ministers of the Church to be of sound religion, and also another act made in the thirteenth year of the reign of the late King Charles II intituled, An act for the uniformity of the public prayers and administration of sacraments and other rites and ceremonies, and for establishing the form of making, ordaining and consecrating bishops, priests and deacons in the Church of England (other that such clauses in the said acts or either of them as have been repealed or altered by any subsequent act or acts of Parliament), and all and singular other acts of Parliament now in force for the establishment and preservation of the Church of England and the doctrine, worship, discipline and government thereof shall remain and be in full force for ever.

So why is the Archbishop of Canterbury permitting the Sacrifice of the Mass to be held in Canterbury Cathedral, and said in Latin? Has he not read the demand for the ‘preservation of the Church of England and the doctrine, worship, discipline and government thereof’?

And did it not state ‘for ever’?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Gordon Brown may not give the UK a referendum on the ‘Constitution for Europe’

According to the FT, regime change in the UK and the coronation of a new king is just as unlikely to give the British people a referendum on the EU Constitution. According to Geoff Hoon, the ‘Minister for Europe’, Mr Brown is under no constitutional requirement to hold a referendum on ‘detailed processes’ of the European Union.

He cites, of course, the bleak reality that no previous government has held a referendum on the ‘detailed processes’ which have all effectively been mini-treaty amendments to the Treaty of Rome. The reality is that, while France and the Netherlands have failed to ratify the Constitution, some 18 other member states have managed to do so. Mr Hoon refers to the ‘important politics’ in those member-states that have ratified the treaty and this should be recognised.

In the ‘third way’, all-things-to-all-people politics of New Labour, a way has to be found of facing both directions at once: ‘We have got to find a way forward that respects both the obvious problem of those countries that have held a referendum where it has failed, but equally acknowledges that some countries have held a referendum and succeeded. That is an important context. We tend to see it solely from the perspective of a country that has not ratified. But trying to find a solution involves countries that have as well.’

We have already seen cabinet ministers voting for cuts in the NHS, then defending their endangered A&E services within their constituencies; and secretaries of state who preach comprehensive education for all, yet send their own children to selective and private schools. How long will the British people remain blind to this?

The Lord may well say to them: ‘You hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.’

Is it remotely possible that the British people will simply roll over and silently accept a politically foreign and philosophically alien constitution which rides roughshod over centuries of English and British tradition?

Who will deliver us from this evil?

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Catholic Mayor bans prayer

The Roman Catholic Mayor of Totnes, Devon, has ended 600 years of Christian tradition by banning prayer from council meetings. The reason given, as ever, is to minimise offence to other religions. Which group had been complaining?


Cranmer is not remotely hung up on the issue of compulsory prayers in the sphere of temporal government, but he is most exercised when official gatherings, which have traditionally been preceded or succeeded by Christian prayer, suddenly cease to be so out of ‘sensitivity’ to Britain’s ‘multi-faith’ population, especially when none is complaining. Before long, there will be a demand to end the tradition of prayer in the Houses of Parliament, after which MPs will cease to acknowledge and authority greater than theirs (if they haven’t ceased already).

Mayor Prudence Boswell, 64, has ordered the prayers for guidance and the Lord’s prayer be replaced with a ‘quiet moment of reflection’. That this demand should come from a practising Roman Catholic beggars belief. The clergy of all denominations have been told that their services are no longer required.

Prayers for the community, and supplications to God that councillors would serve with wisdom, are replaced with a Buddhist notion of meditation, in order that councillors may ‘think quietly in their own way’. It seems to Cranmer that the propensity of politicians to think ‘in their own way’ rather than in God’s way is a manifest cause of the state we’re in. Mayor Boswell added: ‘We did have a Buddhist member a few years ago. I am sure we probably have had non-believers, but I would not know who - it’s not my business.’

Indeed it is not. And neither should it be within the authority of a fickle, self-important, here-today-gone-tomorrow mayor to terminate six centuries of Christian tradition.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Demands for a Muslim Health Service

The BBC has a revealing title for one of its news stories today, this being ‘Call for faith-based NHS services’. The interesting thing is that the faith referred to throughout is exclusively Islam. No other faith is demanding apartheid in the UK’s provision of health services, but the BBC dare not single out Islam. The Sun, however, doesn’t seem too bothered.

Apparently, the NHS should provide more faith-based care for Muslims because ‘Muslims are about twice as likely to report poor health and disability than the general population’. The BBC states this, without providing the scientific explanation for the fact, doubtless because it does not wish to offend, cause riots, or have any of its staff murdered.

According to Edinburgh University's Professor Aziz Sheikh, Muslims are ‘predominantly congregated in the inner city slums, have the lowest household income, poorest educational attainment, and highest unemployment and experience more poverty than any other faith community’.

The disproportionate ‘poor health’ and ‘disability’ among Muslims is also a genetic manifestation resulting from strict adherence to Shari’a stipulations. The socio-political demand for marriages between close relations diminishes the gene pool, with all the consequent health problems that this produces. The inheritors of the Judeo-Christian ethic of who should and should not marry are now subsidising those who repudiate the ethical and biological principles of these regulations. Muslims, it seems, now want a Muslim Health Service within the NHS, with its focus on the particular sensitivities of its religio-political worldview.

The immediate demands are for male circumcision, non-alcoholic medicines and disinfectants, and the eradication of anything porcine. They also request a strict segregation of sexes, with the right to be treated by or operated upon by a clinician of the same gender. In addition, Muslims ‘should be given better access to prayer facilities and advice over how they should modify their treatment for chronic conditions during Ramadan’. Some NHS trusts already have ‘multi-faith’ prayer rooms, which are predominantly organised to accommodate Muslim sensitivities.

And the irony? While the NHS has been rigorously cleansing its temple of Christian symbols, Gideon’s Bibles, and Christian chapels, ‘for fear of offending ethnic minorities’, those same minorities are now simply moving to fill the spiritual void.

Cranmer wonders how a hospital for Jehovah’s Witnesses would be sensitive to their repudiation of blood transfusion, or a hospital for African Muslims would be sensitive to their demands for female circumcision. Since the state has not even defined ‘faith’ or ‘religion’, Cranmer foresees an NHS which has nothing to do with the provision of health care according to clinical need, and everything to do with form-filling and data-gathering to ensure adherence to the plethora of faith-healing religious observances which now permeate the land.

If any of Cranmer’s communicants are aware of the healthcare sensitivities of the Jedi Knight fraternity, he would be most appreciative of the information. At the very least, the question of receiving treatment on Yoda’s birthday is in urgent need of deliberation.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

No 10 and the Ministry of Patronisation

Along with the notion of rule by divine right, pledged to govern ‘whiter than white’, goes the self-aggrandising presumption that one is necessarily the fount of all knowledge and wisdom, if only because God put one there. In a democracy, the governed are not merely an electoral inconvenience; they simply just don’t know as much as they ought. In short, they are thick.

Or at least that is the inference one may draw from the No 10 website. It has a ‘jargon buster ’, that is to say, for each press notice comes a patronising helpful explanation of the vocabulary deployed. In clear and plain Year 9 language, it states: ‘The glossary below can help you understand some of the terms’. Such terms include the definition of a Bishopric, which (not unsurprisingly) is defined as ‘the office of bishop’.

The presupposition must be that we lesser mortals of inferior intelligence are incapable of deducing this for ourselves. There is no lesson differentiation, no notion of ‘personalised learning’, no recognition of the ‘gifted and talented’: all are placed at the lowest level of attainment in comprehension and linguistic ability.

Or is it simply that, after a decade of education, education, education, the Government acknowledges that no-one knows how to use a dictionary?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

It’s official - MPs are ignorant of the relationship between religion and politics

According to The Sunday Times, ‘MPs don’t know their Sunnis from Shi’ites’. This comes as no surprise at all to Cranmer, who would go even further and assert that MPs are just as ignorant of the differences between Protestants and Roman Catholics – ‘everybody is simply Christian, and the differences do not matter’…except in Northern Ireland, or parts of Scotland…

Most MPs are so focused on the superficial that they rarely think about what lies beneath. This is important, not least because the chairman of the Conservative Party’s international office and its human rights commission is also a member of the all- party parliamentary Friends of Islam group. He is but one senior figure who is ignorant of the theological differences which shape the Arab-Muslim world.

The days when philosophers of the calibre of John Stuart Mill entered the House of Commons are long gone. It is no longer one’s intellect or experience of life which is of primary consideration, but (if notice is to be taken of the Conservative Party's selection procedure) it is more a matter of one’s gender, skin colour, or sexuality. Indeed, apart from accountancy and law, the Conservative Party has no particular predilection for any profession. If one is female or brown, or disabled and gay, one’s profession, intellect, life experience, (and even Party membership or political philosophy) are quite immaterial. By focusing candidate selection now on diversifying gender, skin colour, and sexuality, there is no attention being paid to social or academic diversification, which may be deemed more justifiable criteria for selection.

Should the Conservative Party ever find itself returned to power, Cranmer hopes indeed that they may find on their green benches a one-legged lesbian Muslim who also happens to be an expert in economics, defence, education, health, or any other department of state. It is concerning indeed that those who may govern us in the future are being installed now, solely because they possess a vagina, wear a turban, worship Allah, or have sex with their own gender. The cerebrum has ceased to have much significance ar all.

When it comes to knowledge of the world, one would expect those who govern us, or those who aspire to govern us, to be well versed and widely read. Questions around Islam relate to matters that are going to be central to British foreign policy over the coming decades. It is inconceivable that political decisions on war and peace, on life and death, should be made by people ignorant of the theology that gives life to the politics. Indeed, until one understands the theology, one cannot even begin to understand the politics.

Cranmer spent many years studying theology and philosophy, and grasped the religio-political fusion decades ago. The one gap in his knowledge is the difference between the Judean People's Front, and the People's Front of Judea. If any of his communicants can elucidate...

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The follies of educational dogmatism

Cranmer’s readers may well expect today some focus on the corruption in the Catholic Church - with an aspiring cardinal revealed to be a former Communist spy; or the fears of the Archbishop of Canterbury - that he may preside over schism in the Anglican Communion. Whilst he does not wish to disappoint his regular communicants, he feels drawn to circulate more widely the revelation that a Cabinet Minister has chosen to send his/her child to a private school, costing £15,000 per annum.

The identity of the minister is a mystery – he/she not revealed in The Sunday Times, except to say that he/she ‘used to be a key part of Tony Blair’s education team’.
UPDATE Mon 8 Jan
It is revealed that the minister in question is none other than the representative of Opus Dei to Her Majesty's Government, Ruth Kelly.

Of course, the child, a dyslexic, has every right to remain anonymous, but not so the hypocritical minister who preaches one dogma whilst practising another – simply because she can afford to.

Labour has closed 117 special needs schools since 1997, insisting that all should be educated in mainstream schools. This has had the unintended effect of forcing schools to find £100,000s for infrastructure improvements and specialist staff to cater for the plethora of divergent needs that these children have, not to mention the adverse effect some special needs children may also have on the education of others.

It is also a little irritating that this minister has not sent her child to a special needs school within the catchment area of the London borough in which she lives, but to a rather more pleasant school in the home counties. It is reported to possess ‘extensive grounds, including a heated swimming pool, and also offers riding and golf’. It teaches just 60 students, offering an enviable student-teacher ratio. So why do our dyslexic children (and those with Asperger's or Tourette's - the list is vast) have to be educated in mainstream schools, while the minister's child enjoys the best that money can buy?

Mr Blair’s 10-year focus on ‘Education, Education, Education’ has manifestly failed to deliver, at least to the satisfaction of Ruth Kelly. But then, she is simply following the example of the Prime Minister himself, who sent his own children to a grant-maintained, selective, Catholic school. Harriet Harman also sent one of her children there, and another to a selective grammar school in Bromley; and the left-wing MP Diane Abbott sent her son to the fee-paying City of London school. When one adds the names Paul Boateng, Lord Falconer, and Baroness Symons to the list, one may very justifiably ask why politicians only become aware of the absurdities and inadequacies of their educational dogmatism when the practical outworking begins to directly affect them.

So why, O why, is Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition embracing such dogma, opposing the introduction of new grammar schools? They have been a formidable engine of social mobility, and a manifest educational success story. Doubtless Mr Cameron’s policy will endure just as long as his own children are of the age they are, and not directly affected. In the meantime, we ordinary folk simply have to put up with the system, and pray for our politicians to be more empathetic of the trials and tribulations they inflict upon us.

Philosophical dogma is only worth spouting when the political consequence is good. That must be the universal aim of all human ethical activity, and it must begin with education, since reasoning is a distinctive human capacity. A life lived according to reason, and aimed at virtue, results in the happiness that comes from fulfilling one's purpose in life. Why should any deficient educational dogma be permitted to interfere with that noble pursuit?

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Christian students in legal battle

Cranmer drew the attention of his readers to the plight of Christians in a number of universities a few months ago, noting that little has changed since believers were warned by the Lord that they would be persecuted for righteousness’ sake. There has apparently been no internal resolution of the grievance of Evangelical Christian Union at Exeter University, which has been suspended from membership of the Guild of Students, and had its bank account frozen. They have therefore decided to embark on the lengthy and expensive litigious route. It is now for a judge to decide whether or not theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

According to the BBC, this is the first case of religious discrimination to go to law in the education world. Cranmer finds their memory faulty, recalling the relatively recent case brought by a Muslim girl against her school over its uniform policy which was deemed to hinder her freedom to express her religion. The judgement went in the girl’s favour, though the ruling was not at all clear in what should be expected of schools. It states that schools have a right to uniform policies, but also that students have a right to disregard them.

The judgement in the case of the Exeter Martyrs could be ground-breaking. If there were to be a full judicial review, they are likely to refer to Section 13 of the Human Rights Act which specifically protects religious organisations, permitting them to believe and practise as their orthodoxy demands. Yet the Act also demands equality of access to such clubs by those who may not believe in or adhere to such orthodoxy; one may no longer discriminate on the grounds of gender, sexuality, or religious belief. And yet alongside the prohibition of discrimination is the defence of freedom of thought, conscience and religion, the freedom of expression, and the freedom of assembly and association. For a Christian Union - indeed, for any Christian group - the regulations of koinonia (communion, coming together, fellowship) are determined by Scripture, and the believer is exhorted to examine his or her own heart in the participation thereof. If koinonia be in any sense assembly or association, it must be permitted the freedom to manifest itself in accordance with Christian teachings and traditions.

It is therefore highly significant that a Court will be faced with a clash of competing equalities, and will be asked to determine which group is the more equal. It is inconceivable to Cranmer that a Christian group will be forced to permit those who lead it to be deviant from its doctrinal statement of faith. The demand is no different from a Christian minister having to subscribe to the orthodoxy of the Nicene Creed. Atheists are not (yet) queuing up to be ministers of religion, but the courts are not likely to force churches to permit them to lead their organisations.

Cranmer has two final thoughts:

Firstly, unless the Guild of Students ceases the harassment of Christians and the hindrance of their freedom of association, they should be referred to the Charities Commission.

Secondly, it might be considered that the CU is possibly the only organisation on campus that exists primarily for the benefit of its non-members…

Friday, January 05, 2007

British Muslim found guilty of soliciting murder

Cranmer is relieved to hear that the young Muslim photographed and filmed in London during the protests against cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad has been found guilty at the Old Bailey of soliciting murder. He was also convicted of using words likely to stir up racial hatred.

Umran Javed had chanted ‘Bomb, bomb Denmark, bomb, bomb USA’, but insisted in court that this was ‘just a slogan’, and he ‘didn’t mean it’.

The verdict comes as a relief, if only because it reinforces the principle of equality under the law. It has been the recent perception of many that there is one law for Christians, and another for the minority faiths. If Muslims were permitted to incite murder because Jihad demands it, and then to assert that Jihad is above the laws of England, we would eventually live in a nation with two antithetical codes of law. This is not the path we should pursue, and no appeal to postmodern relativism or pluralism should be permitted to subjugate the nation’s foundational Judeo-Christian laws and culture to those of foreign gods.

EU: ‘Accept same-sex marriage or face expulsion’

Cranmer is indebted to his communicant Mr Voyager for bringing his attention to this most interesting report from the Catholic World News. The EU’s justice minister, Franco Frattini, who is by all accounts a Freemason, has announced that EU member states ‘which do not eliminate all forms of discrimination against homosexuals, including the refusal to approve “marriage” and unions between same-sex couples, would be subject to sanctions and eventual expulsion from the EU’.

What sanctions, precisely? And by what authority? Cranmer is less than clear of the role played by homosexual marriage in the functioning of the single market.

It is ironic that Frattini, who was elected EU commissioner after the EU parliament rejected the nomination of the Catholic intellectual Rocco Buttiglione, is free to impose his Masonic amorality upon us all, while Buttiglione was rejected because of his Catholic worldview and support of the traditional family.

However, the demand is that the United Kingdom conform, or be expelled from the EU.

O, please, God, please…

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Christian lawyers petition the Queen

A group of Christian lawyers is to petition the Queen over the regulations to which Cranmer referred below, which will outlaw discrimination against homosexuals. The members of the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship are asking the Supreme Governor of the Church of England to raise their concerns with the Prime Minister. While Her Majesty is not about to refuse consent to an Act of Parliament, and thus precipitate a constitutional crisis, she does retain and is known to occasionally exercise the constitutional power to warn her Prime Minister.

The petition reads:

On November 4th 1952, in your Coronation Oath, your Majesty declared that you would 'to the utmost of your power maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel'.

We therefore call upon your Majesty to urgently consider a proposed law, formulated by your Government, known as the Sexual Orientation Regulations which are being introduced by virtue of Section 82 of the Equality Act 2006.

The Regulations are a serious affront the profession of the Gospel and to the freedom of religion which this country has cherished for many generations.

The Regulations purport to eliminate discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, but have the consequence of discriminating heavily against Christians of all backgrounds and denominations who hold firm to the very Faith which you pledged to uphold in your coronation oath.

The Regulations will make it unlawful for a Christian to refuse to promote homosexual practice and will make it unlawful for our children to be taught the importance of marriage in any schools above the importance of practising homosexual relationships. All these activities are contrary to the true profession of the Gospel.

Cranmer rather suspects that the response of Her Majesty will simply be that she does not share their interpretation of Scripture, or ‘the true profession of the Gospel’, and that she will not involve herself in any protest against government legislation. She will not state the latter, but neither will she imperil the future of the Monarchy by withholding Royal Assent.

All of which rather renders Her Majesty complicit…
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