Friday, February 22, 2008

UN calls for disestablishment of the Church of England

Cranmer was looking forward to reading the UN report ‘Mission to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’ (and click A/HRC/7/10/Add.3), hoping that it would highlight some of the appalling oppressions to which British Christians are increasingly subject, or elucidate the extent to which an encroaching secularisation is impinging upon the conscience of the Christian, or at least comment upon the perceived privilege bestowed upon Islam.

But this is the United Nations we’re talking about here, and the report does none of the above. Instead it lauds and praises the morally-bankrupt Labour government ‘for the balanced approaches in responding to difficult situations with regard to freedom of religion or belief and tackling the contentious issues involved’. And the report fights the corner of just about every religion and non-religion except that which is established by law.

The Times has a superficial summary, but rather more of its conclusions and recommendations are farcical, naïve, or insulting to the intelligence.

The ‘Special Rapporteur’ (how can Cranmer become one of these?) considers that ‘Catholic staff is (sic) underrepresented in the Police Service of Northern Ireland, the prison service and other criminal justice agencies’. This despite the fact that Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and Jedi Knights are all officially classified as Protestant in order to inflate the number of Roman Catholics who must be employed to fulfil the quota, yet there is no mention of this injustice at all.

On the UK’s counter-terrorism measures, the ‘Special Rapporteur’ is concerned to note ‘the abuse of counter-terrorism laws which are largely perceived to target the Muslim population in the United Kingdom’, and warns that Muslims in particular face screening, searches, interrogation and arrest.

Well, God forbid that anyone should think professing Muslims were behind the atrocities of September 11th or July 7th, or that certain adherents to Islam are perpetuating a concept of jihad which seeks to terrorise and eliminate the kuffar.

On religious education and collective worship in schools, there should be ‘respect for and acceptance of pluralism and diversity in the field of religion or belief as well as the right not to receive religious instruction inconsistent with his or her conviction’. It is kind of the UN to inform us of this, but it is already the case that parents have the right to withdraw their children from both RE and the daily act of collective worship. This has been the case since 1944. Yet a body professing to be the ‘Avisory Council of Experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief’ (now Cranmer should be on this) has prepared the ‘Toledo Guiding Principles on teaching about religions and beliefs in public schools’ which is supposed to be the definitive guide to approaching religion in schools.

Cranmer shall not make this his bedtime reading, though he may dip into it after a few glasses of red this evening.

Concerning the issue of balancing competing rights, the ‘Special Rapporteur’ is delighted by New Labour’s anti-discrimination legislation, which ‘seems to be quite balanced’ because there are ‘specific exemptions or transitional provisions for organizations relating to religion and belief’.

Really? Does a year’s notice to conform or be closed down constitute ‘balanced’? Or is it merely ‘quite balanced’? Or is it rather that it ‘seems’ to be quite balanced. Well, tell that to the Roman Catholic adoption agencies who are closing their doors rather than being forced by statute to place vulnerable children with homosexual couples. There is no consideration on a ‘case by case basis’ as the report states, but the blanket application of a soviet policy irrespective of ‘particular circumstances and implications’.

And then the ‘Special Rapporteur’ turns her attention to the blasphemy law, which she finds to be ‘discriminatory because it favours Christianity alone’. She agrees with the Assembly of the Council of Europe which recommended in its resolution 1805 (2007) that the Committee of Ministers ensure that national law and practice in Council of Europe member States be ‘reviewed in order to decriminalize blasphemy as an insult to a religion’. She would, however, like to remind the UK that there is a ‘useful alternative’, which is the anti-discrimination legislation already mentioned.

She clearly has no understanding of the meaning of the term, no appreciation of the history of the Established Church, and no concept of the law as it relates to man’s relationship with God.

She does, however, have an appreciation of Labour’s ‘Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006’ which ‘closes the partial protection gap for people subjected to hatred because of their religion’, thus guarding racial groups from being targeted because of their religion. She thinks it quite excellent that ‘non-religious believers’ are included in the definition of ‘religious hatred’, and praises the Government for prohibiting ‘hatred against a group of persons defined by reference to religious belief or lack of religious belief’.

The ‘Special Rapporteur’ then emphasises ‘that it is not the Government’s role to look for the “true voices of Islam” or of any other religion or belief. Since religions or communities of belief are not homogenous entities it seems advisable to acknowledge and take into account the diversity of voices. The Special Rapporteur reiterates that the contents of a religion or belief should be defined by the worshippers themselves.’

This being the case, how can the Government or the courts possibly define or determine 'religious hatred'?

The whole report makes entertaining reading, not so much because of the observations on the state of religion in the UK but because of the official recommendations they elicit. The report flies in the face of the 2001 census in which 72% identified themselves as Christian (whether by culture or practice), since the ‘Special Rapporteur’ (is there an ordinary one?) claims that two-thirds of British people now do not admit to any religious adherence. What is the source of this?

In her attack upon the blasphemy laws, her objection to the privileges of the Church of England, and her assertion that its status does not reflect ‘the religious demography of the country and the rising proportion of other Christian denominations’, she is effectively calling for the Church’s disestablishment.

Quite what business it is of the UN to interfere with the historic culture and Christian traditions of the UK is unknown. But it is noteworthy that the ‘Special Rapporteur’, the report’s author, is one Asma Jahangir, who counts herself a very special Muslim indeed.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace,
Perhaps you could be the "Special Rapporteur" to Saudi Arabia or sundry Islamic states to comment on their abuses of Christians, or even their own people in the name of one religion. The UN should surely look into this matter as a matter of some urgency. After all, we Christians are not going around killing people who do not conform. Yes, alright then, the UN is stupid and corrupt! So what's new.

22 February 2008 at 15:01  
Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

The UN recognised and endorsed "Islamic Human Rights." We ought to send our football hooligans to vandalize the UN building.

22 February 2008 at 15:25  
Anonymous hear o israel said...

your grace

so we have choice presidential corruption or a check and balance on it .

given that the un has made money out of food aid for the starving i think that they are the last people to be lecturing on what constitutes a decent society or not .

me thinks this is a little chinese or islamic funded , like to see what saudi arabia says.

so yet another body that does not respect soveignty or the right to self determination .

whiffs abit of EU pres hopefuls on the phone.

the other point is that if god does exist (and i think/know he does) then why would you want to disestablish the church , i mean we have a priminister tableing a bill for it and hes had nothing but pestelence , and bad luck , even his home team loses , a run on bank, floods ,

i think the un had better not ask for things like this , john boulton could become pres if they do.

22 February 2008 at 17:12  
Blogger The Bovina Bloviator said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

22 February 2008 at 18:17  
Blogger The Bovina Bloviator said...

Many of us in New York City have long felt the only solution to the United Nations (which occupies some of the choicest real estate in Manhattan yet pays not a cent in taxes) is to relocate it to the Sudan, Chad, Libya, or some such place. Its appeal to the world's unskilled upper-class twits, incapable of holding real jobs, would be reduced to zero and in a few years the most useless organization that ever existed would expire due to lack of interest.

22 February 2008 at 18:22  
Anonymous Thomas Paine said...

No one other than a dolt could argue that State religions are good for the population or good for the Church. tThe only way to save the Church of England is to free it from the Queen's rheumatic clasp.

Why isn't everyman who professes Christianity outraged that unholy politicians and senile inbreds decide who should shepherd the Body of Christ?

22 February 2008 at 20:17  
Blogger Cranmer said...

A dolt, sir?


Who is Thomas Paine against five centuries of religio-political enlightenment?

22 February 2008 at 20:43  
Anonymous Thomas Paine said...

It is not Thomas Paine who cries out but reason and experience. Were it a single man, you could dismiss it out of hand but facts, your Grace, are stubborn things:

1. There are more observant Muslims in Britain than there are observant Anglicans.

2. The Archbishop of Canterbury is an exponent of political correctness.

3. The Church of England has been sliding away from a Biblical stance and moving toward a contemporary perspective.

4. British youngsters are becoming notorious for their sexual "explorations" and binge-drinking. Really, they've become the laughing-stock of the continent.

5. The British public has become quite jaundiced about religion and atheism is on the rise:

It's obvious that the State sponsorship isn't helping the Church to climb out of its downward spiral and therefore the Church isn't doing much to help out the British public.

State Churches are so problematic that I can't see how any thinking person could support them. Aside from the political taint, which is inevitable, what about the issue of public support? Why should a Methodist be forced to pay the salary of an Anglican vicar?

The tendency of traditionalists is to cling onto the hollowed-out symbols of days gone by while neglecting the complete loss of substance. There are many people, for example, who would raise a ruckus if the monarchy were at last abolished (as it ought to be), who do nothing other than cluck their tongues and tremble when bombs go off. The symbol of national security--the monarchy--remains but the substance--being free from foreign incursion (from either the IRA or the jihadists)--was lost long ago.

Your rebukes stings me, but I stand firm. I shall remain faithfully yours,

Thomas Paine

22 February 2008 at 23:34  
Blogger Wrinkled Weasel said...

Mr Paine says

"There are more observant Muslims in Britain than there are observant Anglicans"

This is because Anglicans are an amorphus historic construct with some very nice buildings but not much in terms of a consensus.

Muzzies, on the other hand, are in a perpetual state of war with the West, and are therfore focussed, cohesive and effective. (Read Roger Scruton, quoted on this blog for my logic on this)

Vast generalisation, of course, but you get the drift.

When you get a leader as lamentable as Rowan Williams what do you expect? He should be appearing on Today right now calling this silly woman to account. Never mind blasphemy; the current weakness of the CofE is purely down to its poncy liberal leadership.

23 February 2008 at 10:18  
Blogger ENGLISHMAN said...

We have the un declaration of human rights,we have the eu ,convention for the protection of human rights and fundamental fredoms,we have the un declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples,all of which apply ,not to us, but to any foreigner who seeks an easy buck in compensation for our alleged indifference to his lust for wealth without working for it.
All these conventions are simply to justify the existence of the megalomaniacs in the un.I have recently submitted a complaint to the un, under the terms of undrip,needless to say this body does not even have the good manners to acknowledge reciept of it ,or any communication whatsoever,although comming from a single peasant it is easy to ignore,since my lords and superiors considered it not important enough to support,so dies our world through lack of unity.

23 February 2008 at 11:51  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

Thomas Paine said, "Why should a Methodist be forced to pay the salary of an Anglican vicar?"
why indeed? and is he so forced? If you think he is, can you give any evidence?

23 February 2008 at 13:59  
Anonymous Thomas Paine said...

"is he so forced? If you think he is, can you give any evidence?"

Yes. The Church of England is supported by English Heritage, a governmental body that draws its funds through taxation.

23 February 2008 at 18:56  
Blogger Wrinkled Weasel said...

Thomas Paine, and indeed you are.

English Heritage puts a mere two and a half million into the upkeep of Cathedrals, which are as you well know, a major tourist attraction, bringing in thousands of visitors each year. Did you know that the cost of removing chewing gum, yes, CHEWING GUM from Cathedrals runs into Tens of Thousands of pounds? These tourists, wear the flag stones, we on the floor, leave a sticky dado rail of snot and sweeties and generally demand comfort and succour. Do you expect the Church to accomodate these philistines for free?

23 February 2008 at 22:35  
Anonymous Thomas Paine said...

wrinkled weasel,

You are correct that the Church of England draws very little from the public through taxation and tax breaks (and some of that support is partly justifiable). I recant and apologize for having said that anyone is "forced" to support the clergy.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that the Church is sanctioned and controlled by the State. Why should that be? Is England more pious for it? Is the State holier for it? I doubt both propositions and invite anyone to persuade me otherwise.

24 February 2008 at 03:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the C.of E. is disestablished, we'll fall victim to Popish plots! A supreme ruler will seek to take us away from our religious traditions and the faith of our fathers! (Oh wait, Henry VIII already did that. Never mind.)

23 October 2008 at 17:38  

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