Labour privileges Roman Catholic MPs
Or, at least, not until the Roman Catholics made it very clear to whom they owed their higher allegiance, and that they rightly place their moral principles above ephemeral matters of politics, or 'Pope above Parliament'.
All Labour MPs will all be under a three-line whip to back the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill – except Roman Catholics. Cabinet ministers are normally bound by collective responsibility to vote for any Government Bill, but three senior Cabinet ministers - Des Browne, the Defence Secretary, Ruth Kelly, the Transport Secretary, and Paul Murphy, the Welsh Secretary - threatened to rebel because it will allow lesbian couples to be registered as legal parents, and permit the creation of human/animal hybrids – chimeras – which the Roman Catholic Church insists should be regarded as human and their mothers should be allowed to give birth to them.
So Geoff Hoon, the Chief Whip, has permitted Roman Catholic MPs to abstain from the vote.
Not the Anglicans, or the Protestants (if there be any), or the Muslims, or the Jews, or the atheists, or the agnostics – all of whom may have very legitimate concerns about this Bill. No, Labour is exempting the Roman Catholics and the Roman Catholics alone because of their ‘strong moral sensitivities’, which only they, it seems, are permitted to possess.
If these ‘strong moral sensitivities’ were so strong, these MPs would surely feel obliged to vote against such a Bill, not merely to abstain.
The Daily Telegraph notes that this privileged opt-out ‘has strained relations in Westminster with some MPs privately accusing their Roman Catholic colleagues and the Catholic Church of dictating to Parliament’.
Yet if Roman Catholics can be exempt from voting for this Bill, one wonders why Labour could not find the creativity of mind or the flexibility of policy to exempt Roman Catholic adoption agencies from its sexual orientation legislation.
David Cameron, the Conservative leader, has wisely given his MPs a free vote on the matter, while Prime Minister Brown is imposing his narrow, dictatorial will upon all those in his party who do not owe superior fealty to His Holiness.
But Cranmer would like to leave his readers and communicants with this thought:
Just look at those three ‘senior Roman Catholics’ and consider the shame and dishonour they bring to their church when they are elevated to the status of being her representatives. They pick and choose their concerns and priorities, voting for homosexual rights here, banning adoptions agencies there, or conveniently absenting themselves from the Chamber when they may be forced to reveal their true beliefs. One wonders how any true Roman Catholic could support the current Labour Party, given the aggressively anti-Christian agenda that has been prosecuted over the past decade.
And then compare those three with the likes of Edward Leigh, Iain Duncan Smith, Ann Widdecome - fine upstanding Roman Catholics all; not a word of duplicity or stance of equivocation among them.