Monday, January 11, 2010

Labour shuns Roman Catholic advisers

And they may well consider it a blessing not to be associated with the bizarre ‘faith group’ which has been assembled by John Denham, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

But it is an awful faux pas – on the approach to a General Election, when Labour desperately needs to shore up its traditional vote – to alienate and offend further still a vociferously-faithful and electorally-sizeable community (remember Glasgow East) which is already smarting from Labour’s anti-Christian legislation, not to say distinctly anti-Catholic agenda, on faith schools, homosexual equality, abortion, euthanasia, embryo experimentation, stem-cell research...

And all during a year when Pope Benedict will make history by being the first pope to make a state visit to the United Kingdom, with a scheduled address to Parliament from the very place in which the patron saint of politicians was condemned to death.

John Denham says he has appointed 13 new faith advisers ‘to encourage a deeper and broader relationship between Government and faith communities’. He said they will ‘act as a “sounding board” to advise on effective engagement with faith communities, and the impact of Communities and Local Government policy on faith communities’.

Sounding board or sounding brass?

When one wades through the waffle on the Communities and Local Government website (‘all experts in their chosen field’; ‘will enhance ministerial understanding’; ‘an unprecedented wealth of knowledge and experience’... unprecedented?), it amounts to a crass attempt to engage with ethnic minorities and inflate the egos of clerics and pseudo-clerics who will all pussy-foot around the most contentious issues in order not to offend their advisory colleagues and risk being un-appointed from this prestigious socially(-and-CV)-enhancing body.

John Denham said the new panel ‘will help advise on the big issues facing society such as the economy, parenting, achieving social justice and tackling climate change’.

Will it?

Mr Denham, do you mean this compromised, politically-correct group will either tell you what you want to hear and be affirmed, or what you do not want to hear and be ignored?

Do not Roman Catholics have anything relevant to say about the economy, parenting, achieving social justice and tackling climate change?

Does Caritas in Veritate not have something relevant to say on the economy or social justice? Is the traditional Roman Catholic view of the family and parenting too conservative for you? Do they have nothing to say on loving one’s neighbour, comforting the lonely, feeding the starving, housing the homeless, helping the weak, the destitute, the disenfranchised?

If it is Labour’s desire to ‘continually seek ways of supporting and enhancing the contribution faith makes to the decision-making process on the central issues of our time’, then why not start by heeding those of faith who are already in the legislature. Why ignore Frank Field’s wealth of knowledge? The Labour Party has 43 Roman Catholic MPs: why sideline Ruth Kelly? Why alienate Paul Murphy? Why set aside the concerns of the 26 bishops in the House of Lords?

The members of the panel are:

• Canon Dr Alan Billings - Formerly Director of the Centre for Ethics and Religion at the University of Lancaster.
• Dr Harriet Crabtree - Director of the Inter Faith Network for the UK.
• Marcia Dixon - Editor of Keep the Faith, a publication distributed to black majority churches.
• Dr Doreen Finneron - Founder and director of the Faith Based Regeneration Network.
• Jenny Kartupelis - Director of the East of England Faiths Council and Fellow of the Faiths and Civil Society Unit at Goldsmiths College.
• Wakkas Khan - Director of the Exploring Islam Foundation and a founding member of the Radical Middle Way.
• Alveena Malik - A Principle Associate at the Institute of Community Cohesion and a Trustee of the Muslim Institute.
• Mehri Niknam - Founder and director of the Joseph Interfaith Foundation.
• Rosalind Preston - President of the Jewish Volunteer Network and Chair of Nightingale House.
• Dr Jasdev Singh Rai - General Secretary of the British Sikh Consultative Forum and Director of the Sikh Human Rights Group.
• Bishop Tim Stevens - Anglican Bishop of Leicester and Founder and Chair of the Faith Leaders Forum of Leicester.
• Arjan Vekaria - President of Shree Kutch Leva Patel Community (UK) and the Hindu Forum of Britain.
• Prof Paul Weller - Head of Research and Commercial Development, Faculty of Education, Health and Sciences and Professor of Inter-Religious Relations, University of Derby.

Heresy Corner has done some magisterial researching this panel, and Paul Goodman has already highlighted the Wakkas Khan’s links to extremist Islamist party Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Labour’s Panel of religio-political ‘experts’ with their ‘unprecedented wealth of knowledge and experience’ is made up of:

7 (54%) Christians (5 [71%] Church of England, 1 [14%] Baptist, 1 [14%] Pentecostal)
2 (15%) Jews
2 (15%) Muslims
1 (8%) Hindu
1 (8%) Sikh

Considering the declared religious make-up of the UK at the last census, the constitution of this panel should be of great concern to many groups, but none moreso than Roman Catholics, who make up around 8 per cent of the nation (it may now be nearer 10 per cent following Eastern European immigration), and the Secular-Humanist-Atheists (who may also consider themselves Agnostic, Buddhist, Jains, Unitarian, Taoist or hold other related philosophical beliefs) who make up around 20 per cent.

Not to mention the 390,000 Jedi Knights.

As Mr Heresiarch observes, this panel of 13 are prophets of inter-faith work, social cohesion, diversity and multiculturalism. At least three are or have been actively engaged in Labour Party politics, while no other mainstream parties are represented. Two are professionals from the world of public relations, and all are involved in quangos or organisations in receipt of public funding.

John Denham explains:

"Given that faith plays a defining role in many lives, anyone wanting to build a more progressive society should not ignore the powerful role of faith and the strong values their communities hold. Government needs to have an understanding of this relationship - a relationship that shapes peoples behaviour - in order to help develop public policy that is relevant to our society. The relationship between faith and government will however not always be easy and some faith communities will no doubt sometimes disapprove of government decisions. Likewise Government should not shy away from honest debate or criticism when warranted and that this should not exclude any faith."

Since Cranmer thinks this panel is (to put it politely) somewhat lacking, he would like to propose an alternative 13 (though he is not sure why the Government has chosen this unfortunate number) whose meetings would be lively (to say the least). He would like to enlist the assistance of his communicants in this (he will update during the day):

1 The Rt Rev Dr Michael Nazir-Ali
2 Joanna Bogle
3 Keith Porteous Wood
4 Keith Patrick Cardinal O'Brien
5 Terry Waite CBE
6 The Rev Canon Dr Patrick Sookhdeo
7 Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain MBE
8 Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari MBE
9 Anne Atkins
10 Dr Roger Ballard
11
12
13

64 Comments:

Blogger seanrobsville said...

(5) 'Suni' - the Muslim student who got beaten up and kicked out by his family for being gay. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/8446458.stm

11 January 2010 10:03  
Blogger OldSlaughter said...

Speaking as a Jedi I am appalled by this blatant discrimination.

11 January 2010 10:10  
OpenID michaeltmerrick said...

I think this is actually part of a larger battle against 'social conservatism' generally, of which the Catholics will tend to be the most high-profile casualty - for any that might be interested, I blogged on this here - http://wp.me/pJiP0-31

As for the list, might I propose former Bishop of Lancaster Patrick O'Donoghue? A wonderful man, who went before the wolves at a House of Commons Select Committee and refused to bow on his vision of what a distinctively Christian' education might look like.

11 January 2010 10:12  
Blogger Dave said...

Your Grace,
Why should any government take any notice of such groups?
My experience of dealing with church leadership ate all levels is that they are more concerned with the concerns of their own flocks, their own agendas and their own vested interests to work together for the common good.
For most of them there is no common good.

11 January 2010 10:13  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Anyone who would be of any use on such a group would refuse to be on such a group as they are too busy actually doing worthwhile things. Canon Andrew White for example (the "vicar of Baghdad")

11 January 2010 10:24  
Anonymous Kiwi said...

Pat Condell and Richard Dawkins should definitely be on the list. Maybe non-Brits Geert Wilders, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Wafa Sultan too.

11 January 2010 10:43  
Anonymous mischievous said...

The Rev Ian Paisley.

11 January 2010 10:46  
Anonymous Even more Mischievous said...

Iris Robinson?

11 January 2010 10:51  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Geert Wilders? Ayaan Hirsi Ali? Rev Ian Paisley?

His Grace feels bound to point out (what he thought was obvious) that foreigners and parliamentarians are excluded.

11 January 2010 10:53  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damian Thompson

11 January 2010 10:59  
Anonymous Kiwi said...

"His Grace feels bound to point out (what he thought was obvious) that foreigners and parliamentarians are excluded." I consider myself suitably admonished your Grace, however, by way of contrition, it was rather a 'tongue in cheek' maybe. I assume Condell and Dawkins stay?

11 January 2010 11:13  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Richard Dawkins?!Richard Dawkins??? You are joking? And not because of his fundamentalist atheism but because of his utter contemptuous, nauseating, arrogant pomposity.

Still he actually ticks all the right boxes for the typical panellist ... not doing anything particularly worthwhile, full of his own importance, loves the sound of his own voice, lives in rarefied academia.

11 January 2010 11:17  
Anonymous joe said...

Patrick Sookhdeo - well aware of the problems Christians have worldwide and would bring a dash of commonsense to the general relativism in this country

11 January 2010 11:30  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Please, please please, let us try to fulfil the Government's own criteria:

'all experts in their chosen field’; ‘will enhance ministerial understanding’; ‘an unprecedented wealth of knowledge and experience’...

Again, it ought to go without saying, His Grace is looking for reasonable theologians and philosophers, not ranting and decidedly unreasonable sociologists like Dawkins.

The Bishop of Lancaster is the most credible so far, but his inclusion would complete the 'Catholic quota'.

The suggestion of a gay Muslim is purposely provocative, and he is not, in any case, a theologian.

11 January 2010 11:30  
Blogger john in cheshire said...

If foreigners are disallowed from the list, then there should be no muslims; all without exception are foreigners.

11 January 2010 11:37  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr John in Cheshire,

Your comment is ill-considered and unintelligent: even the BNP do not take such a view.

Islam is a religion: it is perfectly possible to be a British Muslim, as this sort of story exemplifies.

11 January 2010 11:40  
Blogger PaulineG said...

I would certainly endorse Bishop O'Donoghue but, should he be unavailable, then Father Timothy Radcliffe and Professors John Haldane (Aberdeen) and David Jones (St Mary's Twickenham) would all certainly qualify on the criteria you quoted and do an excellent job.

Therefore, of course, far too high calibre to be considered.

11 January 2010 11:59  
Anonymous oiznop said...

Your Grace,

Considering that Global Warming is now a religion, should you not include its high priest?

11 January 2010 12:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1.Father Ted Crilley
2.Yoda
3.Ned Flanders

11 January 2010 12:07  
Blogger I am Stan said...

Personally your Grace I would like to see all religious groups kept out of mainstream politics...a big ask I know.

Religion can distort people's moral sensibilities as much as it can inform them. Things that are unimportant to most people suddenly becomes important, the important becomes unimportant, as we're seeing with gay adoption and gay bishops.

Curiously enough, most of the social problems we have now are not addressed by religion. Both right and left claim equal Christian pedigree. Religions have far more to do with stoning homosexuals than with social welfare provision or affordable housing.

Christianity in the 18th and 19th centuries was used to justify very violent societies, where it was thought impious to raise the level of the poor. The Levellers, however, saw the Bible enjoining no private property. It's amazing what different people can take away from the same text.

At the present juncture we have to ask whether religion does more harm than good. The Church of England is a fairly docile Labrador, but as we have seen for assisted suicide, the bishops make tremendous noise and exert tremendous public pressures. I don't see why we need 26 people in the Lords speaking up for one religious minority.

Religion shouldn't give you the right to special treatment. Religious people here now want a special megaphone in the public square and Blair/Brown and Kelly have given it to them. Often it's very unclear how many people these groups represent. This is particularly dangerous where you have a pluralist society. When we come to think of ourselves as Jews, Muslims, Christians and Hindus, this will lead to an inevitably sectarian society.

Should we respect other people's religious faith? Respect is a very difficult word. It sounds reasonable but it's horribly ambiguous. It can span everything from toleration to admiration.

When a criminal demands respect, they don't just demand tolerance but subservience. When religious groups demand respect, what starts off as a demand for tolerance can rapidly end up as a demand to take over your life. Do you respect my gardening? I might expect you to tolerate it, but you have no duty to admire it.

I don't see that religion is particularly bad, but at certain historical moments it is very dangerous The only reason Christians/Muslims etc are not burning each in the West is because the secular state stopped them.

11 January 2010 12:11  
Anonymous Gay Anglican said...

Your Grace, what about :

David Jenkins
John S. Spong
Gene Robinson
Richard Holloway

11 January 2010 12:12  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr I am Stan,

And Mr Porteus Wood would advocate such a view.

Mr Gay Anglican,

Gene Robinson? See above...

11 January 2010 12:18  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

I Am Stan said ... "Religions have far more to do with stoning homosexuals than with social welfare provision or affordable housing."

I suspect you get that view from reading the press rather than being a part of an active church. Pretty much all the social provision around where I live that isn't supplied by the government is supplied by churches or faith based (i.e. Christian) social enterprise organisations. Youth groups, excluded pupil unit, parent & toddlers, elderly day care centres, after school clubs, soup runs, housing projects, a clothing & furniture store ... just a few of the things that are within a short radius of my location ... all provided by a local cluster of small parish churches.

You really should consider Canon Andrew White Your Grace.

11 January 2010 12:22  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Rebel Saint,

He is abroad doing a magnificent job. Those appointed ought at least to be UK-based.

Mr Oiznop,

Who is the High Priest of Greenism?

11 January 2010 12:25  
Anonymous philip walling said...

Mr Gay Anglican,

Whatever he may be now, Richard Holloway is (by his own admission) no longer a Christian; nor on any traditional definition is Gene Robinson.
Never heard of the other two.

But any Christian who is doing anything worthwhile will not be 'prominent'.
I suggest the same criterion that applies to the appointment of bishops should apply to this committee - namely anyone who wants to be, or agrees to be on it should be disqualified - and they should be dragged unwillingly to serve.

11 January 2010 12:34  
Anonymous philip walling said...

Sorry, I have heard of David Jenkins - "conjuring trick with bones" bishop of Durham.
Another doubtful academic Christian.

11 January 2010 12:38  
Blogger Jonathan Hunt said...

Joel Edwards, we want a nonconformist your grace (no offence and all)

11 January 2010 12:46  
Anonymous Matt Wardman said...

>Labour shuns Roman Catholic advisers

Are you sure it was that way round, Your Grace?

11 January 2010 12:47  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Hunt,

Good suggestion. Is he the foremost?

Mr Wardman,

His Grace does not know, which is why he began the post the way he did!

11 January 2010 12:55  
Blogger I am Stan said...

@Rebel Saint-I suspect you get that view from reading the press rather than being a part of an active church. Pretty much all the social provision around where I live that isn't supplied by the government is supplied by churches or faith based (i.e. Christian) social enterprise organisations. Youth groups, excluded pupil unit, parent & toddlers, elderly day care centres, after school clubs, soup runs, housing projects, a clothing & furniture store ... just a few of the things that are within a short radius of my location ... all provided by a local cluster of small parish churches.

I am sure the lucky people who enjoy your charity show due piety to your God

What of those who do not? and how much is funded by guvmint funds ie taxes?

But charity and preparing souls for death is the main purpose of religion ,leading government policy is not...I believe

11 January 2010 12:56  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

I am stan ... "I am sure the lucky people who enjoy your charity show due piety to your God "

Nope. Maybe 1% of them do. Are you really that clueless as to the nature & extent of Christian social action?

11 January 2010 13:10  
Anonymous Martin Sewell said...

Three serious suggestions
Ann Atkins
John Bell of the Iona Community
Mark Russell of the Church Army

I could live with Alan Billings judging from his thoughts for the day which are intelligent even when one disagrees: he also taught my son who speaks well of him. W

11 January 2010 13:28  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Prof John Lennox perhaps.

11 January 2010 13:58  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Stan:

"This is particularly dangerous where you have a pluralist society. When we come to think of ourselves as Jews, Muslims, Christians and Hindus, this will lead to an inevitably sectarian society."


You what? What planet did they say is calling?

11 January 2010 14:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Muslims? Sikhs? Hindus?

11 January 2010 14:17  
Blogger I am Stan said...

Your Grace,Rebel Saint,

Involving religion in politics is about
power and manipulation only. Far too often religion has been and still is used as a tool with which to control and manipulate people.

Countless lives have been lost throughout history, people slaughtered, tortured and killed for having different beliefs. Supposedly, all these murders and crimes have been committed in "the name of God".

When are people going to wake up and see how wrong this is, how they have been manipulated and encouraged to hate, how this is against the way life should be and the very doctrine of most religions?

Then there is the confusion and misconception about religion, belief and faith. People can follow a religion but may not necessarily truly believe, they may not necessarily have faith in what they follow.

Conversely, just because someone does not follow a particular, or any, religion, this does not mean they do not believe in God, or that they do not have faith. It just means they have found their own way to believe and their faith is based on what they feel and believe.

Maybe if religions were to become more about God, more tolerant and accepting that there are other ways. Less about power, less about control, less about who is right and who is wrong, then some of the things that are wrong with religion would no longer be a problem and maybe the world could be a better place for everyone.

11 January 2010 14:17  
Anonymous Simon said...

John Polkinghorne. Anglican priest and first class scientist, who might counter some the Gaia stuff.

And a great shame that Jonathan Sacks became a lord in this case.

11 January 2010 14:32  
Anonymous Anguished Soul said...

Jacob Prasch. At least we would be guaranteed to hear the Word preached. Or is that too controversial these days?

wv: sucks

It sure does!

11 January 2010 14:52  
Anonymous bergen said...

So much for Labour owing more to Methodism than Marxism.

11 January 2010 15:53  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what about the blogger "I am Stan"?

11 January 2010 16:00  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

Not sure if they would qualify on the basis of your criteria, but two highly intelligent, wise and highly regarded men would be:

Vincent Nichols, RC Archbishop of Westminster;
Rt Rev Dr N T (Tom) Wright, Bishop of Durham.

And any Anabaptist...

11 January 2010 16:07  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Anabaptist,

His Grace had considered both, and veered towards O'Brien because he has the ethical edge. Tom Wright is a fine addition, but with Michael Nazir Ali, we don't want too many agreeing with each other!

Short of Joel Edwards, there appears to be a shortage of Nonconformists. And still no Sikhs or Hindus (though His Grace is now receiving emails from shy communicants).

11 January 2010 16:19  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

Waste of time anyway. Do you think that this government is going to listen to any opinion that doesn't exactly match its own?

The group chosen by Denham are just a convenient fig leaf.

So I'm on the whole pleased that the Catholics haven't been chosen to serve on this self serving quango. Or, as Matt Wardman speculates maybe they were asked...

11 January 2010 16:23  
Blogger DDIM 'n HOFFI said...

Catholicism and Multifaithism, how does this work then? How does Multifaithism work anyway? The one God that speaks to all separately,,,,,what utter crap!

11 January 2010 16:33  
Anonymous Bag Lady said...

Your Grace, what about :

1.Nicky Gumble
2. Tom Wright
3.John Stott
4. Ruth Gledhill
5. Billy Graham (can't we treat him as a Brit?)

11 January 2010 16:57  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Ms Bag Lady,

Do you work in Oxford with Mr D. Singh?

11 January 2010 17:58  
Blogger Christian Carving said...

Being all heads or involved in quangos labour know they can control them and set the agenda for how they act and their opinions..it's devious stuff how labour knock up committees or council's.
The ideal situation would be to have people who are not publicly funded at all on this committee but this of course is not the labour way .

11 January 2010 18:35  
Blogger Pete said...

AC Grayling, who better than he to represent us the un-godly?

11 January 2010 18:44  
Blogger DDIM 'n HOFFI said...

Watch out for false prophets, or they'll gitcha, real gud an all! Pray to your father in heaven and stay clear of the SOB's.

11 January 2010 19:07  
Anonymous British Humanist Society said...

Already in 2010 we have seen Archbishop Nichols attacking all secularists as “dogmatic”, news reports lamenting the decline of religion, and Christian groups alleging increasing discrimination against religious people in Government policies and in wider society. This is despite the appointment of new ‘faith advisors’ by Communities secretary John Denham, despite assertions from the Prime Minister on Christian radio that “we are not a secular state” (he meant this as a good thing), and despite the deepening entrenchment of religious schools into the education system.

So the rule of thumb for many religious lobbyists seems to be that if something hurts them even a little (even when it’s society making a principled step in the direction of equality and fairness), then they must make as much noise as possible in denouncing it. Thus the volume ever increases on an ever more vociferous debate.

Just looking at the swathe of new amendments to the Equality Bill highlights growing hostility by some religious groups to being treated equally (removing their “more equal” status). There are now amendments that seek to privilege religion over philosophical beliefs such as Humanism in law, to grant even wider exceptions to permit religious organisations to discriminate in their employment on a number of grounds, including sex and sexual orientation, and to permit people providing public services to refuse to provide a service should that conflict with their personal beliefs.

All of these proposals would be backwards steps and reduce the legal equality and human rights protection that is already in place. We’ve been working for months on the Equality Bill to ensure that it’s the best that it can be. We’ve encouraged parliamentarians to reject negative and regressive amendments such as these. We are confident that they will be rejected.

There is still a long way to go before religious privilege is properly tackled, entrenched as it is in our laws, education system, constitution and wider. In this new year, the BHA will keep working with our supporters in Parliament, as well as our members, supporters and affiliated groups, to keep the humanist perspective relevant, heard, on the agenda.

If you’re not already a BHA member you can join today and support our vital work.

11 January 2010 19:39  
Blogger Frugal Dougal said...

Your Grace could do worse than invite Victoria Gillick onto your panel.

11 January 2010 19:54  
Anonymous Brother Jonathan said...

The Rt. Rev. Dr. Nazir-Ali is an outstanding choice. His forthright honesty has provoked the displeasure of high ecclesiatical persons and death-threats from the usual suspects. http://bit.ly/7uGIUi

Your Grace probably remembers, as fellow sufferers, prior Bishops of Rochester who seem to have had the same characteristics. Possibly something about the location and its traditions. Two who were actually put to death for opinions inconsistent with those in authority come to mind. John Fisher and Nicholas Ridley.

I remember Bishop Nazir Ali's comments as an observer of a triennial convention of the Episcopal Church USA. It was refreshing to hear a clear and honest and truthful exposition of the ongoing debacle in the U.S. and elsewhere from a high-ranking articulate Anglican.

I have affectionate memories of being raised in the Episcopal Church, USA. Our rector was perhaps of the last generation that generally adhered to the great traditions of Anglicanism.

11 January 2010 20:09  
Anonymous Knighthawk said...

Mr/Ms British Humanist Society @19:39

Thanks for sharing your manifesto.
May I suggest that the next Equality upgrade includes equal rights to life for all unborn children.
It would be a principled step in the direction of equality and fairness for the weakest in society, whose termination probably even hurts them a little, but who are unable to make sufficient noise in denouncing it and can never add to the volume of any debate, vociferous or otherwise.

11 January 2010 20:52  
Anonymous the recusant said...

It was Groucho Marx who said “I wouldn’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member” true then, true today. It is a vindication, an unintended a vote of confidence, to be snubbed by the socialists or is it secularists and I for one take comfort from it. Notwithstanding Blair’s conversion, it means there are still some of us who haven’t sold out to the labour lies. This administration is dead but just won’t die quickly, they are has-beens and they don’t matter anymore.

Enough of this nonsense now Your Grace, we need to know the details of what Cameron’s will do so we have time to question it and get through the veneer of spin that it undoubtedly will be covered in.

What of Cameron, what are we to make of his defence of our traditional Christian virtues. Will he reverse specifically the anti-Christian acts passed by this foul government? Or will he do nothing and let it ride, just as he has turned tail on Lisbon. It is no longer good enough to poke a stick at the dead body of the labour government.

I see Cameron is already weaselling out of one commitment to give a tax break to married people by now saying it will be too expensive to allow the transfer of the tax allowance between husband and wife, and that’s even before he has printed his manifesto.

Labour has been a disaster for this country, but why should I or anyone vote Tory? Come on Mr Cameron persuade me, what will you do because so far you have singularly failed to impress. Will you reverse the years of awful devastation this socialist crew have wreaked on my country, and if so how?

11 January 2010 21:03  
Anonymous woman on a raft said...

Nobody going to suggest that knowledgable blogger, Cranmer?

11 January 2010 21:34  
Anonymous Knighthawk said...

Er, no.

It's not worth wasting his 400+ years of religio-political experience at a forum of interfaith compromise whose mission is to nod wisely and parrot back to HM Government precisely what it wants to hear.

Besides, we cannot risk them recycling him again for heresy.

11 January 2010 22:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Given the present government's anti- Catholic agenda, I am one Roman Catholic who is perfectly content not to have his church represented on this panel. Harman-inspired legislation on a whole raft of issues makes increasing RC conflict with this fag-end of a government inevitable. It will be interesting to see the attitude adopted by my co-religionist Tony Blair in the coming culture wars.
Edward Sutherland.

11 January 2010 23:53  
Anonymous no nonny said...

And there I always thought the BHS was the British Horse Society. Have these 'orrible 'umanists no shame?

12 January 2010 07:11  
Anonymous stedmancinques said...

And if Harridan Harperson has her way with her 'Equality' (sic) bill, will this advisory panel support compelling the Catholic priesthood to be open to women, or the mosques being told they don't have the requisite quota of gay imams?

Faites vos jeux, messieurs et mesdames.

BHS? British Home Stores, surely

stedmancinques

12 January 2010 11:10  
Blogger Terry Hamblin said...

Rev Steve Brady - Principle Moorlands Bible College, Chairman of Keswick Convention

Tom Wright, current Bishop of Durham

Lee Rayfield, Bishop of Swindon and prominent immunologist.

Hugh Palmer, Rector, All Souls, Langham Place and Chairman of Word Alive.

12 January 2010 12:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

stedmancinques

The Catholic priesthood is not open to women for the same reason that Harriet is not open to being a human father or a puppy dog.

The priest acts in the person of Christ. Christ is the spouse of His Church, which is therefore female at this deeper level.

Christ is male and husband - Church is female and wife (we talk of 'Mother Church' and use 'she' to describe her).

So a woman can't be a daddy, can't be the spouse, can't be Father Jones.

Jim

12 January 2010 23:51  
Anonymous stedmancinques said...

Anonymous

I know the arguments that the Catholic church puts forward; I just think they are wrong.
None of us can fully comprehend the mystery of the dual nature of Christ; no-one has improved on the Council of Chalcedon, who's declaration starts, "Our Lord Jesus Christ is one and the same God, perfect in divinity, and perfect in humanity." Now it is clear from scripture that in Christ there is 'neither male nor female, Jew or Gentile', so Christ in his divine nature is both perfect man and perfect woman, something that neither you nor I, or Harriet Harman and her poodle can be.
If we then consider that an Apostle was someone who saw the risen Christ, and was charged with a mission, then Mary, Mother of God, Mary Magdalene and Salome were undoubtedly the first apostles. How much influence these women had in the formation of the church cannot now be discerned; quite a lot, if the witness of the apocryphal Gospel of Mary Magdalene is any evidence (the formation of the canon of scripture is a separate debate)
Why is it so hard for you to see the risen Christ standing before you represented by a woman? (I am male, btw). My own experience is that women in the priesthood have enriched the Anglican communion with wonderful dimensions of spiritual insights and pastoral care- I could never go back.
Which is why I look forward to the time when the Pope introduces her husband to the College of Cardinals......

13 January 2010 14:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You overlook the fact that the recently appointed Religious Policy Advisor to whom this new panel reports is Francis Davis - a Catholic. So John Denham has not been quite so silly as you suggest. The net effect of his appointments is to create a religious advisory group that rewards all of the major faiths, especially Christian denominations, and ignores Buddhism, all minor faiths, and humanism.

14 January 2010 11:14  
Anonymous Topper said...

Why do you designate yourself as Cranmer, a man burned by Bloody Mary?

You're forever snivelling and fawning around Popish persons, and seem less like the author of the Book of Common Prayer, and more like a Jesuit stooge. Daily Telegraph reader too?

You need to buy and read Foxe's Book of Martyrs, and remind yourself what these demons in human form did to the British people, and will do again if given half a chance.

Of course, grabbing hold of a KJV Bible and reading Revelation 13 and 17 might just help, too.

12 April 2010 19:31  

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