Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Are Eunice and Owen Johns fit to be Conservative Party candidates?


This one won’t go away. And yesterday, the Prime Minister chose to ensure that it doesn’t.

It no longer matters who has misinterpreted what judgment or who has misapplied what ruling to which hypothetical scenario. Last week, His Grace chose to deal with two direct quotations – more concerned with the British Constitution and Holy Scripture than with the case of Eunice and Owen Johns directly – but he also was savaged for having misrepresented the facts of the case. If only political debate were conducted on the lines of dispassionate Court reason, it might then be possible to deal with the nuances of the judgment. But it is not. Attempts at an intellectual explanation of the Court’s ruling, as Iain Duncan Smith spluttered last week on Question Time, are doomed to failure: the details are drowned out by the righteous indignation of those who think they know what this story is about. The immediate political imperative is to respond to that, as Dr David Starkey did.

When visiting Derby yesterday, where Mr and Mrs Johns live, the Prime Minister was asked about this case. He unhesitatingly responded that he agreed with the judgment. He’s politically savvy enough to have known that this question might arise, and also that his task is to respond to what the story has become; not what he, Iain Duncan Smith, the Bishop of Buckingham or the Courts say it is.

David Cameron is somewhat preoccupied with Libya; prioritising paying off the national debt; reducing the deficit; campaigning (just about) against AV; introducing seismic reforms in health and education; placating a fractious police force; soothing HM Armed Forces; and holding together a coalition government. He didn’t need to say anything about the case of Eunice and Owen Johns at all. But he chose to. By entering the fray over this court ruling, it would appear that he has familiarised himself with one of Sir Humphrey’s most perceptive aphorisms, which is displayed prominently upon His Grace’s blog: “It’s interesting,” Sir Humphrey observed, “that nowadays politicians want to talk about moral issues, and bishops want to talk politics.”

And so the Prime Minister decided to talk about morality: sexual morality; homosexuality, to be precise.

Mr Cameron went further: speaking, he said, as a church-goer himself, he added: "I think Christians should be tolerant and welcoming and broad-minded."

By saying he’s a church-goer before expounding his doctrine, he places the imprimatur of the Bride of Christ upon his belief. It is a little like the Pope coming to Westminster Abbey to talk about Christian unity, and just happening to preface his homily with a casual mention that he’s the heir to St Peter. ‘I’m a church-goer, and...’ is to arrogate to himself a certain spiritual authority; to appropriate a superior experience; to claim charismatic insight; to place his theological judgement over and above that of Mr and Mrs Johns, and anyone else who happens to hold to their ethical and moral worldview. And if none of this, he is certainly placing his Anglicanism over and above their Protestant Evangelicalism, which is itself illiberal and religiously regressive.

But the inference is, in any case, quite clear: if you agree with the Johns, you are intolerant, unwelcoming and narrow-minded, which amounts to the same as being unloving, inhospitable and bigoted. To be a clanging cymbal with no love is not to be a Christian of any kind.

Yet this tolerance of sin is a curious theology. Jesus loved prostitutes, and welcomed them to his table. But he also told them to go and sin no more. Here is not the place to debate over and over (again) the sinfulness or otherwise of certain sexual behaviours. The important thing, for the Johns, is that they believe homosexuality to be a sin that leads to Hell, and so it is their moral duty, indeed, there reason for living, to save people from that eternal fate. That is the gospel of Christ, which they ought to be free to believe, practise, inculcate and evangelise.

Would David Cameron dare to say to Pope Benedict XVI “I’m a church-goer and...?”

We already know that he’d have no qualms lecturing the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Tim Montgomerie posted on the matter yesterday, where His Grace contributed some of the thoughts he has today expanded upon here today. He hadn’t intended doing so: today is the first day of Lent; a time for reflection. But he was troubled last night by what Dr David Starkey has referred to as the new liberal tyranny of ‘equality’ and ‘diversity’, and so the issue bubbles on.

Considering that the children to be fostered by Mr and Mrs Johns were aged just 5-10, the whole homosexuality objection by Derbyshire social workers was a ruse. It is ironic indeed that we have come to a point in society at which two inexperienced homosexuals can freely adopt a child while two very experienced heterosexual Christians may not. And the Prime Minister presumes to lecture us on the importance of tolerance and broad-mindedness. For Christ's sake, we're talking about the welfare of children. It is certainly conservative and ought to be Conservative to consider that the priority here is the mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing of the children. And it is certainly more Christian to be concerned with loving and nurturing them than with some abstract state orthodoxy of politically-correct child-rearing.

It is reported that the country needs some 10,000 additional foster carers to meet the growing need. Mrs Johns is 62 and her husband 65. While most people that age would be winding down to indulge in a retirement of health spas, golf and perpetual Saga holidays, they want nothing more but to continue fostering, caring and nurturing children who have a need for a secure home. It can’t be for the money, for the financial reward is meagre and the emotional stress considerable: Mr and Mrs Johns simply wish to give love; to suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto them: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

Just how many boxes do Eunice and Owen Johns tick? Being black is a great start; so is their sense of social responsibility; their selfless compassion; their community mindedness; their parental example as role models – they were described by Derby City Council as ‘kind and hospitable people who would always do their best to make a child welcome and comfortable’.

John and Eunice Johns are the Big Society.

They and people like them have been doing it since long before David Cameron was an embryo.

But they happen to hold to Jewish, Christian and Muslim orthodoxy that homosexual practice is a sin, and so they are judged to be insufficiently committed to ‘gay equality’; they do not believe that gay sex is completely equivalent to the heterosexual kind.

Is that trivially tittilating test the new inviolable touchstone of Conservative expression? Is it now an immutable article of faith that all Conservative candidates must be ‘tolerant, welcoming and broad-minded’ not of a diverse electorate – which is a necessary attribute in a pluralist democracy – but of all beliefs and immoral behaviours?

Age aside (if that is not ageist), would the Prime Minister be content for John or Eunice Owens to be selected as parliamentary candidates for the Conservative Party?

66 Comments:

Blogger The Fact Compiler said...

Vox Cranmer, vox populi

9 March 2011 09:51  
Anonymous Dave North said...

"Just how many boxes do Eunice and Owen Johns tick?"

Black - Yip
Christian - Yip
Old - Yip
Homophobic - Yip
Deluded - Yip

9 March 2011 10:12  
Anonymous Caedmon's Cat said...

That Caedmeron has said that he's a churchgoer cuts no ice with this Cat. It just so happens that the devil also goes to church - so do many of his devoted acolytes who follow his example. In fact it's my belief that the church is one of the enemy's main arenas of activity..
Caedmeron should stick to his play-acting, posing and prestigitation - which is the stock-in-trade of his kind on the various sides of the so-called political divide.

9 March 2011 10:14  
Anonymous MrJ said...

(Within no more than a day or two, and not having been coming here long)... We (who have not TV) are indebted to you for bringng Dr Starkey's robust appraisal to our attention; and all may feel indebted for your remarks, including the reminder of Sir Humphrey's observation "“It’s interesting that nowadays politicians want to talk about moral issues, and bishops want to talk politics.”

9 March 2011 10:15  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace

“But he was troubled last night by what Dr David Starkey has referred to as the new liberal tyranny of ‘equality’ and ‘diversity’, and so the issue bubbles on”.

For an historian, such as Dr David Starkey, to express such a view to a national audience means that he has seen the true root of this liberalism that can be traced back to the Enlightenment rather than Judaeo-Christianity.

As an historian he knows that when the judges in the case said at paragraph 97:

‘Neither the local authority nor the court is seeking to open windows into people’s souls’

They were in fact, based upon Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights (right to freedom of religion), establishing it as case law precedent the right of the State to examine men’s thoughts.

Starkey’s mind must have recalled the terrible persecution amongst the religious that preceded the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. That is why she said:

‘I have no desire to make windows into men’s souls’ (Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603)).

Starkey has seen clearly than most of us that a human rights convention, established in ‘Europe’ and in particular Article 9, was meant to stop the holocaust from being repeated on European soil.

That very human rights instrument, astonishingly, is now being used to discover if people are committing ‘thought crimes’ and if they are they open themselves to the risk of being ‘refused’ by the State.

But why has it become a tyranny?

It has become a tyranny because when rights collide: one right must trump another. That means that one class of people in law must have superior rights compared to another.

In my opinion (given the Lander case) Cameron has established a religious test for one to be selected as a parliamentary candidate.

9 March 2011 10:49  
Anonymous graham wood said...

Quite clearly the objective was not so much as to assess the fitness or otherwise of the Johns to foster (their excellent track record had already spoke for itself) , but rather to arbitrarily intrude the homosexuality factor into the John's application in order to make an issue of it, and to deliberately exclude them on grounds of sexual orientation prejudice, knowing their Christian convictions.
In any event the case was predicated wholly on a hypothetical scenario which was virtually impossible to translate into reality. How many 5-8 year old boys are likely to express "problems" with their gender orientation?
Dr Starkey at least showed commendable honesty and principled opposition to the imposed PC liberal morality.
By contrast, what a pity that the hypocrite Cameron could not extend his "tolerant, welcoming, and broad minded principle" to the Johns who have already proven qualities in these very areas.

9 March 2011 10:54  
Blogger Gnostic said...

The existence of British democracy. At best a delusion. At worst an outright fraud.

9 March 2011 11:04  
Anonymous B said...

Religious reasoning:

Homosexuality is bad because God says so
God says homosexuality is bad therefore it is

Secular reasoning:

All people are born equal, theyre not doing anyone harm, let them get on with it.


Funny how secular reasoning is more humane and forgiving than Xtianity. Actually no it isnt funny, at all.

9 March 2011 11:07  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

In Islam the 'sin' of homosexual activity should be punishable by death ... the penalty is prescribed is in their 'holy' book of nonsense after all. Why has YG chosen to ignore this vital difference and chosen to place Islam (and therefore Sharia Law) as somehow morally equivalent to Judaism and Christianity? Or, was this a subconscious kow-tow to political correctness I wonder?

To commit a 'sin', surely is against the rules according to the god of your choice and essentially a private matter between the deity and the individual. When the sin is similarly regarded as an action that contravenes a breach of the common law, is when the temporal rule trumps the spiritual rule and applies to everyone.

Cameron may have made the point that his personal view may well be at variance with the Judicial system, but that he like the rest of us, have to act within the rule of law, which I think is the proper response. The real question should be does the social work ‘industry’ have the right to question people on their private opinions – this surely is an invasion of their privacy and a possible contravention of their ‘human rights’

9 March 2011 11:18  
Blogger Young Mr. Brown said...

Thank you for commenting on this, your Grace. If the original judgement horrified me, David Cameron's endorsement of that judgement has astonished me.

So shocked was I, that I even felt obliged to blog on the subject, after letting my blog lie fallow for months.

I have not managed to find any reference to Mr Cameron's comments on the BBC website, which I find surprising. I think that his comments, even more than the judgement itself, mark a historic moment in the history of this country, and of the end of freedom of religion as has been traditionally understood.

9 March 2011 11:36  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

I object to Mr Graham Wood's characterisation of David Cameron as a hypocrite. A weasel would be a more appropriate description.

9 March 2011 11:48  
Blogger Ernst Stavro Blofeld and Naughty Tiddles said...

Caedmons cat purred deliciously 9 March 2011 10:14

What a wise old meow meow you are, Tiddles is in complete agreement with your statement as is Ernst.

D Singh excellently exhorted 9 March 2011 10:49

'That very human rights instrument, astonishingly, is now being used to discover if people are committing ‘thought crimes’ and if they are they open themselves to the risk of being ‘refused’ by the State.'

Ernst is only surprised (and very grateful) that the state has not yet devised some technology that can read our thoughts and promptly march us off to jail, my dear boy.

It appears that Dave's declaration the other day that 'I'll be there' maybe more of a promise than any of us expected!

It appears that Mr Cameron has been shown flying his colours high up his mast.

When Dave speaks declaring 'his' christian values as compared to other christians beliefs, Ernst is reminded of the words of Jesus Himself in Revelation when stating what certain 'christians' would be like in the latter days.

Message to the Church at Laodicea

"And to the angel (messenger) of the church of the Laodiceans write, 'These things says the Amen (Jesus Christ), the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth." ' " (Revelation 3:14-16).

Ernst believes these individuals have to make a decision to repent of their nauseating quality of being spiritually lukewarm, self-satisfied, complacent, and in need of nothing.
Further, their indifference has left them self-deluded and they do not realize they are spiritually poor, miserable, wretched, blind, and naked. Those who lead such a people and do not themselves repent are in deep trouble. Those individuals have an attitude of having it made, but have no real commitment for spiritual growth. They feel secure as long as they associate with a particular group (i.e., success by association). That kind of attitude leads to indifference and complacency, which Christ severely rebukes. He will bring fiery trials in order to bring those with such an attitude to genuine repentance:

A Warning, David my lad, a warning!

You are entering into great top form at the moment, Your Grace and if you were a horse and Ernst a betting man, Ernst would have a few hundred quid on the nose on your goodself, to see off all challengers. (The Shergar of bloggers)

Keep it up, Ernst is truly enjoying your blog at present. Brilliant!

E S Blofeld

9 March 2011 12:16  
Anonymous WannabeAnglican said...

Cameron is not fit to be reelected. And any Conservative who does not denounce his comments is not fit to receive the votes of Christians.

If the UKIP takes seats from Conservatives, maybe that will get Cameron to change his tune.

9 March 2011 12:46  
Blogger Ernst Stavro Blofeld and Naughty Tiddles said...

Wannabeanglican said 9 March 2011 12:46

AGREED!

Just visited your blog page and I Likes It. (Sorry, Ernst's poor attempt at modern American slang?)

Nice to see you here old chap.

Ernst

9 March 2011 12:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Hellenistic world was like Europe today, totally "broadminded" except that male rights trumped women's rights.

That pagan world will re-emerge soon so that both religious and women's rights will be "trumped". This is just the start of the return of Greek paganism. Into that world, where women were just for childbearing, Christianity burst. Jesus insisted on a tighter exclusive form of marriage which raised the status of oppressed women. Jesus and Christians all knew what a "broad-minded world" is like and they all totally rejected it. They swam against the overwhelming tide. Today's Christians are only authenticated by whether they are true to the Jesus's teaching and to His spirit, which is "love" taking into account the prohibitions of God.

Those prohibitions also include: adultery, fornication, idolatry, theft, false testimony, incest, murder, child sacrifice. I expect permission for bigamy to follow shortly. Since those in power have chosen "broadmindedness" what arguments, in their book, are there against it?

9 March 2011 13:02  
Blogger Ernst Stavro Blofeld and Naughty Tiddles said...

"Mr Cameron went further: speaking, he said, as a church-goer himself, he added: "I think Christians should be tolerant and welcoming and broad-minded."

Proverbs 14:12 (King James Version)

12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

A Few conclusion, David, from Ernst;


Four observations, in reference to what should be a familiar passage:

1. Some things are not what they seem.

2. Man is not the highest surveyor of life.

3. Sincerity doesn't stop consequences.

4. A wrong choice can lead to death.

But will you listen, Dave?

E S Blofeld

9 March 2011 13:03  
Anonymous MrJ said...

Following the link to

*Friday, September 18, 2009 'Cameron is not an enigma, he’s an Anglican'*

MrJ (seeing it for the first time a year and months later, in the present discontents), mistaking it for an encomium for Mr Cameron being quoted at copyright-risky length from Andrew Gimson, was disappointed to find it was not followed by some trenchant Cranmer-esque comment. Well, today's makes up for it.

9 March 2011 13:23  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

His Grace: "That is the gospel of Christ, which they ought to be free to believe, practise, inculcate and evangelise."

Qualified free, of course.

I notice the Census Campaign has been refused permission to advertise in certain places, despite there being religious adverts in the same place, for fear of offending people.

We've been here before of course where little snippets of Bible are plastered all over public transport advertising spaces but woebetide atheist organisations putting up slogans in the same sort of places.

There are plenty of complaints from Christians about inculcation of secular or gay or Muslim views too. There's still quite an incline in the level playing field, it seems.

9 March 2011 13:28  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"The real question should be does the social work ‘industry’ have the right to question people on their private opinions – this surely is an invasion of their privacy and a possible contravention of their ‘human rights’"

I'm not saying I disagree as such but I imagine there's due diligence to consider. What that means in practice is of course debatable. When the State places a child with a family, it is a positive and decisive action for which it is accountable. This seems like a different thing to being ready to step in to protect a child in its natural family when things go wrong.

9 March 2011 13:35  
Blogger The Gray Monk said...

I think Anonymous has missed the point in comparing the Hellenistic world with modern Europe ... They practiced slavery and a very selective form of democracy, not altogether the 'tolerant' society he/she envisages at all.

Social Services have become the tool of the PC "Social Engineering" Squad and while I do, as a Christian, feel that the churches need to reappraise their stance on Homosexuality - especially in the light of modern genetic research and our increasing understanding of what makes someone homosexual or not - the current trend to ram the rights of minorities down the throats of the majority will, eventually, backfire as it has always done and always will do.

9 March 2011 13:45  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Would you be just as supportive of John and Eunice Johns if they were Scientologists or Druids?

9 March 2011 14:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Would you be just as supportive of John and Eunice Johns if they were Scientologists or Druids?"

But Scientologists and Druids are gay!

9 March 2011 14:13  
Anonymous Voyager said...

"I think Christians should be tolerant and welcoming and broad-minded."

That is the kind of soporific blandness that hollows out Christianity which is itself a graft on the Olive tree of Judaism. Cameron is a social congregationalist in an Anglican Church - he is no Christian in any theological sense.

Moreover the Johns were NOT fostering. They were providing temporary care for children removed from precarious situations and awaiting Social Services deliberations on whether they would be fostered or returned home.

The second point is being Caribbean, they were not asked what they might say if a child put to them had been brought up by parents who loathed "batty boys".

They were not asked about a response here, simply about how they would respond to a minor declaring himself homosexual; rather than a minor seeking to beat "batty boys" to a pulp.

Since Social Workers do not mix ethnic groups, they were really avoiding the issue of young black boys who might want to rough up "batty boys" in favour of a theoretical possibility that a minor might be "infected" by being discouraged from activities that were in any case illegal

9 March 2011 14:17  
Anonymous Voyager said...

but woebetide atheist organisations putting up slogans in the same sort of places.



Bus

9 March 2011 14:19  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

Is it now an immutable article of faith that all Conservative candidates must be ‘tolerant, welcoming and broad-minded’ … of all beliefs and immoral behaviours?

❛A Conservative Party which has no place for Lord Tebbit would cease to be the party of Disraeli, Baldwin, Churchill, Macmillan and Thatcher: indeed, it wouldn’t be a political party at all, but a monoform shadow of trendy distractions and mood music; a shadow of its former greatness.❜—comment by cranmer on Lord Tebbit’s Telegraph blog

As the Conservative Party abandons its traditional beliefs, the candidates it chooses will necessarily reflect its new, post-Christian image. Look on the bright side, though: now that we’re largely governed by Brussels, the composition of the House of Commons doesn’t matter anyway.

9 March 2011 14:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it hard to believe that Cameron is a Conservative, let alone a “regular church goer.”

The man is a dangerous fraud cast from the same mould as Blair.

I wonder what his next move will be? Convert to Roman Catholicism perhaps? Or maybe join the ‘religion of peace’?

It all depends where most power and influence are to be found.

9 March 2011 14:35  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it hard to believe that Cameron is a Conservative, let alone a “regular church goer.”

The man is a dangerous fraud cast from the same mould as Blair.

I wonder what his next move will be? Convert to Roman Catholicism perhaps? Or maybe join the ‘religion of peace’?

It all depends where most power and influence are to be found.

9 March 2011 14:35  
Blogger Ernst Stavro Blofeld and Naughty Tiddles said...

My sweet lad trumpeted 9 March 2011 13:28

"We've been here before of course where little snippets of Bible are plastered all over public transport advertising spaces but woebetide atheist organisations putting up slogans in the same sort of places."

My sweet boy, you maybe surprised to learn that the majority of this country still call themselves Christian, however limited their appreciation of that statement may mean to them. It is THEIR belief and as one of your leaders has said "You can't appreciate English literature unless you are steeped to some extent in the King James Bible", he replied, "people don't know that proverbial phrases which make echoes in their minds come from this Bible. We are a Christian culture, we come from a Christian culture and not to know the King James Bible, is to be in some small way, barbarian".. it is therefore only natural to see the first part of your statement on buses etc,...but as Atheists appear to see it as nonsense, why bother to challenge something that does not exist but is important to others however little they agree with you. Or are you telling them what to believe, in the same manner you accuse others towards you??

further;

complaints from Christians about inculcation of secular or gay or Muslim views too (The two fractions that have yet to clash in law but maintain a standoff as christianity must be dealt with first..as if there is no agenda here..puhlease?)

There's still quite an incline in the level playing field, it seems.

I think Bred in the Bone has suggested that Specsavers are doing a nice little offer of buy one get one half price in rose coloured tint in pince-nez.
Have taken the liberty (Am I Allowed?) of booking you in at 4.30 today, my boy.

Offer ends soon!

Old Ernsty

9 March 2011 14:49  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

For the record Starkey is an atheist.

9 March 2011 15:03  
Blogger Ernst Stavro Blofeld and Naughty Tiddles said...

Ernst's favourite scallywag blurted 9 March 2011 15:03

"For the record Starkey is an atheist."

For the record, my boy, he spoke commonsense, which is not in the specific confines of any particular belief system..There's a clever boy.

Old Ernsty

9 March 2011 15:08  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

non belief system

It's not simply semantics

9 March 2011 15:23  
Blogger Ernst Stavro Blofeld and Naughty Tiddles said...

Ernst's favourite scallywag chirped 9 March 2011 15:23

"non belief system

It's not simply semantics"

You prove my point made to DanJo, my boy, ever so briefly and eloquently.

"Or are you telling them what to believe, in the same manner you accuse others towards you??"

Graham, my boy, it is now safe to place the handbag from it's overhead height position back into it's natural place under your chest.

Old Ernsty

9 March 2011 15:32  
Anonymous Geoff Williams said...

Is Cameron saying he doesn't want our votes either?

Most people do not "hate" homosexuals.

They do however object to the normalising and promotion of the lifestyle. Furthermore they object to their children being brainwashed into believing that homosexuality is on a par with heterosexuality - it is not.

It is a disorder.

9 March 2011 15:59  
Blogger Ernst Stavro Blofeld and Naughty Tiddles said...

Your Grace says

"Last week, His Grace chose to deal with two direct quotations – more concerned with the British Constitution and Holy Scripture than with the case of Eunice and Owen Johns directly – but he also was savaged for having misrepresented the facts of the case."

As Old Ernst stated whilst discussing reasons for returning on a continuous basis to this blog with Not a Machine, Ernst said with his tongue lodged firmly in his right cheek so as not to give His Grace a large head, that;

"However I have a sneaky admiration for the old windbag who writes this blog.

Considered checking out Dale's but all he was ever interested in was getting his mush on Sky's press review or getting a 'shock jock' spot..LBC, Job Done! BORING.

Guido, that man caught a glimpse of himself whilst passing the bathroom mirror, aged 11 and it's been true love ever since. Er, No Ta.

Whereas Cranmer, the old fool, has class and is quite content to go out on a limb for what he truly believes, even if he courts ridicule from his own 'Tribe'. Gotta love him for that."

Comments always said with affection and a twinkle in the eye towards 'His Nibs' in my own inimitable style.

E S Blofeld

9 March 2011 16:02  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

Despite my peace-loving, non-violent Anabaptist credentials, I am considering carrying out a raid on Cameron's Witney home. I propose to break windows and doors, to terrify his wife and children, to steal his possessions and to daub grafitti on his walls (those that remain standing after the fire, that is). Following that, I plan to visit his children's school and terrorise the staff.

I am contemplating this not out of any spirit of animosity, nor from any hatred of said Cameron. I want to do it in order to test a defence, namely: 'that he should be tolerant and welcoming and broad-minded.' He has led me to believe that tolerance, welcome and broadmindedness are qualities he prizes above all others (above, for instance, people's principles or their love for their families and possessions and life choices). So how can he possibly refuse to exercise those qualities himself? I am confident he will see this and, experiencing the warm glow of piety, withdraw any charge against me.

Indeed, given his attachment to these things as his primary guiding principles, he might even consider rewarding me for giving him the opportunity to show those fine attributes in practice.

I am sure that any psychological trauma he and his family may suffer will pale into insignificance beside the welcome, tolerance and broadmindedness he is able to show. I know this because he expects other people to subsume their principles, their lives, their loved ones and their possessions to these qualities. And it is impossible that he should fail to practice what he requires of others. Isn't it?

In fact, I reckon it would make him feel physically sick to do otherwise.

9 March 2011 16:14  
Blogger Maturecheese said...

Anabaptist said...
I object to Mr Graham Wood's characterisation of David Cameron as a hypocrite. A weasel would be a more appropriate description.

9 March 2011 11:48

Sir (I Think) I object strongly to your use of Weasel to describe David Cameron. I have two pet Ferrets and they are related to the Weasel. To compare a Weasel to that slimeball Cameron is an insult to Weasels (fascinating creatures actually) and Ferrets.:)

9 March 2011 16:27  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Voyager: Bus

Indeed. Followed by a hundred or more complaints to the ASA that it is offensive to Christians, including one from Stephen Green of Christian Voice.

Thanks for your help there.

9 March 2011 16:36  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

Mr Maturecheese (@16:27), I stand corrected. How about stoats? Or maybe toads?

9 March 2011 16:45  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"Or are you telling them what to believe, in the same manner you accuse others towards you??"

If there is to be (qualified) freedom of speech then it applies to all. All I am saying is that if Christians are free to inculcate and evangelise as His Grace says then atheists, Muslims, and gay people (regarding acceptence) are too. Christians are welcome to moan about the content but if they believe in freedom of speech then trying to shut us all up is a bit much, wouldn't you say?

9 March 2011 16:49  
Anonymous not a machine said...

The PM is wrong , and it isnt very libertarian either , alas this only adds to todays PMQs which perhaps has started somthing at a bad time for the PM.

9 March 2011 17:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DanJO:

Christians beleive in freedom of speech but militant gays and Muslims don't. That's why they invented the nonsense of 'hate speech' - which is protected in the US, thank goodness.

9 March 2011 17:16  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

If the child of Evangelical Christians were placed with an atheist couple, it would be perfectly lawful for them to say "There is no God".. even if its effect was to trouble a child already anxious having been removed from his/her home.

This shows up the discrimination and the unfortunate fact that the child's welfare is compromised by placing their individual needs ( in circumstances where there is a chronic shortage of good carers) below that of noisy activists.

The Equality Act is the UK equivalent of Pakistan's Blasphemy Law. There is only one way that a citizen is allowed to believe in any practical sense.

Given that almost all children in voluntary care or subject to an interim care order still have parents who ought to have a significant say in their child's life, why are not their wishes given greater prominence? - or have our children been nationalised?

9 March 2011 17:26  
Blogger Ernst Stavro Blofeld and Naughty Tiddles said...

My sweet lad accused 9 March 2011 16:49

"Christians are welcome to moan about the content but if they believe in freedom of speech then trying to shut us all up is a bit much, wouldn't you say?"

"If there is to be (qualified) freedom of speech then it applies to all." Indeed, but who on this blog, who is christian, says otherwise, it is your own or other atheists implicit view, not based on opinions stated here.
My sweet boy, who are these that would silence your desire to state..There is nothing!

It has always been the way since I can remember, indeed the last 1000 yrs. I see no evidence of atheists being tied to a stake and burned for their non beliefs.
There has always been the distinct ability to express views that are different from Christianity here since the Reformation.

"Christians are welcome to moan .." as are you my young fellow. You see 'thought freedom deniers' where there are none..

Does Cranmer delete yours or Srizals et al comments because they differ from his..Well then!

E S Blofeld

Ps

You missed your appointment with Specsavers and as Ernst is busy, you must rebook yourself, you naughty boy.

9 March 2011 17:26  
Blogger Ernst Stavro Blofeld and Naughty Tiddles said...

Young DanJo spoke 9 March 2011 16:49

A final riposte from Old Ernst, my sweet lad.

"If there is to be (qualified) freedom of speech then it applies to all."

(qualified)? I take it this means solely yours and others like you, not US". My dear boy, you sound no different from those you accuse, proving Mr Starkeys point about this "New Morality".

Man the Watchtowers, there appears to be a new form of tolerant intolerance on the horizon, not fairy inspired, however that's OK as its (qualified).

Ernst

9 March 2011 17:37  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

It is ironic indeed that we have come to a point in society at which two inexperienced homosexuals can freely adopt a child while two very experienced heterosexual Christians may not.

We’ve passed the ironic stage, Your Grace. A society that allows homosexual couples to adopt children while preventing a married couple from even fostering a child is on its deathbed.

9 March 2011 17:43  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"Christians beleive in freedom of speech but militant gays and Muslims don't. That's why they invented the nonsense of 'hate speech' - which is protected in the US, thank goodness"

Militant gays and Muslims invented 'hate speech'? Do you mean hate crime and the effect on sentencing because of it? I'm a little thrown by your "invented" there.

You know that the aggravating factors were originally race and religion before sexual orientation and disability were added, right?

Also, Jack Straw was the Home Secretary at the time of the 1998 Act and David Blunkett was the Home Secretary at the time of the 2003 Act. Neither are militant gay or Muslim.

In fact, Jack Straw hit the headlines over his stance against Veils and David Blunkett was seen as very illiberal, famously describing civil liberties as "airy fairy".

Could you explain exactly what you mean? Thanks in advance.

9 March 2011 18:28  
Anonymous non mouse said...

All this fighting over the "perceived" "right" to abduct and indoctrinate other people's children. I thank God that I provide no further fuel for the miasma over the playground.

Furthermore, I'm with Anabaptist and Mature Cheese. Only I take it further: every animal in existence is better than the vile entities that pretend, nowadays, to define humanity.

They are lower than any Biblical creeping things. As Death-bringers they surpass even bacteria and viruses. I think Dr. Richard North has it right: they are slime. Primeval slime, at that.

As I think Mr. Starkey suggests: we need some vertebrates in the scenario-- so as to ensure survival of the species. If Mr. and Mrs. Johns are such, then better them put them in the Playground. Otherwise we might just turn to fire as a cleansing agent. It seems to be in fashion.

9 March 2011 19:11  
Anonymous Petronius said...

To my mind, when I think about (a) the ruling against Mr & Mrs Johns in particular, and about (b) 'what is currently happening to our society re equalities and rights' in a broader sense, it throws up an interesting corollary, which I'm surprised David Starkey, being an historian, did not mention on QT, as the theme must surely have crossed his mind. It goes like this:

Whoever believes that this court ruling was correct, and is pleased at the 'progress' that is being made in this direction, then it necessarily follows that such a person believes that the hundreds of generations who went before us throughout history, were nothing but primitive idiots who knew nothing about justice nor morality. Such a person must believe that suddenly, bingo! THIS generation alone has instantly been gifted with supreme knowledge of "the true way forward"!
"How utterly strange", such a person must think to themselves, "that the previous generations, (who after all gave us electronics, space rockets, air travel, computers, complex mathematics etc), remained such....utter neanderthals in terms of equalities and rights, until the great sudden insight came, some 20 or 30 years ago".

And it IS strange, isn't it, how none of those previous generations thought it better for a child to be fostered by homosexuals than by Christians. ....unless of course, one considers the hypothesis that all those past generations were actually right, and it is this generation that has made a serious error. But such an hypothesis is just "conspiracy theory" nonsense, isn't it?

9 March 2011 22:24  
Anonymous len said...

I think it probably part of the Judgement man put himself under that by the rejection of Christianity man gets in lieu of Christianity......... Islam.
There are no vacuums in the 'natural' and there are no vacuums in the spiritual.
I think in Biblical terms man will be/has been/ given over

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient” (Romans 1:28)
....
Our Society is on the downward part of the cycle which societies seem to travel this is obvious from the fruit our society is bearing "The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, those nations always progressed through the following cycle:

1. From bondage to spiritual faith;

2. From spiritual faith to great courage;

3. From courage to liberty;

4. From liberty to abundance;

5. From abundance to complacency;

6. From complacency to apathy;

7. From apathy to dependence;

8. From dependence back into bondage"
..........
It is ironic that man when he thinks he has the greatest freedom is in fact in the greatest bondage!

9 March 2011 23:31  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Anabaptist @ 16:45 - no, stoats are cool too!

I can't allow the defamation of the poor old toad either ... how about 'Cameron the bacillus' ?

Tapeworm?

10 March 2011 01:44  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Petronius: "Whoever believes that this court ruling was correct, and is pleased at the 'progress' that is being made in this direction, then it necessarily follows that such a person believes that the hundreds of generations who went before us throughout history, were nothing but primitive idiots who knew nothing about justice nor morality."

I actually have concerns about this ruling too. I also have concerns about how issues of equality are handled. The concept is right at its core but we've lost clarity somewhere I think.

But anyway. Your corollary. If we swap the content for one of sexual (i.e. gender) equality then does it still apply? That is, if we generally think recognising equality of access to jobs and the like for women is the right thing to do and think it is progess that women are now equal members of society rather than, say, chattels then does that mean what you say for the past? Were they primitive idiots for forcing gender roles where, say, men were the breadwinners and women maintained the home and raised children?

10 March 2011 02:06  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

As an addendum, Islam still maintains the validity of gender roles in its view of ideal society as far as I know. Is that more primitive than the Western, largely secular view?

10 March 2011 02:09  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

FYI, Mr Diamond was on R4 for 10 minutes or so just after 8:30 this morning promoting, to my ears, the Christian Institute's ultimate agenda over this case. Personally, I think he got trounced, especially by the final comment, but I expect that depending on one's starting point.

10 March 2011 09:07  
Blogger DP111 said...

OT

Christians forced to flee violence in Ethiopia need urgent aid


An estimated 10,000 Christians have been forced to flee their homes in western Ethiopia following a barrage of attacks by Muslim extremists, who are rampaging through the area setting churches and houses ablaze.

http://www.barnabasfund.org/christians-forced-to-flee-violence-in-ethiopia-need-urgent-aid.html

Ethiopia is a Christoan country, and this is the situation there. It is getting worse by the day.

This is our future writ large that even the the most blind should be able see.

10 March 2011 10:32  
Blogger Roger Pearse said...

Well said, your grace. And a very relevant question at the end.

It is horrifying to see religious tests being reintroduced as a condition of participation in our society. We're right back in 1662, with the Act of Uniformity, which was drawn up by a depraved wretch with a boast that it would damn one half of the nation and starve the other.

Of course, then, there were corrupt individuals willing to play along, to take high positions in the church, preach up the high dignity of being a bishop, and be praised by the state in a half-contemptuous way.

How long before Christians start being arrested? Oh wait, that's already happened.

Why is call-me-dave playing along with hateful Harriet Harperson's crusade to turn Britain into a sack of squabbling rats, fighting for position?

10 March 2011 11:20  
Anonymous MrJ said...

(After listening this morning, thanks to DanJo, to "Mr Diamond on R4" yesterday)....Lord Falconer has a principal responsibility for the dog's breakfast (using Cranmer's phrase) of the laws today, and not surprisingly he evaded the substance of the concerns for which Mr Diamond persists in boldly speaking out, and his lordship failed to make ay convincing answer.

This is the same Lord Falconer who Mr Blair, when prime minister, in highly controversial circumstances decided to appoint to the then ancient office of Lord Chancellor (at that time, the high officer presiding in the House of Lords, formal head of the judiciary and, as a member of the cabinet, intimately connected with legislation and questions of constitutionality). A Tony-pleaser if not a crowd-pleaser.

10 March 2011 13:00  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

You're welcome MrJ.

This also seems like a good listen:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00z5y9z

A Radio 4 programme about free will today.

10 March 2011 13:42  
Anonymous MrJ said...

DanJ0__Melvyn's programmes are nearly as good as Cranmer's blogsite! In this one, the remarks about Augustine of Hippo (N.Africa) were, may one say, credible; and then there was Calvin, and after.

Are we now, and shall we be, free to be deeply committed, with the required degree of conviction to be entitled to whatever privilege is conceded under the laws of this country at the time, to manifest (in conduct and practice) a belief about "freedom" (as a fact, a reality, an ideal), and equally free to manifest a contrary belief, and any mixture or variation of these?

Btw the 39 Articles of the Book of Common Prayer can be seen as a brave attempt (in terms of that time) to allow for this, paradoxically.

And isn't it odd that one of the curiosities of the topic is the tendency which has become respectable among intellectuals to identify "free will" question with the "brain" (i.e. the grey matter inside the skull). http://users.ox.ac.uk/~ball0888/oxfordopen/will.htm

10 March 2011 14:52  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

MrJ, I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet although I am familiar with the topic from my Philosophy course.

Personally I doubt we have free will, just the illusion of it, but then I tend towards materialism.

It's not really surprising that people link free will with the brain. Afterall, our mind is demonstrably affected by what happens to the brain and we usually see free will as a function of the mind.

10 March 2011 17:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You see the mind as separate from the brain?

How, then, do you define mind?

10 March 2011 18:39  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"You see the mind as separate from the brain?"

Yes, and no. The mind is not the brain. The mind, as far as I'm concerned, is a function of the brain. If the brain dies then the mind dies. If the brain is damaged then the mind is often damaged. If the brain is temporarily impaired by drugs of alcohol then the mind is temporarily impaired too. Our personality and identity is intimately intwined with our mind. Brain trauma sometimes has profound effects on our personality and therefore identity. It can seem like someone is a different person afterwards. And effectively they are.

10 March 2011 19:14  
Anonymous len said...

This may seem a little off thread but I believe it is relevant concerning the ongoing 'discussions 'between Christians and Atheists particularly 'intellectual Atheists'.

The Bible is irrelevant to Atheists,Christian witness is irrelevant to Atheists, Christians present Biblical Truth to Atheists who constantly reject it.This goes on in a tiresome ,oft repeated ,cycle.

Why is this? I hear you ask?

God is a Spirit, man was created to related to God through his spirit.When man fell( Atheists deny this claiming man is just'how how is', a product of Evolution)his spirit dies and is unable to relate to God.
So fallen man searches for God with(yes you guessed it), his Intellect)cannot find God and says"Well he cannot exist then"
To use an imperfect analogy this is like searching for a radio transmission with a receiver with dead batteries!Then giving up and denying that others with'live' receivers are getting a 'signal'.
So Atheists you need (to uses a 60`s expression to get 'turned on'
if you are interested in making contact with your Creator!
God is continually 'transmitting' to all who will listen.

How do you get 'turned on'?

Pray that God will reveal Himself to you through His Spirit and His Spirit will breath Life into your human Spirit.

(This takes quite a lot of courage and may mean denying some of your prejudices and pre conditioning and means your life will never be the same again, so this course of action is only for those who value the Truth.This will also work for those who have accepted religion as a substitute for a relationship with the Living God.)

11 March 2011 07:17  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Have you read the book Mister God, This is Anna? I read it many years ago about the same time as I read The Black Girl in Search of God. It's not that I don't know this sort of stuff ...

11 March 2011 19:27  
Anonymous len said...

There is knowing about,and knowing .

I know about women, but I know my wife.

11 March 2011 23:27  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Oh I agree. I'm excluded from that sort of knowing (the communion, as well as women). Assuming it exists, I'm reduced to looking in from the outside.

To my mind, even from the outside, there ought to be things one can know and assess before trying to get in. That's one of non-supernatural aspect of evidence I was alluding to on that other thread. One of the most confusing things for me is that if a whole group of people are receiving the signal then why is the information different?

I put that to my Telegraph Christian in a debate and he said that most Christians aren't actually Christian. He's a Catholic, you see. Of course, the Magisterium makes sure the message is the same so it is not very conclusive that Catholics mostly sing from the same song sheet.

Newly baptised Christians will still be tuning their radios, I accept. And people start from different places so that it takes a while to act on the message, I accept. But it's the details rather than the power that throw me. How can we have protestants and Catholics who all think they are tuned in?

I hope you see my honest difficulty here. It appears from the outside that the relationship simply empowers moral reasoning, makes one feel loved, and promotes good behaviour ... but does not empower the details leading to ecumenicalism. All that is very plausibly of human origin given a ideological theme. Especially as the good behaviour seems to go out of the window very quickly on the Internet when people are anonymous and cut off from their church life as we can see from some of the comments in this blog and elsewhere.

Does all that make sense?

I don't doubt you completely believe what you say, by the way. You seem honest and committed. I think you must also try to live it daily given your tenacity. I see a lot of hypocrisy but I'm not labelling you with that.

12 March 2011 07:35  
Anonymous len said...

Danjo, I think the whole issue is that one is born again.
Now I don`t doubt that some Catholics are born again.This I believe is not because of Catholicism but despite it.
I believe God can work within any denomination because all He is interested in is someone seeking the Truth(about Him)It is not even necessary to belong to a Church or a denomination.
I was not attending Church when I was born again and do not regularly attend any church or belong to any denomination.
I recognise my own failings and shortcomings and have come(through a long process)to recognise that my only hope of living the way God intended man to live is through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

12 March 2011 16:32  

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