Friday, March 18, 2011

Europe’s classrooms can keep the Cross of Christ


Back in 2009, an atheist mother in Italy, Ms Soile Lautsi, brought a case before the European Court of Human Rights because her two sons, aged 11 and 13, had been subjected to the horrifying and spiritually disturbing trauma of having to see a crucifix in a state school. She argued that crucifixes were ‘contrary to the principle of secularism by which she wished to bring up her children’, and asked for them to be removed. The school refused, arguing that crucifixes have been present in public buildings for centuries and in Italian state schools by Royal Decree since 1924: they are not simply a religious symbol but a national one.

In a judgment which outraged just about the whole of Italy, the European Court rejected the Italian government arguments that the crucifix was a national symbol of culture, history and identity, tolerance and secularism, saying the crucifix in the classroom was against the principle of secularism by which Ms Lautsi wished to raise her children. They decreed:
The presence of the crucifix – which it was impossible not to notice in the classrooms – could easily be interpreted by pupils of all ages as a religious sign and they would feel that they were being educated in a school environment bearing the stamp of a given religion. This could be encouraging for religious pupils, but also disturbing for pupils who practised other religions or were atheists, particularly if they belonged to religious minorities… The State was to refrain from imposing beliefs in premises where individuals were dependent on it. In particular, it was required to observe confessional neutrality in the context of public education, where attending classes was compulsory irrespective of religion, and where the aim should be to foster critical thinking in pupils.
The implications for religious symbols in state school across Europe were considerable. And let’s be honest, when they refer to removal of ‘religious symbols’, they are only really talking about one – the cross. It is as symbolic of Europe’s heritage and culture as it is of its religion: for every crescent, khanda, Star of David or Jedi hood they seek to eradicate, they will remove a thousand crosses and crucifixes.

Not to mention Bibles, religious posters, children’s art work, stained glass windows, Christmas trees, Nativity plays...

Today’s appeal by the Italian government against their ruling has been won (full judgement here). Well, credit where it's due: two-and-a-half cheers for the ECHR. It was argued that crucifixes in Italian classrooms are ‘a passive symbol that bear no relationship to the actual teaching, which is secular’. The jurist representing the 10 Council of Europe members supporting Italy, Joseph Weiler, said that ‘Italy without the crucifix would no longer be Italy’.

"The crucifix is both a national and a religious symbol," he said, and the Court accepted this. The judges agreed that religious references and symbols are pervasive throughout Europe and do not necessarily connote faith. We have in this judgement confirmation that the outward show of religion can be devoid of inner meaning or sincerity, just as the Lord said (Mt 23:27).

Keith Porteous Wood, Executive Director of the National Secular Society, said of the ruling: “This is a severe blow to the concept of state neutrality in relation to religion, and to secularism. It flies in the face of Europe’s increasing plurality and diversity and risks damaging the court’s previous reputation of treating all citizen’s equally.”

Why can he not see that secularism is not neutral? A classroom without religious symbols communicates that the values upon which education is pursued are without religious foundation. It is impossible to eradicate the perception by children that the values and precepts of secularism are superior to whatever they seek to supplant. There is no separation of church and state in the UK; even those constituent parts of the country which have a disestablished church retain the Supreme Governor of the Church of England as their Head of State. The British Head of State is Protestant and Christian by law. The Monarch is bound by her Coronation Oath to defend that faith and govern the peoples of the United Kingdom in accordance with their customs and traditions of law.

Aggressive secularists and atheist busybodies should not be free to demand that their sensitivities should trump everybody else's freedom of religion.

The Cross of Christ is symbolic not only of faith, but of the value system which underpins our culture and traditions, our law-making and jurisprudence. The Cross symbolises our civil values of tolerance, affirmation of our responsibilities and rights, the autonomy of our moral conscience vis-à-vis authority, human solidarity and the refusal of any form of discrimination. The Cross is the very foundation of Europe’s secular values.

Adolf Hitler ordered the removal of crosses and crucifixes from public buildings: he antagonised the Bavarians in particular by insisting that Christian iconography in schools had to be replaced with Nazi symbols. We may laugh light-heartedly at aspects of ‘Political Correctness’, but few Germans will find humour in the Nazi philosophy of Gleichschaltung: the bringing into alignment all expressions of opinion and policy.

For God’s sake, let Europe not go back there.

64 Comments:

Anonymous Paul said...

Ah, the good old Reductio ad Hitlerum

18 March 2011 at 15:59  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

There may be an overuse of Nazi and Hitler comparisons on the internet, but there is certainly not on His Grace's august blog.

The allegation of invoking 'Godwin's Law' should not become a deterrent to *appropriate* comparison with or reference to Nazis.

18 March 2011 at 16:17  
Anonymous John Thomas said...

It's like this constant argument about "faith schools" in Britain. Secularists should be made to concede publicly that ALL schools are faith schools, in that they all teach a world-view/value system, and 90% of schools in Britain (and maybe Italy as well, from your report) teach the faith of secular materialism (as fact, not opinion). There are some denominational schools that perhaps go some little way to teach a different faith, but they are very few, I think (even some of the denominational schools do not teach a non-materialist world-view, I bet).

18 March 2011 at 16:44  
Anonymous Paul said...

I'm glad you agree on the overuse of Nazi comparisons, and I agree with you that they shouldn't be entirely redundant, but I'm afraid I really don't think yours is appropriate here. The implication that removing crosses from school is a step for Europe on the road back to Nazism is a perfect example of reductio ad Hitlerum, if we take the description provided on Wikipedia that Nazi examples are used "as if to say that anything that Adolf Hitler did, no one else should do, for it will obviously or eventually lead to genocide."

You may not have meant that cross bans would lead to genocide, but your weighty comparison certainly implied that they would put on us a similar road to evil.

18 March 2011 at 16:53  
Anonymous MrJ said...

The effect of the court ruling, to an uncomplicated mind, would seem to be that display of the "cross" as a secular token or emblem is permitted, but not otherwise, much as a cross is the emblem of the Swiss Confederation.

And would "cross" displayed for "secular" purposes (such as in the name of cultural heritage, and for profit or information) include a crucifix with the figure of the Crucified One traditional in Italy and many other places?

The essential issue is as Blogmaster Cranmer has concisely stated: "Aggressive secularists and atheist busybodies should not be free to demand that their sensitivities should trump everybody else's freedom of religion."

It is of an importance way beyond quibbling about overuse of Nazi comparisons.

18 March 2011 at 16:58  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

It was always really an argument of National Sovereignty, the Italian Government having to argue the case is still to some extent a defeat YG.

I doubt the cross would have fared any better under the Bavarian Communist Republic. It cannot be denied that coalition Governments where seen as too weak to defend Germany from Communism, thats why Hitler came to power.

18 March 2011 at 17:02  
Blogger MrTinkles said...

"Why can he not see that secularism is not neutral? A classroom without religious symbols communicates that the values upon which education is pursued are without religious foundation. It is impossible to eradicate the perception by children that the values and precepts of secularism are superior to whatever they seek to supplant."

Excellent to see this point being made...I find it frustrating that it's not made more often...although I rather suspect atheist/humanist lobby understands it very well...they would just rather it wasn't mentioned...

18 March 2011 at 17:07  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

His Grace: "A classroom without religious symbols communicates that the values upon which education is pursued are without religious foundation."

That sounds great to me. Education in schools should be about the topics taught. Teaching them through a religious prism is pretty inappropriate to my mind.

Let the kids learn religious morals and views from their parents, if they must, but let them learn the skill of living together in a diverse society in schools.

18 March 2011 at 17:11  
Anonymous not a machine said...

As I got down to the later paragraphs I thought you were reminding us Labours last term , easy confusion to make I suppose:)

Good news none the less , as you have pointed out , secularism is not neutral .

18 March 2011 at 17:17  
Anonymous Roland said...

This is a very important issue. I am glad you are giving it the attention it deserves. The threat to our Christian freedoms and civilisation comes from militant secularism and the political Left (Bolshevism). Please see my blog for some related entries - http://bnafreedom.posterous.com (British North America Freedom). I put in a good word for you and this site on mine (with link).

18 March 2011 at 17:20  
Anonymous MrJ said...

Blogmaster Cranmer and others may have been long aware of this, but it has only just been noticed by MrJ that the name of this court in French is: "Cour Europeenne des Droits de l'Homme", which more literally translated would be "European Court of (or for?) the Rights of Man" which has a familiar resonance quite different from Human Rights.

This may help toward a better understanding of the problematic character of the court in relation to the common law tradition and jurisprudence of this country. There was a time when those in high and low judcial and legislative office were acquainted with the significance of a people whose tradition included such as Blackstone, Pitt, Burke and Tom Paine as distinguished from one whose tradition was Napoleonic.

18 March 2011 at 17:39  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

MrJ interesting point.

I do enjoy perusing the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia and am most interested in subject matters alien juris.

My distate of the foreign is not racial prejudice as some may think.

18 March 2011 at 18:10  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Well this is my country and the country of my forebears. Foreigners who try to tell me what to do here are violating my human rights, so I don't give a tinker's what they claim is law. It isn't; I have no respect for them or their pronouncments.

As to what their placemen pretend...
Continuing the example of crosses -- The Cross of Christ is symbolic not only of faith, but of the value system which underpins our culture and traditions, our law-making and jurisprudence. Exactly, Your Grace.

If the foreigners choose to invade and subvert that law-making from the sublimity of its purpose, then they show themselves for the ignorant, brutal, colonialists they are: the very types who crucified Christ in the first place. We have every God-given right to gather round His Cross, and to teach our children to do the same: and we know that He will rise again to purge even this Hell-hole.

And also - I am not a europeen; I refuse to change my identity.

18 March 2011 at 18:21  
Anonymous len said...

Anyone who imagines that the classroom is 'neutral ground' as regard different philosophies being presented are sadly mistaken.
Evolution is taught as fact.Children are indoctrinated into the principles of Political Correctness( which is cultural Marxism) and all that entails.
And when at home these children are bombarded with information via the Media, channelling them into acceptance of ideas which would have horrified previous generations and( some of the present)This is done to force acceptance of ideas previously not acceptable to Society.

Secularism is definitely not neutral it seeks to impose its ideas,philosophy, and 'value systems' to the exclusion of others.
Secularism seeks to eliminate choice and by so doing restricts the freedom of the individual.

Atheists deride religion so what is it about the symbol of the cross which they find so threatening?

18 March 2011 at 18:27  
Anonymous len said...

Should we mention Hitler?As it seems to upset some people?

Certainly!. If we do not learn the lessons of History we are bound to repeat them.

We see through the study of Hitler how people can sink to the depths of depravity and just how inhuman man can treat man.It is a lesson we must NEVER forget!

18 March 2011 at 18:33  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

non mouse said..."And also - I am not a europeen; I refuse to change my identity."

Good comment only since the terms driver and traffic are of a commercial capacity your licence renders you somewhat morte civile.

18 March 2011 at 18:43  
Anonymous malvoisin said...

Len said.....

I agree with what you say about Hitler, but this the rub, why mention Hitler all the time when communism was far worse, conservative etimates reckon 150 million people have lost their lives to communism since 1917 and still do today. In fact, under communism there were/are more mass murderers i.e. Lenin, Stalin, Pohl Pot, Mao Tse Tung etc. It just seems to me that the greater evil is convieniantly forgotton, or is it just easier to say nazi instead of communist?

18 March 2011 at 18:53  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Yes, I know, BitB - I try to white out the imposition on the hated licence. Better dead than one of them, especially since their faith is of the deconstructionist doctrine: Commie thinks you are, therefore you are.

They think their words and images change facts: but they've made one mistake... they only think it

18 March 2011 at 19:00  
Blogger LobotomySpoon82 said...

Communists, Nazis, pretty much all the same anyway. Murdering S.O.B.'s. Why not just call them all pinko's and be done with it.

And to echo (in a way) Non Mouse, I am no more European than a Japanese man is a Chinaman.

18 March 2011 at 19:06  
Anonymous MrJ said...

Bred in the bone (18:10)_Thank you for the tip about New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia. It claims to be "Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions..." so it seems to be good place to go if that is the information being looked for. There, "Church" presumably means the Roman Catholic denomination.

18 March 2011 at 19:09  
Anonymous MrJ said...

In connection with all this, MrJ is hoping that it will not be long before we are favoured with the Blogmaster's remarks about the recently announced appointment of the Bill of Rights commission, whose members include the learned Baroness and Baron Kennedy of the Shaws and Lester of Herne Hill.

18 March 2011 at 19:20  
Blogger Wrinkled Weasel said...

His Grace is on form as never before. Somebody has to stand up for the scapegoating of Christianity and it may as well be Cranmer.

2000 years of the teachings of Christ are in danger of being swept away by morons, hell bent on taking away the very essence of humanity.

This ruling is welcome and sensible. Re-writing history to suit the zeitgeist is not Hitlerian, it is Orwellian, and the the latter is altogether more disturbing and more pervasive.

18 March 2011 at 19:45  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"The Monarch is bound by her Coronation Oath to defend that faith and govern the peoples of the United Kingdom in accordance with their customs and traditions of law."

Her Maj is also bound by the oath to govern the peoples of the Union of South Africa, which is a bit of a problem now South Africa has become a republic. Just sayin', like.

18 March 2011 at 20:04  
Anonymous non mouse said...

I hope this is somewhat in context, at least figuratively
...
St. George's Day, this year, falls on Easter Saturday - right between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. :)

18 March 2011 at 20:09  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"Secularism is definitely not neutral it seeks to impose its ideas,philosophy, and 'value systems' to the exclusion of others. Secularism seeks to eliminate choice and by so doing restricts the freedom of the individual."

It's an odd definition you have. Secularism essentially seeks government independent of religion or religions. It's seems pretty sensible to me for a country which has a number of religious minorities and a majority of don't know/don't care people.

What people do in their own lives is neither here nor there. Government shouldn't really be interfering there unless other people are likely to be harmed by it or if it caused social unrest.

I'm a secularist and I'm quite happy for people to hold religious beliefs. Obviously I'll argue against aggressive religionists and tell religious busybodies to bog off but then they can hardly expect otherwise.

18 March 2011 at 20:22  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Also, these notes are reminiscent of the crucifix/cross controversies. Indeed, Mr. J broached an aspect of this @ 16:58, when he mentioned secular use of the plain emblem.

It seems arguable that the present state of public 'entertainment' is the secular pole on a scale of Affective Piety. The Christian pole (the crucifix) has its emotionally manipulative side too. That is to say, in modern terms: it can be unhealthy, even sado-masochistic, to dwell on physical suffering (passio).

A plain cross, on the other hand, has the advantage of signifying the most egregious crimes of inhuman humanity: the murder of Love, Truth, Innocence and Goodness. At the same time, the abstract image refrains from forcing a depiction of torture on those who are sensitive or impressionable.

Another huge advantage of the plain cross is that the aggressors can't take it away from us! Crosses surround us. The presence of crosses is a fact of life, no matter how the busybodies attempt to eradicate Christian significance of the formation! The situation itself is emblematic of their denial that Christ (who upheld existing Law) taught us how to live: they and their neu laws represent death.

18 March 2011 at 21:42  
Blogger William said...

"Secularism essentially seeks government independent of religion or religions. It's seems pretty sensible to me for a country which has a number of religious minorities and a majority of don't know/don't care people."

That's a pretty weak argument for removing the Christian foundations of this country. Particularly when they have served us so well and when your alternative (a Secular State) has such an appalling track record.

18 March 2011 at 21:43  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"That's a pretty weak argument for removing the Christian foundations of this country. Particularly when they have served us so well and when your alternative (a Secular State) has such an appalling track record."

We don't have Christian foundations of any substance, just a Christian history and some Christian heritage. We have significant liberal, democratic foundations though. Also, there isn't an appalling track record of a secular state in the UK, or, in fact, any track record. We haven't had a secular state in the UK.

18 March 2011 at 23:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Something of a Pyrrhic victory. In order to keep the crosses, the Italian government has had to deny what they're supposed to represent.

You write "We have in this judgement confirmation that the outward show of religion can be devoid of inner meaning or sincerity, just as the Lord said (Mt 23:27)." But even the Pharisees didn't openly demand the right to be whitewashed sepulchres.

You then say

"The Cross symbolises our civil values of tolerance, affirmation of our responsibilities and rights, the autonomy of our moral conscience vis-à-vis authority, human solidarity and the refusal of any form of discrimination. The Cross is the very foundation of Europe’s secular values."

If that were true, it would be a spectacular own goal. Should the humanists adopt the Cross as an emblem?

The RCC believes in none of those things (as you may recall from 1556).

18 March 2011 at 23:33  
Anonymous Atlas shrugged said...

Christian iconography

Need I remind your grace that there is nought Christian about iconography, as outlined within the Ten Commandments.

Indeed there would seem to be very little that is Christian about much to do with the Christian church in general as far as I can tell.

However I digress.

Hitler was a paradox in many ways. By no means least in his treatment of and associations with The Roman Catholic Church.

For it is a well recorded fact that Hitler gained his election to a position of power from the official support of The Roman Catholic Church. It was with the help of many within The Vatican that some of the Germany's most evil Nazis escaped to mainly South America at the end of the war. Where in turn they were protected by the Roman Catholic Church in places such as Argentina and Brazil.

Indeed Hitler himself considered himself to be a Roman Catholic.

19 March 2011 at 02:18  
Anonymous Bob Chapman said...

There is this perspective from the other side of the Pond. And, you aren't going to like it.

Previous to 1954, the "Pledge of Allegiance" went as follows:

I pledge allegiance to the Flag
of the United States of America,
and to the Republic for which it stands,
One nation,
Indivisible,
With liberty and justice for all.

This is how school children began their day. My father, a World War II and Korean War veteran, said this Pledge when in uniform. Basically, it serves as a spoken national anthem.

President Eisenhower, in a move intentionally designed to appease the Christian Right, convinced Congress to make the following change to the Pledge:


I pledge allegiance to the Flag
of the United States of America,
and to the Republic for which it stands,
One nation under God,
Indivisible,
With liberty and justice for all.

With our First Amendment to the Constitution guarding against establishment of religion, this matter entered the court system. More than once.

It has been upheld, even when striking down mandated public school (US meaning) prayers. The reason always boils down it being meaningless.

"Justice Brennan repeated his conviction that the phrase 'under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance did not violate the Establishment Clause because those words 'have lost any true religious significance.'" (ID. at 818 -- Brennan, J., dissenting) Marsh v. Chambers, 463 U.S. 783, July 5, 1983. http://undergod.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000080

I would rather God that others not use God's name in vain, as it is meaningless to them. I would rather the Cross of our salvation be a symbol of something far more important than the state.

When the state enters into forced expression of religion, religious expression becomes meaningless, without power, void.

They should have removed the crosses from state schools in Italy. "Under God" should be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance in the US. God is not meaningless.

19 March 2011 at 05:38  
Anonymous Voyager said...

State Education is a Prussian Concept not a British one. LEAs were only created in 1902 and only went mad after 1944.

The increasingly monolithic education system has been turned into a National Education System or State Ideological Apparatus.

Germany had this same case with a presumably Muslim immigrant objecting to crucifixes in Bavaria and the school removing it to placate him. Now the ruling means that Bavarians are not subject to their culture being defined by Muslim immigrants in schools.

The only answer is to abolish State Education and let a thousand flowers bloom, Porteous-Wood is the civil partner of Terry Sanderson and the National Secular Society is a front organisation which should be ignored

19 March 2011 at 08:50  
Anonymous Voyager said...

With our First Amendment to the Constitution guarding against establishment of religion, this matter entered the court system. More than once.

Your State Schools are however a disaster and the private schools like Phillips Academy at Exeter are the path to the best universities and the best jobs. Your Churches are tax-exempt which is why L Ron Hubbard ran his businesses this way.

European Churches pay VAT and other taxes, They are not State-funded in the main except where it is compensation for land expropriated as in Germany.

The US system is fraudulent as that 1st Amendment is used to justify burning the US flag or to defend Bob Guccione of Penthouse. Yet that defence is not invoked over WikiLeaks nor to stop executive authority being used to bludgeon Amazon.

The US Constitution exists purely as a legal plaything and has justified Slavery and Emancipation and is frankly a perverted system whereby a clique of judges exert tyranny as was Jefferson's fear

Jefferson

19 March 2011 at 08:58  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Thomas Jefferson once warned in a letter to a friend. "It is one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy." On another occasion, Jefferson said "the judiciary of the United States is a subtle corps of sappers and miners constantly working under ground to undermine the foundations of our confederate fabric." A court's independence from "a king or executive" was a good thing, Jefferson added, but its "independence of the will of the nation" is inappropriate, "at least in a republican government."

19 March 2011 at 08:59  
Anonymous MrJ said...

Thank you, Bob Chapman for bringing this into the discussion: "Justice Brennan repeated his conviction that the phrase 'under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance did not violate the Establishment Clause because those words 'have lost any true religious significance.'" (ID. at 818 -- Brennan, J., dissenting) Marsh v. Chambers, 463 U.S. 783, July 5, 1983.

If lacking " true religious significance" for the purposes of the case under appeal in the Supreme Court of the federal republic of the U.S.A., it is evident that the motivation for the President's initiative and of the Court's ruling was political expediency, given the state of the union and the party political operations which happen there.

The wisdom and justice of that initiative and ruling cannot be appraised by those lacking sufficient knowledge and experience of that country and republic, founded in the time of George III.

But equally, whatever is the principle of justice which it may be supposed or held to express, its relevance and application within the constituent territories of the comparatively parvenu political entity which has taken for itself (in more than one official language) the name "European Union", and in particular within any one of those territories, can only justly be considered by those with sufficient knowledge and experience of that territory and of the origins of the various monarchies and republics of Europe within a period beginning (perhaps) with the founding of the Venetian republic, or at least of the Swiss Confederation.

The question may be stated thus: Do the peoples of those territories have in fact, or as reasonable and law abiding members of society, ought they to have (according to some identified and accepted criterion), confidence in any body of persons appointed to give a ruling on the issue which will be binding and authoritative in law (if not in conscience); and is that to be determined according to a principle of political expediency or in some other way?

Further, can this be reconciled with the principles of responsible government within the parliamentary democracy of the United Kingdom from which the legitimacy of the European Union in this country derives?

Yet further, is there anything in this which extends to other territories or treaty organisations recognised by the United Nations Organisation? And is it connected with a principle of mutuality?

And Voyagers' remarks are also relevant.

19 March 2011 at 09:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never quite understood reverence for the crucifix.

OK , it is used as a reminder of Christ's suffering.

But , as a stand-up comedian once said :
"You don't see Jackie Kennedy wearing a rifle pendant."

I am keen to avoid being pigeon-holed as a mere heathen , so I will note that even certain Christian denominations eschew use of the crucifix.

19 March 2011 at 11:26  
Anonymous Martin Marprelate said...

For once I salute a "European Court" judgement! Well done! Long may The Cross be on display in Schools in Christian countries!

I wear my Cross around my neck, usually visible outside my clothing not hidden under it. One in the eye for the militant atheists and the secularists. Cameron, a secularist, please note well!

19 March 2011 at 12:35  
Anonymous len said...

Difficult to 'pigeon hole 'someone who is anonymous!.

The Cross stands in the very centre of the Christian Gospel.

" The whole Adam life of nature is absolutely fallen.
It cannot be improved.
It is fallen and poisoned by the serpent in root and branch.
The whole scheme of redemption lies in the fact that God must begin again ,so to speak,and to make a new creation.
Through the Cross He plans to bring to an end the old Adam life of a fallen race,and build a new creation in the midst of its ruins"
(The centrality of the Cross Jesse Penn Lewis)

19 March 2011 at 12:35  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"I wear my Cross around my neck, usually visible outside my clothing not hidden under it. One in the eye for the militant atheists and the secularists."

I'm an atheist and I advocate secularism. I don't give a hoot whether you wear a cross or not in your private life. Why on earth should we? It's militant religionists who want to determine what we all can or can't do in our private lives.

19 March 2011 at 13:16  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Martin Marprelate @ 12:35 said: I wear my Cross around my neck, usually visible outside my clothing not hidden under it. One in the eye for the militant atheists and the secularists.
Yes, so do I. I've worn the biggest one I have right in the faces of professors of commie theory - those who command "forget your beliefs." Others warned: "Be careful. A lot of people here object to crosses."

Unfortunately, the next Chair of that department forbade them; he treated any chance manifestation in his presence as a personal insult to him...

So I crossed my forehead with my thumb, crossed my fingers, crossed my legs, knotted my scarf, wore shawls with salient weaves, let him cross in front of me, etc :)

Even though he often failed to recognise the presence of the emblem though, I have to give the b* some credit. At least he perceives its significance.

19 March 2011 at 15:54  
Blogger Lisa_in_AR said...

Some commenters here dislike the Hitler/ Nazi references. I think we need to remember. Even today (2007) in Germany teachers wearing "exterior expression of religious confession" are being removed from schools
http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/news/205492,judges-german-ban-on-head-scarves-includes-nuns-veils.html
Next think you know, that cross, or star of David, or whatever religious symbol you choose to wear around your neck will be forbidden. A slippery slope to say the least.

19 March 2011 at 15:59  
Blogger Christ Alone said...

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19 March 2011 at 17:22  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"Next think you know, that cross, or star of David, or whatever religious symbol you choose to wear around your neck will be forbidden. A slippery slope to say the least."

If we haven't banned the burqa here so far then let's face it, a poxy cross around your neck is hardly going to be on the radar. And even if we banned the burqa it doesn't follow at all that other religious attire will be banned. Afterall, the reason the burqa might be banned is because it hides one's identity in public, not because it is religious. Hope the grit I've thrown on the slippery slope helps.

19 March 2011 at 19:15  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Even today (2007) in Germany teachers wearing "exterior expression of religious confession" are being removed from schools

Yes but displaying Nazi symbols in schools or elsewhere gets a total prohibition so there has been a marginal change. Just need to get Communist symbols banned now

19 March 2011 at 21:53  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Hwæt! Ic swefna cyst secgan wylle,
hwæt me gemætte to midre nihte, reordberend reste wunedon!
Þuhte me þæt ic gesawe syllicre treow
on lyft lædan, leohte bewunden,
beama beorhtost. Eall þæt beacen wæs
begoten mid golde. Gimmas stodon
fægere æt foldan sceatum; swylce þær fife wæron uppe on þam eaxlegespanne. Beheoldon þær engel Dryhtnes ealle,
fægere þurh forðgesceaft. Ne wæs ðær huru fracodes gealga.
Ac hine þær beheoldon halige gastas,
men ofer moldan, ond eall þeos mære gesceaft.
Syllic wæs se sigebeam, ond ic synnum fah,
forwunded mid wommum.
Geseah ic wuldres treow,
wædum geweorðode, wynnum scinan,
gegyred mid golde; gimmas hæfdon
bewrigene weorðlice wealdes treow.
Hwæðre ic þurh þæt gold ongytan meahte
earmra ærgewin, þæt hit ærest ongan
swætan on þa swiðran healfe. Eall ic wæs mid sorghum gedrefed.
Forht ic wæs for þære fægran gesyhðe.
Geseah ic þæt fuse beacen
wendan wædum ond bleom; hwilum hit wæs mid wætan bestemed,
beswyled mid swates gange. Hwilum mid since gegyrwed.

19 March 2011 at 23:08  
Blogger LobotomySpoon82 said...

Si me dryhten freond, se ðe her on eorþan ær þrowode on þam gealgtreowe for guman synnum.

20 March 2011 at 06:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want more choice for those children being subjected to a forced Godless secular education. I want to make a strong case for 11 year olds, or 16 year olds (if 11 is deemed too young) of every background who want a Christian education to get one. It is their human right just as it is the right of every person to hear the Gospel. I was force fed atheism, at home AND at school. But I did not want all that secular "claptrap" at school too (I wanted to hear both sides of the argument). Even at 16, I knew I being under-educated by all that force-fed, French existential rubbish about immoral people, in the Sixth Form. Boring "Soviet Style" atheism. Yawn. I wanted Herbert and Milton. Even an atheist knows what quality is.
Nor was I allowed to hear Christian radio programmes or attend church by my extreme atheist parents. Did I have no rights? I think they should have had a legal duty to take me to Church, and collect me. Potential Christians have human rights too - which are being completely denied.

20 March 2011 at 08:57  
Anonymous len said...

It all comes down to freedom of choice.
Aggressive Atheists(such as Dawkins ,) want to remove that choice, and they try to do this either directly( by removing all Christian influence) or by the more subtle means of trying to undermine the validity of the Gospel.
The Gospel is offered to people to accept or or refuse,there are no forced conversions in Christianity(since the Inquisition, thought I would get that one in before Danjo or Graham Davis!)so all Christians ask is the ability to present the Gospel.

20 March 2011 at 09:44  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"(since the Inquisition, thought I would get that one in before Danjo or Graham Davis!)"

:)

At the time when Christianity had widespread temporal power.

20 March 2011 at 10:36  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"I want more choice for those children being subjected to a forced Godless secular education."

Godless education like geography, maths, physics, chemistry, biology, woodwork, and so on? They're godless subjects! Even social science is comparative, and religious studies at least ought to be, if it isn't now. English is not necessarily religion-free, even in a properly secular school. There's no reason why Milton's Paradise Lost cannot be taught in a secular school and for it still to remain secular. A school is a first and foremost a social institution.

What a secular school does not do is promote a particular religion and deliberately indoctrinate children to continue the existence of that religion. That's the behaviour of a special interests group. By the same token, schools should not be creating Marxists out of their kids because the school is part-sponsored by the Socialist Worker Party, or creating Eco Warriers because their school is run by a bunch of Swampy-type people.

If parents want their kids to be indoctrinated in Islam or Christianity or Marxism then let them do it in their own time if they really must. I went to Sunday School when I was a kid. I attended church as a cub scout and a member of the Air Train Corps. All extra-curricular activities and part of one's own private life.

20 March 2011 at 10:53  
Anonymous len said...

Danjo,
'At the time when Christianity had widespread temporal power.'


I would argue that one with you,State formed religion posing as Christianity is in my opinion not Christianity at all!.

20 March 2011 at 12:28  
Blogger Ernst Stavro Blofeld and Tiddles said...

Non Mouse faib 19 March 2011 23:08
& LobotomySpoon82 faib 20 March 2011 06:33

Tragic..

No one else seems to get it but your efforts are much appreciated by old Ernsty.

Illiterate Barbarians, the lot of em.

Ernst

20 March 2011 at 14:52  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Thank you, Mr. Blofeld!
The inly blind presume to lead the blind through hell and tidal wave; that is their will.
Their mission - deracination and re-configuration of truth - depends upon scratching out eyes [such an insult to Tiddles!].

'Twas ever thus. The neu 'speechbearers' just think us block'eads 'aven't noticed yet. However:
On me Bearn Godes
þrowode hwile. Forþan ic þrymfæst nu
hlifige under heofenum, ond ic hælan mæg
æghwylcne anra þara þe him bið egesa to me
Iu ic wæs geworden wita heardost,
leodum laðost, ærþan ic him lifes weg
rihtne gerymde, reordberendum.


St. Augustine spoke in similar vein: "[...]by the nativity ['his humanity'] itself he made a salve by which the eyes of our heart may be wiped clean and we may be able to see his majesty through his lowliness."


Augustine, Saint, Bishop of Hippo. Tractates on the Gospel of John. Trans. John W. Rettig. Washington, D.C: Catholic University of America Press, c1988.

20 March 2011 at 19:40  
Anonymous Barbarian said...

All Greek to me.

20 March 2011 at 22:08  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

DanJO,

I can't quite see how religious studies could ever be neutral. Either one approaches it from a theistic point of view or a an atheistic view. Either one favours one religion or one favours none. You want to keep religious indoctrination out of schools, but then I'm not so keen on secular indoctrination either.

The fact is that you and I both know that relegating religion to a 'private matter' is to shun its very existence. Religion is more than private; faith consumes one's entire outlook on life. If you insult a faith you are insulting its followers, if you shun it from public life, then you are shunning its followers from public life. There is no neutral view; the biggest lie secularists tell is that they are neutral. They know that bullying faith indoors will kill it; that is their aim.

My faith grows when I am freely able to express it. I can only do that with other Christians, because whenever the topic is brought up elsewhere I am showered with a torrent of a sort of evangelistic atheism which seeks to insult and distort my very definition as a person. I am informed by those who know less about it than I, that religion is the root of all evil and wars, and that the world would be better off without it; that my views are outdated and backward; irrational and 'unscientific'. It's interesting how difficult it is to convince people that 7 day creationism is not held as historical truth by any but the minority, but they are quicker to tell me what I believe than let me tell them.

When one marginalises a group, like we marginalise Christians (that means Anglicans and Catholics), it fosters a distrust and hatred of them. As a homosexual, how can you not see that when your group were at the fringes of society was when anti-homosexual feeling was at its highest? What makes you think that is not what is happening now? Perhaps this partly why Church membership is decreasing; for many it's just not worth being outside popular society.

I say we ought not interfere in the right of a Christian parent to bring up their child as a Christian in a Christian country. You wouldn't send your child to a Christian school, well why should I send mine to an Atheist one?

20 March 2011 at 22:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DanJo: using the word "indoctrination" about Christianity "if parents want to indoctrinate their children with Christianity etc" is really lazy English. The right word is "inform", particularly in the current climate. Soviet-style indoctrination of the so called "neutral secular worldview" is rife in secular education through censorship. Works written from a Christian point of view should a protected status in the curriculum to fully educate people, not least because their quality is unmatched by existentialist/secular literature (but we all know are being censored). My parents did everything to make me an extreme atheist, hating and despising Christians. They wont speak to me now I am married to a Christian so totally uncompromising was their life's objective. They failed. But what Christian parents would not speak to their atheist child? These are symptoms of 1930s totalitarianism: non negotiable worldviews, uncompromising extreme behaviours, indoctrination. The antidote is a full, free education creating a balanced, tolerant and analytical individual, able to take independent balanced decisions based on real and historical evidence.

21 March 2011 at 07:52  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"DanJo: using the word "indoctrination" about Christianity "if parents want to indoctrinate their children with Christianity etc" is really lazy English. The right word is "inform", particularly in the current climate"

No, indoctrination is the correct word for what I am saying. Children are essentially recording devices when they are small. As they grow older, they are essentially uncritical. They are not small adults, their brains as well as their minds are developing. It is only when they reach mid-teens that everything a parent does it worthy of criticism. :)

"My parents did everything to make me an extreme atheist, hating and despising Christians. They wont speak to me now I am married to a Christian so totally uncompromising was their life's objective."

You can't reasonably generalise to all atheists from what your parents did. If you have childhood issues then talk to a therapist as they look to me like your relationship with your parents has not been good.

21 March 2011 at 13:28  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"I can't quite see how religious studies could ever be neutral. Either one approaches it from a theistic point of view or a an atheistic view."

Why? It's just about ideas. His Grace will be able to advise more on this I expect but religious studies is about studying religion. That's an academic subject. When I was at school, I was taught religious studies by someone who may or may not have been a Christian. It was comparative so we learnt about Hinduism, Buddhism and so on. He didn't draft in a Buddhist to teach use the form of it. Why would he? As I recall, it was mostly compare and contrast stuff for the big ideas.

I learnt about Marxism in A level Sociology and I was taught by a LSE-educated Marxist. He was passionate about it but we were in adult education so I had no problem with that. We also learnt other perspectives for looking at various aspects of societies and social behaviour. In fact, we approached each topic adopting a range of perspectives as one might expect.

Being able to argue for and/or against something is about adopting the perspective for the purposes of debate. I can argue for Christianity if I choose even though I don't believe in it. Being able to reason for or against something and test the reasoning of other people is a basic education goal, isn't it?

21 March 2011 at 13:45  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"There is no neutral view; the biggest lie secularists tell is that they are neutral. They know that bullying faith indoors will kill it; that is their aim."

I'm not sure who 'they' are here but that is not my aim and I'm a secularist. My purpose is not to bully it indoors but to take away State-endowed power from it. As I have said many times, festoon the streets with Christmas lights if you wish, hold Christian festivals, build churches, publish books, whatever. That's in the public space, only it's private enterprise.

"As a homosexual, how can you not see that when your group were at the fringes of society was when anti-homosexual feeling was at its highest."

There are several issues in that.

I am not advocating marginalising religion in society, just privatising it. Freedom of religious belief is a human right, as is manifesting it providing it causes no significant harm. I support that.

I am not advocating State-sponsorship of homosexuality either. Homosexuality should not be a fringe thing, barely or not tolerated and subject to oppressive legislation or criminalisation. However, we should not be putting gay people in the House of Lords either simply for being gay.

Being gay or bisexual is part of the range of normal human sexuality. It shouldn't be hidden. It's like divorce in that some people get divorced and children are likely to come across divorcees so they should know what divorce means.

One doesn't have to advocate divorce, just explain it and treat it as a part of life for some people. We don't hide the existence of divorce from teenagers. nor should we for homosexuality.

21 March 2011 at 14:07  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Hwæðre ic þær licgende lange hwile
beheold hreowcearig Hælendes treow,
oððæt ic gehyrde þæt hit hleoðrode.
Ongan þa word sprecan wudu selesta.

"Þæt wæs geara iu, (ic þæt gyta geman),
þæt ic wæs aheawen holtes on ende,
astyred of stefne minum. Genaman me ðær strange feondas,
geworhton him þær to wæfersyne, heton me heora wergas hebban.
Bæron me ðær beornas on eaxlum, oððæt hie me on beorg asetton,
gefæstnodon me þær feondas genoge.

Geseah ic þa Frean mancynnes
efstan elne mycle þæt he me wolde on gestigan.
Þær ic þa ne dorste ofer dryhtnes word
bugan oððe berstan, þa ic bifian geseah
eorðan sceatas. Ealle ic mihte
feondas gefyllan, hwæðre ic fæste stod.

21 March 2011 at 16:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DanJo:

Actually, my relationship with my atheist parents is my own business. No need for secular third parties to invite secular therapists into my private space as I have qualified pastors, who are the proper therapists. Clearly, one cannot generalize from deep knowledge of an outcome in one family, but as William Wilberforce points out in "Authentic Christianity" the "mask" that secular people put up, posing as respectable, harmless, nice, tolerant, well-meaning people, should be treated with more and more caution.It is the inner life, which only people who live with them see, that counts before God.

22 March 2011 at 08:15  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"Actually, my relationship with my atheist parents is my own business."

Indeed. How then do I know about it? Might it be because you broadcast it to the world on a blog site to make a point, an invalid point, about atheists in general thereby making it everyone's business?

22 March 2011 at 13:02  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"It is the inner life, which only people who live with them see, that counts before God."

Stick around, if you haven't been around long, and you'll see the outer lives of some Christians here which are anything but "harmless, nice, tolerant, [and] well-meaning" if their comments are anything to go by. One BNP-supporting one described me as a "true to form bitchy queer" recently. :) Scratch the surface and there's often a cesspit underneath, rather belying the power of the so-called Holy Spirit it seems.

22 March 2011 at 18:18  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"You wouldn't send your child to a Christian school, well why should I send mine to an Atheist one?"

A secular school is not an atheist one. It is not promoting atheism, it is promoting education. Education is about each of the subject involved. So the comparison is wrong. Almost ludicrous, really.

27 March 2011 at 12:06  

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