Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Grant Shapps defends religious liberty on ‘gay marriage’

Mr Stewart Jackson (Peterborough) (Con): May we have a debate on freedom of speech? Mr Peter Tatchell — a gentleman for whom I have some admiration — has today attacked the Trafford Housing Trust for its despicable decision to downgrade the position and cut the salary of Mr Adrian Smith, a Christian, for posting private comments on his own private Facebook account on the subject of gay marriage. Should we be putting public money into an organisation that is, effectively, propagating state-sponsored intolerance?
Sir George Young: I am a firm believer in freedom of speech and freedom of worship. Of course people should obey the law of the country. I will draw this incident to the attention of the Minister for Housing and Local Government, to see whether there is any action to be taken either by him or the Housing Corporation.
Further to the question posed by Stewart Jackson MP to the Leader of the House, Housing Minister Grant Shapps has robustly defended Adrian Smith, a Christian who works for the Trafford Housing Trust and who had simply remarked on his private Facebook account in February that plans to allow gay marriages in a church were ‘an equality too far’. As a result, Mr Smith was demoted from his £35k role as housing manager to being a £21k money support advisor.

Grant Shapps said that he agreed with civil rights campaigner Peter Tatchell who thought the punishment inappropriate. Mr Tatchell said: ‘The Trust was acting with good intentions in a bid to ensure equal opportunities, non-discrimination and inclusive service provision. Although its commitment to equality for lesbian and gay people is commendable, its response to Mr Smith’s remarks is excessive and disproportionate.’

He added: ‘In a democratic society, he has a right to express his point of view, even if it is misguided and wrong. Freedom of speech should only be limited or penalised in extreme circumstances, such as when a person incites violence against others. Mr Smith’s words did not cross this threshold.’

In his letter to Mr Stewart, the Housing Minister quoted Mr Tatchell’s reaction to the incident and said: ‘I agree with Mr Tatchell’s sentiments.’ Mr Shapps also said that the government ‘strongly supports freedom of speech within the law’ and in a handwritten note at the bottom, he congratulated Mr Stewart for bringing the matter to the attention of Parliament.

This is all very nice.

But it is by no means the first or even the most disproportionate punishment meted out to a Christian merely for exercising his or her conscience. One thinks of Nadia Eweida, Shirley Chaplin, Lillian Ladele, Gary McFarlane, Duke Amachree...

Surely the Minister’s bold and forthright intervention in this case has not come as a result of a nod from Lord Peter Tatchell?

88 Comments:

Blogger The Gray Monk said...

Perhaps the appropriate response to this would be the re-instatement of Mr Smith and the suspension of the persons who made the decision to demote and degrade him so publicly?

It seems to me that until someone actually has to take the consequences for taking these ludicrous decisions, usually out of spite and intolerance, they will continue to target Christians and penalise them for their beliefs.

Perhaps they could be made to pay compensation out of their own pockets.? Or suspended from their cushy sinecures and barred from holding such office in future? That might focus minds even more sharply.

What of the members of the Friends of the Hospital in one of the southern counties banned from meeting in council owned property because the Chairman, a lady of considerable charitable activity and devotion used a rather amusing expression to describe the NHS rumour mill which some bigot in her audience (Not a member of the group which tells its own story!) decided to make a formal complaint that the committee was "institutionally Racist. The councils response, following an "investigation" costing a huge amount, was to declare that to avoid any "legal" charges threatened by the accuser, to deny access to any of their properties for the group.

When will these issues be properly addressed and the clowns who make these decisions taken for a long walk to the end of the shortest pier anyone can find?

9 November 2011 at 08:19  
Blogger Belsay Bugle said...

Mr G Monk,

They're not clowns, they're weak, pointless, vicious, time-serving, vermin. Clowns is too good for them. They should lose their jobs, pension and anything else that the taxpayer provides for them and be made to work for a living.

9 November 2011 at 08:39  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Mr Smith was demoted for behaviour which might bring the company into disrepute!

So I think the very least we can expect is for the people who have ACTUALLY brought the organisation into disrepute dismissed with all loss of benefits - and this would include the spineless, vindictive facebook "friend" who made the complaint.

But the most shocking aspect of this case isn't being reported by anyone other than the Christian Institute. Mr Smith was warned against preaching in churches within THT's operating area ... again, lest he bring the organisation into disrepute!

The increasing deference paid to Tatchell's pronouncements are surely indicative of the desire to bring him into the "fold" - Lord Tatchell indeed.

9 November 2011 at 09:36  
Blogger Al said...

It is important to notice that as more cases similar to this emerge, even if people formally retain their freedom of speech, they can become too afraid of potential consequences to exercise it. There comes a point when many people are just too concerned for their job security, reputation, safety, and place in society to speak up. The damage here is not merely to Mr Smith, but to a position of conscience that is increasingly vulnerable to bullying. It would be nice to see this recognized, and the trust expected to pay money to a group that campaigns against gay marriage.

9 November 2011 at 09:50  
Blogger Roy said...

What sort of country is it where suppressing freedom of speech and freedom of religion does NOT bring an organisation into disrepute?

What sort of country is it is considered acceptable to try and suppress the view of marriage that is held by the great majority of the people in the world and almost certainly by the great majority of people who have ever lived?

What sort of country is it where in the name of the Sacred Cow of "Diversity" an opinion shared by the great majority of people of all races and adherents of all religions is suppressed?

Is the "diversity" that we are always being told to "celebrate" rather like the colour of cars produced by Henry Ford's factories? Just as Ford said customers can "have any colour as long as it is black" so in our multicultural society people are free to express any views they like provided they would not offend a typical Guardian reader!

9 November 2011 at 09:53  
Blogger David B said...

When this story first broke, a couple of weeks ago, I started a thread on it at s secular discussion board.

In which I quoted from the report, as follows, then commented


“When Adrian was told that he was being demoted with a 40 per cent cut in salary, he was stunned. It was all the more shocking because this was being done in the name of equality and diversity.

“Nothing he said was offensive or abusive. His comments were calm, measured and reasonable. Adrian has been treated disproportionately and even those who disagree with his opinions will surely agree that he has been treated unfairly.”

The Christian Institute’s Mike Judge said: “We’re not talking about a Christian who shoves his opinions down the throats of his colleagues.~

End of quote - my comment follows

If the report - from a Christian source - is all there is to it, then I rather tend to the view that what he said is both innocuous and well within the borders of freedom of speech and expressing opinions.

It makes me pleased that I don't have a FB account, though.

David

Back writing now, there was general agreement on the largely atheist board that, if the report was all there was to it, then the reaction to the guy's FB comments were way over the top, and that he should be compensated.

David B

9 November 2011 at 09:56  
Blogger graham wood said...

Rebel Saint. You are exactly right in drawing attention to the far more alarming aspect of this case:
"Mr Smith was warned against preaching in churches within THT's operating area ... again, lest he bring the organisation into disrepute!"

This is appalling arrogance, and a direct attack upon freedom of speech and assembly. We need to ask by what authority do these self appointed censors of other people's free activities speak?

This is Orwell's 1984 with a vengenance! Would the Trust appoint "monitors" over Mr Smith or other employees to report on their whereabouts, private activities, speaking engagements, the acceptability or otherwise of views expressed?
Since when were Christian churches "open season" for snooping and vindictive busybodies appointed by the Trust?
Is Mr Smith "accountable" to these people who have no legal jurisdiction over him whatsoever?

So the questions will continue.
Thank God that there is such a Christian organisation (Christian Institute)which is prepared to act, to stand up and be counted on the issue of Christian, as well as civil liberties - a task and responsibility which our good for nothing Coalition appear to have abandoned.
Shame on this hate-mongering persecuting organisation which diverts public money and time to pursue innocent people.
As you say (Rebel) it is those in the Trust "who have ACTUALLY brought the organisation into disrepute, and who should be dismissed with all loss of benefits"
A great pity, then that Grant Schapps and his ilk find it so difficult to stand up for free speech with anything more than a few muted bleats of protest.

9 November 2011 at 10:12  
Blogger Gnostic said...

So Stonewall naming Melanie Phillips as Bigot of the Year for saying more or less the same thing was a mistake then?

Trafford Housing Trust. Crapping on freedom of speech and freedom of religion at the expense of the taxpayers. Even the Peter Tatchells of this world think they are wrong.

9 November 2011 at 10:23  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Your Grace.

The problem is that all these organisations have ‘Human Resources’ (...formerly Personnel..) depts. These busy bodies like to justify their existence by informing the parts of the machine that actually do the work of the dire consequences if this or that happens, or if they fail to do this or that. And all for some imaginary threat of litigation or bad PR. Why, because something vaguely similar was reported in ‘HR Monthly’ the other year. It all went wrong when HRs were put under the control of so called educated women with a string of degrees behind them, including the most necessary ‘sociology’, ‘disability awareness’, ‘womens studies’, ‘race and gender’, ‘lesbian and gay’. We’ve all met these types. Not an ounce of common sense between them, and they tend to have their heads someway up their backsides.

The solution: Play them at their own game. Instruct the Director of Public Prosecutions to prosecute Trafford for infringement of civil liberty and victimisation. It will certainly make ‘HR Monthly’ and thus it will never happen again !!

9 November 2011 at 10:48  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

Yes, Action needs to be taken to ensure that those who meet out disproportionate punishments should be called to account in such a way that they have to think twice about their intolerance. In addition, awards that encourage discrimination against majorities should be abolished. In terms of legal protection, homosexuals do have protection in this country. This is not about protection but about changing the ethos of society.

9 November 2011 at 11:03  
Blogger Berserker said...

For Adrian Smith read Winston Smith. Perhaps the THT Ministry of Love should read its own declaration of policy.
I quote from the THT web site

The Trust is committed to;
ensuring that its services are accessible to all,
promoting equality of opportunity for all,
a zero tolerance attitude towards any form of discrimination or harassment.

... a zero tolerance attitude towards ANY form of discrimination or harassment.

I rest my case. Let the heads roll!

9 November 2011 at 11:09  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

You can make your views known to the CEO of Trafford Housing Trust on twitter (@TeamTHT) or on their FB page https://www.facebook.com/traffordhousingtrust

Though please don't mimic the behaviour of the gay mafia.

9 November 2011 at 11:16  
Blogger Flossie said...

I'm afraid it has now become necessary for anyone in the public eye to enlist support of somebody gay to back up their view. If they do not, they are immediately pounced upon by Pink News and The Guardian, who get Stephen Fry and the Twitterati onto it, and before he knows it, the hapless target will be nominated for Stonewall's Bigot of the Year award. The support of someone like Peter Tatchell is crucial.

Just look at the fate of Alan Craig, who is being hounded by The Guardian and Pink News for using the word 'Gaystapo' on his blog. This word was in fact coined by Johann Hari, who as we all know is gay himself, but I see no campaign against him!

Here is his article in the Huffington Post, in which he tells us “The twisted truth is that gay men have been at the heart of every major fascist movement that ever was - including the gay-gassing, homo-cidal Third Reich. With the exception of Jean-Marie Le Pen, all the most high-profile fascists in Europe in the past thirty years have been gay.

Fascism isn't something that happens out there, a nasty habit acquired by the straight boys. It is - in part, at least - a gay thing, and it's time for non-fascist gay people to wake up and face the marching music.” - Johann Hari

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/johann-hari/the-strange-strange-story_b_136697.html

9 November 2011 at 11:18  
Blogger Corrigan1 said...

It really is no wonder that people are beginning to question whether or not Christians are being persecuted in Britain. This is simply outrageous, especially considering some of the bile that has come out of mosques over the last twenty or so years, all of it protected as 'free speech'. I hope Mr Smith takes these crackpot caesars into court and guts them like a fish. As as for Tatchell, when did that clown become the arbitor of these matters?

9 November 2011 at 11:37  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Looking at the CEO's twitter feed, it's interesting to see that he's happy to post pictures of their vehicles decorated in celebration of a pagan festival, and to have his employees publicly call protesters "nasty scum".

9 November 2011 at 12:23  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Does anyone know who the CEO answers to ?

9 November 2011 at 13:11  
Blogger Corrigan1 said...

I see the Trust has an on-line form to allow people to record 'race and hate crime'. Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

http://www.traffordhousingtrust.co.uk/your-home/support-services/race-and-hate-crime/race-and-hate-crime-form

9 November 2011 at 13:42  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Shacklefree: "Yes, Action needs to be taken to ensure that those who meet out disproportionate punishments should be called to account in such a way that they have to think twice about their intolerance."

The last I read about it, it was going to an employment tribunal. As it's a dispute between employer and employee, that seems like a reasonable action using existing procedures.

"In addition, awards that encourage discrimination against majorities should be abolished."

Intentional or unintentional irony there?

9 November 2011 at 14:24  
Blogger Preacher said...

Bretheren.
If the gospel is worth preaching,
It's worth suffering for.
Has anybody considered that when christians are pressurised & the powers that be try to force us to conform. That is when the gospel is being lifted out of the Church & into the world, where it belongs.

IMO, Peter Tatchell's response confirms this & his support for freedom of speech should be applauded.
Although I do not agree with his choice of lifestyle, I admire his courage in speaking out on an issue which many of his fellows would be overjoyed to support.

Jesus said "When I am lifted up I will draw all men to myself".
the worse scenario is to be ignored as a bunch of mice, scared of the PC cat.
We must continue to fight tooth & nail for the rights of all people who are targeted by their employers or others, with threats of demotion, dismissal or any other form of harrasment for expressing their views in either verbal, written or active, (refusing to partake in activities that they find offensive) form, as long as we are not abusive or violent in our own actions.
As the Liberal secular carpace of society hardens, we will find that we are attacked, pilloried & pressurised on every side. But we must stand firm for the sake of those that are yet to hear, turn & be saved.
God & the gospel will not go away, this has been proved again & again.
We must make society aware of it by turning adversity to our advantage.

9 November 2011 at 15:16  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Mr Corrigan. The Inspector is obliged to you. Complaint duly lodged. Will keep this site posted on developments

9 November 2011 at 15:18  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Preacher. Before we elevate Tatchell to God’s right hand, do remember his rather odious comments about propagating his distasteful lifestyle. Also, the Inspector would not be at all surprised if was found to be a publicity junkie. You padre types do get carried away sometimes, what !

9 November 2011 at 15:25  
Blogger Berserker said...

My advice is, don't go anywhere near Facebook.
When they were set up they were clear that your personal information, and they wanted a lot of it, would be private. It seems they need more and more info for your profiles.
They are forwarding on users' details, including phone numbers and addresses to third-party interests.

Anyone could impersonate you. So although I fully support Mr Smith's stand and am disgusted at his treatment, he should not be surprised. Does a team at THT sit in front of computers a; day checking the Facebook pages? They should be named.

9 November 2011 at 15:42  
Blogger Preacher said...

OIG.
I feel your comment about Mr T's promotion to such dizzying heights is rather ott. I believe I have made my position quite clear in past posts, if he is as you fear a publicity junkie, then that is his problem not mine.
IMO he is a man, just like you & I, he is an adult & has freewill.
His choice of lifestyle & his promoting of the same will one day be judged. Until that time I will continue to try & reach the, as yet unsaved to the best of my ability. One does not IMO ask a drowning man for all the details of his life, politics, religion etc before attempting a rescue.

Blessings. Preacher.

9 November 2011 at 16:10  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Preacher. The Inspector hangs his head in shame (...again...). Always appreciated, you know, you men of God, putting us wretches right. Do carry on, my good fellow...

9 November 2011 at 16:39  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Berserker: "So although I fully support Mr Smith's stand and am disgusted at his treatment, he should not be surprised. Does a team at THT sit in front of computers a; day checking the Facebook pages?"

I think he was rash enough to have some work colleagues as Facebook friends. I keep thinking there must be unreported facts here as I can't see that he has done anything untoward at all even if he is daft enough to have named his employer on his page.

9 November 2011 at 16:43  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

This is not really about gay marriage anyway, it's about roles, public/private space, social media, freedom of expression and so on. We're in an internet age and we're a little behind the curve on all of this I think. Our private lives seem to be rather more public than they used to be.

9 November 2011 at 16:52  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

Danjo, I only mentioned "against majorities" because the PC agenda has made the majority the victims.

9 November 2011 at 16:54  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Shacklefree: "Danjo, I only mentioned "against majorities" because the PC agenda has made the majority the victims."

What awards were you talking about?

9 November 2011 at 17:37  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9 November 2011 at 17:46  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"But it is by no means the first or even the most disproportionate punishment meted out to a Christian merely for exercising his or her conscience. One thinks of Nadia Eweida, Shirley Chaplin, Lillian Ladele, Gary McFarlane, Duke Amachree..."

I have to say though that this bunch of dodgy chancers are a whole different kettle of fish to Adrian Smith (at least on the basis of what was reported about his situation). Dear oh dear.

9 November 2011 at 17:47  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

One of the disturbing implications of this exchange is that homosexual activists are presuming the authority to judge what is and is not acceptable Christian speech. Forgive the American reference, but it reminds me of Marbury vs Madison. In that case, the US Supreme Court arrogated the right of Judicial Review to itself. This is similar. By saying that "This speech is not beyond the pale" they are implicitly assuming the right to judge what is beyond the pale. We should not acknowledge that illegitimate assumption of authority. Truth is it's own vindication.

carl

9 November 2011 at 17:54  
Blogger Jon said...

Oh wow - you're not still going on about Nadia Eweida are you?

She worked in a job that required her to wear a uniform. She didn't conform to the uniform standards as stipulated in her employment contract. It doesn't matter if she came to work wearing a cross or a sombrero, it's irrelevant! Having been given reasonable chances to remove the offending item, she suffered the consequences.

As a Tory, our host ought to be all in favour of businesses being free to sack staff who breach their Ts and C's. I think your lot call this red tape?

Maybe BA should have just been allowed to fire her from the off when she refused to take her jewellery off?

To paraphrase the Inspector - she gets her church, and her ceremonies and the freedom to believe whatever hocus pocus she wants. Why can't she just be happy with that, eh Inspector?

9 November 2011 at 17:57  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Can’t fault you there Jon

9 November 2011 at 18:09  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "One of the disturbing implications of this exchange is that homosexual activists are presuming the authority to judge what is and is not acceptable Christian speech."

You're talking about Tatchell? His words are quoted from here I think. What bit are you bothered about? There are two minor sentences in there that bother me but its message is spot on to my mind.

9 November 2011 at 18:10  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Thatchell contradicts himself:

"Freedom of speech should only be limited or penalised in extreme circumstances, such as when a person incites violence against others. Mr Smith’s words did not cross this threshold."

So what's his beef with the Pope and why march against him when he visited this country?

And, does his comments apply to incitement of violence made against unborn children by the abortion lobby?

9 November 2011 at 19:24  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Trafford Housing Trust:
"We are an equal opportunities employer, have the Two Ticks Disability symbol for our approach to the recruitment and support of disabled people, and have been accredited by the Albert Kennedy Trust and recognised by Investors in People with their Gold and Health and Wellbeing Awards. In June this year, we received the Government-sponsored Customer Service Excellence Award."

Why did this public statement ommit the fact the Albert Kennedy Trust is a LGBT organistion and they were accredited for training staff to recognise homophobia?

But what a goodie goodie two shoe jumped up outfit they are. They can now look forward losing a case in an Industrial Tribumnal and to next year's award for 'Idiot Employer of the Year'.

The CEO, Matthew Gardiner, runs an organisation employing less than 400 people and earns £145,000 per year.

I'd be intereated in knowing the profile of his senior management team given their pride in equal opportunity recruitment.

9 November 2011 at 21:49  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo . The Inspector is a tad removed from employment legislation these days, but in the past, a company was crucified at tribunal if a ‘final written warning’ was not issued before demotion...

9 November 2011 at 22:06  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Inspector

That's before dismissal. Demotion is a legitimate option as an alternative to dismissal if the 'offence' is deemed serious enougth.

A few years ago I was "invited to consider" removing an 8x10 picture of a digitally enhanced, coloured 'Face of Christ' taken from the Turin Shroud. My boss suggested it might cause "offence or disturbance" although no one had ever made any such comment. Indeed, many had remarked on the power of the image and asked who it was and where it was from. A crafty method of evangelising!

Nothing identified it as a religious icon and I've had it or similar black and white pictures displayed for over 20 years without any adverse reaction.

My position was it was a picture of a face and inoffensive but that I would "consider" the "suggestion". After doing so, I ignored the "invitation". No more was said although he has been to my office on several occasions since.

Interestingly, during the World Cup I put up a poster of England, much more inflamatory in Scotland, and no one bats an eyelid!

It's a funny old world!

9 November 2011 at 23:28  
Blogger David B said...

This is the nub of the affair.

If, as might well be the case, there is nothing more to the story than has been reported, then both gay activists and straight atheist activists stand together with the Christians on this issue.

As has been pointed out above, though, in at least some of the claims of persecution of Christians, there has been a bit more than meets the eye involved.

David B

9 November 2011 at 23:29  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

David B

That sound pretty half-hearted support to me and I'm not sure I'd want to stand in a line with you given your equivocation.

10 November 2011 at 01:03  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0

I am not interested in the correctness of his assertions. If he pronounces acceptability in this case, he may pronounce unacceptability in the next. But who made him an authority on whether what I say is or isn't bigotry? What standard does he apply in making the determination? These are the critical unanswered questions that are buried in this story. Both the authority and its concomitant judgement are simply assumed. I recognize neither.

carl

10 November 2011 at 03:26  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "I am not interested in the correctness of his assertions."

I'm thinking you didn't actually read his statement before you originally commented.

"But who made him an authority on whether what I say is or isn't bigotry?"

He's been in the media long enough for people to take notice when he comments. It's the media that gives him authority of sorts by seeking him out. Isn't he just exercising his qualified right to free speech anyway? That said, he's simply articulating what most of us (gay, straight, Christian etc) are saying or thinking about this case as far as I can see. Is there anything actually particularly contentious in what he says?

Whenever there's an incident in the UK, like a gunman runs amok, the media searches out the local vicar or bishop to comment on issues of right and wrong and to speak on behalf of the 'community'. I suppose it's better than random vox pops to the media but what on earth does a local vicar or priest know about right and wrong that the rest of us don't? They hardly speak for the bulk of the 'community' too, being the clergy of religious minorities. Almost always it's just pointless platitudes they articulate anyway with a bit of their god stuff thrown in.

10 November 2011 at 05:19  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0

I think you are studiously engaged in missing the point. Whose judgment is never sought on this matter? People like me. Why? Because it is assumed before the fact that we are hateful homophobic bigots, and why should anyone care about the judgment of a bigot regarding his bigotry. The question actually under consideration is this - "How much leeway shall our open tolerant society give hateful homophobic bigots to express their hateful homophobic bigotry?" The homosexual activist is presumed to have standing on this question since he is the target of the hateful homophobic bigotry. In this case we have what amounts to a statement against interest. He is graciously allowing that such expressions of hateful homophobic bigotry do not exceed the limits of an open tolerant society. Well thanks for that. Perhaps we should go back and examine a few of the assumptions that lead us to this place.

carl

10 November 2011 at 13:18  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I think what is throwing me for the most part is the context into which you've made your point. I'm trying to match up the people involved to your labels and failing. Perhaps if you made your point more general, using (say) racism instead, then I might get it.

10 November 2011 at 17:08  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Thatchell's Song

Come on, come on, Come on, come on, Come on, come on, Come on,
D'you wanna be in my gang , my gang, my gang,
D'you wanna be in my gang, Oh Yeah!

I'm the leader, I'm the leader, I'm the leader of the gang I am
I'm the leader, I'm the leader, Well there's no one like the man

D'you wanna be in my gang, a my gang, my gang,
D'you wanna be in my gang, a my gang, my gang, oh Yeah!
Do You ? my gang,
Come On! Come on, come on, Come on, come on, Come on, come on,
D'you wanna be in my gang , my gang, my gang,
D'you wanna be in my gang,
Oh Yeah!
D'you wanna be in my gang , my gang, my gang, D'you wanna be in my gang, Oh Yeah!

I'm the leader, I'm the leader, I'm the leader of the gang I am
I'm the leader, I'm the leader, I'm the man who put the bang in gang

I can take you over the hill, ooooh what a thrill
I can make you sell me your soul for my rock and roll
Who'd ever believe it
, Come on come on

D'you wanna be in my gang, a my gang, my gang,
D'you wanna be in my gang, a my gang, my gang, oh Yeah!
Do You ? my gang Come On!

10 November 2011 at 22:06  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0

No comparison to racism is possible since the arbitrary characteristics that make up 'race' do not constitute a behavior. Homosexuality is defined by a specific set of behaviors. What you do is not what you are. What you claim you are does not provide blanket justification for acting on what you desire to do, nor for the desires themselves.

carl

11 November 2011 at 05:12  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

How about using sexism and a belief that women have no place in the boardroom if they wear makeup to try to look pretty? Would women have any standing to complain? Should we even be worried about that sort of sexism? Should it only be male chauvanists who determine their own limits?

I'm simply trying to get to the nub of the point you're trying to make in the context you're making it. I can almost get the form of it but it seems rather assumption-laden or special-privilege-demanding if I have it right ... but perhaps I don't. If only I could get you to ditch the seemingly irrelevant context and make it stand-alone.

11 November 2011 at 05:40  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I spotted another story yesterday which is sort of related. It's a female teacher who works in a young offenders prison. The prison has dismissed her for not dressing appropriately, for having certain things on her own website, and for flouting their media rules. Of course, she's not wearing Christian-oriented jewellery or posting opinions about gay-oriented issues so it's probably off the radar here but is her individuality or right to free speech being unjustly oppressed by her employer too?

11 November 2011 at 05:54  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "No comparison to racism is possible since the arbitrary characteristics that make up 'race' do not constitute a behavior."

Superficially, it's a fair-ish point about 'being' and 'doing' but there's something a bit deeper going on here. Try reversing it: I accept that you're heterosexual but if you exhibit any heterosexual behaviour then it's morally unacceptable (to me) and I expect you to have no sexual activity for your entire life. It's not just like shoplifting, is it, where someone is socially-inclined to be a bit light-fingered but it's a simple choice whether they nick a mars-bar or not. Being homosexual or heterosexual implies sexual activity, it's the social and ethical aspects that limit it. Most people use other criteria for deciding whether choices to act are morally acceptable rather than just the action itself.

But back to racism itself. We don't usually use that term solely in some scientific-racism sense, it has cultural overtones too. Would it be racist to say that I don't care what colour someone's skin is as long as they modify any accent to Southern Counties and ditch any sub-cultures and attitudes to the point where if I heard them on a radio then I wouldn't be able to tell they weren't white British? Otherwise, I'll discriminate against them and expect to be able to do so in society? That is, they can be black but not exhibit cultural attributes associated with any of the various black sub-cultures in the UK?

"What you claim you are does not provide blanket justification for acting on what you desire to do, nor for the desires themselves."

That first bit applies equally to you too as a man claiming to be heterosexual. It's hardly a revelation that we cannot act in a social setting without any contraint, is it? Who actually claims we should be able to? I'll just ditch the second bit as you've tried that before as I recall and I'm not personally interested in revisiting it.

11 November 2011 at 06:41  
Blogger David B said...

@DanJO 05.54

Always a danger when 'flouting media rules' becomes a reason for disciplinary action at work, since media rules tend, as far as I can see, over heavy-handed.

There should surely be some sort of happy medium between 'anything goes' and 'nothing goes'.

David B

11 November 2011 at 09:34  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

DanJ0

One cannot possibly comment without studying said 'provokative images' at some length. Not something all of us are equally qualified to judge. However, it does seem a bit unreasonable for a woman in her position to pose half naked with whip in hand!

11 November 2011 at 13:23  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "However, it does seem a bit unreasonable for a woman in her position to pose half naked with whip in hand!"

Well, that's the thing. It's in her own time and probably related to her X Factor activities. Her dress sense and enhanced jugs could be argued to be part of her identity. But let's face it, we intuitively know for the most part how to separate workplace roles and private lives. Then along comes someone who unnecessarily pushes it or companies get heavy-handed and it all kicks off.

11 November 2011 at 17:10  
Blogger Albert said...

Dan,

I accept that you're heterosexual but if you exhibit any heterosexual behaviour then it's morally unacceptable (to me) and I expect you to have no sexual activity for your entire life.

Come up with a moral argument to defend that position, and I will defend your right to hold it. In fact, I defend your right to hold that view even if you cannot defend it.

Being homosexual or heterosexual implies sexual activity

If that's the kind of belief that forms the basis of the imposition of the homosexualist agenda on everyone else, then frankly, I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Most people use other criteria for deciding whether choices to act are morally acceptable rather than just the action itself.

Who are you speaking for there Dan and what do you mean by "rather than just the action itself"? You don't think most people are able to see that killing children is wrong - they need to defend it by reference to something else?

Would it be racist to say that I don't care what colour someone's skin is as long as they modify any accent to Southern Counties and ditch any sub-cultures and attitudes to the point where if I heard them on a radio then I wouldn't be able to tell they weren't white British?

Yes, because speaking with a particular accent which reflects one's background is not a moral activity - that's what makes it racist.

11 November 2011 at 18:11  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Albert: "Come up with a moral argument to defend that position, and I will defend your right to hold it."

I have a right to hold it anyway and I'm not interested in your defense. But I don't hold it. It's controlling and sinister nonsense like the Christian one in the reverse direction. A moral argument based on unacceptable premises is no argument at all in the real world.

In the case of homosexual behaviour, it's inherently harmless just like heterosexual behaviour. Moroever, it's alike in all relevant respects to heterosexual sex. It doesn't need justifying, thinking it might is a social problem following on from the pollution of religion. This is where Carl is going adrift, I think.

"If that's the kind of belief that forms the basis of the imposition of the homosexualist agenda on everyone else, then frankly, I don't know whether to laugh or cry."

What's wrong with it ... the full sentence in its original context, I mean? But feel free to laugh or cry as you wish anyway, I don't care a jot about the nature of your personal reaction. Why would I? If I respected your opinion then perhaps it would be different but I don't particularly. You're wrong on many core topics, you're no arbiter here.

"Who are you speaking for there Dan and what do you mean by "rather than just the action itself"?"

Sex for an individual is merely an act, it's neither right or wrong in itself. Well, to normal, non-religious people anyway. It's the harm that it does in particular situations that makes it wrong.

"You don't think most people are able to see that killing children is wrong - they need to defend it by reference to something else?"

I think most people experience feelings of what is right and wrong before they rationalise it. Some of it is probably biological too as far as children are concerned. In the slightly less emotive case of killing another adult, I can explain why it is wrong without being reduced to "it simply is" or, worse, "my god hypothesis says so".

"Yes, because speaking with a particular accent which reflects one's background is not a moral activity - that's what makes it racist."

Racism isn't about moral activity.

But anyway, back to Carl's original argument. I'm still not quite getting it. If it as I think it might be, I'm inclined to ask in return why we should listen to religionists about the behaviour of other people outside of their religion. What authority do they have? None that I willing give, that's for sure. Why do they presume to pontificate with authority about what's acceptable in the real world for the rest of us?

11 November 2011 at 20:27  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"Racism isn't about moral activity."

I've inadvertantly lost a paragraph and gained a random sentence there in my cutting and pasting I think.

12 November 2011 at 05:19  
Blogger Albert said...

Dan,

I'm not interested in your defense. But I don't hold it. It's controlling and sinister nonsense like the Christian one in the reverse direction. A moral argument based on unacceptable premises is no argument at all in the real world.

Unacceptable to whom? In any case, this isn't even an argument, it's just an assertion.

What's wrong with it ... the full sentence in its original context, I mean?

Your sentence was "Being homosexual or heterosexual implies sexual activity". Apart from the clear non sequitur, the sentence is falsified by literally millions of people, homosexual and heterosexual who do not engage in sexual activity. Whereas black people cannot avoid being black - it's not an action on their part, so your argument is profoundly faulty and I think, racist.

I don't care a jot about the nature of your personal reaction. Why would I? If I respected your opinion then perhaps it would be different but I don't particularly. You're wrong on many core topics, you're no arbiter here.

Well let's just agree on one thing here: we both think little of the other's moral opinions. Some months back you attempted to defend abortion, but it became clear that even if your rationale was accepted, it wouldn't defend all the cases of abortion you accept. I think that makes you a pretty morally doubtful and frankly callous, person. You think the same of me. It doesn't get us anywhere going on about it.

you're no arbiter here

Yes I am, because what we are discussing here is whether I can be allowed to act according to my belief that homosexual unions are not equal to heterosexual unions. It is amazing (though entirely consistent with the intolerant campaign that some homosexuals are waging) that you do not even think I can be an arbiter of my own opinions and actions.

Sex for an individual is merely an act, it's neither right or wrong in itself.

I think that gives the game away. Surely any interpersonal activity has a moral element. It seems you what to lift a sexual act of all acts - out of the moral (and therefore presumably out of the personal) in order that it may be immune from moral attack.

Well, to normal, non-religious people anyway.

You mean that religious people are not normal?

It's the harm that it does in particular situations that makes it wrong.

Come off it! You know full well that there are plenty of secular moral theories which do not subscribe to such consequentialist assumptions.

In the slightly less emotive case of killing another adult, I can explain why it is wrong without being reduced to "it simply is" or, worse, "my god hypothesis says so".

Well, I didn't suggest either. But you wanted to shift the rightness (or otherwise) of an action away from the action. To what, I ask? And if you so make that shift, does the action remain wrong in all circumstances? You also claimed to be speaking for most people - but I think it is clear that many and perhaps most people, do not always act like that.

I'm inclined to ask in return why we should listen to religionists about the behaviour of other people outside of their religion. What authority do they have? None that I willing give, that's for sure. Why do they presume to pontificate with authority about what's acceptable in the real world for the rest of us

Well, speaking for myself. I don't expect you to listen to me - I defend your right to ignore me and act in ways I think wrong and I defend you from prosecution or unjust discrimination on account of your sexuality or sexual behaviour. I just don't expect you to then dictate to me how I shall behave. You just don't seem to get it.

12 November 2011 at 11:14  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0. Being...heterosexual implies sexual activity

I wish !

12 November 2011 at 12:05  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Albert: "I just don't expect you to then dictate to me how I shall behave. You just don't seem to get it."

You don't too and, what's worse, you're like a Jehovah's Witness presented with my doorbell each time. I groan when I metaphorically open the door and you're there with your equivalent of a Watchtower again. It's always a dilemma: say eff off straight away as rudely as possible and feel bad, be polite and mumble until the intrusive patter thankfully trails off, or engage for a bit and risk enduring hours and hours of inevitably pointless exchanges.

12 November 2011 at 13:31  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "I wish !"

Very good. But that's not what I meant in its full context at all and it's too much effort to drag it and the other stuff back to terra firma now.

12 November 2011 at 13:38  
Blogger Albert said...

So you don't want me to reply to you, and if I do I risk you being rude. This is interesting.

I have said again and again that I defend your right not to be ridiculed or discriminated against on account of your sexuality or sexual activity. I have no interest in discussing the rights and wrongs of human sexuality, unless someone wishes to discuss the matter with me - and then only to clarify my position. Therefore, the only reason you and I can be in conflict on this matter is because you are seeking to impose your view on me.

I have had to come to accept that the violent force of the law can be imposed against people like me - such is the intolerant position many homosexuals have maneuvered themselves into and seem quite content to be in - but I think it rather extraordinary that you expect to be able to say what you like against my position and not even expect a reply.

If you don't want to discuss these things, don't post. If you can't defend your position by a rational standard then you must either give it up or accept that you are irrational and unjust. What you cannot do, I think, is just post what you like and expect us all silently and tacitly to collude in our own suppression.

12 November 2011 at 14:28  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Albert

A discussion on 'justification'is opening up on a more recent thread - Lest we Forget.

Your clear thinking and insights from both sides of the Catholic and Protestant positions on this would be welcomed.

12 November 2011 at 14:41  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Albert, I simply don't want to get involved in pointless and interminable debates with you in particular, I'm more than happy to argue these things with other people. This is not the first time I have said this. They always go nowhere, your attempts to railroad your interpretations require too much effort to correct, and the medium is inappropriate for the particular sort of engagement you want. Moreover, you personally give me the creeps for some reason. This, also, I have said before. Is that clear enough? Or do I need to be a little more robust about it?

12 November 2011 at 15:00  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

DanJ0

Be honest, Albert simply defeats you with reason. I always welcome his dismantling of your 'logic' and you should persevere, you might benefit from it.

As for him giving you the so called "creeps", what a crock of ... I've heard some excuses in my time but really! You have only ever claimed this when your position has been demonstrably untenable.

12 November 2011 at 15:34  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Ps

You're not a school teacher, are you? Basic grade philosophy, by any chance?

12 November 2011 at 15:36  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0. Albert certainly peels the layers off you – maybe that’s what you find creepy !

12 November 2011 at 17:00  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "Be honest, Albert simply defeats you with reason."

You see, this is exactly the problem. If I refuse to engage with him then a sycophant like you breaks off from rimming him to write stuff like that. If I engage properly with him, as I have done in the past, then it's a commitment to a week or more of enormous replies trying to keep the subject on track. If I commit to just a couple of replies or decided I can't be bothered by the turn of topic then no doubt I'll be seen as running away afterwards. He and I have debated in detail about core topics like abortion and the nature of minds and he certainly did not defeat me with reason or anything else. In fact, I recall he disappeared when he ran into the Descartes problem like the other Catholics here who have tried.

What you're actually seeing is an almost complete lack of patience on my part. The sort of debates we have engaged in are basically strategy games, looking forward to likely replies and countering them beforehand. His modus operandi is to try to be the guy asking the questions all the time and that's really tedious. To engage in the way he insists and to do it properly requires a tree-structured medium where each point can be tackled independently to its conclusion. This medium is more suited to a different style of debate to my mind. All this has been said before too.

I look at his reply up there and my heart sinks now. Immediately, there are multiple detailed paragraphs required to shoot each point down or adjust his misinterpretations. It wouldn't be so bad if I thought I was going to learn anything or anything useful would come out of it but it isn't. He's a dogmatic, shrinkwrapped religion off the shelf Thomist Catholic which completely defines his worldview, no matter how much secular sugar-coating he tries to put on it, and that eventually comes out in the end. It simply wastes my time.

12 November 2011 at 17:39  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "You have only ever claimed this when your position has been demonstrably untenable."

I'll tell you what, how about you and I tackling this clash of interests between Catholics and gay people over social instiutions like marriage, and let's see if it's untenable. Up for it?

12 November 2011 at 17:43  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "DanJ0. Albert certainly peels the layers off you – maybe that’s what you find creepy !"

No. I think it's more because I've met men before for whom No doesn't mean No to their thinking and try to impose their will on others. At least you and Dodo trying to be a Catholic double act marauding around the threads isn't creepy, especially with Dodo begging for reinforcements at times. I suppose he has to do that now he can't operate multiple IDs to bolster fake support for himself. It's all quite embarrassing to watch, truth be told, especially the attempts at bullying Len all the time.

12 November 2011 at 17:52  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0. For what it’s worth the Inspector is sympathetic with your position vis a vis Albert. Reminds him of when his own father decided to live his life for him, for a period during his teenage years. Can laugh about it now, but at the time...

12 November 2011 at 17:59  
Blogger Albert said...

Dan,

then a sycophant like you breaks off from rimming him to write stuff like that

You really are disgusting, aren't you...

off the shelf Thomist Catholic which completely defines his worldview

...and yet, you still say the nicest things.

BTW, I find this suggestion that I am creepy a bit odd. You're the one who's constantly trying to impose your position on everyone else, and you're the one who keeps on posting, even though (you say) you don't want to. You sound out of control - that's creepy isn't it? And it's also creepy that you expect to be able to say what you like about other people's freedoms and them not argue back.

he disappeared when he ran into the Descartes problem like the other Catholics here who have tried

I don't remember that. I do remember giving up when you started comparing abortion to eating an omelette, but that's because I though the analogy so bad that I genuinely thought you were taking the mickey.

I suppose he has to do that now he can't operate multiple IDs to bolster fake support for himself. It's all quite embarrassing to watch, truth be told, especially the attempts at bullying Len all the time.

Funnily enough, I find arguing with you very similar to arguing with Len. In fact, I'd almost wondered...

12 November 2011 at 19:34  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Well, I've invited Dodo to argue back but only time will tell if he feels up to it following his bluster so that nonsense falls flat on its face already. I think the first thing to argue about is whether sex, including a quick one off the wrist, is an inherent moral act and, if so, why. That seems to be rather core to all this.

12 November 2011 at 20:09  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

DanJ0, now why would I want to waste my time? Frankly, I can't be bothered.

12 November 2011 at 21:45  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

And there we have it. Lol.

12 November 2011 at 22:12  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

And Dodo, I hope you brushed your teeth afterwards. ;)

12 November 2011 at 22:21  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

You really are a disgusting little boy DanJ0. Don't go straining your wrist as you have nobody to play with on here.

12 November 2011 at 22:34  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo, at least I was willing to put my money where my mouth is, so to speak, on tenable positions unlike you. But perhaps that's not such a good idea for you given the image I've drawn of you up there. It might be better if I switch to describing you in terms of Gollum travelling with Frodo and Sam instead. That absurdly fawning and slimy image suits you equally well I think.

13 November 2011 at 07:29  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

In your absence, Dodo, I'm thinking the answer to the sex thing above is that it isn't an inherent moral act, either with someone else or on one's own. I'm thinking you'd want to propose your particular god hypothesis in order to justify that and most of us don't accept that hypothesis. So it has no hold on us.

But perhaps you'd like to make a secular claim on the rest of us based on our shared sense of the importance of generic conscience? Well, you could but we don't give carte blanche there and when we do it's over recognisibly contentious areas and limited to allowing people to choose to avoid direct involvement rather than to impose on others.

Perhaps you'd then argue that (say) paying into our shared tax system to support things with which you don't personally agree on a matter of conscience, such as tax incentives to marry, is an unacceptable imposition when it's for gay people. Well, we can all say that about various things. That I must indirectly pay for certain things as a collective does not give a veto on the things being allowed for others to enjoy.

And so on. For every objection that religious people try to raise against gay behaviour in a death of a thousand cuts attempt to pursue their personal and organisational religious agendas, I am confident I can undermine each one, and I do it as I go along in the nature of this medium. This is not an untenable position, unlike your sycophantic blustering and subsequent exposure.

13 November 2011 at 09:56  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

DanJ0
Do stop putting strain on that wrist of yours - self indulgent and unproductive.

13 November 2011 at 12:32  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Like your earlier blustering?

13 November 2011 at 12:42  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

At least I stayed within the bounds of decency.

14 November 2011 at 23:03  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"At least I stayed within the bounds of decency."

Dodo, are you multiple people posting through the same account now? Your posts around the forum regularly contradict each other, sometimes within the space of hours. It's like you don't realise what you have written earlier. Weird.

15 November 2011 at 08:00  
Blogger Ivan said...

I suggest that anyone with a brain ignores DanJ0. I suppose it is a cross that Cranmer has to bear in a Christ-like fashion to reach all men with the Gospels, but I find it best to ignore him altogether. He is like that unlamented Muslim poster from Malaysia, (Szrizal?) who after being thoroughly roasted ends up spouting rank abuse.

Ivan

15 November 2011 at 14:23  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Ivan, I'll issue the same offer to you as I did to Dodo on 12 November 2011 20:09. It's all very well crawling out from under your stone and mouthing off but put your money where you mouth is if you want to have any credibility with it.

15 November 2011 at 17:49  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Ivan, just ignore him. As I'm sure you know, you're credibility isn't in question.

15 November 2011 at 18:38  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"As I'm sure you know, you're credibility isn't in question."

Oh but it is. Especially as he's just taking this opportunity while he has some cover on the basis of the wounds I've inflicted on him in the past, bless him.

15 November 2011 at 18:59  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

... such an iflated ego!

15 November 2011 at 20:53  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo, there's something quite sweet in your complete lack of self-awareness. When you look in a mirror, do you wonder who is looking back at you?

15 November 2011 at 21:05  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

DanJ0, never. But I probably don't look at myself in the mirror as often as you.

"Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Whose the prettiest boy of all?"

"Why you dear little DanJo,
Now go play with your banjo"

16 November 2011 at 01:03  

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