Friday, February 17, 2012

Pickles returns to councils the freedom to pray


The inimitable Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has today written to local authority leaders, faith organisations and parishes in England, giving local councils a new power to continue to hold town-hall prayers, should they so wish. This intervention fortifies a major constitutional shift to localism that maintains the ‘defence of British liberties’ and responds to last week’s absurd ruling in the High Court which sought to ban the centuries-old practice of religious prayers in council meetings.

Mr Pickles hailed this a victory for localism, for freedom of worship and for parliamentary sovereignty over judicial activism. Last week the High Court ruling against Bideford Town Council was based on an interpretation of Section 111 of the Local Government Act 1972, rather than on the grounds of equality or human rights concerns. It judged that councils did not have the powers to hold prayers.

Ministers contend that it was never the intention or will of Parliament for the 40-year-old Act to prohibit the practice of prayers; especially given England has an Established Church governed by the Queen.

Mr Pickles has today fast-tracked and personally signed a Parliamentary Order which should render the judgement irrelevant, thereby protecting the freedom to pray. This new power can be exercised by all major local authorities in England from today (and in parishes by the end of March).

The Localism Act creates a ‘general power of competence’ which will legally permit councils to do anything an individual could do unless specifically prohibited by law (a useful guide may be found HERE: councils will not, for example, be able to ban or tax things, as an individual has no powers to do this). The Act gives councils more freedom to collaborate with others in new ways to drive down costs. It gives them increased confidence to do creative, innovative things to meet the needs of local people. Instead of being able to act only where the law says they may, local authorities will be liberated to do anything (in accordance with our Common Law tradition: provided it does not break any other laws). It does not remove any duties from local authorities - just like individuals they will continue to need to comply with duties placed on them. This should give councils which want to continue holding formal prayers the confidence and legal standing to do so.

Today’s intervention builds on the speech made by the Prime Minister in Christ Church, Oxford, in December, where he asserted: “We are a Christian country and we should not be afraid to say so." It also follows the official ministerial delegation to the Holy See this week led by Cabinet Minister, Baroness Warsi; in her speech, she criticised the intolerance of 'militant secularisation'.

Eric Pickles said: “The High Court judgement has far wider significance than just the municipal agenda of Bideford Town Council. By effectively reversing that illiberal ruling, we are striking a blow for localism over central interference, for freedom to worship over intolerant secularism, for parliamentary sovereignty over judicial activism, and for long-standing British liberties over modern-day political correctness.

“Last week's case should be seen as a wake-up call. For too long, the public sector has been used to marginalise and attack faith in public life, undermining the very foundations of the British nation. But this week, the tables have been turned.”

72 Comments:

Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Read it and weep you anti-theists!

18 February 2012 at 01:28  
Blogger Oswin said...

This is a local Act, for local people, there's nothing for you here!

18 February 2012 at 02:03  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

There's something for all Christians in this small step. Hopefully it signals a change. A response to aggressive secularism and legalism over the will of the British people. We are a Christian nation and should protect our heritage.

"For too long, the public sector has been used to marginalise and attack faith in public life, undermining the very foundations of the British nation. But this week, the tables have been turned.”

18 February 2012 at 02:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

zzzz

18 February 2012 at 07:29  
Blogger len said...

Well done Mr Pickles!.

This is a victory for freedom to worship(if one chooses)also a victory for the freedom of the individual whom the secularists would like to 'straightjacket' into their grey Godless World.

We are indeed a Christian Country and should be able to say so with pride!.

18 February 2012 at 07:42  
Blogger David B said...

Good to see the end of Home Information Packs,

It will be interesting to see how many councils persist in prayer, and whether many councillors object.

And Len, we are not a Christian country while I'm alive. It is hard to see what phrases like Christian country or Islamic country really mean, anyway, as far as I can see.

I'd have thought adopting a religion or not is more the prerogative of a person rather than a tract of land.

Would you say that Britain is a footballing country or a train spotting country, on the basis that some people indulge in these activities?

And, YG, can I add my voice to those getting fed up with the antispam filter?

Is it not possible for regulars to be exempted from it, in the software?

Is not a personal google account, or open ID, enough?

David B

18 February 2012 at 08:22  
Blogger len said...

There seems to be doubt (in the minds of some at least) whether Britain is a Christian country...... or not. Perhaps the question is posed by aggressive Atheists who wish to impose their own particular brand of 'religion' on us all and supplant our Christ roots?.

Christianity in many cases in the UK has been reduced to an apologetic 'don`t rock the boat' self denigrating sort of faith.This 'feeble 'sort of Christianity mistakenly believes that promoting Christianity and thereby the Gospel is 'wrong'.In fact I believe many Christians need to 'come out of the closet'(to borrow a phrase.)

David Cameron obviously believe this too!.

'David Cameron last night called on the Archbishop of Canterbury to lead a return to the ‘moral code’ of the Bible.
In a highly personal speech about faith, the Prime Minister accused Dr Rowan Williams of failing to speak ‘to the whole nation’ when he criticised Government austerity policies and expressed sympathy with the summer rioters.
Mr Cameron declared Britain ‘a Christian country’ and said politicians and churchmen should not be afraid to say so'

(Mail online)

18 February 2012 at 08:43  
Blogger William said...

This is a victrory for freedom and democracy. Thank God for Pickles. It will be interesting to see how many so called liberals come out against it.

18 February 2012 at 08:50  
Blogger David B said...

@William

I'm a bit suspicious of ministerial orders - I sort of prefer laws, good or bad, to have gone through due process.

Perhaps sometimes they are necessary.

Laws which favour one religion or sect over another, or religion above lack of religion, are bad laws I think, but there we are.

I wonder when the first council will institute Islamic prayers.

David B

18 February 2012 at 09:03  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

David B

Sour grapes is an unseemly disposition.

18 February 2012 at 09:12  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

LIAR your grace (!)

Councils were already quite free to pray to the imaginary BigSkyFairy - just not as part of OFFICIAL business.

In reverse order ....
David B. has the real point ... what will happen if prayers relevant to Dark-Ages camelherders' myths are promulgated?
Better no prayers at all than that - which is the message.

William
In what way is it a victory for freedom?
One specific set of prayers are forced on everyone, irrespective of their own beliefs or lack of them.


Way of the Dodo
No
Wrong
Liar
My atheist world is anything but colourless and grey
There's the whole of the unoiverse out there, to understand.
Meanwhile you are trapped in your Bronze-Age goatherders' myths.
Pathetic,

18 February 2012 at 09:13  
Blogger William said...

David B

"Laws which favour one religion or sect over another, or religion above lack of religion, are bad laws I think, but there we are."

What about laws which favour a "lack of religion" position above a religious position? For instance the Bideford ruling which favoured the lack of religion position of Mr Bone over the religious position of the democratic majority?

18 February 2012 at 09:30  
Blogger William said...

Tingly

"In what way is it a victory for freedom"

Surely that is obvious. It gives councils the freedom to choose.

"One specific set of prayers are forced on everyone, irrespective of their own beliefs or lack of them."

It is impossible to force a prayer on anyone. Either one chooses to pray or one doesn't. That is why this is about freedom.

18 February 2012 at 09:40  
Blogger MrTinkles said...

Not usually a fan of Eric...but good on him on this one...
Just watched him on Sky news and it was interesting to note how the interviewer trotted out the standard atheistic claptrap...not being allowed to pray is "freedom" having the choice to do so is "illiberal".
And atheists claim they are the logical, freedom loving ones... Yeah, right...

18 February 2012 at 10:01  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Tingey

Have you lost what little sense of reason you had? Wht's this all about?

"Way of the Dodo
No
Wrong
Liar
My atheist world is anything but colourless and grey
There's the whole of the unoiverse out there, to understand.
Meanwhile you are trapped in your Bronze-Age goatherders' myths.
Pathetic,"


I'm not aware of having said anything controversial, just celebrating the right of Christians to pray in public if they so chose. As for saying your world is "colourless and grey", where did this come from?

Is one feeling a little annoyed this morning that the truth of Christianity is supported by the British Government? Such a shame.

18 February 2012 at 10:10  
Blogger Albert said...

Bravo Mr Pickles, who says:

For too long, the public sector has been used to marginalise and attack faith in public life, undermining the very foundations of the British nation. But this week, the tables have been turned. We are striking a blow for localism over central interference, for freedom to worship over intolerant secularism, for Parliamentary sovereignty over judicial activism, and for long-standing British liberties over modern-day political correctness.

Exclusive secularists and other opponents of freedom and democracy: you've been rumbled.

18 February 2012 at 10:25  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Rumbled indeed!

Let's remind ourselves what the secular anti-theists believe and want to achieve.

Anti-theism holds that theism is harmful to the believer, harmful to society, harmful to politics, and harmful to culture.

It maintains that theism should be countered in order to reduce the harm it causes and it works against theism by arguing that it be abandoned, promoting alternatives, or supporting measures to suppress it.

Not terribly tolerant, is it?

18 February 2012 at 10:34  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Our Mr Pickles has moved pretty quick on this one. It was a done deal anyway with the Localism Act trunding along shortly. Good headline grabber though. I suppose we can expect more headlines down the road when one of the councils in our more ethically diverse areas invite an imam to preside over them.

18 February 2012 at 11:05  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Well, this is something I entirely agree with.

Not least because it allows councils to determine for themselves how to conduct their affairs..

The situation is once again (as it should be): if elected councillors wish to uphold, replace, or reject any portion of their means of doing business then that is their prerogative.

We would do well to remember as citizens that democracy functions best when the majority does not seek to impose its views as a means of making minorities unhappy. Sometimes this is unavoidable, but where it can be avoided it is better (though not obligatory) to do so for the sake of civic unity.

In some senses, the comments about imams are spot on as to the unintended consequences of this - but this is always the "risk" of democracy. We can either face up to it or attempt to make the state get rid of positions antithetical to our own. One runs the risk of the bigotted and the ignorant (not connected to any particular person or faith now) being elected, or takes the certainty of the state being institutionally both.

18 February 2012 at 12:03  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Your Grace,
Our Eric does try very hard but I hope he hasn't been too impetuous and not closed the door to alternative prayer styles?

18 February 2012 at 12:07  
Blogger Albert said...

Dodo,

Not terribly tolerant, is it?

Indeed, but then there's a general problem with charity when it comes to secularists. As the Telegraph reports today:

People who are religious give more than twice as much money to charity as those without a faith, according to figures from the Charities Aid Foundation. Over the last year, religious donors gave an average of £576 to charity, compared to £235 contributed by non-believers, the survey of 500 donors found. Richard Harrison, director of research at the foundation, said: "The culture of giving within religious circles is an admirable one and a phenomenon that clearly enriches our society."

Another way in which they've been rumbled.

It's interesting I think that Richard Dawkins didn't bother to ask such a useful question. Still, if you don't like the answer, why let a spirit of reason and inquisitiveness get in the way?

18 February 2012 at 13:13  
Blogger Albert said...

Belfast,

In some senses, the comments about imams are spot on as to the unintended consequences of this

Not unintended at all. Freedom and equality mean that we apply to others the same freedoms we expect for ourselves. Otherwise you end up with the inconsistency of the secularist who expects freedoms himself but seeks at every opportunity to deny them to others - even when they have been democratically established.

18 February 2012 at 13:16  
Blogger len said...

Perhaps a compromise could be struck here (alternative prayer styles)The UK government could allow Muslims to pray at meetings etc when the 'religion of peace'(what a misnomer) allowed Christians the same courtesy in Muslim Nations?.
Or would that be too radical a suggestion?. (Yes, I do know this will never happen!.)

(Anyone would think by the' outrage'of some Atheists of the suggestion of prayers that they would be dragged kicking and screaming into prayer meetings and forced to listen!.)

18 February 2012 at 13:24  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Pickles: "For too long, the public sector has been used to marginalise and attack faith in public life, undermining the very foundations of the British nation. But this week, the tables have been turned."

By faith, he seems to mean Christian religious beliefs yet the Act will open the way for councils to act on the basis of other religious beliefs. I'm thinking that Bradford may be a pathfinder here fairly soon, possibly Leicester too, and the the argument over who's actually restricting the freedom of whom may widen. It's actually quite exciting as change seems to be happening rather fast now.

18 February 2012 at 13:33  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Len: "The UK government could allow Muslims to pray at meetings etc when the 'religion of peace'(what a misnomer) allowed Christians the same courtesy in Muslim Nations?"

Len, the die is cast already. The notion of the UK government allowing or disallowing imams to preside over prayers has passed if I understand what's happened correctly. It's formally in the hand of present and future councils to decide what they want to do in this area. The power has been passed over.

18 February 2012 at 13:41  
Blogger William said...

Danj0

How would a traditional liberal in the style of Mills view this development from Mr Pickles do you think?

18 February 2012 at 13:45  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

@David B ... We are a "Christian country" in the same way that we are a "democratic country" - constitutionally. That not everyone chooses to participate in the democratic process (or indeed approves of it) does not diminish the fact we are democratic.

And yes, we have national sports, national dishes, national etiquette (queueing!) etc. This does imply there is uniformity or compulsion.

18 February 2012 at 13:58  
Blogger Nowhere man said...

"Eric Pickles said: “The High Court judgement has far wider significance than just the municipal agenda of Bideford Town Council. By effectively reversing that illiberal ruling, we are striking a blow for localism over central interference, for freedom to worship over intolerant secularism, for parliamentary sovereignty over judicial activism, and for long-standing British liberties over modern-day political correctness.

“Last week's case should be seen as a wake-up call. For too long, the public sector has been used to marginalise and attack faith in public life, undermining the very foundations of the British nation. But this week, the tables have been turned.”

Sorry to copy and paste BUT this is worth repeating....!

18 February 2012 at 14:04  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

William, I don't think it's particularly clear. There are a number of things that might come into play here. Why do you ask? Are you assuming something about my position on this?

18 February 2012 at 14:05  
Blogger Albert said...

Dan,

By faith, he seems to mean Christian religious beliefs

No, his emphasis is on localism:

We are striking a blow for localism over central interference, for freedom to worship over intolerant secularism, for Parliamentary sovereignty over judicial activism, and for long-standing British liberties over modern-day political correctness.

Then you claim:

The notion of the UK government allowing or disallowing imams to preside over prayers has passed if I understand what's happened correctly.

I think you're just trying to get support from (of all people) Len. Imams have been presiding over prayers at councils for years - this move by Mr Pickles changes nothing, but simply makes explicit the freedoms councils always had.

the Act will open the way for councils to act on the basis of other religious beliefs

As I've indicated, I don't see that it will change anything. But if you are right, then it shows that the NSS's attempt to undermine democratic process will have spectacularly back-fired. Even though the Judge in the original case seems to have reversed the very order of English law (from permitted unless prohibited to prohibited unless permitted) in order to let the secularists have their way, even he couldn't see that a secularist's human rights were infringed by the practise. So you lost that human rights claim, and perhaps have opened up more and more religion instead - not just kind old English Anglicanism, but other kinds of religion too. So all the NSS has gained for you is a greater reputation for small-mindedness, pettiness, intolerance and disregard for English tradition.

Perhaps you secularists should learn the lesson JS Mill directed at governments: restraints, he said, "do not really produce the results which it is desired to produce by them".

18 February 2012 at 14:05  
Blogger Nowhere man said...

How long before Islamic State of Tower Hamlets introduces the call to prayer?

18 February 2012 at 14:05  
Blogger Nowhere man said...

"For too long, the public sector has been used to marginalise and attack faith in public life, undermining the very foundations of the British nation. But this week, the tables have been turned.”

Really. Tables turned.

Then just read this, carefully...:-

http://www.bromsgroveadvertiser.co.uk/news/local/9529556.First_Lesbian__Gay__Bisexual_and_Transgender_Adoption_and_Fostering_Week/

18 February 2012 at 14:13  
Blogger Albert said...

Nowhere man,

It is presumably necessary to seek LGBT persons to adopt and foster to make up for the fall in heterosexual couples who have been turned away or do not even apply because they cannot pass the secular test of sexual orthodoxy.

It's all about putting children first, you see.

18 February 2012 at 14:26  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

@Albert: I could have expressed myself better. Unintended in the sense that Pickles has explicitly made this about our "Christian Heritage"; the ruling does indeed level the playing field for councils to decide as they wish (which as I said, I think of as an entirely good thing).

The really nice thing of course, is that in England (and I'm sure in the other constituent UK nations, but I can't speak with any authority), the heritage of localism is older and stronger than that of the CofE.

18 February 2012 at 14:43  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

AIB: "the ruling does indeed level the playing field for councils to decide as they wish (which as I said, I think of as an entirely good thing)."

With the diverse and multi-cultural nature of our society now, it's going to be quite interesting in the future. I think the publicity of this, along with Warsi's visit to the Vatican, will probably empower people in local government and local communities. I'm genuinely quite excited by all of this, whatever happens I think the past is being left behind.

18 February 2012 at 15:06  
Blogger William said...

DanJ0

"Why do you ask? Are you assuming something about my position on this?"

Not assuming, but wondering. Your position seems to be; wait until the Muslims start doing this, without any reference to the clear (it seems to me) move towards individualism that this Parliamentary Order makes. I am surprised by this given your repeatedly stated adherence to traditional (JS Mill) liberal values.

18 February 2012 at 15:07  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I don't suppose many people have any idea at all about the forthcoming Localism Act despite the occasional devolution of powers story. The shift in power would probably have become apparent over time as councils suddenly start acting more powerfully in certain areas of council business. Perhaps this, and any subsequent headline grabbers, will raise the profile of the Act.

18 February 2012 at 15:10  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

William: "Not assuming, but wondering. Your position seems to be; wait until the Muslims start doing this, without any reference to the clear (it seems to me) move towards individualism that this Parliamentary Order makes. I am surprised by this given your repeatedly stated adherence to traditional (JS Mill) liberal values."

Mill was probably an atheist but he was sympathetic to some aspects of religion. As you suggest, individualism was a core concern and democracy working as I think he wanted promotes diversity of thought and lifestyles which is a social good for him. However, institutionalised religion works in the opposite way which would tend to work against all of that. A strong politically-oriented and proscriptive religion like Islam might not be to his tastes at all and he might have employed some sort of utilitarian argument there. Hence, I don't think it is entirely clear what he would have thought.

18 February 2012 at 15:25  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

"The conversion to Islam is not abandoning Christianity or Judaism, which I was born with"

So who will tell him he's wrong without discrediting their own beliefs?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/celebritynews/9082425/Oliver-Stones-son-Sean-converts-to-Islam-in-Iran.html

While people are obviously whooping things up over in Bideford and here, I hope they find time to reflect on the possibilities of what a dangerous concept they are flirting with in this day and age; not so much as it will affect us now but for future generations.

18 February 2012 at 15:34  
Blogger Albert said...

While people are obviously whooping things up over in Bideford and here, I hope they find time to reflect on the possibilities of what a dangerous concept they are flirting with in this day and age; not so much as it will affect us now but for future generations.

How many times does this point need to be made? Pickles' intervention to enable councils to carry on praying before the meeting changes nothing. Councils have always had imams and rabbis as well as Christian clergy leading prayers. It was the intervention of the NSS reversing the nature of English law that was going to change things (and in a way that would be detrimental to all our freedoms).

It may be that there are other things in the localism act that will be dangerous or change things, but not this.

18 February 2012 at 15:44  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Christmas is going to be a bit of a confusing time in the Stone family gatherings now. Lol. If there was ever a need for a Happy Holidays greetings card then that's it.

18 February 2012 at 15:53  
Blogger William said...

DanJ0

What has institutionalised religion or whether Mill was an atheist or not got to do with it? Bideford council is not associated with any institutional religion. Do you support the idea that councils should have the liberty to choose to hold prayers or not?

18 February 2012 at 15:58  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

With mixed religious council members attending the meetings, the next argument will be what prayer to say in the council chamber? Of course it has to be a Christian one.

18 February 2012 at 15:59  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Marie1797: "With mixed religious council members attending the meetings, the next argument will be what prayer to say in the council chamber? Of course it has to be a Christian one."

As I've linked on an older thread, we have imams saying them already. If previously there was an amber-ish light then it's a nice green colour now and the national newspapers are pointing it out.

18 February 2012 at 16:11  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

William: "What has institutionalised religion or whether Mill was an atheist or not got to do with it?"

You asked me what Mill would have thought about it. So, I explained what I thought the answer was and why. Sorry.

"Bideford council is not associated with any institutional religion."

Well, that was clearly debatable. Others here have said that it is part of the State and therefore it is nominally established with the CofE.

"Do you support the idea that councils should have the liberty to choose to hold prayers or not?"

Ah, you're actually asking me now. Thanks.

I think our State should be secular. However, that's a binary thing to my mind. Should the State remain established with the CofE but local councils act in a locally-religious way? Well, I don't really know as it's a bit of an odd setup.

It seems to me there were two ways to go: 1. limit the structure to a non-religious one so that it is inclusive for all religions and none 2. remove any limitations and give local councils the power to act in a religiously-focused way if it so chooses at any given time.

I don't see that some sort of rotating religion thing has much of a future in reality even if it is happening in some places at present so I discard that.

So, the thing Pickles has done, and the Act will presumably allow itself when it comes into force, is option 2 by the look of it. This at least matches the government policy one might infer from Warsi's visit to the Vatican.

One of the main reasons I advocate a secular State is because I don't think the establishment of the CofE can last in our culturally and religiously diverse country, especially when CofE weekly attendence figures are at less than a million now. Alternatively, we can just let the religions fight it out I suppose. This decision supports the latter I think.

Lol. I've been given a chinese symbol in the word verification now. I suppose we all ought to try to get used to the unfamiliar now, even with character sets. ;)

18 February 2012 at 16:33  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

So what do the Councillors of other faiths do when the imam is saying prayers? Go out? that isn't fair if it is a mixed council meeting. It should be Christina prayers.

18 February 2012 at 16:36  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"You asked me what Mill would have thought about it."

Or rather you asked how a liberal in his style would view it. Not quite the same thing, I know.

18 February 2012 at 16:38  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Marie: "So what do the Councillors of other faiths do when the imam is saying prayers? Go out?"

Just sit there, of course! If they don't then apparently they're weak-skinned and unfit for office or something like that. They're only words, especially for Clive Bone, but presumably for everyone else too. The councillors mustn't wear headphones during the prayers either, it seems. Disrespectful, apparently.

18 February 2012 at 16:41  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

No Danj0 I'm asking why Islamic prayers and not Christian prayers when it is a Christian country thank God. Nothing wrong with arriving a bit later if you don't do religion.

18 February 2012 at 16:49  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

You're probably right Albert - the whole episode is just so bloody depressing and should have been resolved without all the hoo-ha.

18 February 2012 at 16:49  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Marie: "Nothing wrong with arriving a bit later if you don't do religion."

You'll probably be recorded as absent without apology or late arriving if it's properly minuted. Afterall, if prayers are formally structured into the agenda then you're absent at the start of the meeting. Bone and the NSS were saying that the agenda should not include a prayer section and people who want to pray before the meeting should do so outside of the actual meeting itself.

18 February 2012 at 17:00  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Danj0
Yes the agenda should have a prayer section.

Yes I read all about it but thought that they can change the way they minute the meetings surely?
It's no big deal and the people of the district or borough will see who is practising Christian and who isn't and thereby know a bit more about their councillor. It's more democratic in a way.

18 February 2012 at 17:28  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Marie: "Yes I read all about it but thought that they can change the way they minute the meetings surely?"

Or they could hold the prayers before the meeting. Or they could take it in turns between local religions. None of these are a Big Deal really.

Also, in the second case, the local people will know who is a practising Muslim which is quite democratic in a way. Especially in an area where there are a lot of Muslims, like in Bradford.

18 February 2012 at 18:15  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Inspector here, catching up on everything today. One for God’s loyal army, what !

Up yours, atheists... (heh heh)

18 February 2012 at 18:24  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Inspector

Welcome aboard. Yes, A fine day for theists in general and Christians in particular. Let's hope it awakens a sense of radicalism in Christians and encourages more determination to stand against the godless tyranny of the anti-theists.

Blog a bit dry at the moment. We're being treated to as lecture on Mill's utilitarianism and it's exceeding tedious.

18 February 2012 at 18:46  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "We're being treated to as lecture on Mill's utilitarianism and it's exceeding tedious."

Actually, it's On Liberty in this context. Still, at least we have the Bert and Ernie Show to look forward to now. No need to engage brain any further.

18 February 2012 at 18:52  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo. Ah yes, the chap who invented the modern hand grenade. Bloody good show Mill, what !

18 February 2012 at 19:06  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Annoying echo has returned. Wittering on and on and on ...

18 February 2012 at 19:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That Dodo's back at the mirror again.

19 February 2012 at 00:31  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Someone lacks the courage to identify himself. Now who could it be?

19 February 2012 at 00:35  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not me.

19 February 2012 at 00:48  
Anonymous Atlas shrugged said...

Sorry to go off topic.

There is an interesting thread on CIF concerning the history of socialism and Eugenics. Please have a look before it vanishes.

I was particularly drawn to this quote.

"In Great Britain at this moment, when half, or perhaps two-thirds of all the married people are regulating their families, children are being freely born to the Irish Roman Catholics and the Polish, Russian and German Jews, the thriftless and irresponsible. This can hardly result in anything but national deterioration, or this country falling to the Irish and the Jews."

(from Fabian Tract No 131, written by Sydney and Beatrice Webb)

The Fabian society is famous for having Gordon Brown and Tony Blair as members, among many others in prominent positions of power and of great wealth.

However although as we know socialism and mass murder have a horrendously close relationship to each, it would be a mistake to believe that there are not pseudo socialists within the Conservative and Liberal parties as well.

By reading many of the comments it is clear that the vast majority of modern day socialists know as much about their own dogma as they do about particle physics, in other words as good as none at all. Or seem to be suffering from acute collective denial syndrome.

The TRUTH is that when Hitler said he was a socialist, it was one of the very few times he actually told the whole truth.

Now this is the really bad news.

George B. Shaw is on record as saying that the LONG TERM aim of Fabian Socialism was to first pollute society with as many dependent poor, criminals, cripples and mental defectives as possible to bankrupt national government, and therefore free-market popular capitalism.

When this was finally achieved hopefully somewhere around the mid 80's, then to exterminate these millions of useless bottom feeding underclasses using the most painless method available at the time. He suggested poison gassing would be the most humane method, although expressed a hope that a reasonably painless fatal virus may someday be invented, for use on the general public.

It would seem to me that the plan may be running a little late, but other then that, it is well on track.

19 February 2012 at 01:08  
Anonymous Atlas shrugged said...

Sorry if I led you astray.

The above is of course extremely ON TOPIC, and I hope many of you will understand why it is so.

I do not wish to be alarmist, however I do believe it to be prudent to keep a keen eye on the buggers, because elitists can not be trusted now, any more then they could be trusted then.

19 February 2012 at 01:17  
Blogger Manfarang said...

A big distraction.
England is a country of EMPTY churches. Get your priorities right!

19 February 2012 at 02:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The anonymice have returned! All hail the anonymice!

19 February 2012 at 07:35  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Manfarang

Not quite true. The churches - of the C of E at least - are either sold off or full of old women, of both sexes; but of only one social class. It's the church of old snobs.

19 February 2012 at 07:37  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps that should've been "half full.."

19 February 2012 at 08:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Way of Dodo the Dude said...
"Someone lacks the courage to identify himself. Now who could it be?"

Okay, I confess, it was me, snivelling coward that I am.

19 February 2012 at 12:36  
Blogger Oswin said...

Your Grace: what's with this return of the 'anonymi'?

Increased 'word verification' seems to have allowed some worm-hole to open ... are they the feared 'robots' ???

19 February 2012 at 16:03  
Anonymous Old Grumpy said...

At least on a temporary basis it's given those of us who don't do google a chance to contribute. But I can appreciate His Grace's previous problems with spammers and flamers

19 February 2012 at 18:18  
Blogger Richard said...

If a minister can overrule the process of law what next? Could we see a minister who happens to be religious achieving in one simple diktat what the Catholic bishops in America have been trying to do and outlawing abortion? I admit in this case he has found a loop hole, but this does sound dangerous to me.

I would also like to complain somewhere about the terrible reporting over this story. So many sites saying that prayer has been completely banned where it hasn't (or hadn't now). The judge actually suggested that prayer be held before the official start of the meeting. I wonder of some of the indignation out there about this is due to people responding to incorrect information.

21 February 2012 at 07:17  
Blogger Richard said...

Re: Atlas Shrugged.

You take a claimed observation, that birth rates are different amongst different social groups, and try to denounce it by conflating it with Hitler and gassing.

Yes Hitler did some very bad things, but as far as I am aware the statement "Birth rates differ in different social groups" does not automatically imply the need to gas people - and thinking about it or debating or discussing it does not automatically lead to people wanting to gas other people.

So what would you do? Shut down study and debate of a possible valid fact by saying "Too much like Hitler"?

If the observation is wrong then why not refute it?

If the observation is correct, but the observed effect harmless (which seems reasonably likely to me) then why not argue for this?

If the observation is correct and the observed effect harmful in your opinion then why not try to work towards a far better way of mitigating it?

Far better than burying our heads in the sand because someone has invoked Godwin's Law of the Internet and mentioned Hitler.

If you shut down debate then you actually end up propping up people like the BNP who will continue to believe that the observation is true and is harmful and will take your attempts to prevent discussion as further evidence for that belief. Open discussion and refutation is the only way.

21 February 2012 at 07:26  

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