Monday, September 17, 2012

Religious liberty and the Government’s hot-head lawyers



His Grace posted last week on Eric Pickles’ spirited defence of the Faith which was received mainly positively, with some observable relief that there is at least one in the Cabinet who has a grasp of the concerns surrounding the denigration and marginalisation of Christianity faith in public life.

But there was one section of the article which caused some confusion (not least to His Grace). Mr Pickles wrote: ‘The Government’s opposition to a European Court of Human Rights challenge on crucifixes should not be misinterpreted as supporting secularism: rather, we are resisting Brussels interference and gold-plating of what should be a matter for common sense.’

This is interesting – not to say utterly bemusing – in the context of the legal arguments against the wearing of crucifixes (etc) being made by government lawyers at the European Court of Human Rights. They have made it clear that the position of HM Government is that Christians should ‘leave their beliefs at home or get another job’.

So, while the Prime Minister in Westminster is promising to protect religious expression at work by (if necessary) changing the law, government lawyers in Strasbourg insist that there is a ‘difference between the professional and private sphere’.

This appears to be somewhat schizophrenic, akin to the Conservative Party’s historically-professed cautious euroscepticism by MPs in the UK Parliament while the party’s MEPs were effusively europhile in Brussels by virtue of their membership of the EPP – a federalist group committed to ‘ever closer union’. At least David Cameron brought an end to that Jeckyll and Hyde existence.

In light of the legal arguments being used in Strasbourg to restrict the display of religious symbols and the manifestation of belief in the workplace - in the cases of Nadia Eweida, Shirley Chaplin, Lillian Ladele and Gary McFarlane - either Eric Pickles and David Cameron are being duplicitous, or government lawyers are being over-zealous in their quest for courtroom victory.

It is easy to believe that the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government are being disingenuous, deflective and ignorant of the real concerns: they are, after all, politicians. But if Mr Pickles happens to be honourable, honest and fully informed on the matter; and if Mr Cameron meant what he said to Parliament about the fundamental right to manifest one’s religion in the workplace, the only alternative conclusion is that the Government’s hot-headed lawyers have gone renegade in court: they are acting independently, failing to inform ministers of state or even run their legal arguments past (at least) the Attorney General in order to ensure that they cohere with pan-governmental objectives.

The British legal team arguing before the ECtHR that Christians in the UK have no right to wear a cross could not possibly have been briefed by the Government, because Conservatives know that the Church of England is the Established Church and the Queen is still its Supreme Governor and Defender of the Faith: she does not distinguish ‘between the professional and private sphere’. It is a fundamental religious liberty to be able to dress, behave and speak in accordance with the precepts of one’s belief. The Christian faith must affect every aspect of one’s life, or it is not a living faith.

Our lawyers in Strasbourg are asserting secularism while our politicians back home are affirming faith. There can be only one victor. Thankfully, constitutionally, Parliament is omnipotent.

175 Comments:

Blogger PaintingWithNumbers said...

I do agree with you on this one, Your Grace. I don't see why employers should be given special privileges not given to others to ban the manifestation of faith,

17 September 2012 at 11:08  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Your Grace,
Smoke screens and balderdash. Duplicity is only the half of it.
Pickles is an bumbling fool that knows nothing about Christianity and speaks only to confuse the issue with half truths.
I believe that we need to be wise in the issues that we feel that we should make a song and a dance about so that we do not expose ourselves to challenges of trivial pursuit!

17 September 2012 at 11:10  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Your Grace

"...Eric Pickles and David Cameron are being duplicitous, or government lawyers are being over-zealous in their quest for courtroom victory"
Can they not both be true as a statement given the reflection of the messes our politicians are able to get us in, by being all things to all men?

"Thankfully, constitutionally, Parliament is omnipotent." As Christians will no doubt come to find and rue.

E S Blofeld

17 September 2012 at 11:13  
Blogger Corrigan1 said...

@Mr Integrity,

Your Grace,
Smoke screens and balderdash. Duplicity is only the half of it.
Pickles is an bumbling fool that knows nothing about Christianity and speaks only to confuse the issue with half truths.
I believe that we need to be wise in the issues that we feel that we should make a song and a dance about so that we do not expose ourselves to challenges of trivial pursuit!


Eh...is this for or against the right to wear crucifixes?

17 September 2012 at 11:40  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Cranmer said, "...if Mr Pickles happens to be honourable, honest and fully informed on the matter; and if Mr Cameron meant what he said to Parliament about the fundamental right to manifest one’s religion in the workplace..."

Some extremely big "If's" there.

17 September 2012 at 12:02  
Blogger john in cheshire said...

If the government lawyers win this case, can we then see cases being brought against muslims for wearing clothing that clearly distinguishes them from normal employees and is therefore a religious symbol. I'd be pleased to see that consequence because I don't like to be served by people who insist that I know they are muslims.

17 September 2012 at 12:26  
Blogger Paul de Mello said...

John, would not the name badge with the name "Mohammed" on it disclose the faith to you also?

17 September 2012 at 12:33  
Blogger Peter Denshaw said...

I think it would be very difficult to prove that any of the cases noted are concerned with people not being allowed to practice their religion. Where does the line come between the freedom to practice religion in the work place and excusing bigotry and prejudice veiled in piety or allowing obnoxious members of staff to get away with disobedience? There seems to be a facile belief in some Christian circles that just because someone carries the name ‘Christian’ that that person is above reproach (I wonder how many Christians themselves would give such a liberal application of unquestioned virtue to members of their own congregation, yet seem happy to do this for some professional martyr, just because they are a useful ideological pawn and means of furthering the self-magnifying myth of Christian persecution in Britain?).

I wonder how many who comment or blog on this topic have actually read the original legal rulings (most are or were available on line). What is striking in the case of the nurse and air-stewardess, is that neither were commended for their behaviour as employees – indeed one had a track record for being a difficult employee! While I am not unsympathetic to the idea of calling into question an unequal application of a company’s policy, when it comes to allowing Muslim headscarfs while not allowing an employee to wear a trinket around her neck, it hardly constitutes an ‘anti-Christian’ policy!

The Christian registrar happily signed Islington Council’s Equal Opportunities’ Policy –perhaps she should have thought about what she was signing! And given the bread and butter of a registry office are remarriages, it is rather odd she should involve herself in marrying divorcees, in light of Jesus’ views on the subject. Did this registrar ask to only be allowed to officiate at first time marriages or the marriages of those whose grounds for their previous divorce were unfaithfulness? I suspect not – I suspect she didn’t give it a thought.

In 1993 I attended an interview with Relate – at that interview I was asked if I’d have any problems counselling same-sex couples; so I find it rather hard to believe the conscientious Christian sex therapist – working for Relate almost 20 years on, wouldn’t have been asked the same question at interview. Tho’ it seems this man of strict Christian principals had no problems giving sex therapy to unmarried heterosexual couples – which rather calls into question the integrity of his Christian orthodoxy!

Is it ‘anti-Christian’ to challenge these – shall we say ‘cherry-pickers’ of what aspects of the Christian religion they choose to get haughty about and the ones they conveniently forget? We are – thankfully – emerging from a time when the ‘race card’ could be conveniently played when poor employees were challenged in their work. Is that now to be replaced by the ‘Christian Card’? Whereby crap or difficult employees can claim discrimination on the grounds of religious belief (and perhaps get a nice compo cheque in the process)? There has to be some application of the law to stop such excesses; and to stop religion being used as an excuse for prejudice, bigotry and hatred. Court after court has ruled against the cases above – I would suggest READING the legal decisions before jumping to easy conclusions and joining in the whining ‘It’s not fair’ that seems the habit of a certain flavour of Christian these days. With the exception of the BA worker, I think all the judgements have been fair in light of ALL the evidence and the particular circumstances.

The Bible tells us the means of expressing one’s Christian belief to wider society is by one’s behaviour: turning the other cheek, loving one’s neighbour, rejoicing in persecution, forgiving one’s enemies, carrying other’s burdens, being the servant of all etc… If wearing a bit of tat around the neck or parroting the ‘The Bible says Thou Shalt Not…’ are the only ways and means Christians can live out their faith in the workplace, then God help the churches – and God help Britain!

17 September 2012 at 13:18  
Blogger David B said...

Do people seriously want people to have the right to wear crosses on chains in the operating theatre or while operating heavy machinery?

Health and safety can sometimes go over the top, but there is surely a time and a place for it.

Further, how does the congregation feel about jewellery with Flying Spaghetti Monster or Invisible Pink Unicorn iconography? Or just a big enamelled red A?

Sauce for goose is sauce for gander, IMV

David B

17 September 2012 at 13:20  
Blogger Flossie said...

I don't think (as Mr Integrity does) that Mr Pickles is a bumbling fool. I think he is a hard-nosed cynical politician who thinks that by patting us on the head and making soothing noises he can convince us that the government will protect religious liberty, while at the same time introducing legislation which will make this impossible.

St Paul exhorted the Romans thus:

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which he have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. (Rom 16: 17-18)

You only have to take one look at Mr Pickles' belly to know that this is true.

17 September 2012 at 13:25  
Blogger Corrigan1 said...

Just a thought - Sikhs are not required by their religion to wear turbans; they're just required not to cut their hair. Now, I wonder...

17 September 2012 at 14:04  
Blogger Naomi King said...

What everyone has forgotten in all this is the Sovereign's Oath, a sacred undertaking made before God, by Queen Elizabeth in June 1952, declaring that she will, through Parliament "uphold to the utmost of our power the Laws of God in the realm and the true profession of the Christian Gospel". This is what the Queen in Parliament are constitutionally bound to do - to uphold the laws of God and the true profession of the Christian Gospel.

17 September 2012 at 14:14  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

Peter Denshaw, your opening paragraph suggests that you are completely clueless not only about the cases in question but also the Christian faith in general. Can I suggest at least a month's worth of reading (starting with the entirety of the Bible and then adding in various Bible commentaries) before you return to posting anything about the Christian faith, so that you have a chance of posting with at least a vague understanding of what you type about.

17 September 2012 at 14:42  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

Naomi King - Your premise has 2 major problems.
1 - The Queen is a constitutional monarch, kept in post by agreement of the democratically elected parliament. Whilst the Queen signs all law for it to become official, and in theory she could reject to sign anything she didn't like, in practice it is merely a formality.
2 - You seem to be forgetting that the Bible is interpreted differently by different people. What if the Queen takes a liberal interpretation of the Bible, and thus the laws of God? It could be that she believes that there is not a problem.

17 September 2012 at 14:48  
Blogger Roy said...

The lawyers appear to have very little understanding of Christianity. They seem to think of it as being a sort of religious hobby that people may pursue in their spare time.

Dumbing down has obviously affected the legal profession - or have this country's lawyers always been so thick?

@ Peter Denshaw

The Christian registrar happily signed Islington Council’s Equal Opportunities’ Policy –perhaps she should have thought about what she was signing!

Do you seriously think that there has ever been a time in the entire recorded history of the human race, or in the thousands of years before writing was invented, that marriage was anything other than a heterosexual relationship?

Anybody conducting weddings in any country since time immemorial would assume that the job was about marrying men and women. Who on earth would have become a registrar in order to marry two men or two women?

Why does Islington's "equal" opportunities policy discriminate against polygamists and polyandrists?

17 September 2012 at 15:11  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

17 September 2012 at 15:13  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Your Grace,

You hint at the solution in your last paragraph. If Parliament is omnipotent, then it should repeal the human rights act, which would mean that taxpayer's money wouldn't be going down the drain in the first place.

Second we need a common sense and pragmatic approach to these issues, which was the British way in the past. I don't think you could actually ban all religious garb in the public place- I mean a Vicar without a dog collar or a Bishop wearing a large crucifix around his neck for example.

And if people wish to wear a Crucifix or a Star of David as part of their faith, what is wrong with that? If we allow Muslim women to cover themselves from head to toe on their pass port photos then I can't see why people want to abolish religious symbols on a sort of atheist crusade.

But in other instances, such as the story about a chap would refused to wear a hard hat on a construction site, well OK if that person wants to put his own life at risk then that is up to him, but he should have his court case and employer's liability claim thrown out of court if he is injured.

17 September 2012 at 15:17  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Lord Lavendon:

"But in other instances, such as the story about a chap would refused to wear a hard hat on a construction site, well OK if that person wants to put his own life at risk then that is up to him, but he should have his court case and employer's liability claim thrown out of court if he is injured."

My late grandfather used to make much the same appeal to common sense. His view on the law was that it was for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men. (Ah: just googled that proverb to see out of interest whether it had any provenance, and discovered that it originates with none other than Douglas Bader, which comes as no great surprise as the man was something of a hero to my RAF grandparents!)

It seems to me that a great deal of modern law involves a kind of artificial use of legislation as a level of reason unto itself. Part of the reason is that it has long gone out of fashion to see the law as being organically rooted in society and how people actually live. It's long since ascended (denigrated?) into being a tool for social change in the hands of our betters.

17 September 2012 at 15:21  
Blogger John Knox's lovechild said...

Peter Denshaw

So one of the plaintiffs was described as a "difficult employee" by her employer's lawyer.

So what?

17 September 2012 at 15:23  
Blogger John Knox's lovechild said...

Just back from hospital abroad where, wrapped in plaster for a broken ankle, I saw many crucifixes on the wall and Our Lady's statue in many a cranny.

I thought to myself, this would really get up the noses of secular liberals.

So they no doubt would refuse treatment in its accident and emergency ward.

I am sure.



17 September 2012 at 15:28  
Blogger Paul de Mello said...

I would compare Religious Employees (Art.9) to Trade Unionist (Art.11) workplace rights and maternity/fertility rights (Art.8&12). Trade Unions are ultimately a manifestation of philosophical belief systems. Industrial Action, be it withdrawal of labor or working to rule is a form of conscientious objection to the terms and conditions imposed by the employer. In other contexts such disruption to obtain financial gain would be deemed blackmail. Yet reasonable accommodation is granted, both in terms of identifying that you are a member and to changing your work pattern to meet your membership requirements.
Likewise, when it comes to Family rights to IVF/Maternity/Flexible-Working, reasonable accommodation is to be granted even though it is a choice and disadvantages other employees, and even displays of family life, like wedding rings/bands are given exemptions form uniform policy.
I find it unreasonable to argue that ‘reasonable accommodation’ for HRA Article 11 (Trade unions) and HRA Article 8 & 12 rights should not also be granted in the workplace, but not for HRA Article 9 (faith) or any other HRA rights? Unicorns appear on coat-of-arms on flags and educational/military uniforms , and even secular France allows emblems like the Marianne figure or the Juno/Liberty figure (official seal) to be worn.

That said, the present government line seems to be that employment rights are “red tape” and a “burden” on employers, and a gradual reduction is expected. If these cases lose on appeal to the Grand Chamber, the ruling could be used in the EU to reduce discrimination law in general, particularly the EC directives like 2000/78.

With that in mind Your Grace, why are you surprised by the government lawyers rhetoric, considering that Lord Lester is assisting them (that’s right the same Lord Lester who sits on the Bill of Rights committee)?

17 September 2012 at 15:34  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Peter Denshaw:

Firstly, you do raise some good points. I'm not sure I agree with them in their entirety, but what disagreements I have are more on the nuances than the meat.

"The Christian registrar happily signed Islington Council’s Equal Opportunities’ Policy –perhaps she should have thought about what she was signing!"

This got me wondering, as I've seen a fair few of these policies cropping up. Is it actually an option for an employer to not have an Equal Opportunities Policy? It just makes me wonder, because if it isn't optional, and we came to the understanding that certain elements of such documents were fundamentally incompatible with particular Christian doctrines (or indeed the doctrines of any faith), the we would seem to have a prima facie instance of the Law acting to substantially disadvantage people of particular faiths from employment. Which is paradoxical, given that Equal Opportunities legislation has tended to dress itself up as being opposed to just such an event!

If on the other hand they are indeed optional, and their take-up merely reflects the usual resignation with which most employers approach any government initiative, then I think you may be onto something here: that in fact, Christian or Muslim employers should start thinking about dropping the documents in favour of something else. I've argued before that the Church should take a stronger stance on advocating a more explicitly Christian philosophy of "equality" before the word in common usage becomes inimical to it.

Are there any lawyers who might advise (for free of course - you bloodsuckers!)?

17 September 2012 at 16:03  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Corrigan 1 @ 11:40
Wearing a cross is not an essential of the faith. Whereas our freedom to express our faith is. It is thus that we need to be careful about those things that are most precious to us, such as the proclomation of the Gospel and to not get caught up in lesser issues.

17 September 2012 at 16:18  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I think it's going to be rather hard to distinguish between religion/conscience and culture/identity as this thing develops. It's going to become completely absurd. Does anyone really think that the right to wear a cross at work is worth opening the door to burqas and niqabs?

17 September 2012 at 17:50  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Danjo,

Eh?!

The door is already open to burqas and niqabs; any employer who tells a muslim lady to take them off will find him/herself in from of the industrial tribunal firing squad and face the tar of racism, in the same way that an ad for a job which said "no queers" would (or B and B owners for that matter).

17 September 2012 at 17:56  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...



Sends a cold shiver down the Inspector’s back each time he hears those swine are sitting in Strasbourg. The surest way to REMOVE everybody’s rights is by allowing that gang of continental mandarins to rule our lives with their imperious edicts. Slowly chiselling the common sense out of law, that’s what they are doing. And what’s more, there’s no one to challenge the blighters. Would you bloody believe it !

For any of His Grace’s followers who are not aware, the ECHR is not part of the EU, and thus when we leave the one, we will also need to give separate notice to the other. What this country needs an outside human rights court for is beyond understanding. But there you go, if you want to take over a sovereign state peacefully, you start by imposing your laws over theirs, no matter how ridiculous some of the judgments are…

British law for Britons, what !

Secular types. You live in a Christian country. A country that recognises the worth of Christianity. If this is too much for your sensibilities, then off you go. China and that marvellous place North Korea awaits you. You can be as blasted secular over there as you want. We just don’t need your ‘input’ here…

17 September 2012 at 17:57  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Inspector,

Ironically the North Koreans (not a place for our socialist green friends), in order to deal with their food shortages, tried to grown super genetic giant rabbits, believing that given a rabbit's breeding habits they could feed their starving population. The catch was that they needed to find food for the rabbits, which they didn't have...

17 September 2012 at 18:00  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Lavendon: "The door is already open to burqas and niqabs; any employer who tells a muslim lady to take them off will find him/herself in from of the industrial tribunal firing squad and face the tar of racism, in the same way that an ad for a job which said "no queers" would (or B and B owners for that matter).

Like Aishah Azmi?

17 September 2012 at 18:11  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "Secular types. You live in a Christian country. A country that recognises the worth of Christianity. If this is too much for your sensibilities, then off you go."

We live in a secular country with the remnants of historical Christianity in our State. Our primary attribute is one of a tolerant, liberal democracy with a multi-cultural society. You might consider fecking off yourself to somewhere like Singapore if that's not to your liking.

17 September 2012 at 18:15  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

17 September 2012 at 18:23  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...



Lavendon, one wonders if plan B is the four legged chicken. Cheap to feed, but a bugger to catch...

DanJ0, whenever your cherished imagining that this is a completely secular society is brought to reality, you become rather obstreperous. Chin up old fruit, just clutch your comfort blanket for a few minutes until the fear passes...

heh heh !







17 September 2012 at 18:26  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "DanJ0, whenever your cherished imagining that this is a completely secular society is brought to reality, you become rather obstreperous."

I note the "completely" introduced there. Tell me, how come a so-called Christian country like ours has our abortion and divorce laws, and our abortion and divorce and co-habitation rates?

17 September 2012 at 18:30  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Of course there's one sensible course of action that will allay all this squabbling and that is that we
elevate our religion of Christianity to prime position in this country. Therefore, all manifestations of the Christian faith only should be allowed, whether at work or in private. It will stop the arguments if other religions are secondary, only being allowed here in private.. Everyone will know where they stand. You can still attend your mosques and temples but otherwise must become as British as possible if

17 September 2012 at 18:33  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Lavendon, you've deleted your comment for some reason. I think you need to get your head around direct and indirect discrimination. In particular, the implicit nature of equality at the current time. It's the small bit beyond the current situation that the cases are testing.

17 September 2012 at 18:34  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Ah, Danjo

I deleted the comment because I said I would send a bottle of Château Lafite to you, via cyberspace, but I will admit my pride was hurt by your revelation. I will doff my top hat to you, on this occasion, because I was unaware of this excellent ruling.

Note - This does not make me a grovelling toad.

17 September 2012 at 18:43  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...



DanJ0. Obviously not all the population are Christian, some have fallen off the cart thanks to the liberal ideas types like you enshrine in law. Easy that, make abortion illegal, and hey, we are back to a Christian country.

You really ought to give Christianity a chance. We all know you are gay. Whatever system you choose has to be gay friendly, so we have a case here of the tail wagging the dog. But surprise, we Christians love gays, and we hope that one day, you will love we too.







17 September 2012 at 18:46  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

17 September 2012 at 18:50  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

It's not a particularly excellent ruling as it goes. As I say, you need to get your head around the detail. To my mind, it's a bit like the discrimination allowed when advertising for female toilet attendants. Unless there's reasonable grounds then you can't readily discriminate over protected attributes like religion, disability etc. Moreover, there's an implicit duty for employers to treat like alike in employment law as far as I know. So, if an employee has a legal right to insist on wearing a cross to work then it applies to others too for similar things. It's an extra nudge.

17 September 2012 at 18:51  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "Easy that, make abortion illegal, and hey, we are back to a Christian country."

Nevermind the majority beliefs, or lack of them, then. You're a fascist at heart, really.

17 September 2012 at 18:53  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Danjo,

You are a funny chap. As I had conceded your point with good grace, from my initial post, you wish to continue to rub salt into the wound and lecture me about finer points of law. Poor old you.

17 September 2012 at 18:56  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...



Lavendon, he is, as the Irish say, a quare fella. He’s a bit worked up tonight, don’t you agree. More than normal...

17 September 2012 at 19:04  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

I must assume that means that the Republic of Ireland is a facist state...

17 September 2012 at 19:06  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Inspector,

Thanks for that. Danjo has thrown down a gauntlet to me. So I shall be spending the night over a bottle of Château Lafite (which was meant for him) and in my library and review his suggestions and the case he quoted to me and respond later on.

17 September 2012 at 19:09  
Blogger len said...

Britain was a Christian Country which sent missionaries all over the Globe.
The reason for the gradual downturn of Christianity in the UK is the linking of Christianity with the State.
The' Gospel' of our State controlled Church is a weak pathetic 'social Gospel' which is no use at all for the purposes of salvation, to some ministers the Church was merely a 'career'.
The 'Gospel of the Kingdom' is in direct opposition to all that this World values and can never compromise with it.
Many people have never heard the true Gospel of the Kingdom preached and regard the State organised 'Church' as irrelevant.
Aggressive Atheists have attacked the 'Church' without remorse or pity trying to stamp out what remains of the dwindling Church population.
Well the atheists may actually be doing God`s work for Him!.
Because a 'new Church' is arising Spirit filled believers who having seen the' deadness' and the 'dryness' of religion are meeting not in Churches but in 'house groups and taking the Gospel out into the' market place'.
They may be small in number but it only took Jesus and twelve disciples to bring the Gospel to the World.













17 September 2012 at 19:12  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

len: "Aggressive Atheists have attacked the 'Church' without remorse or pity trying to stamp out what remains of the dwindling Church population."

Who exactly are these 'aggressive atheists'? You mean Richard Dawkins and the group of three or four like-minded people? Or perhaps Polly Toynbee? They seem to be terribly powerful if so.

17 September 2012 at 19:29  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "We all know you are gay."

*whispers* My gaydar practically shakes when you're in reception range, you know. When you're ready, Inspector, when you're ready. I don't really mind you bringing the subject up all the time, I expect you're just trying to feel comfortable with it. ;)

17 September 2012 at 19:33  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Youthpasta/ Peter Denshaw

I completely agree with your comment. However, most commentary from Peter (He has posted before) seems to be no more than regurgitated Stonewall or Pink News versions of Christianity.

Mind you his views are pretty standard in TEC! Whatever Bible they use seems to have bits missing like the letters send home by British POWs with black censors pen deleting the bits that they don't like.

Must be nice to feel like doing a bit of sinning so I could delete the relevant bit of the Bible out. Then I can feel wonderful about my life. Because God really wants me just to be happy, that is my function and goal in life. When I am pleasing myself I am pleasing God. He just wants me to enjoy every day doing just what I like. Doesn't he. God made me to want to sin so sin must be OK with God! Ultimately sin just makes me closer to God...because that is what he wants?

Right with you Peter................... NOT!

Phil

17 September 2012 at 19:35  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...



DanJ0, you gay minx. You cannot tempt the Inspector with your, er ‘charms’, as he is 100% straight. And wash out that blasted comfort blanket of yours. Disgraceful stains present...



17 September 2012 at 19:52  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

(I see our little adversary is at work playing forum chess by displaying his *brilliance* and throwing out accusations and insults.)

The case I am watching closely is the right to display a crucifix to work where this presents no obvious impediment to fulfilling the tasks for which one is employed.

Has the Archbishop of Canterbury made any comment on this? I am aware the Hegumen Philip Ryabykh, the Russian Orthodox Church’s representative to the Council of Europe, has said Russia will do what it can to help defend British Christians rights to wear crosses at work.

On the other hand, is it right for European countries to ban the wearing of burkas and hijabs as symbols of separation from Western culture or because, as some argue, they are symbols of the oppression of women? And, if so, does this pose a threat to Orthodox Jews?

17 September 2012 at 20:21  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Like a moth to a flame. Lol.

17 September 2012 at 20:34  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

A comment on nonsense is not the same as engaging in discourse with the poster of said nonsense, nor is an insult.

Now stick your candle where the sun don't shine.

17 September 2012 at 20:43  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

17 September 2012 at 21:09  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

I have to admit that the Château Lafite has managed to get the better of me. On the plus side, I have managed to find a copy of Treasure Island, one of my favorite books. Much better reading that, than debating with Danjo. (And of course, on the subject of discrimination , I do have past experience of people being vile to other people and telling these people what they can jolly well do with it).

17 September 2012 at 21:19  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Poor Dodo.

17 September 2012 at 22:11  
Blogger William said...

Forum chess? More like forum Punch and Judy.

17 September 2012 at 22:28  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...



William. Chess it is. And it’s us old hands who are winning...



17 September 2012 at 22:32  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Poor DanJ0.

Now how did that song go?

17 September 2012 at 22:47  
Blogger William said...

It'll take more than a couple of bishops to capture the queen I think Inspector.

17 September 2012 at 22:59  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Very good, William. Excellent, in fact! Although such an outcome is possible.

18 September 2012 at 00:25  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I think it's worth juxtapositioning yet again the B&B case with the religious rights people are calling for here. On the one hand, people are wanting to force employers to accept manifestations of religion in the workplace, even though it's hard to see how in some cases not doing so causes indirect discrimination, and on the other hand, the same people are wanting to allow suppliers of goods and services to be able to refuse to accommodate, quite literally, manifestations of identity which fall into the same area of protected attributes. Curious, really.

18 September 2012 at 07:31  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Protected Attributes ???

Sodomy a protected attribute ? We are talking here of people running a PRIVATE business. If there is a market in catering for homosexual men who do not want separate rooms, someone out there will provide for it, and advertise by way of the usual channels. Same with {AHEM} ‘personal body lube’...

18 September 2012 at 08:23  
Blogger Tony B said...

She spoilt her case by coughing incessantly but not once saying "excuse me".

18 September 2012 at 10:55  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector, thanks, you illustrate my point very well. Perhaps the people who want to wear crosses at work against their employer's wishes should just find an employer who is tolerant of that sort of weird religious stuff? Yet some people seem to want their cake and eat it by demanding a right against private business to dictate terms over religious stuff whilst insisting that private business ought to be able to refuse over sexual orientation stuff. Curious, isn't it?

18 September 2012 at 10:58  
Blogger Tony B said...

>Because a 'new Church' is arising Spirit filled believers who having seen the' deadness' and the 'dryness' of religion are meeting not in Churches but in 'house groups and taking the Gospel out into the' market place'.

Aren't they those nutters that everyone crosses the street to avoid?

18 September 2012 at 11:00  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...


In respect of the teaching loosing their case on the niquab, I was pleased by this because call me pedantic but a good teacher is a good communicator and one of the many ways we communicate is not only tone of voice, but also facial expressions. I am not sure that this lady could have done her job properly.

As I said above, the proper way to deal with equality is a practical common sense approach; e.g. one of my invoice clerks is covered head to toe in her religious garb, but I cannot see the harm as it doesn't effect her job, if she was in the dairy team and thus responsible for, say, milking cows a different set of circumstances and a different set of rules (I think 'elf n' stafety' still trumps any other card, but M'learned friend Danjo QC will be able correct me if I am wrong).

But simply banning religious symbols for its own sake, regardless of particular situations, is a politically motivated attack by secularists against religion generally and the devout in particular.

Not much toleration by the atheists is there? (as others have said we see where officially atheist states have lead humanity to mass murder and for those countries a new dark age of repression and injustice).

Thank God we are not a socialist -atheist Green ecology tyranny- who, expect for a madman, would want to live under that kind of regime?

18 September 2012 at 11:09  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

As I am also a good capitalist and 'always on the money', in respect of the B & B owners, I was a bit upset that they lost- had they won there would have been two niche opening for businesses to focus on- the gay market and at the same time the devout Christian puritanical market as well. Everyone would have been a winner- damn the PC brigade!

18 September 2012 at 11:10  
Blogger Tony B said...

"Secular types. You live in a Christian country. A country that recognises the worth of Christianity. If this is too much for your sensibilities, then off you go. China and that marvellous place North Korea awaits you. You can be as blasted secular over there as you want. We just don’t need your ‘input’ here…"

Inspector, I was just about to upbraid someone else for making the silliest posting ever seen on here, but I read on, and you beat it hands down!

18 September 2012 at 11:13  
Blogger Tony B said...

"(as others have said we see where officially atheist states have lead humanity to mass murder and for those countries a new dark age of repression and injustice)"

Eh? Which officially atheist state started World War one, for example? Or even World War two?

18 September 2012 at 11:15  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Atheist-Socialist mass murders and the estimates of how many people were slaughtered :

Jozef Stalin (USSR) 23,000,000

Adolf Hitler (National Socialist Germany) 12,000,000

Mao Ze-Dong (Socialist China)
49-78,000,000

Kim Il Sung (Socialist North Korea) 1,600,000

Pol Pot (Socialist Cambodia) 1,700,000

18 September 2012 at 11:40  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Inspector?

Our little adversary is no more that a somewhat *sophisticated* troll. You're a chess player, don't let him occupy the four central squares. He's dictating the terms of the debate and goading you.

Time to think about using the bishops and going for a Boden's Mate!

Lord Lavendon got it in one. A genuine Christian B&B owner would look upon adultury and unmarried sexual encounters as no less an offence against God as active homosexuality. Such sexual sins are equally grave.

It is time for Christians to defend their faith and this means acting consistently. The same applies to Catholic Adoption Agencies. If it were a requirement that applicants to adopt must be active in their faith and in full communion with the Church maybe such 'discrimination' would be regarded as indirect and permissible.

18 September 2012 at 12:45  
Blogger Naomi King said...

A District Judge, sitting at Brighton Magistrates' Court announced today that all charges were being dismissed against Christian pro-life campaigner Andy Stephenson. The case against his fellow campaigner, Kathryn Sloane, was dismissed on Thursday of last week (13 Sep) during the same trial.
All charges against both campaigners have therefore now been dismissed. District Judge Nicholson's reasoning in the case is expected at 2pm tomorrow (18 Sep).
Andy and Kathryn were supported by the Christian Legal Centre and were represented in Court by human rights barrister Paul Diamond and Mr Michael Phillips.

Andy and Kathryn, members of the campaign group Abort67, were arrested in June 2011, whilst demonstrating silently in the vicinity of Wistons Clinic, operated by leading abortion provider BPAS, in Brighton. As part of its public education project, the group, which has held peaceful protests outside the establishment for 5 years, displays images of aborted babies but does so silently and without harassment.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, Barrister and Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which represents Andy and Kathryn, said: “The dismissal of these charges will be welcomed by all who value freedom of speech and expression. It is especially important in the context of the continuing debate about the role of independent abortion providers and the information made available to women.

“This trial exposed the fact that not all who attend the clinic considering abortion receive counselling. Through the work that they do, Andrew and Kathryn seek to give women access to truth about abortion which although unpleasant is nonetheless true. If women are to make informed decisions about abortion, they need to be aware of the full impact of it.

"Flowing from their Christian faith, Andrew and Kathryn are motivated by their concern for women considering abortion and their conviction that all life is precious in God’s sight and needs to be protected. They seek to be voice for those who have no voice.

“Given our experience in this and other similar cases, we will be seeking a meeting with the Association of Chief Police Officers to explore whether better guidance can be drawn up over the policing of such activities, especially those motivated by religious convictions.”

18 September 2012 at 13:00  
Blogger Naomi King said...

Mr and Mrs Michael and Susanne Wilkinson who appeared in Reading court yesterday, charged with refusing to allow two sodomites (who were not even in an civil partnership) to sleep in a double bed in their B&B.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-19626936

The judge was changed at the last minute and we were pleased with the new judge, Recorder Claire Moulder's handling of the case, not least her refusal at the outset of the claimants late request for an injunction to force Susanne to take homosexual couples into her double rooms. This was good news because should the injunction have been permitted Susanne would have been in contempt of court had she not applied it.
.
There was common ground on the facts of the case and cross examination was quite uncontentious. The differences lay in the legal interpretation of the facts.

Susanne's counsel, James Dingemans QC, and the support team were excellent. James argued Susanne's defence expertly, his main points being;-
There was no discrimination on sexual orientation (the issue here was sexual practice, not orientation)
Susanne was entitled to refuse unmarried persons or those not in a civil partnership to share a double bed. The Sexual Orientation Regulations ("SORs") only refers to homosexuals in a civil partnership
A small intimate B&B with a personal service in a private family home was not intended to be caught by the Equalities Act which refers instead to a hotel or boarding house
Indirect discrimination can be justified by religious belief under the SORs
The Human Rights Act 1998 is primary legislation (therefore ahead of the SORs as secondary legislation) and this makes allowance for freedom of religion and its manifestation
The Claimants' counsel, of course, made robust arguments contesting these and other points. However, both sides agreed the judgment should be about getting the right balance between the competing rights of homosexuals and Christians. It was described as 'an appraisal requiring considerable skill and care' and that the 'least intrusive outcome should be obtained'

The judge stated that she reserved judgment, was well aware of the 4 cases of Christians currently at the ECHR in Strasbourg (judgment due in 3 months) and of the Bull's case (going before the UK's Supreme Court in about 1 year.) She said she'd make her decisions while the case was still fresh in her mind and provide her judgement in 1 to 2 weeks time.

Prayer points
Thanks for strength for Susanne to answer the questions in cross examination (and for minimal questioning)
Thanks for expert work of James Dingemans who made all the points we could have wanted
Thanks for a pleasant and professional judge
Thanks that the hearing was over in one day and not the two days allocated for it by the court
Pray that the judge will have the courage and the conviction to make a balanced judgement which permits Christians to act in accordance with their faith.

18 September 2012 at 13:04  
Blogger Tony B said...

Lord Lavendon - your figures have no context. Do they show numbers killed by atheists? Do they include numbers killed by theists? Are they totals killed in wars by both sides? etc etc. As they stand, meaningless.

18 September 2012 at 13:25  
Blogger Peter Denshaw said...

@ Roy: All signing an Equal Ops statement means is that as an employee you are stating you will not discriminate in the public services you are paid to enact. It works both ways; public services likewise have to treat service users equally. – as a social worker I successfully advocated for a local council to pay the cost of a woman visiting All Souls, Langham Place, Luncheon Club, despite my managers wanting to send her to an Age Concern Day centre – I argued the council supported Muslims and Jews in their religious and cultural needs, so we should do the same with Evangelical Christians – personally I would rather eat my own do-do rather than enter All Souls, but personal beliefs and feelings are secondary in providing public services.

Many of these 'professional martyrs' have plenty of time outside of work to witness to their faith. I think it is rather pathetic that their chosen 'martyrdoms' focus on the petty (i.e. wearing tat around the neck) and/or the 'easy righteousness' of queer bashing. Why is it, these cases concern themselves with the inconsequential or ancient and easy prejudices? I would be more convinced of the integrity of the pious nurse if she'd exposed lapses in care; or the air steward if she fought for justice in the work place. The registrar would elicit more of my sympathy if she had said she refused to marry divorcees or conduct the many sham marriages registrars knowingly conduct every day (i.e. happy to hear false witness). (I've already noted the short comings of the devout sex therapist). The fact these martyrs go for petty or 'easy' targets (i.e. those that let wider society off the hook while focusing on a convenient minority) rather lessens the earnestness of their causes.

Despite what His Grace says about having an Established Church under a Christian monarch (well, at the moment - history and the future suggest this is just luck of the draw!) only a small proportion of the country showd any interest in practising Christian belief - and the ones that do put a good deal of effort into exposing the failings of their neighbours who express a different version of Christianity. Indeed, one of the most discriminating institutions in England has been the CofE - until recently barring people from social and professional preferment; its worst excess was to burn fellow Christians at the stake - oddly enough wearing a crucifix would have been frowned upon by some of our Anglican forebears.

If there is going to be a total freedom to express one's religion in the workplace, then it has to be remembered that this cannot just mean a rather circumscribed Christianity: Muslims, JWs, Mormons etc. will all get in on the act and hold us to ransom with their petty tyrannies - you can rest assured (for such is the nature of the vast majority of the religiously inclined) that most of these 'martyrdoms' will indeed be petty and aimed more at magnifying the individual in some shape or form, rather than anything as mundane as costly piety.

I think some serious questions need to be asked among our conservative chums, as to why it is there is so much emphasis placed on Biblical precepts that concern a convenient minority (a minuscule minority within their own happy band) - e.g. related to Lev 18:22 - yet little is said about turning the other cheek or bearing persecution and ignominy with fortitude. Instead we're treated to a lot of nonsense about oppression, exclusion and persecution, when it could just be that hypocrisy, 'easy righteousness' and ignoble celebrity and self-seeking is seen for what it is!

18 September 2012 at 13:39  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Lavendon: "But simply banning religious symbols for its own sake,
regardless of particular situations, is a politically motivated
attack by secularists against religion generally and the devout
in particular."

Of course, it is not being proposed to ban religious symbols and garb universally in law. The issue is whether employers have the freedom to determine appropriate clothes etc when employees are on company business. The proposal is to restrict their freedom even further as far as I can tell, allowing employees to insist on wearing things which reflect their core identity irrespective of employer wishes. I'm conflicted over this myself, on the one hand I'm not that keen on having to hold meeting with people in burqas and nicabs, on the other it will only be a matter of time before I can insist on wearing my gold lamé hotpants at work.

18 September 2012 at 13:39  
Blogger Peter Denshaw said...

@ Youth Pasta – thank you for your assessment – it is amazing just how discriminating a certain flavour of Christian can be (often when they are whining about discrimination….).

My PhD is in theology and religious studies, I was member of and on the staff (for two years) of St George’s Leeds for four years – so I know your suffragan very well! And have some 30 years of church going under my belt… However I bow to your omniscient assessment if it makes you feel better about yourself O wise one!

18 September 2012 at 13:40  
Blogger William said...

That got a titter from me DanJ0.

18 September 2012 at 14:06  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Tony B- of course a socialist world view is that people are mere statistics and individuals slaughtered for the ideology or cause are fully justified!

18 September 2012 at 14:13  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Ah Danjo,

Hotpants are not a religious symbol are they? Andthe law has, in most circumstances, never stopped people from wearing religious items in the past? So why is it an issue now?

If you feel uncomfortable with people wearing Niquabs or whatever they are called, then you wouldn't be alone as this is a subject of debate by both left and right politically. Although I am glad to note you are not as enlightened as you think you are.

18 September 2012 at 14:30  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

18 September 2012 at 14:51  
Blogger John Chater said...

If you want to know what is actually going to happen, rather than what politicians tell us will happen, then it is wise to follow the actions of the government's lawyers and civil servants, who are working to ensure that the government's true intentions are accomplished. To pretend that lawyers are simply being hot-headed and that good old Tories like Mr Pickles will come to the rescue is to gravely misunderstand how laws are actually made.

18 September 2012 at 14:58  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Ah Dodo,

That is a consistent and has integrity.

I would suggest 3 alternatives for a hypothetical Christian B&B owner:

1)if you are a Christian B and B owner and claim divine revelation, then you should be consistent with that revelation and only allowed married straight couples into your establishment. That is a perfectly consistent and a position of religious integrity.

OR

2)as a Christian B&B owner you could mind your own business and not involve yourself in someone else's sex life. For example, a don't ask don't tell rule: if a gay or unmarried straight couple is going to 'sleep' together then I don't think that said B&B owners should be questioning paying customers. In addition this type of Christian B&B owner could show their Christianity by their actions as well as theology. Again consistent and honest.

OR

3).Discriminating against some-one for being gay and either quizzing people about their activity or assuming all gay partners are sleeping with each other; an approach that I see as being quite wrong-and makes you loose more than money.

This approach is not consistent and can lead to the view that people of religion/Christian B& B owners are getting onto an anti-homosexual band wagon for it's own sake, rather than attempting to deal with the complex issue of the Bible, faith and sexuality which layman and scholar alike have been grappling with for many years.

18 September 2012 at 15:12  
Blogger Tony B said...

"of course a socialist world view is that people are mere statistics and individuals slaughtered for the ideology or cause are fully justified!"

I presume they learned it from Christendom?

18 September 2012 at 15:26  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

18 September 2012 at 15:34  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Tony B,

All I know is that I wouldn't want to live in socialist-atheist 'utopia' state such as North Korea, or when it was around the former USSR.

Would you?

18 September 2012 at 15:35  
Blogger Tony B said...

LL,

No. (Nor any kind of "Theocracy" for that matter). But if that's ALL you know, where did all those figures come from?

18 September 2012 at 15:43  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Lord Lavendon

I agree. Option 1) or 2) is the way to go.

I'd just make small point about Option 1). Presumably if said proprietor is a Christian with orthodox beliefs s/he wouldn't need to claim a personal divine revelation. Acceptance of the Good Book and faith in its message is sufficent to guide one's conduct. This may, in fact, be what you meant.

Option 2) troubles me somewhat, although I do understand the point you are making. However, shouldn't actions and theology be in harmony? One the other hand, presuming that a couple sharing a room together are going to engage in sexual activities would also be wrong. Maybe twin beds is the answer and regular, unannounced night time patrols!

I fully agree with your objections to Option 3).

As for DanJ0 wearing "gold lamé hotpants" I'd say that would constitute as assault on the senses and a potential breach of the peace. It must be covered by some legislation or by common law.

18 September 2012 at 17:12  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Peter



Having a PhD in Theology or any qualification in Theology unfortunately means very little in my experience.

George Kovoor Principal Trinity College Bristol, has stated that Psychology Students are like blind men looking for a black cat in a dark room. Theology students are like blind men looking for a black cat in a dark room that isn’t there.

Sums it up really. You studied the Bible (If you needed to study it at all) with your worldview.

The Bible in your own image. Remembering only nice things and deleting the rest.

Phil

18 September 2012 at 17:18  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Your Grace

Since everyone else seems to have censorship can we have a "no Gay bloggers" rule?

They irritate the heck out of me coming up with the same tired arguments that get squashed time and time again. But like groundhogs they keep popping up, parroting the same old thing.

Do they go on special courses to learn to be irritating or are they “born that way”?

Phil

18 September 2012 at 17:28  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Phil Roberts,

I think His Grace has a "bottom line" on his blog and I think that this is refreshing for a blog owner to allow us to conduct debate in an intelligent and erudite way.

Hot pants or not, I think Danjo and the other gay people here should be allowed the same freedom to discuss their viewpoint as anyone else.

18 September 2012 at 17:36  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

"Option 2) troubles me somewhat, although I do understand the point you are making. However, shouldn't actions and theology be in harmony? One the other hand, presuming that a couple sharing a room together are going to engage in sexual activities would also be wrong. Maybe twin beds is the answer and regular, unannounced night time patrols!"

Like the good old days! No hanky panky - we're not that kind of establishment!

18 September 2012 at 17:45  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Dodo,

I will admit that single beds were my policy for my children, pre-marriage and the same goes for my grand children and great grand children and other relatives, who might bring back their girl friend or boy friend. That is, however, in the comfort of my own home, so it is a bit different when providing a service for some-one.

I have to admit either number 1 (including your additions) would be the most straightforward for a Christian. The pitfall is that I think bookings are made online and then it is after the event people are turned away. The other pitfall would be the public hate mail any person would get if they attempted to clarify their view and you can imagine headlines of "Christians say no queers" or something like that.

Perhaps then option 2 is the practical way? Although I agree that there are difficulties with that too.

I wonder if one could get away with a sign "gays welcome, but no gold lamé hotpants"?

On a different note, perhaps all of this will be a bit moot anyway, as it seems we are trundling along to another middle eastern war, but unlike Iraq, virtually zero public debate is going on.

18 September 2012 at 17:46  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Ah well Belfast, it is a bit of a game, afterall there is nothing to stop you from putting the 2 beds together...

18 September 2012 at 17:47  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Tony B,

I am sure that some research will help you with the figures I presented to you.

18 September 2012 at 17:47  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

"Hot pants or not"

Oh, well if it's a choice between those two, I'd rather the former. Not sure I'd continue frequenting the blog if it became "clothing optional" ;)

18 September 2012 at 17:48  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Lord Lavendon:

Assuming that it would be possible (my question above about what exactly is statutory in Equal Opportunities law remains unanswered), I'd say a bit of honesty would deter most people. A simple sign, on both the website and publicity emphasising the B&B's Christian values would, I suspect send out enough of a vibe to put off some - or at the least invite a polite inquiry as to what that meant re:Mr and Mrs "Smith" holidays, hopefully to be answered with a polite and honest reply. Oddly enough I don't imagine that many gay people would feel comfortable about financially supporting many businesses where the owners were adamant about the sinfulness of their lifestyle.

Or maybe a Christian name. "St Augustine's B&B for Moral Holidays", or the "Rev Ian Paisley Hostel" perhaps.

The idea that we need a special law to say we have a right to wear religious devotional items rather implies by the very necessity of its assertion that the defacto position is that there would be no reason to permit it.

This is a sad consequence of the way in which the law has come to represent what can be done, rather than the more traditional role (in England) where the law covers egregious cases that should not occur. The former is more a reflection of a legal system like the Code Penal. I'm sure I've written before about my theory that many of the worst examples of legal doodadery over EU Human Rights stem from the fact that European legislators think in different terms to our Common Law system. It's why I think that people sometimes miss the significance of rulings from a European context. It doesn't much matter in most of Europe - so long as the principle code isn't changed - over here it matters enormously, and can make or change our law over night.

18 September 2012 at 18:07  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...



DanJ0. One is getting rather tired of YOUR intolerance towards people who have a religious belief and wish to wear accompaniments to their faith accordingly. It is somewhat reminiscent of the worst of anti homosexual attitudes that for decades was the norm in the UK, don’t you think ? Yet, off you go, shamelessly labelling it ‘weird’ !

When it comes to employment, it is none of the employer’s damn business unless his business is DIRECTLY affected. A contract of employment is just that. The employer provides and outline of your duties to be performed and undertakes to remunerate you for your efforts. That’s all it is. Industrial tribunals are about not being allowed to do the first and not receiving the benefit of the second.

Now, if an employer had a branch in a muslim country, and the employer received a complaint from a muslim client objecting to a wearing of a cross by an employee there, can the employee do their job accordingly ? They might be good at it per se, but not so if the client is disgruntled. Thus, the circumstances surrounding the complaint to be taken into consideration, to wit, a foreign country and attitudes there of. It would be a different situation if the client objected to the wearing of a cross if he visited THIS country – a Christian country, and don’t forget that.

When all is said and done, the smart employer picks the candidate most able to perform. If he doesn’t, a competitor will, to the previous man’s disadvantage.

So, everything sorted then, and we didn’t have to resort to your whining social commentary. Which is rather good news, what !

Tony B. You are beneath contempt, sir

Dodo, the ghastly crime that our man would be committing is “being a public nuisance and outraging public decency”. Which just about sums up his more salacious posts, don’t you think…



18 September 2012 at 18:19  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Lavendon: "Hotpants are not a religious symbol are they? Andthe law has, in most circumstances, never stopped people from wearing religious items in the past? So why is it an issue now?"

It's some employers who have stopped some people, not the law. The law tries to protect against discrimination over certain attributes. That also includes religious discrimination as it goes.

It's an issue now because some Christians have complained and political agitators like the Christian Institute have pushed them along. They're trying for political reasons to push a narrative that Christians are being persecuted.

I think they're doing this because they see some success in Muslims playing a victim card, and they see some success in Muslims carving out a cultural/religious space which puts obligations on the rest of us.

Anyway, what's the essential difference between gold lamé hotpants and a gold crucifix or a burqa or a Wiccan symbol? They're all cultural things wrapped up in aspects of personal identity at the end of the day.

18 September 2012 at 18:29  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "DanJ0. One is getting rather tired of YOUR intolerance towards people who have a religious belief and wish to wear accompaniments to their faith accordingly."

What intolerance? I've made it clear time and again that I support Article 9 of the ECHR. I'm a liberal, of course I support it. I support it for Muslims, too. What about you?

I am happy to actively defend the right of people to manifest their religious beliefs in the public sphere, subject to the usual limitations about harm etc.

I even go further than that. I advocate a properly secular State so that religious space is guaranteed and protected. I think we're going to need that given there are multiple mainstream religions now being manifested, and potentially conflicting, in the UK.

18 September 2012 at 18:39  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Ah well Danjo,

So you cannot at least appreciate the difference between hot pants and religious symbols or artifacts? I find that quite a disappointing admission.

18 September 2012 at 18:39  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "When it comes to employment, it is none of the employer’s damn business unless his business is DIRECTLY affected. A contract of employment is just that. The employer provides and outline of your duties to be performed and undertakes to remunerate you for your efforts."

What happened to your claim to be libertarian? Surely employers ought to be able to tell cross-bearing god-botherers to foxtrot oscar if they won't follow instructions about appropriate clothing, accessories, and behaviour at work? In a libertarian world, I mean.

18 September 2012 at 18:41  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Lavendon: "So you cannot at least appreciate the difference between hot pants and religious symbols or artifacts? I find that quite a disappointing admission."

I expect the world in general disappoints the religious. However, here's you opportunity! Explain what the essential difference is that ought to create an obligation on employers regarding crosses but not on wonderfully gay hotpants? I'm genuinely interested.

18 September 2012 at 18:44  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

My choice of cross rather than (say) turban is deliberate, by the way.

18 September 2012 at 18:47  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Danjo,

Ah, the Canary in the coalmine. A secular state has been tried and failed- for a liberal you do place quite a big leap of faith in the state to be the neutral guardian of everyone's religions and beliefs.

We do not need a secular state, because the next stop on that is the socialist paradise a la North Korea. I for one do not wish to live in such a peasant- maoist -failed utopian -society and besides which our current state of affairs works quite well. Repeal the human rights act. bring back common sense legislation and all will be well.

18 September 2012 at 18:47  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Lavendon: "A secular state has been tried and failed- for a liberal you do place quite a big leap of faith in the state to be the neutral guardian of everyone's religions and beliefs."

Are you talking about France or the USA there?

18 September 2012 at 18:50  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "Dodo, the ghastly crime that our man would be committing is “being a public nuisance and outraging public decency”."

Blimey. I'd have thought you of all people would appreciate a nice pair of gym-toned male buns in some tight gold hotpants. :(

18 September 2012 at 18:56  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


DanJ0. There is no conflict with libertarianism. The employer gets what he needs, labour, and the individual gets what they want, personal freedom. An easy rule of thumb for a libertarian standpoint is taking personal responsibility for what you do.

A couple of years ago, this man had a letter published in Freedom Today advocating one of the most personal freedoms you can get - The right to wear what you want. This was at a time when the French were considering banning the Burka. (Now, that’s gone cold, one wonders what happened over there...).





18 September 2012 at 18:59  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

18 September 2012 at 19:01  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Danjo,

Actually I am, despite a few bouts of melancholy quite a happy person. Wonderful things have happened in my life —I have a loving wife and a large family, I am reasonably well off, so I am well aware of the blessings I've had, especially seeing the younger members of their family in their turn in taking on the world.

You see, despite what I said above, I was young once and before I was married, we used to like casinos, fast attractive women, fast cars and God knows what else.

I rediscovered my Anglican faith in my early thirties and for my brother, Orthodox Judaism made him into a man. Funnily enough, a faith isn't a negative ball and chain around oneself.

Now my idea of Heaven, apart from being at my residence and tending to my bananas, is to sit in down in my library, having tea and meeting up with my family every so often.

18 September 2012 at 19:02  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "The employer gets what he needs, labour, and the individual gets what they want, personal freedom."

What if the employer insists on his personal freedom to tell god-botherers to foxtrot oscar if they won't do what he says when he pays them to do the role he has created and funded? Surely they have the personal freedom to leave by the nearest door if they're not happy with the contract, and the personal responsibility to find an employer that is tolerant of their religious quirks and foibles?

18 September 2012 at 19:05  
Blogger len said...

The original post by HG was about religious liberty, we seem to be going' up the garden path'debating about 'crosses and gay apparel?.

Religious liberty does not exist any more for Christians in the UK...this is a fact, free speech does not exist for Christians in the UK.... this is a fact.

I can stand on a street corner and hand out 'gay literature(not that I would wish to)but If I did the same handing out literature condemning homosexuality as a sin I would quite likely get arrested for 'hate speech'.Some Christians have already been arrested regarding this matter.
So the issue about crosses and health and safety is a' red herring'to draw the debate away from the real issue which is the curtailment of free speech for Christians.
There are none so intolerant of views which are in opposition to their own as those who pose as 'liberals'.


18 September 2012 at 19:06  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Len: "There are none so intolerant of views which are in opposition to their own as those who pose as 'liberals'."

Well, this liberal thinks it's outrageous that people handing out religious leaflets arguing that homosexuality is a Christian sin have been arrested. Perhaps I'm just the wrong kind of liberal, my favouring liberty as a core social good and all. Of course, I'm not so much in favour of those Muslims in Derby pushing leaflets through letter boxes calling for the death penalty for gay people, and including a helpful picture of a mannequin being hanged. I'd like to think people see the difference between the two approaches.

18 September 2012 at 19:12  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Incidentally, lest it isn't obvious, I don't really care a hoot whether people wear crucifixes at my workplace. My employer doesn't care either as far as I know. They provide a prayer room too though that was really to accomodate the religious requirements of one of my Muslim colleagues.

18 September 2012 at 19:15  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Danjo,

The problem is that France and America have different cultures and history. I think that their civic nationalism is far stronger than ours (such as the French pride in their language and food, the American pride in their constitution, and attention of their own history etc).

Mr Belfast pointed out part of the problem is the different between European laws and culture and our own common law system.

18 September 2012 at 19:20  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0. What you fail to realise in polite society is that there is a bit of give and take. We are not in your socialist liberal paradise yet where you blighters have put everything down on paper as to what is and isn’t.

Anyway, isn’t it about time you dragged your hide down to your ‘gay gentlemens’ club again, and eyed up the talent. Giving us a rest from you in the meantime...

18 September 2012 at 19:26  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Lavendon: "The problem is that France and America have different cultures and history."

So does North Korean, you know. Yet you think we'll inevitably be on the way to that type of State rather than a French or American one.

18 September 2012 at 19:31  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "We are not in your socialist liberal paradise yet where you blighters have put everything down on paper as to what is and isn’t."

I loathe socialism but don't let the facts get in the way of your issues.

"Anyway, isn’t it about time you dragged your hide down to your ‘gay gentlemens’ club again, and eyed up the talent. Giving us a rest from you in the meantime..."

I don't go to gay pubs or clubs, never have really. Isn't it about time you took a walk back and forth past that pub on your high street, trying to pluck up your courage at last?

18 September 2012 at 19:33  
Blogger William said...

Perhaps Christians should put on gold hotpants and DanJ0 should wear a crucifix before furnishing the world with our erudition via the comments of this august blog. Just a thought. Whatever Tony B decides to do he will probably need permission from his parents.

18 September 2012 at 20:08  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0, to be frank, the idea of you enjoying some gay “how’s your father” turns this man’s stomach. But go on, treat yourself...

18 September 2012 at 20:20  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector, I recommend you spend much less time thinking and talking about gay stuff in the unlikely event that you do find it all a bit off-putting. You seem to obsess about it and seem to love talking about it. It's a pity Mrs King is a Mrs as the two of you could spend untold hours over a marital dinner table talking about gay men doing rude things to each other otherwise.

18 September 2012 at 20:29  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

"I think they're doing this because they see some success in Muslims playing a victim card, and they see some success in Muslims carving out a cultural/religious space which puts obligations on the rest of us."

Quite. It would indeed be good if people were less inclined to play the victim card in order to secure substantial political concessions, or seek to elevate themselves into a position where they cannot be criticised without said criticism being labelled as bigotted or discriminatory.

18 September 2012 at 20:35  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

"Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
(Proverbs 29:18)

There are varied translations of the above but this is the one I like best.

How does it square up with a pluralistic, secular driven and multi-faith 'society'? Can libertarianism and moral relativism provide a sense of common purpose that holds people together?

18 September 2012 at 21:53  
Blogger Peter Denshaw said...

@ Neomi King -

I presume Susanne Wilkinson would happily have allowed Fred and Rosemary West to stay at her B&B when they had their liberty - judging them as just and righteous because they had rings on their fingers and were outwardly heterosexual? Which perhaps just demonstrates the pitfalls of being a judgemental cow - obviously fixated on other people sex lives - just because a couple share a bed doesn't mean they are going to have sex (except in the depraved, sex obsessed minds of some so-called Christians).

What was it Ned Flanders once said in the Simpsons? 'I'm a Christian, it's my duty to the think the worst of people...' QED

I just hope for Susanne Wilkinson's sake, she puts as much effort into the more personally costly commandments of the Bible rather than the cheap righteousness of queer bashing.

I must stay at this B&B - a friend works in pest control and always has a few bed bugs and the like hanging around the office... That would give Ms Wilkinson's business a boost!!

19 September 2012 at 02:15  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...


Ah William

You are basically referring to the walk a mile in someone else's moccasins saying ? With the exception this time you are suggesting it is Danjo's Gold Lame Hot Pants, rather than shoes?

Not a chance old chap.

Well it has been an interesting thread anyway.

19 September 2012 at 10:33  
Blogger William said...

Lord Lavendon

Fair enough. DanJ0's hotpants would not go with your top hat anyway. Frankly I also have no desire to wear either hotpants or a crucifix.

It has indeed been an interesting thread. Even DanJ0 appears to have shown some religious discernment here:

"Well, this liberal thinks it's outrageous that people handing out religious leaflets arguing that homosexuality is a Christian sin have been arrested. Perhaps I'm just the wrong kind of liberal, my favouring liberty as a core social good and all. Of course, I'm not so much in favour of those Muslims in Derby pushing leaflets through letter boxes calling for the death penalty for gay people, and including a helpful picture of a mannequin being hanged. I'd like to think people see the difference between the two approaches."

Although it is not completely clear if he is discerning between people who hand out religious leaflets vis-a-vis those who post them through letterboxes, or between those who proclaim homosexuality to be a sin vis-a-vis those who say that homosexuals should be strung up.

I agree with your salient point:

"But simply banning religious symbols for its own sake, regardless of particular situations, is a politically motivated attack by secularists against religion generally and the devout in particular."

Also AIBs point about the clash between European law that prohibits with some allowances versus our common law that allows with some prohibitions just re-emphasises the need for our withdrawal from Europe before our legal system becomes even more of a rats-nest of (ultimately conflicting) restrictions.

You also mentioned taking a common-sense approach. Amen to that!

19 September 2012 at 11:46  
Blogger Tony B said...

LL - "I am sure that some research will help you with the figures I presented to you". Perhaps so. I'll research the number of people slaughtered by Christians while I'm at it.

Inpector: "Tony B. You are beneath contempt, sir" - Indeed? Any particular reason?

William: "Whatever Tony B decides to do he will probably need permission from his parents." ???

19 September 2012 at 13:39  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Peter

You said

"I must stay at this B&B - a friend works in pest control and always has a few bed bugs and the like hanging around the office... That would give Ms Wilkinson's business a boost!!"

Thanks for the insight on how gay people behave towards those who disagree with them.

Phil

19 September 2012 at 16:46  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Phil: "Thanks for the insight on how gay people behave towards those who disagree with them."

Cos we're all the same of course.

19 September 2012 at 17:35  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

William: "Although it is not completely clear if he is discerning between people who hand out religious leaflets vis-a-vis those who post them through letterboxes, or between those who proclaim homosexuality to be a sin vis-a-vis those who say that homosexuals should be strung up."

I don't give a stuff about benign religious leaflets being put through my door. They end up in the place as the Domino's pizza leaflets and at the same speed. I'd be happier for those people to cut out the middle man and donate the money to a recycling scheme directly but hey.

I don't much care about people proclaiming that they think homosexuality is a 'sin' in their religion either, subject to the usual disclaimers about incitement. The principle of recipocity allows Dawkins et al to proclaim that religionists are flat-earthers without his expecting any complaints.

19 September 2012 at 17:46  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Compare and contrast with Phil Roberts here, our local censorship advocate.

19 September 2012 at 17:48  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


Tony B. For suggesting the Inspector’s post of 17 September 2012 17:57 was the silliest thing you’ve seen on this site.

To be told you’ve beaten all the inanity left behind by many of the madcaps who contribute, leaves a fellow wounded…

19 September 2012 at 18:48  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

You can't claim a special exemption from a law just because you don't happen to like the law. Religious belief does not form an exception to this rule. Now, it's obvious why this is happening. The law is being conformed to specifically non-Christian understandings of morality, and we are seeking to carve out "safe-areas" where the old understandings still apply for us. This allows us to avoid the moral conflict of choosing either compromise or resistance. But it looks like special pleading and (even worse) whining.

If the Law is an Ass, then resist the law. Might that involve personal cost? Yes, it might. If the job requires what you cannot provide, then leave the job. If the law requires what you cannot obey, then disobey the law. That is a morally defensible position. But don't assert "Well, that offends me so I personally shouldn't have to obey it even though others must." The law doesn't work that way. Our offense is of no legal significance to the state.

Religion doesn't impose an obligation on the employer to qualify the employee's responsibilities.

carl

19 September 2012 at 19:03  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "A couple of years ago, this man had a letter published in Freedom Today advocating one of the most personal freedoms you can get - The right to wear what you want. This was at a time when the French were considering banning the Burka. (Now, that’s gone cold, one wonders what happened over there...)."

I forgot about that bit. Is this in response to my asking whether you favoured religious freedom for Muslims in the UK too? Anyway, my take on the burqa/nicabs is that in a particular frame of mind I'm minded to ignore people in burqas/niqabs in the street or other public space. If they want to speak to me then they can remove the face bit first as a normal courtesy. I even do that with sunglasses when I speak to people. If I worked in a customer-facing role then I'd speak to people in burqas/nicabs if my employer expected it of me. In that case, I'm adopting a work role rather than a personal one and that would be part and parcel of it.

19 September 2012 at 19:23  
Blogger len said...

It is rather ironic that the Bible pointed out that the Earth was round(no word in Hebrew for sphere) whilst those' more intelligent' beings considered it a 'flat Earth'You may be surprised to learn that the Bible revealed that the earth is round. Job 26:10, Prov 8:27, Isaiah 40:22, Amos 9:6. Today, we are amused at the people of the fifteenth century who feared sailing because they thought they would fall over the edge of the flat earth. Yet the Bible revealed the truth in 1000 B.C. 2500 years before man discovered it for himself!

In various verses, the Bible says the earth is round and hangs in space. It took a long time for science to catch up and reach the same conclusions. Copernicus made the discovery in 1475. The Bible verses were written more than 2500 years ago, and more than 1000 years before Copernicus. One day science will catch up with religion and no doubt 'discover' God.(given enough time of course) I have already short circuited those who take the faithless route and beaten them to it.

19 September 2012 at 19:30  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

At a brief glance, those verses are a bit of a stretch to claim that.

19 September 2012 at 19:52  
Blogger William said...

DanJ0 at 17:46

That's clear. Thanks.

Len

"One day science will catch up with religion and no doubt 'discover' God.(given enough time of course)"

It's a tough ask if God exists outside of space and time.

"I have already short circuited those who take the faithless route and beaten them to it."

Quite so.

19 September 2012 at 19:54  
Blogger len said...

Of course when we talk of' freedom'(of whatever sort) there is none that is free,only God is free to do whatever He desires.

We serve one of two masters.There is 'no middle ground'.
There is a 'war' being fought over your soul, a spiritual war.

We are born into the Kingdom of the ''Prince of the Power of the Air'.He has legal rights over us, we are in fact his 'subjects'.He owns us.
Of course we can have all the 'freedom' we want as long it is in line with his plans and especially if this 'freedom'opposes God . 'Satan' is the Hebrew word for "adversary" of God and of man.

The satanic Law is "Do what thou wilt be the whole of the[satanic] Law. This is your 'freedom'!.

Of course Jesus Christ came to deliver all who trusted and put their faith in Him from this satanic illusion of 'freedom' which imprisons the soul of man.

I saw a programme recently where birds were caught in very fine nets which they didn`t see until too late and they became hopelessly entangled and couldn`t escape.

Sin is like that net and this is the 'freedom' Satan offers to catch his prey.

Once caught the only hope of escape is through Jesus Christ who came to set the captives free!.









19 September 2012 at 20:00  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0. There is a lot of burkha-nijab business in the immigrant hotspot that is Gloucester. Even came up against a woman taller than the Inspector, what a bloody fright that was !

There really shouldn’t be any problem with foreign types and interests in the UK, if immigration was kept at tolerable levels. So with no further ado, lets stop all muslim and negro types coming here unless they have an IQ of 120.

19 September 2012 at 20:13  
Blogger Tony B said...

Sorry inspector, didn't think you'd take it that hard. To be fair, there was that other fellow who was sillier but can't recall his name :-) kept pestering me about Nelson Mandela or something.

19 September 2012 at 21:35  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Len:

"Today, we are amused at the people of the fifteenth century who feared sailing because they thought they would fall over the edge of the flat earth."

Well, to be honest, you can laugh all you want, but I assure you that nobody thought the world was flat in the fifteenth century, let alone that you could fall off. Actually anyone with access to Ptolemy knew that the world was a sphere (though they didn't know that it wasn't actually a sphere, or that it bulged at the centre if I recall correctly).

You'll be familiar with the sceptre and the orb as symbols of kingly authority? They were being used by the Romans - and the orb represented the world (the "orbis terrarum").

I gather you can tell quite a lot from looking at horizons and the stars. I'd imagine - but I'm just speculating - that some of the earliest cultures with sophisticated knowledge about the stars would also have known about the curvature of the earth.

19 September 2012 at 22:44  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Don't suppose anyone's been able to find out if Equal Opportunities policies are compulsory - and if so which bits are prescribed?

I've been looking, but all I get endless Equal Opportunity policies for companies and institutions, not actually whether they have to have them.

19 September 2012 at 22:47  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Well whaddya know? The history of the "Myth of the Flat Earth" is absolutely fascinating.

Thomas Jefferson, the old rogue, seems to have cast it as the reason for the Gallileo affair.

Also seems to have suited quite a number of early 19th Century atheists who wanted to show up "medieval ignorance" - not to mention one or two Protestants out to impugn the Catholics as superstitious nutjobs.

Funny how these cultural motifs endure, isn't it?

20 September 2012 at 00:20  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "There is a lot of burkha-nijab business in the immigrant hotspot that is Gloucester. Even came up against a woman taller than the Inspector, what a bloody fright that was !"

Perhaps she was wearing very high heels with diamante trim? You know that all they wear under that is black lace lingerie? Every single one. Tru-fact!

20 September 2012 at 06:38  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0. Black lace lingerie, eh ? hmmm…

Have heard that a few of them, to look attractive to their men, have worn underneath the burkha a nice semtex / bags of nails combo, but the less said about that the better.

Of course, they wear the same outfit even in high summer and in the oppressive city heat that can build up. You would think that at a certain temperature, they would all start going over like nine pins, but they never do. Perhaps they go around naked underneath then, but you would never know…

One often sees these types in the town, especially Sainsbury, in what seems to be mother / daughter pairing. It’s rather a mystery as to how they communicate as nothing seems to be said and eye contact, well, you can forget about that as there seems to be only one expression – ‘startled’ ! One fantasizes that it’s by high pitched squeak, like mice, which is inaudible to the European ear.

Most of the time they will shop in muslim run large convenience shops in their own area. You know the ones, where the price tag is stuck over the ‘use by’ date. Must be every so often they go and visit the ‘west’, so to speak…

pip pip !




20 September 2012 at 18:44  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

20 September 2012 at 19:22  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Inspector,

To be fair the homosexual men I've met in the Lingerie business do know a thing or two about women's, ahem under garments, especially of the 'erotic' kind...

20 September 2012 at 19:27  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Indeed Lavendon old boy. One can imagine DanJ0 as having convinced the Islamic authorities he is the 100% homosexual he claims he is and is accepted as a de facto eunuch. His reward being not to be hurled off a cliff, but to attend the Islamic ladies in the changing room, where he would flounce around telling one and all trying on a burkha, “Oh yes, darling, that is soooo you !”

Incidentally, Inspector intrigued by your banana growing exploits. Surely not in the UK ?

20 September 2012 at 20:18  
Blogger len said...

AIB, (19 September 2012 22:44)

As the Romans were sun worshippers I suspect any 'orbs' they had reflected that.

Or perhaps something far more 'down to Earth?'.

20 September 2012 at 20:45  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Ah well Inspector,

I do not grow bananas to a commercial scale, more like a mini- botanical garden kept at tropical conditions, using what is in effect a giant greenhouse- all for the good of science.

20 September 2012 at 21:56  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Good show Lavendon. No hemp plants now, don’t forget...

Do carry on.

20 September 2012 at 22:21  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

len:

"orbis terrarum" means orb of the earth.

Have a read of the "Myth of the Flat Earth" link - much of its earliest incarnations came from atheists trying to emphasise how backward and superstitious faith was. Ironically, they were riffing of a longstanding idea current in Protestant circles that the Catholics were backward and superstitious.

Crudely put, both needed to make certain turning points into moments where Catholicism was defeated and the golden age of Protestantism/Scientific Understanding. I note however, that both are... shall we say: a little departed from history. They endure, but the myths (separate from the disputes between philosophies and denominations) have pretty shaky foundations.

21 September 2012 at 11:49  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "His reward being not to be hurled off a cliff, but to attend the Islamic ladies in the changing room, where he would flounce around telling one and all trying on a burkha, “Oh yes, darling, that is soooo you !”"

You realise of course that I'm not in the least bit effeminate in reality and I just play up the stereotype here to take the piss out of the atavistic cultural throwbacks. :)

21 September 2012 at 15:45  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0. Give a gay man a spot light and a stage, and you’ll need a shepherds crook to get him off...

21 September 2012 at 19:04  
Blogger Peter Denshaw said...

@Phil Roberts

“His Grace has long been irritated by the propensity of the mainstream media and many commentators to talk of the 'Muslim World' or the 'Islamic World', as though there were some unified and coherent cohabitation going on between the globally-dispersed followers of the professing prophet Mohammed. There simply isn’t.”

So wrote His Grace a few posts later. The same mistake comes when it comes to discussing people are gay. There is the curious use of weak syllogistic logic.

Let’s just unpack the ludicrous statement you make, Phil.

‘Thanks for the insight on how gay people behave towards those who disagree with them.’

A sensible, rational, decent minded person, would have written :’ Thanks for the insight on how YOU behave towards those who disagree with you.’

But in the hate-filled, bigoted world of a certain flavour of conservative Christians, all gays think, feel and reacted the same. If I were to apply your omniscient logic to heterosexuals, then I can conclude all heterosexuals are genocidal monsters, intent on world domination (for Hitler was heterosexual, therefore all heterosexuals must behave in that way – that is how a syllogism works – as you have plainly demonstrated in sharing your own gobbet of wisdom with the wider world).

I’m more than happy for B&B owners to be prejudiced in their choice of paying guests – but this has to be applied with equity. The Bible says no to homosexual sex (not that sharing a bed means a couple is going to have sex – except in the cesspit minds of certain, sex-obsessed Christians) – fine, but the Bible says ‘no’ to lots of things: so I do hope these discriminating B&B owners ensure they have no liars, or adulterers, or idolaters etc. staying at their B&B. Guest would need to present marriage certificates, with proof of ID, and/or have a formal interview before being given the key to their room to ensure they were leading moral and upright lives. Just saying ‘no’ to a gay couple is nothing more than bigotry unless the B&B owner is seamless in the application of his or her scruples: anything else is ‘easy righteousness’ and has its own rewards (cf Matt 6 & 7).

21 September 2012 at 23:10  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


Peter Denshaw. This man shed a few tears on reading your post. Heart breaking isn't the word for your mawkish text.

Here’s a suggestion fregarding your situation. Just realise you are one of life’s odd balls. Don’t blame yourself, or anyone else come to that. Clam up about your sexuality and try and behave normally. Result - No more tears in the morning...

Kind regards from the Inspector.

21 September 2012 at 23:22  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Peter Denshaw:

I'm not actually sure your logic proceeds from the same base as Cranmer's. His point was to do with fundamental ideological (i.e. theological) divides that have a substansive impact upon how various religionists might respond to a particular point. Discerning between Sufism and Sunnism is the order of the day.

On the other hand, I'm at a loss to see how this would apply to the "gay community" (scare quotes only because I'm not sure whether or not you'd find the idea of a community defined by being gay objectionable), who are not, as far as I'm aware, organised around any other ideological principles than what they want to do to whom in (one hopes) the privacy of their bedrooms.

I could perhaps angle this by asking whether you refute, as a consequence, groups like Stonewall whose campaigning is done under the aegis of representing "gay people" (again scare quotes only for the application of the term). But in fact I'm guessing that isn't your point. You seem - as far as I can tell - to be arguing against crude stereotyping, but I wasn't aware that Cranmer did that - he is usually quite careful to refer to activists for specific issues (i.e. pro-gay marriage activists) rather than "gay people", or "muslims". Not unlike your entertainingly qualified "certain flavour".

22 September 2012 at 02:21  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Also - whilst I agree with your general point regarding equity (and endorse Cranmer's previous posts on the B&B issue to that end) - you go a little further by determining what is or is not permissible to Christians to believe in terms of rules governing behaviour. In fact, this too is not much better: it's difficult to see the difference between BA deciding what constitutes a "scripturally prescribed" item of religious dress, and your decision to see all Biblical rules as being equally valid (and so, if not enforced, equally invalid, which is really the crux of the issue).

A Catholic, for instance, with a theology that accounts for venal as well as mortal sin might have reason to dispute that approach, as would a number of denominations invested in New Covenantism, not to mention a great many liberals who retain much of the morality regarding public finances and social justice with incredible vigour even though they are more sanguine about sexual morality.

Your approach is not exactly new here. There was a similar attempt to take Matthew 6:6 as a binding prohibition against any form of public prayer during the Council Prayers debate. Without going into the specific interpretations arising from that passage, what struck me on that occasion, was the remarkable way in which non-Christians assumed as if it were the most natural thing in the world, the authority to determine what was or wasn't a legitimate reading of Scripture (with a view to shutting all Christians up in any public space). Which is curious, given that most of the time, it is they who berate evangelicals and conservatives for adhering too literally to some old text. Of course, the method is as old as the Bible itself - Satan after all quoted Scripture to tempt Christ.

22 September 2012 at 02:36  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Peter Denshaw.

In fact a few of us "Orthodox" Christians have been attempting to grapple with the issues you raise above, if you care to look and read.

22 September 2012 at 08:38  
Blogger len said...

AIB ( 21 September 2012 11:49)

I think that Catholicism is a 'blending' of Christianity and paganism and this was exposed during(and the cause of ) the Reformation.
The 'secular ' World seems to be returning to its pagan roots with the constant attacks on Christianity and the reverence of 'Mother Earth'the environment, global warming etc.
Somewhat ironic as science advances the 'modern man' becomes spiritually more Primitive...'Romans' describes this perfectly. Romans 1:20-32
King James Version (KJV)
20 For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,


22 September 2012 at 10:47  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

len:

I'm not sure I'm comfortable tying man's spiritual decline with the rise of science - in part because I see science as a wholly wonderful use of our God given ability to not only experience but intimately know the vast and complex universe that God created.

However, I think that on two slightly narrower points I agree with your general point that man has declined. Firstly in the way that science is treated as going beyond what it can provide, either intellectually or logically - though I'd stress that figureheads like Dawkins notwithstanding, this is more a product of popular presentations of science rather than scientists themselves. Secondly, it seems to me that much of the technological advancement that we have made has diminished the intellectual life and culture, trivialised politics, and generally resulted in the diminishment of minds. Facile dismissals of religious claims are all the easier in a culture that accepts quick declamations over serious debate, and revolves around immediate satisfaction.

22 September 2012 at 12:30  
Blogger Peter Denshaw said...

My comment was really aimed at the ludicrous syllogism created by Phil above – because someone whom he perceives as gay said one thing, he then extends this to be the view of all gay people – (as is the case with all oppressors, he takes away the individualism that defines our humanity). Perhaps I am an ‘odd ball’ as someone said above – can’t remember who and I am not looking now – though as I stated on Suem’s blog recently: ‘As a gay man, I don’t want to be a special case, I don’t want to be a pawn in other people’s political manoeuvres; I don’t believe Anglican churches (or any for that matter) should offer same sex marriages; I don’t believe being gay negates some degree of self-discipline and integrity when it comes to personal and sexual relationships. All I want is to be treated like everyone else!’ see http://suem-musingaloud.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/guest-post-what-do-we-mean-by-acceptance.html

Who cares at the end of the day – comments on blogs are like fleas on dogs: a few are capable of passing on some pernicious pathogens, some are vicious irritants, but in the main, the bulk are inconsequential, small and have no impact whatsoever on the wider world.

22 September 2012 at 14:01  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

That’s the spirit Denshaw. Get out there with head held high. You don’t have to apologise to anyone, just be you...

Carry on...

22 September 2012 at 14:56  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

22 September 2012 at 21:28  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

22 September 2012 at 21:29  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

So Peter Denshaw

Finally the many with all the Theology degrees finally uses the Bigot word and so we are all to cringe and agree with everything you say and do because by doing it, it makes you happy and it so must be what God wants.

I wondered if to myself would Jesus in today’s language he be called Bigot? Probably. Would St Paul? Most Definitely.

So what a complicated choice…. Agree with you or follow Jesus…. Perhaps the Bigot label is not so bad after all…..

I think you studied a different God in you Theology class. Try reading the Bible instead.

Phil

22 September 2012 at 21:33  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

So Peter Denshaw

Finally the man? with all the Theology degrees finally uses the Bigot word and so we are all to cringe and agree with everything you say and do because by doing it, it makes you happy and it so must be what God wants.

I wondered if to myself would Jesus in today’s language he be called Bigot? Probably. Would St Paul? Most Definitely.

So what a complicated choice…. Agree with you or follow Jesus…. Perhaps the Bigot label is not so bad after all…..

I think you studied a different God in you Theology class. Try reading the Bible instead.

Phil

22 September 2012 at 21:34  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

"As a gay man, I don’t want to be a special case, I don’t want to be a pawn in other people’s political manoeuvres; I don’t believe Anglican churches (or any for that matter) should offer same sex marriages; I don’t believe being gay negates some degree of self-discipline and integrity when it comes to personal and sexual relationships. All I want is to be treated like everyone else!"

I think most of us would applaud such sentiment. You'd certainly not be the only gay person who contributes here to take that line. I know I've drawn the link before with flagging administrations (Cameron & Obama) and pursuing the "pink vote" and seeing it as disconnected from an upswell within the cohort being wooed.

Personally, I'm with Cranmer that a blanket ban on SSM in religious establishments would be equally bad. I know a good many of my fellow Anglicans who want to be able to have SSM (and more than a few who have been doing it on the sly for a while now). I cannot go with such people at all, and if they forced it through at the General Synod I'd leave the Anglican Communion, but in a dispassionate sense, I see no particular reason why the Law should enable my understanding of Scripture to bind their liberalism. Likewise, I object quite strongly to SSM being forced down, either through legislation directly or through the creeping effects of equality law, that seem to me to overreach their original purpose on a daily basis.

22 September 2012 at 21:45  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Also

Food for thought

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2206952/Christian-couple-reveal-suffered-year-campaign-death-threats-abuse-refusing-let-gay-men-share-room-B-B.html

Phil

22 September 2012 at 21:45  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

From the Daily Mail article: "But I said: “This isn’t a hotel, this is my private home,”"

I think that's where the business owners have misunderstood something significant there. Let's hope she's adhering to the fire regulations rather than assuming they're not required as with private homes.

22 September 2012 at 22:11  
Blogger William said...

"As a gay man, I don’t want to be a special case, I don’t want to be a pawn in other people’s political manoeuvres"

Quite. Unfortunately you don't appear to have any choice (like the rest of us) in the matter.

22 September 2012 at 22:48  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Mind you - that article answers one point that has been raised a couple of times:

"only allow married heterosexual couples to book into their double rooms"

Now it must be said that I think DanJ0 is right regarding the law - I suspect the couple were operating under a lot of naivety regarding what they could and couldn't legally do, but in terms of the ethical point that they were singling out gays, assuming the article is true, this is not the case. It would be interesting to know if an unmarried heterosexual couple had been refused service - and even more interesting, if they made a complaint to the authorities. Would the situtation have gone so far?

I am guessing that as the complaint was made under the aegis of discrimination against sexual orientation, the answer is probably not. But of course, if one was being pedantic (and I am) one could point out that the discrimination was on account of their marital status (or lack thereof, and lack of the possibility thereof), rather than on sexual orientation.

None of this changes my view or support for Cranmer's argument, but I'd cautiously say that on reading that article, I am a lot less inclined to think badly of the couple.

22 September 2012 at 23:04  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

It would be easily tested. A couple in a civil partnership booking a double room would put it in the same category as the Bulls case if they were refused on the grounds that a civil partnership is not a marriage as far as the supply of goods and services goes. I suspect that if the case goes against the gay couple, as I think it might, then someone will do such a test quite quickly rather than leave them be, as they should in my opinion, and wait for the Supreme Court decision.

23 September 2012 at 08:00  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

AIB: "It would be interesting to know if an unmarried heterosexual couple had been refused service - and even more interesting, if they made a complaint to the authorities. Would the situtation have gone so far?"

I don't think it would have got off the ground. Not because unmarried heterosexual couples are inherently less sensitive than homosexual couples or the authorities are less politically correct about that but because, as far as I know, marriage is not a protected attribute under these discrimination laws, unlike religion, race, disability, and sexual orientation. On what grounds would they complain?

23 September 2012 at 08:05  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

DanJ0:

Well that was rather my point - the couple were discriminating on the basis of marital status, which as you point out, is not a protected status (yet).

23 September 2012 at 15:02  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

I suppose a corollary would be if the couple had been a black unmarried couple who had been refused and had then challenged on the grounds of racial discrimination.

23 September 2012 at 15:03  

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