Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Lord Deben: you can't be Christian and support Ukip


Gillan Scott writes and edits God and Politics in the UK - one of the best religio-political sites in the Blogosphere. Most recently, he has been running as series on Christians who belong to political parties and justify their activism with appeals to Scripture. There is, of course, no consensus: Christians in their diversity derive quite different theological understandings from the same texts: if we cannot agree on matters such as baptism, birth control or church government, it isn't likely that we will find unity on taxation, immigration or other matters of temporal government. But each of us looks to Scripture for our inspiration to discern the extents of liberty and coercion, and our interpretation is coloured by our education, culture and tradition. The mature believer will appreciate that there is no single Christian position to take, and that the authority of the Bible may be universally acknowledged while being conflictingly applied: there is rarely one right answer. Since all of humanity is fallible, division is inevitable, and Christian participation in the political arena will be as muddled and perplexing as our discernment of God's will.

Gillan Scott's explorations have been received politely, and they have engendered some intelligent debate: we have heard from a Labour-supporting Christian, a Conservative-supporting Christian and a Green-supporting Christian. All of these, it appears, are legitimate philosophies which may reflect God's mandate. But the poor clergyman who dared to reason that supporting Ukip might accord with Christian social theory received a swift rebuke from Lord Deben (formerly John Selwyn Gummer MP):


You will note that Lord Deben's initial response to Mr Scott was simply that he found it "impossible to understand" how a Christian minister of religion could support a political party which is dedicated to cutting aid to the poor and "hating migrants & foreigners". But he wasn't acknowledging here any mental deficiency on his part: he was judging an Anglican vicar and finding him theologically awry and spiritually barren.

Setting aside for a moment that someone like Owen Jones would find it equally impossible to understand how a Christian can be Conservative, it is apparent that Lord Deben has a rather narrow interpretation of Scripture, if not a fundamentally erroneous view of Ukip policy. No matter how much the Rev'd Sam Norton reasons his politics intelligently and moderately, Lord Deben repudiates with pious maxims and pompous incredulity. It is hardly serious political debate under the aegis of Christian fraternity. 

To Lord Deben, the gospel is clear: we should feed the poor, house the homeless and heal the sick. The Christian should not merely intend toward the good; he should act to intervene, alter outcomes, alleviate suffering and change lives. And Ukip, Lord Deben avers, is anti-Christian because it seeks to cut aid to the poor, alienate the migrant and expel the foreigner. He cannot equate these policies with the gospel. Christians are commanded to love their neighbour: those who seek to control immigration and leave the EU simply "hate".

Gillan Scott believes he should give a platform to a range of views, but, for Lord Deben, Ukip are simply beyond the pale: rather like the BNP, they should be given no platform (and certainly no pulpit). Lord Deben is not sufficiently gracious to examine the Rev'd Sam Norton's ideals, values or theories about the just or good society: the Vicar is simply wrong and a disgrace to his vocation.

But it was Nick Williams' assertion that "Aid fosters dependency" which elicited Lord Deben's most acerbic - if not un-Christian - riposte: "So said the priest and the Levi (sic) as they walked past on the other side". It appears that any Christian who believes that aid fosters dependency must be a Pharisee and a hypocrite, quite incapable of compassion toward the oppressed, battered and destitute. In the parable to which Lord Deben alludes (Lk 10:29-37), Jesus is concerned with the extent of neighbour love: the questioning lawyer assumes it to be restricted; Jesus makes it clear that the failure of the priest and the Levite to help the injured man evidences a fundamental hardness of heart.

Compassion is that which causes us so to identify with another's situation such that we are prepared to act for his or her benefit. What the Samaritan does is commendable because the law's demand for love of neighbour should extend to any needy human being: its practice should not be restricted to any closed community - even if that community is that singled out by God by divine covenant. Lord Deben is right that compassion should be unrestricted by national, racial or religious barriers. But he fails to understand the significance of the cultic figures of the priest and Levite - from whom aid might have been expected to be forthcoming - being shamed by the example of a wretched Samaritan.

Jewish listeners had a view of Samaritans somewhat akin to Lord Deben's opinion of Kippers: they shunned and despised them, and would certainly not have sunk so low as to debate with them, let alone accept their acts of hospitality. The gulf that separated God's covenant community from the Samaritans was actually greater than the distance between Lord Deben and the Rev'd Sam Norton, but Lord Deben is incapable of comprehending ("impossible to understand") this parable from the victim's perspective, which is what Jesus does. In extremis, a Samaritan will do very well for a neighbour, thank you very much.

Nick Williams' allegation of "Tory paternalistic arrogance" is not entirely unfounded: Lord Deben is playing both priest and Levite to the Kippers by misrepresenting their policy (they don't seek to eradicate overseas aid; simply reform it to ensure that it feeds the starving instead of subsidising nuclear missiles), and caricaturing their political objectives (controlling immigration is not "hate" of migrants; leaving the EU is not "hate" of foreigners). Instead of engaging the Rev'd Sam Norton in theological exploration and political discussion, Lord Deben puts his nose in the air and walks past on the other side, oblivious to the fact that many of his Roman Catholic co-religionists would agree wholeheartedly with the Anglican rector.

The world's starving, homeless and sick would be overjoyed to receive Ukip's aid, for it gives hope with responsibility: it is a social and moral mission to help the destitute through programmes of education, apprenticeship and job creation, instead of simply handing out wads of cash while they mill around without purpose or human fulfilment. Owen Jones may not agree, but 'compassionate conservatism' is a response to man's propensity toward indolence . The right approach to aid is about giving new opportunity, new hope and new responsibility to people who are trapped in a cycle of dependency.

These aren't His Grace words, but those of the Prime Minister - today. If cutting benefits to Britons may be part of a Tory "moral mission", it is entirely possible that seeking to reduce and better target overseas aid may be a legitimate Christian pursuit wholly consistent with the gospel. And if controlling immigration or desiring EU exit are manifestations of "hate", Lord Deben might humbly seek to convert the overwhelming majority of his fellow Conservatives before preaching infallible sermons to Ukip.

104 Comments:

Blogger bluedog said...

What is it about John Gummer? No-one will ever forget the dreadful image of the man force-feeding a hamburger to his six year old daughter at the height of the BSE panic, pour encourager les autres. No parent with any sense compassion could possibly do such a thing, but Gummer did.

Now he breaks cover again, suitably entitled, to misrepresent and slander the policies of UKIP.

This communicant is no friend of the House of Lords in its current bloated form. Lord Deben is yet another reason for the number of peers to be reduced to a level well below the numbers of Commons as a first step in Lords reform. John Gummer was unexceptional as a minister and it seems that becoming a peer has not lead to any improvement in his performance.

19 February 2014 at 10:45  
Blogger Len said...

It is rather ironic that the UK sends aid to countries who have stated that they do not need that aid and we have countless people in the UK living below the poverty level.
It is a Christian principle to be wise with your finances .
The 'good Samaritan' provided for the well being for the unfortunate traveler but he did not take him home and support him for the rest of his life.
Aid is a Christian virtue but it must be administered fairly to those who actually need it.


19 February 2014 at 10:45  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

I created some amusement last night at the beginners' group I am attending in my new (post Anglican) church when I mentioned that I was a member of UKIP. I hastened to add that I did not support all of their policies.

I used to vote Conservative before Kenneth Clarke's disastrous mangling of the NHS in 1990 ans was s member of the Green party before I realised that they were essentially Marxists on dope.

Duting that period I attended a Chridtiand in politics dtudy dsy ehere the thesis was discussed that all the msin political parties did have a core of good ideals st thrir heart which a Christian member could pursue with integrity.

I still believe the above, in theory, but things havecgone downhill since then. And I will smash my beautiful new sunburst Les Paul guitar for firewood before I vote for John Selwyn Bummer's party agsin.

19 February 2014 at 11:09  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

PS sorry re typos on handheld wrong glasses mst try harder 2 spell

19 February 2014 at 11:12  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

"I will smash my beautiful new sunburst Les Paul guitar for firewood ..."

Noooooooooooooooo .....

19 February 2014 at 11:20  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Steve

I am not a member of any party and do not vote

No disappointments!

Phil

19 February 2014 at 11:45  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Ah this is Lord Gumboil, the force-feeder and pimple on the arse of the body politic...he is an arsewipe in ermine and not bothering with.

19 February 2014 at 11:45  
Blogger Albert said...

But it is entirely possible for a Christian to vote for a party that supports abortion, gay "marriage" apparently and the retention of weapons of mass destruction.

How odd.

19 February 2014 at 11:46  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Lord Gumboil might consider the arms industry and whether it is Christian to sell weapons so that people can kill and oppress others...his government did it, so do all governments...

19 February 2014 at 11:47  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

Lord Deben: you can’t be Christian and mislead Parliament

19 February 2014 at 11:51  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

I'm so vexed I think I need to go and kick Mr Slope around the Cloisters...

19 February 2014 at 11:52  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Excellent comment dear Johnny Rottenborough...and it made me chuckle too

19 February 2014 at 11:53  
Blogger John Matthews said...

No one party is going to tick all your boxes you have to decide what is most important to your Ideology. I can see the appeal of UKIP and if it wasn't for their complete Climate change denial I would consider voting for them.

Don't UKIP want to stop aid to disaster relief situations? I can't see how anyone could condone that. Christian or Not.

19 February 2014 at 11:54  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Selwyn Gummer is a professional politician and has been one all his life. He sees Ukip as a threat to his party's comfortable political status and lashes out without stopping to think what he's saying. How else could you explain that typo, "Levi" for "Levite". With his family background, Selwyn Gummer could probably recite the four Gospels by heart. A silly mistake like that shows he was panicking.

19 February 2014 at 11:54  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack thinks a state should look after its own people. Isn't that why God made nations? A Christian state should also reach out to others who need help. The Christian church should advise governments and not lecture them. Both the Anglican Church and the Roman Catholic Church are doing this a lot.

Let's be honest, Foreign aid is distributed to countries we think are our 'friends' or who we want to influence one way or another.

Neighbourliness and the expression of love for someone in need, should be an individual's decision. Jack thinks the churches should be the main organisers of this through charitable giving - at home and abroad. What's happening is everyone thinks its the government's job to do everything and nothing to do with them anymore.

When Jack votes as a Christian, it will be to do with the those things Albert touched on @ 11:46, but Jack thinks the world is not ready for us to give up nuclear weapons just now.

Mrs Proudie, calm down, calm down, dear lady. You will burst your corsets if you carry on like this. You are in need of a hobnob.

19 February 2014 at 12:15  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Albert

the retention of weapons of mass destruction.

To what does this refer?

carl

19 February 2014 at 12:22  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Dear Happy Jack, a soothing calm has descended and all is well, thanks to half an hour with some Earl Grey, a tray of hobnobs and some magic lantern slides of the Siege of Lucknow...the upper lip is now stiff and the bosom heaving appropriately.

19 February 2014 at 12:28  
Blogger Albert said...

Carl,

Nuclear weapons. I think they are weapons and of mass destruction.

19 February 2014 at 12:29  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Albert

You are saying that the UK should not possess nuclear weapons?

carl

19 February 2014 at 12:41  
Blogger Nick said...

I seem to remember that it was UKIP who recently said we should give asylum to Syrian refugees, because these people were genuinely at risk of losing their lives. LibLabCon rejected the idea. How Christian is that?

19 February 2014 at 12:49  
Blogger Integrity said...

Your Grace,
Your first paragraph is excellent.
Those who do not wish to see overseas aid cut back are the agencies who bid for the money and are then supposed to distribute it.
I would love to see some statistics on how much actually reaches the needy and how much is retained by the agency.

19 February 2014 at 12:57  
Blogger Nick said...

Lord Deben's assertion that one cannot be both a Christian and a UKIP supporter is purely polticial of course. Once a politician, always a politician. it seems that bashing your opponent with the Bible is the newest weapon in the politicians armoury since the blame-thrower.

There is a good case for cutting aid when it is clearly abused by its recipient (corrupt regimes) or simply not needed (India).

19 February 2014 at 12:57  
Blogger Owl said...

John Gummer is making a pure political statement and nothing else.

This is just an attack on UKIP with any means that his deficient brain can find.

He is, once again wrongly, using Christianity as a "big stick" but would happily use "secularism" if that suited the purpose.

He is obviously afraid of UKIP and like any good Blairite will use anything to demonise his percieved opponents.

I look forward to the day that Gummer and similar trash take their rightful place on the landfill of history



19 February 2014 at 13:05  
Blogger David Hussell said...

As others above have said GumGums reaction is purely to defend his party from UKIP's encroachment. So he lashes out with this nonsense.

UKIP is the only party now who defends the Judaeo-Christian heritage of this country.

Gummer's party has precious little respect for Christianity or its traditions, hence its support for the legal fiction of SS marriage, imposed on us, undemocratically, courtesy of the EU.

My central plank against the EU is that it is, to its constitutional core, anti-Christian. It's constitution ignores the only thing that gives europe any common identity, it's Christian heritage, and to a reducing extent, its remaining Christian nature. The EU is to a large extent, a late flowering of French, atheist Enlightenment thinking that wants the Christian God tidied out of the way.

Ever since the Tower of Babel it is clear that God intends there to be separate nations, as it is in our fallen nature to group with those of a similar identity. But we should respect our neighbours, and when necessary, assist them.

His moral outrage is quite simply vacuous.

19 February 2014 at 13:18  
Blogger L fairfax said...

How can Christians support giving aid to Pakistan, where our brothers are persecuted by the judicary?

19 February 2014 at 13:20  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Don't worry Jsck.....just using a very strong metaphor for something that will NEVER HAPPEN.

Picked her up at Guitsr Village yesterdsy. I'm innlovr. She's a real beauty with deeply sheened cherry sunburst maple figuring between quilt and tiger stripe, and the sweetness of her tone.....good job my wife doesn't read this blog.

PS truly great piece of writing YG. I believe that Christian Socialism is as possible as Christian Conservatism......but first you need Christians.

19 February 2014 at 13:21  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

Dear Mrs Proudie,
What a treat it has been to revel in you these past few Sundays!

19 February 2014 at 13:51  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Rambling Steve @ 13:21

Until you said otherewise, I thought it WAS your wife you were describing.

19 February 2014 at 14:00  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

L Fairfax

How can Christians support giving aid to Pakistan, where our brothers are persecuted by the judicary?

Do they? I don't think they do.

19 February 2014 at 14:32  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Explorer...I am thankful for a kind and understanding wife who understands my pitiful guitar habit. I would not trade her for Jimi's Woodstock stratocaster and Peter Green's 1959 Paul. But I digress......

19 February 2014 at 15:01  
Blogger L fairfax said...

@Uncle Brian said...

" L Fairfax

How can Christians support giving aid to Pakistan, where our brothers are persecuted by the judicary?

Do they? I don't think they do.
"
Well the alleged Christian Tony Blair did give aid to the Pakistan Government.

19 February 2014 at 15:07  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

I am distrustful of the 'charity begins-and ends- at home' line which the Mail and others have been taking. As a paid up member of UKIP I would hope to add a Christian voice to overseas aid policy. There clearly is a moral imperative towards widows and orphans and last I heard the Phillipines had suffered about 5,000 times as many dead from dyorm damage as the UK.

But it does not follow that all aid is good aid. I prefer to trust Tearfund and MSF than foreign governmentd. And the only aid I would sent Pakistan until it repeals its wicked 'blasphemy' laws is contraceptives and Bibles.

19 February 2014 at 15:20  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

My guess is that Nigel Farage will be distinctly chirpy about Lord Deben's latest utterances.

Probably mentally totting up the new votes UKIP will gain from them.

19 February 2014 at 15:24  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

At least Nigel Farage has a handle on why bankers are jumping out of windows so much in the last few weeks. Or were they pushed?

Most politicians wouldn't have the faintest.

At least if I asked him about geo-engineering, co2 and climate change he would know what I was talking about and I would get a sensible answer. Again most would not have a clue.

Forex & PM price fixing? Are many derivatives a ponzi scheme? Most would not have a clue either.

And yet all these are moral issues, and as important as foreign aid, and once you understand the implications, more so.

19 February 2014 at 15:34  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

L Fairfax

When Tony Blair was prime minister, didn’t some spokesman say “he doesn’t do God”?

A news item:
.
Sabir Masih, a Christian Pakistani arrested on suspicion of theft, ”died from internal injuries caused by abuse” while in police custody in Islamabad, Persecution.org reports. That was just last Friday, 14 Feb.


19 February 2014 at 15:42  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Lucy M, Happy Jack follows your comments with great interest and finds them very clear, reasoned and insightful. This time, Jack has lost you and even Google isn't much help!

"Forex & PM price fixing? Are many derivatives a ponzi scheme?"

Eh?

19 February 2014 at 15:49  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Dear Johnny, yes, I think they have caught me rather well...interestingly, Nick Warburton who wrote the adaptation is an old friend of many years ago...

19 February 2014 at 16:01  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

Try King World News for enlightenment. William Kaye, a big hedge fund manager on the banker deaths, Gerald Celente on of the world's top trends forecasters (but tends to get a bit irate from time to time. Nigel Farage also posts there as he is a PM (precious metals) specialist. Forex is foreign exchange- rates of exchange from one currency to another.

Quite a lot to do with the vampire squid!! Occasionally known as the verminous squid!! And the other one.

Gold has a paper market that is something like 82 times the physical one. It is traded on a fractional reserve basis, and a lot of corruption therefore goes on. A London whistleblower, Andrew Maguire, a decent guy, was once down to speak to many mainstream media outlets on this several years back. A strange thing happened after filling his car with petrel he was ram-raided. One of those things which can clearly just happen on a London street!! Media outlets then chickened out.

A ponzi scheme is like a pyramid scheme. First people out make money, last ones out get bankrupted.

19 February 2014 at 16:07  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Mrs Proudie, Happy Jack opened that link and got the fright of his life! Is that a picture of Slope?

19 February 2014 at 16:21  
Blogger skeetstar said...

Yes we give aid to Pakistan... I recall something along the line of £300M or £600M UKP was planned, but can't remember the timescales. Pakistan has the resources to creat nuclear weapons, they were buying fighter jets from China and I think submarines too. All this shows where pakistani priorities lie, all we are doing by giving aid is easing the tensions in their armamnet budgets.

We give aid to India too, another nuclear power...

Why?

19 February 2014 at 16:24  
Blogger skeetstar said...

And as for aid breeding dependancy.. I am acquainted with a young woman who has worked in Ethiopia for several years, on youth schemes. She tells me that farmers in Tigre province no longer bother to plant crops. Since the food aid started years ago due to the famine, the aid trucks roll in every year.. the locals know that they don't need to plant because they will be fed.. why would work the land when the food is guaranteed? It is now a situation that the Aid agencies cannot extract themselves from.

The NT tells us that those who do not work don't get to eat, yet some twisted version of Christian morality has created exacty the opposite situation in parts of Ethiopia.

It does make one grind ones teeth, when there is real need that could be addressed with that money.

Rant over

19 February 2014 at 16:33  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Goodness no, Happy Jack, Mr. Slope is much more diabolical...

19 February 2014 at 16:40  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

*chuckle*

19 February 2014 at 16:44  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Happy Jack

Is that a picture of Slope?

No, Jack, it's Tony Benn. Quite a good likeness, too. Though what the connection is with Barchester or the C of E I couldn't say.

19 February 2014 at 16:52  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Uncle Brian, poor Mrs Proudie surrounded by such ugliness!

19 February 2014 at 17:29  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Happy Jack:

There's always a mirror to compensate!

19 February 2014 at 18:26  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

You smooth talker, Explorer!

*chuckle*

19 February 2014 at 18:45  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Can’t see much of a fuss really. John Selwyn Gummer is a Conservative, through and through, and apparently right to the end, which he may be fortunate to see in his lifetime as the party is eclipsed by Farage’s outfit.

His loyalty is thus admirable, if rather questionable during SSM Cameron’s watch, and one is quite sure this outburst from him was inspired by the poor showing at the recent by-election. He has though exceeded his remit by sullying Christianity with politics, and one suspects a man of his intellect knows it. He might as well say that a Christian to vote for the Lib-Dems is one for the devil as that party is headed by an atheist.

Thus, one can only come to the conclusion that so serious is the UKIP threat seen by the Conservatives who matter, any snipe at them is now justified and welcome, whatever the cost to a fellows own integrity.

Albert. What on earth makes you think holding a nuclear deterrent is somehow anti Christian ? Rather than join in the fools paradise the unilateralists live in, you might do well to ask yourself what kept the Soviet Union (a Soviet Union operating a war economy in peace time, that is) away from Western Europe for all those decades, as well as not ignoring the increasing coveting certain muslim states display for them.



19 February 2014 at 18:49  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ IG in O

I think modern warfare has gone far beyond what you or I might think we know. Remember all those UFO sightings that now perfectly fit the description of a stealth bomber. Military secrets mean that humans are always making bizarre guesses about some new technology that they have seen that is outside the known sphere as any science with military application goes forst to the military.

Thus when the U.S. and Russia made all those treaties the nuclear stuff they were nobly decommissioning was defunct anyway; times had moved on. They thought it made for good political headlines and photo opportunities to pretend otherwise.

I think it has moved to ionosphere stuff amongst other things now, weather and mood manipulation, depleted uranium shells, as well of course as economic warfare, robots, drones, star wars, electronic spying and so on. Perhaps if one reads up latest UFO sightings you will find further info on new technologies being rolled out.

I don't think nuclear unilateralism actually matters any more. New deadly technology.

19 February 2014 at 19:05  
Blogger Albert said...

Carl & Inspector,

The point I was making was more about Gummer's own position. He thinks that there is a conflict between Christianity and UKIP (despite the fact that Dr C has rightly been able to use the PM's own moral arguments to defend UKIP) while turning a blind eye (or even supporting) things like abortion, gay "marriage" and WMDs. Sounds like straining gnats and swallowing camels to me.

19 February 2014 at 19:50  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Lucy

"
I think it has moved to ionosphere stuff amongst other things now, weather and mood manipulation, depleted uranium shells, as well of course as economic warfare, robots, drones, star wars, electronic spying and so on. Perhaps if one reads up latest UFO sightings you will find further info on new technologies being rolled out"

Too many Sci fi. Movies Lucy

I bet you have all the Star Trek movies, all the Dan Brown novels, smallville, the x files and of course Lost

Did I mention Lost?

Phil

19 February 2014 at 20:38  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Albert. Get with it, that man. There is a world of difference between WMDs and a nuclear deterrent. Here, allow the Inspector to start you off – Now, one of the aforementioned is controlled by mad people. What’s your choice ? Christian or non Christian....

19 February 2014 at 20:38  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Phil @ 20:38

I distinctly remember that when Philip Hammond took over as minster for Defence there was talk about what sort of budget to set given the age of electronic warfare.

Passenger planes blown out of the sky by computer was definitely mentioned. New types of stealth radar to counteract stealth bombers.

After all, a century ago missiles delivered by unmanned aircraft would have been sheer sci fi.

19 February 2014 at 20:52  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

For about a year and a half my wife worked in a malnutrition clinic in Africa.

I Never saw the place, but she said it was remarkable how quickly the babies who were almost dead, responded to good food and vitamins.


A few months later they were back in often as bad as before. They had only fed them maize not a balanced diet. Then it transpires that the parents did not plant a variety of veggies for their own diet (Reminded me of the potato famine) so they were often malnourished as well.

Anyway to cut a long story short. This problem lead to that problem, etc the long and the sort of it was/is if you wanted a long term solution you needed a different culture.

The Good Samaritan is a good model for aid. Help is given for misadventure, then the person is expected to get on with it themselves. If you try and tell them how to live their lives you take away their pride and when that is gone you have lost everything.

Middle of Africa or inner city poor in Britain. Same problem ultimately

A good Christian it seems to me have a difficult path to tread

Phil






19 February 2014 at 20:53  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack has just read the tale of the Good Samaritan. Jesus makes no socio-political statements about self-help or the like. In Jack's opinion, He is telling a story about Christian charity to everybody in a time of need.

And going up to him, bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine: and setting him upon his own beast, brought him to an inn and took care of him.

And the next day he took out two pence and gave to the host and said: "Take care of him; and whatsoever thou shalt spend over and above, I, at my return, will repay thee."

Which of these three, in thy opinion, was neighbour to him that fell among the robbers?

But he said: "He that shewed mercy to him." And Jesus said to him: "Go, and do thou in like manner."


How the poor chap ended up being jumped upon by robbers, or how this could be avoided in the future, did not form part of Jesus' message.

19 February 2014 at 21:19  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Goodness! Mr Explorer...I am all of a quiver...

19 February 2014 at 22:00  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Phil.

Actually never read a Dan Brown novel; reckoned it would be wasting my time. I think I have watched the odd snippet of "Star Trek". Of the others I have only heard of "Smallville" and watched small quanitities as one of my children likes it.

However a long long time ago I worked very briefly for an engineering institute so know about security clearance, sweeping rooms for bugs and how all new science with military application goes first to the military.

I do distinguish between different sources and try to only pass on information which has solidity behind it, as IF i believe someone's speculation on balance, that is one thing for me, but not a justified thing to pass on. Fictional sources might be a starting point, as some have been deeply researched (ahem, not Dan Brown), but only that.

I think believing in UFOs is unreasonable, though if someone saw a stealth bomber before they became generally known about (quite a few years gap) it is understandable if they came to a false conclusion when trying to categorise what they saw.

19 February 2014 at 22:10  
Blogger Nicodemus said...

we have heard from a Labour-supporting Christian, a Conservative-supporting Christian and a Green-supporting Christian ... a Ukip-supporting Christian

... which is why I don't know who to vote for, except 'none of the above' comes to mind since, with the possible exception of Ukip, they have all taken captive to the ideology of secular liberalism which is not so gradually ruining our country.

19 February 2014 at 22:28  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Nicodemus, is it the "the ideology of secular liberalism" wedded to 'multiculturalism', 'equality' and 'diversity' that is the problem?

Jack asks: can there be a Christian secularism - or has Christianity itself fallen victim to too many incompatible 'ideologies'? Every nation needs to base itself upon some foundation.

19 February 2014 at 22:47  
Blogger Albert said...

Inspector,

There is a world of difference between WMDs and a nuclear deterrent.

There is clearly a difference between the use of WMDs and a nuclear deterrent. But there is no difference between WMDs and a nuclear deterrent. A nuclear deterrent is hoped to be a deterrent because it just is a WMD.

19 February 2014 at 23:00  
Blogger Jesuestomihi said...

Interesting but answer my longstasnding question first please. How can anyone born again support labour or socialism?

19 February 2014 at 23:13  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Albert. This is for the best. You retire to your study and write sermons on how Catholic parents with a complete family of three sons and now using contraception are going to spend an almost eternity in purgatory and leave the defence of the realm in this life to Christian soldiers such as this man...

19 February 2014 at 23:15  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Lord Debden is that mad bull that set up the Environment agency in 1995, He's responsible for all the flooding one can say as it's from 1995 that dredging ceased. He's also responsible for the Landfill tax which encourages more people fly tipping. One shouldn't pay much heed to what that old buzzard bird brain says now.

19 February 2014 at 23:25  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Inspector, you have surprised Happy Jack. He thought you were a traditional Catholic.

Are you one of the "progressive" Roman Catholics? Jack understood that the magisterium and pope had put forward clear teachings on contraception.

From reading around, Jack sees there is a lot of strife in the Catholic church over things like divorce, homosexuality, women priests and abortion. Are you on the side of these people?

20 February 2014 at 00:43  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Albert

A nuclear deterrent is only as credible as its willingness to be used. If you want to possess them but never use them you are like the man who buys a "Beware of Dog" sign when he doesn't have a dog.

There isn't any option called "possess but don't use." If you think it would be wrong to commit one in warfare then simply disarm and proactively surrender. That is the inevitable end result.

carl

20 February 2014 at 01:03  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Rambling Steve Appleseed: And I will smash my beautiful new sunburst Les Paul guitar for firewood before I vote for John Selwyn Bummer's party agsin.

Perish that thought. One shouldn't say such things even in jest. Which, the 2008 or 2012 Standard?

20 February 2014 at 02:57  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Carl

I see nuclear weapons like mustard gas in WW2

Both sides have it so neither side dare use it.

Phil

20 February 2014 at 08:51  
Blogger Roy said...

Given that such a high proportion of our laws come from Brussels, what are we paying our MPs for? Surely their salaries should be drastically curtailed in accordance with their diminished responsibilities. Our MPs don't even run this country, yet they expect to be paid as if they still had the British Empire to run!

MPs should be treated like other redundant workers. It is strange how defenders of the EU don't want to do that. Of course, Lord Deben is a member of the other House, which has been transformed into a home for politicians who are too redundant even for the Commons.

20 February 2014 at 09:30  
Blogger Albert said...

Carl,

A nuclear deterrent is only as credible as its willingness to be used.

Agreed. My point was directed specifically at the Inspector's comment, which seemed to me to draw a distinction where none was to be found.

There isn't any option called "possess but don't use." If you think it would be wrong to commit one in warfare then simply disarm and proactively surrender. That is the inevitable end result.

One of the many flaws of a consequentialist morality is that we cannot predict what all the consequences will be. So consequentialism is immoral in itself and useless on its own terms. In this centenary of the outbreak of WWI it is surely evident that the idea of everyone being armed to the teeth is a very dangerous one.

20 February 2014 at 09:40  
Blogger Albert said...

Inspector,

leave the defence of the realm in this life to Christian soldiers such as this man...

Having read your comments for last several years, I can sleep safely in my bed knowing you are defending the realm, especially as you have nuclear weapons to hand.

20 February 2014 at 09:44  
Blogger Albert said...

Happy Jack,

Jack sees there is a lot of strife in the Catholic church over things like divorce, homosexuality, women priests and abortion.

What we have is generations of Catholics who have not been catechized and who therefore understandably simply reflect the world-view of their own culture. They'd be Communists if they were living in the Soviet Union, National Socialists if in Germany 1933-1945, solid Catholics if they had been living before the Reformation, and one suspects that, most of them, if living under (say) Elizabeth I, would have been Protestants. This is a failing of the clergy in my opinion.

20 February 2014 at 09:48  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

Nuclear weapons are old hat.

No one wants to use then any more. They became a pain in the neck even to the warmongers. They had all these things, but had developed new war technologies, as countries' scientists do, and these things needed maintaining; expensive and labour intensive.

Hence the decommissioning. Much lauded at the time and seen as a great sign of hopefulness by innocents such as I was back then.

Deadlier and subtler weapons now exist which would leave a world behind for the survivors, though not a kind one.

20 February 2014 at 11:22  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Roy

Good point Roy. It is very odd that MPs are now paid (taking into account inflation and living standards) quite a bit more than when they held real power. And have fewer characters and fewer willing to stick their necks out to support the as yet unpopular but necessary laws, or unpopular but necessary investigations of their own ranks for that matter.

20 February 2014 at 11:30  
Blogger Sam Charles Norton said...

Thank you for kind words your Grace. I have written a little bit more on the subject of being a politically conservative Christian on my blog: http://elizaphanian.com/?p=5409

20 February 2014 at 11:48  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

You're right Avi it was a shocking thing to have posted or even thought.

Especially about a 2013 Standard.

20 February 2014 at 11:49  
Blogger Len said...

' Catechized' is that the same as lobotomized?.

20 February 2014 at 11:57  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Jesuistomihi


It all depends on what you mean by socialism. As I see it there is a wide range from co-operative socialism through to full on Marxist tyrrany with all shades in between. And much the same can IMO be said of conservatism.

No political system will deliver good outcomes unless run by moral people. But moral and wise people working under a bad system may be able to do some good. Think of Daniel in Babylon or Joseph in Egypt.

The delusion is that it will all be OK if we 'fix the system'.

20 February 2014 at 12:11  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Steve: ...a 2013 Standard.

O, you rascal, brand-spanking new! Congratulations! My proud Les Paul sunburst moment: I got to put away Steve Hackett's axe in its case backstage at the 1974 Selling England by the Pound tour in Montreal when a young lad. The first and last time I saw him and Pete Gabriel with Genesis.

20 February 2014 at 12:59  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Lucy

"Nuclear weapons are old hat."

Nuclear Weapons are becoming less and less useable because even if you "win" as a nation
and you survive all the cancers, it is becoming clear that you will lose most of the men in the next few generations

I think though despite this, that we should keep ours

Phil

20 February 2014 at 14:38  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Thanks. I have just posted a picture on Facebook as Stephen Hayes.

20 February 2014 at 15:46  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Albert, this comment raises a point Happy Jack has been exploring.

"What we have is generations of Catholics who have not been catechized and who therefore understandably simply reflect the world-view of their own culture."

Do Catholic's (and Arminians?) believe the acceptance of Grace and turning to God, is reliant in some way on the church teaching the Gospel message correctly?

20 February 2014 at 16:56  
Blogger Albert said...

Happy Jack,

I think the Church cannot be the Church without teaching the faith without error. However, a failing on the part of the clergy to teach that faith to an individual will not in itself prevent salvation for that individual. But of course error has its own effects.

The meritorious part of faith is the act of will, not the accuracy of the intellect. However, if the intellect is not guided in the first place, the will does not know what to assent to.

20 February 2014 at 17:35  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...



Albert. There is one aspect of possessing nuclear weapons, among the most important as of yet unmentioned - and it pays dividends…

It concerns, well, let us call them the less achieving races shall we {AHEM}. The fellows who run their countries have always been, are now, and will continue for evermore to be, greatly impressed by military strength. It earns respect. In this ‘age of enlightenment’ we live in, that hardly registers anymore, but it’s as true as a straight line. It earns a place at the top table. And a place at the top table means we matter.

By the way, cheered by your comment at 09:44 the Inspector would like to return your confidence by saying that as long as the kingdom can depend on you taking to your knees in the nearest chapel during times of crisis, we stand an excellent chance of coming through it fairly intact with you having brought God on our side.

Jack @ 00:43 Rather than go off topic, you might want to contact Dodo on his site, as he is fully conversant with the Inspectors views on contraception, his antipathy towards women priests, disgust of abortion, and incredulity concerning the celebration of homosexuality as a desirable lifestyle. He may even explain why it is apparently God’s intention that the average Catholic couple living in the average semi should aim for at least a dozen children over the wife’s years of fertility- as well as revealing papal insights as to why every sperm is sacred, every egg divine.





20 February 2014 at 18:11  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Albert, Happy Jack thanks you for your reply. Jack can understand the "meritorious part of faith is the act of will", a turning to Jesus. However, if, as you say, "the intellect is not guided in the first place, the will does not know what to assent to", then there is a problem. Turning to Jesus is still a good thing though and Jack thinks this is most likely where Arminianism and Roman Catholicism part company.

Inspector, Happy Jack may have gone off topic but no more than you. Jack understands now you are opposed to women priests, abortion, and homosexuality.

From what Jack has read he doesn't think the Catholic Church teaches: "it is apparently God’s intention that the average Catholic couple living in the average semi should aim for at least a dozen children over the wife’s years of fertility", or that "every sperm is sacred, every egg divine." You do have a tendency for hyperbole.

Jack has no need to contact another blogger as there is ample information about this on websites and even Wiki gives a good summary. He was just interested in your opinion. You are in favour of artificial methods of contraception then?

20 February 2014 at 18:41  
Blogger Albert said...

Inspector,

It may surprise you to know that I quite see the argument for a nuclear deterrent. I wonder what happens when we in the West are no longer the dominant powers in the world.

the Inspector would like to return your confidence by saying that as long as the kingdom can depend on you taking to your knees in the nearest chapel during times of crisis, we stand an excellent chance of coming through it fairly intact with you having brought God on our side.

:-)

God doesn't necessarily win battles - as the Psalmist knew. But he has so arranged it that evil undoes itself...eventually.

20 February 2014 at 18:43  
Blogger Albert said...

Happy Jack,

However, if, as you say, "the intellect is not guided in the first place, the will does not know what to assent to", then there is a problem. Turning to Jesus is still a good thing though and Jack thinks this is most likely where Arminianism and Roman Catholicism part company.

I'm just wondering what you mean by that (not knowing what Arminianism teaches on this one).

20 February 2014 at 18:46  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Albert, now don't go all technical on Happy Jack as he is not sure about all these teachings either.

Jack made this comment a while ago but nobody replied and advised him if it was a fair representation of the differences in religions about salvation or not:

"Happy Jack came across this 'parable' written by Christians of some denomination or other (Credo House Ministries?). It looks at the differences between churches on divine sovereignty, free-will, and salvation and at "synergism" and "monergism"."

(Jack has taken out Pelagianism and semi-Pelagianism as it made the post too long.)

"Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy
All people are in the water drowning. They are born drowning. This is the natural habitation of all humanity since the first man and woman jumped into the water (original sin). They cannot swim to safety on their own. God makes the first initiative by throwing a life preserver to them (prevenient grace). Upon seeing this act, they make a decision to grab a hold (faith) or to swim away. If they grab a hold, God will slowly pull the rope connected to the life preserver. But they must do their part by swimming along with God’s pull (grace plus works; synergism). If at any time they let go or quit swimming, they will not be saved.

Arminianism
All people are floating in the water dead in their natural condition (total depravity). They are born dead because that has been the condition of humanity since the first man and woman jumped into the water and died (original sin). Death begets death. There must be intervention if they are to be saved. God uses his power to bring every one of them back to life (prevenient grace), but they are still in the water and in danger of drowning. With the regenerated ability to respond to God, now God throws the life preserver to them and calls on them all to grab hold of it. They then make the free-will decision on their own to grab a hold of the life preserver (faith) or to swim away. If they grab a hold, they must continue to hold as God pulls them in (synergism). They don’t need to do anything but hold on. Any effort to swim and aid God is superfluous (sola fide). They can let go of the preserver at any time and, as a consequence, lose their salvation.

Calvinism
All people are floating in the water dead in their natural condition (total depravity). They are born dead because that has been the condition of humanity since the first man and woman jumped into the water and died (original sin). Death begets death. There must be radical intervention if they are to be saved. Due to his mysterious choice, God brings back to life (regeneration) only certain people (election) while passing by the rest (reprobation). He does not use a life preserver, but grabs a hold of the elect individually and immediately pulls them onto the boat (monergism). They naturally grab a hold of God as a consequence of their regeneration (irresistible grace; sola fide). They forever stay on the boat due to their perpetual ability to recognize God’s beauty (perseverance of the saints)."

See what you think.

20 February 2014 at 19:39  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...



Jack. “You are in favour of artificial methods of contraception then?”

Of course, within marriage, And it’s not exactly supping with the devil now is it ? If you and your good lady if you have one want to live as beasts in the field, that’s your business, but should your leanings towards the RCC carry you there, one hopes you stop short of sending everyone who is in favour of contraception on a guilt trip – as the blasted bird used to do...

But as stated before –THIS IS OFF TOPIC







20 February 2014 at 19:41  
Blogger Albert said...

Inspector,

as the blasted bird used to do...

Ah...good old Dodo. Can he not be allowed back, Dr C?

20 February 2014 at 19:52  
Blogger Albert said...

Happy Jack,

Yes, I like the parable. Strictly speaking the Orthodox are better represented by the parable than we Catholics. The problem with all the analogies is that they tend to suggest God's activity and man's activity are on the same ontological level, which they are not. The idea of swimming along with God is fine, but if it in anyway implies we have a power to do anything for our salvation which is not itself the activity of grace, then it is false. When God crowns our merits it's his own merits he is crowning, as people attribute to St Augustine.

At this level, the better comparison is with a tree bringing forth blossom. It is not that the tree does something by itself, which God is not causing, but neither is it that God is acting to bring the blossom in such a way that the tree is not bringing the blossom to grow. It's not partly God and partly the tree. God and the tree are not on the same ontological levels, so there is possibility of conflict between what God is doing, rather than what the tree is doing. Rather, the tree brings forth the blossom because God is making the tree be the kind of thing that does so of its own nature.

Thus even the swimming is happening as a result of grace received through faith.

20 February 2014 at 19:58  
Blogger Albert said...

so there is possibility of conflict between what God is doing, rather than what the tree is doing.

Should read:

so there is no possibility of conflict between what God is doing, rather than what the tree is doing.

20 February 2014 at 20:00  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Albert, Happy Jack thanks you and he will think more about these matters.

Inspector, we will leave the matter there but Jack says if he was with a lady and was a Catholic, he would try to properly understand the teaching of his church and not just reject it.

And remember, as Jack discovered and shared a few threads down, the bishops of the Church of England came out against contraception in 1920 when Marie Stopes tried to get them to agree to it.

20 February 2014 at 20:24  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Jack. “he would try to properly understand the teaching of his church and not just reject it.”

You have one damned nerve saying that...

20 February 2014 at 20:47  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Inspector, Happy Jack stands by his comment.

20 February 2014 at 21:11  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

If you think this man needs to justify himself to a busker from Durham, of all people...

20 February 2014 at 21:15  
Blogger Albert said...

Pretty well everyone was opposed to artificial contraception until very recently. Remember: the Anglican moral tradition was natural law based. The willingness to base morality on something else (ultimately on nothing else) is the heart of most of the problems we endure now.

Marie Stopes was in favour of artifical contraception because she wanted to stop the lower classes breeding.

Ironic.

20 February 2014 at 21:22  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Inspector, Happy Jack says: a cat may look at a queen.

Albert, Happy Jack looked into this woman. Marie Stopes was into all sorts - fabianism, feminism, eugenics, a supporter of Hitler, and wanted to find ways for the state to 'encourage' the middle-classes to have more children. Ironically, she was very opposed to abortion.

20 February 2014 at 21:37  
Blogger Albert said...

That's interesting about the abortion thing Happy Jack. Perhaps she realised that the people who would have the abortions would be middle class which would defeat the object. Or perhaps she just opposed it on moral grounds, a bit like Hitler opposed eating meat on the grounds that it was cruel.

20 February 2014 at 22:14  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Albert, she was a complex lady. She reported having a 'vision' in the 1920's and believed she was a prophet of God.

Jack thinks her opposition to abortion was moral. She had a still birth herself and it hit her very hard. Jack thinks people today underestimate the social and sexual revolutionary thinking of the 1920's. An 'intelligentsia' of the 'educated' and 'sophisticated'. It came to full bloom in with "flower power" in the 1960's.

20 February 2014 at 22:25  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Speaking of contraception, Orthodox Judaism has a fool-proof method which doesn't involve sneaking around the drug store, hoping not to be seen old Mrs Cohen who seems to live there.

It's called the Jewish day school. Starting at about $16,000 per kid, a household reaches the capacity to pay for such usually after the second joy. Summer camp, High Holy Days, kosher food and clothing once reserved for royalty need to be factored in as well.

What makes this unique system of contraception work is the lack of choice. The public school system is not an option. It offers everything but education; from indoctrination in social justice on issues kids can't do anything about, through practical instruction on recycling, strategies for pestering one's parents to reduce their families' "carbon foot prints" so that Al Gore and friends can fly around the world to environmental conventions more often, and to regular enforced celebrations of all sorts of quirks we used to call perversions when we were less sophisticated.

21 February 2014 at 01:05  
Blogger Albert said...

Happy Jack,

She reported having a 'vision' in the 1920's and believed she was a prophet of God.

They keep that quiet. Odd how God would call someone to prevent his creation working properly.

21 February 2014 at 08:26  
Blogger Albert said...

Avi,

:-)

21 February 2014 at 08:27  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Avi, if Happy Jack is correct, and it does need checking, the time when Jews are prohibited from sex coincides with the time a woman is less likely to be fertile. This 'down time', so to speak, is guaranteed to encourage couples to meet their 'conjugal duties' during more fruitful times.

There is always a reason for God's laws.

21 February 2014 at 23:28  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

".... 'conjugal duties' more enthusiastically ...."

21 February 2014 at 23:29  

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