Saturday, May 31, 2014

It is time to make UK Overseas Aid contingent on religious liberty



His Grace raised the appalling plight of Meriam Yehya Ibrahim a fortnight ago, and it is heartening to see that The Times and the Prime Minister have caught up with it.

Mr Cameron says the death sentence imposed for apostasy is "barbaric", not least because one can hardly be guilty of apostasy if one was never a Muslim in the first place.

Meriam Ibrahim's father was Muslim, but she was raised by her Christian mother as a Christian, and she married another Christian in 2011. However, the Sudanese courts have decreed that religious belief is heritable through the paternal line; that the father's faith determines that of the children. And so Meriam Ibrahim was a Muslim all along, but she just never knew. So her Christian marriage was annulled and she was sentenced to 100 lashes for adultery and to be hanged for renouncing Islam.

Which she never renounced because she she never embraced it in the first place.

Since His Grace reported on this story, Dr Ibrahim has given birth to a daughter. Here she is with the proud father, who looks a shadow of his former self. The mother's legs were shackled and she remained in prison for the duration of the birth.

Funny, isn't it, how it takes the mainstream media to report on the Islamic persecution of a pregnant Christian woman to elicit substantive responses from David Cameron, Hillary Clinton and a host of celebrities. They tend not to be overly concerned with the persecution of Christian men.

A fortnight ago, all we had from Her Majesty's Government on this case was an expression of "deep concern". Now that The Times, BBC and Hillary Clinton are on board, the Prime Minister is rather more trenchant: "The way she is being treated is barbaric and has no place in today's world," he told the Times. "I urge the government of Sudan to overturn the sentence and immediately provide appropriate support and medical care for her and her children...The UK will continue to press the government of Sudan to act."

The thing is, HM Government (ie UK taxpayers) are giving aid money to Sudan. According to the YouTube news report above, it appears that we don't donate directly, but we do give. His Grace is of the view that a government which is bold enough to make overseas aid contingent on a nation's promotion of gay rights ought equally to ensure that the aid budget is used to promote religious liberty.

If we are truly pursuing equality in international development, why do we penalise those regimes which hang gay teenagers but permit those who behead Christians to continue with impunity? Are Islamic blasphemy laws any less repressive than anti-gay laws? Why are we subsidising the torture and systematic slaughter of our brothers and sisters in Christ?

We have exchanged the eternal Gospel of Salvation for the ephemeral creed of political correctness. We have supplanted the Good News of Christ with universal gay rights. While we are actively bribing developing nations to embrace gay equality, we convey to the world that the life of a Christian is worth less than the life of a homosexual.

Foreign aid is the national expression of love for our neighbour. Love is unintelligible except as a participation in the life of the One who reveals Himself to us. It comes after faith and hope, but it is the greatest and most transformational. David Cameron is right to condemn the death sentence imposed upon Meriam Ibrahim as "barbaric", but he appears not to know that our neighbour is not only the gay man or woman in Uganda, Ghana or Malawi, but also the persecuted Christians in Sudan, North Korea, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Iran, Maldives, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, Eritrea, Laos, Northern Nigeria, Mauritania, Egypt, Bhutan, Turkmenistan, Vietnam, Chechnya, China, Qatar, Algeria, Comoros, Azerbaijan, Libya, Oman, Brunei, Morocco, Kuwait, Turkey, India, Myanmar, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Jordan, Cuba, Belarus, Indonesia, Palestinian Territories, Kazakhstan, Bahrain, Colombia, Kyrgyzstan, Bangladesh, Malaysia...

It really is time that our donations of Overseas Aid were made contingent on the recipients' record on religious liberty and their tolerance of 'the other' - and of Christians in particular. Perhaps if the churches were to speak out more forcefully on this global martyrdom - instead of singling out Israel, where Christians live in freedom, for their campaigns of condemnation and divestment - the world's democratic leaders wouldn't have to wait for the Times, the BBC and sundry celebrities to force a change of policy.

321 Comments:

Blogger Father David said...

I am sure that when UKIP hold the keys to Number 10 this barbarity will all be sorted out !!!

31 May 2014 at 08:14  
Blogger skeetstar said...

Your grace, excellent article.

Father David, fatuous post.

31 May 2014 at 08:31  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Witholding aid from funds donated from Christian sources is thoroughly fair enough. It would make more sense if at the same time organised religions took on the foundation of Sharia i.e. the Koranic verses that promulgate attitudes and punishments.

Witholding aid from Governments on the grounds of Human Rights violations in the recipient nations, would provide for a twin attack approach on these primitive laws and possibly be even more effective if co-ordinated with others on the floor of the United Nations Assembly.

But of course, many of those listed have hands on the oil taps.

31 May 2014 at 08:35  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Thank you Your Grace for highlighting these particular barbarisms, and also the deep shame that surrounds UK foreign aid policy generally, which has neither rhyme nor reason supporting it.

So much of British taxpayers money is sprayed about the world, undirected by a well thought through ethical policy, unsupervised and unaudited. Given the ever increasing zeal with which these taxes are collected this is especially galling, insulting even, to the many who can ill afford to pay them. A country's wealth is a blessing, but only if used wisely.

The system for the allocation of money should be open, clear and publicly accountable. Decisions about which country, activity and project should receive what moneys, when and with what conditions, should be open to public scrutiny at all times. The systems for monitoring and auditing must also be clearly spelt out for taxpayers to understand where their money is being applied, for what purpose and how effectiveness in being measured. Clear correlations should be demonstrable aligning the flow of funds with value judgements rooted in ethical considerations, and with sufficient flexibility to allow for responsive pragmatic judgements of variation, as geopolitical changes can happen swiftly and without warning. No one seeks a bureaucratic rigidity so executive powers must be flexible and responsive within defined limits of spending, as in any good system of delegated powers.

It is a Christian, indeed neighbourly activity to assist those in need, but in parts of the world where greedy rulers and corrupt officials are commonplace, it is sheer irresponsibility and ineffectiveness, not to have in place adequate methods of ensuring that the money is used for purposes that the British authorities would approve. To achieve that some system of monitoring and auditing, both probity and cost effectiveness is essential.

The sheer incompetence and irresponsibility of the British Goverment's aid program astounds me. It is an insult to the country's taxpayers, rich and poor. The lack of a demonstrable linkage between giving and encouraging "the good", is also a deep shame on the country that once had the moral vision to bring the trans-Atlantic slave trade to an end, deploying our then formidable navy.

I believe that His Grace is right that the Churches should apply pressure on HM Government to rectify this applying mess - surely a fitting Christian cause for them to rightly apply their energies towards, fitting with their appropriate role in society. So you are right Cranmer, well said !

31 May 2014 at 08:58  
Blogger Martin said...

Is it not true that much 'foreign aid' is made with the profits of UK companies in view?

Perhaps aid should not be given to governments but to reliable persons within those countries, independent of the governments. But that would require effort and thought.

Perhaps, even, it should not be the job of the government to give aid but some outside organisation who would have to seek funds from well wishers.

Martin

31 May 2014 at 09:12  
Blogger Martin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

31 May 2014 at 09:12  
Blogger Martin said...

And, of course, David Cameron is OK with Christians being arrested for preaching the gospel, sacked for daring to display their beliefs and refusing to allow perversion to have free rein on their premises.

Do I detect an election in the offing?

Martin

31 May 2014 at 09:22  
Blogger gentlemind said...

Foreign Aid is ring-fenced so that we have a mechanism through which to guarantee the export of two of Western civilization's most "successful' products - contraception and abortion.

31 May 2014 at 09:37  
Blogger Roy said...

On the main Channel 4 news bulletin a few days ago the presenter Jon Snow got into a complete muddle when describing the case of Meriam Yehya Ibrahim. He described her as a Christian but then very quickly "corrected" himself and described her as a Moslem. It would obviously be Islamophobic to imply that Moslems were incapable of telling who is a Moslem and who isn't.

Mark Steyn, a well-known, polemical Canadian, commentator now living in the United States, has pointed out in an article on his website that President Obama has been strangely silent on this issue - despite the fact that the woman's husband has American citizenship.

I don't know whether Obama is taking action behind the scenes or whether he really does think that you should not let a bit of martyrdom get in the way of good relations with the Islamic world.

31 May 2014 at 09:39  
Blogger Preacher said...

Yes Mr Cameron, it's Barbaric, we all agree. Now what are you going to do about it?.
If as you claim, you are a Christian you must be appalled by this case. So what are you & your pals in Brussels going to do? or are you all as many of us feel just self serving Paper Tigers?.
The Western nations have condemned this evil. Well you've 'Talked the talk, now Walk the walk' & keep walking until the persecution of innocent Christians is banned in these countries.

31 May 2014 at 10:04  
Blogger Albert said...

Dr C,

If we are truly pursuing equality in international development, why do we penalise those regimes which hang gay teenagers but permit those who behead Christians to continue with impunity?

The clue is in the question, the West is not pursuing equality because it doesn't believe in it.

It believes in favourites.

31 May 2014 at 10:20  
Blogger seanrobsville said...

When will Cameron and the rest of the politically correct dhimmis realise that terrorism is institutionalized within Islam?

Terrorism is an intrinsic, inseparable and essential feature of Islam.

Such a backward, morally repulsive, intellectually and aesthetically barren ideology could not survive in the modern world without the support of systematic terror. In a free marketplace of ideas, Islam would be a heap of putrefying produce long past its sell-by date.

Islamic terrorism exists on multiple different levels. In addition to the bombings, beheadings and kidnappings with which we are all too familiar, it includes coercion, intimidation and all forms of thuggery. It starts with the family and goes all the way up to the global community.

Familial Terrorism - Within the family, obedience is enforced by honor killings and acid attacks against wayward daughters and gay sons.

Communal Terrorism - Apostates and blasphemers are subject to vigilante attacks by the 'community'. This can be politically institutionalized as in the Sudan, or enforced informally as in British ghettoes. This pervasive terrorist vigilantism within Muslim countries and communities turns them into jails where the prisoners are also the guards.

Societal intimidation - Fear of attack ensures censorship and enforced self-censorship by media and politicians in the wider non-Muslim society.

International coercion - The OIC is attempting to enforce Sharia blasphemy laws worldwide by legislating for repression of dissent under the guise of preventing 'hate-speech' and 'Islamophobia'. Sharia is simply legalized terrorism.

31 May 2014 at 10:27  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Roy said...

On the main Channel 4 news bulletin a few days ago the presenter Jon Snow got into a complete muddle when describing the case of Meriam Yehya Ibrahim. He described her as a Christian but then very quickly "corrected" himself and described her as a Moslem. It would obviously be Islamophobic to imply that Moslems were incapable of telling who is a Moslem and who isn't. [. . .]

31 May 2014 09:39


There are times when islamophobic is the only thing to be. This is one of them.

31 May 2014 at 10:28  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Albert @ 10.20

Absolutely !

But the powerful truth that you have identified, is always hidden behind attractive sounding coded language, such is the pernicious twisting of reason by leftist UN and western governmental jargon.

31 May 2014 at 11:39  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

You can’t negotiate with evil men but you can make them bleed.

One suggests a threat amounting to should this disgusting crime against humanity take place, we send over a warplane to obliterate their main government building.

In fact, such a plane should be immediately dispatched anyway to buzz the blighters. Give them a taste of the retribution to come.

They’ll be begging at your feet soon enough. The Inspector is rather an authority on the simple workings of the negro mind and can assure you this is the way forward.

31 May 2014 at 11:40  
Blogger Albert said...

David H,

What the West really believes in is freedom (of sorts). Expression of (say) sexuality is regarded as an expression of freedom. Religion is regarded as a violation of freedom and therefore does not attract the same sympathy.

31 May 2014 at 11:52  
Blogger Len said...

Financial aid should not be given to Countries which maim and execute their citizens and violate their human rights without being carefully controlled and monitored.
I would have thought some sort of control would be in place already?. How do we know that financial aid is not being misused to purchase weapons which will be used against western forces and the unfortunate inhabitants of Countries such as Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia etc.
I think in some cases a 'scattergun' approach is being used in delivering aid in the hope that some aid will get through to those who actually need it rather than to insurgents to purchase weaponry.
A difficult problem but some sort of regulation is definitely needed to encourage those who run barbaric religious/political organizations to behave in a way that will respect humanity and their human rights.

31 May 2014 at 12:04  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Albert @ 11.52

Yes, well put. I agree.

31 May 2014 at 12:54  
Blogger Kathryn Day said...

@seanrobsville (and others) - your list is reasonable but only applicable to any degree within certain groups; just as you have Christian fundamental, charismatic, KKK, White Supremacists, Nazi Christianity, Roman Catholics, Protestants etc. It's about CULTURE, not religion per se.

I lament over uninformed people tarring all with the same brush.

In our 'exemplary' First Worlds, one in 4 women are sexually abused, one in 4 are subject to domestic violence, one in... about one... are sexually harassed, children and abused, some are killed, many are neglected, the elderly are institutionalised, the poor are marginalised, the mentally ill are ignored, the sick are on waiting lists, etc etc etc. That is OUR culture.

Perhaps we can stop a moment in blaming 'the other' and peer in our own back yard, eh?

Kath

31 May 2014 at 12:57  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

How do we know that financial aid is not being misused to purchase weapons which will be used against western forces

Is the Pope a Catholic?

31 May 2014 at 13:00  
Blogger Albert said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

31 May 2014 at 13:03  
Blogger Albert said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

31 May 2014 at 13:03  
Blogger Albert said...

Kathryn,

you have Christian fundamental, charismatic, KKK, White Supremacists, Nazi Christianity, Roman Catholics, Protestants etc.

That's a pretty offensive list to lump Catholics and Protestants with (e.g.) KKK and "Nazi Christianity". Can you explain that, please?

31 May 2014 at 13:03  
Blogger seanrobsville said...

@ Kathryn Day
I agree that pedophilia, rape, sexual abuse etc occurs in the Western World world, but it isn't institutionalized and sanctified by the example of the 'Perfect Man' as it is in Islam.

Mohammed said "I have been made victorious through terror", and that has been Islam's modus operandi ever since.

31 May 2014 at 13:05  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Dreadnaught
"Is the Pope a Catholic?"

Some might think that, Happy Jack couldn't possibly comment.

Foreign Aid is not unconditional charitable giving; it is principally a method of promoting Britain's interests and influencing states. As such, there should be strings attached in terms of the life and liberty of the peoples of those states.

This story makes Jack sick to the very pit of his stomach. May God help this woman, her child and her husband.

31 May 2014 at 13:09  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

I say Kath, what tremendously outlandish hyperbole you can come out with...

Anymore from the same stable per chance ?

31 May 2014 at 13:14  
Blogger The Explorer said...

I believe Mobutu transferred the entire Swedish aid budget for Zaire direct into his Swiss bank account.

It came to light after a decade or so when somebody decided to see the effect of all that money on the Zaire infrastructure.

31 May 2014 at 13:24  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Kath

You forgot to mention the 185,122 children murdered in their mother's wombs in England and Wales in 2012. Then there's the overall number of 6 million in 'developed' countries and 38 million in 'underdeveloped' countries.

Worldwide, since 1980, 1,336,684,290 children have been killed in this way - and its rising at one in less than a second. Since starting to write this, a further 100 children have died.

31 May 2014 at 13:34  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Definition of aid: Europe's poor subsidising Africa's rich.

31 May 2014 at 13:50  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

With His Grace's leave, Happy Jack would like to publish a letter a 'friend' of his received today.

Dear Peter,

Over 220,000 people signed a petition on CitizenGO in an effort to free Meriam Yehya Ibrahim.

As of this moment, I wish I had better news to report, but thankfully and also sadly (outrageously) her situation has changed.

This week Meriam gave birth to a baby girl. But disturbing news quickly followed. According to Meriam's husband, Sudanese prison officials left her legs shackled as she was giving birth.

The Sudenese government has announced that they still plan on executing Meriam, but they will wait up to two years so the baby will receive the proper nutrition.

The government does not plan to allow the child's father (Meriam's husband) to see her much. The child will be imprisoned with Meriam, and Meriam's 20 month old son.

At this very moment, Meriam is reportedly being shackled to a "disease ridden floor.” They are being treated less than human. Why? Because of their faith.

If Meriam will deny her faith in Christ and become a Muslim, they will let her go. If she doesn't -- she dies. Meriam is refusing.

We must keep the pressure on the Sudanese government… We must keep this story in the headlines. It is extremely important that we do not forget Meriam. What will help free her (them) is public outrage.

If you have not already, please sign the Personhood USA petition for Meriam:

http://www.citizengo.org/en/7415-save-meriam

If you have signed, please help keep Meriam relevant in the headlines. Spread this petition to your friends, family, and colleagues. We must do our part to keep on fighting for Meriam.

In a recent statement, Meriam's husband, Daniel Wani, a US citizen, has expressed his disappointment over the lack of urgency on the part of the US authorities to help his wife:

"Considering I am an American citizen, I am disappointed with the American Embassy's position from the beginning of the whole case. At the start of the issue, I reported it to them but they didn't take much interest, particularly the consulate. They said they didn't have time. In fact last time, they said they didn't care much about the case. They came late – they intervened when they saw the issue was getting press attention – but the intervention was late.”

The situation -- across the board -- is being mishandled: a lack of interest and urgency from the US government… a lack of interest and urgency from UN officials and others in the international community.

As this petition is being sent directly to the UN Human Rights Commissioner, it is being Cc'd to the President of Sudan (a really bad guy), and the Deputy Chief for the US Embassy in Sudan.

Help us urge them to act!

http://www.citizengo.org/en/7415-save-meriam

Warmest regards,

Gregory Mertz and the whole CitizenGO team

31 May 2014 at 14:30  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Ps

Many of you have already signed the petition. Could you help spread the word about Meriam by asking your friends and family to join you in signing? We can keep Meriam relevant, in today's headlines, with our effort to keep pressuring the proper parties to free Meriam. Together, let's keep talking about the injustice in the Sudan – the Meriam story!

For more information, I invite you to read: http://blog.citizengo.org/usa/2014/05/26/meriam-still-needs-our-help/

31 May 2014 at 14:33  
Blogger Nick said...

I feel some hope that this story has now gone global, but nobody who wants to see this disgusting sentence revoked should be complacent. We need to wake up to the evil that is Islam. I find it ironic that in THIS country organisations like Christian Concern have to offer safe houses for Muslim converts to Christianity. Even our own government fails to protect our indigenous Christian population from an alien religious minority.

31 May 2014 at 14:36  
Blogger William Lewis said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

31 May 2014 at 15:11  
Blogger William Lewis said...

Kath @12:57

You make a good case for spending our overseas aid budget much closer to home. You're not a ukipper by any chance are you? It's a very broad church.

31 May 2014 at 15:12  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

The UK should be promoting human rights with whatever means it can. That includes religious freedom, and other personal choices. Of course, many people can't choose their sexuality, unlike their religious beliefs, so it's especially important to promote rights there.

31 May 2014 at 15:15  
Blogger Albert said...

DanJo,

Agreed, except that, in the latter case, people can choose their behaviour.

31 May 2014 at 15:26  
Blogger Albert said...

By which I don't mean to disagree with the point (@1526) that all human rights regardless of whether it is religious freedom, sexuality etc. need properly promoting and protecting.

31 May 2014 at 15:28  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Heterosexual people can choose to be celibate too if they like. It'd be a bit bizarre to do so as we're sexual beings by nature but I suppose those who hate freedom don't care much about that.

31 May 2014 at 15:36  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I note that awful case in Pakistan a couple of days ago where that poor woman was subject to an "honour murder" for marrying whom she wished instead of according to familial and social expectation.

31 May 2014 at 15:40  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

DanJ0 is using a favourite gay militants approach. Ever increasing human rights are dished out in a pecking order. Because the homosexual can’t chose his sexuality (albeit he CAN chose whether to recklessly bugger about and get himself HIVed) and religion is purely voluntary, it follows that although we are all equal these days, gays are more equal than others.

What the gay militant atheists doesn’t appreciate is that if you believe in Christ, you just can’t stop believing in him to get ahead of that all important rights queue.



31 May 2014 at 15:44  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "DanJ0 is using a favourite gay militants approach. Ever increasing human rights are dished out in a pecking order."

Intelligent people will recognise that I've explicitly recognised a right to religious freedom, as I do time and again here of course.

31 May 2014 at 15:54  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

The Explorer

Round about 1980, the French weekly Le Nouvel Economiste published a list of some of the real estate that Mobutu owned in Europe. From memory, it included several properties in Switzerland, including at least one lakeside mansion in the Lausanne area, and others in various regions of France, including the Mediterranean coast (either Nice or Cannes, I don't remember which).

This kind of bribery, of course, is an important contributing factor to the ongoing Palestinian refusal to negotiate a peace agreement with Israel. The present leadership, on the Fatah side and the Hamas side alike, realise that Yasser Arafat was perfectly correct in his calculation that there were fatter rewards to be earned as the leader of an oppressed stateless nationalist movement than as the prospective life president of a piffling little banana republic without so much as an oil well to its name.

31 May 2014 at 15:55  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

I would like to make the point that to suggest that religious belief is something that one has full choice over is rather to pre-decide the questions about religion v. revelation. Many Muslim conversions to Christianity are apparently as a result of dreams or visions, and often the person concerned does not feel that the revelation leaves them with much choice. It is not at all unknown for the convert to be reluctant but unable to deny what has happened.

Although this lady in theory has the choice to convert to Islam and live, if she has a genuine relationship with Christ it is unthinkable and no real choice at all, as it would mean betraying and denying Jesus and if you deny Him He will have no option but to mirror that denial, which is a fearful and awesome thing, than which nothing can be greater. I believe that we need to be very careful how we use the word "choice" here, not least because it brings up questions of relationship, revelation, but also grace, prevenient grace, and even, for the Calvinists, predestination.

31 May 2014 at 15:55  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

Sorry it did not occur to me as it has now that I might be read as thinking this lady comes under the heading of Muslim converts, which she clearly does not. I was reflecting only on "choice".

31 May 2014 at 15:57  
Blogger Paul said...

The problem with "religious freedom" is: who's such "freedom" you are in favour of. What about the moslems in Sudan who believe that apostates should be killed. After all her father was a moslem and therefore she must be one too - according to them.
That's why wise people establish freedom irrespective of religion: the Law should be applied equally to all.
You lot on here are all in favour of "religious freedom" so long as it's your particular version of it. You certainly oppose it for everyone else.
And yes gay rights are more important than religion - which is a choice - at least it is in the UK.
There are many different types of Christian - and none of them agree on anything much when you get down to it.
You lot would do better to focus on the real threat of Islam to our freedoms and stop whining on about gay people who don't intend to kill, rape and persecute you.
Your constant moaning is only making you a lot of very entrenched enemies.
I would defend your freedom to practice whatever religion you like - so long as it is compatible with our Laws.
Why don't you show the same respect for other sectors of society whom you may not agree with on everything.

31 May 2014 at 16:06  
Blogger Albert said...

Dan,

I think perhaps you misunderstood my point. I was objecting only to the idea that homosexuals deserve special protection rather than equal protection. Since my defence of religious freedom can surely not be in doubt, I am necessarily making a strong claim for the defence of homosexuals.

In a sense, the issue of homosexuality is similar to the case of the lady in question. She can refrain from Christian practice and homosexuals can refrain from homosexual practice. By what reason can one argue that homosexuals are therefore entitled to greater protection?

31 May 2014 at 16:07  
Blogger Albert said...

Paul,

I don't think you've really understood the discussion.

I would defend your freedom to practice whatever religion you like - so long as it is compatible with our Laws.

I think that's what they say in South Sudan.

31 May 2014 at 16:08  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

DanJ0. Not taking that away from you. Merely pointing out a perceived priority Militant Gays feel they deserve. There’s a lot of suffering in this world, but they will tell you they have the worst of it, because they cannot help the way they are. Even in the gay bars of Moscow. Christians on the other hand can just stop being Christians, so they believe. The pain then stops, apparently...

No point trying to wriggle out of that truth – you can’t.

31 May 2014 at 16:23  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

poor woman was subject to an "honour murder"

Yeah, and the BBC on several occasions has said she was 'beaten' to death by some members of her family rather than that the poor woman was stoned to death as recommended in Mein Koranpf while the police stood by.

But this has nothing to do of course with the wonderful gift of cultural enrichment delivered to us by Muslim Paks and Banglas.

Hope Farage and UKIP turn their sights on the damned BBC news editors and govenors as well as the EU when he and his people get someone in to Parliament

31 May 2014 at 16:25  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Perhaps the Sudanese government is mistreating this woman to defend what it sees as the Common Good in Sudan.

31 May 2014 at 16:26  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

31 May 2014 at 16:27  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

FFS! This thread isn't going to turn yet again into another session of Queer Bashin' is it?

31 May 2014 at 16:29  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Albert

A great post, and no he hasn't understood, if he thinks that there is any comparison whatever between any discrimination now in the UK that there might be and the case of a woman shackled to a dirty unhygienic floor having just given birth imprisoned for her faith.

Let me just remind these men who think having a "female side" is about primping and preening what it means to be in her situation.

She is bleeding post birth, and probably uncomfortable, bruised and swollen, and sometimes probably sore and itching. Everytime she breastfeeds a sensation of needles goes through her body and her womb contracts in spasms further causing more pain and bleeding. I don't suppose they have been liberal with the painkillers either. And she is on a dirt floor and shackled. She needs cushions, care, and the support and love of her husband, not contempt, lack of hygiene and shackles. She also has the torture of seeing her 2 year old boy imprisoned.

How exactly on the scale of suffering does this compare to your first world "problems"? It is unimaginative and insensitive to even begin to compare her plight to the position of gays in this society. Have you no sense of scale- at all?

31 May 2014 at 16:32  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "Christians on the other hand can just stop being Christians, so they believe."

I'm sure they can, perhaps with a bit of help. It's just belief at the end of the day, albeit potentially habit-forming. One can envisage organisations called People Can Change, or something similar, run by ardent Muslims wanting to free people from their false religion.

31 May 2014 at 16:38  
Blogger Nick said...

I'm inclined to agree with Dreadnaught. Let's not go off topic. Leave gay issues for another thread

31 May 2014 at 16:46  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

31 May 2014 at 16:48  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dreadnaught: "Yeah, and the BBC on several occasions has said she was 'beaten' to death by some members of her family rather than that the poor woman was stoned to death as recommended in Mein Koranpf while the police stood by."

I'm not disputing that Pakistan [1] has Islamic influence in its legal system ... but the father of the woman described it as an "honour killing", according to the police. Religion usually influences culture, as we know, but this "honour" thing is mostly cultural I think.

[1] Not Sudan as I previously wrote. Oops.

31 May 2014 at 17:02  
Blogger seanrobsville said...

What's happened to the obligatory reassurance that this isn't the Real Islam? As we all know from Cameron's previous pronouncements as a True Scotsman, no real Muslims would do this to women and children. After all, Islam is a religion of peace and there is no compulsion in religion.

So come on Dave, give us the customary taqiyya or stand accused of (gasp!) ISLAMOPHOBIA!!!!!

31 May 2014 at 17:05  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Dreadnaught
"FFS! This thread isn't going to turn yet again into another session of Queer Bashin' is it?"

Well, Happy Jack guesses some people just couldn't resist taking the bait offered:

"Of course, many people can't choose their sexuality, unlike their religious beliefs, so it's especially important to promote rights there."

A woman lies shackled on a prison floor after giving birth and faces the prospect of 2 years imprisonment with her children before being hanged - not for a public or private behaviour but for her faith.

In Happy Jack's mind, there's just no comparison.

31 May 2014 at 17:30  
Blogger The PrangWizard of England said...

All BBC Television said this morning was that she 'gave birth in prison'.

31 May 2014 at 17:37  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Lucy

I completely agree

A third world prison you go to die. They are worse than any nightmare. If she is shackled to the floor she would not have been able to wash for weeks. That would not be unusual.

To compare her suffering to gays who chose their own lifestyle it utterly repulsive and it tells you a lot about the gay selfishness that they see any comparison.

Make no mistake, the poor woman is imprison as a direct result of the moral delinquency of the West.

Gays are therefore part of the issue whether we like it or not.

Phil

31 May 2014 at 17:44  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Phil: "To compare her suffering to gays who chose their own lifestyle it utterly repulsive and it tells you a lot about the gay selfishness that they see any comparison."

Firstly, hasn't she chosen her own lifestyle too? Secondly, where's this comparison? Have I missed something?

31 May 2014 at 17:54  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Lucy, Phil Roberts,

I know nothing about 3rd World prisons but assuming they are as terrible as we are being told, including by her own husband who is unlikely to be lying it seems to me, then the question is, can she survive ?

Even in the most basic of circumstances, say in a tribal 3rd W situation, then having just given birth, she would be cared for by the other women who will have much traditional wisdom and herbal medical skills, sufficient to cope with the normal course of events. I would imagine too that she would be given nutritious food to assist her recovery, healing and to support her breast feeding. But she is alone, with no human assistance. It is too awful to contemplate.

Truly the shame of the western countries, like the US and our own, with its relentless focus on just certain groups who wield media influence is indeed beyond measure - truly shocking.

31 May 2014 at 18:03  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

DanJo

So she deserves it then, by becoming a Christian?

Phil



31 May 2014 at 18:05  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Phil: "So she deserves it then, by becoming a Christian?"

That's your sort of disgusting and immoral argument, not mine. I'm a liberal, you see. She deserves nothing of the sort as far as I am concerned, she should be free to be a Christian or not as she sees fit.

31 May 2014 at 18:12  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Lucy

Prisons and most hospitals

You know what they are without reading the sign.

The smell makes you retch, even outside.

Usually however, better conditions can be paid for if you have the money.

Usually also if you have the money, you will not go to prison in the first place. Something would have been “worked out” for her.

The fact that she is chained to the floor even though money must be available by now for better conditions/release does not make me hopeful.

Phil

31 May 2014 at 18:16  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

DanJo

Rest assured that I am completely sure that in this instance, you and I both agree (despite you being a liberal) that she should be free.

Phil

31 May 2014 at 18:20  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Phil: "Rest assured that I am completely sure that in this instance, you and I both agree (despite you being a liberal) that she should be free."

So why the weird question?

31 May 2014 at 18:26  
Blogger anonymous-soldier said...

Why is Colombia in the list of countries that persecute Christians?

31 May 2014 at 18:27  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

DanJo

DanJo

"So why the weird question?"

Just checking.

Nice to know that we stand together.

Phil

31 May 2014 at 18:35  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Phil: "Just checking. Nice to know that we stand together."

We don't. You are inclined to adopt Judge Pickles type arguments, which I find morally repulsive. Furthermore, you don't need to "just" check as I am a liberal so freedom is a core value to me.

31 May 2014 at 18:43  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I see the Guardian is now reporting that she will be freed within days, following worldwide protests. Let's hope so.

31 May 2014 at 18:57  
Blogger Shadrach said...

Cranmer said; Perhaps if the churches were to speak out more forcefully.

No chance. If you think that the church will do that your on a losing ticket. Despite AofC going to the Middle East and talking about suffering, as to doing anything other than their socialist agenda, Forget it.

31 May 2014 at 19:02  
Blogger Nick said...

It's in the DT too. This had better be true and not some political posturing by the Sudanese. If the Sudanese government are deceiving everybody over this then the worldwide condemnation could (and should) grow.

31 May 2014 at 19:04  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

It's a weird system when the executive there seems to be able to change the sentence irrespective of the judiciary.

31 May 2014 at 19:05  
Blogger Nick said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

31 May 2014 at 19:08  
Blogger Nick said...

Shadrach, The CofE is too busy with heresies and trivia to actually get out and protect the flock. The response from the CofE has been feeble and disgraceful. Note also the lack of condemnation from our Muslim "brothers and sisters" in this country. Shame on the lot of them.

31 May 2014 at 19:08  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0 @ 19:05

Sudan has a system?

31 May 2014 at 19:23  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

DanJo

"I am a liberal so freedom is a core value to me"

yeah right

Who's freedom?

Phil

31 May 2014 at 19:28  
Blogger Albert said...

Lucy,

To return the compliment, I think that's an excellent post - very thought provoking @1632. I think you have brought out that, if ever there is a group deserving of special "extra" human rights it's pregnant women, women giving birth, and in the care required immediately after birth. I marvel that anyone would doubt that, after reading your post. Matters are made worse by the fact that she already has a son, who would therefore lose his mother and has been without her. Hard to see how any group could have a greater claim to human rights than she.

Thanks be to God, I see Khartoum has over-turned the sentence and she is to be freed. But not before the rest of the world has come to see their country as a cesspit of barbarism. And what have they done to the name of Islam? Please God, other Muslim countries will learn.

31 May 2014 at 19:31  
Blogger Albert said...

Anonymous-soldier,

Why is Colombia in the list of countries that persecute Christians?

It's because of things like drug cartels etc. Often the Church is the only organisation that is on the ground in these places and speaking out against the violence. Persecution of Christians in these places is actually quite common. Priests get murdered on the steps of Cathedrals etc.

31 May 2014 at 19:35  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Phil: "yeah right Who's freedom?"

It's curious that you make these statements yet I have consistently said over the years that I fully support Article 9 of the ECHR. I defend freedom almost every time I post here, including that of our Muslim citizens as expected by Article 9. It's a sad state of affairs when you're reduced to making statements like that to shore up your own moral paucity.

31 May 2014 at 19:39  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Freed in a few days, Hmmm, it takes three days for a cheque to clear!

They must have read His Grace's article today and panicked.

31 May 2014 at 19:40  
Blogger Nick said...

Anonymous soldier

You can read a brief summary about the persecution of Chrisitians in Colombia here...

http://www.opendoorsuk.org/resources/worldwatch/colombia.php

31 May 2014 at 19:41  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Phil

The issue not "Whose freedom?" but rather "Freedom to do what?". Freedom is not a verb. You can't "do freedom. " To assert freedom is to beg the question of limits on freedom - how they are established and by what authority. That is where the real argument lies. Everyone loves freedom and everyone also knows that freedom is not unlimited. Ultimately this becomes (as always) an issue of authority. Whence cometh the knowledge of the good, the right, the true by which we may set limits? That's the proper avenue of attack.

When men say "Religion restricts my freedom" they mean "I don't want limits set according to that authority." And what authority will they offer in substitute? You will wait in vain for an answer.

carl

31 May 2014 at 19:54  
Blogger Martin said...

If you are a Christian you didn't get a choice about it, God chose you before time.

A homosexual is such merely because of sexual activity, it is a choice.

Martin

31 May 2014 at 19:54  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

The BBC website has the news too:

Sudanese authorities are to free [Meriam Ibrahim], a Foreign Ministry official says.

But Amnesty International, to their credit, are being more cautious:

An official from Sudan's Foreign Ministry told the BBC on 31 May that Sudan plans to release Meriam. This is incredible news if true, but until Meriam can walk free, and all charges of apostasy and adultery are dropped, we will continue to call on the authorities to make sure Meriam and her children face no further persecution.

BBC link:
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-27651483

Amnesty link:
https://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions/sudan-execution-apostasy-pregnant-woman-mother-meriam-yahya-ibrahim-christian

31 May 2014 at 20:01  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Martin: "A homosexual is such merely because of sexual activity, it is a choice."

I'm homosexual irrespective of any sexual activity, as are other homosexuals. You can't just define us away simply to make yourself feel better, you know. It's cowardice at the end of the day. Look your religion and its implications in the eye.

"If you are a Christian you didn't get a choice about it, God chose you before time."

I don't suppose devout Muslims in Sudan or anywhere else accept that. You want an authority in your life, I expect, so you assert one just like Muslims do. That fact that both Christians and Muslims do so, and that Christians fight amongst themselves over the details, shows exactly how little that really should pull on the rest of us.

31 May 2014 at 20:04  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

DanJo

"moral paucity"

Absolutely

Good for me that I am a Christian

Phil

31 May 2014 at 20:15  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Phil: "Good for me that I am a Christian"

Well, you self-identify as one but that may be a different thing. I'd rather hope to see things like compassion flowing from your life "in Christ" if there was any basis to it, or your part in it.

31 May 2014 at 20:23  
Blogger Albert said...

For anyone who is interested, there is an excellent post from Damian Thompson on this here:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/damianthompson/100274159/meriam-ibrahim-to-be-freed-but-there-will-be-many-more-like-her-so-lets-stop-funding-islamism/

31 May 2014 at 20:27  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Carl

DanJo would probably trot out Article 9 of the ECHR (or similar) to answer your question.

In his case freedom would be an evolving thing that every year would mean something different depending upon what the majority decide is fair.

Minorities of course cannot complain of what the majority decide is in their best interests.

Phil

31 May 2014 at 20:31  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Phil: "In his case freedom would be an evolving thing that every year would mean something different depending upon what the majority decide is fair. Minorities of course cannot complain of what the majority decide is in their best interests."

The overwhelming irony there must surely be unintended?

31 May 2014 at 20:39  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Freedom means the absence of constraint. It means the same every year. Negative liberty is about lack of external constraint, and positive liberty is about self-realisation inasmuch as people may be internally constrained without realising it. Again, I've said this enough times in different ways over the years. This "DanJo" of Phil's seems to be an artificial construction to justify bigotry, quite removed from the real "DanJ0" who posts comments here.

31 May 2014 at 20:48  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Danjo,
"Freedom means the absence of constraint. It means the same every year. Negative liberty is about lack of external constraint, and positive liberty is about self-realisation inasmuch as people may be internally constrained without realising it."

Interesting.

Happy Jack would invite you to consider and respond to this comment by Carl:

"Freedom is not a verb. You can't "do freedom. " To assert freedom is to beg the question of limits on freedom - how they are established and by what authority. That is where the real argument lies. Everyone loves freedom and everyone also knows that freedom is not unlimited. Ultimately this becomes (as always) an issue of authority. Whence cometh the knowledge of the good, the right, the true by which we may set limits? That's the proper avenue of attack.

When men say "Religion restricts my freedom" they mean "I don't want limits set according to that authority." And what authority will they offer in substitute? You will wait in vain for an answer."

31 May 2014 at 20:58  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

DanJo

Compassion?

I have the same compassion for homosexuality as I do for obesity

You do miss the point however,

Self identifying is the crux of the matter for Christians!

I am saved by grace, not by anything I do.

Phil

31 May 2014 at 21:08  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I knew you couldn't continue to sit on your hands, Dodo. I responded to the point indirectly at 20:04 although on different terms to what was intended. As he said, we all love freedom ... usually our own it has to be said. On that basis, valuing freedom in the abstract doesn't seem to be too much of a stretch to the fair-minded. I could of course assert a counter authority, such as the Papua New Guinean mud god, Pikkiwoki, if you like. If none is true then what difference does it make to the universe? We have to carry on and I'm seeing Christians and Muslims asserting different authorities. Why should I accept one over the other, or either of the two? I've asked you this before but I recall you failing to respond. Perhaps you could do so now since you seem keen to get involved now you think you're in a crowd?

31 May 2014 at 21:13  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Danjo

"Minorities of course cannot complain of what the majority decide is in their best interests"

No irony. They cannot complain because dissent is not allowed in your utopia

Why should they the argument goes? The majority has decided so what is decided, must be right

Phil

31 May 2014 at 21:13  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Phil: "I am saved by grace, not by anything I do."

Over to the left-footers ...

31 May 2014 at 21:14  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Phil: "No irony. They cannot complain because dissent is not allowed in your utopia"

Again, all I can point out is your lies. I clearly value diversity and I've said it often enough here. I value freedom and I've self-identified as a liberal in the JS Mill tradition often enough here. I welcome freedom of speech and I've talked about a marketplace of ideas often enough here. What does it gain you to lie so blatantly? Have you no self-respect?

31 May 2014 at 21:18  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

The original article said that gay rights is an issue when aid is decided, yet as was also stated we give aid to Sudan, and it seems hard to believe that a country prepared to execute apostates from Islam has a thriving gay scene...

31 May 2014 at 21:24  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Also, I'm sure anyone who has read JS Mill will know his position about the tyranny of the majority. This is the stuff of facepalms at the moment.

31 May 2014 at 21:26  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Over to the left-footers ...

Thanks for the cue, DanJo, but I don't think this is the time or place.

31 May 2014 at 21:29  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Danjo

There's no reason at all why you should accept Christianity as a faith. You either believe or you don't; wilfully or through no fault of your own. However, you might want to reflect on the fact that Christianity works as a basis for a good and healthy society.

So no answer to Carl's comment:

"When men say "Religion restricts my freedom" they mean "I don't want limits set according to that authority." And what authority will they offer in substitute? You will wait in vain for an answer."

Did you answer Carl's question? All you ever do is deny God and answer with: "I could of course assert a counter authority, such as the Papua New Guinean mud god, Pikkiwoki."

So, what authority do you assert and what does it rest upon?

31 May 2014 at 21:31  
Blogger Albert said...

Come on DanJo, you started this by an extraordinary piece of attention seeking, which, I doubt you really believe, and which has been shown to be utterly offensively wrong, both in content and in place by Lucy @1632.

31 May 2014 at 21:35  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

DanJo

So it is just so reassuring that you have our best interests at heart.

That we can continue to ……………. well the fact is it is whatever you allow really

Thank you DanJo for guarding our liberty

Phil

31 May 2014 at 21:40  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Inspector back from the ‘Mouse’, and the worse for drink, it cannot be denied...

Now where were we. Ah yes, muslims. Dreadful people. Shouldn’t be allowed.

But what’s this ! DanJ0 taking over the thread (again) and grooming everybody as usual. No change there then. He’s managed to hitch a lift on some poor woman’s misery. Heartless blighter....

Anyway, turning in shortly. Early rise tomorrow. In charge of Dawn Patrol, you see.

Cheery Pip !


31 May 2014 at 21:41  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "So, what authority do you assert and what does it rest upon?"

This argument is just another form of the relative versus absolute morality thing and I answer it each time on that basis. There's a difference between a sound argument and a valid argument, you know. I simply kick the supporting premise away and his argument collapses.

"However, you might want to reflect on the fact that Christianity works as a basis for a good and healthy society."

History seems to contradict that, I'd say. That said, it's an interesting appeal you're essentially making. You're setting up non-religious standards for us by which to judge what is good, and you have unstated assumptions about what is a healthy society. One might also point back to Phil's post where he said this: "Minorities of course cannot complain of what the majority decide is in their best interests." Strangely, he's not pursuing you even though you regularly oscillate between paternalism and authoritarianism, and nominally believe that all mankind should behave in a certain template way.

31 May 2014 at 21:51  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Phil: "So it is just so reassuring that you have our best interests at heart."

No. Crikey, this is painful. I believe that you should have the freedom to pursue your own interests as you see them, subject to living in a complex and diverse society. That's the essence of liberalism, really. Sometimes I despair.

31 May 2014 at 21:54  
Blogger Nick said...

"He’s managed to hitch a lift on some poor woman’s misery."

Couldn't agree more Inspector. I'm sad that this thread, which is about a real life-or-death issue has been hijacked and taken off-topic.

31 May 2014 at 21:57  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Albert: "Come on DanJo, you started this by an extraordinary piece of attention seeking [...]"

You clamour for my attention and I almost always deny it to you, which royally pisses you off because no-one says no to Albert. Now sod off.

31 May 2014 at 21:58  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Nick: "Couldn't agree more Inspector. I'm sad that this thread, which is about a real life-or-death issue has been hijacked and taken off-topic."

It's about overseas aid and the criteria on which it is given, drawing attention to the promotion of gay rights and not religious liberty.

31 May 2014 at 22:05  
Blogger Albert said...

DanJo,

You clamour for my attention

You really do suffer from spot-light syndrome don't you? What actually happens is that you write something that denigrates something I believe in. Despite the fact that I think you are one of the most unpleasant people, I often reply, because, in agreement with your alleged emphasis on freedom, I believe in my right to defend the things I believe in. You see, it's a freedom thing. Lots of people attack things I believe in here, and I reply to lots of people. You are the only person with the narcissism to think I am seeking your attention.

which royally pisses you off

Again, you just don't understand yourself. If you don't reply to my answer to you, then my answer is left standing, and since my replies are designed to defend the beliefs you have attacked, that rather suits me. Don't you understand?

Now sod off.

No, it's a freedom thing. I'll stay, thank you.

31 May 2014 at 22:16  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Albert: "No, it's a freedom thing. I'll stay, thank you."

I'm simply dismissing you from my attention, so spare me your absurd pomposity.

31 May 2014 at 22:25  
Blogger Albert said...

DanJo,

I'm simply dismissing you from my attention

No you're not. You're petulant and spiteful and you like to get rid of people by attempting to intimidate them.

Now, your attention-seeking has worked. You are now in the spotlight, poor Meriam Ibrahim has disappeared off the radar. It doesn't look good, as numerous posters have pointed out. I suggest that if you can't keep focused on her plight without drawing everything back to yourself, that perhaps you spare us your own pomposity and attention.

31 May 2014 at 22:36  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

I was just reading yesterday about the freedom of Gilbert Imlay. He had a brief three month affair with Mary Wollstonecraft that ended the day she announced she was pregnant. No tears. No parting. He just suddenly discovered he had to travel for business, and didn't come back.

He was free, after all.

carl

31 May 2014 at 22:37  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I see that we give about £52M to Sudan in ODA, and about £110M to South Sudan, from about £100M to the combined Sudan before the split.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/254277/Statistics_on_International_Development_2013a.pdf

31 May 2014 at 22:38  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

31 May 2014 at 22:42  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Albert: "Now, your attention-seeking has worked. You are now in the spotlight, poor Meriam Ibrahim has disappeared off the radar. It doesn't look good, as numerous posters have pointed out. I suggest that if you can't keep focused on her plight without drawing everything back to yourself, that perhaps you spare us your own pomposity and attention."

I appear to be in your spotlight now, you bloody hypocrite. And how you can talk about trying to intimidate people when you were gloating recently about kicking a-theists whenever you can, and even pursuing poor Sister Tibs around so she barely comes here now? You make me want to vomit, and not just because you give me the heeby-jeebies

31 May 2014 at 22:43  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

The point is that DanJo and liberals like him is part of Meriam and many other's problem.

Meriam in the eyes of Muslims is equated to DanJo and people like him

Phil

31 May 2014 at 22:44  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0

subject to living in a complex and diverse society.

We don't need to go over that ground again. I was just hoping you might flesh out that "subject to" clause with something more substantial than "We should permit the things I think would benefit me, and restrict the things I think would harm me." Which is not really an answer, but is the only answer you have ever given.

carl

31 May 2014 at 22:56  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "Which is not really an answer, but is the only answer you have ever given."

What you're really doing each time is setting up a contrivance where the authority of a imagined creator god of our entire universe somehow trumps just carrying on as best we can based on our understanding of human nature given that we have no objective knowledge of such a god. You try to control the terms to force a false dichotomy (as ever) but it doesn't really work in real life, especially when one can just point to Allah as an alternative absolute authority.

31 May 2014 at 23:07  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0

I haven't referred to God at all. I am simply asking you how you set limits on freedom. The only answer you have ever given is an appeal to empathy - which is nothing but a self-referential appeal to one's desires and fears. You are arguing as if you have a more legitimate method - certainly more so than anything I would provide - and yet you never state what that method is. You never establish why it is more legitimate. Can you state any basis at all for these limits that does not ultimately reduce to your arbitrary opinion?

carl

31 May 2014 at 23:19  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I note that the blog owner hasn't framed his two articles in those terms. As I recall, the first questioned the theological basis of the claims within Islam itself, and this one questions the criteria for given foreign aid in terms of human rights. One could of course make a partisan religious judgement about the rights and wrongs of the Sudanese State but that has very limited traction in the real world. Why would the Sudanese State accept a Christian judgement when it operates an Islamic legal system? Better to adopt a realpolitik approach, using sticks and carrots, to promote religious freedom instead. One might ask what the basis of the UK promoting freedom internationally is? If it's liberalism in the British tradition then our government ought to be promoting freedom itself, rather than gay rights, or womens rights, or religious rights, because we believe it can help bring countries out of poverty ... which is the primary purpose of overseas development aid.

31 May 2014 at 23:21  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Danjo, Happy Jack will answer despite the objections of some. You are right, the thread has a meta-message about religious liberty and foreign aid.

"You're setting up non-religious standards for us by which to judge what is good, and you have unstated assumptions about what is a healthy society."

Is Happy Jack doing this? He has stated many times that all societies are founded on the relationships between men and women in procreating and raising children. Those that 'work' establish mores and social rules that regulate sexual activity. They entail, for the most part, life long commitment and fidelity. This establishes extended family relationships and communities. None sanction the pursuit of simple sexual gratification. The direction of the sexual urge is always towards the purpose of sex - unity and procreation.

There are other issues that are critically important too. Read the Ten Commandments. The rules are all there for a healthy society.

Where the Christian dimension comes in, in 2014, is the application of 'Golden Rule' of Jesus, His teachings on social justice, helping and serving others and the appreciation of equality of all as persons before God. Read the Sermon on the Mount and the Parables.

"This argument is just another form of the relative versus absolute morality thing and I answer it each time on that basis."

Is it? Jack believes men and women are made in a certain way and that there is a way of living in conformity with this that is more likely to increase overall wellbeing.

Here's your stated belief:

"I believe that you should have the freedom to pursue your own interests as you see them, subject to living in a complex and diverse society. That's the essence of liberalism, really."

It just says nothing. Do you think it is working? It has to be based on an underlying set of assumptions about the nature of man. What are yours? What is this thing called "self realisation"?

Who, how, on what basis is it determined if the pursuit of a particular interest is harmful or positive? How are different interests to be balanced to avoid toxins taking hold on society?

Christians differ on strategies and policies in worldly affairs. None, in 2014, would resort to what Sudan is putting Meriam Yehya Ibrahim through.

31 May 2014 at 23:22  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "The only answer you have ever given is an appeal to empathy - which is nothing but a self-referential appeal to one's desires and fears."

I've done various things in the past as I recall, including waving an airy hand at Rawls and his A Theory of Justice. If there is no theistic god, and our reality appears to be functionally indistinguishable from one where there is no theistic god, then how should we carry on? Make a theistic god up anyway? Construct a society based on collectively agreed principles? Someone fight for power and use it to construct a society on their whims, either benignly or otherwise?

"Can you state any basis at all for these limits that does not ultimately reduce to your arbitrary opinion?"

You appear to be drifting towards the relative versus absolute morality thing, just as I said. Let's for the sake of argument say that I simply state that it's ultimately my (why my?) arbitrary opinion. If you can't substantiate your religious belief over someone else's then how your assertion of authority any more legitimate in reality than an arbitrary one? You're no ultimately better than a stone-age priest in a stone circle interpreting an eclipse or a thunderstorm as divine anger.

31 May 2014 at 23:34  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Danjo, Happy Jack also meant to add that all the sages who have talked about "self realisation" have come to similar conclusions. This includes the psychologists who introduced these concepts essentially from Eastern religions.

The achievement of this "self realisation" or "self actualisation" is always an abandonment of self interest and the release from earthly pleasures and miseries. Where they differ is on the path one treads towards its achievement.

What's your path?

31 May 2014 at 23:52  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "Danjo, Happy Jack will answer despite the objections of some. You are right, the thread has a meta-message about religious liberty and foreign aid."

Blimey. I'm glad someone has seen that, even if it's just you. ;)

"Is Happy Jack doing this?"

Yes. You've asserted that Christianity is "a basis for a good and healthy society". What's good? What constitutes a healthy society?

"Those that 'work' establish mores and social rules that regulate sexual activity."

I knew you'd be talking about sex again shortly.

"There are other issues that are critically important too. Read the Ten Commandments. The rules are all there for a healthy society."

The first four are about monotheistic religion, the next one is about family dynamics, the next four are common ethics useful for any community, and the final three exhort people not to focus on the possessions of others as they may lead to property crime.

"Where the Christian dimension comes in, in 2014, is the application of 'Golden Rule' of Jesus"

That's an old, old ethic and a rather obvious for community living where basic equality is recognised I'd say.

"It just says nothing. Do you think it is working? It has to be based on an underlying set of assumptions about the nature of man. What are yours?"

It says a lot, I think. Also, I think it is working very well as it goes. I think we're extremely lucky to be living in the UK at this time in history. We're blessed. As for assumptions about human nature, they're observable in the real world, unlike yours. We're all members of a gregarious, self-aware species and our personalities are partially constructed from DNA variations. Our essential individuality and its consequences is obvious.

"Who, how, on what basis is it determined if the pursuit of a particular interest is harmful or positive?"

You know this, really. It's about harm to individuals in practice. The difference is that you favour paternalism, at best, and authoritarianism, at worst. That is, you want to control individuals in order to pursue an social ideal. I find it a bit odd that some muppets here throw labels around alluding to social Marxism yet it's always at proper liberals like me rather than people like you whom history has shown to be dangerous when in power.

"How are different interests to be balanced to avoid toxins taking hold on society?"

Toxins? I don't recognise that drive as being why different interests are handled as they are when they conflict.

1 June 2014 at 00:02  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "Danjo, Happy Jack also meant to add that all the sages who have talked about "self realisation" have come to similar conclusions. This includes the psychologists who introduced these concepts essentially from Eastern religions."

You clearly don't know what I was talking about when I used that term if you're running away on that weird tangent, and I really can't be bothered explaining more other than it's about a certain type of freedom, such as (say) a working class youth recognising that he can succeed at university despite his upbringing.

1 June 2014 at 00:05  
Blogger Len said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1 June 2014 at 01:00  
Blogger Len said...

It would seem that reading through the posts that we have an actual victim and one who has a victim mentality( which is prevalent in the Western World.)
Well the focus should be on the victim and the violation of her human rights but as someone has said their are many Christians(as this is the case under discussion) who are in similar predicaments worldwide.
And before it is mentioned that there are homosexuals under threat (mainly in Islamic Countries) I am appalled at that to.
But there should be a clear distinction between the attitudes of Islam and Christianity towards those who are defined as 'sinners'.
John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

And the attitude of Islam towards what Islam considers to be 'sinners' has been witnessed in the treatment of Meriam Yehya Ibrahim and countless others who have been maimed and executed for their beliefs.

1 June 2014 at 01:02  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Danjo, Happy Jack will try to run through your arguments.

"You've asserted that Christianity is "a basis for a good and healthy society". What's good? What constitutes a healthy society?"

One where people work and live together and ensure one another's welfare and wellbeing. Where individual advantage is mitigated by concern for others.

"I knew you'd be talking about sex again shortly."

Jack was actually talking about security for children and family bonds as the basic building block of communal living.

"The first four are about monotheistic religion, the next one is about family dynamics, the next four are common ethics useful for any community, and the final three exhort people not to focus on the possessions of others as they may lead to property crime.2

Precisely. Remove those relating specifically to God and you have the basis for successful family and communal living. These were radical ideas at the time.

"That's an old, old ethic and a rather obvious for community living where basic equality is recognised I'd say."

Jesus Christ was exceptional in His teaching on the 'Golden Rule'. Research it. He was the first to present it in positive terms - do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And to love your neighbour as yourself - this was unique.

"I think we're extremely lucky to be living in the UK at this time in history. We're blessed."

The West is founded on control of individual passions, social justice, the equality of persons and the rule of law. All derive from Christianity.

"As for assumptions about human nature, they're observable in the real world, unlike yours."

The state of man is observable.

"We're all members of a gregarious, self-aware species and our personalities are partially constructed from DNA variations. Our essential individuality and its consequences is obvious.2

Yes, and we all have a tendency to seek our own interests at the expense of others. Your view of people needs to take into account the propensity to be selfish.

"The difference is that you favour paternalism, at best, and authoritarianism, at worst. That is, you want to control individuals in order to pursue an social ideal."

That's not true. And you? What restraint and on what basis would you set limits to human behaviour? Harm? To the individual or to the community? Meaning?

"Toxins? I don't recognise that drive as being why different interests are handled as they are when they conflict."

Toxins are the manifestation of human nature left unchecked - greed, lust, gluttony, sloth, wrath, envy and pride. They lead to division, a lack of social justice and self-centeredness.

This is where your profession of belief falls short:

"I believe that you should have the freedom to pursue your own interests as you see them, subject to living in a complex and diverse society. That's the essence of liberalism, really."

Are your set of assumptions about human nature borne out by the facts?

"You clearly don't know what I was talking about when I used that term" (self realisation) "if you're running away on that weird tangent, and I really can't be bothered explaining more other than it's about a certain type of freedom, such as (say) a working class youth recognising that he can succeed at university despite his upbringing."

Happy Jack thought you were using it in its proper sense. Why would a working class youth want to succeed at University? The term refers to realising one's full potential and that goes beyond the mundane and the material.

1 June 2014 at 01:13  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

I don't think we should be giving any aid to muslim lead countries, and I don't see why Christians would want to live in some of them anyway when there is little or no hope of them bringing a more civilised influence upon their ingrained and brainwashed inhabitants' lives.
Get out and let the more civilised world condemn them for their barbarity.

We have rising troubles in our own country, reading the eye opening article about the Islamist mayor of Tower Hamlets the authorities have been turning blind eye to his shenanigans and letting him get away with murder. He and his Bangladeshi crew are lowering our standard of living in this country.

“The returning officer was about to announce the result,” said Mr Miah. “Then the mayor in person came down and said you must recount.”

“The recount, with five other wards, took place the next day. “When we went to the new count centre, we saw Lutfur talking to his candidate, saying, don’t worry, you will definitely win.” According to many witnesses, last Sunday’s count was even worse than the day before.

“There were far fewer controls over who got into the building. Lutfur Rahman supporters were everywhere, leaning over the count staff, shouting at them, intimidating them, jabbing fingers,” said Peter Golds, the leader of the Conservative opposition. “

“But it is the mayor’s politics of racial and faith favouritism which are doing most to poison the atmosphere. Tower Hamlets is a genuinely mixed borough, 45 per cent white and 32 per cent Bangladeshi, and no part of it is a ghetto.

Yet of Mr Rahman’s 18 councillors elected last week, all are Bangladeshi (and 17 are men). He has never appointed a non-Bangladeshi to his council cabinet, though he says that is because none will join.”

“Officially, Mr Rahman is an apostle of “One Tower Hamlets,” champion of East End tolerance. In practice, his supporters vilify all those who oppose him as racists. Council meetings have often been toxic, with Mr Rahman’s supporters in the gallery chanting homophobic abuse at his main opponents, who happen to be gay, as the mayor looks on.

For years, the authorities have essentially looked on too. Ofcom regularly censures Channel S, but it appears to make no difference.”

I think this is all very shocking, it should not be happening here in Britain. We are a decent society on the whole but stuff like this is pulling us down the their third world level.

Too much religious freedom is not a good thing, it brings much confusion and conflict. Religion here needs to be graded in order of how civilised it is. Christianity comes top of the list here in a country that is overcrowded with humans from many differing cultures followed closely by Judaism, until we get to the least humane and civilised, Islam bottom of the list so they can only have a minimal number of mosques, no schools, and no dress (Pyjamas and Burkhas)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10867666/Stolen-election-in-the-heart-of-London.html

1 June 2014 at 01:17  
Blogger Born Again Agnostic said...

' [the] life of a Christian is worth less than the life of a homosexual' - they're not mutually exclusive you know... My understanding of the Christian Gospel is that there aren’t gradations of human beings, but perhaps His Grace has a different understanding of Christianity... Where he and his kind are superior to the lowly poufters... Galatians 3:28 is not worth considering when Lev 18:22 open the door to cheap righteousness...


But ain’t that what Christians are supposed to do – suffer for their faith? The Bible says so... But of course, a literal reading of the Bible tends to be when it concerns what other do (or more truthfully what is imagined they do, in genitally fixated minds of the prurient Puritans...) with their genitals rather than anything that might be actually costly to the self...

Let's face, societies that have tolerant attitudes to ‘gays’ are also the same societies that score far better on other social wholesomeness stakes (where in the Western world do we find the highest rates of divorce, low-parenthood, teen pregnancy, violent crime, obesity, murder? – why in Bible Belt America: where do we find the lowest – those liberal Scandinavian societies....). ANY society that tends to have a hang up about gays and is vocal in its condemnation etc. tends to likewise be a society where corruption is rife and honesty in short supply (go and live in Sub-Saharan Africa and just see how ‘orthodox’ are many of our Christian brethren when it comes to honesty, theft, adultery, sex before marriage, corruption etc. – but they know Lev 18:22 and how to knot a noose don’t they...?).

Whatever, aid usually does come with strings - a few more can’t hurt. Tho’ personally I think we should stop aid all together. It does nothing but foster dependence. Many south east Asian countries haven’t had the aid that’s been pumped into Africa and yet have managed to work hard and bring themselves up to Western standards of living. It’s time to let Africa sort its own problems out – and let the west, with its unspoken attitude of White superiority - keep its nose out (tho’ obviously in cases like Meriam Yehya Ibrahim or the school girls abducted in Nigeria international help should be given!).

1 June 2014 at 02:47  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1 June 2014 at 07:04  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...



Born Again Agnostic

Lev 18:22 and Galatians 3:28 are not opposed to each other as you suggest.

The passages are about different things.

If Paul intended to use the Galatians passage to indicate that Jesus now says (after all he was taught by the apostles) was that homosexuality was now OK. He would not have condemned it specifically in his other letters.

As to your other “statistics”

Divorce:

Sweden has the highest rate of divorce

http://www.darndivorce.com/divorce-rates-around-the-world/

If you take the next country then it is the US. However, I think using these statistics in this way is meaningless. Far better to use divorce rates from practicing Christians (Very low).

To further confuse the issue of gathering data there are those that say they are Christian but rarely attend a church.

Low-parenthood, teen pregnancy:

One of the most dangerous places for a child to grow up is with where the mother is living with a new partner with her children, but is not married to him. (Between 20 to 50 times more likely for the child to be abused). Likewise the influence of the father in the family seems to be a crucial factor in reducing teen pregnancies. Again the limited stats we have is that for practicing Christians the number of teen pregnancies is very low. However, you could also argue that perhaps a Christian girl finding herself pregnant, might be less likely to murder her unborn child and so this would also affect the stats.

Violent crime, obesity, murder:

I am not sure why you put obesity in the middle of this list anyway, Scandinavian countries (as is most of Europe) is mainly made up of old people. Old people by and large do not commit violent crime, no matter where they live.

Obesity: I agree with you. The Scandinavians have got it right. Whether nor not it is because they have a liberal society?
(In this you seem to mean tolleration of gays. they certainly are not "liberal" societies in some other ways)
BTW the scandinavian countries seem to be in the process of moving away from their liberal past.

Phil

1 June 2014 at 07:08  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo, all you've really done up there is write platitudes, or slide meaning away from what was actually written again. I'll simply leave it up there undisturbed I think.

1 June 2014 at 07:16  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Judging by the article that has just appeared on "Conservative Home" there is mounting pressure for protection for religious minorities, linked to the giving of foreign aid.

The article in The Times and elsewhere may well have started a flow of those arguing for such a linkage - let us hope and pray so.

It's about time for Hague to stop dithering and show some constructive leadership - after all it's British taxpayers' money that he is using so freely.

1 June 2014 at 07:59  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

I wonder whether those attending Sunday Services will be hearing about things like this from their outraged vicars and priests.

Muslims in Egypt, in the village of Dalga, murdered a Christian man right in front of his son by riddling his body with bullets, then they dragged his body to the mosque. When they arrived at the mosque, they tied his body to a tractor and then mutilated the corpse as they screamed “Allahu Akbar!”

Read more: http://www.maghrebchristians.com/2014/05/19/christian-father-killed-in-front-of-his-son/#ixzz33N2xt9BF

1 June 2014 at 08:43  
Blogger Nick said...

Dreadnaught.

Took a look at the article and there seems to be some dispute about the location of the incident; some saying its a muslim man being murdered by other muslims in Lebanon. Either way, it's an example of Islamic barbarism (as if we actully needed any more proof of that).

1 June 2014 at 09:33  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Born Again Agnostic

Also it is interesting with the teen pregnancies.

My wife was a teenager when she was pregnant with our first child.

We were married (and still are with 6 more children) but I have often wondered if these teen pregnancies are actually recorded as such in the stats?

Christians generally tend to get married earlier and so have children at a younger age. This would also affect the stats

Also on the whole moral issue. I would not like to argue as a Christian that I am any more moral than you or even DanJo here.

The whole point of becoming a Christian is not to reach a certain standard of morality. Then you are OK. You are saved if your life is a mess and you believe.

The morality comes later because we believe, not because we have a certain standard to reach with God to be acceptable to him.

Phil

1 June 2014 at 09:39  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Born Again Agnostic @ 02:47

The highest rates of divorce, low parenthood (Single parents, or no kids?), teenage pregnancy, violent crime etc are in the Bible Belt.

Is religion the cause?

What about this?

Welfare programs in the US have often not had the humane results intended: the effects on the black community, in particular, have apparently been catastrophic: teen pregnancy, single parenthood, marital collapse, violence etc.*

75% of the black Americans live in the southern states.

* I don't have the exact details at my fingertips, but I can track down some statistics if you need them.

1 June 2014 at 10:15  
Blogger Albert said...

Explorer,

A further issue to point out is that the Bible belt has the lowest economic prospects in the US. One wonders therefore if, given that circumstances, Christianity in the Bible Belt is actually mitigating the effects of the poor economy. To bring this question back to the original post, it's pretty obvious that Christians are being wickedly persecuted across huge portions of the Islamic world. And yet the levels of Christian terrorism and violence seem pretty small.

1 June 2014 at 10:45  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1 June 2014 at 11:10  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Nick

Fair enough point you make; as you say its Islamic barbarism which ever way it sits, but this lynching by 'holy' writ is going on all over the world. 9/11, 7/7 and Drummer Rigby's murder in this country, is passed of as being atypical of the average Muslim when it is denfinitively not.

For a Muslim to be 'radicalised' needs only for there to be a Muslim available to another Muslim.

The Western cultural mindset has been manipulated by Church and Politics to deny that Islamic scripture endorses and demands such behaviour.

My point is, that unless people are made aware by others from whom they are likely to be influenced, such as the clergy and political leaders, this story will simply be tomorrows chip-papers by then end of the week.

Thankfully the internet and blogs such as this must survive to give ordinary people insight in to sensitive subjects and opportunity to be heard.

1 June 2014 at 11:16  
Blogger Albert said...

Dreadnaught,

manipulated by Church and Politics to deny that Islamic scripture endorses and demands such behaviour.

The Qur'an is a very difficult book, but I wonder what you mean by saying the Church has been manipulating here?

1 June 2014 at 11:35  
Blogger IanCad said...

Thanks for the good work YG.

Civilization wins one for a change. May God continue to protect and bless Meriam and her family. May we be as brave as she.

David Hussell wrote :

"It's about time for Hague to stop dithering and show some constructive leadership--"

You are being far too kind. This bench polisher has to go.
Has he actually ever held a productive job?

Albert wrote:

"--if, given the circumstances, Christianity in the Bible Belt is actually mitigating the effects of the poor economy."

Yes, Yes and Yes. Apart from being quite an industry in itself, Christian churches elevate, instruct and motivate so many down south whose lives are blighted by poverty, single parenthood, drugs, violence, bad (atrocious) diets, tribalism and despair.

1 June 2014 at 11:51  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Albert

I wonder what you mean by saying the Church has been manipulating here?

I'm wondering why you ask; I said it clearly enough.

1 June 2014 at 12:59  
Blogger Albert said...

Dreadnaught,

I'm asking for an example of what you mean. The Church's influence in society does not seem strong at the moment and I'm wondering which comments you are referring to.

1 June 2014 at 13:06  
Blogger Albert said...

I've just noticed that the Sudan Tribune is reporting Khartoum is now denying she will be released.

1 June 2014 at 13:10  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

But you didn't ask for an example of what I meant and I don't accept you have no understanding of my deliberately broad premise.

1 June 2014 at 13:12  
Blogger Albert said...

Dreadnaught,

I'm sorry if I wasn't clear, by "meaning" I am asking for content, an example would do. I'm not even denying that it may be true.

1 June 2014 at 13:19  
Blogger Martin said...

DanJ0

I'm homosexual irrespective of any sexual activity, as are other homosexuals. You can't just define us away simply to make yourself feel better, you know. It's cowardice at the end of the day. Look your religion and its implications in the eye.

There is no evidence that homosexuality is anything other than a choice, and sin is always a choice.


I don't suppose devout Muslims in Sudan or anywhere else accept that.

Then their argument is with God, whom they claim to follow, rather than me.

You want an authority in your life, I expect, so you assert one just like Muslims do.

God is the authority whether you like it or not.

That fact that both Christians and Muslims do so, and that Christians fight amongst themselves over the details, shows exactly how little that really should pull on the rest of us.

Not all that call themselves Christians are

Martin

1 June 2014 at 13:24  
Blogger Martin said...

HJ

God is bigger than the Bible!

Of course, just as you are more than what you say.

Martin

1 June 2014 at 13:28  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Albert

Church and Politics, are the control tools of elites, in ordering the lives of others.

I have nothing further to add.

1 June 2014 at 13:38  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1 June 2014 at 13:38  
Blogger Albert said...

Dreadnaught,

So you've made a claim but not been able to substantiate it? The funny thing is, you might actually be right, but without evidence, it's rather hard to assess.

1 June 2014 at 14:06  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hi Martin,

Sorry to burst the bubble here, but being gay is not a choice. I'm gay or a lesbian if you prefer. I'm not attracted to men, but women and therefore can only express intimate companionship and feelings with women. This isn't a choice, it is how I am. Being gay isn't a sin & there are plenty of other wicked things going on in this world, so why focus what goes on in consenting people's personal lives or bedrooms?

1 June 2014 at 14:06  
Blogger Albert said...

Hannah,

Interestingly, I agree with you. The reason it has become a focus though, is because it doesn't just stay in personal lives, but breaks out to change things like marriage, to put people's jobs and homes at risk etc.

1 June 2014 at 14:26  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Martin: "There is no evidence that homosexuality is anything other than a choice, and sin is always a choice."

There's the obvious evidence that homosexuality is not a choice for most people: you simply need to ask some homosexuals whether they are sexually attracted to members of the opposite sex. You can ask me now if you like, or Hannah above I expect. Also, as I often say when I'm confronted by flat-earthers, one can simply use one's reason and ask oneself why some homosexual teenagers commit suicide rather than, well, simply choose heterosexuality instead. Go on, do it. Ask yourself.

"Then their argument is with God, whom they claim to follow, rather than me."

The point of course that they're probably as devout as you. A reasoning person might be inclined to ask why one should believe you rather than them?

"God is the authority whether you like it or not."

Which god is that? Allah? Jehovah? Odin? A reasoning person might be inclined to ask where the evidence is of your particular interpretation of god, or any theistic god as a matter of fact. You're merely asserting at the end of the day, and why should the rest of us care?

1 June 2014 at 14:26  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Martin: "There is no evidence that homosexuality is anything other than a choice, and sin is always a choice."

Drinking alcohol and eating pork is also haram, you know. Do you actually care about that? I don't. Obviously it matters to Muslims and I'm happy from them to lead their lives accordingly as it nominally has no effect on my life. That's as it should be.

1 June 2014 at 14:29  
Blogger Martin said...

Hannah

The reason the focus is on "what goes on in consenting people's personal lives or bedrooms" is because it is being extravagantly displayed.

Homosexuality is simply a sinful sexual act & nothing more.

Martin

1 June 2014 at 15:26  
Blogger Hannah said...

HI Albert,

I agree that there is a difficulty in trying to navigate between various rights & be satisfactory to all. I don't have all of the answers.

I can agree the religions should be free to set their own criteria as to whom they wish to marry, but for the state to provide the legal blessings for gay couples, i.e. civil marriage. I think that is fair compromise.

so if the RCC church disagrees with gay marriage it should be free to refuse to marry gay Catholic couples, in the same way it does not marry straight divorcees or (I could be wrong here) non-Catholic couples.

By the same token, there are probably other religions or denominations who would have no problem in marrying gay couples. Let each religion decide what to do, I am sure that there is room in this world to make us all reasonably happy.

The problem would be the C of E & the stupid 'triple lock' for that Church, which has a very loud Evangelical wing and a very loud Liberal wing & without a Pope to keep them in check, could very well split the established Church.

Perhaps they should have left it to the Parishes to decide, like they do with appointing women Vicars (my Anglo-Catholic Cousin's Church adopted the 'we'll never have a woman vicar,till hell freezes over' which legally, I think, is called resolution 'C')?

1 June 2014 at 15:27  
Blogger Albert said...

Hannah,

but for the state to provide the legal blessings for gay couples, i.e. civil marriage. I think that is fair compromise.

The difficulty is that marriage is a public thing and not a private thing. It's not possible to separate things out like that. A Civil Partnership forces people to treat that relationship as if it were a heterosexual marriage. But it can only be treated as such, if it is equal to a heterosexual marriage, and that of course, is never going to be admitted by those opposed. Hence the problem. On the other hand, those opposed, are unlikely to hold the view that homosexual relationship should be criminalised or that treating such relationships as equal should be illegal. One of these positions is tolerant, while the other imposes its own view against the consciences of those who disagree.

A further problem is that marriage, not being the invention of the state, is not, as to its essence, within the power of the state.

A final problem is B&B example etc.

Given the range of intolerances cited here, you will understand why even those of us who are pretty disinterested in the whole question of homosexuality, and very sympathetic and friendly to the homosexuals we know, nevertheless, find themselves protesting about it.

'we'll never have a woman vicar,till hell freezes over' which legally, I think, is called resolution 'C'

Yes, except that, I think, Resolution C is about to be abolished. Another example of liberal tolerance!

1 June 2014 at 15:38  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hi Martin,

"The reason the focus is on "what goes on in consenting people's personal lives or bedrooms" is because it is being extravagantly displayed."

I don't know about any other gay couple here, but aside from holding hands and the occasional discreet kiss, I don't go around flaunting my sexuality with my girlfriend,in public. In fact don't wear revealing boob showing tops, nor do I wear skirts which are above knee length, I dress modestly anyways.

"Homosexuality is simply a sinful sexual act & nothing more"

No, it isn't just a 'sinful sexual act', it is an orientation or attraction to people of the same sex. I don't become any less gay, say, for not having sex with a woman. The sex is an expression of that orientation and of love toward your partner. I personally don't see gay sex as sinful, but of course you (and indeed those in my religion as well) are free to disagree there. Personally I see sex as an issue between the adults involved & if they are religious their god/holy book & how they grapple with what that says.

1 June 2014 at 15:39  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hi Albert,

When I said 'civil marriage', I wasn't referring to CP's, but secular state marriage,done via the officials of the state, as we have now.

As I said I don't have all the answers, so I can't comment much about the B&B case, besides which it has been pretty much done to death here as an issue, so there wouldn't be much to add to the discussion, either side.

Re, resolution C. Well, if that's what the C of E wants to do that's up to them. I know my Cousin Louise is trying to swim up the Tiber, but is quite torn between that and the old fashioned C of E! Strange, really.

1 June 2014 at 15:52  
Blogger Albert said...

Hannah,

I know you weren't referring to CPs, but in terms of freedoms removed from others and view imposed upon them, it is CPs that already did that work.

Well, if that's what the C of E wants to do that's up to them.

Not quite, they made certain promises which some supporters of the women's ordination now want to break. Morally, I don't think the CofE can move forward.

It is odd that people in that situation end up torn between the CofE and Catholicism. Most people who convert wonder why they didn't do it sooner. Oddly, having converted, I am able to appreciate the CofE more than I did when I belonged.

1 June 2014 at 16:22  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Marriage as an aspect of anthropological cultural behavior that is evident in many societies historical and contemporary:it exists essentially to reinforce clan structure and continuity/expansion of land holding. Nothing at all about it being exclusive to have been ordained by the God Christianity.

Assyrians, Greeks, Romans, all had formal rituals called marriage: they and the Christian rulers of Merrie England often had their infants and toddlers betrothed and married off at puberty, in endorsement of the alliances made between their adult parents.

Richard II, aged 29, married 2nd wife Isabella of Valois in 1396 when she was 6. They were married for 4 years until his death.


King James I, aged 23, married Anne of Denmark when she was 14.

Charles I, aged 25, married Henrietta Marie of France when she was 13.

William III and Mary II ruled jointly. Mary was 15 when she married her 27 year old 1st cousin.

Henry VI, aged 23, married Margaret of Anjou when she was 15.

Henry IV, aged 14, married 1st wife Mary de Bohun when she was 12.

Richard II, aged 14, married 1st wife Anne of Bohemia when she was 15.

Edward III, aged 13, married Philippa of Hainault when she was 13
.


Until the Europeans got to the Americas or Australasia marriage as an institution was the norm for the same reasons as stated and without Christianity's involvement.

Marriage is cultural with religious (whichever prevails at the time and place) embellishment.

1 June 2014 at 18:07  
Blogger Albert said...

Dreadnaught,

I agree with everything you say (except this: it exists essentially to reinforce clan structure and continuity/expansion of land holding). In fact, what you say is so obviously agreeable, that I wonder what your point is.

1 June 2014 at 18:33  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

I thought the Christians say marriage is ordained by God and that being the reason so many are wont to gnash their teeth and tear their raiments.

1 June 2014 at 18:40  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Danjo
"Dodo, all you've really done up there is write platitudes, or slide meaning away from what was actually written again. I'll simply leave it up there undisturbed I think."

Actually Happy Jack thought it a rather good reply and anticipated you avoiding answering it.

Essentially you have demonstrated Carl is correct when he said:

"When men say "Religion restricts my freedom" they mean "I don't want limits set according to that authority." And what authority will they offer in substitute? You will wait in vain for an answer.""

And this:

"I am simply asking you how you set limits on freedom. The only answer you have ever given is an appeal to empathy - which is nothing but a self-referential appeal to one's desires and fears. You are arguing as if you have a more legitimate method - certainly more so than anything I would provide - and yet you never state what that method is. You never establish why it is more legitimate. Can you state any basis at all for these limits that does not ultimately reduce to your arbitrary opinion?"

1 June 2014 at 18:53  
Blogger Len said...

It really takes someone who is without sin to define sin..How can a sinner immersed in sin decide what sin is?.
How could a judge with a criminal history decide on matters of criminality.?..every criminal would have to go free because the Judge wouldn`t be in a position to condemn anyone without being a total hypocrite.
So God defines sin but not only does He define sin... He provides a remedy for sin.

We either accept that or reject that.
But having done that we bear the responsibility for choices we have made.

1 June 2014 at 19:00  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "Actually Happy Jack thought it a rather good reply and anticipated you avoiding answering it."

Of course you did. :rolleyes: It was mostly just platitudes as I said, saying nothing about what you'd actually do. Of course, you're a bit shy of talking about that as it'll show up your authoritarian streak and undermine the spin and lies here about liberals.

"Essentially you have demonstrated Carl is correct when he said:"

I'm pretty sure Carl is smart enough to know he's just rolling out another of his stalls with a wonky wheel again. You're just using him to try to fight your ongoing battle because you're inadequate on your own, Dodo. It was ever thus.

1 June 2014 at 19:04  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Len: "It really takes someone who is without sin to define sin..How can a sinner immersed in sin decide what sin is?."

Allah can decide, Len. Afterall, it created and maintains our entire universe. According to devout Muslims, anyway. You'd better get on your hands and knees and worship it if you want to avoid torment in Jahannam. Etc.

1 June 2014 at 19:07  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Actually, feck it. Game on. Right Dodo, let's have a closer look at this:

"One where people work and live together and ensure one another's welfare and wellbeing. Where individual advantage is mitigated by concern for others."

How do you propose to ensure the welfare and wellbeing of our Muslim citizens?

1 June 2014 at 19:14  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Going by the number of times he has invoked his name, I get the impression Happy JackAss is desperate for Carl (or even anyone for that matter) to help bail him out.

1 June 2014 at 19:22  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

And this:

"Yes, and we all have a tendency to seek our own interests at the expense of others. Your view of people needs to take into account the propensity to be selfish."

I'd have thought it was obvious that liberalism, and laissez-faire economics, openly accepts that. So, what do you actually intend the State to do about the people who have holiday lets in Cornwall, or who move homes to get closer to a better school, or compete for a well-paid job? That is, people who behave selfishly. Let's hear the detail, rather than mere platitudes.

1 June 2014 at 19:23  
Blogger Albert said...

Dreadnaught,

I thought the Christians say marriage is ordained by God and that being the reason so many are wont to gnash their teeth and tear their raiments.

Now that's interesting. It seems to me that the you think there is such a thing as the secular world - a world without God - to which we add God. But the reality is that we don't accept such a thing as the secular world (this is why, of course, secularism can be as oppressive to us, or more so, than Islam).

The world itself is ordained by God, thus, of course, marriage is ordained by God, but that does not make marriage or the world specifically Christian.

When I was a choirboy, I used to hear this line when doing weddings (a nice little earner, when you're little) "marriage is a gift of God in creation." What that means is that (as you put it earlier):

Marriage as an aspect of anthropological cultural behavior that is evident in many societies historical and contemporary

This means it is not at all exclusive to Christianity. Put the matter another way, what you are defending is explicit Christian teaching on marriage. The fact that you don't see that, is because you misunderstand the nature of the secular, when viewed from a Christian perspective.

1 June 2014 at 19:29  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "The state of man is observable."

But that wasn't the point, was it Dodo? The point was about human nature as I expect you well know. So no sliding away now. There's no evidence of The Fall. No evidence that we're made in the image of your particular god. Your religion appears very much to be a post-hoc explanation for existing human nature. Your religion merely asserts a wouldn't-it-be-nice ideal and shores it up with a notion of Natural Law to try to discourage people like me from simply stepping past it, and lightweights like you just stand on the shoulders of your religion's designers.

1 June 2014 at 19:34  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "Jack was actually talking about security for children and family bonds as the basic building block of communal living."

So what would you have the State do now, Dodo? People in our liberal democracy don't seem to want what you're offering. Let's hear the details rather than mere platitudes. Let's hear the almost inevitable words, bearing in mind the "ensure one another's welfare and wellbeing" bit, that you want to force people to be free.

1 June 2014 at 19:38  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Albert You must be 'lonesome tonight?'

I've no inclination to be draw in to your signature long and tortuous exrapolations of the meaning of IF or IS.

TaTa.

1 June 2014 at 19:39  
Blogger Len said...

This is getting rather bizarre.
I think I will bail here.
Good luck with your theories atheists.





1 June 2014 at 19:43  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "The West is founded on control of individual passions, social justice, the equality of persons and the rule of law. All derive from Christianity."

This bit is a little curious. The "equality of persons" bit anyway. For sure, one might claim something banal about being equal in the eyes of your god but what about in our more earthly existence. This "social justice" thing bears some though too, since you're relying on unstated assumptions again. I'm thinking of the legacy of Roman Law here. I'm thinking of the Viking rule of law in Scandinavia, and latterly here in what is now England. I'm thinking of feudalism. I'm thinking of the divine right of kings. I'm thinking of the rigid class system in place up until the first world war.

1 June 2014 at 19:47  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Len: "This is getting rather bizarre."

Blimey, if Len thinks something is bizarre then it must be wayyyyyy out there. :O

1 June 2014 at 19:48  
Blogger Len said...

Wayyyyyyyyyyyy out! :)

1 June 2014 at 19:53  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hi Albert,

"It is odd that people in that situation end up torn between the CofE and Catholicism. Most people who convert wonder why they didn't do it sooner. Oddly, having converted, I am able to appreciate the CofE more than I did when I belonged."

I think it is because Lou is like a 'cradle anglican', so a move to Rome feels like almost a betrayal of some sorts; I understand this as Jew who was torn between Judaism and Christianity. I dunno, Lou can speak for herself, but that is the impression I get. And I agree with you on appreciating the C of E, "outside of the box".

1 June 2014 at 20:01  
Blogger Albert said...

Hannah,

Yes, it feels like a betrayal. This is why people tend to convert when they start to feel the CofE has betrayed them. People who convert over crises like women's ordination, were already Catholics in their hearts, the "betrayal" by the CofE gives them permission to leave.

1 June 2014 at 20:12  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...


DanJo / Hannah

"Sorry to burst the bubble here, but being gay is not a choice"

Too convenient

Phil

1 June 2014 at 20:20  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Phil: "Too convenient"

Actually, it was pretty inconvenient indeed to be a homosexual over the years. One might reasonably ask why (say) a teenager in the 1980s would choose to be a homosexual if one wasn't trying to spin reality to suit oneself.

1 June 2014 at 20:26  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

*passes over shovel to those who want to bury their heads in the sand*

1 June 2014 at 20:27  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

DanJo

"it was pretty inconvenient indeed to be a homosexual over the years"

As I said before, I am a greedy, ungenerous, selfish bastard.

Would be far easier to give in to my greed and say “I was born that way”

Phil

1 June 2014 at 20:48  
Blogger Len said...

Back aagain...

I think what a lot of people do not realise is the Catholic Church is hmmm' the madam' and the protestant Church is her little daughter.
So to go back to' the Mother' is no solution at all but to get out of the whole corrupt religious system is the only solution.
Christianity lost its way and the Reformers did not get far enough away from the Mother of all ..'.madams'.
Sorry if this offends some but the early reformers said much worse(Just try reading Spurgeon.)

1 June 2014 at 20:56  
Blogger Albert said...

And if you're wrong, Len, you just called the Bride and Body of Christ a whore.

1 June 2014 at 21:00  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1 June 2014 at 21:04  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Phil: "As I said before, I am a greedy, ungenerous, selfish bastard. Would be far easier to give in to my greed and say “I was born that way”"

Anyone can suck a man's cock, Phil. But do you actually like cock in the first place? Have you always been attracted to men as far back as you can remember, and have you never been attracted to women in the same timeframe? That's the sort of question here, not whether you sucked cocks for a while and you've formed a destructive habit.

1 June 2014 at 21:04  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hi Phil,

"Too convenient"

Sorry, but if I could fall in love or be attracted to a man, then I would have done so long ago. If only people like you understood the difficulty, the loneliness, the desire to be loved and to love in return and the depression, anxiety and other stuff, that comes with being gay. Sorry I'm gay, I'm a lesbian. I can't help that & neither can my beloved.

So sod off.

1 June 2014 at 21:17  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Danjo, the name's Happy Jack.

Interesting replies which Jack will mull over.

1 June 2014 at 21:22  
Blogger Martin said...

Hannah

I don't go around flaunting my sexuality

You may not be but plenty are.

No, it isn't just a 'sinful sexual act', it is an orientation or attraction to people of the same sex.

So what is orientation? Homosexuality is a sexual practice, a practice that causes those who indulge in it to define themselves in terms of their practice. It is simply a sexual sin.

Personally I see sex as an issue between the adults involved

No one asked you to mention it.

Martin

1 June 2014 at 21:31  
Blogger Martin said...

Hannah

Perhaps you should read "The secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert" by Rosaria Butterfield.

Martin

1 June 2014 at 21:43  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

DanJo Hannah

If only I could understand......

Well I cannot, as I do not share your erotic desires for the same sex.

That said, I have always been greedy and extremely selfish as long as I can remember.

I always wanted more money and for a very long time that was the overriding obsession in my life. I like to say my family came first, to be honest, when I was younger, money was more important.

Money was my cock DanJo.

However, I came to realise through mainly the untiring efforts of my wife, that my obsession was destructive. I needed to let go and trust God. Do you know that was the hardest thing! On the outside nothing changed very much, but on the inside, in my head, I stopped counting the pennies and when I slipped back, I asked God for forgiveness.

Greed is perhaps not the worst sin and one can think of many evil things that man might want to do.

Are you really saying that man should participate in all manner of evil simply because they desire it?

If you are, God help us.

Phil

1 June 2014 at 22:03  

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