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Monday, 31 January 2011

Save Our Forests



From a campaign email received today, "this Wednesday there is a crunch vote in Parliament. MPs will vote on a motion demanding a rethink of plans to sell our national forests. If enough of us contact our MPs now, we've got a real chance of winning this vote!"

Please Email your MP to save our forests.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Parliamentary interference in the Christian faith




According to The Telegraph "A group of influential MPs will tomorrow call for Parliament to intervene over the historic reform as fears grow that the Church will reject plans allowing female bishops." For 'intervene' read 'interfere'. I am not surprised to see Sir Peter Bottomley involved. He lost my respect some time ago but I am disappointed to read that Frank Field has tabled an early day motion, which could abolish the Church's current exemption from equality laws relating to gender discrimination and ultimately force it to consecrate women.

Why is it that MPs tread so softly on the faith of Muslims yet when it comes the Church of England some see the Vicar as someone doing just another job in the workplace? Men and women are equal in the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church but not interchangeable. Faith in Christ's example, the tradition of the church and the overwhelming opinion of Christians is not discrimination. That is something manufactured by Women and the Church (WATCH) to suit their cause. MPs should know better.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

"We are all in this together" (11)



Announcing their sale, the government insists that it would allow communities continued access and greater involvement in their woodlands


Update

God bless 'em, the National Trust "is promising to 'play its part' in protecting England's ancient woodlands if a planned sell-off of publicly-owned forests goes ahead." As anger at the proposal grows, over 295,000 people have signed a petition against the sell-off while Lib Dem MPs threaten rebellion.
.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Wot Christian Unity!



Today marks the close of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity although most attention has been focused abroad

Closer to home, instead of unity arguments rage on in the Anglican church. Particularly contentious is the setting up of an Ordinariate in England and Wales although in practice many in England will not, at least in the early stages, have a group near them while in Wales traditionalists find themselves in a desert. With no pastoral oversight, there is a leadership vacuum although there has been a tentative testing of the waters. Also slow off the ground is the much pilloried Mission Society of St Wilfred and St Hilda with much of the criticism coming, unfairly in my view, from Ordinariate enthusiasts apparently blind to the difficulties many face through personal circumstances and geography. Accordingly I am happy to provide links to both.


Humble pie remains off the menu but hope is not lost. As Christians we are united in the body of Christ through baptism but Eucharist separates us. In many Anglican churches people of good standing in their own faith are welcomed to the altar. If God finds them worthy should His servants find them any less?


There is little point in praying for Christian Unity and expecting a thunderbolt to achieve it - although many think Pope Benedict's offer comes close. Some people like elaborate worship using all the senses of sight, sound, smell and touch while others find God in utter simplicity. If only we could recognise that and attend any Christian church in humility we should make much more progress.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

FOR SALE




Back in 1985 Harold Macmillan likened Margaret Thatcher's policy of privatisation to selling the family silver. Much of Britain's infrastructure is already in foreign ownership and in 2010 the Office of Fair Trading set up its first UK stock-take to see who owns Britain. Now our ancient woodlands are under threat.

We are assured that protective measures will be put in place to protect woodland trees and guarantee public access leaving one to wonder why anyone would want to buy the woodlands if they are unable to profit from their investment. A YouGov poll found that 84% of people agreed the woods and forests should be kept in public ownership for future generations, while only 2% disagreed. The Big Society has spoken. Is the Government listening?  

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Government washing hands of responsibility?


According to a report in The Guardian today, the Head of the Civil Service has ordered an inquiry into the government's localism reforms amid growing concerns that its "big society" plans risk eroding the basic democratic principles of transparency and ministerial accountability.

About time too. Shifting responsibility from Whitehall to local councils, GP's and voluntary groups all seems designed to ensure that Ministers cannot be held to account. Added to their plan for reducing the number of MPs to increase their parliamentary majority, the government must be hoping for an extended period of power without responsibility.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Islamophobia 2




In a comment on my previous post tsavogadfly said...  "I want the whole world to think about the phrase you put so neatly, regarding the merits of pen versus the sword to express disagreement." The illustration above is one of many which neatly emphasises the problem facing us in the free and democratic society radical Muslims seek to exploit.

The reaction to Baroness Warsi's claims of Islamophobia suggest that we may have reached a watershed. Islam claims special privileges under the cloak of persecution while preaching hatred and supremacy. Why is this tolerated? Previous warnings were ridiculed. Politicians must grasp the nettle before it is too late. The spread of Islam must be stopped to protect our democracy.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Islamophobia



credit


phobia /pho·bia/ (fo´be-ah) a persistent, irrational, intense fear of a specific object, activity, or situation (the phobic stimulus), fear that is recognized as being excessive or unreasonable by the individual himself. There is nothing irrational, excessive or unreasonable about the fear of Islam. In her University of Leicester speech today the Tory Party Chairman, Baroness Warsi, raises the now familiar cry of Islamophobia, warning that describing Muslims as either “moderate” or “extremist” fosters growing prejudice. If it is a question of either we would have to choose "extremist" because at the root of the Islamic ideology is a belief that Islam is supreme and that any means, including lying (taqiyya), are legitimate weapons to achieve world domination.


The illustration above may be old but the hideous practice depicted continues today. (Dreadful images can be readily found by 'Googling' if anyone doubts it.) Many web sites raise issues of concern but the response is invariably "Islamophobia!" No-one is suggesting that all Muslims are bad, indeed Lady Warsi is to be congratulated for her support for women in Pakistan where she worked with Pakistan's Ministry of Law on a project to fight forced marriage. What people have a problem with is the ideology.


Islamists protect their religion by reacting to any supposed criticism, even killing Christians for believing that Jesus Christ is not just another prophet as in Islam but God incarnate. Is it less reasonable for Christians and those of other faiths to protect their religion by using the pen rather than the sword?

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Church of England baptism!



From Mail Online: "The christening without much Christianity: Anglican church offers 'baptism lite' to attract non-worshippers". The story refers to "the motion from the Liverpool Diocesan Synod [which] asks for additional texts to be prepared as alternatives for passages in the Common Worship Baptism Services, which would be expressed in more culturally appropriate and accessible language than is perceived to be the case with the present services." 

Constant tinkering has already robbed the Anglican church of the beauty of its language, its tradition and now its meaning as it strives to be relevant to a politically correct society. The average person in the street presumes to instruct worshippers what they should believe without knowing the first thing about it, much like many of the modern religious correspondents who refer, eg, to such as Reverend Smith or Reverend Jones. The illustration in the Mail article in fact appears to be a Roman catholic baptism, not Anglican, but baptism nevertheless.

If the church continues to be driven by a desire to be relevant to society, how long before Christianity has any relevance whatsoever to the Church of England?

"We are all in this together." (10)


Don't worry!
 I'll prescribe Asprin and if you make it to the next financial year we'll get you into hospital then if we can afford it. 

Monday, 17 January 2011

Upstairs downstairs - NHS reform

Acknowledgemet



Government plans for reform of the National Health Service are under fire before they have been officially published. While cutting expenditure left, right and centre the Government has already made a start in lining the pockets of the private sector. The average patient may be more than a little bemused that General Practices that cannot cope with patient demands for appointments will be expected to spend billions of pounds trying to arrange appropriate care from a business led delivery service which puts profit first.


Despite his Freudian slip, Mr Cameron heaps praise on the NHS based on his family's experience of maternity care and the care of his disabled child. If I were PM or any other high profile minister with my wife in a maternity hospital I would be amazed if the staff didn't ensure that the service provided was more than adequate. In reality there are endless stories of crises in the maternity service. At the other end of life's span, 'care' of the elderly is often atrocious sometimes bordering on cruelty. Treatment for Illness during life's journey can be a lottery. The care Ivan Cameron received before his early death was clearly appreciated by his bereaved parents but is not typical. He benefited from a purpose-built medical centre in the basement of his home but many have to struggle to survive, often in poverty and receive indifferent care when it is needed most.  

Whatever Mr Cameron's experience of the NHS it certainly isn't typical. He benefits from a system in which private care is available to the wealthy until complex treatment is needed, then the NHS picks up the tab. That change is necessary is undeniable. Whether this is the way to go about it must be a huge political gamble and may yet come to haunt him. - Claire Rayner's dying words were “Tell David Cameron that if he screws up my beloved NHS I'll come back and bloody haunt him.”

Saturday, 15 January 2011

A new dawn


Just a small item listed among other 'News' items on Google but a momentous event despite the fact that the major interest in the Ordinariate would appear to be from abroad. Listed among the overseas commentators was the BBC although 'auntie' chose to highlight the opinion of Prebendary David Houlding who "belongs to the Catholic Group on the Church of England Synod, and regards the ordination with sadness and anger."

Whatever 'sadness and anger' there may be, nothing should detract from this momentous  occasion in which the Ordinariate brings together Catholics, Roman and Anglican, in the spirit Christ prayed for on the night of His betrayal, that we all may be one.

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI is clearly a man of vision. Full marks are also due to the Archbishop of Westminster who reflected Pope Benedict's vision in his homily at the ordination of three former Anglican bishops today and to Archbishop Rowan for his prayers and understanding.


Postscript
Less understanding (or deliberate misrepresentation in the  style of WATCH) is shown by Peter Stanford whose article now heads the Google news item. He writes "It is the Vatican's negative attitude to women's ministry that formed the backdrop to the whole affair. The three recruits oppose the Church of England's plans to appoint female bishops and regard the Catholic priesthood as a safe, female-free haven." His article in today's Observer (16 Jan 2011) is beautifully unpicked here.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Question Time - Evasion or ignorance?


"Was it right for Jack Straw to say that Pakistani men saw young white women as easy meat?" A perfectly reasonable question from Asim Khan (apologies if the spelling is incorrect) on a topical issue proper to BBC Question Time but the panel completely missed the point referring to crime, race, colour, ethnic group, culture, multiculturalism, ethnic minority, class and gender. The only time religion was mentioned was a smear of the Catholic church in a comment from the floor. A girl in the audience claimed that instead of blacks, young Pakistani men were now the victims of stop-and-search. The oppression of women was mentioned only in the context of feminism, not religion.

The question and responses were a gift to those who regard searching questions as Islamophobia. Michael Gove actually suggested that those outside a particular community were ill equipped to comment. None of the Asian community men in the audience did so. Was the panel's response based on political correctness, ignorance of Islam's aim of world domination or fear of raising the problem? The more forthright make no bones about world domination under Islam and Sharia law. Some ex-Muslims have had the courage to address the problem on pain of death for their apostasy. Others simply sweep the problem under the carpet in the apparent belief that those without a religion are exempt. Perhaps oblivious to the persecution of Christians they fail to appreciate that they defend a religious ideology that does not tolerate independence

Thursday, 13 January 2011

"We are all in this together." (9)



The new boy George - he plays while others call the tune. 

While impotency surrounds the issue of bankers' bonuses some council staff are likely to have their pay reduced by 40%. There's togetherness for you!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Blasphemy



Just a glass of water!

Many die for lack of it. Another will probably die because of it.

Many people in the world are without clean water but in Pakistan some Muslim women said that a glass of water was unclean because it had been touched by a Christian. This small episode has already cost the life of the Governor of Punjab, Salmaan Taseer, who was assassinated by a member of his security team and was widely praised for the murder. The Christian mother, Asia Bibi, is in prison for her alleged 'crime'. If she escapes the noose she will almost certainly be killed by a self appointed executioner who fails to see the blasphemy of assuming that the Almighty needs an earthly hand to judge another of God's children.


Accusations of blasphemy are increasing in Pakistan. Although Muslims are not exempt, the law is easily used against minority religions such as Christianity in Islamic countries . Pope Benedict has been condemned throughout the Muslim world simply for highlighting the problem. An alliance of Pakistani Islamist organisations have said they would hold rallies to protest Pope Benedict XVI's remarks that called on the country to scrap an anti-blasphemy law which allows for the death penalty for insulting Islam.


To comment is not to insult Islam. Such charges are designed to make Islamists untouchable regardless of excess. Charges of racism and Islamophobia are frequently raised in Great Britain when searching questions are asked, ignoring the overriding problem. Killing people simply for having different religious beliefs in the twenty-first century is totally unacceptable by any measure. Silence implies acceptance of religious intolerance which results in the 'religious cleansing' of which President Sarkosy has warned

Monday, 10 January 2011

"We are all in this together." (8)



Some of the 600,000 redundant public sector workers lucky enough to find another job may be less than thrilled with those the Prime Minister and his allies have managed to conjure up for them.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Double standards


Following yesterday's sexual exploitation story, there has been a revealing interview with a former Home Secretary, Jack Straw, who described how vulnerable white girls are regarded as "easy meat" while Muslim women are out of bounds. Similar double standards were evident when the bodyguard arrested for the killing of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer was showered with rose petals by lawyers. Demonstrators in Pakistan had earlier accused Christians and Jews of double standards by suggesting that they respect our prophets while we do not respect theirs. What respect is there for Jesus of Nazareth who healed the sick, proclaimed "love thy neighbour" and said, "Suffer little children to come unto me"? He brought life not death but for some Islamists death is not good enough. Be warned, unless you are a hardened Muslim fanatic the suffering here should make you weep yet to raise a voice against alien beliefs is regarded as racist. This problem must be confronted. It is too late for excuses. Judging by events in Pakistan, if the sexual predators had been subject to Sharia law, what justice would there have been?


Postscript
Further evidence as come to light here and here.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Racial discrimination


To their great credit, I heard two prominent members of the Muslim community speak on the BBC 6 o'clock News about their disgust that Muslims could perpetrate the sexual predatory crimes currently in the news. This is in stark contrast to the report in The Telegraph that charities and agencies working with victims of sexual abuse have been accused of covering up the role of British Pakistani Muslims in sexually exploiting young white British girls.

Meanwhile The Independent reports today that according to the Coalition for the Removal of Pimping (Crop) "On-street grooming is a well-established, lucrative and successful method of coercion of young people that has been around for more than a decade. Part of the problem of discussing the practice was that some organisations were accused of racism when many of the alleged perpetrators of such child sexual exploitation turned out to be of Asian descent. 

Evil is evil. Holding-up the race card serves no-one, least of all children solicited for sex regardless of race, creed or colour.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Happy (Orthodox) Christmas?


The Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

While we in the West celebrate the Epiphany of Our Lord today (January 6) the Armenian and Orthodox Churches are celebrating or are preparing to celebrate their Christmas. For Christians, Christmas is the time for peace and goodwill. This is not shared by Islamic extremists who have threatened the Coptic Church with even more violence after the atrocity already committed in Egypt. For a 'religion of peace' there are far too many Islamists who don't understand the meaning of the word. 

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

"We are all in this together." (7)


Off Piste!

As the rubbish built up across Great Britain the Chancellor George Osborne left for a £11,000 ski break before welcoming his 'progressive' 20% VAT increase to help get us out of the mess the bankers dropped us in.  

We have yet to hear what the Minister's reaction will be to the Big Society's army of volunteers not having the stomach for stockpiling rotting refuse inside their own homes while he enjoyed the bonus of some fresh air. 

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Honour and Dishonour

Eighty-three year old Kathleen White has worked at Claverley Post Office near Wolverhampton for 68 years becoming sub-postmistress in 1960. She has also spent 38 years on the parish council and ran the Sunday school at nearby All Saints Church for more than 20 years. She has been awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours List for her services as an unsung hero.
Sixty-six year old former south-east London MP Peter Bottomley (pictured left) receives a knighthood  after (only) 35 years in the Commons. "The former Tory minister, an MP since 1975, is honoured for public service in recognition of his "long and distinguished" parliamentary career."
Distanced greatly in their service awards , Miss White and Sir Peter share links of service to the Church of England. While Miss White has been busy teaching the Christian faith to children for over 20 years, Sir Peter has been busy on church business. He is a former Chairman of the Church of England Children’s Society and a trustee of Christian Aid but it is his service on the parliamentary Ecclesiastical Committee which is especially noteworthy, particularly for traditionalists in the Church of England. Asked for his views on the ordination of women bishops his response was "Surely people should be considered on merit. Sex is not merit. Sex is not a qualification or a disqualification." 

In 1992 the Ecclesiastical Committee insisted that provisions must be made for those opposed to women bishops, something conveniently forgotten when the Church of England submitted to the will of Women and the Church (WATCH) who have been determined not to honour pledges given. In 2008 Mr Bottomley's response to this duplicity was "Essentially everyone knew that when you had the ordination of women as priests that this would lead to the ordination of women bishops after a decent length of pause. Some would say it has now been an indecent length of pause." An odd sense of honour for someone in a trusted position. Perhaps having served on the Parliamentary Standards Committee and knowing so much about honesty, openness, evasion, misrepresentation and lying he felt well qualified to distinguish between honour and dishonour.

It is a pity Sir Peter doesn't know the difference between faith and political correctness. If he were to read Pope Benedict XVI's account "On the Church’s position on against women priests in "Light of the World" quoted here, or listen to Dr Priscilla Noble-Mathews linked here, he would be much better informed. Traditionalists in the Church of England must hope that his colleagues on the Ecclesiastical Committee are better informed and pray that God rather than political correctness guides them in their work in 2011 and beyond.