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Saturday, 31 March 2012

No Respect

George Galloway's 'Blackburn triumph' victory in winning the West Bradford by-election for his Respect Party has brought into sharp focus the power of the ballot box where many apparently disaffected young Muslims registered disapproval of their lot in the traditional British manner. 

Totally unacceptable is the other side of the Islamic coin which shows no respect for British values and culture claiming freedom of speech only to further their anti-British agenda.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Second Class or Second Rate?

I am becoming increasingly tired of pressure groups complaining about being 'second class' if they don't have exactly what they want, when they want it and as they want it.

This claim grew ever louder in the campaign for the ordination of women to the episcopate. As soon as there was a whiff of compromise to allow defeated Anglicans to worship as they wish, the feminist lobby denied that any promises had been given and cried foul: if women bishops were not to be absolute rulers they would be seen as second class bishops, an argument swallowed by ineffectual clergy and MPs who are charged with looking after the interests of us all.

It is no coincidence that the lesbian and gay movement have come up with the same strategy complaining that if they are not allowed to be 'married', their unions will be regarded as second class. But their campaign has gone further than that. They refer to interfering 'religious' people condemning them as homophobic if they fail to support gay marriage, somewhat odd since every Tom, Dick and Sally felt it their right to decide on the ordination of women even if they had never crossed the threshold of a church. The Rev Dr Giles Fraser, a former Canon Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral, went further. On a BBC Newsnight programme he accused people of using opposition to gay marriage as a cover for their homophobia, ignoring the fact that the vast majority of people are opposed to re-defining marriage whether they are 'religious' or not.

One wonders how the retiring Archbishop of Canterbury now feels after championing many of the causes that today threaten society. In 'Rowan's Rule' [page 95] his 'change of heart' over women priests is recorded as: 'I had to change after looking around at my own side, and seeing the company I was keeping.'  If only he had kept different company! He may have led us to unity but, with the benefit of hindsight, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that ++Rowan has simply been used by many of those he has supported. Clearly he had the best of intentions but failed to realize that his integrity is not necessarily shared by others, even at the highest levels. He was ignored when he sought an honourable compromise for those who do not support the ordination of women and he has seen his authority rejected on the controversial issue of the Anglican Covenant .

And so it goes on with 
one minority group or another constantly chipping away at society, trading on traditional British values of fair play until only minorities rule. The British Sunday is now barely recognisable from any other day of the week. Soon there will be no difference after the Sunday Trading Laws are relaxed for the Olympic Games leaving only the Friday Muslim day of prayer as having any religious significance and appearing to be the British norm. It is the silent majority of British citizens who are being rendered second class by those airing their second rate views, unable to see further than the confines of their own narrow self interest to the detriment of the rest of us.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

"Archbishop Barry Morgan throws his mitre into the ring for Canterbury appointment."

The news in the Telegraph that Twitter users are "invited to help choose the new Archbishop of Canterbury" has already produced this interesting response from an alert member of the Church in Wales where their Archbishop has long since been keen to advance his Arch-Liberal credentials:

Timothy William Ivor Thomas reports a conversation recently overheard at Eglwys Dewi Sant, Cardiff. A friend of the assistant bishop has it on very good authority from a personage close to the archbishop’s press office that His Grace intends to make two controversial announcements in his presidential address at next month’s Governing Body meeting. (The same credible source was responsible for the story about His Grace’s desperate but alas, unsuccessful, attempt to persuade the Occupy Cardiff protest to set up camp in his cathedral.)

His Grace intends to put the considerable weight of his Bench of Bishops behind support for gay marriage. All Welsh churches are to be made available for gay marriage ceremonies. So as not to be seen as introducing this measure by the back door, the Bench has already drawn up a gay marriage service for Wales.

David Cameron’s cousin, Bishop Gregory, has hinted that if His Grace is seen by the Prime Minister to be actively promoting in Wales Conservative Big Society policy, his reward may come in a well-placed nomination for a certain job going in Canterbury at the end of the year. That will clear the path for Gregory’s translation to head bishop in Wales. However, not to miss out on a sniff of promotion to the top job in Wales, John Swansea and Brecon
has been doing his bit to champion gay marriage in Wales. “I can’t see what the all the fuss is about,” commented Bishop John. He continued, “A careful reading of scripture clearly shows that Jesus supported gay marriage. In fact his water into wine stunt was actually performed at a gay wedding. If you look at the text in the original Greek, it doesn’t say ‘bride and groom’, but rather ‘Bridey and Groom’. Bridey is a clear reference to the far distant relative of Lord Brideshead. Groom was an ancestor of Simon Groom of Blue Peter fame. So Jesus was at the wedding of two chaps Bridey and Groom. What’s the problem? If Jesus is OK with gay marriage, then so am I.”

Secondly His Grace will introduce the idea of lay presidency in Wales. The recent Harries Commission has noted that across the whole of Wales on average only about 30 people attend each church for about an hour on each Sunday. That means in a given week for six days and twenty-three hours the buildings are empty. Lord Harries noted, "The concept of the priesthood is not founded on Biblical tradition. The New Testament describes the role of the bishop and deacon, but nowhere does it mention priests. So do we really need them now? When the church is strapped for cash we must ask whether we can justify employing someone in the role of priest for one hour per week to behave like a Tesco’s check out girl dispensing the ‘Lucky Jesus wafers’? We have to ask ourselves whether all this couldn’t be done by someone from the laity.” The archbishop hopes that by making lay presidency appointments in the parishes it will free up more opportunities for his priests to sit on a number of new diocesan and provincial commissions which will look at why fewer people are attending church these days.

Further support for Archbishop Barry’s campaign to move to Lambeth Palace has come from Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow. Continuing the ‘kaleidoscope country’ theme he developed in his loyal address to the Queen as part of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations, Speaker Bercow said, “Barry Morgan is a kaleidoscope archbishop of a kaleidoscope church in a kaleidoscope country. His kaleidoscope credentials are inclusively impeccable, and he would be the ideal candidate to be the next Archbishop of Canterbury. I look forward to welcoming him to the palace of Westminster when he takes his seat in the House of Lords.”

With support like that the appointment is a done deal.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

The unacceptable face of Islam

Above is the face of an Islamist, Mohamed-Merah. Below are the faces of the Rabbi and little children he murdered in cold blood simply for being Jews

He had already assassinated four French soldiers in France, his countrymen, for what he regarded as a higher ideal.

Shot dead as he tried to escape after admitting his guilt, no doubt he regarded himself as a martyr for the Islamic cause of world domination as he prepared to be met in paradise by his allocation of virgins. 

Perhaps Ken Livingstone will regard this episode as unfortunate timing coming after his grubbing around for votes in his campaign to be elected as Mayor of London. He can pick out any sermon or quotation to suit his case, as do many others who tell us about the so called religion of peace, but what does it say about a system that encourages such outrages when the majority can appear outwardly passive

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Jesus was a Muslim!

Much has been written recently about the cross and whether it is appropriate for Christians to wear it as an expression of their faith. At the same time in Afghanistan the cross has been publicly burned by Muslims who complain bitterly about any form of disrespect shown to their own faith.

It seems ironic then that Muslims claim Jesus as one of their own, a prophet referred to in the Quran as well as in the Bible. But that is only part of the story, a story which some years ago was the subject of an ITV programmeThe Muslim Jesus. To the casual viewer I imagine the story would have been quite compelling without further evidence of the truth. Muslims deny that Christ died on the cross (some say another took His place) so they would have no objection to burning the cross as a Christian symbol. There is no dispute that Jesus is referred to in the Quran but the claim that Muhammad is mentioned in the Bible is readily disputed even by many Muslims.

Visitors to Birmingham will be familiar with Islam being freely promoted on the streets as illustrated in this video. Last year I heard complaints that similar operations had been extended. A stall had been set up opposite a well-known Anglo Catholic church in a Cardiff suburb where, in common with many other areas, Christians are becoming marginalised as parishes become dominated by Islamic influences and appearance. When a dispute arose over the claim that 'Jesus was a Muslim' the police intervened. On being told that exception was taken to people shouting outside the Church that Jesus was a Muslim, the police response was that the pamphlets were not offensive and that we live in a free country.  One wonders what would have been the reaction if Christians stood opposite one of the City's 32 mosques and made counter claims. The group still engages with passers by claiming: "Let us show you what the Bible really says about Islam - and how Jesus really was a Muslim"!

When Channel 4 broadcast a programme, 'UnderCover Mosques', to highlight what was being said inside rather than outside mosques, in this case the Green Lane Mosque in Birmingham, the West Midlands police and the Crown Prosecution Service ignored the hate allegations uncovered and investigated the programme makers instead. They were later forced to apologise after the programme makers were vindicated. The National Secular Society (no friend of Christianity) recently quoted this example in their evidence to the United Nations. Illustrating the extent to which Islamic influence is spreading around the world the NSS included this astonishing testimony:

 "I am deeply saddened that in this Council of all places in the whole world, Sharia law has been ruled to be beyond discussion by distinguished delegates, unless they are "experts" and therefore presumably Muslim. If I have got that wrong and non-Muslim experts are acceptable, I will be quick to apologise.

For those of you who like solving simultaneous equations, or are logicians, I have a little exercise. If criticising Islam = Islamophobia, and Islamophobia = racism (as we are told), and racism = unacceptable (as we agree), does this therefore mean that criticising Islam is unacceptable? That is the very questionable algebra or dubious logic that is being increasingly employed to silence critics in the UK by guilt-tripping them. We must not allow criticism to be stifled in this manipulative way. I'm very much struck by Indian born UK writer Kenan Malik's opinion that: "The trouble with Islamophobia is that it is an irrational concept. It confuses hatred of, and discrimination against, Muslims, on the one hand, with criticism of Islam on the other. The charge of 'Islamophobia' is all too often used not to highlight racism but to stifle criticism. And, in reality, discrimination against Muslims is not as great as is often perceived - but criticism of Islam should be greater. All too often Islamophobia is used as an excuse in a way to kind of blackmail society."

I am not suggesting that restrictions to freedom of expression are the monopoly of any one religion. I therefore oppose all blasphemy laws, and helped in the abolition of the UK's remaining (Christian) blasphemy laws. We also know of censorship by Sikhs and Hindus. The worst example of countries operating a blasphemy law, however, is Pakistan where accusing a rival of blasphemy is a convenient way of removing them. Not only does this result in their removal to jail, but the survival prospects of those accused of blasphemy, far less convicted of it, is very poor. And the judiciary are wary of even trying such cases.

Looking at the categories of Muslim influence in What Islam Isn't, it is clear what is now happening in the UK and elsewhere around the world. Islamic street propaganda must be seen for what it is. 

Jesus was NOT a Muslim. He died on the Cross and is the fulfilment of the prophecies.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Hold Thou Thy Cross

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has angered many campaigners with his suggestion that the cross itself has become a religious decoration. As ever with the Archbishop, if you understand what he is trying to say you know what he means but the average Christian in Britain today will not analyse what was said so may misinterpret the message. Nowadays many Christians, especially Anglicans, may go to church at Easter and/or Christmas. Otherwise they are more likely to be taken in at their baptism, walk in for their wedding and be wheeled in for their funeral when Abide with me will be sung. Sometimes families will have long forgotten the hundreds of other hymns in the English Hymnal but for others, the hymn and the Cross have a deep religious significance, a significance that will encourage them to wear a cross rather than, eg, the mark of Satan even if as a piece of jewellery the latter may appear more decorative. 

Whether worn as jewellery or not, the Cross is still the most potent Christian symbol. The fact that there is no compulsion to wear it makes Christianity what it is, relying on God's grace rather than the compulsion of man-made rules. But is this to be our undoing? Equalities Minister, Lynne Featherstone, has embarked on a battle to stop Christians being able to wear a cross at work 'because it is not a strict requirement of the Christian faith' but where is the equality in that when we are daily forced to observe the religious symbols of other faiths. I recommend reading a legal view of this decision here and an interesting political judgement here

Whilst the Government is busy helping to suppress Christianity and Christian values in this country, sadly Mrs Featherstone's “live-and-let-live policy” does not extend to Christians who are under threat simply for being Christian. To use two current examples of blind prejudice, In Iran Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani faces execution for refusing to recant his Christian faith. In Pakistan the life of Shamim Bibi, mother of a 5-month-old girl, is under threat charged with ‘Blasphemy’ for refusing Islam. 

If you believe that the Government's action to stop Christians wearing a cross at work is wrong you can act now as suggested here.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Different, but inferior?

Traditionalist Anglicans will be familiar with the sort of tactics used by the inappropriately named Equal Love campaign. In 2010 The Rev Sharon Ferguson, a lesbian church minister fighting to overturn the ban on same-sex marriages revealed that she had been 'sent abusive messages' since launching her campaign. Familiar tactics in a campaign of of half truth and dissimulation. 

Complaints from 'equal rights' campaigners about receiving abusive messages and being spat upon are not uncommon despite hard evidence when to my knowledge filth laden hate mail has been received in the opposite direction. 'Different' these agitators may be in the sense of being a vociferous minority but 'inferior'? Such suggestions are used solely to gain support by implying discrimination from people who fail to see that discrimination is, in reality, against those who do not clamour to change everything only to the advantage of minorities regardless of the cost to the majority. What they seek is not equality but dominance, the very thing they complain about in their power struggle using religion and the church as though it were a secular institution rather than the vehicle of faith that brings people closer to God.

In her campaign for so-called equality the Rev Sharon Ferguson said: “The system we currently have is discriminatory and segregates people. It is not acceptable in this day and age. As a person of faith, I want to get married." To get married implies taking a husband when in fact her desire is to share her life with another woman. That is her privilege. The law has been changed to ensure that she and those like her not disadvantaged. But this is not enough for so-called equal love campaigners. We do not judge how couples live their lives but however they wish to see it, a homosexual partnership is not the same as the union between a man and a woman joined together in holy matrimony for the procreation of children. They can call it whatever else they like but it is not marriage as understood by the majority of people handed down by tradition and custom for thousands of years so why pretend that it is? To suggest that these couples are made to feel inferior if they are not allowed to be 'married' is a problem of their own making. 

The trendy list of gay marriage supporters is growing and, perhaps unsurprisingly, is now afflicting the Anglican church following its abandonment of apostolic tradition. Since the Prime Minister decided to come out in favour of gay marriage, politicians and celebrities have joined the clamour to satisfy people who will never be satisfied until the rest of us are completely subjugated. In a classic piece of dissimulation the Guardian has come out in favour claiming that 'the argument that gay marriage undermines straight marriage is as unconvincing as it is insulting'. The reasons they find so convincing are neatly unpacked line by line here but it is unlikely that campaigners will be interested in the facts.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

A special case

If, like me, you find it difficult to get your head around a figure of 6 million pounds, a little surfing on the internet can help. The mansion shown above cost Adele £6million, the sort of figure a banker might expect as just one year's bonus

As the average young person struggles to get onto the property ladder, the people who dropped us into this mess are regarded as a special case, not because they are all in it together, but because of threats they will abandon the country that made them rich if they are not allowed to continue in the style to which they have become accustomed. The term 'special case' used to be reserved for those in hardship or deserving of special treatment, rather like the disabled people employed by Remploy who are going to lose not only their jobs but a way of life that gave them some feeling of worth. As a sop, they are promised a bonus - an '£8m fund is being set up to help those affected find alternative employment. That must be a great comfort when the able-bodied cannot find work.

According to a report in today's Independent there is 'Judgement day at last for the bankers'. I very much doubt it but while they are at it, is anyone going to be held to account for the PPI scandal or is that just another special case?  

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Self or selfless?

The current debate on gay marriage ignores an important aspect of marriage - children. Children may not be in the minds of all gay or lesbian couples but if they are, they ignore the fact that it is normal for a child to have a mother (female) and a father (male). 

In probably the most high profile case, Sir Elton John and his partner have admitted that their son "faced 'challenges' and potential 'double' stigma as he grew up and have consulted counsellors to find out the best way of dealing with any potential problems." Hardly surprising when the boy's 'mother' (and possibly his biological father) will be 84 when Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John is 21 and his father (also possibly his biological father) is in his 70th year and both are/were male. In the US there was another bizarre story of a pregnant father giving birth to a bouncing baby girl. These sort of cases are so far removed from normality that they highlight the absurdity of change for no apparent reason other than self-gratification. I want, therefore I must have, no matter what the consequences.

Fresh from his Review for the Archbishop of Wales who appears to be somewhat accident prone in his choices, the liberal-minded former bishop of Oxford, Lord Harries of Pentregarth has stepped into the debate with the suggestion: "Instead of at first opposing civil partnerships, and then only accepting them grudgingly with gritted teeth, they should have welcomed them warmly from the first and immediately proposed services of commitments and blessing in church. They should do this even now." Few people are any longer interested in what the Anglican Church has to say but it will be interesting to see what trendy recommendations Lord Harries comes up with for the Church in Wales to hasten its further decline.

Many religious and non-religious heterosexual people supported civil partnerships despite reservations that some participants sought to have their partnerships seen as a marriage. In the church this has become a familiar pattern of give a little, grab the lot. Spurious arguments about equality have seen women's ordination and liberal sexuality take more bites out of the apple until there is nothing left but a barely recognised core. The Anglican Communion is now in its death throws as the Anglican Covenant attempts to paper-over the cracks. For some odd reason, once a band wagon starts rolling people jump on for fear of being left behind and branded yesterday's people, many clergy included. 

PM David Cameron has been followed by the Leader of the Opposition Ed Miliband in support of so-called gay rights but in reality it has more to do with electoral advantage than ethics or conscience. By implication Cabinet Minister Francis Maude now associates family values with being nasty!  There is a moral here. Trendy desires have done the Anglican Church no favours in her drive to become more relevant to societyWhat the country needs is strong leadership based on traditional values instead of pandering to current whims which favour self over selflessness.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Christ is coming

A simple story from the blog Christ is in our midst! in a two-part video here and here.

The message is clear but challenging in today's world. It is very easy to make excuses for not giving money to the beggar or taking in the needy. There are alternatives. The parable of The Good Samaritan illustrates the importance of being kind but letting experts deal with these perplexing issues, DG"Lord, forgive me, the sinner!" 

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Our 'multi-cultural' society

I missed the Channel 4 programme, Make Bradford British, but since it has been referred to so many times and debated on the BBC's Question Time I caught up with it on 4OD. There is a Telegraph review hereReading the review, I see I was not alone in thinking that Rashid, a Muslim former Rugby League player made the biggest impact. The reason being that out of eight people from various backgrounds brought together in an integration experiment he was the least co-operative, not out of malice, but because his religion came first which was clearly disappointing for the others in the house. What put a different complexion on the proceedings was not that Rashid insisted on praying five times a day but that he had to go to the mosque to pray, delaying the dinner he had offered to cook (he eventually went to a take-away) and disrupting the experiment in the process. The reason? In his own words because he would get a lot more blessings and rewards, the reward being '27 to 25 times more' if he prayed in a congregation rather than at home.

For most Christians, buying one's way to paradise is an alien concept, a concept explained here in 'Gather Blessings in the Mosques'. This article stresses that 'praying in the mosque and being attached to the mosque is a very pious and rewardable action gathering rewards and good deeds for the hereafter. God loves and rewards those who find repose and comfort in the mosques. Whoever builds a mosque seeking the pleasure of God, God builds a similar one for him in paradise'.The following paragraph helps to explain the thinking of Muslims and to understand the pressure for more mosques to be built: 'There are six places in which a person is guaranteed the safekeeping of God, the Most High, as long as he is in one of them. In a congregational mosque, with a sick person, at a funeral, in his house, with a just ruler whom he supports and treats with respect, or at a place where people are fighting jihad! [my emphasis - Ed]

With almost daily stories of Christian churches being burned to the ground in Islamic states and worshippers murdered or driven out of their homeland it is illuminating to read "Britain is among the safest places for people to worship freely and in peace, an Islamic leader has said at the opening of a new £900,000 mosque in Feltham, west London" despite the constant reports of supposed Islamophobia. There is an interesting juxtaposition between the 'Gather Blessings in the Mosques' article referred to above and an article in the Left Foot Forward Blog  under the headline 'Warsi’s call for the dominance of Christianity ignores that it’s Islam under threat'. In defence of mosque building, towards the end of the article there is a complaint about a statement in the Telegraph back in 2006: 
   "the most prominent religious building in the camera shot will not be one of the city’s iconic churches that have shaped the nation’s history, such as St Paul’s Cathedral or Westminster Abbey, but the mega mosque. Its arrival in London will be a significant coup for Islam and a major event for the country as a whole’. However, there was no complaint or even a mention about the introduction to the article where 'Abu Izzadeen, the firebrand Islamist militant, berated John Reid last week for "daring" to visit a Muslim area." This a concept that is spreading, a problem which was referred to in the CH4 programme where Bradford City centre was said to be now 95% Asian.

But these double standards are something to which we have become so accustomed that we hardly turn a hair. It was no surprise then that the head of the BBC, Mark Thompson, admitted that 'We’ll mock Jesus but not Mohammed'. Of course if anyone dared to offend Muslims there would be demonstrations and death threats from those who say they are British but Muslim first. They believe that 'Mosques are special places filled with blessings and rewards, however, God has conferred a special blessing upon the nation of Muslims, the whole earth has been declared a mosque, so when the time for prayer comes and a believer is unable to pray in congregation in a building he may pray wherever he may be.' Hence the use of surrounding streets to justify more and bigger buildings. 

We are surrounded by Islamic symbols be it mosque or Islamic dress and threatened with retribution against perceived threats while Christians are denied the opportunity to express their religion other than in their churches. The authorities pussyfoot around making endless excuses about unrepresentative extremists in apparent ignorance of fundamental Islamic teaching which regards non-Muslims as underdogs in a world that belongs to Allah. In the Question Time programme I referred to above, most speakers uttered the usual bland platitudes about living together apparently unconcerned about David Starkey's complaint that he was the one who would be arrested if he criticised the Quran because it prescribed the death sentence for his homosexuality, one of many Islamic 'sins' attracting the death penalty such as apostasy and blasphemy, often used to oppress Christians, particularly in Pakistan. 

Unusual for the BBC, today's Breakfast News reported on the 'divided loyalties' of one million Pakistanis living in Great Britain out of 3.7 million expatriates who are to be given the vote in Pakistan in recognition that 5% of Pakistan's GDP had been sent back by overseas Pakistanis showing “solidarity and integrity of our motherland” despite their country's failure to protect minorities, something they insist on in Great Britain. On top of this comes the revelation that British war graves on the outskirts of Benghazi have been desecrated by Islamist militants and the symbol of Christ's redeeming love, the Cross, attacked with sledge hammers. This after Libyans had pleaded with the West to assist them in their struggle for freedom and the outrage expressed after burning some copies of the Quran. 

No doubt the CH4 experiment will show that multiculturalism can work in a house of eight people designed for the purpose but in the real world, Christianity is suppressed and only Islam is shown any respect, something that our children now pick up in school adding to the impression that in our multi-cultural society, Islam is holy when all the evidence is to the contrary. Apologists for a political ideology that seeks our demise should get their heads out of the sand, look around them and listen to someone with experience.

Friday, 2 March 2012

More feminist claptrap

Have you ever wondered why there is no Feast of the Female Genital Mutilation of our Lord? 

Could it be that, fortunately, Jesus "had a body which appeared externally to be unremarkably male" even if He had "one of the intersex conditions which might nonetheless have had some 'hidden' female physical features"?

Dr Susannah Cornwall writes that her extraordinary claim that Jesus was not fully male was made in the context of the current debate surrounding the consecration of women as bishops in the Church of England.  That makes her comments even more suspect, along the lines of my previous blog about female clergy claiming that "women priests are treated as "second-class Christians, suffering from institutionalised sexism and racism within the Church of England", contrary to evidence submitted to Parliament.

These women continue to demonstrate that Jesus clearly knew what He was doing in appointing only male Apostles into positions of authority. The Rev Dr Peter Mullen gives a crisp response to Dr Cornwall's claim here