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Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Interfaith meeting to aid the spread of Islam

A study undertaken by the Muslim Council of Britain has analysed the 2011 Census
 to  reveal details of Britain's growing Muslim population.  Source: Mail Online

"The Muslim Council of Wales, an affiliate of Muslim Council Britain, is an accord of mosques, Muslim associations and institutions in Wales. It shall be informed and guided by the Sunnah in all its aims, policies and procedures".

From Wales Online: "Archbishop of Canterbury to address historic event in Wales at invitation of Muslim leaders. Justin Welby, will be joined by the archbishops of Wales, Scotland and Ireland in what is hoped to be a signal of interfaith cohesion...Muslim community leaders said they hoped the interfaith event at Cardiff City Hall, which coincides with the primates' visit, will send a message across Wales, the UK and internationally that inter-faith relations in Britain are strong, despite global tensions such as IS atrocities and the refugee crisis."

There is the whiff of Chamberlain's 'Peace for our time' about this gathering. The Muslim Council of Wales "shall be informed and guided by the Sunnah in all its aims, policies and procedures". That means no deviation from the Sunnah and the Koran, the spread of Islam by any means.

While religious leaders are engaged in conversation in Christian countries, Christianity is being crushed in Muslim countries. It is no coincidence that the main religion is Islam in the top 50 countries on the World Watch List of Christian persecution. This is explained by Dr. Peter Hammond in his book: "Slavery, Terrorism and Islam: The Historical Roots and Contemporary Threat". In Dr Hammond's list the United Kingdom is shown with a Muslim population of 2.7%. (At 2% to 5%, they begin to proselytize from other ethnic minorities and disaffected groups, often with major recruiting from the jails and among street gangs.)

By 2011 the Muslim population population in England and Wales rose to 5%. (From 5% on, they exercise an inordinate influence in proportion to their percentage of the population. For example, they will push for the introduction of halal (clean by Islamic standards) food, thereby securing food preparation jobs for Muslims. They will increase pressure on supermarket chains to feature halal on their shelves -- along with threats for failure to comply) leading to "Which restaurant chains have gone halal – and why?"

Christian Voice considers halal products from a biblical perspective, something that Archbishop Welby should reflect on as he prepares his speech. The Bible is clear: Jesus said "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." He also warned about false prophets: "They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. You will know them by their fruits".

Religious choice is not an option for Muslims. The number of Muslims in England and Wales grew by 80% to 2.7 million between the 2001 and 2011 censuses but there is a belief among some of Britain's Muslims that "leaving Islam is a sin and can even be punished by death". An investigation for the BBC has found evidence of young people suffering threats, intimidation, being ostracised by their communities and, in some cases, encountering serious physical abuse when they told their families they were no longer Muslims. Check "which countries still outlaw apostasy and blasphemy" here.

In Muslim countries non-Muslims face death or are forced to pay a poll tax, the Jizya, if they refuse to convert to Islam despite there being "no compulsion in religion", a verse abrogated in the Koran. There is no evidence that the young able-bodied Muslims migrating to Europe have any desire to cast off the yoke of oppression. Indeed Saudi Arabia has pledged to build 200 mosques in Germany to accommodate the spread of Islam.

If Justin Welby wants to make a positive contribution to interfaith relations he should start by encouraging Muslims to show their solidarity with Christians by refusing to build any more mosques while Christians are being massacred and their churches destroyed.

Fat chance! Read on.

Postscript [30.09.2015]

According to a new nationwide online survey of 600 Muslims living in the United States, significant minorities embrace supremacist notions that could pose a threat to America’s security and its constitutional form of government.

The numbers of potential jihadists among the majority of Muslims who appear not to be sympathetic to such notions raise a number of public policy choices that warrant careful consideration and urgent debate, including: the necessity for enhanced surveillance of Muslim communities; refugee resettlement, asylum and other immigration programs that are swelling their numbers and density; and the viability of so-called “countering violent extremism” initiatives that are supposed to stymie radicalization within those communities.

Full details here.

Friday, 25 September 2015

I'm a much much better person than you are...

The illustration may have an American slant but the sentiments are the same in Great Britain where the Anglican Church has become fractured along the lines of the US Episcopal Church while most of the 77 million people worldwide belonging to the Anglican Communion remain faithful to the reformed Catholic faith that is Anglicanism.

Views based on scripture, tradition and reason are regarded by liberals as old fashioned, even offensive to some, so absurd accusations are flung at those who disagree with the liberal line implying that they lack compassion and are less worthy for not keeping pace with fashionable trends. 

Well illustrated by the 'women priests' and 'women bishops' debates, 'No' is not an acceptable answer for liberals. So the war of attrition continues with attention now focused on same sex marriage (SSM). The media have played into liberal hands by taking the line that a majority in the Church in Wales are for SSM but the vote was not a vote of the membership. It was a vote of representatives of the membership, some of whom voted according to personal preference showing the extent of militant gay influence in the Church in Wales when many gay members are known to be against SSM.

For liberals the question has already been settled and it is only a question of time before they succeed in their latest campaign. Take this article for Wales Online, 'Why the church needs to move with the times when it comes to gay marriage': 
 "So, no Church in Wales gay weddings yet. But the debate goes on, promised Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan. 
Indeed it will, for all Christian faiths, as they persist to swim against the tide of social change, especially among the young people leaving their pews in droves."

There are insufficient young people in the pews "to leave in droves" or to sustain the Church in the longer term even if the few (less than 1% of the under 18 population of Wales) remain. The pews are largely occupied by elderly worshipers who have no desire to join a different denomination because traditional Anglicanism is their expression of faith. Clearly the article was written from a position of ignorance by a person who has yet to learn that Christians are justified through faith not by rigging votes in denominational ruling bodies. 

There are younger people in the pews, including gay worshipers which gives the lie to the claim that gay people are not welcome, clergy included. But the gay agenda has moved beyond acceptance through affirmation to becoming the required 'Norm'. Their campaign is not as obvious as in Women in the Church (WATCH) campaigning but runs as an undercurrent which seeks to move opinion towards "a more inclusive church", thus gaining the stamp of ecclesiastical approval for a well established minority, regardless of the effect on the Anglican Communion.

See also "Warning to Synod voters: some ‘evangelicals’ are not as they seem" (here) for deception in the Church of England.

Postscript [27.09.2015]
Gay clergy who defied bishops by marrying their male partners run for Synod:
"They are among several openly gay clergy and lay people standing for the Synod in the run-up to a contentious debate as early as next year over whether the Church should drop its ban on same-sex marriage and the formal blessing of civil partnerships." Full article here

Monday, 21 September 2015

Lowlights September 2015

The Bench of Bishops of the Church in Wales  

Last week the Governing Body of the Church in Wales spent Wednesday afternoon and all day Thursday talking about things which mattered to them. Based on the time devoted to each subject the most important was same sex marriage (SSM) and among the least, the survival of the Church in Wales (CinW) indicated again by the continuing downward spiral in membership.

The Bench employed the same insidious tactics as they had used to admit women to the Episcopate when they deviously planned to make no provision for members who had theological objections to the proposal. No love there! The bishops did not participate in the debate but their acolytes spoke for them, trying to persuade voters to give their Archbishop the votes he needed to drive through his secular SSM policy. To their shame, three bishops voted in favour of same sex marriage ignoring scripture and tradition. - "Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." 

The reasons given in favour of SSM which appear in Highlights had nothing at all to do with faith which illustrates why the CinW finds herself in the mess she is in, a position neatly summed up by one speaker from Llandaff diocese who said "Living in a post-modern world, we kick God into touch. In danger of bowing to external pressure we choose between pleasing God and pleasing people", something I hope the Bench took due note of when they consider the way forward.

The Standing Doctrinal Commission Report put it this way in Para 76:

"Our friends, family members, neighbours and colleagues number amongst
those who experience same-sex attraction. There is a strong appeal in the
argument that we must adjust the Church’s view to ensure their happiness.
Western society is increasingly hostile to those who question the goodness or
rightness of same-sex relationships: this provides a powerful motive to secure
our own good name by conforming to the majority opinion of our
contemporaries. Is same-sex marriage just another ethical issue on which
Christians can agree to disagree? Is this debate leading us to change our
teaching and discipline in order to ensure personal fulfilment for our
neighbours and avoid social disapproval for ourselves? Scripture and the
consistent teaching of the Church over twenty centuries compel many to view
the debate in terms of a choice between obedience to God or conformity to
the world, a touchstone of authentic Christian life; and “We must obey God
rather than men” (Acts 5.29). Would such radical obedience damage our
witness to our society? A Church with an unpopular message certainly faces a
challenge: but a Church which evades the challenge of obedience will have
no life-changing message at all. Article 20 of the 39 Articles puts the issue
succinctly: “it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything that is contrary to
God’s Word written.” Yet that is precisely what we would be doing, if the
Church were to presume to pronounce a blessing on same-sex marriages, or
even on more broadly-defined partnerships of a similar nature."

The bishops have shown themselves to be out of touch with Church membership as are many of the clergy and lay members of GB who appear simply to do their bishops' bidding, presumably believing that the bishops know best when the truth is that they had no business bringing forward another Church splitting, un-Christian, secular policy. 

"Suffer me not to be separated from thee,
From the malignant enemy defend me."

See also "The Church in Wales steps back from Same-Sex Marriage"
A report for Anglican Mainstream by Ven Dr Will Strange, Archdeacon of Cardigan here.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Fool's paradise

Credit: @dominiccawdell

The Governing Body (GB) of the Church in Wales was told yesterday it has lost 40% of members since Bishop Gregory was ordained but he does not see a dying church, only the pattern of 'every Sunday' worship is dying! If that sounds familiar compare the attitude of the Archdeacon of Norwich who claimed that the citizens of Norwich were "doing their churchgoing differently" (ie staying at home) when challenged after the 2011 census revealed the City of Norwich to be the most godless city in England.

Not to be deterred, Bishop Andy saw promising but tentative signs of change despite the continuing downward trend: the rate of decline had slowed. Given the severity of the crisis one would have thought more time would have been devoted to the subject of Membership and Finances but there was a pressing need to move on to consider the refugee crisis, not those made refugees in their own church, but those fleeing persecution abroad. The Archbishop thoughtfully reminded GB members that they should not be there if they dissented from the Statement from the Bench of Bishops and their Emergency Motion (here).

However, there was plenty of time to advance same sex marriage where the LGBT lobby and +Barry's acolytes gladly pushed his agenda at the expense of the Church. There was no formal motion but a 'straw poll' was used to inform the Bench how to take the subject forward. This is how GB voted:

OPTION    1       2       3

Bishops     1       2       3
Clergy     21       1     26
Laity       28       6     32

Note: Option 1=No change; Option 2= Blessing same sex partnerships; Option 3= same sex marriage

The required majority would not have been met had the vote been for real but nevertheless Dr Morgan has been gifted by GB what he failed to gain when consulting the membership as a whole. This shows the extent of influence the LGBT lobby has where it matters and has enabled the media to declare "Church in Wales votes YES for gay marriage".

There were claims of prejudice and of people being out of touch with current trends. If the illustration above is anything to go by, that includes me. As I have visited various churches I have noticed a lack of reverence to the Altar but to use the Holy Table to advance homosexuality reaches a new low in campaigning.

Not to be deterred Archbishop Morgan's next crusade while SSM goes on the back burner is a return to the question of an Archiepiscopal See and the need for more, not less bishops, no doubt to accommodate his female accomplices. Meanwhile the Anglican Communion is about to be dismembered.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Double jeopardy?

Credit: Wales Online

Same sex marriage in the Church in Wales (CinW) will be the last straw for many worshipers if approved by the Governing Body. And for what? Forget the false propaganda about equal rights and talk of love which can be expressed in many forms. That led the new Presiding Bishop of the US Episcopal Church to declare that the Supreme Court "affirmed the authenticity of love" by legalizing gay marriage as if marriage were the only manifestation of love. The plain fact is that marriage is between a man and a woman. It cannot be redefined. If 'love' were all there would be all manner of odd unions.

There is nothing to stop same sex couples loving each other, living together and entering into civil partnerships to obtain the same benefits as heterosexual couples. They do not have to be "married" to demonstrate their commitment to each other.

When drafting legislation HM Government ensured that the Church of England and the Church in Wales would be banned by law from offering same sex marriages with a "quadruple lock" to protect religious freedom. But advancing his personal agenda the Archbishop of Wales has claimed that making it illegal for the Church in Wales to offer same-sex marriages would be a "step too far". He said "In my personal opinion it's a great pity it's illegal for us not to even have the possibility to do it. It should be left for us to opt in or opt out".

Following the example of the US Episcopal Church which has adopted new marriage rites with language which allows them to be used by same sex or opposite sex couples replacing the terms "man and woman" with "couple", Dr Morgan is attempting to force his personal opinion on the Church in Wales using typically devious tactics to get his own way regardless of the possible consequences for fellow priests and laity.

Clergy and laity should be protected from being compelled to take part in same sex marriage ceremonies under the same sex marriage legislation but history shows that it will not stop determined people from trying to get around the law by any available means. The CinW had no regard for conscience following the decision to ordain women with many faithful worshipers becoming marginalised while in the Church of England WATCH has been picking away at the agreement which permitted women to become bishops. But there is a more serious danger, the Extremism Bill.

From Coalition for Marriage:

"Last month we uncovered a letter from MP Mark Spencer to a constituent calling for Extremism Disruption Orders (EDOs) to be used against teachers who teach that gay marriage is wrong.

Mr Spencer’s letter followed suggestions from Education Secretary Nicky Morgan that if a pupil believes that 'homosexuality is wrong', it could raise extremism concerns.

Now the independent watchdog for terrorism laws has cautioned that proposed Extremism Disruption Orders (EDOs) would put “all sorts of people under suspicion”. Unless the Government performs a dramatic U-turn this could well include supporters of traditional marriage.

Speaking on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme, David Anderson QC said that if current laws are extended then controversial views could trigger “the whole apparatus of the surveillance state”.

He acknowledged that it was important to be able to challenge different views but warned: “I don’t always think the State is the right body to be doing that”.

If we look across the Atlantic we can see how the law of the land can be used to criminalise those who hold the sincere view that marriage is only between a man and a woman. Kim Davies, a Kentucky marriage registrar was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples on religious grounds. She was released on Tuesday.

And in the UK last week, the Times Educational Supplement revealed that police told more than 100 teachers that environmentalists, including Green MP Caroline Lucas, would be regarded as potential extremists under the Government’s Prevent counter-terrorism strategy.

It seems environmentalists, like traditional marriage supporters, are being equated with violent extremists in the eyes of the authorities."

With so many gay clergy around him the Archbishop seems to have lost all sense of proportion putting clergy and laity in jeopardy instead of the "quadruple lock" intended to protect religious freedom.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Same sex marriage. Cold feet or a return to sanity? Probably neither.

Cake decorations at a gay wedding. Photograph: Hector Mato/AFP/Getty

The above illustration appeared in The Guardian in 2006 under the heading "Gay marriage could improve health". Actually the article was more about civil partnerships which many applauded as a victory for natural justice. But a connection with same sex marriage (SSM) was being made as though there were little difference between them which is reminiscent of the position taken by those who pressed for the ordination of women.

It was argued that the difference between a deacon and a priest was small, merely saying a few words at the Altar with the authority to pronounce absolution as though neither had any great significance. After the ordination of women to the priesthood was accepted it was argued that if a woman could be a priest it was discriminatory to deny a woman priest the right to become a bishop. The fact that the Anglican Church had no such authority within the Apostolic Church was ignored because Provinces could take authority for themselves under their own constitutions while still professing to be part of the Apostolic Church in their Creed.

Following Western Anglicanism's acceptance of women deacons, priests and bishops, LGBT issues have become the dominant issue, something the Archbishop of  the Church in Wales has been keen to take forward, particularly his gay marriage agenda after bouncing through women bishop legislation. But are his revisionist policies coming unstuck?

Publishing the Agenda for this month's meeting of the Church in Wales' Governing Body a Provincial press release includes this surprise statement under "Other items on the agenda include":
'A report on same-sex marriage consultations which took place in each diocese this year, followed by a plenary debate. Please note: no decision on whether the Church in Wales will change its law to allow same-sex marriage (SSM) will be taken at this meeting – it is debate only.' [My emphasis - Ed.]

Cold feet or a return to sanity? Probably neither. Looking at the Report of the Standing Committee (Item 7) a different picture emerges with this statement:

[29.] The Committee was informed that, following the group discussions at the April 2014
Governing Body meeting and work carried out by the Standing Doctrinal Commission,
the Bench had consulted dioceses on three possible options for the way in which the
Church should relate to same sex partnerships in future:
1. No change to the Church’s current teaching and practice on marriage and
2. To allow same sex unions to be blessed in the Church in Wales;
3. To allow same sex couples to marry in the Church in Wales.

[30.] The Committee received a report from the Bench summarising the results of the
consultation with dioceses. The Bench proposed that the results be circulated to
Governing Body members for this meeting when the Governing Body would itself be
invited to discuss the three options. There would be no motion for debate but, at the
end of the discussion, members would be invited to indicate in a secret ballot their
preferred option (and, if they so wished, their second preference). The results would be
announced at the meeting, and would then be considered by the Bishops at a subsequent
Bench meeting. The Bench would report back to the Standing Committee on its
proposed way forward in the light of the consultation. The Committee endorsed the
approach proposed by the Bench. [My emphasis - Ed.]

Readers may wonder why the report from the Bench summarising the results of the consultation with dioceses has not been made public. One would think they are of no concern to the Church members whose views are summarised. The implication is that the results were unacceptable to the Archbishop but by proposing that the results be circulated to Governing Body members to discuss the three options the Bench is likely to receive their desired result from like minded supporters despite the wishes of the Church in general.

Designed to show which way the wind is blowing, what is there to prevent one of Barry's acolytes proposing that a vote be taken? This is what happened when the devious Jackson/Wigley amendment scuppered any meaningful provision for Church in Wales Anglicans who have remained loyal to the Apostolic faith of the Holy Catholic Church. The bishops dropped their own proposals when they saw the wind was in their favour. Sadly the rest is history with the faithful struggling on the best they can supporting a Province which does not support them. But as long as the money rolls in who cares? Certainly not the bench of bishops.

So more skulduggery as witnessed in the deceitful Code of Practice manoeuvres to complete +Barry's secular agenda? In this video the Archbishop refers to the Bench's two stage legislation which was supposed to make provision for those who are opposed to women bishops but abandoned after the the first part was accepted. Unscrupulous, devious and cunning it seems that nothing will deter Dr Morgan from achieving his secular objectives even if his policies destroy the Church in Wales in the process.

Little surprise, then, that members have become disillusioned giving rise to this comment which appeared in the Conclusion (Section 1) of the note after the Diocese of St Asaph's SSM deliberations:

"Clear support of traditional teaching
There is a clear group of about 19% of the respondents who reject any change in marriage doctrine and not only oppose the blessing of same sex unions, object to the unions themselves. Comments indicate that they do want change – but this is a significant change in the teaching and practice of the church to reinforce the traditional theology of marriage in preaching, teaching and pastoral practice. They state that the Bible is clear and so the church should be clear.

They fear that many will leave the church if any change in doctrine or practice is made.

In this reading Option 1 is a change option. Comments indicate a distrust of the leadership and membership of Church in Wales. They fear that society’s values are already ruling over biblical values. The call in the comments is for commitment to this option from all, at every level of the church, but especially in leadership. Comments speak of the surprise they feel that the Bishops seek to even ask the question when the Bible is so clear. For them there are no Options, only one Option – to be faithful

There are within the comments calls for celibacy of homosexual persons. One comment speaks the most loving response being to be firm and state that homosexuality is wrong. Comments suggest that Option 1 is the pastoral option. Comments said that blessing that which is condemned in the Bible is sinful and misleading."

It is not surprising then that the latest attendance figures for 2014 show another 2% fall on the previous year along with a 11% Electoral Roll fall, a 15% fall in Confirmations and a 7% fall in Baptisms. Regular income is also down for the sixth successive year. The Report indicates that "regular giving is coming under increasing pressure as general attendance continues to fall and fewer members are required to meet the financial demands of parishes".

The road to ruin continues while +Barry claims "the church of God ... has faced all kinds of difficulties and crises in the past but God has been steadfast in His care for us". The 'church of God', yes, but who cares for the Church in Wales? Not the bishops.