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Saturday, 28 May 2016

'No religion' outnumbers Christians, the more so in Wales

The Ass Bishop of Llandaff, the Rt Revd David Wilbourne, the Very Revd Janet Henderson
the first female Dean of Llandaff and the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan
Picture credit: CHURCH IN WALES

"Anglicans lose 12 followers for every person they recruit, the majority of whom are converts from other Christian denominations, rather than non-Christians or people with no religion."

The above photo in a 2013 Church Times article records happier times for the Archbishop of Wales before it hit the fan.

From the choice of photo it appears that Wales was regarded by modernisers as the place to be with Archbishop Morgan making a habit of appointing like minded acolytes to help him steer the Church in Wales towards his dream of a church moulded in his own image. He came badly unstuck when the briefly Dean Janet Henderson saw the light and resigned after just a few weeks.

Supporting figures in the article show that from a total of 4437 people polled, 1261 [28%] identified themselves as Anglican and 201 [5%] identified themselves as Muslims. The remainder identified themselves as Roman Catholic (354) [8%], Jewish (162) [4%], Baptist (58) [1%] and of no faith (1649) [37%] leaving 752 [17%] unaccounted for. New figures illustrate a greater decline of Christianity.

According to an analysis in the Guardian, the proportion of the population who identify as having no religion – referred to as “nones” – reached 48.5% in 2014, almost double the figure of 25% in the 2011 census. Those who define themselves as Christian – Anglicans, Catholics and other denominations – made up 43.8% of the population.

Wales showed the highest proportion of people saying they have no religion (nones) at 59.5%. The figures also show that around 13% identify as Anglicans in marked contrast to the 1% of the population of Wales who are recorded on their own figures as regular weekly worshippers.

To the "nones" should be added much of the Church in Wales hierarchy who claim to be Anglicans but show little if any of the traditional Anglicanism that would be recognised by the 80 million Anglicans worldwide now that the CinW along with the C of E have fallen in step with the US Episcopal Church's liberation theology.

A previous analysis showed that Norwich was the most godless city in England and Wales with 42.5% claiming to have no religion, well short of Wales' current 59.5%. The then Communications Director for the Diocese of Norwich the Venerable Jan McFarlane had a knack of turning disaster into triumph describing people who stayed at home as "doing their church going differently"! A successful ruse which has since seen McFarlane's appointment as the Suffragan Bishop of Repton.

One wonders what sort of a job she would have made of Dean of Llandaff. Clearly a catch not hooked by Dr Morgan but perhaps she is more savvy than the Ven Peggy Pilot who is still waiting in the wings and likely to remain there despite her vigorous opposition to anything smacking of scripture and tradition if current rumours regarding St Davids and Llandaff prove to be true.

After the same sex marriage debacle the appointment of the first woman bishop in Wales will result in further haemorrhaging of worshippers. It will be the last straw for many who have struggled to keep the faith in what now resembles a failing company run by incompetent directors who have long since lost sight of their aims and objectives.

The Spectator has this blunt warning: "Britain really is ceasing to be a Christian country. A landmark in national life has just been passed. For the first time in recorded history, those declaring themselves to have no religion have exceeded the number of Christians in Britain. Remarkably, the overall decline of religion in Britain has coincided with the arrival of three million migrants who tend to have more religious belief than British Christians. In particular, the visual impact of Islam, most obviously expressed in the proposal for a 9,000-capacity ‘super-mosque’ in east London that was rejected by planners last year, might give the impression that migration has brought a religious revival to Britain.

"Yet neither the growth of British Islam nor the huge influx of Christian immigrants from Africa and Eastern Europe has spurred a revival in public Christianity. It is possible that the rise of Islamism has made casual believers less inclined to ally themselves with any kind of organised faith. Say ‘religious’ to many Britons and the next word that pops into their heads is ‘extremist’, or perhaps ‘bigot’ or ‘homophobe’. To the growing population of secularists, religion has become something to be treated with suspicion."

While Christianity is on the wane, Islam is made to appear more commonplace and acceptable through the wearing of Islamic dress, ever increasing Mosques and misguided promotion by those who should know better. Ignoring the Great Commission the Archbishop of Canterbury has said that Christians should not share their faith with Muslims and other non-Christians unless they are asked while Muslims attempt to convert as a matter of religious duty. Perhaps His Grace is unaware that in Islamic countries the question most likely to be asked is whether non-Muslims would prefer to convert to Islam or die.

Pope Francis has been preaching from the same sheet while the Archbishop of Wales is well known for being better disposed towards Muslims than towards those in his own flock who dare to disagree with his disastrous liberal policies which have resulted in Wales having more "nones" than any English region.

Two recent accounts of the reality of Islam:

Doctor who worked in Welsh hospital has left his family behind and joined Isis in Syria, and

Elderly Christian woman stripped naked and paraded through streets by mob

It is understandable that the uneducated are easily led by rabble-rousers but when the highly educated are taken in by false prophets it is time to proclaim the gospel.

One has to ask oneself if our spiritual leaders live in the real world. On current trends, how long before they have anyone to lead?

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Bond, Jane Bond!

Gillian Anderson features as Jane Bond in this mocked-up 007 poster posted by the actor on Twitter.
Source: Guardian  Photograph: @GillianA/Twitter

Never mind the character, feel the liberation. The star of The Fall and The X-Files, Gillian Anderson has "expressed her desire" to take over from Daniel Craig as the world’s most famous secret agent, 007, tweeting alongside the poster: "It’s Bond, Jane Bond".

Sian Ian Fleming may have or may not have had a specific gender in mind when she he created her his British secret agent although everything does point to the fact that he did. Most of us are happy to accept Fleming wrote what he intended but that is not good enough for today's gender benders. A male doesn't have to be male if he prefers to identify as a female but if 007 has the wrong equipment one can only imagine the endless possibilities available for the steamier Bond scenes.

Anglicans have been forced to confront the notion that silence gives licence to innovation. The fact that Christ appointed all male Apostles is seen as irrelevant because the Anglican Church decided that there was no theological bar to the ordination of women despite all the evidence to the contrary. So it goes on. Not only can silence be taken to mean yes but 'no' can be 'yes' if we really love one another as Christ commanded, ignoring the first and greatest commandment to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind".

No wonder the brightest have difficulty in accepting that men are male and women are female. In this further video by the Family Policy Institute of Washington, students struggle to explain the obvious.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Why the Welsh Assembly should be scrapped

If the political capital isn't there for the £1.1bn M4 'black route', how long will drivers have to wait before the era of gridlock comes to an end?
Source: Wales Online

After the political posturing in the Welsh Assembly which resulted in Carwyn Jones being renominated as First Minister, the price of his success is becoming clear, the likelihood of utter chaos as the economy of Wales is placed at the back of the queue.

Anyone who has paid the price of entry to Wales via the Severn Bridge soon finds that there is another price to be paid, delays caused by the two lane bottleneck at Brynglas Tunnels. Bad enough in normal circumstances, one hiccough caused by a breakdown, or worse, by one of the many serious accidents involving loss of life, the motorway is closed while the police try to work out the cause. The main cause is obvious. The highway is overcrowded and no longer fit for purpose.

Newport is the gateway to the economic heartland of Wales. Already chaotic during rush hours, driving through Newport can quickly turn into a nightmare with tail backs of 10 miles and more not uncommon after accidents, see examples herehere, and here, with consequent gridlock at motorway junctions for miles around. Visitors to Rugby Internationals and Soccer games add even more misery to a chaotic situation.

Not only are delays bad for the economy of Wales but the disruption caused by missed appointments at hospitals and surgeries adds additional burdens to already overstretched public services. So what can the politicians be thinking about other than self perpetuation?

A 'fly through' video here shows the route the £1bn M4 motorway relief road could take around Newport. In 2015 a Welsh Government spokesman said:

 "The M4 is much more than a motorway; it’s essential for the Welsh people and our economy. We need it to transport ourselves, our people, goods and services throughout Wales and beyond. We need it to reach ports and airports, and we need it to serve our thriving tourist industry.

"The problems around Newport discourage business investment, and are expected to get worse. We want to improve access to international markets. We need a transport system that improves our nation’s economic competitiveness and encourages jobs and growth. The M4 Corridor around Newport project is an essential part of our vision for an efficient integrated transport system.

"Complementary to this project, we are also taking forward a Cardiff Capital Region Metro to improve public transport within the region."

As the Editor of the South Wales Argus wrote yesterday in an open letter to the First Minister, when he first joined the Argus as a journalist in 1989, "the need for a relief road as a solution to the bottleneck on the M4 around Newport was high on the news agenda then. Yet almost 30 years later we are no further forward and the problems on the motorway, particularly around the Brynglas tunnels, have simply worsened."

Yes there are objections about the threat to nature and the effect on individual businesses but that's life. Most businesses are in favour of the project. An urgent solution is needed for the greater good.

On current projections the preferred route project would not be completed until 2021 if the go ahead were given now. David Cameron has urged the Welsh Government "to build an M4 relief road as soon as possible for the sake of business. He said ministers in Cardiff Bay had been granted powers to borrow up to £500m for the project, calling the route a 'vital transport artery'. Mr Cameron said the delay in building the relief road was 'damaging' business in south Wales".

The economy of Wales is playing second fiddle to the ambitions of Senedd Assembly Members. Who needs them? In the Senedd elections the 'Abolish the Welsh Assembly' Party polled more votes than the Green Party which pledged to oppose the M4 relief road.

The 'success' of UKIP which resulted in disgraced MP Neil Hamilton being given another political platform must be a kick in the backside for UKIP voters as he deposed UKIP's leader in Wales to pick up an additional £20,000 a year "taking his salary to £84,000 with control of a publicly-funded group budget of around £200,000. In addition, each of the seven UKIP AMs is entitled to employ three full-time members of staff".

It would be interesting to see the result of a re-run of the election but for now the people of Wales must sweat it out while South East Wales grinds to a halt. So much for 'progress' through devolved government.

Postscript [25.05.2016]
Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has submitted a formal objection to the M4 relief road plan. The trust said it [the"black route"]  will take an area of wet grassland and ditch rich in rare wildlife that includes meadow thistle, otters, water voles and ancient pollarded willows - representative of many parts of the Levels expected to be compulsory purchased for the relief road development, much of which is nationally designated for its wildlife importance.

No doubt NRW would prefer a plague of frogs to the pollutants caused by constant gridlock but a solution must be found if the economy of Wales is not to suffer even worse problems.

As local MP, Paul Flynn said, Plaid Cymru, UKIP and others prefer an upgrade of existing roads around Newport, including the A48 Southern Distributor Road (SDR) which runs along the city's outskirts to the south.

Referring to the SDR proposal Mr Flynn said: "The blue route scheme would bring back congestion that the city suffered before the opening of the Southern Distributor Road in 2004, and that its role to re-distribute traffic 'east to west, north to south' would be destroyed. He said this would make Newport 'a traffic hell of gridlock and pollution'. Mr Flynn argued the blue route was 'favoured by people from elsewhere in Wales who long to pick up the scraps if the black [route] solution, is dumped'."

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Royal College of Midwives Must Not Betray the Profession of Midwifery


From Citizen GO

Royal College of Midwives Campaigns for Abortion Up Until Birth for Any Reason: Not In Our Name!

On 9 February 2016, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) announced their support for a campaign run by abortion provider the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) calling for the legalisation of abortion up-to-birth for any reason. On 6 May 2016, the Royal College issued a position statement that explicitly supported the aims of this campaign, the limitation of conscience rights for midwives, and the extension of the Abortion Act 1967 to Northern Ireland.

Full details HERE.

Update [21.05.2016]

Far from backtracking on her call to abolish the 24-week legal limit for terminating pregnancy, the Chief Executive of the RCM says "Midwives should see abortion as part of their job". Had her mother exercised a choice to abort her foetus immediately before drawing breath, Prof Cathy Warwick, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives would not be around to make such a preposterous claim without even consulting the midwives she represents.

Her excuse? "The role of the midwife is to support women in relation to their reproduction and to care for women." She denied there was any conflict between her role as Chief Executive of the RCM and her position as Chair of the board of trustees of the country’s biggest abortion provider the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, BPAS.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Irresponsibility in 'the most important decision in a generation'.

Stupid David Cameron pulls a stupid face. He's probably just realised how stupid his letter to Oxfordshire Council Council really was. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod for the Guardian
Photograph: Murdo MacLeod for the Guardian

The first duty of the Government is to afford protection to its citizens.

The political rhetoric is becoming worse by the day. Yasser Arafat is dead. Had he been alive, no doubt his name would have been added to that of Putin and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Islamic State, as those being most happy if we were to leave the EU - but it is up to us!

It is our sovereign choice says Cameron while implying that only the stupid could contemplate leaving. So if our "friends" all around the world would like us to stay and the consequences of leaving are so disastrous, why has the Government led its citizens to the position of committing economic suicide?

The first duty of Government is to afford protection to its citizens, something the Government is plainly failing to do if their dire warnings are correct. To hand the fate of the Nation to the 'ignorant' is the height of irresponsibility so could it be that there is more in this for the great and the good, the not so great and the questionable, along with big business whose main aim seems to be to rip off British consumers while paying as little tax as they can get away with?

The Brexit leader, ex-London Mayor Boris Johnson has 'lost it' according to Heseltine, as he accused Boris of "losing his judgement".

That's rich coming from the Mace lifter

Postscript [26.05.2016]

After Hestletine cometh Sugar.

I must be honest, I don't like the man. For me he is an overrated chancer, possibly because in my youth, comparatively speaking, I had the misfortune to buy some his Amstrad junk which he later described as "the biggest load of rubbish I've ever seen in my life". His haughty performance on Newsnight [advance to 28 min] last night did nothing to change my mind.

The 'In' campaign becomes more bizarre by the day with more and more dire warnings of the perils of leaving to such an extent that giving people the opportunity to vote is like offering them a revolver.

Please God we can have a more sensible debate in the little time that is left.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Dementia Awareness Week 2016

Dementia Awareness Week 2016 local events

This is Dementia Awareness Week.

The word dementia describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease or a series of strokes.

Alzheimer's Society are encouraging anyone who is worried about dementia to confront their concerns and get in touch with them.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Make believe

Based on past atrocities, which of these three exclamations is most likely to be heard if a suicide bomber decides to 'martyr' himself or herself, killing and maiming as many people as possible ?

Whether in a shopping mall, restaurant, concert hall, hotel lobby, tube train, on a London bus or on an idyllic beach, most will recall with horror 'Allahu Akbar' being shouted in triumph as the innocent are slaughtered and disfigured. 

The recent terrorism training exercise involving a simulated suicide bomb attack at Trafford Centre was hailed a 'great success' but a Police Chief was later forced to apologise for using fake Muslim shouts of 'Allahu Akbar'. One observer rightly pointed out that a terrorist could be anyone but if, for example, the Salvation Army were to be implicated a tea wagon would have been more appropriate than a suicide belt!

Can we learn nothing from Rochdale, Rotherham, Derby and Oxford where gangs of men, mainly of Pakistani Muslim heritage, lured white girls as young as 10 into a nightmare of sexual abuse with political correctness helping them get away with it for fear of accusations of racism and Islamophobia?

In Germany violence by Muslims against Christians in refugee homes is being played down or ignored for the same reasons. Many other examples could be quoted.

In June, to coincide with the holy month of Ramadan when Muslims traditionally fast and give to charity, buses in London, Manchester, Leicester, Birmingham and Bradford are to be used to carry posters which praise Allah.

The Director of the Muslim charity Islamic Relief said: 'There is a lot of negativity around Muslims. We want to change the perception of Islam. The campaign is about breaking down barriers and challenging misconceptions. The posters would help to raise funds for victims of war and disasters in countries such as Syria, and portray Islam in a positive light'.

That is fine but Muslims must accept that if the rest of us are to be held up to scrutiny Islam can not be exempt if they want to be seen in a positive light. We can not live in a 'make believe' world when the reality is totally different.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Highlighting what we understand marriage to be

Like many readers,  I have been awaiting the publication of 'Highlights' following the April meeting of the Church in Wales Governing Body to read how the Archbishop's determination to open his churches to same sex marriage ceremonies regardless of the cost to the Church would be presented.

'Highlights' absence may be due to the retirement of the well respected Archdeacon who put it together or perhaps the bishops' same-sex marriage statement and Pastoral Letter are intended to replace the publication this time.

The above video graphically illustrates differing attitudes to marriage today and nails the notion that defenders of traditional marriage are either homophobic or religious bigots but this does not stop militant gay rights activists from condemning anyone who holds a contrary opinion to theirs as lacking in love and understanding.

The bishops of the Church of England are "all in agreement that the Christian understanding and doctrine of marriage as a lifelong union between one man and one woman remains unchanged". The bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada avow to guard church unity against "mounting pressure", but the bishops of the Church in Wales have again sold out to secularism by offering prayers (not a blessing) which may be used to celebrate same sex unions in church.

This comes as no surprise when the Archbishop, Dr Barry Morgan, fervently follows the lead of the US Episcopal Church (TEC) in dumping traditional Christian values in favour of TEC's disastrous Liberation Theology.

In the process of endorsing gay marriage the Bench of Bishops has engaged in deception on a massive scale using sympathetic clergy to influence what remains of their flock. This has included attempts to persuade the Mothers Union to support the policy and to vote on a personal basis regardless of views canvassed from congregations while demeaning the views of supporters of the traditional doctrine of marriage as the basis of family life.

The Archbishop's liberal leanings were well known before he sought the support of the Standing Doctrinal Commission of the Church in Wales. The Commission's sympathetic findings, summarised here, were duly printed and made available to congregations prior to diocesan 'consultations'. The procedure was for guidance only so a positive response could be used as justification while a negative response could be dismissed as the result of prejudice.

All this was designed to ensure that the Governing Body delivered the required verdict but when that failed the bishops simply did their own thing and published their Pastoral Letter to permit what had been rejected. What is unlikely to be found in churches is the theological rejection of the bishops' Pastoral Letter. But then the bishops' understanding of marriage is not Christian, it is secular.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Dumb dumber dumbest

The Church of England has been accused of ¿dumbing down¿ after drawing up a new service in which worshippers use Post-it notes, clap like football fans and move their fingers like ¿twinkling stars¿
The Church of England has been accused of ‘dumbing down’ after drawing up a new service in which
worshippers use Post-it notes, clap like football fans and move their fingers like ‘twinkling stars’ -
Source: Mail Online

Informality has become the watchword in the Anglican Church in England and Wales. 

From the Free Dictionary: Dumb (adj), informal 

a. slow to understand; dim-witted
b. foolish; stupid. See also dumb down
  dumb down
    to make or become less intellectually demanding or sophisticated.

The Church in Wales has introduced little boxes, snakes and ladders, balloons and all manner of gimmickry as worshippers make for the exit, reducing regular attendance to less that 1% of the population. 

The Church of England (CofE) is following suit. Yesterday was Godparents' Sunday. Probably the best Archbishop the CofE never had, the former Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, sums up the feelings of more traditional Anglicans in his new book 'Faith, Freedom And The Future', when he said: ‘When they come into a church, worshippers should sense the presence of a holy God, not the bonhomie they may experience at bingo.’

In his own inimitable style the Rev Dr Peter Mullen takes Bishop Nazir-Ali to task in No dumbing down in the Cof E. Brilliant!