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Friday 31 August 2018

Caption corner 31 August 2018

'Proud' clergy celebrating Pride Cymru                                                                                        Source: Twitter @RoseHill797

As usual printable captions will appear under 'Comments'.

Sunday 26 August 2018

Jolly June's folly?

Source: Twitter

Last year the Pride Cymru Eucharist Service was celebrated by Joanna Penberthy, the first woman bishop in the Church in Wales. In another first, the Rev Sarah Jones, the first transgender priest in the Church of England, was chosen to celebrate Holy Eucharist in a move that could be regarded as a calculated snub to supporters of traditional marriage.

It is a mystery why someone who has complained about being "OUTed" (see the 3.45pm event, above) would want to attract so much publicity but the Rev'd Sarah Jones is not shy when it comes to preaching about same sex marriage:

From her own website: "Before ordination Sarah played on the UK acoustic music scene...Sarah also speaks to conferences and groups on a range of topics including sex and gender, social influence, leadership and diversity."

Currently Rector of St Mary’s Ross-on-Wye, St Michael’s Walford and St Michael’s Brampton Abbotts, Sara Jones has been appointed to the post of Priest in Charge of The City Parish of St John The Baptist, Cardiff, described as being at the heart of Cardiff City Centre and a significant post in the Diocese of Llandaff.

From St John's website:
"The City Parish of St John the Baptist is among the oldest in Cardiff. The church is next to city centre's covered market, and is the oldest remaining mediaeval building in the city after Cardiff Castle, dating from the 12th century.

"Cardiff University Chaplaincy and its main campus are within the City Parish."

I have found no obvious explanation for this import from the Church of England to be vicar of the capital's civic church so unless she was the only applicant it appears to be yet another case of Church in Wales politics which saw the first woman bishop appointed.

The bishop of Llandaff was appointed by the bench of bishops after the rejection of Dean Jeffrey John's candidature. Undoubtedly better qualified than the current bench, Jeffrey John's promotion of the LGBT agenda was too much for many. He also came Out4Marriage.

Barry Morgan and his bench sitters failed in their bid to get the Church in Wales to accept same sex marriage but the bishop of Llandaff has appointed an advocate of that policy to one of the most significant posts in the Diocese of Llandaff in a move that appears to be a calculated thumbing of the nose to those who believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, to the exclusion of all others and for life, the official position of the Church in Wales.

Friday 24 August 2018

Caption corner 24 August 2018

'Another busy year at the Pembrokeshire Show - Scenes from the Church tent… '                              Source: Church in Wales

As usual, printable captions will appear in Comments.

Tuesday 21 August 2018

If this doesn't make you weep...

Apologies for the crude presentation of this entry, H/T @gavinashenden, but if it doesn't make you weep....

Sunday 19 August 2018

The perils of organised religion

In March this year the Guardian carried an article 'Christianity as default is gone': the rise of a non-Christian Europe.

It showed that "In the UK, only 7% of young adults identify as Anglican, fewer than the 10% who categorise themselves as Catholic. Young Muslims, at 6%, are on the brink of overtaking those who consider themselves part of the country’s established church."

The figures are published in a report, Europe’s Young Adults and Religion, by Stephen Bullivant, a professor of theology and the sociology of religion at St Mary’s University in London. They are based on data from the European social survey 2014-16.

"According to Bullivant, many young Europeans 'will have been baptised and then never darken the door of a church again. Cultural religious identities just aren’t being passed on from parents to children. It just washes straight off them'.

"The figures for the UK were partly explained by high immigration, he added. 'One in five Catholics in the UK were not born in the UK'.

"And we know the Muslim birthrate is higher than the general population, and they have much higher [religious] retention rates.

"In Ireland, there has been a significant decline in religiosity over the past 30 years, 'but compared to anywhere else in western Europe, it still looks pretty religious', Bullivant said.

“The new default setting is ‘no religion’, and the few who are religious see themselves as 'swimming against the tide', he said."

The BBC recently highlighted a ComRes survey for the Asian Network. It revealed that "On religion, over half of 18-34 year olds in the general population said it wasn't important to them "at all". Just 8% of young British Asians said the same.

"Overall, 46% of British Asians said it was "very important" to them - compared to 12% of the general population."

Christianity is shrinking while Islam expands.

In Anglicanism the reasons are clear. As physical education activities are reduced in schools, sports replace religion on Sundays. Consequently few families attend church.

Also, the Anglican Church which provided the means of expressing one's faith in a structured way in fellowship with others has has been secularized, again resulting in falling attendances as gender politics have replaced spirituality.

Sadly nobody in the church cares about the disaffected. It is good riddance to worshippers who were valued only for their giving.

In Wales, what felt comfortable and familiar is being replaced by an alien structure reminiscent of nonconformity as the bishops tinker with the structure and employ more 'experts' to keep themselves in employment.

Anglican congregations are increasingly identified as elderly. The absence of families means the absence of children needed to maintain continuity. Without young people the church which nurtured past generations is dying.

So the routine ends.

For those whose lives revolved around the church, taking a step back from organised religion results in a significant change in their social lives as well as their spiritual lives.

After supporting the unsupportable for so long, former worshippers no longer have to accept what is served up week by week, often by manipulative clerics with a vested interest in what they preach. Faults projected onto submissive congregations, making them feel guilty and in need of forgiveness.

The problem with organised religion is that congregations are expected to obey the rules regardless of the examples set by those who seek change. Consequently views such as 'the Vicar knows best' or 'I just keep my head down' prevail implying acceptance.

Over the years much has been accepted in silence. Now stories of abuse abound.

Accounts of cruel treatment handed down by the Christian Brothers were accepted with resignation. The so-called care by nuns of "fallen women" in Magdalene laundries amounted to outright cruel exploitation.

That has changed. The Irish no longer fear the Roman Catholic Church as they did in the past.

Many RCs 'escaped' the authoritarianism by becoming 'middle road' Anglicans (catholic and reformed). They find themselves thrust into another quandary now that the Anglican church has departed from the catholic faith.

One Catholic priest who became an Anglican because he could not cope with a vow of celibacy appears to have accepted the whole 'do as you please' secular package. He has been forced to quit after it was discovered that he was having an affair with his married curate. Reminiscent of a former bishop of St Davids and his chaplain, the temptation of mixing with female colleagues can become too much.

"Lead us not into temptation" has clearly become more difficult for some clerics following the ordination of women, even when married.

Where celibacy is the rule temptation is more widespread. In the US state of Pennsylvania it is reported that more than 1,000 children were abused for decades by hundreds of priests and systemically covered up by church officials.

Stories of abuse are rife. They encourage critics to point the finger but it is not the Church. It is the people in it.

Guilt and the forgiveness of sins play a prominent part in organised religion. So much so that young children make up 'sins' so that they have something to confess. Meanwhile the most appalling abuse has been covered up by bishops fearing that the Church would be seen in a poor light!

Abuse is not confined to the clergy.

It was the 'purging of sins' which resulted in an alleged victim of a deceased former Christian charity leader being beaten by him 3,000 times in the shed of the perpetrator's home and at the camps he ran in Dorset for young evangelical Christians.

A confidential report seen by Channel 4 News in 2017 described what it called the “beatings” of 22 young men:

“The scale and severity of the practice was horrific…8 received about 14 thousand strokes: 2 of them having some 8000 strokes over three years,” the document, written in 1982, noted.

"Despite the findings of the report, the Iwerne Trust did not inform the police. Instead, a senior figure in the Iwerne Trust wrote to John Smyth, telling him to leave the country. He went on to live in Zimbabwe, and then South Africa."

Yet another cover up. The reports mount up.

For many Anglicans, supporting the unsupportable is no longer an option so there is a dilemma. For the architects of the dilemma, those who engineered the ordination of women, the answer is simple, go to Rome.

That suggestion shows a total lack of understanding of faith. Many who suggest it are late entrants who 'came to faith' when they saw a convenient opportunity for expanding the feminist movement. That has had dire consequences for the Anglican Church.

It is not a simple process of crossing one's fingers and saying what is necessary. Consequently people of conscience are stuck.

For them the 'catholic and reformed' Anglican Church is their church of choice. It says much about the bishops and those who are responsible for outlawing faithful worshippers that they couldn't care less about those who, effectively, have been excommunicated.

Christianity is under attack. Unless organised religion adapts to accommodate the few remaining Christians 'swimming against the tide' the outlook is bleak.

Predictions indicate that Western Anglicanism has no future. Secularizing the church has been an abysmal failure, surrendering the church to feminism and all the liberal baggage that comes with it.

True Anglicans have been thrown overboard, in Wales without a lifeboat. The mutineers are heading for the rocks.

While Anglican patrimony has been carried over to the Ordinariate, membership is confined to those who promise to accept the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. That is a big ask for anyone with a questioning mind as illustrated by the revelations detailed above.

Catholics who found that they could not in conscience continue to accept all the teaching of their church and who have become Anglicans along with Anglicans who can no longer accept the teaching of the Anglican Church are left in limbo.

Meanwhile the decline continues. Something has to give.

Friday 17 August 2018

The big lie

'The team': + Dick and St Augustine, Rumney, Cardiff clergy. Source:

Two press releases that have appeared on the Church in Wales web site:


Inclusive church (Provincial press releases) - Welcoming EVERYONE at the door!

From the Diocesan press release: "The Parish of Rumney, and it’s 12th Century parish church of St Augustine, were propelled into the modern world of online communication on Sunday (12 August) with the launch of their new website

"With a popular page on Facebook, @RumneyParish which has 650 followers, the Parish Priest, Fr John Connell, and curate, Fr Ross Maidment, decided that the time had come to bring St Augustine’s well and truly into the 21st Century and raise the parish’s profile via modern media.

Also propelled into the modern world of the 21st Century -  "Alongside its new website, St Augustine’s also launched its #inclusionis campaign.

"Fr Ross, explained: 'St Augustine’s seeks to be an inclusive church which welcomes, affirms and includes all God’s people and our new website enables us to witness to a wider community for whom the internet is at the centre of everyday life'."

Since when did the church not welcome and include all God's people?

This is nothing more than indoctrination, especially of the young, by attempting to normalise homosexual activity.

These now familiar tactics were adopted by feminists to gain access to the priesthood:

  • Exploit the “victim” status;
  • Use the sympathetic media;
  • Confuse and neutralize the churches;
  • Slander and stereotype [traditionalist] Christians;
  • Bait and switch (hide their true nature); and
  • Intimidation.

These often used LGBT tactics claim victimisation to gain sympathy and muster support for what is nothing more than a campaign to accept same sex relationships leading to same sex marriage in church.

Many churches have for years included gay worshippers in congregations with increasing numbers of openly gay clergy .

The only cases of exclusion I have encountered followed the introduction of the ordination of women when some Anglican Christians looked the other way and refused to share the peace.

As the provincial press release puts it, "More and more churches in Wales are joining the Inclusive Church register to pledge that they welcome everyone, whatever their age, sexuality, gender, race or physical ability. Fr John Connell describes the #inclusionis campaign at one of those hoping to join soon, St Augustine’s Church in Rumney, Cardiff."

Despite what is claimed on the St Augustine’s Church website this is not the "living catholic tradition" - even in the Church in Wales.

St Augustine's Rumney                                                                 Source: Twitter

Postscript [18.08.2018]

The Pinc List 2018: The 40 most influential LGBT+ people in Wales

No. 36 of 46 on the list is Bob Woods:

"Bob has been a lifelong LGBT+ activist in both his personal and professional life. A highly respected children’s social worker with Barnardos, he also fostered through the Albert Kennedy Trust.

"He has played a key voluntary role at St Teilo’s Church in Wales School in Llanedeyrn, promoting respect for difference. He has been an inspirational role model for young people which has given them the confidence to be frank about their sexuality and the confidence to say so in public and amongst their friends and family."

More indoctrination of the young by attempting to normalise homosexual activity.

The bishop of Llandaff does not appear in the list despite her best efforts. Her appointment over more qualified candidates of a transgender priest to the Parish of St John's in the centre of Cardiff must have come too late for her.

The winner in No 1 spot "Stood kissing her new husband on the steps of the register office, Cardiff-born Hannah and her ivory dress made a beautiful wedding picture.

"The Army captain had shunned her army wear and was every inch the bride. Oh, and did we mention she's trans?"

Where can the Church in Wales go next?

Postscript [19.08.2018]

The rainbow ring. Just a coincidence?

Tuesday 14 August 2018

St Asaph Cathedral's turn to face the music

St Asaph Cathedral                                                                                        Source: Church in Wales

The Dean and Chapter of St Asaph Cathedral have released a statement regarding their financial position.

It says “Following a reduction in the budget, which has been under financial pressure for some time, we have had to review our financial position...We can however give our assurances that arrangements will be put in place to ensure that the Cathedral continues to provide the same high standards of music and worship for principal cathedral and diocesan services.”

According to a BBC report the job losses will affect part-time employees, including the cathedral's director of music and his assistant. It is understood the redundancies will not affect any members of the clergy.

No surprise there.

Back in June the Bishop of St Asaph announced a new line up to the diocesan leadership team:

"Announcing the new team, Bishop Gregory said: 'The retirement of two Archdeacons this year gives us the opportunity to change the role and responsibilities of Archdeacons.  Originally conceived as the bishop’s fixers, we want our archdeacons to lead the renewal of the Church, and to mentor and lead Mission Areas towards growth'."

Growth has been most evident at the top in the Church in Wales with the appointment of extra archdeacons and advisers to assist a bench of bishops busily trying to satisfy the desires of the flesh rather than the needs of the spirit.

One thing the bishops show no inclination to fix is the top-heavy structure as recommended in the Harries Review [15. Dioceses: their number and administration]. 

From an entry Welsh bishops relegate unity:
Empire building in a declining church appears to be high on the list of priorities for the bench of bishops even though the Church in Wales Review recommended a reduction in the number of dioceses and the associated administrative costs.

From Section 15 of the Review:

"...there is a widespread sense across the church that the Church in Wales is top heavy, with too many committees and too much time spent on simply keeping the institution going as it is."

No change there then.

The bishops of St Davids, St Asaph, Llandaff, Swansea and Brecon (archbishop), Bangor, and Monmouth having a laugh          Source: Premier Christian Radio

Sunday 12 August 2018

Commendable but...

"A Poor Upbringing?"                                                    Source: Church in Wales

Eisteddfod focus on child poverty. A Provincial press release from the Church in Wales draws attention to the issue of child poverty. "Church volunteers are stepping in to provide food and support for struggling families as cuts to public spending impact on child poverty."

All very commendable. - "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." - James 1:27.

Also, "Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed, but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” James 2: 15-17.

The latter quote comes after "Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment" in a section headed Favoritism Forbidden.

Another type of poverty has been created in Wales. Spiritual poverty. The process started by Barry and his bench sitters and carried on by Abp Morgan's successor, as they favour the ordained ministry of women and all the LGBT baggage brought with it above traditional, often cradle, Anglicans. 

No mercy has been shown to former and existing Anglicans who who have clung to the catholic faith. No tolerance and no support after the position of Provincial Assistant Bishop was buried by Abp Barry Morgan in indecent haste at the earliest opportunity without discussion. Provincial episcopal visitors as enjoyed in the Church of England are banned from providing sacramental and pastoral oversight in Wales.

Too many career minded clerics 'saw the light' after it became clear that Governing Body decisions were to carry far more weight than scripture, tradition and reason. Wittingly or unwittingly, they have aided the bench of bishops in turning the Church in Wales into a pit of misery, soon to disappear down its own orifice.

Ministry areas are struggling. Clergy are in short supply. So much so that lay people are conducting services, including Communion by Extension where "the sacrament is taken to a church from another church within the benefice, where the Holy Eucharist has previously been celebrated". A measure encouraged to keep the bishops in the style they mistakenly believe they are entitle to.

Further decline seems inevitable.

The bishop of St Davids followed by the bishop of Llandaff lost no time in advancing their secular causes while complaining that they had been discriminated against because people disagreed with them. Holding the view that the ordained ministry is not open to women is not discriminatory, it is the position of the Holy Catholic Church

Feminism and LGBT issues have become so dominant in the Church in Wales that traditional faith is seen as unacceptable, casting former loyal Anglicans into spiritual poverty.

Nobody cares, least of all the "chief pastors or shepherds" despite what is claimed:
 What distinguishes the Church from other communities, at least in its own self-understanding, is that it is a ‘spiritual’ community – a fellowship/community of the Holy Spirit. That is, it claims to participate in the Spirit of God and to be established as the community it essentially is by the Spirit of God. - The Church and its Ministry

Surrender of the C of E to the ‘zeitgeist’
Pride is one of the seven deadly sins - "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall" Proverbs 16:18) yet gay pride is being celebrated by the Anglican Church. Rainbow altar frontals have become commonplace and Cathedrals bless Gay Pride proclaiming “diversity” as the new gospel

Gay Deans are in vogue. In the latest instance from the Church of England, Ely Cathedral redefines Christianity; – Anglican Unscripted and the surrender of the C of E to the ‘zeitgeist’.

In Wales it is reported that "MajorPride" has been planned to "celebrate the diversity of the community in Llantwit Major  where the church are "happy to host events"

One wonders what St. Illtud, the founder-abbot and teacher of the divinity school known as Cor Tewdws, located in Llanilltud Fawr (Llantwit Major) would have made of that.

Already steeped in gay pride the first woman bishop in the Church in wales was shoe-horned into St Davids in a political move which caused much dissension while the second woman bishop with similar credentials continues to do her own thing

The bishop of Llandaff intends to take all her licensed clergy, Stipendiary and Non-Stipendiary, on a charter flight pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in May 2019. She must be hoping that airline pilots, air traffic controllers and baggage handlers play ball and do not strand all Llandaff diocese clergy in Spain.

Worse still, God forbid, if the plane were lost, this carefully crafted plan would leave the entire diocese without clergy but by then most services may be conducted by the laity anyway.

As the bishops go about the country's business, faithful worshippers continue to be excluded in favour of men who prefer to be thought of as women and vice versa despite their biology, women who want to marry women and men who want to marry men using parcel-post to deliver the means of creation.

What a legacy. 

Friday 10 August 2018

A little bit more

A Crucifix, a Tory politician and unidentified people masked by veils. Source: Archbishop Cranmer

Concluding my entry, Another smokescreen, yesterday I wrote "A 'Christian MSP', Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives has suggested we should defend the right of Muslim women to wear the burka in the same way we defend the right of Christians to wear a cross. God help us!"

He has. No thanks to our bishops but to Archbishop Cranmer who blogged No, Ruth Davidson: the burqa is a world away from a crucifix. Brilliant.

Conservative Muslim Forum founder Lord Sheikh who criticised Boris Johnson for his comments about Muslim women wearing burkas has been back in the news. 

He told BBC Newsnight that he had received vile Islamophobic messages after calling for Mr Johnson to be sacked.

He said he took most exception to "vile things, horrible things, obscene things about Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him".

High profile: David Cameron and Lord Sheikh pictured at a party for the Conservative MuslimForum
                                                                                                          Source: Mail Online 28 July 2013

The Mail Online reported in 2013: "To his many supporters in the Conservative Party, Lord Sheikh, a close  adviser to David Cameron, is the epitome of respectability and  a staunch advocate of family values."

The article goes on: 

"But we can reveal the 72-year-old peer became besotted with an attractive waitress 45 years his junior and travelled to her native Uzbekistan to ask for her hand, only to dump her the day before their secret wedding – all while he was still legally married.

"When his wife of 25 years, Shaida, discovered the relationship, she burst into the crowded cafe where the 27-year-old woman works and  launched a furious tirade against her.

"Lady Sheikh is now divorcing her husband.

"As the high-profile founder and chairman of the Conservative Muslim Forum (CMF), Lord Sheikh’s behaviour is likely to cause deep embarrassment for Tories as they try to forge alliances with traditional Muslim voters."

Perhaps as a good Muslim he was striving to emulate the example of the Prophet Muhammad who had many wives and "married Aisha  at the age of six or seven - but she stayed in her parents' home until the age of nine, or ten according to Ibn Hisham, when the marriage was consummated with Muhammad, then 53, in Medina" [From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia].

"The peer – who has a daughter 15 years older than the waitress – acts as Mr Cameron’s ambassador to the wider Muslim world, as well as drumming up support for the Tories in Britain.

"Recently he said in an interview: ‘I joined the Conservative Party as its policies and ideologies match our own traditions and culture that are based on strong work ethics and family values’."

Thursday 9 August 2018

Another smokescreen

The conviction of 17 men and one woman in Newcastle in August [2017] restarted the national debate on grooming ( PA )                           Source: Independent

BBC Newsnight's coverage of former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnsons’s remarks about wearing the veil reported that the Chair of the Muslim Women’s Network UK regarded his choice of words as "clumsy and inappropriate". While acknowledging he was against a veil ban and against men telling woman what to wear, she said, “The problem I’ve got is the language he used".

One would have thought that Johnson's gaff could have been left there but the skirmishing continues.

Further Newsnight coverage last night featured a debate between journalist Yasmin Alibi-Brown and Claire Fox, Director of the Academy of Ideas:

"Ms Alibi-Brown argued that: 'Boris was jeering here. And I do think politicians have a special responsibility, especially in these fractures times'.

Ms Fox responded: "We should also have the freedom to make judgements and criticise. I believe in religious freedom, absolutely, but only if it comes with a freedom to lampoon, to make fun of."

"She added: 'certain subjects are ring fenced and I do feel that one of the subjects which is ring fenced is an open discussion about a problem of integration'."

Alibi-Brown's interruptions appeared designed to avoid such open discussion as she tried to divert attention to antisemitism. It had a familiar ring.

The furore that has erupted over this relatively trivial story once more provides a smokescreen which obscures far more serious issues such as the longstanding problem of predominately Muslim men regarding young white children as easy meat, as former Home Secretary Jack Straw put it.

Barely reported, and certainly not attracting the moral outrage and indignation as has Boris Johnson's remarks, three men who complained that their human rights had been breached because they may be deported as a result of the decision to remove their British citizenship were told that the decision had been upheld. They had been convicted for grooming and sexually exploiting young girls:

The Independent reported, Rochdale grooming gang members could be deported after judges uphold ruling to strip them of British citizenship

"Three men were among nine men jailed in 2012 after grooming and sexually exploiting young girls. In some cases the girls, aged in their early teens, were raped and pimped out to paying customers in Rochdale and Oldham.

"Each of them challenged the decision, arguing it amounted to a breach of their human rights, but their cases were rejected by both the government’s First Tier Tribunal (FTT) and Upper Tribunal.

"Outlining their offending, Lord Justice Sales said: 'All the men treated the girls as though they were worthless and beyond all respect. They were motivated by lust and greed'.

From the Independent 8 October 2017: "Grooming gangs across the country are repeating the horrific abuse exposed in Rotherham, Rochdale, Oxford and most recently Newcastle, victims and investigators have warned.

"There are mounting calls for nationwide action to combat sexual exploitation, with authorities accused of playing catch-up after ignoring victims 'for decades and decades'.

One victim who was abused as a teenager by the Rotherham ringleader waived her right to anonymity. She said abuse was underway “all over the country”.

“It’s an issue for every town and city, more people are being failed,” she told The Independent. “I’m hearing a lot of new complaints from survivors.

“Some are saying they have been to the police and didn’t get taken seriously, others are getting support.

“But I think the Government is still trying to play this down and make out it’s not a major issue – they are not doing enough.”

I don't hear the protesters raising their voices in defence of these vulnerable children.

The authorities have become paralyzed over the years for fear of being accused of being Islamophobic, a strategy designed to avoid any constructive criticism of a supremacist ideology.

So much so that too many politicians have joined the Islamophobia chorus with no apparent understanding of the issues involved.

A "Christian MSP", Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives has suggested we should defend the right of Muslim women to wear the burka in the same way we defend the right of Christians to wear a cross.

God help us!

Postscript [15.08.2018]

"Thirty men and one woman have been charged with offences linked to child sexual exploitation in Huddersfield.

"The offences relate to five women when they were aged between 12 and 18, and are alleged to have taken place between 2005 and 2012.

"Charges those accused face include rape, trafficking and sexual assault.

"Twelve men, who cannot be named for legal reasons, have been charged with "numerous offences in connection with the same investigation", police said."

The above report is from the BBC. There are similar press reports, none of which mentions 'Muslim' or 'Islam' although readers of the reports may infer a link from the frequent appearance of names such as Hussain and Mohammed given the similarity of other cases including the conviction of 17 men and one woman in Newcastle in August 2017.

By contrast a former police Chief Superintendent, one of Britain’s most senior Asian policemen,  criticised Boris Johnson for "stating Muslim women wearing burqas 'look like letter boxes' and comparing them to 'bank robbers', are racist and likely to stoke violence against Muslim women."

Since when were Muslims a race?

The former Chief Superintendent would have served the whole community better if he explained what stokes child sexual exploitation and violence towards children among predominately Muslim men of Asian heritage.

Speaking up about more serious matters than attempted humour would be a real step forward.

Wednesday 8 August 2018

Boris Johnson's letterbox

Sources: and

The furore over Boris Johnson comparing veiled women with a letterbox shows no sign of abating.

Conservative Muslim Forum founder Lord Sheikh said demands from the PM for an apology were not enough. Boris Johnson should be kicked out of the Conservative Party for his remarks about the burka. He has called for Mr Johnson to have the whip removed - meaning the MP would no longer represent the Tory party. (BBC News)

Former co-chair of the Conservative party Sayeeda Warsi continues her attack on Johnson in the Guardian (here) in which she claims "Boris Johnson’s contempt for Muslim women is part of a dangerous pattern".

Political capital abounds regardless of the facts. From the Huffington Post: "Boris Johnson Branded 'Racist' For Saying Women Who Wear Burkas 'Look Like Letter Boxes'."

Other than for women living in Iran, the veil is not a requirement of Islam, neither is Islam a race. It is a political ideology which seeks to control all aspects of life by whatever means. Consequently, every opportunity is taken to condemn as Islamophobic any offence, real or imagined.

In Iran brave women are fighting for right to ditch their hijabs: "It's not just about the hijab, it's about equality under the law - that is what the Girls of Revolution Street are fighting for." Unlike British Muslims they are living at the sharp end in an Islamic state so fully understand what it means to be oppressed.

From Business Insider UK - In 2005, Johnson wrote in the Spectator that he believed it was only "natural" for the public to be scared of Islam. "To any non-Muslim reader of the Koran, Islamophobia — fear of Islam — seems a natural reaction, and, indeed, exactly what that text is intended to provoke," he wrote. "Judged purely on its scripture — to say nothing of what is preached in the mosques — it is the most viciously sectarian of all religions in its heartlessness towards unbelievers."

To put all this into perspective, Boris Johnson made what he presumably thought was an amusing comparison as illustrated above. A political gaffe resulting in a predictable response. Making another comparison, in Islamic countries death can result merely for not being a Muslim or even the wrong sort of Muslim as numerous reports testify.

A veil is a mask behind which one hides oneself from others. It is not surprising, therefore, that many find it offensive. Boris did not and said so but he is pilloried for his choice of language.

People must be allowed to express their opinions, within the law, without fear of reprisal in what amounts to attempts at gagging for political gain by using ridiculous charges of Islamophobia.

Tuesday 7 August 2018


Left: Hundreds of people protested against the veil ban on Wednesday Source: BBC/AFP  
Right: Mary McAleese at Dublin Pride with husband Martin (right), son Justin (second left) and his husband Fionan Source: BBC/PA

"Denmark has got it wrong. Yes, the burka is oppressive and ridiculous – but that's still no reason to ban it." - Boris Johnson. The Telegraph (£)

Boris Johnson wrote his article in the Telegraph after the first woman was charged in Denmark for wearing niqab after the Denmark veil ban was introduced.

The law does not mention burkas and niqabs by name but says "anyone who wears a garment that hides the face in public will be punished with a fine".

Nevertheless, the Guardian headlined the event: Boris Johnson's burqa remarks 'fan flames of Islamophobia', says MP.

In the article Boris Johnson is accused of “dog whistle” Islamophobia by a former Conservative chair, Lady Sayeeda Warsi, who said the lack of action by the party over Johnson’s comments showed it was “business as usual.”

Sayeeda Warsi had previously called on the Conservative party to launch a “full independent inquiry” into Islamophobia in the party and warned the Tories were "pursuing a politically damaging policy of denial about the problem in its own ranks".

Back in 2010 she spoke out about what she sees as the rise of Islamaphobia in Britain. By coincidence in 2010 Sayeeda Warsi was "named one of the world's '500 Most Influential Muslims' by Middle East think tank the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre. She also topped the UK's Muslim women power list."

Also getting in on the controversy, "Labour demanded that the Conservative chair, Brandon Lewis, refer the former foreign secretary for mandatory equalities training, amid renewed calls for the party to open an independent investigation into Islamophobia in the party.

"In a letter to Lewis, the shadow equalities minister, Naz Shah, said Johnson’s comments were “ugly and naked Islamophobia” and said Lewis should abide by his word to give Tory members diversity training to combat Islamophobia."

While many people will agree that the Denmark veil ban is reasonable, Boris Johnson did not but he is accused of making Islamophopbic remarks.

Honest opinions are no longer acceptable unless they conform to the latest politically correct dictums so people at large are deterred from saying what they feel for fear of being condemned as Islamophobic regardless of the facts.

In 2011 I blogged under the heading Islamophobia:
"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."

Constant claims of 'Islamophobia' regardless of the context is a device used to raise a political ideology to a level beyond criticism while religions such as Christianity are under constant threat. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this phenomenon is its contradiction with feminist ideals of 'equality'.

Feminists have used similar tactics in the Anglican Church with their constant cries of misogyny and homophobia. After attacking Western Anglicanism their attention has turned to the Roman Catholic Church which is threatened from within as well as from outside.

 Irish Church must confront issues to avoid 'decline into irrelevance' shouts the Tablet headline. "The Church needs to confront its teachings on issues like celibacy, female ordination, its theology on sexuality and its hierarchical structure, otherwise it will continue to decline into irrelevance, Fr Kevin Hegarty has warned."

In an obvious nod towards secularism he said, “People began to lose confidence in an institution whose teaching on this subject was so out of sync with their lived experience.”

Mary McAleese who was the Irish President of from 1997 to 2011 has condemned the Catholic Church's teaching on homosexuality as "evil" and was "hopeful the Pope would change the church's position on the issue".

No doubt the former President was influenced by that fact that she was the first recipient of the Vanguard Award at the Gaze LGBT film festival in Dublin. In June she became the first former Irish president to take part in the Dublin Pride parade when she marched with her son Justin and his husband Fionan.

If the Roman Catholic Church follows the example of Western Anglicanism, what hope is there for Christianity in the West?

Free speech must be maintained. If people disagree they must defend their position. Fair comment must not be silenced by unwarranted charges of phobias.

Saturday 4 August 2018

Caption Corner 4 August 2018

"Wonderful @3choirs opening service at @HFDCathedral today themed around women's suffrage. Women's words read and beautifully
 sung, powerful sermon from @BishopJuno. Privileged to be there."                            Source: Twitter @NikkiGroarke Jul 28

As usual publishable captions will appear in Comments.