Tuesday, April 14, 2009

British Christian charity worker suspended over opposition to homosexual rights

A charity worker has been suspended after telling a colleague about his Christian beliefs against homosexuality, even though he says he is not homophobic and was merely responding to questions from a colleague about his beliefs. David Booker, 44, who works at a Christian hostel in Southampton, a charity whose patron is the Archbishop of Canterbury, was asked about his faith by a colleague, Fiona Vardy during a late shift last month. He told her he was opposed to same-sex marriages and to homosexual clergy but denied being homophobic and said that he had homosexual friends.

The next evening, Mr Booker was suspended from his £19,000-a-year post as a hostel support worker with Society of St James, where he has been employed for the last four years. The hostel told him the action was taken for “events that happened last night”. A few days later he was told he had “seriously breached” the charity’s code of conduct “by promoting your religious views which contained discriminatory comments regarding a person’s sexual orientation”. The action had been taken “to safeguard both residents and staff”, he was advised.

Mr Booker, an evangelical from Southampton, who is being advised by the Christian Legal Centre, now faces an enquiry and a disciplinary hearing.

It comes just weeks after a Christian nurse suspended for offering to pray for the recovery of a patient was reinstated. North Somerset NHS Trust suspended nurse Caroline Petrie for failing to show a commitment to equality and diversity after she offered to pray for the recovery of an elderly patient. The patient did not complain.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, barrister and director of the Christian Legal Centre, said: “This case shows that in today’s politically correct, increasingly secularised society, even consenting reasonable discussion on religion between two employees is being twisted by employers to discriminate and silence the Christian voice and freedom of expression.”

She said the charity English Churches House Group, which was recently taken over by the Society of St James, was largely funded by churches throughout Hampshire whose followers would be “shocked at the attitude and action taken by a Christian organisation towards a Christian employee.”

She added: “The Archbishop of Canterbury, as patron, has confirmed the Church’s teaching on marriage, same-sex relationships and homosexuality and that is in the public domain. We are interested to know whether his patronage is now under threat under the charity’s Culture and Diversity Code of Conduct.”


Civilization walking the plank

Pirate problem joins North Korean missile, Iranian nukes as 'distractions' for Obama

Mark Steyn

The Reuters headline put it this way: "Pirates Pose Annoying Distraction For Obama." So many distractions, aren't there? Only a week ago, the North Korean missile test was an "annoying distraction" from Barack Obama's call for a world without nuclear weapons and his pledge that America would lead the way in disarming. And only a couple of days earlier the president insisted Iraq was a "distraction" – from what, I forget: The cooing press coverage of Michelle's wardrobe? No doubt when the Iranians nuke Israel, that, too, will be an unwelcome distraction from the administration's plans for federally subsidized day care, just as Pearl Harbor was an annoying distraction from the New Deal, and the First World War was an annoying distraction from the Archduke Franz Ferdinand's dinner plans

If the incompetent management driving The New York Times from junk status to oblivion wished to decelerate their terminal decline, they might usefully amend their motto to "All The News That's Fit To Distract." Tom Blumer of Newsbusters notes that in the past 30 days there have been some 2,500 stories featuring Obama and "distractions," as opposed to about 800 "distractions" for Bush in his entire second term. The sub-headline of the Reuters story suggests the unprecedented pace at which the mountain of distractions is piling up: "First North Korea, Iran – now Somali pirates."

Er, OK. So the North Korean test is a "distraction," the Iranian nuclear program is a "distraction," and the seizure of a U.S.-flagged vessel in international waters is a "distraction." Maybe it would be easier just to have the official State Department maps reprinted with the Rest of the World relabeled "Distractions." Oh, to be sure, you could still have occasional oases of presidential photo-opportunities – Buckingham Palace, that square in Prague – but with the land beyond the edge of the Queen's gardens ominously marked "Here be distractions…"

As it happens, Somali piracy is not a distraction but a glimpse of the world the day after tomorrow. In my book "America Alone," I quote Robert D. Kaplan referring to the lawless fringes of the map as "Indian Territory." It's a droll jest but a misleading one, since the very phrase presumes that the badlands one day will be brought within the bounds of the ordered world. In fact, a lot of today's badlands were relatively ordered not so long ago, and many of them are getting badder and badder by the day. Half a century back, Somaliland was a couple of sleepy colonies, British and Italian, poor but functioning. Then it became a state, and then a failed state, and now the husk of a nation is a convenient squat from which to make mischief. According to Chatham House in London, Somali pirates made about $30 million in ransom and booty last year. Thirty mil goes a long way in Somalia, making piracy a very attractive proposition.

It's also a low-risk one. Once upon a time we killed and captured pirates. Today, it's all more complicated. Attorney General Eric Holder has declined to say whether the kidnappers of the American captain will be "brought to justice" by the U.S. "I'm not sure exactly what would happen next," declares the chief law-enforcement official of the world's superpower. But some things we can say for certain. Obviously, if the United States Navy hanged some eye-patched, peg-legged blackguard from the yardarm or made him walk the plank, pious senators would rise to denounce an America that no longer lived up to its highest ideals, and the network talking-heads would argue that Plankgate was recruiting more and more young men to the pirates' cause, and judges would rule that pirates were entitled to the protections of the U.S. Constitution and that their peg legs had to be replaced by high-tech prosthetic limbs at taxpayer expense.

Meanwhile, the Royal Navy, which over the centuries did more than anyone to rid the civilized world of the menace of piracy, now declines even to risk capturing their Somali successors, having been advised by Her Majesty's Government that, under the European Human Rights Act, any pirate taken into custody would be entitled to claim refugee status in the United Kingdom and live on welfare for the rest of his life. I doubt "Pirates of the Caribbean" would have cleaned up at the box office if the big finale had shown Geoffrey Rush and his crew of scurvy sea dogs settling down in council flats in Manchester and going down to the pub for a couple of jiggers of rum washed down to cries of "Aaaaargh, shiver me benefits check, lad." From "Avast, me hearties!" to a vast welfare scam is not progress.

In a world of legalisms, resistance is futile. The Royal Navy sailors kidnapped by Iran two years ago and humiliated by the mullahs on TV were operating under rules of engagement that call for "de-escalation" in the event of a confrontation. Which is to say their rules of engagement are rules of nonengagement. Likewise, merchant vessels equipped with cannon in the 18th century now sail unarmed. They contract with expensive private security firms, but those security teams do not carry guns: When the MV Biscaglia was seized by pirates in the Gulf of Aden last year, the Indian and Bangladeshi crew were taken hostage but the three unarmed guards from "Anti-Piracy Maritime Security Solutions" in London "escaped by jumping into the water." Some solution. When you make a lucrative activity low-risk, you get more of it.

As my colleague Andrew McCarthy wrote, "Civilization is not an evolution of mankind but the imposition of human good on human evil. It is not a historical inevitability. It is a battle that has to be fought every day, because evil doesn't recede willingly before the wheels of progress." Very true. Somalia, Iran and North Korea are all less "civilized" than they were a couple of generations ago. And yet in one sense they have made undeniable progress: They have globalized their pathologies. Somali pirates seize vessels the size of aircraft carriers flying the ensigns of the great powers. Iranian proxies run Gaza and much of Lebanon. North Korea's impoverished prison state provides nuclear technology to Damascus and Tehran. Unlovely as it is, Pyongyang nevertheless has friends on the Security Council. Powerful states protect one-man psycho states. One-man psycho states provide delivery systems to apocalyptic ideological states. Apocalyptic ideological states fund nonstate actors around the world. And in Somalia and elsewhere nonstate actors are constrained only by their ever increasing capabilities.

When all the world's a "distraction," maybe you're not the main event after all. Most wealthy nations lack the means to defend themselves. Those few that do, lack the will. Meanwhile, basket-case jurisdictions send out ever bolder freelance marauders to prey on the civilized world with impunity. Don't be surprised if "the civilized world" shrivels and retreats in the face of state-of-the-art reprimitivization. From piracy to nukes to the limp response of the hyperpower, this is not a "distraction" but a portent of the future.


Corrupt Leftist hater deserved his downfall

Chas Freeman's Saudi & Chinese Connections The Issue - Not The Israel Lobby

The withdrawal by career diplomat Chas W. Freeman from his appointment as Chairman of the National Intelligence Council (NIC) has been depicted largely as the work of the pro-Israel lobby. Reports in the New York Times and elsewhere have painted Freeman as being little more than a blunt critic of Israel. Neither portrait is true.

Only the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) and JINSA made an issue of the Freeman appointment. Other Jewish organizations were not involved, although they should have been - Freeman is not merely a "blunt" critic of Israel, but one who rationalizes anti-Israel hatred and violence.

Freeman never merely criticized particular Israeli policies - he argues that even the most concessionary governments in Israel's history do not seek peace with their neighbors. That is, after Israel recognized the PLO, agreed to the establishment of the Palestinian Authority (PA), ceded half the West Bank and all of Gaza to Palestinian control, disbursed funds, assets and even arms to the PA, and offered it statehood in almost all of the disputed territories, only to receive more terrorism and incitement to hatred and murder in return, Freeman believes Israel is the villain.

In a September 2005 speech, Freeman rationalized Palestinian terrorism as being caused by the West Bank being something other than judenrein: "Israeli occupation and settlement of Arab lands is inherently violent ... And as long as such Israeli violence against Palestinians continues, it is utterly unrealistic to expect that Palestinians will stand down from violent resistance and retaliation against Israelis."

In October 2006, he blamed Israel for 9/11, saying that the U.S. has "paid heavily … for our unflinching support and unstinting subsidies of Israel's approach to managing its relations with the Arabs. Five years ago we began to pay with the blood of our citizens here at home." (Not a word on the almost as large American subsidies to Egypt or increasingly munificent ones to the PA). The following May, he blamed Middle Eastern anti-American hatred principally on American support for Israel. (Not a word on the Wahhabi jihadism of his Saudi benefactors).

Freeman's fabrications extend explicitly to the ZOA. In a long interview with Fareed Zakaria on CNN, Freeman blamed ZOA for "organizing" a campaign against him and even claimed that we had a posting on the web "setting out in considerable detail how they organized, researched to find [sic] material that they could use to agitate, first Congressmen who were sympathetic to them, and later others … they engaged in a truly libelous campaign of selective misquotation, distortion and fabrication of facts that are absolutely not real."

There is no such ZOA posting that Freeman describes. Our research did not extend beyond the use of the internet. Our alleged "selective misquotations" were faithfully provided by Freeman's own speeches posted on the website of Middle East Policy Council (MEPC) that he chairs. The only things that "libel" Freeman's reputation are his own vitriolic views.

Not just on Israel - and this is the point: Freeman's hostility to Israel raised concerns but alone would not haevoked such a strong reaction in Congress. Rather, it was his coziness with tyrannical regimes and the conflict of interests they potentially involved that preoccupied legislators from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi down.

For 11 years, Freeman received financial remuneration from Saudi Arabia heading MEPC. MEPC itself owes its endowment to the Saudi monarch who, in 1994, awarded Freeman the Order of 'King Abd Al-Aziz' 1st Class (Diplomatic Service). Freeman also served on the advisory board of the Beijing-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation, which has business dealings with both Iran and Sudan.

When it comes to such regimes, Freeman again does not tell the truth. Both on CNN and in the New York Times, Freeman claimed that, in an email list posting, he had merely described, but did not himself support, the official Chinese view that Beijing had been slow in clamping down on pro-democracy demonstrators in 1989.

This is untrue: in his email list posting, available on the internet, Freeman said that he found "very plausible" the official Chinese view that it was unforgivable not to have cracked down much sooner to "nip the demonstrations in the bud." He added that he "cannot conceive of any American government behaving with the ill-conceived restraint" of the Beijing government.

In short, Freeman did favor suppression of democratic forces in China. He only wishes it had happened sooner.

On Saudi suppression of religious freedom and human rights, especially for women, Freeman is uncharacteristically quiet. Put simply, he likes autocrats and dislikes democrats.

These conflicts of interest, encompassing advocacy on behalf of tyrannical regimes like China and Saudi Arabia on which he would have had to provide intelligence to the President, sank his appointment, not the "Israel lobby."


Christian conservatism just getting started

There are some today who suggest that Christian conservatism as a political force is over. Those who make this claim point to the fact that liberal Democrats now control the White House and both houses of congress, that the number of Americans self identifying as Democrats compared to Republicans has increased, that the direction of public opinion, particularly among young people, on social issues is liberal, and that the Republican Party itself has been divided over the conservative agenda.

But those who write off Christian conservatism as a political force have underestimated the driving compulsion behind traditional faith and American freedom. Just looking at who is in power does not reveal the depth of division in the country today and for the reasons that the nation is so deeply divided, may I suggest that Christian conservatism will not only survive but will thrive.

For although the Pew Research Center reports that the partisan gap in approval for President Obama is the widest this gap has been in modern times with the difference between Democrat approval of Obama, 88 percent, and Republican approval, 27 percent, the "values" gap reflected in Pew and other studies is far too significant for some to suggest that conservative Christians take their voting rights home to be buried.

According to a recent Gallup poll, 76 percent of Republicans say that religion is an "important part" of their life, compared to 57 percent of Democrats. And 55 percent of Republicans go to religious services at least once per week compared to 34 percent of Democrats.

On particular "values" issues, according to Gallup, Republicans and Democrats are night and day. Some 59 percent of Democrats say out of wedlock births are morally acceptable, compared to 39 percent of Republicans. And with recent data showing 40 percent out of wedlock birth rates, what if any public policy should regulate this behavior?

Abortion is morally acceptable to 51 percent of Democrats compared to 25 percent of Republicans. And with 48 million abortion deaths since Roe v Wade, should no political concern address the societal costs of this law?

Homosexuality is morally acceptable to 55 percent of Democrats and 30 percent of Republicans. And 52 percent of Democrats are ready to legalize same sex marriage compared to 22 percent of Republicans. We only need to look at 30 years of inner city data and see the impact of coupling government social engineering with unbridled sexual impulse.

Without a moral compass in politics and law, where do we go to answer the hard questions? The Christian right has interjected itself into the political world because the political world came into their world.

The public schools that are educating the majority of America's children have been increasingly secularized and politicized. The work place has been purged of biblical ethics. All public space is darkened by lawless and vulgar lasciviousness and becoming increasingly intolerant of practicing Christians.

The result is that secular Americans have had a disproportionate impact on our country over recent years and biblical Americans are now fighting back with their voting rights.

Abraham Lincoln said that a "house divided against itself cannot stand." He recognized that when points of contention have to do with basic values on common ground, we've got to decide who we are going to be. He knew the country couldn't continue half slave and half free and would have to become all of one or all of the other.

The divisions in America today have gotten beyond the political class and the talking heads. It requires voting action to thread one worldview or the other into our rule of law and the Christian right has chosen the Republican Party as its needle.

America is in a crisis because the wrong people have been making the wrong decisions for too many years. Christian conservatives have an obligation to help lead America to it founding principles of traditional values and limited government. Christians must actively shape public policy in the country and inject our values into every part of our shared space.

So I would suggest that the naysayer put away their shovels because the religious right is not dead nor in a coma. Christian conservatives are not and never will withdraw. In fact, we are just getting started.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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