Friday, December 04, 2009
British Christian loses sex therapy case
A relationship counsellor who refused to offer sex therapy to gay couples has lost his unfair dismissal appeal. Gary MacFarlane, 47, from Bristol, was sacked by marriage guidance service Relate after he said he could not do anything to promote gay sex. He alleged Relate had refused to accommodate his Christian beliefs.
The service's chief executive Claire Tyler said: "The appeal judgement validates Relate's commitment to equality of access to our services."
Mr MacFarlane, a former church elder, was appealing on the grounds of religious discrimination at the Employment Appeal Tribunal in Bristol. He started training with Relate in May 2003 and said he enjoyed good relationships with clients and colleagues.
Mr MacFarlane was suspended in October 2007 after meetings with his manager, in which he claimed he was asked to state his views regarding same-sex couples. After the suspension was lifted he said he was labelled a "homophobe" and, following a further disciplinary hearing, was dismissed on 18 March.
The tribunal, chaired by employment judge Toomer, dismissed Mr MacFarlane's claims of harassment. Ms Tyler, from Relate, added: "Relate's trusted service, both in Avon and across the country, relies on making sure that all members of society, regardless of their gender, age, race, religion, sexual orientation or relationship status, are able to access respectful and professional counselling and sex therapy. "Relate is committed to supporting all religious beliefs working within Relate.
"However, our primary consideration is to our clients who often need complex advice and assistance. "We cannot allow anything to damage our clients, or to undermine the principle of trust that underpins our work." [Irrelevant bulldust. Who was asking her to damage her clients, or to undermine the principle of trust that underpins her work?]
Thanks for the Puritans
I'm Catholic, no apologies, I'm of the opinion that the Roman Church is closer to the straight skinny than any other church. That said, thank God for Protestantism and Puritanism. Without them the concept of liberty wouldn't exist.
Did you know Odin was a king's god, Thor a peasant's? Check every pagan religion as they were practiced in the old days and you will find similar dichotomies: gods for the bosses, a different set of gods for the peasants. The Catholic Church continued this tradition with the custom of people asking the Saints to pray for them. The kings pray to Jesus, the peasants ask Mary and Joseph (and often a Christianized local godling) to pray to Jesus for them.
By dumping veneration of the Saints (correctly or darkest heresy) Protestants put us all to worshipping the one Triune God. We are all brothers in Christ, king or commoner doesn't matter. The beginning of egalitarianism.
Division of Church from State could not have occurred if everyone was Catholic, there would have been no need for freedom of religion, at best tolerance for Jews, Moslems and Orthodox Christians.
The biggest advance of course was the Puritans. They questioned whether it was proper for a sinner (Say Chuckie Stewart I) to be the head of the Church over Saved. This leads to the need for separation of Church and State. The process begun by splitting the church between Catholic and Protestants leads to the recognition that the head of the State should not be the head of the Church.
This finally leads to the idea that there should be no established Church, not toleration of other Churches but the freedom to practice whatever religion the Spirit leads you to. From here the step to intellectual freedom and freedom of speech and press becomes almost inevitable.
The need for intellectual freedom makes people realize that men (and women) cannot have masters, that we must be free. This came full circle when in the 1980's the Catholic Church became the center of resistance to the Communist rulers of Poland.
The same Church whose leaders had so often geeked for tyrants, the same Church whose breakup was needed to start the flood of freedom become the rallying point of those who needed to be free. How times change.
Feminist bitch reined in by British tribunal
The head of a government task force for women in business was ordered to pay compensation yesterday after a tribunal found that she had bullied a string of workers, including women. Glenda Stone had a “dictatorial and intimidating” approach towards her female employees that was known to make them cry and left her personal assistant depressed, the Central London Employment Tribunal heard.
The tribunal awarded £28,567.17 to David Collier, a former projects officer at Mrs Stone’s recruitment company, Aurora Gender Management, after he successfully claimed that he was unfairly dismissed because he had accused her of bullying.
Mrs Stone, 42, who was appointed co-chairman of the Women’s Enterprise Task Force in November 2006, founded the annual Where Women Want to Work Top 50 and is a member of a small business forum set up by Lord Mandelson. Her remit at the task force was to promote and encourage women in business. Women employees told the tribunal that they were bullied by Mrs Stone, with one developing a “nervous twitch” at the sight of her.
The three former employees, who criticised her “micromanagement” approach and accused her of being “dictatorial and intimidating”, all lost their jobs within days of falling out with Mrs Stone. In its conclusions, the tribunal accepted their evidence as true. It found that Mrs Stone had lied to Mr Collier when claiming that he was being made redundant for financial reasons and had dismissed him because he complained of mistreatment.
He was employed by Aurora, a company owned by Mrs Stone and her husband Leigh, 38, for 2½ years until January this year when he was told he was being made redundant. Mr Collier said yesterday that he had been forced to resign because of threats to cut his salary from £40,000 to £25,000 during a row on January 30, but later rescinded his decision. That evening Mrs Stone drafted a letter dismissing him, claiming that it was a redundancy for “financial reasons” — which the tribunal rejected.
Mr Collier told the tribunal that Mr Stone had sworn at him across the office and Mrs Stone had made “disparaging comments about the standards of my work”.
The hearing was also told by Mrs Stone’s former personal assistant, Janette King, that she was dismissed by e-mail when she confronted her boss and said she was a bully. “I developed a nervous twitch, which I did not have before and which stopped as soon as I stopped working there,” said Mrs King. Marianna Karas, 35, a witness and a former employee said: “Glenda was controlling and her approach to management was bullyish, intimidating and inflexible.”
Simon Auerbach, the chairman of the panel, said that it had been “unimpressed” with some of Mrs Stone’s claims when she gave evidence. Mrs Stone had denied all claims against her.
The Women’s Enterprise Task Force has already concluded its work but as part of her role, Mrs Stone attended the Government’s Small Business Forum. A statement from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills last night indicated that she would no longer be a member. It said: “Yesterday Lord Davies advised the Small Business Forum that he wanted to refresh its membership and asked for suggestions of new members from attendees. Representation of women’s enterprise issues will be considered in this context.”
Mr Collier, from Ilford, East London, said that he had received “numerous e-mails” from former employees who “were talking about similar circumstances to my case”. The tribunal found there had been some merit in claims that Aurora’s business had suffered because of economic circumstances.
My generation created the sexual revolution - and it has been wrecking the lives of women ever since
Comment from Britain. A 60s scene below
When the novelist Martin Amis said recently that it was the sexual revolution of the Sixties and Seventies that destroyed his 'pathologically promiscuous' sister Sally, an alcoholic who died in 2000 aged 46, he provoked a wave of controversy. His views were ridiculed by his critics, who claimed that his sister 'was out of control. It was her doing, not the culture.'
Well, I was part of that culture too. As a university student between 1966 and 1969, I experienced first-hand the impact of the sexual revolution, and the sweeping changes it wrought between men and women. To suggest any individual was immune from that tidal wave of change, or from the pressures that came with it, for women in particular, is frankly wrong.
Yet Amis has hit a nerve, with liberals in particular, who rightly read his comments as a criticism of everything they believed in and fought for through the massive social upheavals of those decades. It was not 'the free love culture' which caused her death, they insist, but her own self-indulgence. After all, we all have choices, don't we?
To me, this is one of the most fascinating issues of our time - raising so many questions about freewill, and cause and effect. I'm always amazed at the way the liberal Left (a broad church, with which I'd have once identified) is eager to make excuses for any dubious results of their progressive ideas.
Yet the damaging consequences of that Sixties revolution are obvious in the society we now live in - ranging from the utter mess made of education in this country (directly attributable to the overturning of traditional ideas in the Seventies, an orthodoxy which still prevails), to the dangerous 'anything goes' attitude which challenges any idea of restraint in speech or behaviour.
I happen to believe Martin Amis makes an interesting case. Who is to say he isn't right and that in a less 'liberal' society his sister might have behaved differently, or might have been safer?
Of course any individual is a unique, complex, multi-faceted creation - shaped by family, by personal reactions to events, and by the random nature of sex and love. Nevertheless it's absurd to suggest that we exist in isolation, that we are not shaped by the culture we inhabit. The zeitgeist is the defining mood or spirit of a particular period in history and shaped by the ideas and beliefs of the time. Nobody can escape it.
So Amis asks us to pose this question: what were the pressures on a particular girl - his sister - who turned 20 in 1974? And, equally important; what is the ongoing effect on the society of today? Oh yes, they were heady days, out of which many good things came. But at university I could see close-up the impact of the sexual revolution and the 'new' pressure to sleep around. It was expected; nobody wanted to be called 'uncool' or 'uptight'.
People have always had sex before (and illicit sex within) marriage. You only have to think of the excesses of the first sexual revolution - the 'roaring' Twenties. But our sexual revolution was more sweeping and long-lasting. The university Student Health Centre handed out the Pill like sweeties. So you wouldn't get pregnant - good. But at the same time you had no reason to be careful - bad. Most of us embraced the hippie-esque idea that sexual freedom was a beautiful thing to be celebrated. 'Seize the day,' we shouted, and threw old notions like fidelity out of the window.
But beneath all those naive and high-sounding ideals, the sexism of supposedly radical and free-thinking men on the left could be summed up with: 'A woman's place is underneath.' As the writer and feminist pioneer Rosie Boycott has said: 'What was insidious about the underground was that it pretended to be alternative. But it wasn't providing an alternative for women. It was providing an alternative for men in that there were no problems about screwing around.' The artist Nicola Lane, another young woman of the age, adds: 'It was paradise for men - all these willing girls. But the problem with the willing girls was that a lot of the time they were willing not because they particularly fancied the people concerned but because they felt they ought to. There was a lot of misery.'
An acceptance of casual sex was central to the spirit of the age, and it was not easy for a young woman to escape that influence, whether it made her uncomfortable or not.
One cultural historian of the Seventies, Howard Sounes, writes: 'The after-effects of the great social and cultural changes of the Sixties, like waves created by rocks tossed in water, rippled out through society.'
Today, those of us who express doubts about the long-term effects of such cultural changes are dismissed as prudes suffering from a permanent moral panic-attack. The denial of the liberals is ongoing: a blinkered refusal to admit the causes and effects of history.
But this is what the distinguished historian Eric Hobsbawm writes about the shift in standards in his authoritative book, Age Of Extremes: 'The crisis of the family was linked with quite dramatic changes in public standards governing sexual behaviour, partnership and procreation... and the major change is datable and coincides with the Sixties and Seventies.'
No wonder the Seventies saw an unprecedented explosion in writing about sex. The air-brushed innocence of Sixties Playboy gave way to the gynaecological explicitness of Penthouse and a host of imitators. Sex, which in previous eras was private (even taboo), became public, with the result that women were expected - in their love lives - to demonstrate the expertise of prostitutes. Except these 'liberated' women gave it away for free.
Alex Comfort's The Joy of Sex: A Gourmet Guide To Lovemaking, came out in 1972, and that same year the first issue of British Cosmopolitan changed women's magazines for ever.
I was working on a glossy magazine at the time and we all looked askance at this brash newcomer with its philosophy that women should do anything to be sexy and get a man. (By the mid-Seventies, I was writing for it - although the Cosmo of those days was relatively innocent compared with now, when the magazine is often covered up in American stores because of the explicitness of its cover lines.)
Books such as Cosmo's Steamy Sex Games: All Sorts Of Naughty Ways To Have Fun With Your Lover' (and countless others) carried the message that if you don't want to do this stuff, well, there's something wrong with you. To be a 'nice girl' was to be looked on as a freak. The truth was, however, the new permissiveness gave men permission to exploit you. These are the pressures which, according to Martin Amis, contributed to his sister's ruin. It may be cruel to say it, but today's young girls primping and un-dressing for Saturday night, when they will get drunk and get laid (and feel doubly bad in the morning) are the inheritors of her destiny.
Bleakly, Amis commented: 'It's astonishingly difficult to find a decent deal between men and women and we haven't found it yet.' I suggest it is impossible to find that 'deal' when we are living with the worst aspects of the sexual revolution - which has not encouraged mutual love and respect between the sexes but instead has given us the trashy 'pornogrification' of our society. As the young American writer Ariel Leve has said: 'Even though this new world of beer and babes feels foreign to Sixties revolutionaries, it is actually... a repercussion of the very forces they put into motion.' She's right. We did start it - and those who followed paid the price, and are paying it still.
In her book, Bodies, psychotherapist Susie Orbach writes: 'Girls as young as four have been made bodily self- conscious and are striking sexy poses in their mirrors which are more chilling than charming.'
The question we must all ask ourselves is - what made them so bodily self-conscious? I'm afraid we know the answer. When Tom Cruise and his wife are stupid enough to permit their three-year-old daughter to totter out in silver high heels, what hope is there for those millions of fans who see them as heroic role-models? Nowadays, parents (the ' grandchildren' of the sexual revolution) have no compunction about dressing their little girls as mini-hookers and taking them along to see sexually explicit acts like the Pussycat Dolls, where dancers mimic sex on stage.
Those girls grow up to post pictures of themselves posing like porn stars on the internet. Indeed, a third of teenage girls, we learnt this week, text sexually explicit pictures of themselves, too. And so it goes on.
Is it any wonder that the phenomenon of young teenage boys expecting their girlfriends to provide sexual gratification at any time (on a school bus, for example, according to Susie Orbach) leaves girls feeling abused and full of hate for their bodies - the very bodies so cynically exploited for commercial gains throughout a sexualised media? There is sexual pressure on women as never before and no matter how much women achieve in the boardroom or as helicopter pilots, it makes a nonsense of equality.
In 2007, the American Psychological Association issued a report citing innumerable contributing causes to the sexualising of young girls, including music videos, TV and advertising. Are they to be accused of 'moral panic'?
When a magazine like Zoo can run a competition in which men send in pictures of their girlfriends' breasts along with a picture of the celebrity breasts they most admire, and the prize is a remodelling of the girlfriend's to match the ideal breasts - then something is very, very wrong.
The ongoing sexual 'revolution' is, in truth, as selfish and reactionary as those groovy Seventies men were, when Martin Amis's sister was young. She, like so many others, was conned by the talk of freedom into abandoning all self-respect. The sad thing is young women today are still being conned - victims of the pervasive sex industry which uses 'liberation' as a mask for degradation.
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 or 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.