Sunday, December 18, 2011
British PM chides Church of England leader for not defending Christianity
Rather a disgrace to the Archbishop. But most of the Anglican episcopacy in Britain don't even seem to believe in God so some such rebuke was long overdue. They are just dressup queens who go along with any thinking that is fashionable
David Cameron last night called on the Archbishop of Canterbury to lead a return to the ‘moral code’ of the Bible. In a highly personal speech about faith, the Prime Minister accused Dr Rowan Williams of failing to speak ‘to the whole nation’ when he criticised Government austerity policies and expressed sympathy with the summer rioters.
Mr Cameron declared Britain ‘a Christian country’ and said politicians and churchmen should not be afraid to say so. He warned that a failure to ‘stand up and defend’ the values and morals taught by the Bible helped spark the riots and fuelled terrorism.
At Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford, where Dr Williams used to teach, Mr Cameron said the time has come for public figures to teach ‘right from wrong’, and questioned whether the Church of England has done enough to defend those values in the face of the ‘moral neutrality’ that pervades modern life.
And taking aim at the Archbishop, Mr Cameron tackled head-on his public criticisms of the Government over the last 12 months.
The speech was a bold Christmas gamble by Mr Cameron. In making a speech about religion, he did something that Tony Blair always longed to do but was talked out of by spin doctor Alastair Campbell, who flatly told him: ‘We don’t do God.’
The clash between the Government and Church is at its most acute since former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Robert Runcie clashed with Margaret Thatcher’s government in the 1980s.
The Prime Minister appeared emboldened by his opinion poll bounce since his decision to wield the veto during the Eurozone crisis summit in Brussels last week.
Admitting that he had ‘entered the lion’s den’ by addressing an audience of churchmen, Mr Cameron said: ‘I certainly don’t object to the Archbishop of Canterbury expressing his views on politics. ‘But just as it is legitimate for religious leaders to make political comments, he shouldn’t be surprised when I respond.
‘I believe the Church of England has a unique opportunity to help shape the future of our communities. But to do so it must keep on the agenda that speaks to the whole country.’
At an event to mark the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible, he said: ‘We are a Christian country and we should not be afraid to say so. 'The Bible has helped to give Britain a set of values and morals which make Britain what it is today. Values and morals we should actively stand up and defend.
‘Whether you look at the riots last summer, the financial crash and the expenses scandal or the on-going terrorist threat from Islamist extremists around the world, one thing is clear, moral neutrality or passive tolerance just isn’t going to cut it any more. ‘Put simply, for too long we have been unwilling to distinguish right from wrong. “Live and let live” has too often become “do what you please”.
‘Bad choices have too often been defended as just different lifestyles. To be confident in saying something is wrong is not a sign of weakness, it’s a strength.’
Mr Cameron’s demands for a ‘moral code’ were directed at human rights apologists and Left-wing politicians who recoil from promoting Britain’s Christian heritage.
But they also covered the hand-wringing pronouncements of many senior churchmen, who refuse to condemn lawbreaking by rioters and show unwillingness to take on militant Islam for fear of offending Muslims.
The PM said an ‘almost fearful, passive tolerance of religious extremism’ had let Islamic extremism grow unchallenged and called for the promotion of ‘Christian values’ saying it was ‘profoundly wrong’ to believe that promoting Christianity would ‘do down other faiths’.
Another failure of multicultural brainwashing
People will always like their own group better and those who try to stamp that out simply discredit their entire message
Austrians are shocked by a new survey which shows that one in ten young people think Adolf Hitler was not all bad and that he did some 'good things'. Many are also anti-immigrant and anti-foreigner despite years of multi-cultural teaching in schools.
The country's Kurier newspaper called the findings by the Youth Culture Research Institute 'frightening' - particularly as it is coupled with the general mistrust and dislike of non-Austrians.
Austria has struggled with its relationship to Nazis in general and Hitler in particular ever since 1945. The country was taken over by Hitler - himself an Austrian by birth - in 1938.
Welcomed by euphoric crowds at the time, post-war Austrian retreated to a psychological comfort zone whereby they classified themselves as the 'first victims' of the regime.
The new survey asked youngsters aged between 16 and 19 what they thought of the dictator. Pollsters were astonished when 11.2 per cent of them said that Hitler 'did many good things for the people'. And one in four of them believe there are 'too many Turks' in Austria, the predominant immigrant group.
'Young, open, tolerant? The ideal of an open, socially minded younger generation remains, as a current study shows, an illusion,' said Austria's Standard newspaper. 'Youth are openly hostile to foreigners and are anti-Semitic to an amazingly large degree.'
Perhaps more sinisterly, in a statement that harks directly back to the Nazis, 18.2 per cent of them declared that 'Jews have now, like before, too much influence over the world economy'.
It was feeding on prejudice like this in the socially depressed atmosphere of the 1920s and 30s that allowed the Nazis to demonise Jews, isolate them and finally exterminate them on a massive scale.
The Youth And Zeitgeist study was carried out among 400 young people in the capital Vienna - the city where Hitler lived as a down-and-out in the days before WWI and where his hatred of Jews flourished.
Those who carried out the survey said that the most extremist views were expressed by the less educated - but they said that even well-educated youngsters harboured extremist viewpoints but expressed them in more 'subtle' ways.
In total, 40.5 per cent of respondents agreed with the statement that 'for many immigrants, the Austrians are viewed as a lesser people'. This, again, is a viewpoint straight from the textbook of the original Nazis.
They expressed great fears for future job prospects and felt that Turkish immigrants were rivals to them for work, said study author Beate Grossegger. 'Political education has failed,' she said while Bernhard Heinzlmaier, chairman of the institute, said xenophobia had 'arrived' among the well-educated young people of the middle classes.
'They do not express themselves politically incorrectly in public but they are coolly amoral entrepreneurs for whom others are not fellow human beings but competitors.'
British toddlers banned from making their own gestures as they sing Twinkle Twinkle 'in case it offends deaf people'
Generations of children have grown up singing along and performing actions to the nursery rhyme favourite Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. But one toddler group has been told not to make the twinkling ‘star’ sign with their hands for fear it could offend the deaf.
Parents were told that the sign – which resembles a diamond shape when made with forefingers and thumbs – is used in official sign language to represent female genitalia.
The decision was made after staff attended a sign language course and were made aware that the one they were using had potential to cause offence. However there are currently no deaf children or parents who attend the Sure Start toddler group, in Acomb, North Yorkshire.
Yesterday mothers criticised the ‘politically correct’ decision. One said: ‘These are innocent little children just making a sign to show a star. No one would give it a second thought.’
Another added: ‘It is good that kids are aware of other people’s methods of communication but has anyone actually asked a deaf person if they take offence to it?’
John Midgley, co-founder of the Campaign Against Political Correctness, said the teachers needed to ‘grow up’. He added: ‘This is a ridiculous example of political correctness where adults are trying to put their views into the minds of children who would not have known there was anything wrong with what they are doing.’
Jill Hodges, assistant director of education, children and young people’s services at the City of York Council, which runs the group, insisted it was ‘a sensible decision taken to prevent deaf children or deaf parents being offended’.
She said it was made after staff at the Sure Start group returned from a course on children’s sign language, Makaton, at which they were told the ‘star’ gesture they had been using was similar to the sign used for female genitalia in British Sign Language.
As a consequence, Mrs Hodges said, staff realised the issue was sensitive and decided to ask parents to start using the Makaton symbol for a twinkling star – the opening and closing of a fist – instead. ‘Parents have not been banned from using the other sign and City of York Council does not have a policy over this matter,’ she added.
The sign for female genitalia is an inverted diamond held in front of the crotch. During the rhyme, children hold their hands high in an upright diamond. Signing experts said those who use Makaton or British Sign Language would not misinterpret the meaning because it depended on context.
Lynn Delfosse, of the charity Action on Hearing Loss, said: ‘The signs alone can have more than one meaning, as with any language, and need to be contextualised in terms of grammar and of the situation in which they are used.’
Exposed: the snobbery and intolerance of the EU elite
The chattering classes’ hysterical reaction to David Cameron’s veto of a revised Lisbon Treaty reveals the dark heart of pro-EU sentiment
As I drive along listening to the BBC Radio 4 show, The World At One, I am left in no doubt as to this programme’s deep hostility to prime minister David Cameron’s decision to veto changes to the EU Lisbon Treaty.
When the presenter, the usually sensible Martha Kearney, asks Andrus Ansip, the prime minister of Estonia, if he thinks there is increasing anger in the EU over Cameron’s actions, I realise that something very weird is going on. Why ask the leader of a small Baltic state how he feels about the prime minister of Britain? Since when have the emotions of foreign political leaders been a serious topic of concern for a programme titled The World At One?
Kearney does not simply pose the question to Ansip; she prefaces it with comments about how other EU leaders are very angry at Cameron. Nevertheless, her attempt to incite her interviewee to reinforce the BBC consensus on the state of European emotionalism doesn’t quite succeed. ‘I am not angry’, replies Ansip. Possibly he is too ‘old Europe’ and too old school to be conversant in the values of today’s communications clerisy, which cleaves to the doctrine of emotional correctness. Ansip disagrees with Cameron but he does not suffer from the emotional incontinence demanded of him by the BBC.
At first sight, it is difficult to understand the intense level of anger and outrage directed at Cameron by opinion formers and cultural entrepreneurs. Since when have the EU and the Lisbon Treaty acquired such a sacred status among the clerisy? The EU is many things, but it has never been a much-loved institution. So why is it that, all of a sudden, scepticism towards this institution is treated as the moral equivalent of Chamberlain’s act of treachery in Munich in 1938?
It is one thing to accuse Cameron of committing a diplomatic faux pas or the Foreign Office of ineptitude. But the criticisms currently being made of Cameron verge on the hysterical. When I listen to the hyperbole about what will apparently be the consequences of his destructive behaviour, it almost sounds as if he has committed an act of political betrayal in order to appease a handful of incorrigible reactionary Eurosceptics.
Why this over-the-top reaction to what could turn out to be a relatively minor case of diplomatic miscommunication?
Outwardly, the anger of the cosmopolitan clerisy is directed at Cameron’s alleged appeasement of Tory Eurosceptics. The term Eurosceptic has a special meaning for the adherents to cosmopolitan policymaking. In their view, Euroscepticism is associated with values they abhor: upholding national sovereignty, Britishness and a traditional way of life. The moralistic devaluation of these values was vividly communicated by the New York Times columnist Roger Cohen, who this week characterised Tory Eurosceptics as the ‘pinstriped effluence of an ex-imperial nation’. He seeks to dehumanise these people by arguing that this ‘specimen’s ascendancy’ was reflected in Cameron’s behaviour during the treaty negotiations. Cohen’s moral devaluation of Eurosceptics, his dismissal of them from the ranks of humanity, is captured in his description of them as a ‘bunch of insular snobs who seem to have a hard time restraining their inner fascist’.
The intemperate language suggests that the venomous anger directed at Eurosceptics cannot simply be driven by the clerisy’s love affair with the European ideal. Rather, what is at issue here is the clerisy’s preference for the technocracy-dominated and cosmopolitan-influenced institutions of Brussels. From their standpoint, the main virtue of the EU is that its leaders and administrators speak the same language as the UK clerisy. They read from the same emotional and cultural script, which they believe to be superior to the script and values associated with national sovereignty. That is why it isn’t surprising that a BBC journalist can casually ask the Estonian prime minister to have a go at her own national leader. The UK-based communications clerisy has a greater affinity with the outlook of EU technocrats and political administrators than it does with the outlook of its own people.
Of course, Cameron may be isolated in the corridors of power in Brussels - but the clerisy is more than a little out of touch with popular sentiments in Britain. Indeed, their visceral castigation of Eurosceptics is actually a roundabout way of morally condemning what the old oligarchy used to call ‘the little people’. The main sin of Euroscepticism is that it has the potential for mobilising popular sentiment. And certainly, the anger of the cosmopolitan elite does not resonate with people getting on with their lives in Birmingham, Newcastle or Leeds. Those who want to expose the heinous Eurosceptic plot to undermine the EU should remember that opinion polls demonstrate that the majority of the UK electorate does not like the EU, and when the Mail on Sunday carried out a poll asking ‘was Cameron right to use the veto?’, 62 per cent of respondents said ‘yes’.
In Britain, even at the best of times the EU has rarely been conceptualised as anything more than a pragmatic convenience. Historically, significant sections of both the left and the right have been critical of the bureaucratic ethos of this institution. Even those of us who love Europe, its history and its culture, and who strongly value the coming together of European peoples, have never had much affection for the institutions of the EU.
One final point: the cosmopolitan values of the clerisy have no progressive content. They contain no real universalist aspirations but rather reflect the sectional outlook of a cultural oligarchy that revels in drawing distinctions between itself and the great unwashed. The clerisy’s alternative to national sovereignty is not some other form of democratic decision-making; on the contrary, it fervently advocates insulated decision-making. The pro-EU elite continually tries to establish institutions that insulate decision-makers from citizens, and it prefers the rule of technocrats and experts over elected representatives.
Scepticism towards the EU is a legitimate, democratically informed standpoint. Scepticism towards Europe is not, of course. Some of my German friends are more than a little astonished to have discovered that a small number of English towns have decided to cancel twinning arrangements with local authorities on the continent. Yes, some of these arrangements were administratively orchestrated and did not genuinely bring together the peoples of Europe. But on balance, we need to be reaching out to our fellow citizens across the continent, to show that Europe is not an artificially constructed institution but is its people!
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.
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