Thursday, November 22, 2012
Church of England gives women bishops the thumbs down - again
The Church of England has again voted down the introduction of women bishops, after a long and divisive debate including over 100 speeches. The measure had majority support but did not win the two-thirds majority in all three houses of the General Synod that was needed for it to pass. It was lost in the House of Laity by just six votes.
The result will embitter and embarrass supporters of modernisation, with many tweeting that they were “ashamed” of the church's decision.
Among existing bishops, 44 voted for women to join their ranks, three voted against and two abstained. Among priests, 148 were in favour and 45 against. Of the laity, 132 were in favour and 74 were against. Forty-two of the church's 42 dioceses have previously backed women as bishops.
The church will not vote on the issue again for at least five years. But there has been speculation that women priests might turn to civil law for redress, asking that the church be stripped of its exemption to obey equal-employment laws.
Before the vote, Sally Muggeridge of Canterbury asked who would go to see the Queen, a woman, and “tell her that we've failed her?”
Canon Jane Charman of Salisbury described the debate as “one of the most inward looking… I can remember”, saying a spin doctor did not exist who could make excluding women sound like good news to the outside world: “Synod, we need to pass this legislation.”
But speakers opposing the measure cited scripture as the basis for their refusal of “female headship”. [Citing scripture! How crass! What's scripture got to do with it? 1 Timothy 2:11–12 or 1 Corinthians 14:33-35 are just silly old-fashioned stuff not nearly wise as today's politicians, apparently -- JR]
The synod was voting on a compromise measure that would have allowed women bishops but left wriggle room for conservative evangelicals, with women bishops able to “delegate” authority to a male bishop if their parish requested it. The incoming Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said the compromise was “as good as we can get”.
But Edward Armitstead of Bath said the measure was unsatisfactory and that opponents of female bishops had not really been listened to: “The measure as it stands is discriminatory and does not offer reassurance to the almost a third of members who cannot accept female headship.”
Bishop Peter Forster of Chester said he was uncomfortable with the ordination of women as bishops even though he gladly ordained female priests. The proposed change would allow parishes to choose their own bishops and would mean bishops “will not be in Eucharistic communion with one another”.
Women spoke against the measure too. Rosemary Lyon said she was not a misogynist but “we need to stick with scripture.” “Please vote against this. There is a better way,” she said.
Canon Rebecca Swyer of Chichester said she felt the church did not have the authority to make this decision.
Rod Thomas of Exeter said the compromise would still mean recognising the authority of female bishops, something he believed was not accepted in scripture.
But Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams asked how long the church could sustain a system in which some priests are blocked from being bishops. He said he wanted the church to “liberate itself” from the issue so that no more time and energy would be spent on it.
Anger as British sex abuse report 'turns blind eye to Pakistani gangs' despite admitting that they account for a QUARTER of all cases
A report into gang sex abuse came under fire yesterday for concluding there was no particular problem among Asian groups.
The study by deputy children’s commissioner Sue Berelowitz came to the controversial conclusion, despite figures in her own report revealing that more than a quarter of perpetrators of gang-based child abuse known to the authorities are Asian.
But she said this was not enough to conclude that there was a particular issue with Asian gangs. Instead, her report says simply that abuse is carried out by men of all backgrounds.
Miss Berelowitz said the ‘model’ of Asian men targeting white girls was just one of ‘a number of models’, and warned that if investigators concentrated on those patterns, victims could fall through the net.
Last night a Government source said it was ‘difficult to overstate the contempt’ with which ministers viewed the report’s conclusions. And the NSPCC said the report exposed the danger of ‘turning a blind eye’ to the ethnicity of abusers.
In May, nine Asian men who groomed white girls as young as 13 in Rochdale with drink and drugs were jailed at Liverpool Crown Court.
Judge Gerald Clifton told them one of the reasons they targeted their victims was because they were not part of their community or religion.
Last year Abid Saddique was jailed for his role as ringleader of a Derby gang that cruised streets for girls as young as 12 who were plied with vodka and cocaine before being raped or abused.
Saddique, who is of Pakistani origin, took the vulnerable young girls to ‘parties’ in hotels or flats with other gang members.
Two months ago, documents emerged which allegedly showed agencies in Rotherham were aware of allegations of widespread targeted abuse of teenage girls in the town by groups of Asian men – but did nothing for fear of looking racist.
Andrew Flanagan, chief executive of the NSPCC, said: ‘If there is a problem with one community in a particular area we must be bold enough to address it and not just turn a blind eye.’
A Government source said: ‘It is difficult to overstate the contempt the Government has for the methodology and analysis in this report. The whole thing is half-baked.’
Figures in the report state that out of 1,514 perpetrators identified, some 415 were Asian. This is 27 per cent of the total, far in excess of the proportion of Asian people in the community at large, which is 6 per cent. Some 545 are described as white, 244 as black, 49 as mixed, while the rest were undisclosed.
But Miss Berelowitz’s report said: ‘Different models of exploitation have been identified. The evidence is clear that perpetrators come from all ethnic groups and so do their victims – contrary to what some may wish to believe.’
The report suggested the proportion of Asian perpetrators in the figures may be higher than whites because the authorities were targeting non-whites. It even concluded that the data on ethnicity was ‘unreliable’ because victims sometimes changed their description of their abuser.
A Whitehall source said last week: ‘It’s important we don’t take a politically correct approach and pretend there is not a real problem here. 'Obviously abuse has been carried out by men from all sorts of ethnic background. But that doesn’t mean we cannot say there is an issue about groups of Pakistani men systematically targeting young white girls.’
Tory MP Margot James said: ‘On the face of it, this is an issue for all ethnicities, but there is a specific problem in certain Asian communities – specifically the Pakistani community – in too many cities to ignore the phenomenon. ‘Unless we recognise the problem, we won’t be able to devise a strategy for tackling it.
'It is very disappointing that this report has shied away from it, given the fact that some leadership is coming from within the Asian community. They need support.’
Homosexual marriage is losing Tories votes: Poll contradicts claims of British PM
Voters are turning away from the Tories because of David Cameron’s support for gay marriage, according to a poll. The finding casts doubt on the Prime Minister and George Osborne’s claims that backing same-sex weddings will boost Conservative chances of securing a majority at the next election.
A ComRes survey published today found that 62 per cent of voters and 68 per cent of Tories believe marriage should continue to be defined as a ‘life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman’.
In a further blow for the PM, 65 per cent agree that his plans to legalise gay marriage are ‘more to do with trying to make the Conservative Party look trendy and modern’ than a matter of conviction.
One in four voters says gay marriage could sway their vote at the next election. But while 7 per cent say they are more likely to vote Tory, 18 per cent – more than twice as many – say they are less likely.
More significantly, the effect is dramatically magnified among those who voted Conservative in 2010 but say they may not do so at the next election.
Only 4 per cent of this group say they are more likely to vote Tory over gay marriage, while 36 per cent say they are less likely.
That eightfold margin has increased as public discussion of the issue has intensified in recent months. In April the margin was just three to one.
The poll comes after the Chancellor wrote a newspaper article earlier this month arguing that the Conservative Party would be wrong to drop its support for gay marriage.
Only 23 per cent of all voters agree with the Tory leadership that gay marriage will help them win the next election, while 40 per cent disagree. Of those who have turned away from the Tories since 2010, 17 per cent agree and 56 disagree.
The poll of more than 2,000 voters conducted over the past week also found that 63 per cent believe many of those opposed to gay marriage are reluctant to say so ‘for fear of being called a bigot’. By a margin of 45 to 38 per cent, voters do not think opponents of gay marriage are bigots who should be ignored.
In another result that piles pressure on Mr Cameron, 71 per cent say ‘marriage is important to society and should be promoted by the state’.
That will embolden Cabinet ministers such as Iain Duncan Smith who are telling Mr Cameron he must honour his long-standing pledge to recognise marriage in the tax system at the next Budget, rather than waiting until 2015 as the Chancellor would prefer.
Another huge majority – 69 per cent – believes children should be raised by a father and a mother in a committed permanent relationship.
There is some solace for gay rights campaigners. Two thirds of voters back civil partnerships for same-sex couples.
And by a margin of 44 to 38, voters say legalising gay marriage is important because maintaining the distinction between civil partnerships and marriage ‘worsens public attitudes towards gay people’.
Gay marriage is not part of the Government’s current legislative programme but all three party leaders have said they will support its introduction before the next election.
Colin Hart, campaign director of the Coalition for Marriage pressure group, said: ‘This poll is the latest blow to a profoundly undemocratic plan that day by day is falling apart before our eyes. ‘[Mr Osborne] should concentrate on fixing Britain’s broken economy instead of trying to rip up the centuries-old definition of marriage in a desperate bid to appear progressive and trendy.’
Muslim-critic wins control of France's conservative opposition
A right-winger described as ‘Sarkozy Light’ was last night elected leader of France’s conservative opposition.
Jean-Francois Cope’s victory sets him up to be President of France in 2017, when he is likely to go head-to-head with Francois Hollande, the current Socialist head of state.
Cope, 48, beat his far more moderate opponent Francois Fillon by 50.03 per cent in a bitter election involving 300,000 members of the UMP party.
Its former President, Nicolas Sarkozy, was defeated by Hollande in May and on Thursday is set to appear before a judge in Bordeaux to answer corruption allegations.
Sarkozy became notorious for pursuing the votes of far right National Front supporters at the end of his five year term – a move which Cope is set to continue.
In his Manifesto for an Uninhibited Right, published last month, Cope argued that France's immigrant suburbs were brimming with ‘anti-white racism’.
He then shocked moderates by complaining about a boy who had his chocolate pastry snatched from him by Muslim ‘thugs’ during Ramadan. ‘I am the tenant of a right which does not have hang-ups, which tells the truth and is comfortable with itself,’ said Cope.
He also played a prominent role in the UMP’s campaign to ban the full-face Islamic veil and hold a controversial debate on national identity.
The election came as Mr Hollande languishes in the polls as he struggles to rein in a huge budget deficit and cut record unemployment. Only 36 per cent of French people expressed confidence in him in November, according to one poll.
During the two elections, Cope supporters in the Alpes Maritimes department claimed ‘irregularities’ - an allegation dismissed as ‘insulting’ by supporters of Mr Fillon who, in turn, claimed fraud in other constituencies.
The electoral farce has now ended with a slight victory for the right wing of the party, who were just 98 votes ahead.
Mr Sarkozy could soon be placed under investigation as part of a probe into illegal party funding from France’s richest woman, the L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt.
Mr Fillon was Mr Sarkozy's prime minister for his entire five-year term, and is a bitter enemy of Cope’s.
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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.