Tuesday, February 05, 2013
New Archbishop of Canterbury challenges British PM on homosexual marriage
In his first official day as leader of the Church of England, the Rt Rev Justin Welby is expected to say that marriage should remain “between a man and a woman”.
As MPs prepare for the vote on gay marriage on Tuesday, Bishop Welby will give his first interviews after being officially confirmed in the post at a ceremony in St Paul’s Cathedral in London.
“If asked he will say that marriage is between a man and a woman, and always has been,” a source close to Bishop Welby said, adding that the Archbishop was expecting to be asked for his views and had prepared his response.
Archbishop Welby is due to speak out as Conservative critics of the reforms escalated their protests ahead of the Commons vote.
Ministers were faced with accusations that legalising same-sex marriage would “tear the Tory party apart”, as MPs claimed the proposed protections for churches were inadequate.
A group of 20 Tory constituency chairmen delivered a letter of protest to Downing Street warning the Prime Minister that the reform could cause “significant damage” to Tory election chances in 2015.
Up to 200 of the 303 Tory MPs are expected to rebel or abstain during the vote, leaving Mr Cameron reliant on Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs to pass the measure.
Both Anglican and Catholic leaders made last-ditch efforts to persuade MPs to vote against the same-sex marriage Bill.
The Archbishop of Southwark, the Most Rev Peter Smith, told parishioners during a mass that the Bill is “ridiculous”. He urged them to pray for its defeat and to lobby their MPs.
Archbishop Smith, who is the second most senior Catholic cleric in England and Wales, told The Telegraph: “The definition of marriage as a union of one man and one woman pre-dates both the state and the church and as such neither has the right to change it. The complementarity of the marital relationship is hard-wired into human nature.”
The Most Reverend Bernard Longley, the catholic Archbishop of Birmingham, urged all MPs who were “uncertain, wavering or planning to abstain” to gather their “courage” and vote against the “ill-conceived Bill”.
“This Bill is being rushed through Parliament by the Prime Minister without a mandate and without proper consultation,” he said.
The Church of England has written an eight-page briefing note on the Bill to every MP ahead of the vote. It warns that the legislation has been prepared in “great haste” and will have a “chilling effect” on teachers and public officials who express the view that marriage should be between a man and a woman.
“We doubt the ability of the Government to make the legislation watertight against challenge in the European courts or against a 'chilling effect’ in public discourse,” it says.
“We retain serious doubts about whether the proffered legal protection for churches and faiths from discrimination claims would prove durable. Too much emphasis, we believe, is being placed on the personal assurances of ministers.”
The Conservative rebels who wrote to Downing Street are calling for the Bill to be delayed until after the next election in 2015 to allow the party and the public “more time” to debate such a radical social change.
“As long-standing members of the Conservative Party we want to support the party to victory, as we have done in every past election,” they wrote.
“Resignations from the party are beginning to multiply and we fear that, if enacted, this Bill will lead to significant damage to the Conservative Party in the run up to the 2015 election.”
Ed Costelloe, who resigned as chairman of Somerton and Frome Conservative Association over the gay marriage proposals last month, said grassroots Tories were “shocked” by the way the reforms were being rushed through Parliament. “We worked hard locally to convince people to support Conservatives but this was not part of the platform,” he said.
Tim Loughton, the former children’s minister, expressed fears that teachers and faith groups would be forced in the European Court to accept gay marriage “against their will”. The Government’s proposed “quadruple lock” of legal protections for the Church of England was “nonsense” that would not “hold up” in courts, Mr Loughton told Sky News.
However, Ed Vaizey, the culture minister, insisted that the discussions over the policy remained “good natured”. “I’ve got a view, some of my constituents have a different view, some of my fellow MPs have a different view, but I don’t think it’s tearing the Tory party apart,” Mr Vaizey said.
A Downing Street source said there was “no pressure” on Tory MPs to support the Bill and that there would be “no consequences” for those who voted against the reforms. “Obviously, the Prime Minister is a strong advocate of it and that hasn’t changed,” the source said. The Prime Minister is “always open” to talking to colleagues but would not be actively seeking to win over critics.
"Progressive" values only allowed
Three newsworthy statements were reported over the past week that present a disturbing pattern for me. President Obama’s ambitions for fundamentally transforming the United States of America are well underway and it appears that resistance, challenges, and obstacles to the program are becoming societally unacceptable.
During his usual post-tournament conference, professional golfer Phil Mickelson commented on the personal effects to his affairs from accelerated government spending by the California and U.S. governments; "If you add up all the federal and you look at the disability and the unemployment and the Social Security and the state, my tax rate's 62, 63 percent. So I've got to make some decisions on what I'm going to do. ... There are going to be some drastic changes for me because I happen to be in that zone that has been targeted both federally and by the state and, you know, it doesn't work for me right now. So I'm going to have to make some changes."
About one week later, Mickelson sat in front of a new camera, speaking in the tone of an eight-year-old recently released from time-out; "Right now I'm like many Americans who are trying to understand the new tax laws. I've been learning a lot over the last few months and talking with people who are trying to help me make intelligent and informed decisions. I certainly don't have a definitive plan at this time, but like everyone else I want to make decisions that are best for my future and my family. Finances and taxes are a personal matter and I should not have made my opinions on them public. I apologize to those I have upset or insulted and assure you I intend not to let it happen again."
Who in the world would Mickelson have offended, except for the politicians whose hands are in the pockets of his plaid trousers? Scary.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton finally sat down, under oath, to face Congress about the Benghazi incident that resulted in the deaths of four Americans. When pressed by Senator Ron Johnson (R - Wisconsin) about why the American people had been misled on the motivations of the attackers, Secretary Clinton responded emotionally with, “Was it because of a protest? Or was it because of guys out for a walk one night decided to go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make?”
The third point that defined this circle showed up on CBS Sunday Morning last week when contributor Louis Michael Seidman opened up his commentary with, “I’ve got a simple idea; Let’s give up on the Constitution.” Seidman openly frets about the Second Amendment getting in the way of modern debate on the citizens' right to own a gun. “This is our country. We live in it. And we have a right to the kind of country we want. We would not allow the French or the United Nations to rule us. And neither should we allow people who died over two centuries ago and knew nothing of our country as it exists today. If we are to take back our own country, we have to start making decisions for ourselves, and stop deferring to an ancient and outdated document.”
Louis Michael Seidman is a professor of constitutional law. Yes, a constitutional law professor. At Georgetown University. In Washington, D.C.
Connecting these three statements reveals an insidious progression that should make every American uncomfortable. I offer in response three quotes that permanently hang in my personal study, provided originally by three Western thought leaders:
"This nation was conceived in liberty and dedicated to the principle--among others--that honest men may honestly disagree; that if they all say what they think, a majority of the people will be able to distinguish truth from error; that in the competition of the market place of ideas, the sounder ideas will in the long run win out." - Elmer Davis, But We Were Born Free, 1954
"The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is that it is robbing the human race: posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for tuth; if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth produced by its collision with error." - John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859
"The resolution of policy through challenge and criticism and debate... is the real secret weapon of a democracy. The lack of it is the fatal defect of a dictatorship." - Alan Barth, Address to American Association of University Professors, 1951
Cats and foxes: A moral story from the inimitable Boris Johnson
Not sure I agree with the moral but it is a good story. The moral I would draw is that we should not jump to conclusions
One evening not long ago the cat came back in and he was looking pretty washed up. One eye was closed. His leg was gashed. He had internal injuries that were making it more and more difficult for him to move. Finally he sprawled on a chair, in an odd shape, and it was clear that he had been in a serious fight. As his breathing grew fainter, I realised that our cat might die. Then I was seized by a cold and murderous fury. I knew who had done this, and I wanted to pay them back.
You should know that I have not always been one of nature’s cat enthusiasts. Like many other human beings, I have tended to think there is something blank and unknowable about the cat personality. It’s all one to a cat – having their tummy tickled or biting the head off a budgie. It’s that Hannibal the Cannibal equanimity. They lack affect, or whatever psychologists call it.
When other members of the family have begged for a cat, I have resisted on the grounds that they eat malodorous fishy food and are capable of some dubious smells themselves. As usual, I lost the battle, and we got a rather sweet tortoiseshell kitten – and then she contracted some awful glandular disease, and died. The grief in the house was so immense and operatic that it was very difficult to resist the next one.
This cat was different. He grew without difficulty from a bouncy ginger kitten into a sizeable ginger tomcat. He had a confident and assertive personality. He had pronounced favourites, and I was not among them. He would launch himself on to the laps of those he loved, and would lounge there purring and throbbing like an old bus. Me – well, he would actually wait for me in ambush as I went up the stairs, and scratch me through the banisters. I waged a campaign to kick the cat out of the house. I drew attention to unhygienic aspects of his lifestyle. I was not successful, and with some bitterness I accepted that cat and I were fated not to get on.
Then, one day, I came back to find no one else at home. I crashed out on the sofa, and to my amazement the cat came in, and he didn’t try to bite me. He sprawled on my chest and purred away. Perhaps I am easily flattered, but I began to see the point of the cat, and to understand that mysterious fondness that grips the human race. I began (secretly) to share the worries about where he was at night, and whether it was cold, and when some skanky drunk woman allowed her dog to attack him, I was ready to call the cops and have the brute put down.
But this evening it was clear that something far worse had happened. It wasn’t just the apparently missing eye, and the twisted ear, and the horrible pink cut. There was a rank smell on his fur. It was the smell of his assailant, no question. I could see them in my mind’s eye, as I saw them every night: padding insolently across the road in search of someone’s rubbish. It was those damn foxes that had attacked our cat, and I was going to sort them out. It was those cruel and cynical canids – and my mind spooled feverishly to fox horror stories: the poor babies gnawed in the crib, the couple who came down to find the decapitated head of their moggie.
Well, they had messed with the wrong cat owner this time. I started to plan the massacre. I knew where they lived, the mangy vermin. We would stalk them in the scrub by the canal, me with the .22 airgun, and another family member with the death-dealing .177. I didn’t care what the neighbours said. In fact, I might invite the rest of Islington to form a footpack, so that we could smoke the foxes out of their foul holes and blow them to kingdom come. Or perhaps we could all get up in pink coats and chase them with hounds and fixed-wheel bicycles. Stuff the RSPCA.
I fell asleep dreaming of vendetta. And just as well, because in the morning, the cat seemed to have staged a remarkable recovery. He had risen from his chair, and was demanding his noisome food. I decided to postpone the slaughter, and then I began to wonder.
My instinct tells me that foxes are everywhere, and that they are more numerous and bolder than ever before. But the deeper I dug into fox-on-cat violence, the more doubtful I became. Foxes go for vulnerable critters. They might go for your toes if you were lying in a stupor, but only because they failed to grasp that your toes were attached to a large and potentially violent human being. They might go (once in a blue moon) for a baby, but only because a baby is defenceless.
Would they really go for a fit adult tomcat – and one with a history of unprovoked aggression towards his much-bitten owner? I started to wonder if my initial reaction – so clear, so certain – had been completely wrong. What if the canal had given him that smell? What if he had got into a fight with another tom, in a dispute over who had the right to urinate over the buddleia? What if he had shown insufficient finesse in approaching some good-looking girl cat? Perhaps it was that blasted dog again.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I lay the facts of the case before you, and I suggest that the evidence against the fox is by no means conclusive. I am left with the mystery of that first eruption of rage, that chilling certainty as to the authors of the crime. There is a word for that misapprehension. There was something that made me finger the newcomers, the strangers, the ones who weren’t around when I was a kid. There was something that made me want to believe that the culprits were the recent additions to our urban habitat, the ones who make the spooky yowling at night. I think the word for that anti-fox feeling is prejudice. Or am I wrong?
The Silent Conquest of a Continent
There’s been a lot of discussion within some in the media regarding the demographic changes taking place in Europe. But those of us who’ve travelled there have observed it firsthand: namely, the decreased birthrate among Europeans compared to the enormous birthrate increase among Muslim immigrants.
Overall, the birthrate across the continent is far below the replacement level of 2.1 children per couple. Italy, Spain, Austria, and Germany have a fertility rate of only 1.4, while Poland and Russia languish at 1.3 and 1.2, respectively.
However, as a subgroup, Muslims in Europe are producing from 4 to 6 children per couple. Encouraged by some sheiks in Muslim countries who have forbidden the use of birth control, Muslim immigrants are producing children at two to three times the rate of Europeans.
Even Muslims in Europe who came from more westernized Islamic countries, like Turkey and Tunisia, have twice the birthrate of other Europeans. And the rate among their second generations is holding to that factor.
There are many projections as to when the Muslim population will gain a majority in Europe. Some say it could be as soon as 2025. Others as late as 2050.
Regardless of when Muslims become the majority in Europe, that turning point will present one of the greatest ironies in 1,400 years of European history.
Ever since Islamic expansion under Caliphates Umar and Usman, Muslims have tried again and again to invade and defeat Europe. But they failed.
The Ottomans got the closest; in fact, as close as Austria. But ultimately, that attempt and all others were unsuccessful. Until now. As Sheik Yousef Quardawi has been quoted to have said: “What our forbears failed to do by the sword, this generation is accomplishing through legitimate birthright, immigration, and petro-dollars.”
It’s impossible to predict whether radicals or more westernized elements will dominate the coming generation of majority Muslims. Certainly the current push for Sharia implementation in many European countries, including England, presents a foreboding omen.
That news doesn’t bode well for atheists, agnostics, and secular humanists. At least Christians and Jews will be treated as demis, or second-class citizens. But the Sharia will have no such leniency for out and out non-believers.
What will happen to the gospel of “tolerance” that secular forces preach today? Although purveyors of that gospel are, in reality, the most intolerant of all, that won’t matter. “Tolerance” is used to give Islamists a foothold in the West, and then the proselytizers of that gospel will be swept into the dustbin of Islamic intolerance.
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.