Monday, November 03, 2014

Red Cross volunteer, 71, axed over gay marriage protest: Pensioner told he is no longer welcome at charity because his views are incompatible with its values

A volunteer has been dismissed from the British Red Cross for protesting against gay marriage.  Bryan Barkley, 71, was told he is no longer welcome at the charity because his views are incompatible with its values.

The church-going pensioner received his dismissal letter after holding a one-man protest outside his local cathedral.  He held up a placard saying ‘No same sex marriage’ and ‘No redefinition of marriage’.

Yesterday his supporters said the charity’s action was shocking and it was punishing volunteers for their thoughts and views.

Mr Barkley, who has worked for 20 years as a senior Red Cross volunteer, is appealing against his dismissal which he calls ‘unfair and without justification’.

The grandfather, who has been married for 42 years, joined the organisation after taking early retirement from his job as a civil engineer and had recently represented it at a Buckingham Palace garden party.

He said yesterday: ‘What have I done wrong? I passionately believe that the institution of marriage is between a man and a woman and is the cornerstone of our society. Why is it wrong to say so in public?

‘Freedom of expression is being stifled in this country. I have nothing against homosexuals. But I don’t believe Parliament was representing the views of the people when it changed the definition of marriage.’

Mr Barkley, from Wakefield, West Yorkshire, worked for the charity’s international tracing service helping reunite families in Britain with relatives in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He staged his protest outside Wakefield Cathedral in March.

It was reported in the local press and Pink News but his link to the Red Cross was not mentioned.

However, in May he received a letter from Andy Peers, director of operations for the charity in Yorkshire, summoning him to a disciplinary hearing. The letter said it was to discuss his protest in relation to the ‘fundamental principles of the Red Cross, Red Crescent Movement and the values of the British Red Cross’.

During the meeting, Mr Peers told Mr Barkley that the British Red Cross does not have a view on same sex marriage because as a charity it is impartial and neutral. Yet on August 8, Mr Barkley was told the charity was withdrawing his ‘opportunity to volunteer’ with immediate effect.  The letter of dismissal accused him of breaching its principles.

The Christian Institute, which co-ordinated opposition to gay marriage, is providing Mr Barkley with legal advice. Its director, Colin Hart, said: ‘This is a shocking case.  ‘For nearly two decades Bryan helped reunite people with lost family members. ‘Yet after voicing his opposition to the Government’s plans to rip up the traditional definition of marriage he was fired.

‘His only crime seems to be that he was one of millions of ordinary people who opposed this change. What will disturb most people is that the Red Cross says it is not his actions but his thoughts and views that were the problem.  ‘Is it now official policy of the Red Cross that any volunteer who holds traditional views on marriage will face the sack?’

The Red Cross said: ‘We are committed to and bound by our fundamental principles which... do not take sides in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.  ‘We have to consider the compatibility of people’s publicly expressed views in line with the fundamental principles.’


Black Pastor Forced into Hiding for Supporting GOP Candidate

A black Chicago pastor was recently forced into hiding for endorsing Bruce Rauner, the Republican candidate for governor in Illinois.

Rev. Corey Brooks, pastor of the New Beginnings Church of Chicago located on the South Side, has taken his family to an undisclosed location after receiving death threats through voice mail and social media.

Brooks’ church was also recently burglarized. About $8,000, money collected for a new community center for the church, was stolen from a collection box.

With a week to go until the midterm elections, the real voter intimidation is against black conservatives.

This example of intimidation goes well beyond the verbal name calling of black conservatives and it’s an amazing example of hypocrisy. Could you imagine if this was happening to a minister that was supporting a Democrat.

This sends a message to black individuals that these intimidation tactics can happen to them if they back conservative principles and politicians.


Democrats Push for Censorship of Political Blogs, Videos and Sundry Internet Postings

As the media prepared to vacate newsrooms for the weekend, Democrats snuck in a last minute proposal that the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) be allowed to heavily regulate political content on internet sites such as Youtube, blogs, and the Drudge Report.

Obama FEC Vice Chairperson Ann M. Ravel announced late on Friday that the FEC was preparing new regulations to give itself control over videos, Internet-based political campaigns, and other content on the web. She insisted that, “A reexamination of the commission’s approach to the internet and other emerging technologies is long overdue.”

At issue was a case considered by the FEC – the chief campaign-finance regulator – in September involving a group that ran pro-coal videos critical of Democrats in 2012. The group initially was accused of failing to report the cost of the videos and of failing to include the routine “disclaimers.”

But the group maintained that since they were only run on YouTube, they were exempt.

The case ended in a split, 3-3 decision at the FEC and was dismissed. But the vote itself aired a striking divide: despite a decision clearing the organization by the general counsel, Democrats voted to pursue an investigation anyway while Republicans voted to drop it.

Ravel was blunt in her written statement Friday explaining her side’s vote. She scolded Republicans for arguing rules that would apply to TV ads should not apply to web videos.

Until now, videos and other political content that is not posted for a fee are unregulated by the FEC. Only paid advertising is regulated under election rules. It is this that the Democrats want to change.

“FEC Chairman Lee E. Goodman, a Republican, said if regulation extends that far, then anybody who writes a political blog, runs a politically active news site, or even a chat room could be regulated,” the Washington Examiner reported on October 24.


Where's the outrage over Saudi treatment of women?

An Australian sporting perspective

Imagine a nation that treats a huge section of its population as little more than slaves. A nation where many are not allowed access to a full education or a professional career. Picture a place where some citizens can count themselves lucky if they are allowed to show their faces in public, let alone attend a sporting event.

Now imagine this: a football stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, this Sunday. A sweltering cauldron of sound. The Western Sydney Wanderers run on to the pitch to play the second leg of the final of the Asian Champions League against Al-Hilal.

Then, at the opening kick-off, the Wanderers all sit down and decline to play until Saudi Arabia agrees to recognise women as equals.

Our apologies. We'll now interrupt this broadcast and return to normal programming.

You can safely assume this Sunday's final will pass without a mention of women's rights in Saudi Arabia. There may be only one woman in the crowd of 65,000 - devout Wanderers fan Kate Durnell. And she has only been given permission to attend because she will be accompanied by her father and will wear a hijab.

Where is the anger, much less the outrage? Whatever happened to that generation in the 1970s who helped change the world? Did they all grow fat and old and decide sport was no longer a worthy weapon in the battle for human rights?

Say what you like about the 1970s. The naff idealism. The quaint notions of peace amid the threat of nuclear holocaust. At least it was a time when the world belatedly woke up to the evils of the apartheid system in South Africa and decided to do something about it.

Australian sport caught up with public opinion as Sir Donald Bradman directed that a cricket tour of South Africa be cancelled.

"We will not play them until they choose a team on a non-racist basis," declared Bradman who, just a year earlier, had not believed politics should mix with sport.

When the Springboks arrived in 1971 for a series of Tests, more than 700 Australians were arrested for disrupting the tour.

Such was the public outcry that games were played behind barbed wire. Unions banded together, forcing the tourists to travel around the country on air force planes.

These strident public protests eventually led to a stiffening in the resolve of politicians.  By the late 1970s, the world was condemning South Africa. And, little more than a decade later, the practice of measuring a person by the colour of their skin in that country was peeled away.

So where is the outcry as the Western Sydney Wanderers head to Saudi Arabia?

This is a nation that has long suppressed its women. They are not allowed to drive a car. In fact women under the age of 45 require a male guardian's permission to open a bank account, to seek a job, to undergo elective surgery and even to travel.

Enforcement is often swift and brutal and carried out by the Mutaween – a select group of religious police with the powers to detain Saudis and foreigners for whatever they deem "immoral".

Where's the moral outrage? Have we had to look the other way because of the diplomatic nuances required to live in a post 9/11 world?

Does our reliance on the Middle East oil pipeline preclude the West from speaking out against clear and present human injustices?

Or maybe we've just lost the zeal, the passion and the desire to make the world a better place.  Maybe we decided that soccer superiority beats civil rights hands down.



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 and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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