Monday, February 15, 2016
Does the Church of England have any regard for basic justice?
Peter Hitchens writes on the matter below. It's another case from Britain where the uncorroborated words of an accuser will be automatically believed if the accusation is of a sexual nature. Such an odious practice has in recent times led to the to the hounding of many innocent and distinguished men by the British police.
Fortunately for the accused in this case, he was was dead. When the accuser came forward maligning the saintly Bishop Bell, however, the Church of England promptly paid up, without any judicial process. Is it any wonder that the British police don't accept innocence until proven guilty when the Church of England doesn't accept it either?
The deep injustice done to the late Bishop George Bell, publicly pilloried on the basis of unproven abuse charges, continues. This great and saintly man has been robbed of his name and reputation by the Church that ought to treasure him. Instead, it has sparked a Stalinist campaign to erase his memory.
When criticised, its bishops seek (rather revoltingly) to hide behind the anonymous accuser, who of course must be treated with kindness and sympathy. This fails to conceal their own confusion. Today I can reveal that a very senior figure in the Church, involved in the actions that have done so much damage to George Bell’s good name, has written to a complainant: ‘You will note that at no point have I stated that Bishop Bell was guilty.’ This follows a similar statement in the House of Lords by the Bishop of Durham, which I reported last week.
How strange, then, that several newspapers and the BBC have somehow got the idea that he is guilty. Who told or briefed them that this was so?
Lambeth Palace has clumsily tried to unsay the Bishop of Durham’s words, issuing a garbled mass of piffle in his name, in which he appears to contradict himself.
Odd that this happened only after I publicised his speech here. These flapping prelates should not think this matter is anywhere near finished.
Pub landlord 'told by council officers to remove Union Jack jacket because it might offend people'
Pub landlord Jason Mawer has twice been asked in public to remove his treasured Union Jack jacket - for risk of it being 'offensive'.
He was told to take off his valuable Mod-style Barbour jacket - designed in honour of legendary rock band The Who - by officials who appeared to be council enforcement officers.
On the second occasion the female official warned him: 'Would you mind removing your coat it might offend somebody.'
Jason, who runs a pub near the centre of Barnsley, South Yorkshire said: 'It's definitely political correctness gone mad. It's an overused phrase but I think it definitely applies.'
He was walking through the town centre on his way to the bank when a woman in a high-visibility jacket tried to stop him.
He said: 'She was polite enough and came alongside me before asking me to remove my jacket. She didn't say who it might offend.
'To be honest I was in a hurry and I was walking along as she asked me to take it off. In the end I just said, "No I'm not taking it off," and carried on.
'I thought it was ridiculous to be honest. What's offensive about the Union Jack? I only had a T-shirt on underneath and it was raining so I would have got really wet.
'It was an insult to be asked to take it off. It is my pride and joy. I'm a big fan of The Who and the Mod era and have all the gear.'
A different officer challenged him again last Saturday afternoon.
The unique jacket in red, white and blue was made a few years ago for a Who convention in London.
It was auctioned at the event but ended up with a Scottish owner who decided not to keep it and Jason's partner Lyndsey Smith managed to buy it for Jason's 40th birthday in January.
Ms Smith said: 'I bought the jacket for his birthday. It's a one-off design and he's wanted it for quite a while. I managed to get the owner to part with it.
'He's been stopped twice by officials who we believe are enforcement officers who police the town centre. I think it is disgusting.
'It is purely a flag and has no offensive slogans on it. If you can't walk through your own town in your own country with the Union Jack then there is something seriously wrong.
'There is nothing wrong with being proud of where you come from. It doesn't mean you are racist.'
Mr Mawer's pub, the Manx Arms, is decorated with Union and St George flags and features a mural outside depicting a soldier, a poppy, a cross and the words 'Lest We Forget' which was painted for Remembrance Day last year.
There is a 21ft flagpole with an England flag and the couple run coach trips to both Barnsley and England football matches.
Barnsley Council said they could not find any record of their enforcement officers being involved and refused to comment on the case.
Democrats are obsessed with race, gender and sexual identity
For millennia, humankind has searched for the secret to salvation. At long last, the mystery is revealed — for women, at least. To escape hellfire and brimstone, one must simply vote for Hillary Clinton.
Welcome to the gospel according to former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, who recently implied of female Bernie Sanders supporters, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!”
This is truly ironic. Whereas once women battled discrimination due to lack of certain equipage in the nether regions, today’s feminists demand preference on grounds of the same absence. Whereas once women fought to be judged by their minds and not their bodies, today’s “progressives” demand females reject the matter between their ears and vote according to what’s between their legs. Whereas once women sought to show the world they could think for themselves, today’s leftists require blind adherence to their ideology.
Talk about a “war on women.”
Make no mistake, for anyone not deemed an heir to “white male privilege,” anything less than absolute submission to the leftist cause is unacceptable.
But it’s not just Democrat women who are expected to kowtow to the party as a condition of their existence (or of their eternal souls). Leftists have elevated identity politics to a religion.
Consider, for example, the recent story by University of Southern California Professor Roberto Suro. Reporting on Ted Cruz’s and Marco Rubio’s respective showings at the Iowa Caucuses, Suro explained why their achievements were not recognized as historic Latino wins. “The answer is not that complicated: Neither Mr. Cruz nor Mr. Rubio meets conventional expectations of how Latino politicians are supposed to behave.”
How is that? For starters, a true Latino would support a path to citizenship for illegal aliens, as this “is central to most organized Latino political interests and … is supported by a great majority of Latino elected officials and Latino voters.” In fact, Univision anchor Jorge Ramos wrote in no uncertain terms, “There is no greater disloyalty than the children of immigrants forgetting their own roots. That’s a betrayal.” In other words, authentic Latino identity requires believing illegal immigrants should be granted citizenship.
But it doesn’t end there. Added to gender and ethnicity, race rounds out the identity trio.
Suro notes that Ramos' “betrayal,” is a “criticism that echoes the rhetoric aimed at Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court and other successful members of minority groups who are perceived as failing to uphold their own group’s interests.”
Indeed, remember Senator Harry Reid bemoaning the “five white men” of the Supreme Court who voted in favor of rights of conscience in the Hobby Lobby case? Justice Thomas dared defy leftist ideology and was summarily blanched.
Tim Scott, the first black Republican Senator from South Carolina and the first African-American elected to both the House and Senate, also misses the mark of “blackness.” The NAACP — whose acronym-indicated mission is the “advancement of colored people” — gave Scott a failing grade on its legislative scorecard. Forget that Scott has achieved what blacks only dreamed of 150 years ago. For “progressives,” degree of “blackness” is directly correlated to toeing the Democratic Socialist Party line.
And leftists can hardly stand the existence of Mia Love, the first black female Republican in Congress. Just after Love’s historic win in 2014, the Huffington Post headlined, “She looks black, but her politics are red.” (As in “red state,” of course, not Democratic Socialist red — which, by the way, is precisely the reason the Leftmedia changed the political colors 25 years ago.) The story noted that Love — female, black and Mormon — is a member of traditionally “oppressed” groups. Yet her values “do not necessarily represent her interests as a member in any of these oppressed groups.” Clearly, these gatekeepers of what blacks are supposed to think would have us believe Love is denying what’s “expected” of her as a female black Mormon by daring to espouse conservative values.
Bottom line, leftists want you to think for yourself — provided that what toe the party line based on race, class, gender and ethnicity. Dare to think differently, and you have failed your identity test.
And failure, as you know, will send you straight to hell.
Europe’s open doors are a civilisation death wish
Australians should feel unashamed about our immigration policies and instead fight the growth of identity politics and the undermining of free speech.
That’s the message of provocative Canadian commentator Mark Steyn, who tomorrow begins an Australian speaking tour sponsored by the Institute of Public Affairs.
Free speech is at the heart of Steyn’s message. He is surprised that the controversial section 18c of our Racial Discrimination Act is still standing when his own country successfully repealed the equivalent parts of its Human Rights Act in 2013.
“Free peoples are losing the habit of free speech,” he says. “They’re taught, not really just at university but in fact from kindergarten, that there is a correct view of certain subjects and that incorrect views are distressing. The last two generations raised in the Western world, they don’t do that thing, the apocryphal Voltaire line, ‘I disagree with what you say but I’ll fight to the death for you to.’ They’ll fight to the death for you not to be allowed to say it.”
The consequences can be disturbing. “People can actually lose the spirit of liberty and once you’ve lost that there are not a lot of easy paths back,” he cautions.
Steyn says the initial reluctance of politicians and much of the media to acknowledge, let alone discuss frankly, events in Cologne on New Year’s Eve or the growing problem of sexual assault in Sweden did nothing to preserve social cohesion but instead widened a democratic deficit between governments and the governed over the tide of asylum-seekers sweeping across Europe.
“Free speech is like being a little bit pregnant,” he says. “You can’t be a little bit free speech.”
He talks of meeting people fleeing the Balkans as a journalist covering the wars that accompanied the disintegration of Yugoslavia. “In Europe the whole migrant thing is basically open mockery of the whole idea of refugees,” he says.
Steyn says EU leaders need to speak frankly about the forces now pulling people to the continent and how they are different.
He points to Africa. “People now have cell phones,” Steyn says. They can see what’s going on in the world. Even as recently as the 1980s their glimpse of life in the West came from re-runs of Dallas.
“It’s a different world now. They can see in real time their cousin who got on a boat from Libya and wound up in Italy and walked over to Sweden. They’re seeing in real time the kind of life their cousin is living. What percentage of North Africa has to decide ‘We’d quite like to move to Europe’ for there to be no Europe?”
As a result, Steyn sees nothing wrong with Australia’s asylum-seeker policies. “Australia does what every country used to do until the 1960s. It reserves the right to pick and choose who it admits to within its borders.” He adds: “In effect, everyone in Australia is Donald Trump.”
But Steyn points to the different recent experiences of asylum-seeker flows of Europe and Australia. “Europe is basically as near to Africa as Australia is to Indonesia,” he says, describing the EU’s approach as “the equivalent of Australia telling everyone in Indonesia, ‘See you in Darwin on Tuesday’.”
Steyn is blunt on the potential consequences of the uncontrolled flows of people. “If you lose control of your border you don’t have a country,” he says. In this environment, he is particularly concerned about the impact of identity politics and diversity policies that play on differences. He points to his experiences in the Balkans. “Once people start to think of tribal identities, you end up with tribal politics,” he warns. “It doesn’t matter if the tribe is Bosnians or Croats or whether its transgender and lesbians versus straight white males.”
Steyn jokes about “the Stanley Gibbons stamp collection approach to diversity” but says it is a trap that can cause divisions in wealthy, comfortable and largely homogenous societies, be they in Europe or our own.
“I raise my kids in New Hampshire which is 99.99999 per cent white,” he says. “I think there’s rumoured to be three black guys somewhere in the southern part of the state and two Hispanics. That’s it for New Hampshire.
“It gets kind of boring and people think wouldn’t it be nice to have bit of this and a bit of that. We live here and we’ve got all these people called Smith and Jones and all the rest of it. It would be much more interesting if we can have a bit more diversity. So look. There’s that nice gay couple who have moved into No 28 Victoria Gardens. And — ooh, aren’t we lucky now? There’s a nice fire-breathing imam who has moved into No 30.
“They can all meet. The fire-breathing imam can make conversation with the nice gay couple over the garden fence as they do on a Sunday afternoon.”
Then the joking ends. “The situation they’re now realising in Europe is that when you’re so boundlessly tolerant that you tolerate the avowedly intolerant then you basically have turned that whole kind of Stanley Gibbons diversity thing into a civilisational death wish,” Steyn says.
He warns against embracing the self-loathing that comes with the increasingly common use of concepts such as privilege and entitlement to delineate societal goodies and baddies — witting or not. “The minute you start using these things like privilege, what you’re doing is incentivising the most reductive kind of identity group politics,” Steyn says.
Here, he specifically references 18c and “what groups you can claim to be a member of” so before the law “what matters is not that you are a citizen like any other” but which “groups you have a purchase on”.
Then Steyn the joker takes over, riffing off the old story about Cromwell’s portrait painter and the wart to illustrate the folly of the feelings of guilt that rack the bien-pensants of the West.
“Nowhere is perfect,” he says, “but if you have basically a heroic national narrative as Australia does, there’s something psychologically unhealthy in obsessing on the warts to the exclusion of all else. What’s happening now is you say, well, we haven’t got enough warts.” Warming to his theme, he casts about for new sources of shame. “What a pity we haven’t got Hispanics,” he says. “That would give us a whole new wart, a whole great new oozing pustule sac in the middle of our forehead we could all feel bad about.
“That’s the craziness here. It’s Cromwell to the nth degree. ‘Don’t paint me warts and all. Just paint my warts and if I don’t have enough warts, add a few to my face. The more warts the better. That’s what we want. We want more warts!’ ”
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.