Sunday, May 31, 2015

Religion and morality

As regular readers here will probably be aware, I am an atheist who is sympathetic to Christianity.  I regard the Bible as a great source of wisdom and I endeavour to apply its precepts in my life.  I do that because every time I do the Christian thing I get a reward.  Christian teachings work for me even though I don't accept the metaphysical attachments of such teaching.  Christians would probably say that Christian teachings work for me because God is looking after me but in my view Christian teachings simply embody correct assumptions about human nature and how to behave socially in a constructive way.

So I happily read a lot that is written by Christians.  Not being a Leftist, the happiness of others does not diminish my happiness.  The happiness of others makes me happy and I rejoice in the inspiration and comfort that Christianity and prayer gives to its adherents. I am moved by faith even though I have none.  It helps people.

So I am well aware of the common Christian claim that Christianity is what keeps America civilized:  Without Christianity, behaviour would deteriorate and become "red in tooth and claw".  I don't think that claim is wholly true though anybody who has attended an evangelical church will be aware that some people who have lived a foolish and destructive life testify that Christian conversion has turned their life around.  I do think that happens.

But I don't think there is a NEED for Christianity for a society to be civilized.  Razib Khan looks at the evidence for that claim below but I would like to add something to what he says.  I would like to point to the evidence from Australia.  Australia's church attendance rates are among the lowest in the world and in continuing decline. And most of those who do go to church are elderly.  So is life in Australia nasty brutish and short?

Far from it.  Australia seems to me more civilized than the USA.  The constant American scrabble for money, for a start, has only the faintest echo here.  Some decades back, when a million dollars really bought you something, Australia had, proportionately, the world's highest number of half-millionaires.  Once they got to have half a million dollars, many Australians gave up work and just went golfing.  Leisure has a much higher priority in Australia.  And I don't need to mention that gun deaths in Australia are the tiniest fraction of the American figure. Life in Australia is much safer than in the USA.

So Australia is a very relaxed place where most people are pleasant and friendly to one another.  American visitors often remark on how friendly Australians are. And you don't have to press "1" for English, either.

I could go on to analyse why Australia is better off than the USA but that is a big essay in itself so let me simply point out that standards of behaviour are at least no worse than in the USA despite our negligible rate of churchgoing.

 Most Australians do believe in the existence of a creator but they are very doubtful about whether the churches know anything about him. For historical reasons many Australians do have a nominal religious identity.  In the days when you had to put down your religion on forms, my late father would always put himself down as "C of E" (to my mother's amusement), but in all the time I knew him he never once set foot in a church.  And he was a real gentleman too, despite his lowly occupation (lumberjack).

So most Australians are aware of the Ten Commandments and have some respect for them, but they don't regard them as binding. Far more influential are Australia's own five secular commandments. I discuss them here

I reproduce Razib's comments on religion and morality below"

Probably the biggest blind spot on the cultural Right in the United States is the "family values" Uber Alles stance. As documented over 15 years ago in The Nurture Assumption shared family environment, basically your parents' non-genetic influence, is relatively minor in affecting behavioral life outcomes (this is not to say that the issues aren't subtle, but a simple projection from family home to individual outcomes is not viable).

But there's another major confusion when it comes to the religious Right in particular, and that concerns the origins of morality and ethics. Most people are probably aware of the Josh Duggar fiasco at this point. If you aren't, Google it. There isn't much to say that hasn't been said, but this post from his father-in-law has been raising eyebrows:

".It is a mercy of God that he restrains the evil of mankind otherwise we would have destroyed ourselves long ago. Many times it is simply lack of opportunity or fear of consequences that keep us from falling into grievous sin even though our fallen hearts would love to indulge the flesh. We should not be shocked that this occurred in the Duggar's home, we should rather be thankful to God if we have been spared such, and pray that he would keep us and our children from falling."

This attitude is entirely unsurprising to me, I've heard it many times from evangelical Christians. The theory is that without religion, and particularly their religion, they would be "a rapin' and murderin'". Why? Because that's what people do without God. Believe it or not, I have never believed in God, nor have I raped and murdered (or molested). Nor do I think that raping and murdering would be enjoyable. Nor do I think that the evangelical Christians who proudly declaim that without their savior they would rape or murder with abandon would actually rape or murder.

This idea that without religion there is no morality is very widespread in the subculture, to the point of being an implicit background assumption that informs reactions to many events in concert with the idea of original sin and fundamental human depravity (thank you St. Augustine and John Calvin!). I have a socially liberal friend from an evangelical background, who is still somewhat associated with that movement, who confided in me that to did look forward to debauchery in a post-Christian life on some occasions. I had to convince him that even if he was not religious life was not likely to change much for him in the sex department unless he shifted his standards somewhat. Without God all things are not possible, believe it or not.

The fundamental misunderstanding here is actually one of intellectual history. Many evangelical Protestants in particular envisage the world before the revelation of God to Abraham, but sometime after the Fall, as a Hobbesian one of "all-against-all." This is not limited to evangelical Christians. Many Muslims also conceive of the pre-Islamic jahiliyya in Arabia as one of pagan darkness and debauchery. The root misunderstanding is conceiving of morality and ethics as a historical human invention, as opposed to formalizations of deep cognitive intuitions and social-cultural adaptations.

Broadly, I agree with Peter Turchin that the origin of modern organized religions has its ultimate roots in the social and institutional needs of pan-ethnic imperial systems during the Axial Age. The synthesis of a supernatural Weltanschauung with the nascent enterprise of philosophy and the older intuitions of tribalism allowed for the emergence of the multi-textured phenomenon which we now term organized religion. Religion co-opted and promoted morality, but it did not invent it. The Israelites put in their Lord God's mouth their own morality that was existent before his invention! Prior to the development of organized religion it seems likely that the connection between supernatural agency and morality was more tenuous and conditional (and even then, the angry and jealous petulant Yahweh of the Hebrew Bible has plenty of glimmers of the amoral gods of yore).

That is why even with the diminishing of organized religion in the modern West there has not been a correlated rise in crimes such as murder. The connection between ethical monotheism and ethics is not nearly as necessary as the religious would have you believe. The chart at the top does not prove at all that irreligion leads to decrease in crime (on the contrary, there is modest evidence that religious involvement results in mild prosocial tendencies when you control for confounds). But, it does show starkly that over the last 25 years in the United States there has been a simultaneous decrease in violent crime, and, a massive wave of secularization. This contradicts a model which proposes that religion and ethical behavior are necessarily and deterministically associated.

So no, in the case of Josh Duggar it isn't a matter of "there, but for the grace of God, go I." I'll let others psychoanalyze his behavior, but it isn't a normal human impulse which has to be constrained by the teachings of religion. If religion has to teach you not to molest your sisters you've got a problem, son! And it has nothing to do with your soul.


False rape claims in Britain

Dr. Max Pemberton

Several years ago, I was falsely accused of sexually assaulting a female patient while I was looking after her in the Accident and Emergency department of the hospital where I was working.

It was utterly ludicrous for a number of reasons, not least because she was handcuffed to two policemen the entire time she was in the department, and also because she was under uninterrupted CCTV surveillance that showed I didn’t so much as touch her. Oh, and also I’m gay.

Even though I knew the accusation was false, it really shook me. The woman was very emotionally disturbed — indeed, that was why she’d been brought to A&E.

What upset me was that I had worked particularly hard, staying well after my shift ended, to make sure she was OK. I’d tried to stand up for her with the police and felt I’d done my very best for her.

I was particularly wounded to think that, despite this, she had lied in such a cruel way. It seemed all my efforts to connect with a troubled patient had been in vain.

But then I spoke to a colleague — a doctor who is also a psychotherapist — and he suggested it was the very connection we had formed that had made my accuser say what she had.

She was unconsciously targeting all the anger and hatred she felt against the world at the one person she’d fleetingly felt close to — me.

My colleague also suggested that, because there were witnesses, the woman had deliberately chosen someone she knew would ultimately be exonerated.

It made me feel slightly better but it still took several stressful months for the police to interview everyone and review the CCTV.

Given all the publicity surrounding the historic sex abuse scandals, it’s inevitable these, too, will attract people making untrue accusations. But it’s wrong to think the only motive will be malice or a cynical desire for compensation. Often, as with my accuser, there will be a more deep-seated, emotional reason.

In these cases, claims of ‘abuse’ and ‘rape’ are being used to communicate desperate, overwhelming distress, a sense of loss of control and autonomy.

These are words with enormous cultural weight, and immediately convey a degree of psychological trauma it may otherwise be difficult for the person to express. Quite literally, they are saying: ‘I feel violated.’ And they think the only way they’ll be listened to is by giving their pain the most dramatic label possible.

There’s no doubt this shows how damaged and in need of help they are. But that’s no comfort for the victims of their claims.

My own experience has made me think carefully about the issue of anonymity for accused men. And I’m now convinced rape and sexual assault should be treated differently from other crimes, because false accusations can destroy lives. It seems only fair that suspects should be afforded anonymity until convicted. The argument against this is that publicising the man’s name allows other victims to come forward, but that’s sloppy justice.

Each case should stand on its own, and if the man is convicted, then other victims can respond and he can be tried for these crimes as well.

There’s a delicate balance between ensuring women feel confident in coming forward and protecting the innocent.


Jewish woman wins £16,000 payout from car firm hire that turned her down for a job because she can't work on Saturdays

Why can't the firm hire the employees that suit it best?  It's a business, not a charity

A Jewish woman has won a £16,000 payout from a travel agent that rejected her for a job because she is unable to work on Saturdays.

Aurelie Fhima, 23, sent her CV to Travel Jigsaw in Manchester and secured an interview.  But her application was turned down when it revealed she observes Shabbat – the Jewish day of rest which lasts from sundown on Friday until sunset on Saturday - and prevents work of any kind.

Bosses at Travel Jigsaw sent her a letter after the interview in May last year which said: 'After careful consideration we cannot offer you a position at this time. We are still looking for people who are flexible enough to work Saturdays.'

Ms Fhima, from Salford, asked the car firm hire to review its decision. But when it refused she launched legal action – claiming indirect discrimination on grounds of religion.

Employment tribunal judges found in her favour – awarding almost £8,000 for loss of earnings, £7,500 for injury to feelings and £1,200 in fees.

The 23-year-old told MailOnline: 'It was unfair and they didn't look at my situation. They (Travel Jigsaw) could have accommodated me and tried to work round it but they said it was too complicated. They could have helped me out but chose not to.

'It is a 24 hour operation that is open seven days a week and I said I would be willing to work every Sunday instead. I also said I could change shifts with somebody.  'I also said I could work from 5pm to midnight on Saturdays in the winter as Sabbath lasts until nightfall on the Saturday.

'I tried to accommodate them as much as I could. I understand it is a business, but I said I could change shifts and work round it. But they said I was not flexible and were not prepared to play around with the hours.'

She added: 'I have now found a job working in a very small company with four members of staff. When I told them I couldn't work on Saturdays, they said it wasn't a problem. 'So how can a big company that employs thousands of people say that it was too complicated?'  

Kevin McKenna, head of employment at Kuits Solicitors who were acting on Ms Fhima's behalf, said: 'This case serves as an important reminder to employers of the obligations they have to job applicants – not just their employees. It also shows that many large employers still fail to understand the law surrounding discrimination.'

At the tribunal, the firm claimed French-speaking Ms Fhima lied about her ability to work Saturdays during the phone conversation and confessed to the lie during the face-to-face interview.

Ms Fhima denied this and said the way the company acted was 'devastating'.

A spokesman for the business said: 'The company is extremely disappointed with the judgement in this case that was brought by an unsuccessful job applicant, and in the way in which the case was presented to the tribunal.

'Travel Jigsaw employs an extremely diverse workforce with colleagues representing 65 nationalities.'


Another perverted multicultural doctor

A vulnerable patient ‘swept off her feet’ by a predatory accident and emergency doctor today revealed how she still has nightmares about their sexual role playing almost two years later.

Dr Curtis Sonny, who has now been struck off following the month-long illicit affair, started seeing the 37-year-old mother after she visited a hospital in Grimsby, Lincolnshire.

The 47-year-old doctor would turn up at her home with a 'special' bottle of dark rum and cigarettes - and they would have sex.

But today, the woman told MailOnline: ‘I didn’t consider it a relationship at all. I knew it was wrong but he was very persuasive and said he was a friend - and that he could “fix me”.

Sonny, who labelled the allegations a fantasy, now lives in his native Trinidad and was not at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service fitness to practise hearing on Wednesday - which found him guilty of misconduct.

The panel heard that in September 2013 the woman attended the Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital where Sonny worked, after falling from a kitchen stool while drinking Bacardi.

She was taken by ambulance wearing a pink mouse onesie with a tail, hood and ears.

Sonny gave her an Indian head massage and complimented her on her hair. She claimed he told her at a later date that he had to sit down after the massage physically aroused him.

But he also took her mobile phone number – writing it on the back of a form at the hospital, she claimed - and the pair then exchanged texts and Facebook messages.

Later they carried out a sexual role-play game in which Sonny would be the ‘daddy’ to the patient's ‘baby girl’ - and, when he wanted to meet for sex, ask her: 'Fancy a rum and fag?'

She told MailOnline: ‘The last occasion was when we did the role play, “daddy - baby girl”. It totally freaked me out as it seemed too true and real as if he had done it before - saying the stereotypical things like, “this is our secret”, “don’t tell mummy”, etc.’

The patient - who has a degenerative spinal condition and was described as Patient A in the hearing - added: ‘I’m still not over it... I have nightmares about the last time, the role play thing.

She said: ‘It was totally one-way - I had no feelings for him at all. He actually made me feel nervous, which is why I put him off so many times and only let my guard down after I had consumed alcohol.

‘Whilst in A&E and the first phone call I was flattered by his attention, after that I knew what he was doing was wrong and didn’t trust him. I also saw on his Facebook page that there were a lot of comments from women which made me suspicious of if he was doing it to other patients.

‘He also told me conflicting stories - such as he was going away, then he wasn’t, that he had a girlfriend, then he didn’t, then he did but hadn’t seen her six weeks. I was concerned about my sexual health in the end, which is why I told my nurse.’

Sonny visited her home on at least three occasions. However, when she told a nurse about the contact between them, the doctor claimed his lover was ‘living in her own fantasy world’.

But, finding him guilty of misconduct, the panel condemned Sonny - who was saved in the woman’s phone as ‘Dr Sonny head massage’- for his ‘abhorrent and sexual motivated’ behaviour.

Sonny did not attend the hearings - due to what he claimed were ‘financial constraints’.

Chairman Lisa Smith said: ‘It is clear that Dr Sonny abused his position and the trust that Patient A placed in him for his own gratification, putting his interests before those of a vulnerable patient.

‘The panel considers his behaviour was predatory and abhorrent. Not only did Dr Sonny pursue a sexual relationship with a patient but his actions in doing so were premeditated, deliberate and repeated.

‘Patient A was vulnerable in many different respects. Dr Sonny recognised that in A&E and later exploited the fact that she was flattered and pleased by his attention to her.

‘He specifically exploited her vulnerabilities by contacting her late at night, asking if she had consumed alcohol and, when informed that she had, visiting her home with the purpose of engaging in sexual intercourse with her. This sexual intercourse was unprotected, further risking Patient A's health.’

A spokesman for the hospital said the doctor had been dismissed early last year.

The patient added: ‘To any other patient who may find themselves in this position, tell someone, tell someone who can report on your behalf. There is an amazing network of professionals that can help you in every way.’



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


Friday, May 29, 2015

Another false claim of sexual assault in Britain

Such claims pop up all the time in Britain

A former aide to the Duke of Edinburgh has been cleared of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl.

A jury took just 40 minutes to clear Benjamin Herman, 80, who was accused of grooming the schoolgirl while he worked at Buckingham Palace in the 1970s.

Mr Herman was a major in the Royal Marines at the time but was on secondment as an equerry, or personal assistant, to Prince Philip.

The prosecution told Blackfriars Crown Court he had ‘taken advantage’ of the girl, who was lonely and craving adult attention.

The woman, now 54, said he once drove her to Buckingham Palace.

Edmund Gritt, prosecuting, said that the grandfather had ‘taken advantage’ of the young girl, who was lonely and bullied and craving adult attention.

He kissed her ‘passionately’, groped her and made her attempted to make her carry out sexual acts on him when she was between the ages of 11 and 14, he told the court.

‘Between 1971 and 1974, he held the post of equerry to the Queen’s husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh,’ Mr Gritt told the court during the trial.

‘He managed the Duke of Edinburgh’s official diary and accompanying him on official business. His office was in Buckingham Palace.

The woman, now 54, came forward in the wake of a 2012 Savile documentary exposing the former presenter as one of Britain’s most prolific paedophiles.

The prosecution denied that she had ‘latched on’ to the Savile story and said she could describe his house and family had told friends and colleagues about the abuse before the broadcast.

Asked why the Savile revelations had prompted her to go to police, she said: ‘I was very upset. I felt I couldn’t suppress it any longer.’

The prosecution told Blackfriars Crown Court (pictured) he had ‘taken advantage’ of the girl, who was lonely    +3
The prosecution told Blackfriars Crown Court (pictured) he had ‘taken advantage’ of the girl, who was lonely

Asked why she hadn’t gone to the police earlier, she said: ‘I made up my mind that I would never speak about it. I felt ashamed, I felt guilty, I felt dirty. I’ll take my dirty little secret to my grave, I thought.’

The woman said he told her about his job and said that he often looked after Prince Edward and Prince Andrew and played football with them.

Herman ‘emphatically denied’ the allegations.  He claims that his work as equerry kept him out of the house all day, that it was not possible to drive to Buckingham Palace forecourt and that he had never even met the alleged victim.

His barrister, Nerida Harford-Bell, confirmed that he had been found not guilty after just 40 minutes of jury deliberation.

Yesterday he was cleared of three counts of indecent assault on a girl under 13 and one count of indecency towards a child between 1972 and 1974.


The Borg of the Middle East: ISIS wants to transform everything in its path to a single structure, with itself at the center

ISIS has conquered Syria’s spectacular Roman Empire city of Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage site long known affectionately as the “bride of the desert,” and in all likelihood is gearing up to demolish it. We know this because they’ve done it before. ISIS used hammers, bulldozers, and explosives to destroy the ancient Iraqi cities of Hatra and Nimrud near Mosul, and they did it on video.

“These ruins that are behind me,” said an ISIS vandal on YouTube, “they are idols and statues that people in the past used to worship instead of Allah. The Prophet Muhammad took down idols with his bare hands when he went into Mecca. We were ordered by our prophet to take down idols and destroy them, and the companions of the prophet did this after this time, when they conquered countries.”

Muslims have ruled this part of the world for more than 1,000 years. All this time, they’ve been unbothered by the fact that Palmyra, Hatra, and Nimrud include pagan monuments, temples, statues, and inscriptions that predate Islam. Only now are these places doomed to annihilation. ISIS is more belligerently Philistine than any group that has inhabited the region for a millennium. The only modern analogue is the Taliban’s destruction of the ancient Buddhist statues at Bamiyan with anti-aircraft guns, artillery shells and dynamite in March 2001, mere months before their al-Qaida pals attacked New York City and Washington.

This attitude toward history harks back less to the seventh century than to the twentieth, when Pol Pot reset the calendar to Year Zero after the Khmer Rouge seized power in Cambodia, and when Mao Zedong’s Chinese Cultural Revolution murdered millions in the war against everything “old.”

Maamoun Adbulkarim, Syria’s antiquities chief, told Reuters that the army carted hundreds of ancient statues away to safety, but of course the giant Roman columns and the museum itself aren’t going anywhere except, perhaps, underneath the jaws of ISIS bulldozers. “This is the entire world’s battle,” he said.

That’s how bad things are in Syria now. The mass-murderers, war criminals, sectarian gangsters, and state sponsors of international terrorism in Bashar al-Assad’s Arab Socialist Baath Party regime can plausibly tout themselves as the defenders of civilization. In this particular case and in this particular place, they’re right.

Palmyra is more than 2,000 years old. It began as a humble caravan stop in the second century B.C., but Rome eventually annexed it and turned it into a dazzling and prosperous metropolis. Lying in an oasis in modern-day Homs Governate, during Rome’s time it served as a crucial hub linking Europe to Persia, India, and China.

The ruins sprawl over a vast area, preserved in the desert, away from the dense and overbuilt coastal areas of modern Syria, Lebanon, and Israel. Unlike most Roman ruin sites, this one includes nearly intact buildings, some of them enormous. The architectural style is a delightful blend of Roman, Greek, and Persian. Some of the standing columns bear inscriptions in Greek and Aramaic. It’s a magnificent place, the Levantine melting pot at its finest, a startlingly beautiful crossroads where the East meets the West, where everything and everybody is blended.

But now it has been overtaken by a totalitarian death cult that uses mass murder and heavy weapons and machinery to transform everything and everyone into a single block-like structure, with itself at the center. ISIS is the Borg of the Middle East.

UNESCO is asking for an international effort to safeguard its World Heritage site, but who is going to step up do it?

The Syrians can’t. They just ran away. The Iraqis can’t defend their own cities, let alone somebody else’s. The Jordanians might be willing if they could project enough power abroad, but they can’t. The Israelis are theoretically capable, but the costs of yet another military intervention in an Arab morass would be catastrophic. The Turks could pull it off, but they’re more worried about Syria’s Kurdish population than ISIS and would rather see ISIS victorious if they had to pick one or the other. The Russians? Vladimir Putin will never ride to the rescue of any “civilization” that isn’t his own.

That leaves the United States. We’re the only real hope. Except that we aren’t.

We could send in ground troops to protect Palmyra. The city is part of our heritage (sort of), since the city once belonged to the Roman Empire, and we’ve done this sort of thing in the past. George Clooney’s film The Monuments Men, released in early 2014, dramatized efforts by a small American army unit during World War II to protect buildings, bridges, and fine art before the Nazis could destroy them. “You can wipe out an entire generation,” says Frank Stokes, played by Clooney, “you can burn their homes to the ground, but somehow they’ll find a way back. But if you destroy their history and destroy their achievements, it’s as if they never existed. That’s what Hitler wants, and that’s exactly what we’re fighting for.”

That was then. The United States Army occupied much of Europe. If Americans already occupied Syria, of course we’d protect Palmyra. But we will likely never occupy Syria. The 82nd Airborne could parachute in and hold the city for a while, but they’d be surrounded by ISIS on one side and the Assads and Hezbollah on the other. They’d also be cut off logistically. And how long would they stay there—until the war is over? Until ISIS is a spent force? That could take more than a decade.

So yes, the United States could go in and rescue Palmyra, but the odds that that will happen are negligible. President Barack Obama campaigned on ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, not getting sucked into these sorts of quagmires. On this issue, at least, he’s backed by the majority of Americans in both political parties.

Inaction has costs, however. Aside from the hundreds of thousands of people who have already been killed, a psychopathic terrorist state that will likely be with us indefinitely is rising in the desert and gearing up to broadcast its destruction of the most beautiful real estate for hundreds of miles in any direction.

“The world does not care about us,” a resident told CNN. “All they are interested in is the stones of ancient Palmyra.” That isn’t actually true. The rest of the world has grown numb to the staggering body counts over there, but Palmyra was supposed to outlive us all. And now it probably won’t.

There’s something else, too. Armies willing to commit cultural genocide are always willing to commit genocide against humans. ISIS thinks that it’s following the Prophet’s example. It’s also following that of Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, and Mao.


Nasty Lesbian falsely accuses Christian preacher

And the British police believe her

A Christian street preacher revealed today how he was arrested and held in a cell for 11 hours after a lesbian falsely accused him of homophobia.

Rob Hughes, 38, was speaking in Basildon, Essex, when the woman said she was ‘gay and proud’ and he should ‘get down off your pedestal, you judgmental **** - homophobia is not in this town’.

However Mr Hughes - who had a voice recording of all he had said while preaching for 20 minutes that day - had not referenced homosexuality.

But Mr Hughes, of of Tooting, south-west London, was arrested after police said they had received a complaint from a member of the public that he had used homophobic and offensive language.

Mr Hughes said: 'I was taken to the police station, processed, mugshot, fingerprints, DNA, the whole works. I was in a cell for about 11 hours, and then my solicitor finally arrived.

'I was interviewed by the police, they asked me a number of questions - "why were you out", "what were you saying", "did you say what the people said" - I said "no", of course. I was polite and courteous.

'I did say that “you have my dictaphone in your possession, you can listen to the recording, the audio, if you like”. They dismissed that. Not sure why, but I just continued with the interview, finished the questions.’

He was then told shortly after the end of the interview in September 2013 that he would be released and no further action would be taken against him due to insufficient evidence.

Mr Hughes has now received £2,500 and a contribution towards his legal fees for wrongful arrest, false imprisonment and breach of his human rights in an out-of-court settlement, according to his representatives.

He added: 'The whole experience left me feeling that street preachers - it's now a case of being presumed guilty until found innocent, which is really the wrong way round.

'Christians should be gracious in the midst of persecution, but at the same time we have a right to submit a legal defence.’

His case was supported by the Christian Legal Centre, whose founder Andrea Minichiello Williams said: ‘These cases are further examples of situations where the freedom of Christian preachers is restricted, when what they are saying is entirely lawful.  ‘In Mr Hughes's case, he was not even talking about sexuality and yet was targeted by a member of the public who tried to shut him down.

‘The police officer involved with Mr Geuter's case wanted him not to preach the words of Jesus after one complaint was made about him expressing his opinion about the destruction of marriage by the government.’

An Essex Police spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment from MailOnline today.

Cardiff-born Mr Hughes moved to South Africa aged seven and became a Christian three years later. He returned to Britain in 1997 and now works with street evangelism group Operation 513.


Black Leftist hatred of a conservative black

Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Cynthia Tucker criticized Dr. Ben Carson for his conservative political and religious views, referring to the retired pediatric neurosurgeon and 2016 presidential candidate as “the GOP’s latest black mascot, a court jester, a minstrel show.”

Carson, who was raised in a poor, single-parent household in inner-city Detroit, became the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland at age 33. He made medical history when he became the first surgeon to successfully separate conjoined twins attached at the head.

He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by former President George W. Bush in 2008, founded the Carson Scholars Fund, which awards scholarships to academically gifted students who contribute to their communities, and is a New York Times-bestselling author.

Claiming to speak for the black community, Tucker said that Carson’s non-politically correct views on homosexuality, evolution and religion threaten to eclipse his many accomplishments, and that because of his conservative views he “stands to lose his place as one of the nation’s most admired men.”

Tucker condemned Carson’s “right-wing intolerance and know-nothingism” earlier this month in her column for Uexpress, describing him as “a political novice who is happily ignorant of policy, both foreign and domestic, and contemptuous of religious pluralism and personal liberties.”

Carson “stood as stark repudiation of invidious stereotypes about black intellectual capacity,” Tucker wrote in her column. “But the good doctor’s forays into Republican presidential politics threatens to become his epitaph to overshadow - perhaps even to overwhelm - his academic and surgical accomplishments.”

Black talk show host and author Tavis Smiley also blasted Carson in an appearance on “The O’Reilly Factor” last week. “He’s a black bull in a Republican china shop,” Smiley said. “And if he’s not careful, he is going to do himself irreparable damage.”

However, host Bill O’Reilly commented that Tucker’s criticism is primarily a result of Carson’s condemnation of Obamacare, which Carson has compared to slavery, noting that “it is making all of us subservient to the government.”

Booker T. Washington and other pioneering black leaders “would never have countenanced such nonsense,” Tucker wrote.



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


Thursday, May 28, 2015

"Women's spaces"

If you Google "women's space" you will find examples from all sorts of times and places of feminists demanding such spaces.  They want man-free zones, where they can escape from the "patriarchy"

Such demands are more evidence of how egocentric radical feminists and Leftists generally are.  If any other demographic category made such demands, that would be roundly condemned as segregation, apartheid, discrimination etc.  "Segregation is good if we do it but bad if anybody else does it" is the implicit message.

It is not however an explicit message. My son reports that when he was recently on the campus of the University of Queensland -- of which he and I are both graduates -- he was approached by some young women who were handing out small gifts to anyone who signed a petition demanding a women's space on that campus.

He agreed to sign their petition, saying, "I think any group should have the right to exclude people they don't like".  This utterance was greeted with horror, his signature was rejected and he did not get his gift.  He was describing plainly what they wanted but they could not admit that -- in the best traditions of Leftist denialism.  They no doubt thought of themselves as enemies of "discrimination".

And we can see how deeply entrenched the hypocrisy and dishonesty is when we reflect that feminists have a long history of opposing men's spaces.  For over a hundred years all Australian towns had a men's space -- the public bar of a local hotel.  Women were not allowed there.  There was a separate "Ladies' lounge" where women drank.

Feminists have completely destroyed that.  Women are now allowed in all bars, sometimes by force of law.  I remember the process  well. The big watering hole for UQ students was always "The Regatta", a large and imposing hotel on the way back into town from the university.  And it too once denied women admittance to its public bar.  So what did feminists do?  They barged in anyway and chained themselves to various objects to make it difficult to remove them. They did so until the rule excluding them was abandoned.

And the efforts of women to have the membership of various gentlemen's clubs "opened up" are well known. Most such clubs have succumbed.  That men might enjoy a place where they are free from women is not considered. But a place where women are free from men is just fine, righteous even.

So how does this ethical black hole arise?  It arises from the general lack of principles among Leftists.  Leftists are sub-clinical psychopaths.  In pursuit of their hates, Leftists can turn around and march in opposite directions at the drop of a hat. 

The classic example of that was the wharfies (dockers,  longshoremen) during WWII.  Nazism and Communism were always sibling rivals and outside Germany, dock workers were systematically Communist sympathizers.  Not a few were actual members of the local Communist party.  So when Hitler and Stalin jointly invaded the long-suffering Poles, dock workers did all they could to hinder the war effort against the Nazi/Soviet alliance.  But when Hitler turned on his ally and invaded Russia, the dock workers, particularly in America, suddenly ceased their obstruction of the war effort. It was their hate that guided them, not any high principle.  Stalin hated "the rich" and so did they -- so they were consistent only in supporting him.

But be that as it may, what is clearly going on among the radical feminists is an inability to empathize -- an ability to see everything only in the light of what they want.  They have no principles and no honour or ethics of any kind.  What they want defines righteous and nothing else matters.  They are moral imbeciles.  Their hate and anger is so strong that it blinds them to all else, even to basic decency and fairness.

Why do some women get that way?  In the universities these days they are taught that.  Barely articulate cries of feminist rage pass as education these days.  In the society at large, however, feminism can be a temporary refuge from a bad experiece -- a relationship breakup usually.  Such a refuge is usually abandoned after a time -- for a man.  Lifelong feminism however can result from some physical difference -- abnormal hormone levels usually -- but it is more likely to be a convenient way to express the woman's Leftism, her hatred of the society about her generally.

It is sick

An unpleasant but important lesson

He forced the do-gooders to face facts:  People eat animals, always have and always will.  We have evolved that way.  There are of course some vegetarians but they have to be quite careful to get a healthy diet

Outraged listeners are calling for a boycott of a talk radio station after a presenter bludgeoned a baby rabbit to death on air.

Asger Juhl hit the nine-week-old fluffy black rabbit, named Allan, over the head with a bicycle pump despite protests from animal rights campaigners in the studio.

Juhl, a presenter on Danish station Radio24syv, then took the animal home where he and his children cooked and ate it.

He claimed he was exposing the ‘hypocrisy’ surrounding meat-eating. Juhl, 34, killed the rabbit after debating animal welfare with Danish reality TV star and animal rights activist Linse Kessler on Monday.

She had tried to grab Allan and chased Juhl around the studio before being asked to leave.

Afterwards she posted a video on Facebook criticising Juhl’s actions. Miss Kessler said she thought she could have wrested the animal from him but feared it would die a more painful death if she grabbed it.

Juhl said he had been shown how to dispatch Allan humanely by a keeper at Aalborg Zoo who kills several baby rabbits each week to feed to the snakes.

‘They use an iron stick. I didn’t have an iron stick – so I used a bicycle pump,’ he said.

He and his children, aged six and eight, skinned the dead rabbit and made a stew for dinner.

‘Many people in Denmark are frustrated about us killing the rabbit but at the same time they are having meat for dinner,’ he said. ‘They are not taking into account that you are supposed to kill an animal before you eat meat. Let me ask you a question: Why would it be wrong to kill an animal and then eat it?’

Danish DJ describes moments leading up to rabbit's on-air death

Yesterday, there were growing calls for a boycott of Copenhagen-based Radio24syv over Juhl’s ‘disgusting’ behaviour.

One person wrote on social media: ‘You could probably easily have had the debate on air without having to kill an animal.’

Andother added: ‘Maybe somebody should hit you on the head with a pump, see if that provokes a debate.’

Others described the incident as a ‘brutal publicity stunt’.

The RSPCA said it would have investigated had the ‘shocking’ events taken place in England or Wales. A spokesman added: ‘The use of an animal in this way is completely unacceptable.’

The radio station defended the incident, saying it wanted to highlight cruelty in the farming industry and hypocrisy over animal welfare.

‘We didn’t do it for the sake of entertainment,’ it said. ‘Thousands of animals die each day so that people can eat them.’

It claimed that Allan had enjoyed a good life, unlike many of the animals which end up on the meat counter, and was killed in a humane manner.

Juhl later explained why he used a bicycle pump to kill the innocent rabbit. The 34-year-old said: 'I was very humane. I discussed this with people at the zoo before I did it'

Radio24syv added that it wanted to put more focus on ‘one of the world’s most industrialised agriculture sectors’.

It said that Allan was killed ‘in a sound manner’ and ‘did not suffer any harm’.

It added: ‘Our rabbit has had a good life, as a contrast to the way our industrialised agriculture treats animals every day.

‘Animals that end up in the meat counter, where most of us without any great reflection buy slaughtered animals, who have had a terrible life.’

MailOnline readers expressed their outrage on the website last night. Korotki from Devon wrote: ‘He should lose his job, and be prosecuted for animal cruelty.

‘I don’t care what his “justification” might allegedly be, the facts speak for themselves and this idiot’s killed an animal by brutal means as a publicity stunt.’

Chandelier from London said: ‘I understand that he wanted to make a point but doing it in this way is rather barbaric. Poor rabbit.’ And Dirk Bruere from Bedford wrote: ‘There is a vast difference between being beaten to death with an “iron stick” and a bicycle pump.

‘The former is quick and the latter slow and cruel.’

Last year there was outcry in Denmark after a baby giraffe called Marius was killed and dissected in front of children at Copenhagen Zoo, before being fed to the lions.


Prospective U.S. ‘Free Trade’ Partner Prohibits Catholic Paper from Using ‘Allah'

In Malaysia, one of 11 nations President Obama is seeking to bring into his “Trans-Pacific Partnership” free-trade zone with the United States, the government has prohibited a Catholic newspaper from using the word “Allah,” says the U.S. State Department.

“Allah,” the Arabic word for God, was adopted by the Malay language.

In Malaysia, as the New York Times explained in an article last November, the government has gone so far as to restrict its use in the Bible.

“According to a series of government orders and rulings by Malaysia’s Islamic councils, the word for God in the Malay language—‘Allah’--is reserved for Muslims,” the Times reported. “Malay-language Bibles are banned everywhere except inside churches. State regulations ban a list of words, including Allah, in any non-Muslim context."

The State Department’s Malaysia 2013 International Religious Freedom Report, published in July 2014, elaborated on Malaysia's treatment of Christians who use the word “Allah.”

“The Publications and Quranic Text Control Division of the Ministry of Home Affairs supervised the publication of religious texts, and restricted the use of the words Allah (God), baitullah (house of God), Kaabah (location toward which Muslims pray) and salat (prayer) to Muslim groups only, asserting that these words were the sole jurisdiction of the Muslim community,” said the State Department’s 2013 report.

“In a long running controversy stemming from the government’s ban on the use of the word ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims in Malay-language Bibles and other Christian publications, on October 14, the court of appeal overturned a 2009 decision by the High Court of Kuala Lumpur and upheld the government’s decision that the Catholic Herald cannot use the word ‘Allah’ to refer to God in its Malay language edition,” said the State Department.

“The court of appeal held that: the use of ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims would create confusion among Muslims; the word ‘Allah’ is not ‘an integral part’ of the Christian faith; and the use of the word ‘Allah’ in the Malay version of the Herald would potentially harm public order and safety,” said the State Department.

“Following the ruling, the attorney general emphasized that the court of appeal’s decision was confined to the publication of the Malay-language text of the Herald,” said the State Department. “Deputy Home Minister Junaidi Jaafar reportedly stated the ruling was meant for the weekly publication of the Herald only and would not affect other Christian publications or the Malay-language version of the Bible, the Al-Kitab, used widely in Sabah and Sarawak. The Catholic Church planned to file an appeal against the verdict in the Federal Court.”

This January, the Federal Court, Malaysia’s highest tribunal, rejected the Catholic Church’s appeal and upheld the ban on using “Allah” in the Malay-language Catholic newspaper.

Father Lawrence Andrew, the editor of the newspaper, was quoted by Agence France Presse as saying he believed this was just the start of what the Malaysian government would do.

"This is only the beginning," said Father Andrew. "I wouldn't be surprised if they come along and say 'don't use it (Allah) in your services.'"

In 2013, according to the State Department report, Malaysian authorities also targeted an Evangelical Christian organization for using the word “Allah” on their Facebook page.

“In May a former Selangor state lawmaker filed a police complaint against the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship of Malaysia (NECF), accusing them of attempting to convert Malays to Christianity through Facebook,” said the State Department. “In response, JAIS [Selangor Islamic Religious Department] began an investigation into NECF’s use of the word ‘Allah’ on their Facebook site.

“In January the Pahang mufti, appointed by the State Islamic Authority, declared that non-Muslims were prohibited from using the word ‘Allah’ and 34 other words associated with Islam,” said the State Department. “He told reporters that non-Muslims were barred from using the words in statements, speeches, publications, or in any broadcast as it could ‘mislead’ and affect the faith of Muslims. He said that doing so would violate the law, which, with a conviction, carries a fine up to RM 5,000 ($1,526) and/or imprisonment up to two years.”

Although the Obama administration has classified the draft text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Congressional Research Service has published a report that indicates its basic purpose is to eliminate tariff and nontariff barriers to trade between its would-be members. In addition to the United States and Malaysia, these include Vietnam, Brunei, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, Chile, Mexico and Peru.

“With over 20 chapters under negotiation, the TPP partners envision the agreement to be ‘comprehensive and high-standard,’ in that they seek to eliminate tariffs and nontariff barriers to trade in goods, services, and agriculture, and to establish or expand rules on a wide range of issues including intellectual property rights, foreign direct investment, and other trade-related issues,” says the CRS report.

Last week, the Republican-controlled Senate passed a bill to give the president “trade-promotion authority”—also known as “fast-track” power. This would allow the president to send his 12-nation trade deal to Congress for approval not as a treaty—which would require a two-thirds vote of all senators present—but as unamendable legislation needing a simple majority in both houses.

After the Senate passed the fast-track bill, Speaker John Boehner vowed to try to push it through the Republican-controlled House.

“This is a no-brainer,” said Boehner.

In 2014, according to the Census Bureau, U.S. producers sold $13.1 billion in goods to Malaysia and Malaysian producers sold $30.4 billion in goods to the U.S., resulting in a $17.3 billion U.S. trade deficit with Malaysia.


Conservative blogger silenced

He was censored for making things up but by that criterion a lot of Leftists should be silenced too.  Hillary Clinton, for instance.  Report below from an unsympathetic source

THE world’s most notorious troll has been banned from Twitter six years after he joined, but his social media silencing is unlikely to last.

Charles Johnson, a journalist and “debunker of frauds” from California, is known for his openly racist, homophobic and misogynistic remarks.

He has blamed the Amtrak train derailment on homosexuality, verbally attacked alleged rape victims and described black people as intellectually inferior to white.

On Sunday, the 26-year-old was finally removed from Twitter after he requested donations to “take out” the civil rights activist DeRay McKesson, who has been outspoken on the Ferguson riots. When he set up new accounts, @citizentrolling and @freechucknow, the social network also removed them.

Chuck is now raising money on his far-right website to have himself reinstated following this “censorship”. But his previous threats of legal action have never led to anything, with a website dedicated to the many times he has planned to sue for libel.

On May 13, after the Amtrak crash, Chuck posted about engineer Brandon Bostian: “Gays have a higher rate of mental illness than do straights. You decide if engineer’s homosexuality is worth noting.” He has also claimed that President Obama was gay.

The conservative blogger has been removed from Twitter several times before. He was previously temporarily suspended after posting photos of a woman he claimed had been exposed to Ebola.

He also wrongly accused two New York Times reporters of revealing the address of the police officer involved in the Ferguson shooting, and claimed victim Michael Brown was “obsessed with violence”. The reporters were forced to flee their homes after threats of robbery and rape.

The New York Times observed that Chuck represented the “toxic” side of citizen journalism, although the same profile noted that he has had some success — exposing foreign policy analyst Elizabeth O’Bagy’s conflicts of interest and fudged academic credentials.

More often, he has sown hatred, fear and inaccurate information.

He wrongly claimed another NYT reporter had posed for Playgirl and incorrectly said Senator Cory Booker did not live in Newark when he served as the city’s mayor.

Last year, he drew attention for flawed reporting on the Mississippi Senate Republican Primary. He then hit the headlines when he correctly cast doubt on a controversial Rolling Stone article about rape on the University of Virginia campus. The article was found to be riddled with journalistic errors, but the conservative blogger then published a Facebook photo of a woman at an anti-rape rally, who he claimed was the accuser. It was the wrong person.

On another occasion, the New York Times reported, he offered money for photos of Senator Thad Cochran’s wife in her nursing home bed. He also contributed to a completely fabricated story in the Daily Caller about New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez allegedly soliciting prostitutes in the Dominican Republic, Gawker reported.

Despite his mistakes, Chuck sees himself as an unbiased, independent truth-teller.

His ban appears to have been made possible under new Twitter guidelines on what constitutes a threat, but there’s little to stop him sharing his message with his 25,000 followers in other ways. He has also vowed to do a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything).



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


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Political correctness is making kids fat

You read that right. Warm, fuzzy well-intentioned yet poorly thought-out politically correct ideas are making our children obese. Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.

The percentage of children 6–11 years old in the United States who were obese increased from 7 percent in 1980 to nearly 18 percent in 2012. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents 12–19 years old who were obese increased from 5 percent to nearly 21 percent over the same period.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overweight and obesity are the result of “caloric imbalance” — too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed. Kids today aren’t active enough to burn off the calories.

The 1980 statistics are from an era when elementary school gym class consisted of intense physical activities like basketball, rope climbing and an old favorite, dodgeball. As was the case in math, English or science, some kids were more gifted than others in physical education. Some excelled in the various forms of exercise and some did not, but every child participated. Everyone got a workout. In short, it was healthy.

As a youngster, I was competitive in the traditional sports, but didn’t have great arm strength. When we first started doing pull-ups in gym, my total was … zero. But after a couple of classes where the girls could witness our strength or lack thereof, some of the other boys and I found it in us to manage a few. Never underestimate the power of incentive.

Learning the concept of incentive and working toward goals is a big part of sports anyway. Understanding the importance of teamwork, measuring your own improvement and feeling good about being in shape are all benefits of athletics, even if it’s only in gym class.

At least those were the lessons until political correctness began to kick in. Many of the traditional sports have been removed from gym classes and are now considered “too competitive.” It is said they might harm the self esteem of the less athletic students.

Physical education classes today often consist of classroom/textbook type learning about the importance of exercise rather than actual exercise itself.

Every kid gets a trophy today simply for participating in Little League, Pee Wee Basketball or other organized sports. Gone are the days when you actually had to win in order to earn a trophy. Just showing up is enough. Gone is the incentive to excel. Winning or losing? It doesn’t matter. Why practice? Why improve? Just give me my trophy.

Ironically, at the same time that we’ve watered down PE classes and children’s athletics in an effort to assure that no kid sprains his self esteem, First lady Michelle Obama is pushing kale and cutting brownies from school lunch programs everywhere. The lunch changes and the loss of actual exercise are competing politically correct agendas. Who wins in this PC battle?

If you check out the number of fat kids, it’s obvious the easy trophies and PE classes with more pencils than balls are winning. The PC agenda is making our kids obese.


David Starkey takes a swipe at the thin lady: Historian tells Mrs Clooney to 'shut up', claiming Human Rights Act has gone too far

A man with dangerous spectacles

David Starkey has taken a swipe at George Clooney's lawyer wife, telling her to 'shut up' and accusing her of working in a 'human rights industry'.

Amal Clooney, 37, is a respected barrister specialising in human rights and international law.

But Dr Starkey, 70, said judges and lawyers have hijacked the European Convention on Human Rights and expanded it beyond the purpose proposed by Winston Churchill after the Second World War.

The result has been a society where people are too concerned about their human rights and do not think enough about their duties to society, he claimed.

The balance between the two, dating back 800 years to Magna Carta, has been thrown off-kilter said Dr Starkey, who recently published Magna Carta: The True Story Behind The Charter.

He said it could be restored if 'the Amal Clooneys and Shami Chakrabartis would shut up', also referring to the director of human rights campaign group Liberty.

Mrs Clooney may have shot into the public eye when she married her actor husband in a lavish Italian ceremony last year, but she has forged a notable career as an international human rights lawyer.

Among her previous roles she served as an adviser to Kofi Annan in his role as a United Nations special adviser for Syria.

She also represented WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in his extradition proceedings.

The Oxford graduate completed her Masters of Law at New York University and worked in the city at the firm Sullivan & Cromwell.

She returned to London in 2010, joining Doughty Street Chambers as a barrister.

Mrs Clooney has since lectured on international criminal law at SOAS (University of London), The New School in New York City, The Hague Academy of International Law, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


The Decline of Christian America

"This is a Christian nation," said the Supreme Court in 1892.

"America was born a Christian nation," echoed Woodrow Wilson. Harry Truman affirmed it: "This is a Christian nation."

But in 2009, Barack Hussein Obama begged to differ: "We do not consider ourselves a Christian nation."

Comes now a Pew Research Center survey that reveals the United States is de-Christianizing at an accelerated rate.

Whereas 86 percent of Americans in 1990 identified as Christians, by 2007, that was down to 78 percent. Today only 7 in 10 say they are Christians. But the percentage of those describing themselves as atheists, agnostics or nonbelievers has risen to 23. That exceeds the Catholic population and is only slightly below evangelicals.

Those in the mainline Protestant churches -- Presbyterians, Lutherans, Methodists, Episcopalians -- have plummeted from 50 percent of the U.S. population in 1958 to 14 percent today. By accommodating the social revolution of the 1960s to stay relevant, mainline churches appear to have made themselves irrelevant to America's young.

The decline in Christian identity is greatest among the young. While 85 percent of Americans born before 1945 still call themselves Christians, only 57 percent of those born after 1980 do.

If we want to see our future, we should probably look to Europe, where Catholic Ireland just voted in a landslide to legalize same-sex marriage and where cathedrals and churches are being turned into tourist attractions and museums and even bars and restaurants.

What are the causes of a de-Christianized America?

High among them is the Supreme Court, which, since the Earl Warren era began, purged Christianity from all public schools and the public square -- and has been met with a puzzling lack of resistance from Middle America to the secularist revolution being imposed upon it.

Second, an anti-Christian elite captured the cultural heights -- the arts, elite universities, popular culture, the media -- and began, through movies, books and magazines, an assault on Christian beliefs and morality.

Third was the social revolution of the 1960s, which began with the arrival of the baby boomers on campus in 1964. Five years on, Woodstock Nation was wallowing in the mud, listening to Country Joe & the Fish.

The counterculture of the '60s would be used as a foil to build 49-state landslides for Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, but then the '60s views and values were embraced by the elites and came to dominate the culture in the time of Bill and Hillary Clinton. Given his baggage, "Slick Willy" of Yoknapatawpha County would have been a comic figure in the 1950s. Today he is the Democratic Party's beau ideal of a statesman.

Many churches came out to meet the cultural revolution halfway. The results were irrelevance and scandal -- too many Elmer Gantrys in televangelist pulpits and too many predators in priestly cassocks.

What are the consequences of a de-Christianized America and West? Si monumentum requiris, circumspice. (If you would seek its monuments, look around you.)

Half of marriages end in divorce. Fewer children are being born, and of these, over 40 percent are out of wedlock. Record drug use rates and dropout rates and soaring crime rates that have declined only because we have an incarceration rate that rivals South Africa's.

Despite astonishing advances in medicine, we have far more and far more varied and deadly STDs.

As Christianity dies, individualism, materialism and hedonism replace it. "Selfies" could be the name for the generation for whom Easter Sunday long ago took a back seat to Super Bowl Sunday. More than a million abortions a year, assisted suicide and euthanasia are seen as the milestones of social progress in the new America.

"Panem et circenses," bread and circuses, were what the late Roman Empire was all about. With us, it is sex, drugs and rock, with variations on all three.

Historically, as the faith dies, the culture and civilization to which it gave birth die, and then the people die. And a new tribe with its own gods comes to occupy the emptying land.

On the old and new continents, it is the native-born of European ancestry who are de-Christianizing, aging and dying. And the nations they created are the ones depopulating.

To occupy Rome, the barbarians came from the east and north. To occupy the West, they are coming from the south. And like the Romans of the fourth century, we seem paralyzed and powerless to stop them.

Christianity was the founding faith of the West. That faith and the moral code and culture it produced once united this disparate and diverse nation and civilization.

As Christianity fades away and the moral code and culture it generated recede into irrelevance, what will hold us together?

Economically, we are dependent on foreigners for the necessities of our national life. Our politics are poisonous. Our racial divisions, once ameliorated by shared belief in the same God and Bible, are rawer than they were in the 1950s.

As for equality, diversity and global democracy, who will march and die for that?

Historian Arnold Toynbee said it well: "Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder."


Where Are All The Gay Marriages?

Ireland has just had a national referendum that passed a constitutional amendment to legalize gay marriage. Same sex couples can already get married in 36 states, and next month the Supreme Court is likely to recognize a right to gay marriage under the Constitution. It seems that gay marriage has already become as traditional as apple pie. And a disclosure, I support gay marriage as a basic legal right, and I recommend to my fellow conservatives to graciously accept that it will probably soon be the law of the land.

And yet, where are all the gay marriages? You would think from the massive PR campaign of the last few years that millions of gay couples were just pining away to get hitched and settle down in a cozy little house with a white picket fence. Well, so far the promised flood of gay marriage licenses has turned out to be not much more than a trickle.

There are now 380,000 married gay couples in America. Out of an estimated adult gay population of 12.5 million, that’s a marriage rate of 6%. That’s not negligible, but far less than a fervent embrace of a right that LGBT activists, liberals and other social engineers assured us was something that most gay people ardently desired.

In reality, the cause of gay marriage was always more of a political objective and a fund raising tool. If you even casually survey broader gay culture and society, you will observe that cruises and cruising, fashion and being fabulous are the main focuses of most gay people. Gay marriage became a rallying cry not so much because it was something a majority of gay people urgently wanted, but because it was something available to straight people but not to gay people. Call it the politics of envy more than a crusade for human rights.

And for some gay people, it is less about marriage per se than it is about weddings. If you take a cursory glance through any gay magazine or website (and I advise doing so with one eye and prepared to quickly avert your attention if you are in the least bit squeamish) you would conclude that very often the gay definition of “wedding” is essentially “a fabulously gay party” (forgive the - intentional - pun). Gay people love to dress up, and on what occasion do people get more dressed up for than a wedding? Of course there’s also lots of gaiety all around, with lavish decor, great dance music, and lots of fancy cakes. And a predictably liberal and boring churchperson there to officiate the ceremony with a lot of blathering about the beautiful rainbow of diversity and so forth.

But as I said, we conservatives need to start accepting the new legal and political realities. A rear guard campaign opposing the fact that gay marriage is here will not be a winning issue in 2016, and President Hillary should be a sobering enough thought. And yes, some people have perfectly justifiable religious and moral objections to same-sex marriages. But then the Republic has so far survived cultural calamities like The Village People and their anthem YMCA, it will almost certainly survive gay marriage as well.



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


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

UK: Another Surveillance Law: One More Step towards the Big Brother State

By Sean Gabb

At the beginning of April 2012, the BBC and a couple of newspapers reported that the British Government was considering a new surveillance law. This would allow it to monitor the telephone calls, text messages, e-mails and website visits of everyone in the United Kingdom. There was a flurry of debate about civil rights and the need to protect us all against terrorists. There was a side argument between those who said the law was required by the European Union, and those who said it would be in breach of European Union law. Since then, the various debates have gone quiet. Possibly, the Ministers have decided to drop the matter. More likely, the initial leak was to soften us up for something less ambitious to be announced in the Queen’s Speech. The Ministers will say they have “listened” to our concerns – and will use the lesser measure they had in mind all the time as a precedent for moving to the full measure in later stages. This being so, whether greater or lesser, another step will have been taken to a Big Brother police state.

In common with other civil libertarians, I have been arguing for thirty years that Britain is heading towards a police state. There are two main reasons why we were, until recently, ignored. The first is the residual inability to believe that a police state could emerge here. England is the land of the common law and habeas corpus and trial by jury, of freedom of speech and religious toleration, of accountable and representative government, of privacy and individualism. We have enjoyed these things, at least in outline, since the middle ages. We taught them to the rest of the world. The doctrines known as classical liberalism are, however abstract their statement can often be, a meditation on English history. That eight hundred years of development – and perhaps longer, if we look beyond the Conquest – could be swept aside in one or two generations is hard to conceive.

The second reason is that a police state is commonly defined by its extreme manifestations. We have no obvious secret police in this country, nor any counterpart of the Soviet and national socialist concentration camps. Children are not given medals for informing on their parents, and we can make jokes about our rulers. Oh, nasty things are beginning to happen. Last year, for example, Mark Duggan was dragged by the police from a taxi in London and shot to death. In general, the police are increasingly partial to killing members of the public – sometimes at random. Or there has been the arrest and prosecution of Emma West, for being rude to the other passengers on a South London tram. But these events are still exceptional. If you want to define a police state by South American or East European practice, Britain is not a police state.

However, a police state is less about enforcement than control. Its function is to make a ruling class irresistible when robbing and oppressing, or when imposing its utopian fantasies. If people can be made to obey without being clubbed to death in a police cell, why bother with violence? There is no British Gestapo or KGB or Stasi, because our own police state rests on a foundation of changes of investigatory and criminal procedure and of omnipresent surveillance. When people know that they are being watched in all that they do, and when they know that stepping over some invisible line will put them to great inconvenience and expense, they will change their behaviour and their attitudes to authority. It is not illegal to buy most kinds of pornography. It is not illegal to buy a bottle of whisky every day, or two hundred cigarettes a week. It is not illegal to join a group that works for the mass-conversion of the white population to Islam, or to join the British National Party. But how many people will decide not to do these things if the details are being logged against their names in a central database? After all, being a known consumer of pornography may bring the police to the door when a child goes missing from down the road. Smoking and drinking may compromise the right to NHS treatment, or to adopt children, or even to continue looking after their own without supervision and preaching by the authorities. Membership of disapproved organisations may bring all manner of quiet persecutions.

When watched in this way, people will be more inclined to conform to whatever may be the current preferences of those in authority. Moreover, many will be inclined to show cheerfully willing – after all, a state able to persecute is also able to reward. Perhaps, when it has become enough of a habit, cheerful obedience will even ripen to love of the authorities. After all, resistance to oppression has always been less common than loyalty to the oppressors. When Stalin died, it was not only from prudence that millions in Russia broke down and wept in public. Possibly much of the grief when Kim Jong Il died the other month was also genuine. Show most people a stick, and beat them with it, and their response will eventually be to kiss it.

And this is what makes the logging of our electronic communications so important. It is a central component in the apparatus of surveillance and control. Of course, the Ministers and the general authorities will never admit that this is its purpose. They insist on its need so we can all be kept safe from terrorists and other criminals. They tell us that no ordinary people will be affected – that those with nothing to hide have nothing to fear. Well, this argument should by now be seen with the contempt it deserves. We all have something to hide, even if it is not presently against the law. And the argument has been used again and again. How often have we been told that a deviation from the old constitutional norms is needed in the face of some exceptional danger, and that the new powers will only be used against that danger? How often have the new powers been immediately used to spy on and control ordinary people?

Well, there was the Drug Trafficking Offences Act 1986. This made it possible for criminal proceeds to be confiscated after conviction, and by reversing the burden of proof, so that the defence had to argue that any assets in question were not the proceeds of crime. Enoch Powell denounced this in the Commons as a gross breach of our due process rights. The Ministers in the Thatcher Government replied that the evils of drug trafficking were so great, they justified a specific departure from due process that would never be allowed to form a precedent. This “specific departure” was made general in the Criminal justice Act 1988, and was eventually widened and consolidated into the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 – a law that abolishes financial privacy for everyone but the rich, and that enables something like the American civil asset forfeiture.

Or there was the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. This law to enable snooping, for any purpose, by any public authority, was brought in amid promises that it was needed for the fight against serious crime, and that it would never be used for normal crime investigation. The Act is mostly used by local authorities to check whether people are recycling their waste as demanded, or to check whether parents really are living in the catchment areas they put on school allocation forms.

Or there was the Extradition Act 2003. This made it possible for British citizens to be deported to face trial in the United States for actions committed in the United Kingdom that may not have been offences under British law. We were assured by the Home Secretary that this was needed for the fight against terrorism and “serious international crime.” Look at these uses of the Act:

Giles Darby, David Bermingham and Gary Mulgrew (the “NatWest Three”) extradited on charges of fraud committed in the United Kingdom

Babar Ahmad – awaiting extradition on charges of running web sites supporting the Chechen and Afghan insurgencies, without having left the United Kingdom

Ian Norris – eventually extradited on charges of price fixing that were not currently illegal in the United Kingdom
Richard O'Dwyer – facing extradition on charges of copyright infringement

Christopher Tappin – extradited on charges of breaching American sanctions against Iran, though the alleged offence was committed in the United Kingdom, and though he was entrapped by American officials who swore that no law was being broken

Even in the case of Abu Hamza – no doubt a very wicked man – the charge was only of conspiracy. If we add to all this a discussion of how the European arrest warrants have been used in practice, we see that the Extradition Act has been less about protecting us from global terrorists and Bond villains, than about exposing British citizens and residents to arbitrary deportation to foreign countries, usually with lower standards of justice than our own, and often for acts that are not criminal offences here.

This is how every law allegedly made to protect us from terrorism and serious crime has been used in practice. This is why we should be so suspicious of the new electronic surveillance proposals.

But, even if the authorities are acting this time in good faith, the proposals ought still to be resisted. Our British police state is extraordinarily careless about the data it collects. This is always being lost or stolen. In 2007 alone, the Department of Work and Pensions lost the personal details of 45,000 claimants; a London education authority lost the personal details of 160,000 children; HM Revenue and Customs lost the personal details of 25 million families who were claiming child benefit; The Driving Standards Agency lost the personal details of three million candidate drivers. Even if it does not hand them over to despotic foreign governments, or sell them to multinational corporations, can the British State be trusted to keep our electronic communications secret? How unlikely is it that a database of our credit card purchases will not be left on a memory stick in a pole dancing club?

But let us join this theme of incompetence to the main subject of a police state. I have admitted there is much that distinguishes us from really nasty places like East Germany. But one of these points of difference is that the East German police state at least kept people from being robbed in their homes or beaten up in the street. Whatever the price in human rights, the East German police state gave people a country in which they could feel safe. Our own situation is best described as “anarcho-tyranny.” People who urinate in bus shelters, or dig up and steal copper wiring from the National Grid, or make life hell for their neighbours, or may be involved in real terrorist offences, are not prosecuted, or are defended by an army of human rights lawyers at our expense.

The police state never touches them. Instead, the rest of us get our post opened by town hall snoops, who think we are trying to get our children into a better school. A man gets an ASBO for standing alone beside the Cenotaph and reciting the names of our war dead in Iraq. A student gets arrested for suggesting a police horse might be gay. Christian evangelists get arrested for quoting some of the less charitable verses from the Bible about homosexuals.

I suggest, given all the available evidence, that this county is ruled at best by some very stupid and incompetent people. At worst it is ruled by people who say they need a police state because they want to fight crime and terrorism, but in fact need fears of crime and terrorism because they want a police state. Whatever the case, they should not be given the right to gather and store details of our electronic communications.


HRA: giving democracy a hammering

Britain's Human Rights Act (HRA) is wrong for several reasons, but principally because it enables political issues (prisoner enfranchisement, assisted suicide, welfare reform, etc) to be treated as legal ones. In a democracy, political issues should be the sole responsibility of elected representatives who make laws after engaging with the public. Legal issues should be the sole responsibility of judges who give judgements after hearing submissions from lawyers about the law. The big political picture, informed by contested values and beliefs, should be the preserve of politicians; the detail, informed by settled laws, is for judges. Putting it simply, it is for parliament to make the law and judges to interpret and apply it.

In the name of democracy, the HRA should be repealed, not replaced. This would return the UK’s constitution to how it was before October 2000, when the HRA came into force, a time when the UK had a reasonable record, viewed in the historical context, of respecting liberty and democracy. The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which is overseen by the Strasbourg European Court of Human Rights, dates back to 1950. Its impact on politics was negligible for several decades, but the Strasbourg court has now become so meddlesome that the UK should withdraw from it.

It is against these benchmarks, of repealing the HRA without replacement and withdrawing from the ECHR, that the current Tory proposals on human rights should be measured. These are the only reforms that are capable of confining judges to the legal sphere and making it possible for the political sphere to be re-energised with some big-picture, value-led aspirations and policies. However, by the benchmarks of repeal and withdrawal, the Tories’ proposals don’t just fall short - they are actually proposing to re-energise and bolster the human-rights project.

When the Conservatives launched their human-rights policy proposals last October, it was clear that they remained committed to the rights culture. The policy document was called Protecting Human Rights in the UK, and it described the ECHR as ‘an entirely sensible statement of the principles which should underpin any modern democratic nation’. The centrepiece of the Tory proposals was to be a new ‘British Bill of Rights and Responsibilities’ aimed at ‘deliver[ing] a coherent and comprehensive human-rights regime in Britain’. Indeed, this commitment to legislate for rights and responsibilities means that the human-rights culture will probably be extended under the Tory proposals.

The Tory election manifesto pledged that the next Conservative government would ‘scrap the Human Rights Act and introduce a British Bill of Rights’. The key objective of Tory policy on human rights is to ‘break the formal link between British courts and the ECHR’ so as to ‘make our own Supreme Court the ultimate arbiter of human-rights matters in the UK’. It’s the ‘E’ of ECHR that troubles the Tories, rather than the ‘HR’ bit of it. So long as human rights are administered by a court sitting in London, rather than Strasbourg, the Tories’ Eurosceptical demands will have been satisfied.

As for the tweaking of human rights, the October document proposed ‘to seek to limit the reach of human-rights cases to the UK so that British armed forces overseas are not subject to persistent human-rights claims’. The only specific reform mentioned in the manifesto is that the new British Bill of Rights would ‘stop terrorists and other serious foreign criminals who pose a threat to our society from using spurious human-rights arguments to prevent deportation’. And, as if to stress the timidity of the reforms, the manifesto stated that the Tories wanted to ‘restore common sense’ to human rights and that they would ‘remain faithful to the basic principles of human rights, which we signed up to in the original ECHR’.

Broadly speaking, the Tory proposals amount to this: it may become a little harder for British armed forces overseas to be sued; it may become a little easier for any future Abu Qatadas to be deported; and, in the name of common sense, convicted prisoners will not be enfranchised. In reality, what the Tories now call ‘Labour’s Human Rights Act 1998’ – omitting to mention that it was passed with the Tories’ support – will be replaced with the Tories’ British Bill of Rights. What is proposed is an expanded human-rights package that addresses broadly similar rights, with some responsibilities grafted on to them that will be branded with a new nationalistic name.

Given how tarnished human rights have become in recent years, the human-rights lobby might have supported the Tory proposals to rebrand human rights. But it isn’t supporting the Tory proposals. In fact, the human-rights lobby’s response to the Tories’ plan to publish a draft bill within 100 days, with Michael Gove driving it through as the new justice secretary, has been to put itself on a war footing.

The big guns took to the Guardian to warn of the dire implications of human-rights reform: barrister and new Labour MP Keir Starmer was so stirred by the prospect of the HRA repeal that he penned ‘some myth-busting’ arguments in support of the HRA; barrister Philippe Sands warned that the Tories’ plans were ‘clearly untenable’; and commentator Will Hutton claimed the Bill of Rights was ‘code for uninhibited Tory power unchallenged by “foreign” courts’, a desire for power being ‘driven solely by prejudice and low politics’.

The Guardian’s scouts went on reconnaissance missions to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Hull, reporting back that the Tory proposals were doomed to fail. In Scotland, the Scottish National Party (SNP) has threatened to block any change in human-rights law, which is written into the Scottish devolution settlement. In Northern Ireland, it seems unlikely that the Irish government would agree to tweak the human-rights provisions arising from the Good Friday agreement. And, from Hull, the Guardian’s scouts discovered a quote from the Eurosceptic MP David Davis saying that he might oppose his own government on human-rights reform. It is beginning to look as if even an English and Welsh Bill of Rights is unlikely.

Back on the battlefield, Liberty set up a ‘Save our Human Rights Act’ campaign; Amnesty International set up a similarly named version called ‘Save the Human Rights Act’; and the website RightsInfo urged its supporters to ‘get busy’, saying ‘the fight begins now’.

But it was left to Cambridge law lecturer Dr Mark Elliott to unveil the pro-HRA lobby’s big bazooka: the House of Lords. After noting that the Tories were outnumbered three-to-one in the Lords, Elliott peddled the idea that the ‘Human Rights Act is such a fundamental piece of constitutional legislation that it would be constitutionally negligent of the House of Lords — which has increasingly cast itself in the role of guardian of constitutional values — to wave through its repeal’. The launching of this big bazooka would be entirely consistent with Elliott’s notion of a ‘non-majoritarian form of democracy’, with which he hoped to rally the troops on the basis that losing a General Election doesn’t matter because their lordships have the wisdom to realise that the HRA is beyond repeal.

There is something incongruous about the Tory proposals to rebrand human-rights laws and the war-footing response of the human-rights lobby. It’s best understood by recognising the totemic nature of the HRA to the human-rights lobby, in comparison to its absence of popularity outside those elite circles. Most human-rights lobbyists are lawyers, academics and campaigners. But although these people are good at writing newspaper columns, good at tweeting and good at finding legal and undemocratic reasons to block any reform of human-rights laws, they are small in number.

Moreover, the human-rights lobby finds it difficult to connect with popular consciousness. Its project is comparable to the attempts of the Labour opposition in recent years to patronise people by presenting them as in need of state handouts and state support. This project ended in electoral defeat on 7 May. The project of the human-rights lobby is essentially the same, but with a legal twist. The human-rights lobby sees ordinary people as weak and vulnerable and in need of lawyers and campaigners to provide them with a voice.

Keir Starmer captured the essence of the human-rights project when he claimed that ‘the HRA has heralded a new approach to the protection of the most vulnerable in our society, including child victims of trafficking, women subject to domestic and sexual violence, those with disabilities and victims of crime. After many years of struggling to be heard, these individuals now have not only a voice, but a right to be protected.’

As the Labour Party comes to terms with its election defeat, its spokesmen are now discussing how it can connect with the aspirations of working people. Nevertheless, it cannot avoid seeing people as either vulnerable or victims. It’s this mentality that the human-rights lobby similarly cannot shake off because, once people are seen as aspirational, robust and resourceful, they have no need for a human-rights lobbyist to patronise them. Aspirational citizens can take their place in society without the need for people like Starmer – whether in the Labour Party, the legal profession, academia or campaigning groups – either to protect them or give them a voice.

The Tories have far more in common with their critics in the human-rights lobby than either cares to recognise. Both are committed to shackling the political sphere with human-rights laws, overseen by judges and lawyers. We should repeal the HRA, withdraw from the ECHR, and start a proper political conversation about the big-picture issues that could truly engage the people as aspirational, robust and resourceful citizens.


Dutch cabinet backs ban on Islamic veil in schools, hospitals and public transport

The Netherlands have approved a partial ban on wearing an Islamic face-covering veil out in public.

Dutch Muslims could be fined up to almost £300 if caught wearing a burqa and niqab in certain places after The Hague backed the ban on Friday.

It does not apply to anyone wearing one on the street but veils will not be allowed in schools, hospitals and public transport.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the government were only introducing the bill 'in specific situations where it is essential for people to be seen' or for security reasons.

He added that it did not have any religious background but was to aid communication.

'Face-covering clothing will in future not be accepted in education and healthcare institutions, government buildings and on public transport,' the government said in a statement after the cabinet backed Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk's bill.

Between 100 and 500 Muslim women are currently thought to wear the burqa in the Netherlands, according to state broadcaster NOS.

A previous bill from Rutte's last government - which would have seen a full ban of the burqa even on the street - will now be withdrawn.

The government said it 'sees no reason for a general ban that would apply to all public places.'

It said that with this latest draft law, the government had 'tried to find a balance between people's freedom to wear the clothes they want and the importance of mutual and recognisable communication.'

The bill must now been sent to Netherland's Council of State to be debated.

France introduced a ban on women wearing the burqa in 2010, which was backed by the European Court of Human Rights last year.

Judges rejected claims the ban breached religious freedom and said it encouraged citizens to 'live together'.

Under the ban, women caught wearing full-face veils in public spaces can be fined up to 150 euros.

Belgium brought in a similar ban in 2011 which declared both the burqa and niqab 'incompatible' with the rule of law.

Now several other European countries appear to be considering introducing their own bans.


Animal rights nut aiming at top office in the RSPCA wants to 'phase out' pet ownership

An animal rights radical standing for election to the national council of the RSPCA has called for all pets to be neutered.

John Bryant, a veteran campaigner, said he wants pet ownership to be 'phased out' and all breeding ended.

Mr Bryant is one of a number of radicals hoping to be elected to the council of RSPCA trustees, in a vote held this month.

The charity's 22,000 members will vote to fill five of 25 seats on the council. Of the eight candidates, five has a history of radical views on animal rights.

The RSPCA has been criticised in the past for pursuing a 'political' agenda, including prosecuting fox hunts rather than focusing on animal welfare.

Television cook and rural campaigner Clarissa Dickson Wright called in 2013 for people to stop donating to the charity until it ended 'threatening policies'.

Countryside campaigners last night warned that the upcoming elections may spell an acceleration of a radical agenda.

Mr Bryant is one of the more radical of the candidates, who wants pet ownership phased out in the coming years.

In his 1982 book Fettered Kingdoms, he compared pet keeping to slavery, writing: 'Let us allow the dog to disappear from our brick and concrete jungles — from the leather nooses and chains by which we enslave it.

'The cat, like the dog, must disappear. We should cut the domestic cat free ... The right of every single fish to live out its life as nature intended is an animal rights issue.'

Mr Bryant, a 'humane' pest controller who has previously served twice on the RSPCA council, told the Daily Mail that his views had changed little in the last three decades.

'My views in 1982 have been tempered, a bit, but they are still the same essentially,' he said.

'Some people say I want to take all animals out into the middle of nowhere and let them go. That is rubbish, of course.

'I have two dogs myself, I have never been without pets.

'I think it is the duty of anyone who is involved in animal rights, if they are able, to take animals out of kennels and pens.'

But Mr Bryant, who was previously chief officer of the League Against Cruel Sports, added: 'The human race has been a disaster for the animal kingdoms of the planet. Animals have been enslaved and they have been dominated by the human race.

'If I was king of the world I would say that all domestic pets should be neutered. The overpopulation of pets in this country is a disgrace.

'I was talking about releasing animals from the shackles of human control, not in a literal sense of letting them go, but neutering them, taking care of the ones we have got, and starting to deal with the massive overpopulation problem that is dominating animal welfare.'

The winners of the election will become trustees of the charity with responsibility for its leadership, direction and the use of its £125 million-a-year income.

Also standing for election are Dr Dan Lyons and Angela Roberts who run the Centre for Animals and Social Justice in Sheffield.

Their think tank is working on research into 'democratic theory and practice in relation to the representation of animals' interests'.

Their proposals include having seats in parliaments for representatives who will solely act on the behalf of animals.

In his election statement, Dr Lyons describes hunting as 'institutionalised sadism that has no place in a civilised society'.

Peta Watson-Smith, a vegan, compared the farming industry to the Nazi holocaust. Speaking to The Times [must credit], she said: 'I don't think people always appreciate what is the holocaust going on behind closed doors. You talk about the Jews.'

Tim Bonner, director of campaigns at the Countryside Alliance, said that the RSPCA had started to rebuild its reputation and finances by trying to focus on core animal welfare issues.

He told The Times: 'It would be a significant backward step to elect on to its council people determined to return the society to an extremist agenda.'

A spokesman for the RSPCA said: 'The RSPCA's Council comprises up to 25 members elected to serve as charity trustees.

'Council members are elected by the votes of the whole RSPCA membership and serve for three years, retiring on a rotational basis.

'This year there are eight candidates for five seats. The candidates are responsible for their own election addresses and the views and opinions they express are clearly their own.

'It is for the RSPCA's membership to decide which candidates are best suited to serve on the Council and to fulfil the role of a charity trustee.'

The results of the election will be announced at the RSPCA's AGM next month.



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