Civil Liberties

A National Register of Faith Leaders? Government plans to vet all ministers of religion


There was an odd article in the Telegraph last week. Odd because the headline, photograph and content didn’t quite cohere. Andrew Gilligan has apparently got hold of a leaked government document which seems to suggest that the Home Office is planning a ‘National Register of Faith Leaders’. But the headline says: ‘Imams will have to register and face security vetting under Home Office plans‘, and the featured photograph is of a line of Rabbis.

Would it have been too inflammatory to have shown a mosque or a line of imams? Would it have been too tranquilising to have published a picture of a multifaith mishmash of religious leaders, just to make it evident that hundreds of gentle Quakers and thousands of placid priests will be caught by this regulation as well as a couple of hate-breathing and liberty-loathing imams?

The ‘National Register of Faith Leaders’ will be mandatory. According to Gilligan, all ministers of religion will “be subject to government-specified training and security checks” as part of the Home Office’s counter-extremism programme. He expands: “The move marks a significant deepening of the state’s involvement in religion and is likely to be resisted by many religious representatives.”

He’s not wrong there. But the resistance is far more likely to be one of theo-political confusion and clerical definition rather than political defiance, for in order to create a National Register of Faith Leaders, the Government is going to have to define both ‘faith’ and ‘leader’. This may be a matter of elementary observation for those religions which are manifestly concerned with worshipping a deity and are subject to a hierarchy of spiritual authority, but what of Quakers, each of whom has parity of honour and agency in the egalitarian priesthood of believers? They have no ordained clergy and no chain of command: how are their leaders to be vetted when they have none? And what of Buddhists, who have neither god nor leader? Is it a religious faith or a philosophy of life? How, precisely, is the Home Office going to screen all faith leaders when faith is nebulous and leadership so variously apprehended and understood? Will all Baptist youth workers be required to register? Will Methodist mums who lead coffee mornings be required to register? Will peripatetic prophets who preach judgment and salvation across the nation?

We are informed: “The Government needs to concentrate on ensuring that safeguards are in place to protect the public and treating all faith communities equally”. Ay, there’s the rub. The Home Office can’t monitor extremist mosques or audit radical imams alone, for to do so would be discriminatory, not to say ‘bigoted’ and ‘islamophobic’. So those pesky Quakers will have to be watched carefully, too, just in case they’re plotting to assassinate the Queen. And those jihadi-sympathising Jews will also need to register, just like they did in..

O, never mind.

It beggars belief that this Government – a Conservative government – is planning to introduce the most draconian assault on religious liberty since the Test Acts. Just because a few extremist preachers of Islam and myrmidons of Mohammed want to debase our daughters, corrupt our democracy, cut our throats or blow us up, we are all now al-Qaeda.

Apparently, this strategy was supposed to have been published in the spring, but has been delayed “amid deep concern in some parts of government and most of the counter-extremism community about its most radical measure, to ban individuals whose behaviour ‘falls below the thresholds in counter-terrorism legislation’ but which ‘undermines British values'”. And so we return to David Cameron’s quest for a creed of moral conformity: “For far too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens that as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone,” he warned. “This Government will conclusively turn the page on this failed approach.” So, if you don’t accord with the new state orthodoxy, you are a threat to the British way of life. If you don’t believe in David Cameron’s definition of British values, you are an extremist.

Does the Prime Minister not understand that he is doing precisely what the Islamists want? Doesn’t he grasp that they seek to eradicate our freedom – including the freedom the critique Islam or denounce Mohammed – and that a National Register of Faith Leaders will only license those who agree to “respect” different faiths and “support” the British way of life, as defined by the government of the day? Doesn’t he know that this Register is the foundation of religious totalitarianism, and will inevitably lead to the arrest of more Evangelical street preachers than odious Islamist radicals?

‘Non-violent extremism’ is a sound and long-established mode of doing Christian mission: indeed, Christians are called to be non-violent extremists. One expects illiberal authoritarianism to flow from coercive apprehensions of socialism: one does not expect it from a Conservative prime minister. If it is “not acceptable” to David Cameron or Theresa May that child grooming in Rotherham or the ‘Trojan Horse’ affair in Birmingham were hindered by “a poor understanding of isolated communities”, it is even more unacceptable to law-abiding people of faith that all religious communities will henceforth worship under the suspicion of “extremist behaviour”.

If the fight against the “poison” of “Islamist extremism”  is “the struggle of our generation”, then the fight against our servitude to totalitarian values will become the struggle of all peaceful and faithful communities the length and breadth of the country. It is not for the Government to approve religious leadership, and it is not for the Prime Minister to determine the precepts of true religion.

  • Jon Sorensen

    Harris ~ We should profile according risk assessment, and monitor extremist mosques and radical imams.
    Schneier ~ It doesn’t work. We need randomized checks or check everyone.
    Government ~ We’ll check everyone and start with Quakers.

  • Anton

    I’m sorry but you, Your Grace, exhorted us to vote for this man.

    I have informed the Elders of the congregation I am in that they are not to give the authorities my name if a list of members is required, and that if they acquiesce to any such request then I shall resign first (although I would hopefully continue to attend as a non-member).

    • IanCad

      This is not the time to hide Anton.
      I want my name to be made known to any officer of HM Gov. I proudly proclaim my faith and welcome any opportunity to oppose this tyrannical edict.
      Religious Liberty – That from which all liberties flow.
      I’m steaming!! When will the CP get rid of this cabinet of dunces?

      • Anton

        Who thinks the less of congregations in North Korea or Saudi Arabia for not advertising their services on the internet? From time to time I find myself sharing my faith with strangers in public. I will not share it with the government, though. Why should I?

        • IanCad

          If we’re not prepared to show our colours we will lose.

          • Anton

            You do what you are called to and be heedful of accusing people of hiding, brother.

          • sarky

            But that’s what will happen isn’t it? Christianity will meekly acquiesce to the goverments will without even a hint of a fight. You are dissapating quicker than a fart in the wind because you are collectively weak. I for one will not morn your loss.

          • Anton

            Under persecution the church will revert to quality rather than quantity of followers. I also won’t be sorry, although I admit to some hypocrisy in adapting a prayer of Augustine – “Lord persecute us, but not yet.”

          • sarky

            Believe me I will not shed one tear for the church.

          • Martin


            You forget, it was the Church that gained you freedom. Secular authority knows nothing of such a concept.

          • sarky

            No it didn’t.

          • Martin


            So what did, fool.

          • sarky

            See the comment by Dennis Lessenis on the ‘dignity in dying urge clergy to promote assisted dying this Sunday’ thread. Clearly explains how christianity has claimed the glory for introducing freedom when it clearly hasn’t.

          • Martin


            Can’t be much of an argument if you can’t be bothered to repeat it.

          • sarky

            Its actually quite a long piece.
            You cant have much of an argument if you can’t be bothered to read it.

          • Martin


            You haven’t provided an incentive for me to search for it.

          • sarky

            No, because you might not like what you read.

          • Martin


            It’s never worried you before.

  • Little Black Censored

    All we need to do is kick out the Moslems. Why can’t they see this?

    • Anton


      1. There isn’t the political will.

      2. With 3m Muslims here and 100k armed forces and the same number of police it would involve a civil war.

      3. It would solve only the short-term problem. It would leave us with secular humanism aka communism, national socialism etc.

      • Jon Sorensen

        We have found the true enemy; secular humanism which morphs into communism. They would force us to be like Jesus’ disciple to shared everything with one another (Acts 2:44) and have a common money bag (John 12:6). Everyone be scared now!

        • Anton

          Where do you think communism got its good bits from?

          • Jon Sorensen

            “Primitive communism is a concept originating from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels who argued that hunter-gatherer societies were traditionally based on egalitarian social relations and common ownership”
            Christians copied that idea. Maybe the dictatorship concept came from the Bible…

            Is that what you mean?

          • Anton

            Although he was not a believer Marx was familiar with the Bible.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Marx was well read and rejected Jesus. So what was your point about “good bits”?

          • Anton

            We agree that Marx was not a believer but knew the Bible – and therefore knew Acts 2:44 which you quoted.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Did you even read my comment above?

            So what if he knew Acts 2:44. Jewish sect practices this before Christianity for example. Is this some kind of Christian land grab?

          • Anton

            Your point was that communism was in some respects like Acts 2:44. I said that Marx, the founder of communism, would have been familiar with that text. I don’t know what other point you are making.

          • Jon Sorensen

            You said “Where do you think communism got its good bits from”. So what is the right answer?

          • Merchantman

            Acts 2:44 refers to the Church in Jerusalem. They basically ran out of money and had to be bailed out by the other younger Churches who had seen their mistake.
            Marx obviously didn’t understand the outcome of the early Jerusalem Church; hence all communist countries without exception founder and have to be rescued by their wealthy neighbours or internal reform.
            Try telling that to Corbyn and his neo Marxist mob.

          • Jon Sorensen

            What has “understand the outcome of the early Jerusalem Church” to do with Marx?

          • avi barzel

            Marx and Engels failed in honestly applying their claimed materialist view by going Hegelian. Like all ideologues and conceited intellectuals, they ultimately believed that ideas, rather than material conditions, drive culture. Contrary to the Noble Savage myth these two quacks bought into, hunter-gatherers strive to own property as much as and whenever they can…as long as they are able to transport it or defend it, which in their case happens to be very difficult, but not impossible.

            But I disagree with Anton. Secular humanism doesn’t morph into communism; that would require too much thought and discipline. It morphs into anti-scientific obscurantism, heart-less paganism, vapid pursuit of trendiness and rule of the rich and violent…as is currently obvious from whatever you look at.

          • Anton

            Secular humanism, I said, might morph not only into communism but also national socialism, of which I could scarcely furnish a better description than “anti-scientific obscurantism, heart-less paganism… and rule of… the violent.”

          • Maybe, but too limiting; doesn’t cover all the other nonsense and no doubt there is much more to come.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Looks like Secular humanism has morphed in to the worst nightmare of Christians. Science, reason and logic might be a scary thing the requires fearmongering to round up the wagons.

          • Anton

            Secular humanism under Mao and Stalin enslaved nearly half of the human race.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Sorry that you don’t understand Secular humanism or math. You should understand that Secular humanism groups are illegal in China. They are more persecuted than Christians. The truth does not seem to fit your narrative.

          • Anton

            So what was the belief system in Mao’s China – it was that man was competent to solve his own problems, wasn’t it? How do the Chinese authorities define secular humanism when they persecute such people, and can you provide a decent reference for such persecution, please? How do *you* define secular humanism?

            It is well recorded that Hitler regretted Charles Martel’s victory in 732AD that forced the Muslims back over the Pyrenees, because he said Islam was a more martial faith better suited to the Germanic races. A man who thinks you can choose your religion according to expedience rather than perceived truth really is secular.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Most societies believe that man is competent to solve his own problems. We build bridges, hospital, road, develop medicine and improve our society. We don’t expect supernatural forces to do that. I see no difference.

            Listen to “Unbelievable? – Premier Christian Radio” 5th September 15 episode to get the answers to how the Chinese authorities define secular humanism when they persecute such people, and and how I define secular humanism.

            Hitler was a man of faith and maybe not a such a great thinker. He did not choose Islam. He clearly stated that he was and always be a Christian. So the point you try to make kind of fails.

          • Anton

            Hitler was a Christian? I could say that I was 20 feet tall if I wanted but that doesn’t make it true. You might try comparing his life with that of Jesus Christ.

            Please summarise in your own words how you and the Chinese authorities define secular humanism.

            The secular humanist view is that man is competent to solve his problems and that where things go wrong more education is needed, ie the problem is in the human head not the human heart. But 20th century Europe gave more knowledge to a far greater fraction of its people than ever before in history. Result? Two world wars.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Yes. Hitler was a Christian like it or not. Nobody claims he was sinless like Jesus you asked me to compare him to. Hitler listed a famous Christian as his idol and followed his idol’s ideas regarding religious minorities. His army was pretty much a Christian army in ceremonies, membership and outfits. Hitler’s ambitions and actions mirror Moses’ OT struggles.

            “Please summarise in your own words how you and the Chinese authorities define secular humanism.”
            You didn’t listen to the source I asked you did you? I agree to what was said in that program and the definitions. It’s a Christians program. Surely you can listen it a bit…

            “The secular humanist view is that man is competent to solve his problems”
            Strawman. Secular humanist don’t think we can solve all our problems, but we surely will try.

            “But 20th century Europe gave more knowledge to a far greater fraction of its people than ever before in history. Result? Two world wars.”
            Yes. Christian nations started two world wars, and you don’t want to take responsibilities of that. 20th was the safest century in the history of humanity. Less religion seems to be best for everyone.

          • Anton

            You are the one saying Hitler was a Christian; prove it. Define Christian and show that Hitler conforms to that definition.

            Against you is the fact that he said it was a pity Charles Martel won the Battle of Tours against Muslim forces because Islam’s martial spirit better suited the Germans; a man who thinks you choose religion on any other grounds than perceived truth is not religious, is he? Hitler used words to manipulate the churches and some were taken in, perhaps because they wanted to believe it. See what he said in private rather than public:

            “Christianity is an invention of sick brains” (13 December 1941).

            “It’s not opportune to hurl ourselves now into a struggle with the Churches. The best thing is to let Christianity die a natural death” (14 October 1941).

            Reference given:


            No I didn’t listen. Please summarise what you and what the Chinese authorities supposedly persecuting secular humanism take it to be.

            Christian nations started two world wars? You are listening to propaganda from politicised churches. There is no such thing as a Christian nation. The Bible is clear that the collective of Christians is called the church, not Germany or England or the USA or anywhere else; and that committed Christians will be a small minority in all cultures.

          • CliveM

            You hear this slur from many atheists. Makes them feel better.

          • Jon Sorensen

            I’m not a one who decides who is a Christian and who is not, but I guess Catholics and only Catholics are Christians as there is not salvation outside [the Catholic] church (traditional Christian view).

            “I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so”
            Adolph Hitler’s letter to Gen. Gerhard Engel, 1941

            Your Muslim comment is pathetic. He never claim to be a Muslim.

            You quote:
            “Christianity is an invention of sick brains” (13 December 1941)
            is of course a Christian lie. Please don’t quote from “Hitler’s Table Talk”
            Christians make up stuff trying to distance themselves from the truth.

            “There is no such thing as a Christian nation”
            LOL, but you seem to think there are atheist and secular nations.

          • Anton

            So you say Hitler was a Christian but you are not willing to specify what that means? Quite literally, then, you don’t know what you are talking about.

            “Your Muslim comment is pathetic. He never claim to be a Muslim.”

            I am aware of that; please show me where I made that claim. What I said was that a man (Hitler) who prefers one religion (Islam) to another (Christianity) purely on grounds of which might better match the German temperament is a man who doesn’t believe in either religion. Can you refute that logic?

            Hitler was never going to accept Christianity, because its saviour figure, Jesus Christ, was Jewish.

            I say there is no such thing as a Christian nation because gospel Christianity is a matter of free choice, so that as soon as you start legislating it in the legal codes of various nations it ceases to be authentic Christianity.

            There is a Catholic saying, “outside the church there is no salvation”, but Catholics regard the Catholic church as the only valid church and so they actually mean “outside the Catholic church there is no salvation.” The New Testament is clear about the criteria for salvation and the collective of the saved is called the church, so I agree with “outside the church is no salvation” but I don’t agree that the Catholic church is the only one.

            By the way, you said above, “Sorry that you don’t understand Secular humanism or math.” I have published original research in academic mathematics. Let me know when you have done the same.

          • Jon Sorensen

            If you are unsure what “Christian” is look it up from dictionary. If you are unhappy with you can table your alternative version. Christians do not agree on that definition.

            Then why do keep on bring Hitler’s view of Muslims to this discussion. That is irrelevant. I would “prefer” many thing but I have to take the truth.

            “Hitler was never going to accept Christianity”
            He accepted and publicly claim that. I’m sorry if you don’t like it.

            “I say there is no such thing as a Christian nation”
            You should listen what Christians say and swear in (under God). Even modern Christians keep on claiming that. They have the Christian nation, you might not be part of it.

            “There is a Catholic saying, “outside the church there is no salvation”, but Catholics regard the Catholic church as the only valid church and so they actually mean “outside the Catholic church there is no salvation.””
            This is the modern interpretation. Old one was literal meaning.

            “The New Testament is clear about the criteria for salvation”
            Funny how Christians argue about it so much then.

            “I have published original research in academic mathematics. Let me know when you have done the same.”
            No I haven’t. But I did major in math in one uni, then transferred to another uni and majored in physics. My name should be on two physics research papers (I was only part of the team). At least one (maybe both) of them got published on somewhat respectable journal. But that was long time ago and I can barely use calculator now. So you being the math experts can you help me with your claim:

            “Secular humanism under Mao and Stalin enslaved nearly half of the human race”
            How did you calculate the “nearly half”. It would be nice to know also what is the “Secular humanism” you talk of. Did Stalin or Mao advocate it? Or is this just fallacy of equivocation?

          • Anton

            No, it is you who claimed that Hitler was Christian and you can’t make it stick, can you? I could say that I am an MP but it doesn’t make me one. You need to know what a Christian is before you can say somebody is one – whatever they say. Aren’t you just using what Hitler said to gull the churches so as to bolster your own prejudices?

            “why do keep on bring Hitler’s view of Muslims to this discussion”?

            Hitler’s view of Islam, actually, but I’ll keep doing it until you acknowledge the point I am making. Hitler thought you could choose a religion, ie faith, by other criteria than perceived truth, ie faith. Contradiction! He therefore had no religious faith. QED.

            “Outside the church there is no salvation” would be a tautology in the sense you mean, since the church is the community of the saved according to the New Testament. It is also clear that you know if you are saved, through having a personal relationship with God. All the difficulty on paper is about defining the latter.

            Glad you have two joint publications! I am a research theoretical physicist and have plenty.

            Calculate what proportion of humanity lives in China and Russia, esatern Europe behind the Iron Curtain, and in African countries that had Marxist regimes, and it’s the “nearly half” that I said. China alone is 1/4 of the human race. And I am still waiting for *you* to give me your definition of secular humanism; I’m not going to listen to the 80-minute radio programme you referred me to.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “You need to know what a Christian is before you can say somebody is one – whatever they say”
            I would agree to that if Christians would agree to who are the Christians. Until that happens I’m happy with dictionary definition.

            “bolster your own prejudices” – what might those be?

            “Hitler thought you could choose a religion”
            He had plenty of opportunities to “choose a religion”, but he did not change it. He was always a Christian. Sorry I you don’t like the reality.

            World population was in 1950 about 2.5B; China 550M and Soviet 100M, so together Stalin and Mao controlled 26% of the populations. Stalin did control most of the countries behind the Iron Curtain, but not really in Africa. I’ll leave it to that.

            Your loss if you don’t want to list that Christians program. It’s usually pretty good. You could also read the first paragraph of Wikipedia page “secular humanism” if that is not too much to ask.

          • Anton

            You keep saying “Sorry you don’t like the reality” re Hitler supposedly being a Christian but you have to convince others, not yourself, and I consider that you have not done that, largely because you have ducked the key counter-arguments. Hitler thought that Germany would be better off Islamic than Christian on the grounds that Islam suited the German martial spirit better. That reasoning means he didn’t actually believe in either religion, doesn’t it? And he was never going to accept a religion which regards a Jew, Jesus of Nazareth, as divine, was he?

            I never said that Stalin controlled most of the countries behind the Iron Curtain; I said that communism did. It is the head count of communist countries that I made clear was not far short of half the human race.

            Your loss if you won’t define the terms you use.

          • Jon Sorensen

            You will never admit Hitler being a Christian because this truth is bad PR.
            When you make nonsense claims like “he was never going to accept a religion which regards a Jew, Jesus of Nazareth, as divine, was he” while Hitler accepted Christianity many times, shows how you don’t care about the truth.

            You said:
            “Secular humanism under Mao and Stalin enslaved nearly half of the human race.”

            When challenge about your math you said:
            “Calculate what proportion of humanity lives in China and Russia, esatern Europe behind the Iron Curtain, and in African countries that had Marxist regimes, and it’s the “nearly half” that I said.”

            Then I was being charitable by including “the Iron Curtain” in calculation but you say:
            “I never said that Stalin controlled most of the countries behind the Iron Curtain;”
            Fine, let’s exclude them. So 26% is not “nearly half”. You are bad at math.

            “Your loss if you won’t define the terms you use.”
            No. It’s my win. Defining terms with apologists never leads to anywhere. If you don’t accept dictionary meaning of words, I’m happy not to start redefining them.

          • Anton

            The longer you keep going in claiming that Hitler put his faith in a Jew (Jesus of Nazareth), the more foolish you look.

            The figure that my words referred to – and perfectly clearly, despite your smokescreen – was China, the Soviet Union, the Eastern European countries behind the Iron Curtain, and African Marxist regimes. Add Cuba, too.

            As for secular humanism, the most devastating critique of it is by an atheist, James Burnham, in his book The Suicide of the West (which never actually mentions the phrase “secular humanism” but is all about it). Burnham published this book in the 1960s having quit communism two decades earlier in a shift which elicited an essay from George Orwell.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “The longer you keep going in claiming that Hitler put his faith in a Jew (Jesus of Nazareth), the more foolish you look”
            I think you are making this up. Where did Hitler say or think that he put his faith in a Jew. He put his faith in God. Just read Mein Kampf. He makes it clear there.

            First you said
            “Secular humanism under Mao and Stalin enslaved nearly half of the human race.”

            you said:
            “I never said that Stalin controlled most of the countries behind the Iron Curtain;”

            now you said:
            “was China, the Soviet Union, the Eastern European countries behind the Iron Curtain, and African Marxist regimes. Add Cuba, too.”
            Whatever. This story changes in every post. So please do the maths then.

            I haven’t read James Burnham book from 1964. Amazon review describes it “Devastating in its relentless dissection of the liberal syndrome” and it’s only $7.53 on Kindle. I have too many books on my to read list 🙁 He defended conservatism at the time when interracial marriage in the US was not fully legal. What was his main concern against “secular humanism” as described in Amsterdam Declaration?

          • Anton

            “Where did Hitler say or think that he put his faith in a Jew.”

            In every post. You insist that Hitler was a Christian. Christianity is faith that Jesus of Nazareth, a Jew, died for the sins of the human race.

            Yes, I concede; let me alter my assertion to “secular humanistic communism under Stain and Mao and others enslaved nearly half of the human race”. You are quite correct that my original wording was inaccurate, But as you are defending secular humanism that is the point that matters, I think. I recommend Burnham just as you recommend that Premier Radio programme.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Secular humanism which you find is advocates science and evidence base decision making is according to you morphs into anti-scientific obscurantism.
            “heart-less paganism”- Clearly you don’t understand paganism
            “rule of the rich and violent” – nonsense fear mongering

            If this looks “obvious” you have lost the touch with reality.

          • Right-o.That must be it.

    • Dreadnaught

      Succinct, but Vacuous.

    • carl jacobs

      What Anton said below. Plus:

      4. Many of them are citizens. Would you deprive them of their citizenship as a group?

      5. You have no place to send them.

      6. You couldn’t get them there if you did have some place to send them.

  • Stuart

    This perpetual movement towards scooping in everybody as a potential suspect on the alter of extremism is beyond the pale. Dragnet measures do not work and the government and Intelligence communities well know this.

    So, why?

    Sadly we know why, as they peer into their notes on how best to control and nurture an ever more terrified people. Terrified of all the wrong things of course. But hey, as long as they’re terrified of something, right.

    And one day the meekest of us all will become the “extremist” in response to them.

    And the people will cry: Why?

    • Martin


      As always the people will cry “something must be done” and the government will reply “we’re doing it” Just as with ensuring the ordinary law abiding passenger in an aircraft has no weapon to defend with to ensuring that a mad pilot can down a plane unencumbered by those who disagree, what is done is the wrong, but easy, thing. It is so easy to scoop up all the emails and scan them for certain words, much harder to watch the individuals you suspect.

      Christians have known persecution start in this way so you can be sure that the best of them will say no and revert to meeting among themselves in secret. Will they be dangerous, not at all, will the state think them dangerous, probably.

      And so the structure of oppression will be built until you will have to be careful what you say to your neighbour, or even your child.

  • IanCad

    Well YG; Although the prospect of you again smouldering at the stake is remote, the likelihood of an extended period inside stony lonesome is most certainly on the cards.
    That is, unless we can get rid of this current vile administration.
    I speak as a CP member.

    • avi barzel

      CP? Here in the hinterland it stands for the Communist Party.

      • IanCad

        It should be understood in the light of the company we keep.
        When growing up, CP always meant the commies. Conservatives were referred to by many and varied pejoratives.

  • James60498 .

    Your Grace. Excellent article as always, but as I often do, I am going to gently chide you over one point.

    Your reference to a Conservative Government and your shock that such a Government should do this.

    We do NOT have a Conservative Government. Just because the name of the party in power happens to be Conservative does not make it so.

    Just because some of its members thought they were joining a conservative party does not make it so. Many of us who joined for that reason have left and those that remain meekly go along with Cameron at election time.

    Any government led by Cameron, May and Osborne is not a conservative government. And no amount of saying that it is will make it so.

    • Busy Mum

      Agreed. My ‘Conservative’, ‘Christian’ MP voted for SSM, voted against the motion to outlaw gender-selective abortion, voted for three-parent babies, voted for assisted suicide.

      What’s in a name? A liberal atheist by any other name would…..

  • Johnny Rottenborough

    ‘Immigration brings real benefits to Britain—to our economy, our culture and our national life.’—The Conservative Party Manifesto 2015, page 29

    …not forgetting the unending flow of opportunities for governments to suppress every freedom in the book. Freedom is the lifeblood of a healthy country. Third World immigration was brought about specifically to make Britain sick, and it is succeeding magnificently.

    As for the lies we are daily told about immigration’s benefits, Theodore Dalrymple said: ‘To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself.’ Voting Conservative or for any mainstream party is co-operating with evil? I’ll buy that.

  • Stig

    How do they square it with this then? Taken from the statement on the Nature, Faith and Order of the United Reformed Church

    We believe that
    Christ gives his Church a government
    distinct from the government of the state.
    In things that affect obedience to God
    the Church is not subordinate to the state,
    but must serve the Lord Jesus Christ,
    its only Ruler and Head.
    Civil authorities are called
    to serve God’s will of justice and peace for all humankind,
    and to respect the rights of conscience and belief.
    While we ourselves
    are servants in the world
    as citizens of God’s eternal kingdom.

    • Retired Paul

      Isn’t this exactly what the powers that think they be are afraid of!

      This is not new. Think back to Acts 4 & 5, when Peter was challenged by the Sanhedrin and replied (Acts 5:29) “We must obey God rather than human beings!”

      Our present secular and humanist authorities are not prepared to accept any challenges to their power.

  • Anton

    When the IRA started bombing people the government didn’t proscribe the Welsh or Scottish nationalists, did it? What ghastly atrocity might cause the government to get specific?

  • Orwell Ian

    all ministers of religion will “be subject to government-specified training and security checks

    Government-specified training. Now there’s a sinister phrase. I wonder what mix of brainwashing and intimidation that might involve. It is unlikely to be content with negative obedience, nor even with the most abject submission. The heretical “extremist” must be converted. His inner mind captured and reshaped into
    demonstrable commitment to preach state orthodoxy in matters multicultural, environmental and same-sexual etc.

    Without compliance it would be impossible to obtain a licence to preach, teach or provide pastoral care. Yet if the the Church goes along with this it would become fit for nothing. Salt without saltiness. No longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

  • Sir Walter Tyrell

    An excellent article Your Grace. Aside from the established Churches in England and Scotland and matters relating to regulation of marriages, the state has no business defining or regulating religion, let alone keeping a list of people who are authorised to preach or evangelise.
    If a person breaks the law, whether relating to child protection or crimes of incitement to commit substantive offences, misuse of charitable funds, kidnapping or anything else, then that person must be dealt with under the law of the land, regardless of whether they are or pose as a priest, elder, lay-preacher, friar, nun, monk, imam, rabbi, guru, prophet, minor deity, angel, community spokesman, cultural adviser, scholar, personal trainer or book club host. It is an error to treat religiously or politically motivated actions as more or less criminal or as having a different criminal quality than those largely motivated by other reasons. We should require people residing in the UK to obey the law at all times, nothing more and nothing less.

  • CliveM

    Hmmm. I saw this article as well and my first thought was not even this Govt would be so stupid as to try and impose this;

    As HG points out defining who this affects will be difficult (to say the least).

    The numbers of Priests, Ministers, Pastors, Rabi’s, evangelists, Nuns, Monks, Imams who will refuse to comply will swamp the ability of the Authorities to cope.

    I doubt it would get through either the Commons or the Lords. The majority is wafer thin and there are too many wanting to embarress the Govt.

    This is such a blatantly bad idea you do wonder who was stupid enough to come up with it. Actually to defeat this bill we only need two people to oppose it, the AofC and the head of the RC Church in England. I suspect it will never see the light of day.

    • carl jacobs

      Good post, but I must caution you. Never underestimate the stupidity of Gov’t.

      • CliveM

        My worry is with labour imploding on itself Cameron might feel he can get away with anything, no matter how idiotic, so your warning is a good one!

        • Martin


          As Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, to his destruction, so Cameron’s may be heading in the same direction.

        • carl jacobs

          With the Labour Party becoming “Canadianized” perhaps the Liberal Democrats will re-emerge?

          • CliveM

            If they can’t exploit labours disarray they are truly finished . I expect a modest revival.

    • James60498 .

      If we are reliant on those two then it will be law by the morning.

      • CliveM

        Not what I said!

        However the AofC has faced down Nigerian kidnappers, he is physically brave.

        As I say I don’t think it would get through Parliament.

        • Martin


          He didn’t face down the government over ‘gay’ marriage.

        • James60498 .

          I know you didn’t but I am still right.

          Perhaps if I had said, it will need some of your other suggestions to stop it because those two won’t then it might have been more precise an answer to your point.

          Not sure physical bravery got much to do with it, unless he is going to fight his way past the police at Westminster and block the lobbies.

          As Martin already said, the AofC didn’t do much facing down over “gay marriage”, three parent babies or anything else.

          And neither did the RC Cardinal. Pathetic, half (that’s being generous, quarter might be more accurate) hearted battle against “gay marriage”, and no mention of three parent babies. Yes he opposed killing off the elderly but that wasn’t a fight with the Government. Even Cameron voted against it.

    • avi barzel

      The number of non-pulpit rabbis…just guys who get their ordination, but don’t lead…in our Orthodox community is quite high, as I imagine is the case in Protestant denominations rife with pastors, theologians and lay leaders. The numbers alone and the non-compliance will deep-six this stupidity. If the authorities don’t have the intelligence on which imams pose a danger, people need to be fired and replaced pronto.

      • CliveM

        Yes I agree. It’s hard to see this ever succeeding. The numpty responsible for this does need sacking. Frankly I’m surprised that level of stupidity leaves them with the ability to communicate.

  • Dreadnaught

    Cant see how they can do things differently for one set and not the others. This is the legacy of left-wing legislation that demand that one size should fit all. This is why white haired grannies of caucasian appearance have to declare their catheter plumbing after having their shoes removed while remaining in the wheel chairs before being allowed to travel by air.

    I think its a small price to pay to vet religious leaders if we accept that we are under attack from Islam but bound by law to not ‘be seen’ to be discriminating. We know damned well and so does the government where the enemy is but we should not be hinting that the mob can declare open season on all Muslims. We have not matched the Islamist propaganda with our own and should avoid giving them even more excuses to attack Europeans abroad.

  • carl jacobs

    “Extremism” won’t be all that hard to determine. It is a relative measure and the frame of reference will be fixed according to the doctrines of the regnant civil religion. Those doctrines are well established and well known. Many will be labeled extremist by that measure although perhaps not violent. They will be watched.

    The reaction to this idea should be massive non-compliance. Burn the forms. Refuse the requests. Ignore the threats. And it should start with the Archbishop of Canterbury. Force the Gov’t to prove how far it will go. I imagine this is mostly bluff.

    The irony is that they will be too afraid to challenge Muslims. This will only really affect non-Muslim. After all, the sound of a clip being pushed into an AK47 does tend to focus the mind.

    • Martin


      And the AoC will roll quietly onto his back like a dog wanting his belly rubbed.

      • carl jacobs

        He shouldn’t. He has the power to stop this dead in its tracks. If he refused to comply, the Gov’t would be paralyzed.

        Besides, this idea reeks of fear. You have to face Islam with strength.

        • Martin


          He shouldn’t, but he did over ‘gay’ marriage.

  • carl jacobs

    BTW. Restricting this to “religious leaders” is wholly arbitrary. There are any number of other groups that could likewise fall under suspicion. How about University professors for a start. The focus on religious leadership indicates a belief that religion is uniquely threatening and worthy of constraint. The proposed law says that religious ideas are inherently dangerous to the state. Spell that “h e r e s y”.

    • Martin


      Well I class Atheism as a religion, so all those Atheists, such as their high priest Dawkins, need to be included.

      • carl jacobs

        Ah, but atheists don’t consider atheism a religion because they derive tactical advantage thereby denying the transcendent is not a religious statement. Unlike affirming the transcendent. Which is. Because they are different, that’s all.

        • Martin


          Because they pretend a lack of knowledge of God.

          • “Pretend” is a word suggesting deliberate, conscious intent. You mustn’t judge the atheist, Martin; leave that to God. And they come in all shapes and sizes and their reasons for blocking the obvious, i.e. the existence of a Perfect Creator Being, will be many and varied.

          • Martin


            On the contrary, understanding the way the minds of men work is essential.

          • …and do you claim to be able to so, Martin?

          • Martin


            Because the Bible tells us.

          • The bible does not give you the authority to judge the spiritual condition of any man, what is going on in his mind or the struggles he is facing in responding to God’s love.

          • Martin


            How does one tell if someone is suitable for an elder, or to become a member if we don’t judge their spiritual condition.

            But then you leave such to others, don’t you.

          • But you’re not restricting your judgement to elders or members of your own worshipping community but extending it to all and sundry – and you have no authority to do that.

          • Martin


            Don’t you think we are required to discern whether what we are being told is biblical or whether someone needs to be told the gospel?

          • The Gospel needs to be shared, certainly, and the delusions capturing modern minds overcome. You claimed atheists “pretend a lack of knowledge of God”. Jack’s position is that you have no authority, biblical or otherwise, to make such a universal judgement.

          • Martin


            I am entirely justified by Scripture:

            For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

            (Romans 1:18-23 [ESV]

          • You will note that Saint Paul in this passage is talking in broad, general terms about men and the descent into rebellion and paganism, not about individual people. It does not justify you accusing specific individuals of a wilful, culpable and deliberate ‘pretence’ that God does not exist.

          • Martin


            So you imagine that his broad general terms do not apply to the whole of humanity? It is the nature of all men to slide into such paganism, the church of Rome is one example.

            But tell me, if all men do not know God exists, how can they be condemned for failing to worship their maker?

          • Martin


            If your authority were the Bible, instead of tradition, you’d realise that Scripture tells much of what we need to know of the minds of men.

      • The God Hypothesis which I picked up about a year ago, but just managed to finish reading earlier this summer, makes for fascinating read and is a revealing window into the mind of the ideological atheism. The most fascinating bit is the disconnect between his unverifiable convictions and militant faith in his own epistemology. Many good arguments therein, I should admit, but like all belief systems, they too crash on the rocks of unverifiability, which makes him one of us…just of a slightly different sort.

        • Martin


          There appears to be a couple of books with that title:

          The God Hypothesis: Extraterrestrial Life and Its Implications for Science and Religion by Joe Lewel

          The God Hypothesis: Discovering Design in Our Just Right Goldilocks Universe by Michael Anthony Corey

          • Right you are! My bad; it’s actually The God Delusion.

            Speaking of Michael Corey’s book, it suffers the same weakness as Dawkins’ attempt; he attempts to prove creation with similar a priori axioms. We haven’t reached a situation where we can submit genuine empirical evidence for theological claims. This is what we theists and atheists have in common.

          • Martin


            I’ve read a few of Dawkin’s books, I find them tedious and not good for my blood pressure. Kudos to you for managing it!!

            He certainly makes a good case for Atheism being a religion, unintentionally of course.

    • Interesting observation. Our mother-country cousins across the Big Pond seem to be straying from the principles of liberty they verily started. I figure it’s going to be again you, Yanks, who might have to go there and kick butt to realign things.

  • Anna

    A very clever move – bound to win many supporters, among:
    1. Those who might wish to see ‘dangerous’ religious (particularly Christian) elements under proper surveillance.
    2. Many fearful of Islamic extremism
    3. Islamic extremists, who realise how powerless this move will be in reining them in, and instead prove a useful tool in strengthening their narrative of muslim victimhood.

  • John Waller

    Thinking that evangelicals & their beliefs on same-sex mirage will feature rather more on the “extremist” list than any one-eyed claw-hooked preachers of Allah are likely to.

    This is precisely the sort of state interference that pushed the Pilgrim Fathers to seek out the new land. At least if all else fails we Christians will always be able to flee to the “land of the free”…oh wait

    • avi barzel

      Don’t worry, there is always the Middle East, which as things are going now, is tranfering its indigenous to Northern Europe.

    • chiefofsinners

      My thoughts exactly (see above).
      Are you now or have you ever been a member of a Christian church?

      • Merchantman

        When did you last say Our Father- sonny?

  • David

    An excellent article Your Grace, and most timely.

    Everyone knows that it is only one faith that poses a threat to life and limb. But because the establishment has swallowed the poison of cultural and religious relativism, we are being forced to pretend that any faith leader could be a threat. This is the nonsense that flows from redefining words, like “discrimination”, to mean the opposite of what it formerly meant. Formerly it was considered a necessary good thing to separate the good from the bad, the wheat from the chaff; but now we are told it is a wicked thing to do – such nonsense thanks to our Socialist friends. Yet this “Conservative” leader is all for furthering such socialist destruction !

    But of practicalities, how large an army of snoopers and bureaucrats will be needed to monitor all the “leaders” of all the faiths ? What about the Thirty Nine Articles, part of the establishment of the C of E, wherein article 18, which I am partial to, says, “For Holy Scripture doth set out unto us only the name of Jesus Christ, whereby men must be saved”. It is essentially a summary of the plain gospel, which I do my best to share with congregations. Will Anglican gospel preachers be arrested for such blatant discrimination in the face of “inclusive” British values ? Will I have my licence to minister withdrawn ? I have no intention of altering any sermons I write.

    • chiefofsinners

      We should preach on, drawing comfort from the knowledge that at least one person is bound to be listening.

      • David

        Indeed !
        There can’t be enough jails to house all the priests, ministers, lay workers and pastors of the Christian faith, let alone the other faiths. Unless one is deliberately trying to be “In your face” aggressive, I can’t see this being applied very widely, that is if the dreadful idea becomes law – and hopefully not !
        But don’t they tie themselves into totally irrational knots whilst spouting incoherent nonsense !

        • chiefofsinners

          Perhaps the correct response to this would be to all claim to be priests, as we biblically are. “I’m Spartacus”

          • Yes, tempting to overwhelm them with self-registrations and voluminous reports, but remember, it’s the government; they’ll quickly hire all the staff…unionised with benefits, expense accounts and lovely pensions…and we’ll pay for it, as always.

          • CliveM

            Now that’s a good idea. I understand some US Universities hand out theology degrees like confetti!

          • David

            Indeed – the priesthood of all believers !

          • Merchantman

            As in Melchizadek?

          • David

            I refer to Luther’s ideas about the roles and responsibilities of all believers, able to speak directly to God, through prayer, and not needing a priest to communicate on their behalf, which was the medieval, pre-reformation idea. But I believe that Luther’s point sprung from, in part at least, that reference to Melchizadek. So yes, you’re right.

      • Merchantman

        Good point, they may thereby gain salvation.

  • Dreadnaught

    Maybe the EU will think again about inviting Turkey to join the club – 80 million muslims cant be wrong now can they?

  • Inspector General

    Needs must, chaps. Long overdue this. Lord knows what individuals are out there preaching who knows what to our ethnic types, and we must know, or at least have some idea, of who is and what they are saying.

    Today, Cranmer puts up a spirited mock defiance of this most necessary of initiatives, but as the intelligent man that he is, he knows the true and necessary reason of this surveillance. We all do.

    That it must done this way is to perpetuate the myth that all the peoples in this land are equal, and of equal worth and with nothing but benign consideration to others not as them. Patently not true as we have found, find, and will continue to find in the future. That we cannot stand in the public forum as say “The presence of Islam in great numbers on this island has necessitated…” is of course common sense, as we are dealing with people who not only have a strong sense of entitlement, and are troublingly on a hair trigger of violent outrage, but also as one would expect from the before, are probably subject to bouts of paranoia. And we don’t want to unsettle them any more than we need to. So the photograph used was a line up of Jews. It might just have well been a group of kilted Scotsmen, or Eskimos or Indonesian Head Hunters, or Anglican priestesses come to that, but it was never ever going to feature Mohameds, now was it?

  • Inspector General

    No doubt this exercise is at the behest of MI5. And why not? Considerable work is involved in keeping our hides safe these days in our no longer so fair land, and we must applaud the home Security Service for ensuring that all Islamic clerics have their own file. Nothing wrong there. One would expect this blog site has a folder of its own. The man behind Cranmer would have his file (not you Gillan Scott – you’re hardly in the same league, are you?), and regular communicants would also be mentioned in despatches as they would say, even the Inspector General. (Lord knows what they think about Dodo and his many personalities…). Naturally, GCHQ would have supplied our email addresses, PC IPs, home addresses and anything else requested from them. The Inspector is speculating here, don’t you know, but that’s his idea behind the nation’s security. Such is modern life…

    I say, how jolly exiting for us all, what!

    • Such thoughts did occur to me as well, Inspector, that the authorities could be keeping a jaundiced eye on our confusing antics. Methinks that given the collection of characters here, they’d need a whole bloody department somewhere in their basement. If they designate us as religious leaders…Heavens help the universe…we might have to register, submit reports on our doings and perhaps even pay an annual tax-deductible fee. That too is modern life….

      • Inspector General

        Oh, I don’t know, Avi. MI5 probably consider us crowd “that God lot” and leave us harmless eccentrics for their trainees to start up on. Make sure we get up to nothing more adventurous than organising a tea party. (Though between you and me, it’s Cranmer they’re really interested in, you know. Mums the word, eh!)

        • Hmm, you may be right. Our Pied Piper gets all the attention and the rest of us get tossed to the trainees and the ambitious mail room boy. Well, it’s still something.

          • CliveM

            Do we deserve more?

          • Of course! We’ve put in our time.

        • Did you ever get a “knock” following the threat from “In Perfect Ignorance”“Linus” to report you to the authorities for a hate crime?

          • Inspector General

            Didn’t expect to get one. The police loathe gay men. Not the PC lot running the forces, but the rank and file…

          • Jolly good ….

      • carl jacobs

        So what’s with the new avatar? With a semi-respectable haircut and beard no less. You have a reputation to uphold, you know.

        • It’s our new year, time to refresh. Also, the beard’s getting whiter and my Samsung III, not to mention the glasses, are becoming quite passée. Reputation to uphold, as you say. A prelude to my imminent coming-out of the proverbial closet as a maker and purveyor of doodles…populating my online portfolio as we chat.

          • carl jacobs

            I see. Wife told you get it cut, huh.

          • Well, um, yeah, that too.

          • It’s not “off-the-wall” enough for the Avi we have come to know and … er… love. Remember, ADHD’ers do not do staid and respectable. Well, not until they become grandparents.

          • Don’t you shift goal posts on me, Jack; I was told not until we become parents!

          • A “purveyor of doodles?
            Lol …. not of the Australian type one trusts.

          • Not sure what you mean by the Aussie stuff. I’ve been been doodling; designing, illustrating and doing portraits commercially for a while.

          • Google it … Aussie slang.
            One greatly admires your creativity, Avi.

          • Good Heavens, Jack, is there a single safe word left? Thank you for your enthusiastic admiration…especially since you’ve never seen my work. But we go on faith here.

          • Your work may or may not be to Jack’s taste and liking. Who cares? What matters is you are expressing ideas creativity. This is why Cressida was/is a fan … you have an artist’s temperament and insight. It shows in your writing and the way you sometimes connect the unconnectable.

          • You’ve flattered me to a beet-red blush, Jack. Just for that, a sneak preview; click on my new web link in my profile. Work in progress as I’m still populating the site as the day goes, trying to dig up my favourites from a mess of files, FTP sites, discs and solid state drives, mirror drives and back-up drives from a variety of devices

          • Why thank you, Avi. Jack had no idea you were so accomplished – truthfully.

            Two caught Jack’s eye, in particular: the illustration of Yehoshua Sofer and one had a chuckle at “Me and Mine”.

          • Thank you kindly, Jack. I’ve had good teachers and proper training in my youth. I’ll be uploading until the end of the week at least, so click refresh, as stuff is going up and you might find several more to amuse you.

          • Do you ever do in for abstract work, Avi?

          • No, I’m not very creative or original. Closest I came to is Italian-style Futurism and a somewhat representational Cubism approach. Part of it is my training, which was highly academic and technical: traditional techniques in egg tempera, Renaissance style layering techniques, Dutch masters, Mannerism…all after two years of days of still life and life drawing in charcoal, all in hyper-realism or conforming to specific historical styles. First year visusl arts at uni was a shock; no one knew how to even draw, representational art was scoffed at and it was all about feelings, messages and politics. I managed to switch majors within the first month, to beg my way into the history and anthro departmenys and never looked back.

            I thought you would have been more impressed with the brick mantelpiece (last in the Technical page, I think). My friend Steve did all the crazy math for the structure and pattern bonds and we tried Elizabethan patterns and made precise calculated cuts on the units for the arch, which seems no one knows how to do anymore. Then again, you’ve grown up with brick and stone masonry everywhere. Unfortunately, I can’t find the rest of the pics and plans, but will try after I finish the portfolio, parts of which I need to show to a client next week.

          • Abstract art can be very effective in conveying spiritual matters on different levels that reach people in different ways, that touch the spirit, Avi.

            One of ‘Dodo’s’ (remember him?) very first blogs was about this:

          • Yes, I’ve heard of Dodo. Gave birth to the Dodoist movement, which was later misspelled and mispronounced as Dadaism. Perhaps one day the Dodo will reimcarnate as the Dada.

            I wouldnt classify Chagall as abstract? At least not as the term is uses; his style is fairly representational, a mix of Cubism and Symbolism, vernacular or folk art, and if you really want to get fancy and impress folks, with a twist of Fauvism and Surrealism. In any case, the symbolism in his White Christ is quite obvious and very modern. Miss Cressida described it rather well in her comment.

            Perhaps you are used to Christian, mostly Catholic art…from early Renaissance, right up to the first part of the last century… with its far more complex, centuries-old layers of formal symbolism, much of it which carried forward symbols from Eastern iconography and even Classical, Greco-Roman painting . Those are much harder to crack, as all sorts of symbols were commissioned by various patrons for their own reasons, and because many meanings changed with shifts in theology, politics and over time and geography.

            But I spied pics of Lucy on your blog. Absolutely and totally adorable, man! Nothing beats the Almighty’s paint and canvas and she’s a masterpiece.

          • She’s even more beautiful now, Avi. First birthday being planned.
            Jack loves her from the very depths of his heart. He even changes her nappies, feeds her and takes her for walks in her pram. She chuckles and giggles all the time with her granddad and brings such joy to him and her nanny.

          • Ha! Told ya you’ll learn to do the nappy thing a while back. You’re done for, buddy, she’s got her slave now, so stay healthy and keep on vaping!

          • carl jacobs

            How do you know these things, Jack? Why do you know these things? The world would be better off not knowing.

          • It goes back to the ‘Days of Dodo’ when Cressida called him “Doddles”. He kept misspelling this term of endearment. It was pointed out to him by an Australian poster.
            That said, Jack agrees it would be better if language was not corrupted in this way. Indeed, there are some terms that have corrupted the very theology of God’s union with us through Christ. In a former life, Jack spent many, many hours working through this with a Catholic person who was, in Jack’s personal opinion, under a spiritual attack every time he attended Mass. One of the ‘discoveries’ of the 1960’s was so called NLP and it has been used very effectively by the enemy down the ages and has now gone mainstream. It was reading a book in the 1970’s called the ‘Structure of Magic’ that fired an awareness of this.
            Know the enemy, Carl.

        • CliveM

          Doesn’t seem as porky either!

          • carl jacobs

            No it doesn’t. He’s gone from gentle music professor through jolly theater patron to (now) the Sons of Anarchy. One can only imagine what he has concealed in that shoulder holster.

            Oh, wait. He’s Canadian. So it would be more like “The Sons of Slightly Cluttered Closets.”

          • CliveM

            Lol, or “Sons of the unmade bed ”

            There are a lot of possibilities.

          • Hey, you’re supposed to side with your Commonwealth breathren…such as we are.

          • CliveM

            Forgive me Avi for I have sinned. You are quite right of course, dastardly Yankees.

          • Much better. It’s too easy here to lose sight of our priorities.

          • carl jacobs

            No, he isn’t. He can’t be right. He’s Canadian.

          • That’s my sweater; my shoulder holster is black nylon fabric one made in Shenzhen ($ 14 including delivery) and snags the laser sight every time. You interpret the brilliant geometric background as my pigsty of a closet? So shallow.

          • carl jacobs

            No, not at all. I didn’t think the background was a closet. I was simply conveying an accurate understanding of the Canadian concept of “Anarchy.”

          • Sure. Just remember 1812 when we put a crinkle on your Manifest Destiny.

          • carl jacobs

            You did? I seem to remember something about the Western migration being delayed for about two hours on a Tuesday in July 1813. Is that what you are talking about?

          • Well, between us in the north, the Gulf and Mexico to the south, going west was your only option. A no-brainer. Do you ever get depressed when you look at a map of North America (won’t blame you if you can’t) and see us there, a big hulking behemoth hanging above your heads, peppered with thousands of pristine lakes, ringed by boreal forests and Arctic tundra, fed by endless plains and crowned by real mountains and the red igneous rock of the great Canadian shield?

          • Artist’s privilege.

    • bockerglory

      Inspector, everything is recorded and computer algorithms not humans monitor. Clever computer programming passively monitor patterns and a sudden change will be reported to a human. Human will then get legal consents to investigate further.

      That’s it.

      • Inspector General

        Yes, it’s all clever stuff, Bock. One understands the software will also sound alerts on key words like ‘car bomb’…

        Oh dear, that’s torn it…

  • Not sure I see too big a problem with the actual practicalities of this. Agreed, it is a fundamentally non-Conservative thing to do and goes against the historic traditions of this country (at least of the last few centuries), but apart from that I don’t see the problem.
    We are taught to obey the law of the land wherever possible, or in other words in all ways that do not clash with our responsibilities towards God. Therefore I see no problem with being registered as a “faith leader” (whatever that means) in an of itself. Equally, I see no problem per se in the government bringing in laws that declare certain preaching to be illegal and then prosecuting people based on that law. The problem, to my mind, is if any “faith leaders” then choose to change how they preach to fit with the new laws. But then again, any who did change, of any faith, would show themselves to not be true believers at all but merely false teachers who do what they do for position, rather than the truth!
    I pray that I would be happy both to sign the register, if required, and also to carry on preaching even if it meant punishment for what I said. Far better to follow the King of Kings into punishment than hide under a bushel and cower when He comes at the end of all things!

    • Martin


      Could be that the government are being unbritish.

      • The fact that it is “unBritish” doesn’t make it an issue. After all, fir trees at Christmas were “unBritish” at one point in time. And, indeed, if you look at the second and third lines of my opening paragraph you will see that I have commented to this effect.
        My point is that having to register is no problem so long as those who register do not change what they preach out of fear of arrest. Not that I am saying that fear will be there to begin with, nor that it won’t come over time as a result of this law. However the key is integrity, and particularly from a Christian perspective.
        Already I am disappointed in Jeremy Corbyn, not because of the things that I disagree with him over (of which there are many) but because he has seemingly chosen to wear a red poppy and to sing the national anthem in future, in spite of his views to the contrary. If reports of these 2 things (as well as a few others that have surfaced since his election) are true it shows that he is a man who is willing to bend his convictions rather than stick to them. I pray that this is never the case for a Christian leader!

        • Martin


          You’re forgetting that Cameron et al are desperately proclaiming britishness, demanding that all subscribe to it.

          And actually, registering is a problem because it gives the state a say in who can preach and who cannot.

          • So you break the law in as far as it is right to do so, for God’s law supersedes man-made law every time. I still don’t see the problem. If anything I would say that it would be a blessing for Christianity in the UK, after all just look at what effect this sort of thing has had on Christianity in China.
            More importantly, in terms of the truth being preached, it might get those who are not as fussed about preaching the Gospel to leave the Church as it is no longer worth the hassle for them.

          • Martin


            I’ve no doubt that persecution would be a blessing for the Church, God makes everything to be a blessing for His people. It concentrates the mind wonderfully.

        • Registration is totally unnecessary for the stated purpose. We must expect our government to suck it up, handle the whining and do what needs to be done; to use their brains and manpower, to not waste their and our time and to monitor dangerous Islamists and any other extremists who threaten the peace. As I started saying before, if the authorities don’t already have a handle on the situation without playing silly-buggers with the citizens, thousands of useless civil servants and entire agencies need to be cleared and refreshed with competent people.

  • len

    The wheel has turned full circle and we are now returning to the religious system under Caesar.ALL the’ gods’ where vetted by Caesar and those he approved of were given his stamp of approval and allowed their place in the Pantheon.
    The Roman religions accepted all forms of worship but they did not accept the idea of One God above all other’ gods’ because this would lead to conflict and disorder.
    So Christians today (as then) who will not conform to the’ moral standards’ of this present [corrupt] world system will be labelled as radicals fundamentalists and the pressure applied to Christians to conform to this present corrupt world system will be applied in ever greater severity.
    In some way our secular government is being used by God to sift the true believers from those who will fall away when things get too difficult…
    Of course Constantine accepted one God but then mixed all his pagan origins into his religion which took the Reformation to attempt to sift the good from the bad.

  • chiefofsinners

    Right. I’m building a boat. Might call it the Juneflower or similar.
    Anybody want a ride?

    • Destination … ?

      • chiefofsinners

        No, predestination. We’ll end up wherever we’re meant to be.

        • Well, yes, but >i>”meant to be” is not the term Jack would use.
          God’s foreknowledge is based on Him knowing the choices we make and where we end up. So, having said that, Jack wants to know more about the construction of the boat and the navigational skills of the crew.

          • chiefofsinners

            Board with confidence. An ancestor of mine was a master shipbuilder and admiral of the combined fleets of our planet.

          • Well, he was also a distant ancestor of many other shipbuilders who’s skills fell well short. There is already a sure and certain vessel awaiting any who wish to board her from unstable vessels surrounding her.

          • chiefofsinners

            I presume you refer to the good ship ‘Our Lady of the High Seas’ registered in the port of Vatican City for tax reasons?
            While her original captain was an expert navigator, I fear that his successors have strayed into uncharted waters where there be dragons.

          • … some most certainly did and others will no doubt follow, yet the true Admiral ensures no calamitous errors occur.

          • chiefofsinners

            Here’s a line that might come in handy:
            “No, no it’s meant to be a submarine.”

        • LOL

  • “It beggars belief that this Government – a Conservative government…”

    What beggars belief is that Cranmer is still professes shock when the Tories do un-conservative things, as if this wasn’t something that happened particularly often…

    • It is in His Grace’s character to hope for the best in people and his policy to give the benefit of the doubt to institutions.

      • If that’s so, then he might need to consider an alternative calling in life rather than one involving politics…

        • He hath risen above politics.

          • Inspector General

            Alleluia brother! Testify the truth, testify I tells ye

          • Inspector General

            Look Avi! The Inspector. He can walk. The Inspector can walk unaided…


          • You must take care on your way home from the Mouse and Wheel, Inspector. We can’t be always around.

          • Inspector General

            An inability to walk through drink far outdates the Mouse and Wheel. Still, once you got the keys in the ignition…

          • …and ten minutes later, whilst trying to stay on his side of the road, the Inspector is pulled over by a female constable.

            “Why’d you shtop me, luv?”

            “You were weaving, Sir.”

            “Oh git off it! I can’t even sew!”

            “Sir, how many drinks have you had in the last five hours?”

            “Not nearly enough to take you home!”

            “Alright, Sir, if you could step out your car…”

            “Ay, and if I weren’t so pissed, I bloody well would…”

          • Inspector General

            Ah, happy days, the late 1970s. The Inspector was a gentleman motorcyclist back then. Everyone drove either just below or just above the legal limit, or they didn’t drink at all…

        • I realize this is a long shot, given the size of the Clan Anderson, but any relations to Joyce and her family in Vancouver and now Salt Spring Island?

          • I couldn’t name a more recent common ancestor than Japheth!

            When I was a boy I entered a Lego competition – it was quite exciting to see three David Andersons among the winners, and one among the runners up… but less exciting to realise I wasn’t any of them…

          • Haha! I had to try, though, as your profile is similar to the Anderson relative (through my wife’s Scots side) whom I had in mind. Also, I often see unlikely reunions between relatives and former friends and neighbours with common names among our South African emigres scattered between North America and Israel at almost every High Holyday at our synagogue.

          • IanCad

            Reminds me of an experience.
            I was at a meeting near Seattle several years ago and a dear lady came up to me and stated that, as I was from London, perhaps I might know “Someone from London” of whom she had heard. I gently asked her as to his name; she said she couldn’t remember.

          • Hey, I had much more to go on! And at least where I am, you rarely see the Anderson or Andrewson tartans or crest at the Scottish to-dos and when a rare meeting occurs, they all query each others’ list of relations.

      • IanCad

        There is not a man living who looks better without a beard. What have you done?

        • Trimmed it down to a goatee for the summer…upon command from the wife and increasingly imperious daughter.

  • Jack finds this article very interesting and thought provoking.

  • Will there be corresponding vetting for the political class? I mean, it wasn’t Baptists who made such such a mess of Iraq, or rabbis who created the current chaos in Libya, etcetera…

  • Royinsouthwest

    Are the “Jedi Knights” a religion? Will their leaders have to register? What about secular religions such as those of some of the Greens and the LGBT crowd?

    Actually I think all religious leaders should refuse to register. This is a fundamental attack on our freedoms. So much for the Human Rights Act!

    If the government really wants to tackle Islamic terrorism it should stop importing Jihadis and expel people who fail to integrate into British society.

    • chiefofsinners

      All drug dealers will have to register. Opium is the religion of the masses.

  • Mike Stallard

    All very easy to question this.
    I used to be an Anglican vicar and our white bands were a sign that we had the approval of the Queen to preach. Supervising clergy is as old as 1533. And before that, there was the investiture controversy.
    The government does need to make sure that when Mohammed Eri and Hasan and Abdurrachman (all of them known to me personally), all recently arrived in a lorry, go to Mosque, they are not preached to by a moron who uses his holy pre-eminence to create mischief.
    Totally with Mr Cameron on this. The problem is who is going to form the Ofcheck? And how do Muslims work the preaching system?

    • IanCad


      • steroflex

        The problem is who chooses the Muslim Friday Preacher?
        Also which of the episcopal Numpties is going to be the person who checks on the Preaching (lots in Urdu and Arabic, I imagine.)

    • Anton

      The problem isn’t the preacher, it’s what’s preached. Check the Quran about the options to unbelievers.

      • Mike Stallard

        Of course. Jesus, I believe, made similar pronouncements.

        • Anton

          Please show me where Jesus said that nonbelievers should be given the choice of conversion or execution, or where anybody in the New Testament said that backsliders should be executed.

          • steroflex

            Quite a lot about Gehenna. Quite a lot about fiery pits etc in Revelation. Dives and Lazarus. And about hurting children. And about ocular removal. It isn’t all fluffy neo-liberal stuff.
            Having said that, I am not a Muslim and I believe that the Koran in its post Hejira surats is much more bloodthirsty than the New Testament.

          • Anton

            I am talking about in this life. Jesus gave the direst warnings of what would happen after you died but he left people free to make their own informed choice.

  • Hi

    So it’s a bit like when supreme chancellor Palpatine tried to control the Jedi in “revenge of the sith”(before order 66). Where’s mace windu and yoda when you need them ?

    • James60498 .

      Does anyone else think that Palpatine looks like Francis Maude, one of Cameron’s main cheerleaders during his election campaign and his first Party Chairman?

    • The analogy for Cameron’s government I had in mind was the Borg hive: “We will assimilate you. Resistance is futile.” The difference is, though, that the Borg knew who they are and had a plan.

      A belated sweet shana tova and an easy upcoming fast to you and yours, Miss Hannah!

      • Hi avi

        Thanks. I’m feeling melancholic , just I’m sure it will pass…

        • Feel better, Miss H, these festivals and holy days can be exhausting and draining.

          • YHi avi

            Actually I’m feeling perked up already by the star trek analogy.

            Sarah thinks my fictional villainous androgynous hematophagous hamstermen might actually be the Breen….

            Like for the analogy to the current government , like a race who can’t understand unless you are a bureaucratic, but subservient, vorta of the all conquering dominion, held together by the jem hadar “happy jack boot “and mysteriously ruled by … “the founders ” in the Omarion Nebula or that Eu as we call it …

          • Good Heavens, Miss Hannah! I thought I was a Trekkie, but I cant shine a light on you!

  • Abigail Maxwell

    I am not sure whether to be delighted that the Government thinks the
    Church is potentially rebellious and in need of control and
    surveillance, or alternatively despairing that the Government’s desire
    for control and surveillance now extends to the Church.

    But a lot of Quakers are surveiled already. We are a load of Lefty subversives, demonstrating against Trident, wanting not to pay tax for military purposes…

  • Unbelievable!

    Most of the assassinations, and violent terrorism in Europe in the last few decades has actually been done by politically and ethnically motivated groups – like ETA in Spain, Corsican separatists, the Baader-Meinhof gang in Germany, and some anti-vivisection groups in the UK…. And most of the oppression, persecution and genocide by politically motivated groups – communists and fascists.

    Given this UK and European history of hate, violence and oppression over the last 100 years, it should be equally wrong for political leaders or any other group’s leaders to disagree…

    So why is the Government only proposing to control religious leaders and religious speech?

    IMHO it is direct discrimination on the grounds of belief. Either the Government should focus on Every Group that has *actually threatened of caused* violence recently, or they should focus on Every Group full stop.