Rev Peter Simpson preaching3b
Civil Liberties

Christians are called to be 'non-violent extremists'

 

We have been here before. In fact, the illiberal proposal raises its portentous head with such frequency that it feels almost teleologically predetermined. From Labour’s assault on “hate speech” to Tory proposals for IPNAs (Injunctions to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance), we now arrive at ‘Extremism Disruption Orders’. Each of these has the justifiable objective of protecting individuals or groups from harm, but their chilling effect is simply to inhibit the expression of certain views. We know, of course, that the target is the self-styled imam who journeys from Pakistan to Finsbury Park to poison the minds of young Muslims with the Islamist ideology of division and hate. But we know, too, that definitions of extremism and apprehensions of hate are very much in the mind of the easily-offended beholder: we have seen too many individuals arrested, incarcerated or cautioned for no greater crime than displaying Bible verses, preaching the gospel of salvation or proclaiming a message of moral orthodoxy.

Consider the picture above. It was taken at the Conservative Party Conference last week and shows the Rev’d Peter Simpson (amongst others) of the Penn Free Methodist Church in Buckinghamshire preaching to those who are being lost. Set aside, for a moment, whatever you may think about his style of street mission or chosen mode of loving communication (which, frankly, isn’t so much preaching foolishness to the Greeks [1Cor 1:23] as exhibiting Ancient Greek to iPad Gen-X fools [Ps 14:1]), there are undoubtedly some who would like to see this sort of preacher gagged and his manner of public display outlawed. His words cause harassment or distress; his love is hate.

And it is indisputably offensive (not to say pastorally insensitive) to tell a woman who has chosen to terminate her pregnancy that “abortion is murder”; or to tell a teenager struggling with sexual identity that the “effeminate shall not inherit the kingdom of God”. Such views are not illegal, but they have become increasingly “extreme” as the culture has become progressively liberal and morally relative. We can debate the missiological usefulness of placing such secondary-issue stumbling blocks in the path of those who are seeking the Truth. But to make such placards subject to an ‘Extremism Disruption Order’ (which, let’s be honest, the police would certainly do should a complaint were received), endangers the freedom to proclaim the gospel itself.

For sure, “every one of us shall give account of himself to God” and “Righteousness exalteth a nation”. But if it be extreme to rail against evolution, abortion, homosexuality or same-sex marriage, how can it not be extreme to preach about the wages of sin and the narrowness of the path to salvation? The gospel is extreme: salvation is found in none other but Christ alone (Acts 4:12); the cross of Christ is a cause of offence (Gal 5:11). Christians are called to preach the Word in season and out (2Tim 4:2). And if we preach righteousness out of season, we are warned to expect to suffer the consequences (Mt 5:10; 10:22).

Theresa May’s conference speech contained these disquieting words:

..to live in a modern liberal state is not to live in a moral vacuum. We have to stand up for our values as a nation. There will, I know, be some who say that what I describe as extremism is merely social conservatism. But if others described a woman’s intellect as “deficient”, denounced people on the basis of their religious beliefs, or rejected the democratic process, we would quite rightly condemn their bigotry. And there will be others who say I am wrong to link these kinds of beliefs with the violent extremism we agree we must confront. To them I say, yes, not all extremism leads to violence. And not all extremists are violent. But the damage extremists cause to our society is reason enough to act. And there is, undoubtedly, a thread that binds the kind of extremism that promotes intolerance, hatred and a sense of superiority over others to the actions of those who want to impose their values on us through violence.

And so she pledges to “face down extremism in all its forms”. The illiberal authoritarianism is alarming: extreme Toryism fuses with statist Socialism, and the uniform consensus conspires to diminish the freedom of us all in the name of social cohesion. The policy is reasoned and moderate in expression, but the legislation will be almost Marxist in its application as it is wilfully misinterpreted and misapplied to Evangelical Christians (ie those who publicly proclaim the Good News)  in exactly the same manner as anti-terror legislation has been invoked to eject a disgruntled pensioner from a Labour Party conference.

In 1999 Lord Justice Sedley championed the rights of people to express unorthodox views, and quoted Socrates and two famous Quakers in doing so. There is no breach of the peace if what is uttered is merely offensive. He said: “Free speech includes not only the offensive, but the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome and the provocative, providing it does not tend to provoke violence.”

It is one thing to seek to prevent violent crime and the incitement to violence; it is quite another to seek to prevent the expression of views which some may find extreme or offensive. It ought not to be a crime to express an idea in a peaceful manner simply because it is deemed to be extreme by some nebulous subjective assessment. There are all manner of pushy interest groups and hyper-sensitive souls just waiting to get upset about something and report you to the police in a state of distress. For the secular state to seek to define “extremist views” reduces freedom of speech and freedom of religion to the lawful expression of culturally orthodox utterances. The gospel of Christ is manifestly counter-cultural, counter-intuitive and, in a pluralist age of religious relativity and all-embracing spirituality, decidedly unorthodox. In what sense is the Christian who proclaims it not “extremist”?

We should relish vigorous debate about salvation and the verbal sparring elicited by the irruption God into the world and the implications of the death of Jesus. We should do so peacefully, graciously and compassionately. Those who oppose the Truth or disagree with our understanding of the Way ought to be free to tell the likes of Peter Simpson where he can shove his placards. But those of us who disagree vehemently with Islamist preachers ought to be equally free to tell them candidly what they can do with their understanding of Mohammed, their quranic hermeneutic and their malignant exposition of the Hadith – without being investigated by the police for the crime of ‘Islamophobia’. If Theresa May clamps down on the Muslim’s freedom to preach the perfection of Mohammed and deride the filthy kuffar, she simultaneously suppresses the Christian’s freedom to refute false prophets, ridicule absurd religious teachings and repudiate those who preach another gospel. You can’t debate inexpressible ideas or argue with a censored opinion.

There is no right not to be offended. Extremist opinion that does not involve a call to arms or incite people to acts of terrorism ought to be tolerated by the liberal democratic state. Otherwise those who seek to undermine our liberty and overthrow democracy have won. We might expect a Conservative Home Secretary to appreciate and understand that.

  • Shadrach Fire

    A brilliant and timely piece Your Grace.
    We are in an age where if your opinion is different from the Government, they legislate against you.

  • @His_Grace is on message again!

  • The Explorer

    To the friends I have made on this site.
    I have returned home after sixteen days in hospital, but will be going back to hospital soon.
    I am curtailing blogging activity, and am signing off from Cranmer for a while.
    Thanks to all those with whom I have shared thoughts and opinions.
    God bless.
    The Explorer.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      Our thoughts and prayers are with you Explorer. Hope to see you back on this blog as soon as possible

    • CliveM

      Explorer

      Hope things get better for you. You haven’t said so won’t pry but hope this isn’t too serious . Will pray. Hope you are back in the not to distant future.

    • Take care, friend. You will be in my prayers and thoughts. God Bless.
      Peter

    • IanCad

      How very sorry I am to hear this news Explorer. So much good debate over the years.
      I will pray for you and wish you well.
      Ian

    • carl jacobs

      Unfortunate. I look forward to your return.

      Remember that God watches those who are His own, and turns His eyes neither left nor right.

      carl

    • Uncle Brian

      Explorer, my friend, I’m sorry to hear your troubling news. I hope your illness turns out to be less serious than you make it sound. I hope I won’t be offending your ecclesiastical sensibilities if I put your name down to be read out at mass next Sunday, when the congregation are invited to pray for those in need.

      Best wishes,
      Brian

      • The Explorer

        Uncle Brian,
        No offence: I am touched by the thought. I have heart failure. Phase One has been to drain the fluid from my lungs and enable me to breathe, and stabilise me enough to return home. Phase Two will be to try and strengthen the heart muscle.

        • OldJim

          I’m sorry to hear that. I shall be praying for you.

        • Old Blowers

          Old Ernst is very saddened to hear of your health problems.

          Prayers and best wishes.

          Do keep us updated.

          Your old mucker Blowers

    • DanJ0

      Get well soon.

    • The Inspector General

      One adds his name, old chap.

    • Rasher Bacon

      All the best, Explorer.

      My great physician heals the sick
      The lost he came to save
      For me his precious blood was shed
      For me his life he gave

      I need no other argument
      I need no other plea
      It is enough that Jesus died
      And that he died for me.

    • Marie1797

      Looking forward to your recovery and return to the site. Get well soon.

  • Irene’s Daughter

    Interesting that yet another attempt is being made to stifle our freedoms just when an exhibition of the Magna Carta is about to be opened. Theresa May, and all her cabinet colleagues, should be forced to go to this exhibition (or at least given a transcription and be forced to read it!) so that she will finally understand exactly what she is wanting British subjects to give up.

    While the police remain fearful of Islamists and the PC brigade new laws will not help. Men are powerless in this. The harder they try to impose a solution, the worse it gets. We are seeing the outworking on earth of a spiritual battle in the Heavenlies. Pray that God will bring it to an end soon.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    I believe Christianity has often been viewed as extremist. Even though it does not exhort anyone to violence (unlike Islam), it is perceived as a challenge to the relatively fragile ideas of the humanists. Thus the fear. The Soviets felt this fear and tried to stamp out Christianity. They failed of course, and now the tyranny has gone, Christianity thrives in that country. The suppression of religious freedom has already started in Britain, and will no doubt gather pace as we get tarred with the same brush as the Islamists. Those who live in darkness will inevitably fear the Gospel and be offended by it. Silencing street preachers will not protect them from their own sin.

  • As the Methodist minister to whom His Grace refers in this article I must courteously object to the charge that my “love is hate”. I challenge all readers of this blog to view 13 minutes of my preaching at the Tory conference to see if there was an ounce of hate in it : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXWsoV9o2js

    I respectfully and amicably invite His Grace to withdraw this remark, which reflects badly on the other four highly experienced nonconformist ministers preaching with me in Birmingham, whose lives are characterised by great care for their flocks, a love for their unsaved neighbours, and who are regularly engaged in open air witness, setting themselves up for much ridicule and rejection in the process, but always pressing on.

    His Grace writes that it is offensive and insensitive to tell a woman who has terminated her pregnancy that abortion is murder. This represents a confusion between a pastor’s duty in the market place of ideas and his duty in the quietness of the study where he counsels an individual.

    Of course, if I was dealing with such a woman who came to me with a troubled conscience, I would be gentle and sensitive, but even then I could not, if I were to be faithful to Scripture, deny that a heart-beating human life had been deliberately destroyed in defiance of the sixth commandment.

    Furthermore, what about pastoral sensitivity to that life in the womb? For the sake of the unborn child in danger of being dismembered and crushed, it is the preacher’s duty to make clear the absolute horror of abortion in God’s sight.

    His Grace states that is offensive to quote 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 to a teenager struggling with same-sex attraction. Why then did the Holy Spirit cause Paul to write these words in a letter giving pastoral help to the church at Corinth, where homosexual practice was widespread?

    In this same passage adultery is listed alongside homosexuality, as being a barrier to entrance into the kingdom of God. Is it ‘unloving’ and ‘insensitive’ to tell an adulterer that he must repent for the good of his soul, or else experience God’s righteous condemnation?

    Furthermore, I strongly disagree that abortion and homosexuality are “secondary issues”. When a society which rejects God, this is manifested in specific modes of sinful behaviour.

    Was the Lord Jesus Christ being pastorally insensitive, when He declared, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). Was John the Baptist guilty of hate when he declared, “Flee from the wrath to come” (Matthew 3:7)?

    Yours in Christian love, Rev. Peter Simpson, Penn Free Methodist Church.

    • carl jacobs

      Peter Simpson

      I believe you misunderstand the phrase. He was not saying that your love is hate. He was explaining the stated rationale for why some would seek to silence you. The speaker of the phrase is not AB Cranmer but the one who would gag.

      carl

      • Politically__Incorrect

        I agree with you Carl. To those of us familiar with Cranmer, I am sure that the phrase was another example of Cranmer’s occasionally sardonic approach, emphasising the absurdity of the world’s view of Christianity. I think you have taken it the wrong way Peter.

    • Rev’d Peter,

      It is incomprehensible how, in the sympathetic context of this article (or even contiguous with the preceding sentence), you could possibly interpret this remark as being a personal attack on your integrity or an uncharitable judgment on your preaching. The comment will not be withdrawn because there is nothing to withdraw: it is manifestly the imagined (though undeniably real) opinion of those who criticise your preaching or oppose your mission. To them, your love is hate.

      • Dear Cranmer,

        I am sorry for misreading what you wrote. I honestly did think carefully about this beforehand and asked myself, is Cranmer saying this himself, or quoting what those who want to silence preachers might think? The fact that your next sentence began with the connective ‘and’, and represented what I presume is your own view, namely, “it is indisputably offensive, not to say pastorally insensitive” to display the posters on abortion and homosexuality led me to conclude that the “love is hate” comment was also your own assessment of the preaching. I was mistaken, and unreservedly apologise. I of course totally agree with your excellent comments about the need for such preaching to remain fundamental to our freedoms.

        Yours in Christian love, Rev. Peter Simpson.

        • Well said, Peter Simpson.

          An example of the fallibility of man when reading the written word and not discerning the message of the author because of an inability to understand style and confusing this with substance. Imagine if it had been written in Latin or Greek – or Hebrew!

          • Rasher Bacon

            …Or imagine if Jerome had waded in and confused the issue? As it is, the Holy Spirit appears to have assisted both in understanding each other without any interference from a clueless magisterium. All done and dusted.

            Now.. will the mention of magisterium bring Voldemort back onto the thread… (not you HJ)

        • dannybhoy

          Well retracted Sir.
          Two of the Lord’s children are reconciled and we all cry
          “Alleliua!”

    • alternative_perspective

      And to whom was Paul preaching but the Church. And to whom was Christ warning of judgement but Israel?

      So you take messages of judgement meant for God’s people to those who are not his people?

      Since you’re so keen on Corinthians how about this advice: “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?” 1 Cor. 5.12
      I sat once in Peterborough as open air preachers, preached a Gospel of judgment from obscure (to the non-Christian) texts. I watched as the people sytematically ignored them, laughed at them and ridiculed them. And I became frustrated as I watched this presentation of God’s “love” slowly inoculating the masses against Christ. Eventually they made their way over to me and when I said I thought they were doing more harm than good he condemned me where I stood. He flung Isaiah at me, “that God’s word will not return to Him void”. As a young Christian I didn’t know how to respond. Today I might retort that “We shouldn’t cast our pearls to the swine”.
      Moreover don’t you think it ironic that a protestant pastor preaches what is effectively works righteousness?

      • “I don’t want to be an anti, against anybody. I simply want to be the builder of a great affirmation: the affirmation of God, who loves us and who wants to save us.”

        ““The church must suffer for speaking the truth, for pointing out sin, for uprooting sin. No one wants to have a sore spot touched, and therefore a society with so many sores twitches when someone has the courage to touch it and say: “You have to treat that. You have to get rid of that. Believe in Christ. Be converted.”

        Oscar A. Romero

      • DanJ0

        Coincidentally, I was saying something similar to this on another thread very recently despite my being one of the swine, and seeing baubles rather than pearls being violently thrown.

    • dannybhoy

      Reverend Pete,
      I didn’t read it that way
      (but then I can’t master italics either)
      I read it as a rhetorical statement, that because of these new proposals and gagging of traditional free speech your preaching of love has now become a preaching of hate.
      Please read again and retract as necessary.
      ps I thought Penn was near Wolverhampton?

    • Stephen Raftery

      It strikes me as strange that it is often held to be compassionate by not confronting sin. Are we more compassionate than Christ when we justify divorce and adultery? Are we more compassionate than Christ when we justify abortion?
      I think not

      • I agree. Indeed, not to point out specific sins, when the world is vigorously promoting them, is to betray a lack of compassion to one’s unbelieving neighbours, whose salvation we earnestly desire.

      • alternative_perspective

        But who do we confront?

        All of these sins are prevalent in the church. When people look inside our buildings do they see the sacred and the secular reconciled? Do they see the wounded bandaged and the broken fixed? Do they witness the beauty of God’s redeeming love OR do they see a church of hypocrites where none shares their struggles? Do they see those sins left unconfronted and the broken hearted left to grieve alone? Or do they see a people demanding the world to take the mote from its eye when the same have logs in theirs?

        Are we not judged according to the light we have received? Did not Jesus say “If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty,” “But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.”
        Is it not the Holy Spirit’s economy to convict a person of his sinfulness? Recounting the law didn’t prevent Israel’s repeated slides in to apostasy but it did give justification to the powerful to condemn the woman caught in adultery.
        Who do we think was more effective, those threatening to throw stones or Jesus’ non-condemnation and gentle urge to go and sin no more?

        • In courteous response, I would argue that we confront all unbelievers. Only those who have engaged in heartfelt repentance from sin are true Christians. Hypocrites are not born again and are not part of the kingdom of God. Without the preaching of the law no one can become a Christian, for “the law is our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ” (Galatians 3:24). The Holy Spirit convicts as the law is upheld. It is, I would argue, an act of love to proclaim to all the seriousness of sin and man’s universal condemnation under the law. Hypocrites will not stay in churches where these things are being preached.

  • JayBee

    That conference speech was one of the most threatening ever made by a Home Secretary. Naked authoritarianism. A charter for the enforcement of Political Correctness cloaked in a mantle of British Values. These values will be whatever those in power want them to be and what they are one day may not be what they are the day after. For as we all know equality has variable consistency depending on who has suffered the trauma of being offended.

    I have to disagree with His Grace that “there is no right not to be offended.” That freedom has been virtually suffocated. Thanks to multiculturalism the Government is getting ever more desperate in clamping down the lid on a boiling cauldron of imported ideological nastiness. In confronting violent extremism in one community why should all other sections of society now face a crackdown on controversial thought and the expression thereof? Where is the justice in that? Extremist opinion that does not involve a call to arms or incite people to acts of terrorism ought to be tolerated by the liberal democratic state. By denying people the right of non-violent dissent they will threaten the democracy they purport to defend.

  • IanCad

    YG, It is why, because of articles like this, that I try to read your blog every day.
    We are becoming the most thin-skinned, pansyfied race that has ever been.
    That such idiotic laws would be even considered gives weight to the notion that each generation must fight to keep the liberties so hard won by our forbears.
    I am utterly disgusted with the CP’s weakness on civil liberties.

  • carl jacobs

    The charge may be “extremism”… relative to what BTW since “extreme” is a word that defines by relative position. The standard answer is “exclusion and intolerance” but since the punishment for extremism is exclusion and intolerance, we are still left with the question. What is the measure of extremism?

    So to return to the beginning. The charge may be extremism but the actual crime is heresy. Consider the subjects in the signs: Evolution, abortion, homosexuality, marriage. They all proclaim the Christian understanding of limits on man. Limits on desire and consent. Limits on utility and personhood. Limits that are all ultimately rooted in man’s subordinate position to a Creator. But Modern man defines himself according to his autonomy. To suggest he has boundaries placed about him is to proclaim heresy most foul to his ears. He has declared himself sovereign over his own life. He will hear no exteeme charge to the contrary.

    “Now, wait.” comes the objection. “Men live with boundaries. We call them laws.” Yes, but that is not the claim of the heretic. Such boundaries of law are under the sovereignty of man himself. They declare his sovereign mastery. By contrast, the heretic claims that man is subject to immutable boundaries set by divine authority. And how can modern man receive such corruption when himself is the lone king on Earth? There is no god but man, and Darwin is his prophet.

    The Christian cannot help but talk about boundaries. For the boundaries define sin, and the knowledge of sin is the beginning of the Gospel. So we must offend. For we proclaim what man has no desire to hear.

    carl

    • See …….. now that’s approaching the poetic.

      • carl jacobs

        Yes, and I’m still waiting for you to tell me how great my haiku was. You’ve had plenty of time to review it and sing my praise.

        • Daughter in very early stages of labour ……….. but Jack will read it.

          • dannybhoy

            Let’s all pray for deliverance….

          • That will come with Baptism ………

          • Cressida de Nova

            Cressida if it is a girl
            Troilus if it is a boy:)

          • Pray God it will be one or the other ……….. still no news.

      • Cressida de Nova

        You’re not serious I hope. I knew this would happen. You have lost your mind!

        • *chuckle*

          Rhetorical poetry? Certainly imaginatively and emotionally expressed.

          What is poetry?

          • carl jacobs

            Jack

            You should know better than to converse with Cressida about me. It will not end well.

            And you do understand that I was making fun of myself with that writing about the sunset, right?

            carl

          • *chuckle*

          • carl jacobs

            Jack

            Did I not tell you?

            You should listen to me, Jack. I only have your best interests at heart.

            carl

          • Cressida de Nova

            Don’t listen to him Jack .He speaks with forked tongue.Even at this moment he is testing out his sharpened blades on his Davy Crockett hat, preparing for the next collaborateuse head shaving expedition.

          • Cressida de Nova

            oops that comment was meant for Jack ,not you ,but since I’m here
            POW ! a box in the ears for good measure !

          • Jack is helping Carl develop finer sensibilities and qualities by discovering the poet within.

            Who knows where this will lead? In time, he may replace his shears with a set of Nogent scissors and become a coiffeu as skilled as Monsieur Champagne !

          • carl jacobs

            Technical difficulties

          • Cressida de Nova

            i watched a sunset
            the other day
            it was red

            the guy being water tortured
            was a sort of yellow

            one might say
            it was beautiful
            in a red and yellow sort of way

            i wonder what time that was?

          • Interesting ……….

          • Cressida de Nova

            This is more like what Carl had in mind. He is inspired by the sunsets over Guantanemo Bay where he has been appointed Commandant !

          • The Inspector General

            {GULP}

          • Jack knows its wrong …. but he laughed out loud when he read this. Very naughty, Cressida.

        • Jack misplaced his mind somewhere many moons ago.

  • Philip___

    I find it difficult to resist the temptation to think that curbing Christianity is what all this is really about. After all there are already extensive anti-extremist powers available to the authorities to deal with Islamic extremism, but which are not being fully used. And I recall that after Mr Cameron’s same-sex ‘marriage’ law was rammed through Parliament, the government asked the homosexual bobby what they wanted the government to do for them next, and one answer was to vanquish religious views on homosexuality. Whatever the truth in this, the real intention of these proposals can perhaps be indicated by Mrs May saying she wants action to be taken against people who seek to “spread, incite, promote or justify hatred” against others on a number of grounds, including sexual orientation and transsexualism. So, once again our ruling elite seeks to outlaw the expression of opinions not approved by the Big State, in this case using Islamic extremism as an opportunity to do so.

    • James60498 .

      Couldn’t agree with you more. But by the time most people see it, it will be too late.

  • The theory of liberalism, setting aside its misconception of man as a rational being, is that in the market place of ideas agreement or coexistence of difference will emerge through debate and discussion.

    Surely this is a flawed idea?

    As Pope Benedict observed:

    “When human affairs are so ordered that there is no
    recognition of God, there is a belittling of man. That is why, in the final analysis,
    worship and law cannot be completely separated from each other. God has a right
    to a response from man, to man himself, and where that right of God totally
    disappears, the order of law among men is dissolved, because there is no
    cornerstone to keep the whole structure together.”

    This is a prophetic comment on the direction being taken by Western secular liberal democracies and its fruits are becoming increasingly clear.
    How to respond to Islam and yet continue to permit free and open exchange of ideas? Once again, Pope Benedict set out the problem:

    “Islam has a total organization of life that is completely different from ours; it
    embraces simply everything. There is a very marked subordination of woman to
    man; there is a very tightly knit criminal law, indeed, a law regulating all
    areas of life, that is opposed to our modern ideas about society. One has to
    have a clear understanding that it is not simply a denomination that can be
    included in the free realm of a pluralistic society.”

    Happy Jack does not know the answer in secular societies, only that it does not lie in a blanket prevention the exchange of ideas that offend and distress.

    • dannybhoy

      “The theory of liberalism, setting aside its misconception of man as a
      rational being, is that in the market place of ideas agreement or
      coexistence of difference will emerge through debate and discussion.”

      Liberals living in a stable peaceful free society may like to believe that but the reality is that in this world violence and intimidation used as an instrument of oppression or suppression will always triumph over good intentions and idealism.
      “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”
      — Wendell

      Phillips
      I agree with your Pope Benedict quote HJ, but in the affairs of men with which you and I are inextricably linked, the ability to protect and defend those liberties and values are indispensable.

      • Danny, both of Benedict’s quotes need to be considered.

        The dilemma, so far as Jack can see, is that any society based on values that breech (childbirth on Jack’s mind !) breach God’s moral laws is unsustainable. For two reasons. One, they are the only way to live that work for the common good, individual wellbeing and the stability of society. Two, living contrary to them offends God and has consequences in this life as well as the next for individuals. Offending God through sin actually harms man himself because he is living contrary to way he has been created and designed.

        Freedom to go our own way, individually and collectively, carries a cost. Islam is but one threat amongst many to secular freedom. In Jack’s mind, it is not the most significant one we face. A society so openly in rebellion to God is unsustainable.

    • I would certainly want to keep the influence of the Church of Rome and its bishop to an absolute minimum. The baneful effects of political control by the Vatican have been observed in Ireland, Italy and elsewhere over the years. Persecution of Protestants continues in Mexico.
      Not that anyone reads them anymore, but Article XXXVII of the Church of England states: The Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in the realm of England.

  • The moment passed. When Hampshire police, hugely under-resourced, as we are told all our police forces now, mustered six officers to arrest a man reading from a widely available book written by a former PM, all bets were off. It is now an offence to offend someone – anyone; were I, for example, to tell someone who bumped into me in the street to “sod off”, whilst the bumpee might not give a damn, a passer by could claim to be offended, and off to the courts I would go.

    Similarly, a racist event now is any event that anybody deems to be racist; nor does it have to be anybody involved – it can be a bystander. Portmanteau crimes than anybody can invoke, crimes which are now seen as crimes against the state; these will be ferociously prosecuted, whilst crimes against the person and/or property will be ignored, whilst convicted murderers from Latvia are welcomed with open arms into our society.

    FUBAR.

    • DanJ0

      That’s not actually true, is it?

  • CliveM

    We have a Government that scraped into power with less than 24% of the electorate voting for them. In a parliamentary democracy we accept that we have given them the authority to make decisions on our behalf. However that does not give them the right to fundamentally change our rights, privileges and freedoms. Or to make fundamental changes to the make-up, nature and culture of our country without clear and overwhelming popular support. Indeed with regards our rights and freedoms, it is arguable that even with such overwhelming support, a Government should resist such pressure for any but the most urgent of reasons and limited of periods, as no one has the right to give away the freedom of others and future generations. However Governments of all colours continue to betray the trust that has been placed in them.

    Will any such powers be abused? Yes of course, we know this because we have clear and recent precedent that this will be so. This new law must be opposed and struck down.

    • Shadrach Fire

      I like that very much. Makes sense.

  • dannybhoy

    Good post.
    As a Christian I cannot subscribe to focussing on specific sins as your photos suggest.
    It’s all sin, a turning away from God because we want to be our own god and write our own laws and excuse or condemn on our own terms.
    Multiculturalism does not liberate. It suppresses.
    Our nation remains 80+% indigenous white British. Our immigrant populations are mostly found in large cities.
    The Sikhs, the Hindus the Asians have settled here and assimilated into our society without losing their identity and without making huge demands on the host nation.
    Our oldest immigrant group the Jews, have settled, and apart from a few small groups have integrated and contribute positively to our national life in many ways.
    It is from minorities within our Muslim communities that the unrest, the complaints, the threats come.
    Most Muslim people just want to live their lives in peace and practice their faith and culture without let or hindrance. Most came here either to escape the lives they lived in their Muslim homelands, to build better lives for themselves, to prosper.
    Yet the evidence is that Muslims are the least integrated, the most alienated and the most critical of the country and culture which they have chosen to make home.
    http://curriculumforcohesion.org/why/why-this-project-is-needed-in-the-uk/

    The situation is the same across Europe and increasingly in America.
    So to avoid confrontation and civil unrest our government has to include indigenous British “extremist groups and individuals” when they really mean Muslim extremist groups and preachers.
    What then happens is the opposite to what was intentioned. The voices of the “host nation” are repressed, the extremists are encouraged to continue sowing unrest and discontent.

    Our Lord Jesus said,
    “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.

    Mark 3:24-5
    This is what our society is being pushed towards, and only by asserting the supremacy of British law and values can we stop things from becoming worse. To ban Christians from preaching their views means that not only are they the casualties of failed government appeasement policies, but the British people lose a little more of the free speech so many of our ancestors laid down their lives for.

    • CliveM

      Excellently put.

      • dannybhoy

        Thanks Clive. I tried italicizing exactly as Avi and HJ instructed but still didn’t do it right…. 🙂

        • CliveM

          I didn’t notice. Computaphobes like us just need to know our limitations!

        • Dreadnaught

          How to do ITALICS or Bold or both at the same time bold italics
          before your words type then after the words you want to say close the instruction by typing That should put your words in italics. Same pattern for bold but use the letter b

          • dannybhoy

            You’re the third to try Dreadnaught, and that’s what I think I did.
            So my emphasis was Muslim extremists
            It worked this time but not last….
            My head hurts…

          • Uncle Brian

            But it has worked this time!

          • dannybhoy

            That’s because I did it right, but I can’t see what the difference was.
            My head still hurts and I think I’ve got the beginnings of dandruff…

          • Dreadnaught

            those tiny flakes may be getting under your keys – always wear a hair-net before logging in!

          • Shadrach Fire

            The advatage of he old blog was that you could preview what you wrote.

          • Uncle Brian

            But if you want to, you can write your comment on Word and then, when you’re happy with it, cut and paste it here.

          • dannybhoy

            I didn’t know that!. My computency is quite patchy.

    • Thomas Keningley

      Ah yes, God forbid that we should focus on the specific sin of murdering hundreds of thousands of babies, when we could be talking about pride or gossip, whose consequences are identical! After all, it’s not like the Lord Jesus himself talked about people being guilty of a “greater sin”… (Jn 19:11)

      • dannybhoy

        Thomas
        I accept that rebuke, but I wouldn’t accept that (apart from adultery) these issues are so black and white.There are sins that have a social impact as well as a spiritual one, which is why I support traditional marriage and am against ssm. However regarding homosexuality I distinguish between the demands for practicing homosexuality to be accepted in the Christian community, for the homosexual lifestyle to be celebrated or encouraged or promoted to vulnerable children.
        I also accept that there are people who struggle with their homosexuality, who knew from a very early age that they were different. We were talking the other day about being a new creation in Christ Jesus, and of course we are. Yet the fact is that there are many people who have faith in God and want to live Christian or Godly lives and still struggle terribly with their inclinations. If you don’t believe that google websites for Christians and homosexuality.
        I am also against abortion on demand but I accept that in some cases it is the best option. Having worked with children who were so handicapped that they couldn’t do anything but lie strapped into specially adapted wheel chairs. They had to be fed, washed and toileted. They couldn’t talk, and were clearly in pain.
        The knock on effect was often family breakup. Usually the father would go leaving the mother to cope with all the children on her own. It was terribly terribly sad.
        So yes I accept that you are right that some manifestations of sin have greater consequences for the individual and society.

        • Thomas Keningley

          If the best thing for that poor disabled child was to be killed, why didn’t you or his parents just kill him?

          I don’t need you to preach at me about Christians with same sex attractions, I know several. The one thing they say doesn’t help them is people softballing the issue. If this is the issue where our culture wants a fight, that’s where we have to fight.

          • dannybhoy

            Thomas
            that’s a rather harsh response. I am saying that if genetic abnormalities in one or both parents will result in a seriously disabled child then abortion is an option that should be open to the parents, just as major surgery to correct serious physical defects are now.
            It is the same principle that one could apply to a loved one with terminal cancer or whatever who is in great pain or distress. I don’t agree with a state policy of euthenasia but a family should (and I think often does) be able to consult with a doctor to allow medication to be given to let that person slip away – or die if you want something harsher.
            Regarding Christians with same sex attractions, I knew a Christian chap who had same sex attractions. I worked with him. He married, had a child, went back to a homosexual lifestyle and died from HIV.
            So I’m not preaching at you. I thought that’s what you were doing. I am saying that anyone with homosexual attractions and who is also a person of faith is first and foremost a human being. If by softballing you mean I should just sock them with the Gospel and tell them that they will go to Hell if they don’t repent, I ain’t going to do it.
            We treat people with dignity love and respect. We preach or share the Gospel of redemption with them. If they repent of their sins we support them in their struggles. We show them as much love and support as we ourselves would want to be given. If they eventually turn away, they turn away. But God forbid that be because the Christians around them were harsh or judgmental.

          • CliveM

            Well put. It is interesting when people try to justify their rudeness they like to quote John the Baptists rebuke of Herod. Forgetting that;
            1) it didn’t work – so I don’t know why it should be an example to be followed.
            2) he lost his head!!!!!
            Amongst Christians we can disagree, but we should do it gracefully.

          • Thomas Keningley

            Actually I would quote Paul’s statement that the Judaisers should go castrate themselves, and Jesus’ accusations of the Pharisees. I don’t feel the need to be gentle with people who publicly advocate the killing of disabled babies in the womb. They need to be sharply rebuked.

          • CliveM

            Both St. Paul and Jesus received their authority from God. Church leaders have biblical authority to rebuke. Yours appears to be self appointed and without authority.

            Consider yourself rebuked.

          • Thomas Keningley

            You haven’t shown that you need special authority to rebuke someone, only asserted it. In fact, the Bible commands us to be imitators of Paul and Christ. It doesn’t say “except when they do something CliveM finds uncomfortable”.

            So what authority do I need to rebuke other than the authority of the truth? The Bible’s authority tells me that murder is wrong, and therefore those that advocate it are in the wrong.

          • Thomas Keningley

            In fact, notice that when Jesus rebukes the Pharisees in many places he does so not on the basis of his own authority but on the basis of their failure to abide by Scripture.

          • CliveM

            I’m not sure what you believe that has proved. His behaviour would have been bizarre. (To say the least) if he had simply gone round rebuking people without some explanation as to why and what the basis was. At this stage he had not yet revealed his status as messiah.

            I knew someone who was told that the child she was carrying had not developed a brain and was a risk to her life. She had it aborted. No doubt you would consider it murder.
            Of course if you are going to rebuke properly, as per Timothy, you would need to have her rebuked by the Church elders, in front of the congregation as a rebuke to her and as a deterrent to others.

          • Thomas Keningley

            What do you mean “a risk to her life”? If you mean that in a distinctive sense to that in which any pregnancy is risky, then the doctrine of double effect may justify removing a baby in an ectopic pregnancy and killing it in the process, in the same way that civilian casualties in a just war may be justified by the doctrine of double effect.

            If, as you seem to claim, you need some special authority to rebuke someone, something which you have provided no basis for, then the Pharisees would have been justified, in their ignorance, in telling Jesus to mind his own business. But of course, they didn’t, because they didn’t think the Lord Jesus needed some kind of special authority to rebuke, only to be correct. This is especially true when people preach heresy in a public forum, like the Internet.

          • Thomas Keningley

            On the one hand: “We treat people with dignity, love and respect”…

            On the other hand “if genetic abnormalities… will result in a seriously disabled child then abortion is an option that should be open to the parents”.

            Is killing the disabled treating them with dignity, love and respect? If it’s justifiable to kill children in the womb, then why not kill him now? You could do it with poison, the way most abortions are done, or you could go for the more violent chopping him up into little pieces like they do with later term abortions, which disabled babies are most likely to be victims of. Just think of it as a very late-term abortion.

            Giving medication to people that hastens their death may be permissible under the doctrine of double effect, but giving them drugs with the aim of bringing that death about is indeed murder.

            When I talk about softballing the issue of homosexuality, I’m talking about failing to honestly preach the Biblical truth that it is sinful. These other questions of pastoral care are not what I’m talking about, and if you think I’m against providing pastoral care and support to same-sex attracted people then you’re very much barking up the wrong tree.

            If you think I’m treating you harshly, you should get a sense of proportion, since you’re advocating the killing of disabled babies in the womb.

          • dannybhoy

            ” since you’re advocating the killing of disabled babies in the womb.”
            I would prefer, I think most would prefer, that screening would remove the need for the abortion of a seriously disable child.
            And I am talking about serious disability. I have worked with children with learning difficulties who enjoyed the love of family and support workers and gave that love back.
            I have toileted adolescents who don’t know to go to the toilet when they have a bowel movement, I have cleaned up after children and adults in various scenarios.
            To abort a conscious child in the womb is indeed murder, a horrible horrible thing to do.
            I am talking about intervening as soon as possible to prevent suffering, to prevent the disintegration of a family, to spare a poor mother the heartache and possibly guilt of a severly handicapped child, the loss of her husband’s love and support, the neglect of the whole and healthy siblings so as to concentrate everything on the child that ails.
            You’re not treating me harshly Thomas. I accepted the rebuke and I have tried to outline my position on these issues.

          • Thomas Keningley

            You seem to be under the misapprehension that I don’t understand your position, and that if only I did I would agree with you. I understand what you are saying- that it is acceptable to kill (“abort”) severely handicapped children in the womb to prevent the suffering of their family. I understand your position. It’s abhorrent. The child, severely handicapped or no, is still a human being (hence why you’re too squeamish to accept the idea of killing it outside of the womb), and therefore to kill it for no crime of its own is murder. Also, what do you propose to be a conscious child in the womb? You use lots of euphemisms (intervening, aborting) to disguise what you are saying, but the truth is plain for all to see.

          • dannybhoy

            ” I understand your position. It’s abhorrent. The child, severely
            handicapped or no, is still a human being (hence why you’re too
            squeamish to accept the idea of killing it outside of the womb), and therefore to kill it for no crime of its own is murder.”

            Thomas,
            One day I shall have to stand before the Lord Jesus and give an account of what I did, what I believed and why.
            I don’t see any profit to you or myself in pursuing this conversation.

          • Thomas Keningley

            I’m not doing it to profit myself or you, I’m doing it to profit anyone who might read this and think that it’s an acceptable position to hold that we can kill babies in the womb because they are severely disabled.

          • dannybhoy

            Thomas,
            Do you have any personally recommended organisations offering care, support, respite care, counselling, emergency placements etc. that perhaps you yourself are involved with or give your time to?
            Perhaps you work in the caring sector and your experience has brought you to a different conclusion to my own?

          • OldJim

            I work as a carer, and I don’t believe that innocent human life can be taken, nor, consequently, that there is any sound way to differentiate human life that is inviolable from that which is considered to be negotiable. I understand that the language with which Mr Keningley engaged you wasn’t exactly conciliatory, but I must say that I find your attempt to undermine his credibility relative to your own by referring your prospective audience to your admirable works of mercy a rather low thing to do. Is that charity or forbearance? You don’t need to be a fireman to recognise a fire hazard, and if a fireman with a lit cigarette at a petrol pump mocked his accuser with his profession, it not only wouldn’t endear him to me, it would debase the acts of courage and service that would otherwise have honoured him.

          • dannybhoy

            “I must say that I find your attempt to undermine his credibility
            relative to your own by referring your prospective audience to your
            admirable works of mercy a rather low thing to do. Is that charity or
            forbearance?”
            First off Old Jim, I don’t regard anything I have done as “admirable works of mercy”
            Did I really come across that pompous or pious that it would prompt such an observation from yourself?!
            You are a carer, so you know that the people most suited to looking after the ill or disabled are caring people, people who respect other people and their worth as human beings.
            Being of a practical disposition and possessing a sense of humour also helps, as you will be aware.
            The reason I asked Thomas that was because as a young Christian I used to hold similar views on those issues.
            Until in the process of time I met people who struggled with their sexuality.
            Until I was confronted with children in pain, unable to communicate in any way. I remember one sweet little girl who had to be fed, whose lungs were full of phlegm, whose body would go into awful spasms..
            Then talking to parents and hearing how their own lives had fallen apart, the guilt the love the despair.
            Thomas was intent on labelling any abortion as murder. I disagree.

            I wanted to know if he was speaking from personal experience and involvement.

          • dannybhoy

            I had to go out to keep an appointment, but I wanted to finish what I had started.
            I also wanted to know whether winning the intellectual argument was more important to Thomas than considering the issues and implications and demands and stresses placed on parents and families of seriously handicapped children.
            And I’m not talking about cystic fibrosis, which is what that lovely little girl had -except that she was actually fourteen years old and gurgled her delight when I sang children’s songs to her because she couldn’t speak..
            I’m not talking about Downe’s Syndrome or various forms of Aspergers or Autism, or other conditions that are at least manageable for a family.
            I’m talking about conditions that rip families apart, where the husband accuses the wife of being responsible or vice versa, where usually the husband walks out because he can’t cope, leaving his wife and other children to it. (The chap I have in mind was a policeman incidentally. His young boy stood and rocked back and forth.,.)
            It’s very easy to condemn something as ‘abhorrent’ if it hasn’t touched you personally.
            I’ve already said that I am against abortion on demand, that to kill a perfectly baby because they are unwanted or inconvenient or the result of an affair is inexcusable.
            That is not what I am talking about.

          • dannybhoy

            Big Issues guys!
            No responses?
            No comebacks?
            Thomas??

          • CliveM

            Dannyboy

            You are a better man then me.

          • dannybhoy

            Nonsense!
            I’m no better than anyone. Just a little speck of humanity of no real consequence except to God..
            and possibly my wife.

            Or did you mean regarding my ability to deal compassionately with people who’ve poohed themselves ?

            Maybe being a plumber helped. 😉

          • CliveM

            Actually what I meant was you were a damn sight more charitable in your responses then I would have been.

            But those other things as well 🙂 yuck.

          • dannybhoy

            Thanks Clive.
            I shall make myself a badge..
            charitable
            forbearing
            and qualified to deal
            with yucky stuff.
            🙂

    • C Law

      Very well put, Sir

  • Shadrach Fire

    Your grace,
    I do have a little sympathy for Peter Simpson.
    there are undoubtedly some who would like to see this sort of preacher gagged and his manner of public display outlawed. His words cause harassment or distress; his love is hate. The inclusion of the term ‘To them,’ at the beginning of the second sentence would have clarified it beyond any doubt.
    I think that the text as it is could easily be construed as the thinking of the writer (as indeed I did). It is assuring that you confirmed to Peter the manner of your meaning. The last thing anyone wants to see is offence cased un-necessarily. Since you are the academic, I defer to your perception of the appropriate context and grammar.

  • DanJ0

    Theresa May: “But the damage extremists cause to our society is reason enough to act.”

    I suppose it turns on that. There’s some tension there between the ‘common good’ served by a right to freedom of speech, and the ‘public interest’ served by looking at the society-wide consequences of some instances of it.

    • CliveM

      DanJo

      Your point is a good one. I remember watching a programme on Islamic Fundamentalism in the UK by (I think Channel 4 ) a few years back with Rod Liddle presenting. It was the usual stuff. Hatred of the west, death to the infidels etc with young bearded men aggressively shouting hate etc. Then no doubt for balance he did another one on Christian fundamentalism. I remember the programme illustrating this issue by showing a crowd of elderly, thermoflask, anoraked and banner wielding Christians complaining about Jerry Springer the musical. For me it was a strange way of illustrating a point that seemed to be suggesting an equivalency with Islamic fundamentalism. Looking back maybe they were trying to be satirical!
      For me this is the risk with the Teresa May’s proposals. She appears to be suggesting an equivalency that I don’t think is justifiable. Yes people maybe annoyed at being told they are going to hell, but they couldn’t seriously have felt at risk or intimidated.
      I have no right not to be offended, but I have a right not to be threatened. Those laws are already in place. I do sometimes feel they aren’t rigorously enough enforced.

      • DanJ0

        As I recall, there were calls by some church leaders to have the JStO tour banned, protests outside theatres by those numpties at Christian Voice, and an attempt at a private prosecution under the archaic Blasphemy Act, now repealed. Thousands of people complained to the BBC when it was screened on TV. I suppose that is all fair enough as a protest really, as it was undoubtedly offensive to a large number of people. I actually bought a copy of the DVD myself to protest against censorship but I have never actually watched it.
        What about this:

        http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2012/jan/10/muslim-anti-gay-leaflet-hate
        I think I would have been rather disturbed to receive a copy through my letterbox but in principle I suppose calling for the death penalty for homosexuals is okay if it’s done peacefully in the abstract. The flip side of that would be that calling for the death penalty for Muslims in a leaflet campaign through every letterbox would also be okay if it’s done peacefully too in the abstract. Perhaps that wouldn’t go down so well, especially where I live.

        • CliveM

          Hi DanJo

          Read the article. They were being quite clever I think by tarting it up to look as if they were asking for a proper judicial process, not simply a call to kill.
          What actually confuses me though, if the law already allows for these sorts of actions to be charged and tried, what is the new law designed to achieve? If it is going to clamp down further, what additional actions will be covered? If I am honest the article makes me even more concerned.
          Regards the Jerry Springer thing, I don’t suppose the authors cared about the complaints as usually in these circumstances the purpose of the offence is to stir up such behaviour and to obtain some free publicity thereby. The actions of the protestors I think followed a reasonable level of complaint. My only observation being I personally wouldn’t let myself be manipulated by the authors in this way. Which is why I would part company with, for example, Christian Voice on this issue. But I do understand why for some people they felt they needed to complain.
          However if it had been Mohammed being ridiculed I think we both know it wouldn’t have stopped at demonstrations and letters of complaint to the BBC.
          As a final word, I would never be happy at letting people demand the death of a section of society, like Gays, judicially or not.
          I know in law the line can be a fine one. However I think Teresa May is at risk of making a law, easily abused by campaign groups and the Police.

        • CliveM

          With regards behaviour this is difficult. If I am honest I find myself increasingly intolerant of Islamic dress for example. I do find it “in-British” partly I suppose because so much of what you hear from the Muslim community is”un-British”.
          However should that matter as long as they are not being violent?
          Clearly I have no problems with passion plays! Been to some very good ones.

          • DanJ0

            I referred to Passion plays mostly because I presume Muslims find them blasphemous, though I don’t suppose many are too bothered by them even so.

          • CliveM

            That was stupid of me as I didn’t even think about it in that way.

          • CliveM

            Btw I deliberately didn’t discuss this in relation to Gays as it would risk provoking attempts to hijack the discussion down lines I am not prepared to go. I just don’t see the point. If you get my drift.

  • The Inspector General

    Well, if anyone doubted where the Conservative party is going, here it is from May herself…

    But if others described a woman’s intellect as “deficient”, denounced people on the basis of their religious beliefs, or rejected the democratic process, we would quite rightly condemn their bigotry.

    The Inspector is to his surprise, a bigot !

    Women make bloody awful politicians, as we know. They also make bloody awful
    firefighters, soldiers, bishops, company directors, UK prime ministers, chess players, boxers, wrestlers, builders, carpenters, electricians, footballers. The
    list is endless. Women are damn good at bearing and raising the next generation
    though, the highest calling of the lot. Men can only look on in envy at that.

    Muslims, if devout, are in the main rotters. You can’t get away from that…

    We’ve already rejected the democratic process for Arabs and muslims in general. Won’t work. Can’t work. Racial profiling gets in the way, you see…

    Now let us prepare ourselves for “The Elimination of Bigotry” act. Far-fetched, you
    think ? Not at all. Anyway, it needs to be in place before homosexuality goes
    mainstream, and we can all marry the cat…

    What an absolute shocker your Inspector is, what ! To think he’s allowed to freely
    walk the streets as well…chilling stuff, sure you’ll agree. Something must be done about him…

    • IanCad

      The real Inspector.
      His own man again.

      • The Inspector General

        He certainly is. By the way, the bit about women being crap at being PM is a dig at May, in case she has any ideas above her station. The blessed Margaret had her faults, but she batted for the UK…

        • IanCad

          She is a danger to our few liberties that remain.
          The rise of the fair sex in politics is directly proportional to the decline of manhood.
          Wasn’t Thatcher “the only man among ’em?”
          Major problem with the ladies is that they never ever admit that, perhaps, for even just this once, they may be mistaken.

          • The Inspector General

            To paraphrase Elizabeth I. “I may have the weak and feeble mind of a woman, but that’s not going to stop me…”

          • CliveM

            Re last paragraph- you’ve met my wife then?!!

        • dannybhoy

          You think men envy women the ability to give birth?
          The morning sickness
          The increased appetite
          The weight gain
          The tiredness
          The mood swings
          The act of giving birth
          The stretch marks!

          You think any man envies a woman that experience?
          What kind of a weirdo are you? 😉

          • The Inspector General

            They love it. Don’t you believe their moans…

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    Goodness! It seems to me Mrs May has found the cast-off footwear of Jackboots Jaqui on her last spring clean of the Home Office, and likes the way they fit. There would be no extremists (of the Religion of the Perpetually Offended at any rate) if the politicians hadn’t created the situation of unfettered immigration in the first place; they are the ones we should hold to account for the damage they have done to the country…but whilst the evening magic lantern churns out Great British Bake Offs (I was not asked to compete…AGAIN!) nobody seems to give a tinker’s cuss.

    • Shadrach Fire

      Mrs Proudie, Your biscuits would undoubtedly have come first every time.

      • dannybhoy

        I think they would have come out scorched… 😉

        • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

          Scorched? Goodness, I never scorch my hobnobs. Why, I follow Mrs Beeton’s instructions to the letter…The only searing I do comes in the form of a withering glance…

          • dannybhoy

            “The only searing I do comes in the form of a withering glance…”
            Enough I’m sure to terrify any hobnob..

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        Ah dear Shadrach, I shall send a batch to you direct…

    • Manfarang

      What country do you live in Mrs P? The IRA were immigrants? Far more violence from them than any other group.

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        Goodness ear Manfarang, yes indeed…I’d sort of forgotten about them…and as for the country I live in, why, it is Trollopian Albion in the County of Barset, where rural deans ride old maids to warm beer…or something like that.

  • Kathryn Oxley

    Dear His Grace, Many thanks for your article. It is great to see these stalwarts of the faith holding up the Word of truth. I think it would be lovely if you accepted Rev Simpson’s apology for mis-understanding your writing style. (Forgive me, but the style foxed me rather too). Thank you for your labours in the gospel.

  • Marie1797

    God bless the Rev. Simpson. I don’t think his preaching is at all offensive, someone ought to treat him to a better mic. and speaker system.

  • Duckling Alert …………..

    Daughter safely to hospital and expectant grandparents at home ……….

  • Marie1797

    Congratulations HJ.

    • Still awaiting announcement of birth ……….. 3.5cms dilation at last report and gas and air to hand. Birth could be hours away but it has started.

      Emotional seeing my daughter in pain, anxious and excited all at same time.

      • Marie1797

        Any news?

        Subject: Re: New comment posted on Christians are called to be ‘ non-violent extremists’

        • No yet ………. now I’m a worried father and hoping all is going well.
          Phoned the maternity unit a couple of hours ago and was advised “these things sometimes take time” ! My son ruefully commented, “Is she having a holiday or a baby?”

          • Marie1797

            Boys eh! Labour can be many hours long. Maybe your little grandaughter doesn’t want to be born on the same day as David Cameron!

          • Arrrrrrrggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhh …………… Jack was unaware of that.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Goodness! How wonderful! My Lord the Bishop and I send our most heartfelt congratulations to the new born and to her family! Have the proud parents chosen a name yet?

          • Lucy ……… good, solid Christian name …. may her life be illuminated and all who meet her.

            Ps
            Click on link on Jack’s profile for a peek of baby. She’s absolutely gorgeous !

          • Marie1797

            Awww she’s beautiful. HJ.

          • She is Marie ……

          • A baby girl, Marie. Born at 00:30 and weighing in at 9lbs 6oz.

          • Marie1797

            Congratulations!
            How lovely, a new little life. Is she the first grandchild?

          • Thank you. Truly joyful. What a wonderful and precious gift babies really are. And my daughter sounded different somehow when we spoke on the phone. My heart went out to her and I wanted to hug her after all she has been through. She is our first grandchild, yes. Haven’t slept properly in 24 hours with all the anxiety and excitement. Will be seeing her tomorrow. Tears of joy and tears of relief.

            Must remember not to call her “duckling” !

          • dannybhoy

            I thought duckling was kinda cute.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Congratulations Grandpa !

            Celebration drinks are in order today no doubt:) I’ll just have the one.

          • Thank you Cressie. Grandpa …. love it !
            Private pics at Jack’s hide-out for you and Old Blowers.

          • dannybhoy

            Congratulations to your daughter her husband and baby Marie.
            9lb 6oz!!
            Well that explains the delay!
            God bless her and doting granddad.

          • Thank you, Danny.

          • dannybhoy

            Not that it matters but I thought her name was Marie not Lucy?
            Whatever, there is something incredibly joyful about a baby. A sense of wonder at their little hands and feet, their total vulnerability. They bring out the very finest of feelings in us dog eared and cynical old buffers.
            Not that I think you’re one (very) Happy Jack…..

          • Old Blowers

            Congratulations, you old quacker.

            Best wishes and love to you and your family.

            Ernst

          • Why thank you, you old scoundrel. Pictures at Jack’s ‘secret place’ …. for your eyes only.
            *chuckle*

  • Manfarang

    Free speech is defined today as the expression of a string of obscenities.

  • len

    As this World gets darker then the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ will shine ever brighter to those who love the Light

    However for those who love the darkness the Gospel of Jesus Christ will become probably as much( if not more) of an offence as it ever was.
    As man attempts to re define sin the Word of God stands as an ever present reminder of God`s original intention for man and denotes exactly how far man has fallen in regards to God`s blueprint.

  • SidneyDeane

    Agreed.
    I wouldnt want to stifle free expression of (non-violent) ideas. No matter how stupid. (im looking at you, evolution sign).

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