Church denounces Austria’s ‘far-right’ Norbert Hofer for campaign poster invoking God

Norbert Hofer is the presidential hopeful of the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) in the forthcoming election (which is being re-run in December owing to previous electoral irregularities). The Freedom Party of Austria is considered ‘far-right’ because it advocates control of immigration (in particular of Muslims), which policy is considered ‘populist’ (and so crass), if not ‘racist’ (and so un-Christian). Herr Hofer used to be Roman Catholic, until his church denounced some of his ‘populist’ beliefs, such as his ‘Islamophobic’ or ‘nationalist’ immigration policy, criticism of which he reportedly described as a “left-wing Catholic witch-hunt”. Understandably, he got rather fed up with Catholic-socialist clericalism and is now a faithful Protestant, trusting in the grace of God for his salvation.

He has produced a poster for his presidential campaign which includes the phrase ‘So wahr mir Gott helfe’ (‘So help me God’). This hasn’t gone down very well with Austria’s Protestant churches, who are a bit miffed that a ‘far-right’ politician is invoking the name of God to his right-wing, nationalist cause. “God cannot be manipulated for personal intentions or political purposes,” Bishop Michael Buenker said in a joint statement with other Protestant leaders (translated):

We consider that mentioning God for one’s own political interests and using him along with reference to the Christian West to indirectly attack other religions and cultures amounts to an abuse of his name and of religion in general. We reject the use of God for political campaigning.

And further direct comment:

“We do not get involved in party politics, but if Christian principles are violated we have to take a…stand,” said Thomas Hennefeld, superintendent of the Protestant Reformed Church.

Hofer’s direct invocation of God for political purposes was the first of its kind in Austria for 10-15 years and was inappropriate given the FPO’s politics, Hennefeld said.

“We stand for a Biblical understanding of God, a universal God who is there for the weak, the strangers, the refugees – the opposite of what the FPO stands for.”

If it had been a left-wing, pro-EU candidate, no doubt it would have been absolutely fine. But God doesn’t like ‘right-wing’ anything: He likes immigration and ‘Europe’ because it’s all about helping the weak and oppressed and being generous and neighbourly. He also likes peaceful and integration-ready Islam, of the sort Europe is witnessing in Molenbeek, La Courneuve, Malmö and Tower Hamlets. National security, jobs and social cohesion are of little concern: indeed, a Christian who prioritises these selfish obsessions above helping migrants/refugees/asylum-seekers is not being very Christian at all.

This is all just a little bit interesting, not least because Herr Hofer’s previous denomination isn’t denouncing this poster. Contra word from the Guardian that the Austrian Bishops’ Conference would not be commenting on Hofer’s campaign, this statement was given to Wiener Zeitung:

Michael Prüller, spokesperson for the the archdiocese of Vienna, said over the weekend in a guest editorial in “Die Presse” that “God” is not a concept on which Catholics or Christians have a copyright. Also Prüller introduced the Second Commandment into the discussion. “It is not up to the church to speculate about Norbert Hofer’s motives, but if he brings God into the game, he does so at his own risk,” said the speaker of Cardinal Christoph Schönborn.

The Second Commandment is concerned with God punishing those who take His name in vain, which is rather the point being made by the Protestants. It is interesting to note that Roman Catholic bishops have previously been “well disposed” to The Freedom Party’s emphasis on law and order, the family and solidarity; and Cardinal Schönborn refused to condemn the Auxiliary Bishop of Salzburg Andreas Laun, who has been effusive in his support for Hofer: “God help us and the people in our country!… You can only choose Mr. Hofer and pray for him and for Austria,” he told Kurier earlier this year.

But what exactly is wrong with using the phrase ‘So help me God’ in an election poster? If God cannot be “manipulated” or “instrumentalised” for political purposes, why is He admissible in the Austrian presidential oath of office? Why did the Queen utter those very words as part of her Coronation Oath? Isn’t it an established part of legal-political liturgy throughout the monotheistic world? Isn’t it, actually, a sign of humility to acknowledge submission to a higher power?

If one may talk about the heart and soul of a nation, why not God in that nation? Is it not an assertion of religious values and cultural traditions? And why is interceding for divine assistance so offensive to Protestants? Herr Hofer isn’t saying that his election victory is God’s will: he is imploring divine assistance in the pursuit of his political objective. What exactly is wrong with that?

By objecting to The Freedom Party’s (ab)use of God for Norbert Hofer’s political ends, the Protestant churches of Austria are actually (ab)using Him for their own. They evidently deplore the FPÖ’s ‘far-right’ association; some 1,499,971 Austrians may deplore the church’s tacit support for Alexander Van der Bellen and the ‘far-left’ Greens.

If a poster with the words ‘So help me God’ constitutes “an abuse of his name and religion in general”, as the Protestant churches state, how does any political appeal to religious values and Christian culture not also constitute an abuse? Is this not simply a manifestation of ‘political Christianity’? Norbert Hofer and his predecessor Jörg Haider may use religious slogans and symbols to convey their message, and these may attract neo-Nazi rabble-rousers and other undesirables, but there’s no doubt that many thousands of sincere Christians find succour in the style: they have fears, insecurities and deep concerns to which The Freedom Party offers persuasive answers in the vernacular.

Norbert Hofer tweeted a series of ripostes to the Protestant leaders, reminding them that the Austrian national anthem mentions God; a picture of a US dollar note bears the slogan ‘In God we trust’; and a picture of the cover of a book about German Chancellor Angela Merkel, entitled ‘So wahr mir Gott helfe’, a phrase she also used when she was sworn into office. None of this is considered blasphemous by Protestants (even Austrian ones): the sacred fuses naturally with the profane in national politics, and has done since olive branches and wings of eagles were surrounded by glittering halos and constellations of stars. Anthems and dollar bills become expressions of faith not in kings, states or Mammon, but in their origins, traditions and the divinely-appointed institutions by which civilisation is ordered. A religion of politics is created every time a political entity offers a better refuge than the religious entity: the nation state, party or political leader are sacralised and venerated as the fount of salvation; political power is shrouded in holiness.

Whether it is wise to invoke the name of God on a political poster is a matter of valid debate. But if the Lutheran and Reformed churches of Austria presume the authority to denounce Norbert Hofer for invoking God “for political ends”, may one ask who endowed the Lutheran and Reformed Christian leaders in Austria with the authority to invoke God in their Protestant cause? Who died and made Bishop Michael Buenker Pope?

  • Clearly I will be out of tune with the C of E. Particularly as when I saw the lines of ‘child migrants’ being brought to this country, I said to my wife “God help us all”.

    • Dominic Stockford

      I saw a picture of a ’16 year old’ migrant today – I’d have been very worried about my health if I looked like him at 16!

  • David

    Many Church leaders are first Socialists and second Christian leaders. Their politics blinds them to the effects of Islam on society. Islamic societies are never liberal or free. Tolerance is fine towards the tolerant. But Islam is fundamentally intolerant, illiberal seeking to replace democracy and free speech with Sharia and theocracy.

    There are of course many fine Muslim people, who do not obey all the precepts of their faith. But the best way to assist refugees, and economic migrants, as the two groups are often confused, is by building up their own countries, not sucking them into situations of tension and conflict in lands with cultures that are alien to them.

    Mass immigration of those with very different cultures is evil as inevitably, it leads to social tensions and unrest. Helping them to rebuild their own countries is the correct Christian response. The western institutional Churches are usually wrong on this, including my own hopelessly naive Church of England.

    Moreover why are these Churches not putting more efforts into addressing the cause of these population displacements, which is due to western nations deliberately destroying and destabilising previously functioning nation states – there’s the greatest evil of all. Address the causes firstly, not the terrible effects. Most Church leaders seem myopic.

  • The Explorer

    When God visited the World He had made, the World couldn’t tolerate Him, and put Him to death. Not much seems to have changed since. Politicians are anti-God, Church leaders are anti-God, the Media are anti-God. God seems to like to stack all the odds against Himself. He certainly doesn’t make things easy for His followers.

    • Dominic Stockford

      I point out to my congregation that it is a miracle that we still exist, given the array of forces opposed to us and the Biblical message we preach.

  • dannybhoy

    Here’s something from the Gospel Herald I shared this morning..

    I personally believe that Islam will not triumph in the West, as long as the percentage of citizens to politicians and Churchian handwringers remains the same. The fact is that the presence of Islam in Europe is exposing its weaknesses. There is no comparison between our moral values and their moral values, no comparison between a faith that spreads through fear and death, and a faith that preaches God’s salvation and practical love for our fellow man..

    • Dominic Stockford

      We need a Churchillian hand-slammer.

      • dannybhoy

        Indeed. I was challenged by your and Anton’s involvement in demonstrations of support or opposition. There are a few causes I would like to attend to show support for, but East Anglia is a 2 hour plus journey to London, and then there’s the overnight stay if it ends late.

        • Dominic Stockford

          Understood, re the difficulty of getting there. Many are during the day, which also doesn’t help people who are working normal hours. On one occasion someone who worked in parliament as a secretary came out and joined us, but not for long.

        • Rhoda

          There’s always the option of writing to your MP on these issues if you can’t make it the demonstrations in person.

          • dannybhoy

            I did that for many years and have plenty of ‘palm off’ letters. So I have little faith in that system. MPs are expected to toe the party line and you don’t climb the greasy promotion pole by being ‘disloyal’ to the leadership..
            The MP is not an unbiased representative of the people. They want your vote, not your opinion..
            I sign a lot of online petitions, post causes on facebook and copy in emails to people of power or influence. I find that far more effective. I have been down to London on occasion if it’s a day event or conference.

  • CliveM

    Personally I’m always feel a little queezy when a politician of whatever hue, invokes God as part of their campaign. I ask myself why?

  • We stand for a Biblical understanding of God, a universal God who is there for the weak, the strangers, the refugees

    Every day brings more bad news about the consequences of mass immigration but church leaders press on regardless, using God to argue for the admission to Europe of even more inhabitants of the world’s failed states. Some church leaders may be driven by a desire to wreck Europe and others may simply be setting new standards of mind-blowing naïvety; either way, they will shortly find themselves on the wrong side of history. It didn’t have to be like this, the churches could have stood shoulder to shoulder with the people and fought to keep Europe a Christian continent.

    • The Explorer

      A God who is there for the weak and strangers is certainly Biblical. Possibly for refugees; although that may be more by inference: refugees, after all, are weak and estranged. But what about a God who sent a Flood and who will consign some to Hell? Is that a Biblical understanding of God? If not, what is the source of such ideas?

      • @ The Explorer—what is the source of such ideas?

        One certainly notes a discrepancy between the ancient God of Flood and Hell and today’s God of Boundless Compassion for the Needy of All Religions and Cultures, and Anyone Who Disagrees Is a Vile Racist. I can only think that Man has developed a regrettable habit of putting words in God’s mouth.

    • David

      Exactly !

    • Inspector General

      One has to hand it to you, Johnny Rottenborough. Your anti-Semitism stinks sir, but your insight on other matters grave is damn incisive. Some of the best this man has ever read. Well, other than Cranmer…

      • @ IG—You’re very kind.

        As someone whose career in mainstream journalism was ended by accusations of anti-Semitism, Joseph Sobran speaks from experience:

        My old boss [at National Review] Bill Buckley wrote an entire book called In Search of Anti-Semitism without bothering to define anti-Semitism.

        At the time I thought this was an oversight. I was wrong. The word would lose its utility if it were defined. As I observed in my own small contribution to the book, an anti-Semite used to mean a man who hated Jews. Now it means a man who is hated by Jews.

        If you want to distinguish between the innocent and the guilty, you define crimes precisely. If, however, you merely want to maximize the number of convictions, increase the power of the accusers, and create an atmosphere of dread, you define crimes as loosely as possible.

        The dictionary, though, still clings to the old definition of anti-Semitism: ‘hostility to or prejudice against Jews’, and ‘prejudice’ is ‘preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience’. As my present poor opinion of Jews is based on the words and actions of Jews and the Jewish community—that’s to say, based on reason—I submit that I am innocent of prejudice. Hostility is defined as ‘unfriendliness or opposition’. I do not think of myself as unfriendly to Jews but, yes, I am opposed to them. Given their hostility to Christianity and their leading role in promoting Third World immigration, much of it Muslim, how could I be otherwise?

        • Inspector General

          Oh come now, Johnny R. We both know the truth of it. You and your compatriots scour the whatever to find the writings of the small number of aggrieved Jews who have a chip on their shoulder. Then, a buzzing and a loud click – and your electric arc lights are shining on them.

          There’s good and bad all over. To illustrate the point, the Inspector is conducting a review of SS Generals from the 39 45 war, courtesy Wiki. Working down, we are at the Gruppenfuhrers. Surprisingly, many did not do anything during that time to cause them to face trial afterwards. And if there was one group to be scrutinised closely regarding that possibility, it was that crowd. Yes, truly, some SS Generals! Hard to believe but there you have it. They were patriots, yes, but criminals in uniform to be hanged from the gallows, it seems not. Allied Revenge was in the air too, absolutely no doubt about that after the ‘camps’ existence was uncovered.

          So. are you honest enough to confirm or deny one’s findings concerning your modus operendi?

          • IrishNeanderthal

            Well put, Inspector.

            Many people have said that the present chaos in Iraq has been very much exacerbated by Bush & Co sacking all who held official posts under the former regime.

            In so doing, they managed to throw the baby out with the Ba‘athwater.

        • Ivan M

          Sobran told it like is it.

          If you want to distinguish between the innocent and the guilty, you define crimes precisely. If, however, you merely want to maximize the number of convictions, increase the power of the accusers, and create an atmosphere of dread, you define crimes as loosely as possible.

          Orwell would have recognised him as a brother.

  • chefofsinners

    Why would any politician not want God’s help?
    What church would deny their national leaders God’s help?

    • Politically__Incorrect

      “What church would deny their national leaders God’s help”
      The CofE would if that leader doesn’t sing the Red Flag

  • Politically__Incorrect

    “So help me God” sounds to me like a prayer, a plea for assistance, and nothing to do with “manipulation”. Whether God helps or not is up to Him, but it is not wrong for us to ask. The Protestant Church is so heavily intoxicated with left-wing politics that it confuses God’s love with what the Left may call “social justice”. In fact that social justice is no justice at all because it’s final arbiter is man himself, and man is inherently sinful. This probably tells us more about the established churches than it does about Austria’s “far-right” presidential candidate.

    • David

      Quite – well said !

  • David

    It is not “far right” to want to do what all humans have always done, which is to live amongst people who roughly, share your values, beliefs, culture and ways of life. Nowadays the left-liberal supporters of the demonic globalism that seeks to destroy the west, falsely labels anyone who supports their nation state, its democracy, freedom of speech, expression and conscience as “far right”. What is destructive, controlling and hateful is wanting to flood the nations of Europe with masses of aliens of an utterly opposed culture which can bring only social tensions and chaos and maybe even worse – civil war. Help refugees where they live. Economic migrants have no automatic right to anything outside their own societies.

  • carl jacobs

    Europe is caught in a particularly vicious dilemma. Its fertility rate is so low, it needs immigrants to staff its economy. It has to replace all those aborted and contracepted children. Otherwise the economy will become unsustainable. But the available source of ready labor is from Islamic countries. It doesn’t take a Social Democratic rocket scientist to figure out what that confluence could mean to the future of cosmopolitan social democracy in Europe.

    This is just a little attempt at boundary enforcement to keep allowed political discourse within the limits set by the fading social democratic consensus. And it’s driven by fear – fear that the population will listen.

    • Dreadnaught

      …and contracepted children… Hah ha ha ha ha. Wonderful expression – stupid but… no lets leave it there..

      • carl jacobs

        You wouldn’t think it so stupid if you lived in Portugal.

    • The Explorer

      If it’s fertility is low it presumably doesn’t need the contraception/abortion because it’s unable to conceive in the first place.

      • carl jacobs

        Fertility rate is the number of live births per woman in the child bearing quartile. It is lowered by (among other things) abortion, contraception, and willful childlessness. Yes, the problem is a refusal to have children. That refusal is instrumentalized by abortion and contraception.

        • The Explorer

          Yes, it seems strange that fertility should be reduced when food, health care and housing have all improved. But I suppose contraception enables childbearing to be deferred beyond a woman’s most fertile years; so that when she finally decides she’s ready infertility may genuinely be an issue.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Tomorrow is the UK National Day of Prayer about Abortion. I trust everyone here will be praying. At my church we are meeting from 10-11am (and on my day off, sometimes that gets canned) – it is the very least we can do in face of the veritable massacre of the innocents that has taken place in the UK.

      • Ivan M

        I tend to think you would not want Catholics praying with you. After all isn’t that a bigger problem than abortion?

        • Dominic Stockford

          At that particular ‘protest’ most protesters were from disability groups, not Christians at all. Public prayer was therefore not taking place, sadly. What I narrated happened when I went a short distance away to sit and pray on my own.

          • Ivan M

            I do hope that your prayers are answered.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Our prayer is always answered, but we don’t always get the answer we think is right for us. As the BCP puts it, “fulfil now O Lord, the desires and petitions of thy servants, as may be most expedient for them.”

            On the matter of life, I do hope our prayers continue to be answered.

    • David

      I don’t buy the argument that immigrants are needed to compensate for low birth rates. Japan has a very low fertility rate too, yet they cope successfully with a falling population by automating.
      Anyway most europeans would prefer to have their culture continued, even if the total size of their economy shrinks, than lose everything worthwhile to attempt to keep a high national GDP.
      But anyway all these arguments appear to be an illusion in the face of the unemployability of most of the migrants into Germany.

    • DP111

      Once Muslims number around 30% of the population, they will be able to invoke Sharia via parliament.

      We will then lose Western civilisation, never to be regained. Look at Turkey.

      We do not need semi-skilled or no-skill Muslims in huge numbers, ready only for Benefits. Stats show that a majority of Somali Muslims are unemployed or unemployable. As for Muslim women, they are doing more important strategic work. In effect both are eating the savings, without contributing anything.

      We don’t need Muslims, even of they were net contributors, which they are not. There are millions of Christians from Spain, Portugal, Greece, and even Latin America, who will never be an existential threat to Western civilisation. In fact they will readily assimmilate, without requiring expensive special programmes.

      Islam is doctrinally opposed to Christianity as a matter of war policy. We should of course love our enemies, which Islam is, but that does not mean that we are required to invite them into our home, so they can rape women and children, as war booty.

      To import millions of unassimilable.Muslims into the country, is putting the country into a situation far worse then if he had been conquered by the Nazis.

    • DP111

      The Islamic presence in Europe is foreign in every way – racial, cultural and religious, and needs be turned back. It has come about due to a serious lack of education, and ignorance of Islam and history, of the political elite.

      Lets look at what we are up against. With Islam there will be no compromise. Not because of us, but Islam will not accept a compromise, unless they are losing. Every canonical text of Islam forbids an abiding peace with the Infidel. A compromise treaty (Hudna), can hold for a maximum ten years, with the specific purpose for Muslims to re-organise and re-arm, and start the war again.

      This will not end until Islam is victorious, and Sharia is established throughout Christendom, the long term goal of Islam, or it is pushed back out of Europe, as it was at the Gates of Vienna in 1684.

  • HedgehogFive

    In case you missed it, some very recent news:

    Man who raped 10-year-old boy at swimming pool in Austria has sentence overturned by Supreme Court http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/iraqi-refugee-raped-10-year-old-boy-swimming-pool-vienna-austria-sentence-conviction-overturned-a7377491.html, which reads (in part):

    Police said the 20-year-old Iraqi refugee, who has not been named, assaulted his victim in a toilet cubicle at the Theresienbad swimming pool in Vienna on 2 December last year.

    The child reported the rape to a lifeguard and his attacker was arrested at the scene, reportedly telling officers in initial interviews that he was experiencing a “sexual emergency” after not having sex in four months.

    In June, he was jailed for a minimum of six years for rape and aggravated sexual abuse of a minor . . . But on Thursday, Austria’s Supreme Court overturned the rape conviction and ordered a re-trial on the charge.

    • carl jacobs

      So I see the Enlightenment has taken another step forward. A ten year-old boy is now presumed capable of consenting to sex with an adult.

      Progress is wonderful, isn’t it. It’s just so … Progressive.

      • CliveM

        One must suppose that to oppose this makes a person racist and zonophobic.

        Better that then the alternative.

        • carl jacobs

          Well, it was a sexual emergency. That’s got to count for something. Maybe the ECHR should get involved. There is a nascent human right here. The root cause of involuntary sexual deprivation must be addressed.

          • CliveM

            I actually think the WHO has said something related to this recently. Austria will get brownie points from them.

          • The Explorer

            It’s a cultural thing. The man may have genuinely believed the boy consented. It wouldn’t have worked as a defence for a native-born Austrian, who would be supposed to know about the age of consent. But what if you’re from somewhere where the age of consent, if it exists at all, is eight?

            What applies: the rules for where you are now, or the rules for where you’ve come from? Obviously the rules for where you’ve come from. And if they clash with the rules for where you are now, then the rules for where you are now will have to change.

          • carl jacobs

            Yeah, I get this. Each man has a right to his own law. How much more progressive can you get.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Maybe the immigrant had his hands chopped off in his previous country of habitation?

          • Phil R

            Apparently he is married and has children, but has left them in Syria.

          • carl jacobs

            Well then. No wonder it was an emergency.

    • Inspector General

      Unsuitable mass coloured immigration has certainly culturally enriched the UK prison population, that hedgehog. The Inspector is unable to provide a link to the current race make-up of said population due to his search device not working properly as the contraption is crammed full with on-line broken eggshell from reading too many government sites desperately trying to evade the truth of it all. But he has found this…
      Be assured that low intellect immigrant types have no greater wish to be banged up than the indigenous. However, the Inspector notes that what passes for acceptable behaviour in the land of their birth, or maybe that would be better put as not passing as unacceptable, is inevitably going to lead many of them into trouble with the law and order people here. The reason of course is damn obvious – What makes our own country a desirable destination for those who come here is that as a result of restrictions on personal behaviour, we can call ourselves a civilised country. Ironic, isn’t it, that they still want to come bearing that in mind, but then in the Inspectorates opinion, they are mostly thickos who if they do anything at all (within the law) when they arrive, it’s driving a taxi, minding a 24 hour shop, or cooking that unpleasantly ubiquitous of city things, cheapy suspect-quality chicken meat…and no doubt drawing benefit at an alarming rate simultaneously!

      • HedgehogFive

        May I ask, Inspector, if both of your cerebral hemispheres are working in balance? You are conflating the issues of colour and religion. There are at least two reasons why this is not only wrong, but counterproductive.

        Among those inhabitants of Africa south of the Sahara, there are those who have not been Islamicized who are living in much greater danger than we are from those that have. Talking about such people negatively because of their skin colour renders their young people more susceptible to the seductions of Arabia.

        Opposition to redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples was conflated with opposition to mixed-race marriage, although they are fundamentally completely different issues.

        • Inspector General

          It’s not a question of colour, Hedgehog. So you can’t objurgate on that. Experience has shown time and again that the best place for sub Saharan Africans is south of the Sahara. The best place for Arabs is North Africa. The best place for Afghans, etc. One could go on. It’s simply a matter of whom belongs where. You see, these people do things differently than we do. You could say they generally do worse, and one would not contradict you. So, perhaps we can spare a few moments concern for the next 10 year old boy anally raped by someone who just isn’t like us.

          To be frank, whatever happens to these hordes in their homelands does not concern us because there is little we can do for them. Too much and we are accused of interfering by silly types. Even neo-Imperialism by some. Wish that it was not so, but it is. However, what these unsuitable immigrants get up to while living in our homelands does concern us!

          And so we come to back to the subject of the post – Hofer. Would you vote for him? The Inspector would…

      • IrishNeanderthal


        Leaving aside the “unsuitable” and “mass” issues for the moment, I see this as an opportunity to relate something I heard, from way back in the 60s when “coloured” immigration was very much a party issue. A gentleman who had been a fighter pilot in the RAF during WW2 told us this story.

        A Conservative canvasser, a lady I think, was going round and knocking at doors. The gentleman was out, but his French wife answered the door.

        Seeking to present the Conservative as the party to control immigration, the canvasser began. “You don’t want your neighbourhood to be taken over by ‘natives’, do you?” she began.

        “Oh no”, replied the French lady. “These natives can be so horrible sometimes. I find the black people so much nicer!”

        She then went on to explain to the nonplussed canvasser what the word ‘native’ actually means.

        • Inspector General

          And a story from Pink News, Irish Neanderthal. The loons thereon perennially complain that it’s an increasingly risky business to queer publicly in parts of London, poor them. However, they aren’t going to make an issue of it as the culprits are not white indigenous and therefore to whine loudly to plod as they do with all other unpleasantries standing in their way would risk them being accused of ‘racial motivation’. And that would never do! So they just seethe…

          As of consequence, if you’re black and devoutly Christian in London, open a bakery…

  • The Explorer

    It seems to be a given with Church leaders that God is a socialist. But contrary evidence is not hard to find.

    How about Psalm 50:10? “For every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.” That makes God a serious property owner. How about the Parable of the Vineyard, in which a property owner successfully takes on the workers who are trying to seize control? What about the Parable of the Talents, in which using an endowment to generate more wealth is praised, and failure to do so is condemned? What about Paul’s ruling that if a man will not work, neither shall he eat? (Assuming the divine inspiration of the epistles, and so an approval of their contents.)

    • Dominic Stockford

      My standard text to such ‘one-worlders’ is from Acts 17 – they really don’t like it at all.

      “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him.”

    • chefofsinners

      And 1 Tim 5:8 says that anyone who does not provide for his own family is ‘worse than an unbeliever and has denied the faith’. There you have the family unit as a whole intended to be self sufficient.

      • dannybhoy

        Yes, and the household of God comes second (Galatians 6:10).

        • chefofsinners

          And again, Paul in Thessalonica labouring ‘night and day so that we would not be a burden to you’. 1 Thess 2:9, 2 Thess 3:8.

          • dannybhoy

            Hey, you looking for sympathy?
            I know you Christian short order chefs work hard..

          • chefofsinners

            Watching Great British Bake Off final.

          • dannybhoy

            And I had you down as a man of wit, thoughtfulness and good taste.
            Ah well….

          • chefofsinners


          • carl jacobs

            Britain has chefs? Like … for British food? Is that even allowed?

          • chefofsinners

            How dare you, sir? Pistols at dawn.
            …after a fried breakfast, obviously.

          • carl jacobs

            Making Toast in Britain.

            1. Acquire one slice of bread.
            2. Place in boiling water for 15 minutes.
            3. Strain.
            4. Add butter.

          • chefofsinners

            Making a presidential candidate in the US. As above.

  • Dominic Stockford

    Part of the answer is to be found in the fact that many of the ‘Protestant’ denominations in Germany and Austria would be unrecognisable as Protestant by the Reformers – they have romanized, and liberalised, and this response demonstrates as much.

  • chefofsinners

    The truth is that Christians take up a variety of political positions. Some are socialists, some are right wing. All should pray for God’s help.
    Church leaders must remember where their first loyalty lies: to the flock of Christ, not to the politics of this world.

  • dannybhoy

    I just noticed this link on the right.. http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/michael-w-chapman/yazidi-children-screamed-and-cried-outside-door-while-isis-fighters#.WBCyCMXwIfc.twitter
    Anyone who thinks some kind of accommodation can be reached with ‘brand Islam’ is seriously perverse.

  • “For the shepherds are stupid and do not inquire of the LORD; therefore they have not prospered, and all their flock is scattered” (Jeremiah 10:21 ESV)

    What evil times we live in. When the church turns its back on God, He first urges them to return and then leaves them to their own devices. A key element of God’s judgment is that He allows foolish and worldly leaders to mislead the people of God. We have seen this happen in ancient Israel, and now in the so-called Christian nations of the world. How seriously we ought to pray for repentance and revival in Europe.


    • dannybhoy

      ” He first urges them to return and then leaves them to their own devices.”
      Well put. God respects our choices. If we won’t listen to Him, then eventually we answer to Him..

  • Inspector General

    Absolutely hilarious! Such are the amusing excesses of organised Christianity, eh Cranmer…

    Venerable clerics running after politicians, falling over their cassocks, and crying out “you can’t have God. He’s ours. He belongs to the church. To us priests. Only we know God!”

    “I’ve got a mitre, you know!”

    Then as they sadly walk back they see their penned-in flock staring at them.

    “What are you lot looking at? Go on, get back on your knees!”

  • mmac1968

    If only the Bishops would attempt a fact finding mission to Mecca or Medina. There they could hear their God declaring their God dead or if not yet dead very nearly dead. Surely Monty Python writes their sermons now.

    • Mike Stallard

      Allah ho-akbar!

    • Rob

      They wouldn’t be allowed in………

      • Merchantman

        If caught they would receive the harshest of punishments.

  • len

    Man thinks that by using the name of God it will ‘authenticate’ what man is doing.Norbert Hofer is not the first to do this and will not be the last.
    The fruits of what we do reveal the author of the works.

  • Jon Sorensen

    1 denouncement = 1 new denomination

    • chefofsinners

      Thanks Jon. Always good to get a Danish atheist perspective on Austrian religion.

      • Jon Sorensen

        So true that is an Austrian religion. Every country has their own version of Christianity that we should call Christianities based on location, ethnicity, socio-economical position political view etc. Hmmm…… “Urban Lower Austrian lower middle class white middle-to-right wing True [Christian] Religion”

        • You are right in a sense. Christianity is the only religion which is perfect for every language and nation – it transforms and refines cultures, bringing out the best and undoing the evil in each culture.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Most religions like Islam or Buddhism is “perfect for every language and nation”. Those “transforms and refines cultures” and “bringing out the best and undoing the evil in each culture”.

            “Undoing the evil”

            Have you ever heard about Inquisition, forced conversions in Americase, 30 year war, killing of Jews in Europe, force Christianity in Europe in middle ages, killing of most native religions in Europe.

            You might be completely delusional….

          • Buddhism has never found widespread acceptance which proves you wrong. As for Islam, it imposes conformity in culture, dress and even language (Arabic for study of the Quran) on its followers.

            “Have you ever heard about Inquisition, forced conversions in Americase, 30 year war, killing of Jews in Europe, force Christianity in Europe in middle ages, killing of most native religions in Europe”.

            When the scriptural teachings were properly understood by the nations that practised these things, they distanced themselves from such evil. As for the native religions of Europe, they were supplanted by a better one, not a bad thing.

            You are poorly informed…

          • Jon Sorensen

            “Buddhism has never found widespread acceptance which proves you wrong.”
            Over 500 million Buddhists disagree with you.

            “As for Islam, it imposes conformity in culture, dress and even language”
            So did Christianity a while ago with forced correct Jesus beliefs, modesty dress code for women and Latin-only book and masses. Secularity has partly washed those away.

            “Not one of these evils have their basis in the NT.”
            Nice dodge. You were talking about Christianity and now you try dodge with “NT”. Well you can try to tell your NT-defence to people killed by inquisition, witch hunts, persecution and Christian wars.

            “When the scriptural teachings were properly understood by the nations that practised these things, they distanced themselves from such evil.”
            LOL. This is the oldest excuse also Muslims give. Shame that all those 40000 denominations claim to “properly” understand. Bible has too many contradicting ideas that even Christians can’t agree what is required for salvation.

            “As for the native religions of Europe, they were supplanted by a better one, not a bad thing”
            Typical Christians to say “supplanted” when people were forcefully converted. Christians are never interested in other people’s religious freedom. Anyways Christianity is now being replacement by a better idea…

          • Buddhism is largely confined to parts of Asia – mostly countries like communist China, Japan, Tibet and Sri Lanka. Very few people practise it in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, or even in India where it originated. So it is/was never spread widespread acceptance.

            In contrast, the Christian faith is hardly dying off as you seem to imagine. Except in Europe, it is growing like wildfire in Africa and in the formerly Buddhist nation of China.

          • Jon Sorensen

            In educated West and the US Buddhism is growing while Christianity is declining.

            Christianity is growing in less educated areas like Africa where we see now more and more witch burning, gay killings and laws against LGBT. Educated people seem to think Buddhism is better idea than Christianity

          • Buddhism is growing very slowly in the West – and mainly due to migration from former Buddhist nations. This is by no means comparable to the growth of Christianity in Africa or in China, which, may I remind you has the world’s fastest growing economy. The Chinese are not stupid people.

            BTW for all your so-called liberal and progressive views, you seem to look down on the Africans, for you deride their choices. Perhaps they actually understand Christianity and its benefits better than you do.

          • Jon Sorensen

            I don’t look down on the Africans. I just stated facts from studies. Christianity is more popular everywhere among less educated people. Study in the US also showed that atheists know the Bible better than Christians, so it’s hard to take your:
            “Perhaps they actually understand Christianity and its benefits better than you do.”
            seriously. Once people understand how the world and religions work you tend to become less religious. Education is the key tool that lessen religiosity in a population.

        • chefofsinners

          I need another cake, Jon. Please could this one say: ‘The wisdom of Jon Sorensen is more foolisher than the foolishness of Christians.’

          • Jon Sorensen

            I knew you were talking BS about the cake…. Typical for Christians. All talk, no substance. Anyways my Presbyterian church gets a cake from me with my topping.

    • The Explorer

      How does it work? If you got five denouncements of the same person, would that be five new denominations, or just one?

      • Jon Sorensen

        5 denouncements = 5 new denominations

        We have not about 40000 Christian denominations

        • Anton

          I take it you mean we have *got* about 40,000 Christian denominations. The basis of your wildly incorrect claim is presumably the World Christian Encyclopedia compiled by David Barrett in 1982. Its second edition (Oxford Univ Press, 2001) refers to 33000+ total Christian denominations, but it defines the word ‘denomination’ as an organised Christian group within a specific country. That is an eccentric use of the word, for denominations run across national borders. As there are several hundred countries (and as smaller denominations are not represented in all of them) we should divide the figure about 100. This gives a few hundred genuine denominations, consistent with the list recorded in Wikipedia:



          Please do your homework before posting nonsense.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “The basis of your wildly incorrect claim… please do your homework before posting nonsense”
            Your figures is old. I used Christian studies. The Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary puts it for 2014 to about 45000.
            I’ve seen another study estimating ~38000. 40000 seems to be a reasonable mid point 2016 estimation.

            Are you going to apologise for false accusation and bearing false witness?

          • Anton

            Did you not read your own reference properly? It said that it was an update of my reference but using the same methodology, ie divide by about 100 to get the true figure.

            So you are wrong by a small factor of 10,000%.

          • Jon Sorensen

            So you don’t accept Christian University studies about Christianity, but you have to invent you own factoring that nobody agrees with. With you own factoring you declared everyone else wrong.

            Very bizarre worldview. Clearly science and Anton don’t mix.

          • Anton

            Answer me this: Do you believe that the Roman Catholic church in England and in Italy comprise one denomination or two? The eccentric methodology you are quoting would say two. What is your answer? No wriggling, please.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Read the study note from Christians research centre. They define what a denomination is in that study.

            I can tell you in Australia CoE; Some states have female bishops, others are 5 point hard core Calvinists. Same in one Scandinavian national Lutheran Church. Hard to believe the differences in one denomination.

            “No wriggling, please.”
            LOL, You can’t even accept being wrong…

          • Anton

            Ducking my question? For the sake of clarity, here it is again.

            Do you believe that the Roman Catholic church in England and in Italy comprise one denomination or two? The eccentric methodology you are quoting would say two. What is your answer: one or two?

            By all means duck it again, if you want readers to think that you can’t answer.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Reader here can go to The Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and check their definition and download the study outcome:

            If you don’t like their definition talk to them.

          • Anton

            You are quoting their definition so I am asking you if you agree with it. The number you quote is determined by adding up the number of denominations in each country and then summing the per-country totals. This would mean that, for instance, the Roman Catholic church in England and in Italy comprises two denominations, not one which is the view taken by all Catholics. So just tell me: do you consider the Roman Catholic church in England and in Italy to be one denomination or two? Don’t be shy, now…

            There is a list of denominations at wikipedia which I posted higher up this exchange. Using the correct definition, it finds a few hundred. Where are the other 40000 you claim?

  • bluedog

    Beyond parody. Only the CofE could do better, but then in a sense it did with Welby’s denouncement of Farage as racist for being concerned by the level of third-world (Muslim) immigration. Presumably not a problem for the CofE’s Christian mission.

    Meanwhile, Pope Frank has declared Trump as not Christian, and he may be correct, and one hesitates to use the word ‘right’ where Frank is concerned. Welby has pointedly agreed with Frank, although Trump has not even claimed to be a Christian. Not very Christian of Welby to launch a pre-emptive strike in this regard, one would think. Oh well.

    In conclusion, one can’t help wondering what Pope Emeritus Benedict thinks of all this, after all, he once wore a belt buckle that declared ‘Gott mit Uns’.

    • Ivan M

      Pope Francis is the leading Christian idiot now.

  • DenisV

    My goodness, it’s just as well that Austrians don’t play rugby! Otherwise, they may have to host the All Blacks as the Italians and Irish are soon to do, and be forced to endure the blasphemies of New Zealand’s national anthem, “God Defend New Zealand”:


    But because we Kiwis are such gentle, sensitive folks, the All Blacks like to ease the tension straight after the anthem by means of a warm, traditional Maori welcome:

  • len

    There has been so much propaganda put out by governments to’ channel’ the way that people think that to go against this one is immediately marked as’ going against the common good of the people’.
    This is a common tactic used by dictators of all sorts to silence opposition and the public seem to follow this method with relative ease.
    ‘ Homophobic’, ‘Judgmental,’ ‘Xenophobic’, ‘Racist’, ‘Bigot’, and many more terms are used to control those who would step outside ‘the Government line’
    George Orwell was right control thoughts by controlling speech, immediately slap a label on someone to shut them up and to stop the rest of the people of daring to think for themselves.

  • Anton

    And don’t several political parties in German-speaking lands have “Christian” in their names?

  • Demon Teddy Bear

    Well said, your grace.

  • The Explorer

    I suppose the Pharisees felt they owned God – or, at least, the correct conception of God – and were annoyed with Christ as an interloper.

    C S Lewis acknowledged that theological liberals saw him as doing a great deal of harm. By insisting on the truth of historic events, Lewis impeded potential believers from coming to faith; although quite what the believers were going to have faith in was rather unclear. Norman Pittinger, the process theologian, found the vogue for Lewis ‘alarming’.

    When it comes to it, the professionals have always been very jealous about the possession of God, and resentful of amateurs who try to claim ownership.

    • dannybhoy

      There will always be a tension and the occasional spat between those who claim to represent God, and God Himself..
      I don’t believe God is capricious, I don’t believe He might choose to be some other kind of God. I believe that all goodness, holiness, righteousness and compassion are but reflections of who God is. God’s seal on His revealed nature is Christ Jesus our Lord, the second person of the Trinity.John 14:9