daniel-mcarthur-most-inspirational-british-christian-2016
Mission

Daniel McArthur leads the UK’s Top 100 most inspirational Christians 2016

By popular democratic consensus (which some may term ‘populism’) Daniel McArthur has been chosen as the most inspirational Christian of 2016. The swell of nominations received for him eclipsed those of the Queen, bishops, archbishops, missionaries, church pastors and Aunty Tammy Cobley and all. If you haven’t heard of him, he’s a baker. Or, rather, he’s the general manager of a bakery in Belfast (and branches roundabouts).

And it’s all about cake.

Perhaps not since King Alfred burned a batch somewhere in Somerset, or Queen Marie-Antoinette exhorted starving peasants to partake of brioche instead of bread, has a cake been so (in)famous. And this was a gay cake. No, not a pansexual gateau with exotic hormonal inclinations, but an iced Ulster cake advocating same-sex marriage.

A (gay) guy walks into a (Christian) bakers and asks for a cake. No problem – of course they’ll serve him; they’re not the sort to alienate and discriminate on the grounds of sexuality. But then the (gay) guy asks for a political slogan to be iced on the cake – one that offends against the McArthurs’ Christian conscience, not least because it advocates a change in the law. Baking is their worship: every cake Ashers Bakery makes is crafted to the glory of God. They could no more make a cake for a gay guy exhorting same-sex marriage than they could make a cake for a straight guy declaring Jesus to be a myth or God to be the Devil. All that they do and all that they create is to bring honour to Christ. But that’s not how the Northern Ireland Equality Commission saw it, and so the case went to court, and the judges took a a different view: the McArthurs were found guilty of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, and Daniel McArthur was unwillingly thrust into the media spotlight.

It needs to be noted that some nominations came in for ‘Daniel and Amy McArthur’, and still others were for the whole ‘McArthur family’, since Ashers Baking Company is a family affair. And Daniel McArthur would undoubtedly be content to share this honour, for his spirit manifestly inclines toward truth, honour, humility and generosity. But it is Daniel McArthur who has been at the forefront of this (ongoing) saga, and it is Daniel McArthur who has responded so graciously, humbly and often tearfully to the world’s media. His witness has evidently touched thousands. The citations were effusive:

For standing up for their beliefs, and continuing to do so amid a storm of hate directed against them, even though they were within their rights to refuse the gay marriage cake as gay marriage was at that time illegal.

For providing the western world with a true example of how Christians should respond to political persecution.

For firm and dignified defence of Christian morality in resisting orders to endorse or conform to the immoral fashions of the day, at great personal cost, and in the face of a near universal disdain in the media and political sphere.

For displaying consistent measured restraint in the face of all manner of provocation over the ‘gay cake’ case, and an eloquent bold response when his appeal was turned down.

His resolute faith in most trying circumstances has inspired so many people not just in the UK but across the world.

For his stalwart defence of religious liberty and freedom of conscience.

..thrust into the spotlight because he refused to bake a cake carrying a message which would have dishonoured God and violated his conscience.

For his bold and humble stand under relentless media and legal pressure.

The entire way he (and his family) have conducted themselves during the court case and his speech after the last verdict.

It is very crazy times when I consider the person to have defended Christian beliefs with the most guts and indifference to the hatred and opposition coming his way, is an Ulster biblical protestant!

To be chosen as the most inspirational British Christian of 2016 is not an invitation to pride or an invocation of vanity. Nor is it a denigration of the efforts of other Christians who contend for the Faith in a harsh and unforgiving world. This award is manifestly bestowed in appreciation of Daniel McArthur’s faithfulness to orthodox Christian morality and obedience to his conscience in the face of equality tyranny.

top-100-uk-christians-2016iiThe other 99 winners are presented below. The spiritual variety and theological breadth of nominees reflects, once again, the ecclesial catholicity and theological breadth of this blog’s readership. The winners’ placement in any missional/ministry ranking must ultimately be left to the perfect judgment of God, for we cannot know hearts or judge motives. In the meantime, they are ordered by the cosmic lottery of patronymic designation (ie alphabetically), for children tend to be first in the kingdom of God (Mt 18): of the adults, the second shall be 98th and the 78th fourth.

It must be stressed (again) that the following people are recognised and honoured not because they are in any sense greater in the kingdom of heaven or more loved by Jesus (cf Jn 13:23), but because they are considered to have inspired people over the past year by their ministry, mission or Christian witness. They were inspirational to one person or to a thousand: you cannot know, and that’s the point. They are listed without quantifiable comparatives. The #CranmerList2016 does not constitute a lofty religio-political endorsement, but rather demotic appreciation of the scale and (often unseen and unknown) impact of their labours in the Vineyard of the Lord, where the big toe is as crucial as the eye.

If your considered worthies are not named, it may because you didn’t nominate them. If you are irked that you yourself do not feature, meditate on Luke 15:25ff. If you are relieved that you have not been honoured, you have the luxury of hiding your Christian witness under a bushel and being free to condemn the whole concept over the coming weeks, and thereby move yourself into the frame for nomination in 2017.

The 99 British Christians who came second (or 99th) to Daniel McArthur are:

bishop-angaelosBishop Angaelos OBE. General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK. His passion for Jesus radiates from every utterance he makes. Nominated for: “his commitment to religious freedom in Egypt and throughout the Middle East, and for his work in reconciliation and interfaith dialogue”; “To understand Bishop Angaelos is to feel the heart of Copts – he incarnates the peace of Christ.”

andrew-ashdownRev’d Andrew Ashdown. Anglican priest, blogger and author of ‘The Stones Cry Out: Reflections from Israel and Palestine’. An expert on Middle East affairs and Christian-Muslim interfaith relations. Nominated for: “his profound Christian knowledge and witness.. and part in the exposing of the truth of what is going on in Syria, contra what the MSM pumps out.”

gavin-ashendenRev’d Canon Dr Gavin Ashenden. Anglican priest and Chaplain to the Queen; author, theologian and blogger. There are few who grasp the spiritual significance of current events. Nominated for: “his common sense approach to what’s happening in the CofE and his educated and intelligent articles that speak out and question the insanity of destroying traditional Christian culture.”

bishop-nick-bainesRt Rev’d Nick Baines. Bishop of Leeds; broadcaster, prolific author and blogger. He is a regular on BBC Radio 4’s Thought For The Day, often tackling some of the most important issues of politics, culture, identity and the Church of England. Nominated for: “(his) effective presence in the mainstream media is captivating and challenging, but always gentle and Christ-like.”

steve-bakerSteve Baker MP. Conservative MP for Wycombe, and founder of the Cobden Centre. In 2015 he co-founded Conservatives for Britain, a campaign group which led calls for the UK to leave the EU. Nominated for: “his Christian vision, political conviction, integrity, honesty and sincerity”. Pivotal in Vote Leave; credited with a lot of the backroom Brexit work.

dan-stork-banksRev’d Dan Stork Banks. Anglican curate in Shropshire and YouTuber with the award-winning TGI-Monday show. Nominated for: “fearlessly giving voice to a Christian perspective for Brexit despite significant pressure to conform to ecclesial norms”; “his spiritual creativity and passion for Reformed theology are a rare combination. He is an asset to the church”.

baroness-berridgeBaroness (Elizabeth) Berridge. Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief. Nominated for: “standing up for Christian liberties and promoting religious freedom in Commonwealth countries”; “opposing fear and hatred for people of all faiths and none.”

mary-berryMary Berry CBE. Food writer and television presenter; most recently a judge on ‘The Great British Bake Off’. Patron of Child Bereavement UK. Nominated for: “Very well presented programmes on the Easter message ‘Mary Berry’s Easter Feast‘, including a very moving episode on how her own faith helped her to deal with the tragic loss of her son in a car crash at the age of 19.”

ray-blakeFr Raymond Blake. Priest at St Mary Magdalen’s Church in Brighton, and blogger. Often controversial, especially in his robust criticism of Pope Francis, who both perplexes and confuses him. He hasn’t had an easy year (heart failure), but his social media presence was a constant challenge to others throughout his trials. Nominated for: “his wise and authentically Catholic witness.”

roger-boltonRoger Bolton. Currently a radio presenter for BBC and Premier Radio, but a lifetime dedicated to broadcasting behind the scenes. Accused the Times of withdrawal from coverage of religion ; and the BBC of failing to take faith seriously and not appreciating the Christian contribution to culture. Nominated for: “advocating wider religious literacy in the media.”

kate-bottleyRev’d Kate Botley. Vicar of the churches of Blyth, Scrooby and Ranskill in the Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham, and chaplain to North Notts College. She is better known as the Vicar on ‘Gogglebox‘. Nominated for: “a God-given gift of the gab which makes the Church of England look and sound down-to-earth, meeting people where they’re at, slouching on the sofa with a mug of tea.”

gary-bradleyRev’d Gary Bradley. Vicar of the United Benefice of Little Venice and Chaplain to the Lord Mayor of Westminster. Better known for being the vicar exchanging gifts with an imam on this year’s Amazon Christmas advertisement. Nominated for: “(doing) more for perceptions of Christian-Muslim relations than all the interfaith conferences of the past year combined”.

fiona-bruceFiona Bruce MP. Conservative MP for Congleton. Appearing for the third year running. Nominated for: “the brave stand she made for Christians and freedom of religion in PMQs on Wed 30th November 2016“; “In a relatively understated way she has used her position in parliament to always defend important Christian issues, especially anti-abortion.”

joshua-buatsiJoshua Buatsi. Olympic Bronze medallist in light-heavyweight boxer who talked about his faith effusively after winning, saying he was “working hard for God“. His Twitter declares: “It is God who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle.” Nominated for: “(being) unashamed to talk about God and the Bible as the source of his inspiration and motivation.”

david-burrowesDavid Burrowes MP. Conservative MP for Enfield Southgate. He continues to speak out on matters of social justice, homelessness and poverty. He also made a cogent Christian case for Brexit. Nominated for: “his integrity and faithfulness shine in some of the darkest debates in Parliament – he is an inspiration and encouragement to so many in his quiet service for God.”

george-careyLord (George) Carey. Former Archbishop of Canterbury, and one of the few senior clergy to support Brexit – “It is the refrain of freedom,” he wrote in the Daily Mail. He upholds orthodox Christian sexual morality, for which his picture was recently removed from the ‘wall of distinguished alumni‘ at King’s College London. Nominated for: “he stands up for the truth.”

chris-cartwrightChris Cartwright. Coming in as Elim’s new General Superintendent, there is a lot of expectation as he leads 550+ church fellowships throughout the country. Nominated for: “his humility and respect for the past achievements and advances of the denomination while renewing a fresh Pentecostal edge to the ministry.”

richard-chartresRt Rev’d Richard Chartres KCVO. Soon-to-retire Bishop of London has had an immense impact on so much of the Church of England and upon so many people that it’s easy to overlook his contribution to human flourishing and Christian fellowship. Nominated for: “confronting the Government about its ‘ideological.. Big Brother‘ drive to inculcate ‘British values’ in schools.”

adrian-chilesAdrian Chiles. Journalist, broadcaster and prominent Roman Catholic. The first person to be nominated to this year’s Cranmer List (last January!) because of his tour of the Mediterranean. Nominated for: “speaking out forcefully in defence of a fair and truthful representation of religion in the media.”

martha-collisonMartha Collison. The ‘Great British Bake Off’ contestant is a prominent ambassador for Tearfund and charity pioneer. Bramber Bakehouse aims to give exploited women a second chance by providing internships, training and support, based on Christian values shared through baking. Nominated for: “being a great role model for young Christian women in the media.”

baroness-coxBaroness (Caroline) Cox. Crossbench Peer and founder of the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust. At the age of 79, she is one of the most hard-working peers, consistently opposing the injustice of sharia courts. This year she narrowly escaped ambush by Islamist gunmen while on a humanitarian visit to Nigeria. Nominated for: “her integrity and faithfulness to the mission of Christ.”

ruth-davidsonRuth Davidson MSP Leader of the Scottish Conservatives and member of the Church of Scotland. Winner of Politician of the Year, she is open about her faith and the tensions it presents for her personally and professionally. Nominated for: “being genuine, authentic and refreshingly honest and open.. a role model for gay Christians.”

bishop-mark-daviesRt Rev’d Mark Davies. Roman Catholic Bishop of Shrewsbury; robust and compassionate in his response to educationalists on the pervasive “ideology of gender“. Nominated for: “(being) one of the few Catholic bishops who actually gives the impression that he takes Christ’s teaching seriously. Very strong on pro-life issues, for example.”

sister-frances-dominicaSr Frances Dominica. After years of service to God, Sr Frances Dominica was accused of child abuse, never brought to trial, and exists in limbo courtesy of Anglican injustice. Nominated for: “her steadfast faith when faced with unfounded accusations”; “her integrity and sterling work in the hospice movement”; “Sister Frances is a ‘saint’ for the twenty-first century.”

dr-woyin-karowei-dorguRt Rev’d Woyin Karowei Dorgu. Newly appointed Bishop of Woolwich – the first black bishop in the Church of England for 20 years (and the first ever from Nigeria), whose appointment has been greeted enthusiastically. Nominated for: “his Evangelical faith (which) shines out of him.. happy to celebrate diversity while upholding the Church’s teaching on human sexuality.”

frank-fieldFrank Field MP. Labour MP for Birkenhead. Regularly advocates, writes and blogs about matters relating to poverty, health, injustice and the challenge of Ukip. Nominated for: “(being) one of the most lucid voices on the left for Brexit”; “(his) compassion and level-headed solutions for poverty are profoundly Christian.. cares more about the poor than his ego, career or party.”

duncan-forbesDuncan Forbes.  Pastor of the New Life Church in Roehampton; committed to ‘Council Estate Christianity‘, despite suffering from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which means his joints dislocate frequently causing pain, fatigue and loss of mobility. Nominated for: “encouraging others to serve on council estates.. reaching the unreached.. a godly example of service in spite of suffering.”

claudia-fragapaneClaudia Fragapane. Olympian gymnast and ‘Strictly Come Dancing‘ semi-finalist. Former student of St Bernadette Catholic Secondary School, her social media presence frequently bears testimony to the vibrancy of her faith, about which she is certainly not ashamed. Nominated for: “(being) talented but modest with it.. an inspirational role model for young people.”

giles-fraserRev’d Dr Giles Fraser. Vicar of St Mary’s, Newington; Guardian columnist, BBC ‘Moral Maze’ pannelist. As co-Chairman of ‘Christians for Britain’, one of the few Labour supporters to back #Brexit, for which he paid a price, even being called “racist” by the Dean of Manchester. Nominated for: “standing up for what he believes in and continuing to be a thorn in the side of the establishment.”

michael-goveMichael Gove MP. Conservative MP for Surrey Heath; Times columnist. Co-led the Vote Leave campaign, and was instrumental in providing the intellectual framework. A Presbyterian, he often talks and writes about how Christianity informs his politics. Nominated for: “his grasp of the foundations of Christian civilisation.. the buttress of the Established Church.”

jim-grahamRev’d Jim Graham. Baptist pastor who died this year. It wasn’t his passing which made him inspirational, but it reminded many thousands that their lives, faith and ministries had been profoundly touched by a life lived to the glory of God. Nominated for: “knowing Christ and him crucified and making that the single priority of his life; “loving and serving God and his people.”

pete-greigPete Greig. Founder of 24-7 Prayer – a movement of prayer, mission and justice. Involved with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Thy Kingdom Come initiative. Nominated for: “leading people in honouring one another during the referendum and US elections, and focusing on the upward call of Christ in witnessing.”

bear-gryllsBear Grylls. Adventurer, writer and television presenter who has been the public face of the Alpha course this year, describing his Christian faith as his “greatest adventure”. Nominated for: “encouraging others to share his faith in such a natural and unpretentious way.”; “(being) a fantastic Christian role model, especially to young people and men.”

nicky-gumbelRev’d Nicky Gumbel. Vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton; developer of the Alpha Course. Nominated for: “his inspirational use of social media for telling the world the Good News about Jesus”; “he has enabled millions of people round the world to come to faith in Christ Jesus”; “loving the whole church enough to make sure it gets the inspired and equipped leaders it needs.”

lizzie-hamiltonLizzie Hamilton. 103 year old member of Old Cumnock Old Church in East Ayrshire. She has attended this church for the last 100 years and was presented with a special award for services to the Church of Scotland by the Moderator of the General Assembly. Nominated for: “a lifetime of faithful commitment to her church and local community and blessing so many others along the way.”

paul-harcourtRev’d Paul Harcourt. Vicar of All Saints Woodford Wells; head of the New Wine Network of churches which seek spiritual renewal of the Church. The New Wine festival attracts in excess of 30,000. Nominated for: “his passion to see the Church changing this country through the power of the Holy Spirit.. his church’s ministry working with special needs children.”

isabel-hardmanIsabel Hardman. Political journalist and the assistant editor of The Spectator. She keeps the magazine and ‘Coffee House’ blog grounded in sober and honest Christian reflection. She hasn’t had an easy year, but even Black Dog can work together for good to those who love God. Nominated for: “talking honestly about her mental health experiences in such a positive and uplifting way.”

jonathan-hellewellJonathan Hellewell LVO. Former Private Secretary to the Prince of Wales (discreetly nudging necessary attention toward persecuted Christians in the Middle East), he was recently appointed special advisor the Pime Minister on religion. Nominated for: “(being) one of the few religiously literate people at the heart of political power.. astute.. effective, and a really nice guy.”

peter-hitchensPeter Hitchens. Columnist for the Mail on Sunday and blogger for Mail Online. There are many who appreciate his inexorable quest for justice for Bishop George Bell. Nominated for: “his continued lonely defence of traditional Christian values while the world collapses around him”; “a great advocate of the Christian faith and traditional Anglicanism.”

aisling-hubertAisling Hubert. Pro-life campaigner who came to prominence when she tried to prosecute doctors advocating gendercide abortions. Nominated for: “courage in bringing a private prosecution against doctors for aborting babies solely on grounds of their gender.. (and) bold and gracious way she has responded to the media following the collapse of the case.”

rose-hudson-wilkinRev’d Rose Hudson-Wilkin. Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons. Nominated for: “(being) unfailingly kind, generous, and inspirational to those she works alongside”; “the strong continued leadership and pastoral support to the House, particularly during the turbulent climate of the referendum, which saw the life of a beloved MP maliciously taken.. a fabulous priest.”

agu-irukwuPastor Agu Irukwu. Senior Pastor of Jesus House, where “people come first” and lives are changed for God’s glory. Nominated for: “..if you’re ever feeling down or your faith is a bit jaded or your vision of God too small, just dip into Agu’s Twitter feed and you’ll be refreshed and renewed with prayer, praise and an infectious love of Jesus.. ‘You cannot serve God without passion’.”

j-johnRev’d Canon J.John. Evangelist, minister, speaker, social activist and writer, just loves telling people about Jesus. Nominated for: “(being) one of the most gifted communicators in the Church.. he makes Jesus live”; “stepping out in faith for his plans to hold a massive evangelistic meeting at the Emirates Stadium in London.”

alex-johnstoneAlex Johnstone MSP. Conservative member of the Scottish Parliament who died this year. Alongside his role as a politician he was a Church of Scotland elder. Greatly respected for his integrity and generosity. Nominated for: “(being) a man of Christian principle who passionately fought for what he believed in including his strong opposition to assisted suicide legislation.”

krish-kandiahDr Krish Kandiah. Founder of Home for Good – a charity to help inspire the Church to engage in foster care and adoption; writer and speaker. Nominated for: (his0 inspirational leadership of Home For Good charity and advocate for unaccompanied asylum seekers. An example of someone who lives to be more like Jesus every day.”

cindy-kentRev’d Cindy Kent MBE. Presenter for Premier Christian Radio, appointed MBE this year for services to religious broadcasting. She is now semi-retired, but continues to live an extraordinary life. Nominated for: “(being) such an enthusiastic, energetic, passionate and fun vicar – a bit wicked too! ..the church badly needs more of her infectious faith and Christian warmth.”

john-kirkbyJohn Kirkby. Founder of Christians Against Poverty; commended by the Prime Minister.  Working with local churches CAP helps 29,000 people a year overcome debt, addiction and unemployment. Nominated for: “Visionary leadership of a charity that rescues thousands from lives of debt and misery whilst not being afraid to offer them the gift of a relationship with Jesus too.”

sarah-kutehSister Sarah Kuteh. Nurse for 15 years at the Darent Valley Hospital in Darford, Kent, who was sacked for offering to pray with patients. Nominated for: “persecution starts in small things and gets bigger – Sr Sarah Kuteh is a victim of the secular inquisition and her explanation to Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby on ‘This Morning’ was humble and gracious.”

neville-kyrke-smithNeville Kyrke-Smith. Director of Aid to the Church in Need, raising awareness of the plight of persecuted Christians all over the world. Instigator of the Red Wednesday campaign; responsible for securing the support of the Prince of Wales for the cause of religious liberty. Nominated for: “He can raise get a million pounds aid for Syria back up by a million prayers for the suffering.”

andrea-leadsomAndrea Leadsom MP. Conservative MP for South Northamptonshire. Nominated for: “maintaining a clear Christian witness during a year in which she has been instrumental in securing the vote to leave the EU”; “..displaying great humility and loyalty to her party and country by choosing to stand aside rather than force a head-to-head battle with Theresa May.”

james-macmillanSir James MacMillan CBE. Classical composer and conductor. Styled a “holy warrior with a baton“; an artistic prophet of Catholic culture with a vision for true liturgical greatness. Nominated for: “his contribution to sacred music, in particular his incredible Stabat Mater that premiered this year, as well as his writings and broadcasts on the sacred in modern music.”

tanya-marlowTanya Marlow. Writer, author, campaigner and broadcaster. She explores that difficult and often dark place between Christian spirituality and suffering, writing regularly on matters of social justice, illness and chronic incapacity.  Nominated for: “(being) a compassionate Christian voice through social media, especially on the issue of suffering and disability”;

bob-marshallRev’d Bob Marshall. Pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Chapel in Buckey, North Wales. Well-known locally for putting up a different ‘eye-catching’ sign outside his church every week – some a little more risqué than others. Nominated for: “simple communication innovations which make national headlines.”

theresa-mayTheresa May MP. Conservative MP for Maidenhead became Prime Minister this year, with a robust profession of her Anglican faith. Nominated for: “(being) upfront about how her Christian faith informs her policy”; “serv(ing) the people of Maidenhead with humility – how many MPs (let alone PMs!) give up Christmas Day to serve the lonely and elderly?”

mez-mcconnellMez McConnell. Senior Pastor of Niddrie Community Church, Edinburgh and founder of 20schemes, bringing the gospel to Scotland’s poorest. He is now working to encourage others to do the same around the world. Nominated for: “In an era where the forgotten men and women are those from the working class communities, Mez is raising the profile of ministry among the forgotten.”

bishop-harold-millerRt Rev’d Harold Miller. Bishop of Down and Dromore, known for his Evangelical leadership. Nominated for: “(doing) great work ecumenically and with great humility”; “Very good Bishop in love with Jesus defending the faith”; “faithfully taught the scriptures and lead the church through dark days and has been a staunch advocate for traditional marriage.”

sally-milnerSally Milner. Chaplain of the Northumberland Church of England Academy, the largest CofE academy of the UK. Nominated for: “her support of students is outstanding and the energy with which she looks after the Christian formation of nearly 2,500 children is to be coveted.. Her loving witness to Jesus Christ has touched and shaped the lives of thousands of students.”

bishop-james-newcomeRt Rev’d James Newcome. Bishop of Carlisle and lead bishop on healthcare matters. He writes on dementia and faith, and was co-founder of Caring for Carers, which attracted publicity this year. Nominated for: “(being) a compassionate, caring visionary and understanding that small acts of compassion by individual Christians are the best way for the Church to show love.”

aidan-nicholsFr Aidan Nichols OP. Academic theologian and priest. Nominated for: “Stout defence of Christian culture (e.g. his book The Realm)”; “stubborn defence of truth through a long period when his religious order succumbed to radicals fads; respected theologian with understanding of the traditions of East & West; eloquent preacher.”

bishop-peter-northRt Rev’d Philip North. Bishop of Burnley, passionate about matters of social justice. Nominated for: “constantly reminding a self-satisfied and middle-class church that her primary mission is to the poor, whether they happen to hold the same political views as you or not”; “an energetic ministry to the those places where the church’s money rarely reaches.”

christine-ohuruoguChristine Ohuruogu MBE. Bronze medallist in the women’s 4x400m at the Rio Olympics. One of Britain’s most successful athletes who is very happy to talk about her faith in public. Nominated for: “(being) a role model to many sportswomen and making her Christian faith be a natural part of everything she does.”

elizabeth-oldfieldElizabeth Oldfield. Director of the Christian think-tank, Theos, which has produced important reports and research on the relationship between Christianity and society during the year. She regularly makes appearances in the media including Radio 4’s Thought for the Day. Nominated for: “(being) a thoughtful, winsome and spiritual voice in the media.”

frog-orr-ewingFrog Orr-Ewing. Rector of Latimer Minster and Chaplain of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. Nominated for: “his profound approach, soft heart, local passion and national vision are unlike any minister I’ve been around”; “developing an approach to apologetics which is as credible to the mind as to the heart.. seeing people in their hundreds coming to Christ during 2016.”

amy-orr-ewingAmy Orr-Ewing. Theologian and author, known for exposition of Christian apologetics. European Director for RZIM Zacharias Trust, and Director of Programmes for the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. Nominated for: (being) one of the best apologists for the Christian faith”; “brilliant speaker.. integral to the success of the Reboot Youth Apologetics conference.”

david-oyelowoDavid Oyelowo. Actor. Starred in a number of films this year including United Kingdom and Queen of Katwe in which he plays a Christian missionary. A vocal Christian from within the film industry. Nominated for: ‘(being) a first class actor who stays true to his faith in an environment where having strong Christian beliefs is not easy.”

ian-paulRev’d Dr Ian Paul. Theologian, speaker and blogger at Psephizo; member of the Archbishop’s Council. Nominated for: “maintaining an insightful and topical blog which.. at this crucial time in the Church’s engagement with issues of human sexuality has consistently ensured that the orthodox view is respectfully and persuasively presented and defended.”

emma-percyRev’d Dr Emma Percy. Chaplain of Trinity College, Oxford; appointed this year Director of WATCH. There are few who can pastor undergraduates with endless tea, look after their welfare, write and speak about matters of theology and gender, all while caring for a dying brother with late-stage cancer. Nominated for: “(being) an inspirational warrior for diverse church leadership.”

martyn-percyVery Rev’d Prof Martyn Percy. Dean of Christ Church College, Oxford. Warned this year about the Church of England becoming a “suburban sect“, and wrote The Future Shapes of Anglicanism, as well as engaging in dialogue about Reform & Renewal. Nominated for: “uncomfortable truths, prophetic probings.. everything a bishop should be saying.”

sally-phillipsSally Phillips. Award-winning actress and vocal Christian. Nominated for: “her advocacy on behalf of people with Down’s Syndrome“; “swimming against the current of the pernicious eugenics movement and for making a lot of people who deserve to be uncomfortable very much so”; “her powerful tear-jerker of a documentary that unusually and bravely transgressed the secular consensus.”

mike-pilavachiRev’d Mike Pilavachi. Leader of Soul Survivor which attracts 26,000 young people to its festivals, of which 1,500 became new Christians this year. Nominated for: “encouraging thousands of young Christians to take their faith seriously and live it out daily”; “Having led Soul Survivor for 23 years he still finds the energy and enthusiasm to see the church filled with young people.”

queen-elizabethHer Majesty The Queen. Now England’s (and the UK’s) oldest monarch, adding to the longest-reigning achieved last year. Nominated for: “(being) the single constant in a fast-drying river of fetid politics. Her Majesty has stood out as the anchor for our Christian constitution while the tides of uncertainty have pulled at the creaking timbers during the upheavals of a stormy year.”

matt-redmanMatt Redman. One of the most influential and respected Christian song writers. Received the Cranmer award for worship this year from the Archbishop of Canterbury. Nominated for: “continually producing worship songs full of truth and passion that draw those who sing them into a deeper relationship with God”; “Matt’s heart overflows with worship.”

marvin-reesMarvin Rees. Elected Mayor of Bristol in May. Member of Christians on the Left who has encouraged churches in his city to engage more effectively with politics. Nominated for: “his faith is at the heart of all he does. He has shown how Christians can make an incredibly positive impact in public life.”

cliff-richardSir Cliff Richard OBE. With a career going back to 1958, one of the most famous Christians on the planet. Nominated for: “fighting the BBC for justice”; “vindicated but not limply turning the other cheek”; “a lifetime of service to the music industry whilst maintaining a form faith”; “His continued devotion to Christ and lack of apology for it despite constant jeering.”

david-robertsonRev’d David Robertson. Minister of St Peter’s Free Church in Dundee; Director of Solas Centre for Public Christianity, writer and influential blogger at The Wee Flea. Nominated for: “constantly taking on secular humanism in Scotland”; “passionately defending Christian morality and biblical Christianity”; ” fearless yet gracious advocate of Biblical Christianity.”

helen-roseveareDr Helen Roseveare. WEC missionary to the Congo who died this year at the age of 91. In a lifetime of humble service for Jesus, she was arrested, beaten, imprisoned, and raped. “Through the brutal heart-breaking experience of rape, God met with me — with outstretched arms of love,” she wrote. Nominated for: “(being) a true hero of the faith.”

bishop-mark-rylandsRt Rev’d Mark Rylands. Bishop of Shrewsbury, who was much derided for supporting Brexit. His grasp of EU political injustice and euro economic oppression was profoundly encouraging to the millions who feel alienated from the pathologically pro-EU Church of England leadership. Nominated for: “the courageous admission that he is a well-considered Brexiteer.”

michael-sadgroveVery Rev’d Michael Sadgrove. Dean Emeritus of Durham; architect and leader of the pro-EU ‘Remain’ group Christians for Europe. Nominated for: “us(ing) his blog, Facebook page and Twitter to present a picture of all that I most admire in the Church of England: wise, temperate, and combining inspiration from the divine with a unique understanding of the human heart.”

glen-scrivenerRev’d Glen Scrivener. Church of England minister and evangelist who uses social media and YouTube videos to promote the Christian message. 2016 Jerusalem Award winner. His Christmas YouTube video received 118,000 views in three weeks. Nominated for: “continuing to use digital media in very clever and imaginative ways to promote the gospel in a clear and compelling way.”

bishop-alan-smithRt Rev’d Alan Smith. Bishop of St Alban’s. Led the Church of England’s response to Sunday trading proposals. Nominated for: “His willingness to speak up for rural communities on issues such as affordable housing and bus services… for speaking out against cuts to disability benefit, and for tabling legislation to tackle the scourge of fixed-odds-betting-terminals.”

mike-smithMike Smith MBE. Founder of Word 4 Weapons, which has become the UK’s Leading Weapons Surrender Initiative. He received an MBE this year for his work, which has resulted in 24,000 weapons being handed in. Nominated for: “(being) a visionary who has heard a call from God and put it into practice in a simple yet effective way that is saving lives.”

tim-stanleyDr Tim Stanley. Historian, blogger and Telegraph columnist, who has migrated from the Baptist Church, through Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism. His Twitter offers a stream of political insight and spiritual wisdom. He appears regularly on television and writes on American culture, the persecuted church and the future of British Christianity. Nominated for: “It’s Tim Stanley!”

elaine-storkeyDr Elaine Storkey. Writer, broadcaster, speaker and theologian. Leads the ‘Developing a Christian Mind’ initiative at Oxford University, and author of many books, most recently Scars Across Humanity. Nominated for: “(her) breadth of experience and painstaking research make her a force for justice in the world.. (in particular) in the global fight against violence against women.”

gisela-stuartGisela Stuart MP. Labour MP for Birmingham Edgbaston. As Chair of the Vote Leave campaign she was instrumental in securing Brexit, and was forthright in her opposition to the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church in the UK. Nominated for: “putting country before party.. being prepared to work with obnoxious Tories to secure sovereignty and liberty.”

daniel-sturridgeDaniel Sturridge. Liverpool and England footballer. Regularly enjoys thanking God publicly. His faith often makes the news. Nominated for: “talking about God almost as much as he scores goals. Proof that being openly Christian is compatible with being a professional sportsman.”

miriam-swaffieldMiriam Swaffield. Student Mission Leader at Fusion, a national organisation that aims to support students in a life of discipleship and mission at university. Nominated for: “(being) an inspiration to young people. She has an unquenchable passion for evangelism and social justice and is a gifted preacher and teacher”; “whenever she speaks it is with humour, compassion and authenticity.”

mark-tannerRt Rev’d Mark Tanner. Newly appointed Bishop of Berwick. Nominated for: “(his) time as Warden of Cranmer Hall has been influential in influencing and supporting many ordinands as they prepare for ministry. His love for Jesus is tangible, and infectious!”

mervyn-thomasMervyn Thomas.Chief Executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, highlighting the global persecution of Christians. Nominated for: “putting Christian identity, values and prayer at the heart of the mission to transform darkness to light and pain to joy”; “a true defender of true freedom of religion”; “highlighting every day our suffering brothers and sisters all over the world.”

stephen-timmsStephen Timms MP. Labour MP for East Ham, and prominent member of Christians on the Left. Nominated for: “continu(ing) to play a prominent role as an MP encouraging the public sector to work with Christian organisations”.

bishop-rachel-treweekRt Rev’d Rachel Treweek. Bishop of Gloucester. Nominated for: “Her engagement with young people in the diocese around self-confidence and ‘image’ issues”; “Timely and relevant interventions that bring issues of faith and identity together in the classroom”; “work(ing) hard to accommodate those with differing views on ordination of women.. committed to mutual flourishing.”

prince-charlesCharles, Prince of Wales. Spoke out forcefully this year about the “unbearable misery” of Christians suffering in Syria, and the rise of religious persecution.   Nominated for: “Speaking up for persecuted Christians and defending religious liberty.” As Tim Stanley observes (and many are beginning to believe), “The Crown will be safe with him.

dan-walkerDan Walker. Journalist and television presenter; host of ‘BBC Breakfast’. Nominated for: “standing in grace during his accession to the BBC Breakfast sofa in the midst of fierce attack simply for being a Christian and labelled a ‘creationist'”; “standing for his Faith in an increasingly secular institution”; “A gracious and godly example to all Christians in the public eye.”

bishop-glyn-websterRt Rev’d Glyn Webster. Bishop of Beverley. Nominated for: “His commitment to mission and his personal engagement in it.. has been truly inspiring: he is a pastor who leads by example.. He has immersed himself in the life of the persecuted, suffering with people and giving all he has. He has done this without complaint, political agenda, without spite and in a spirit of love.”

justn-welbyMost Rev’d Justin Welby. Archbishop of Canterbury. Nominated for: “providing a hopeful and positive presence, encouraging Christians in UK with fearless and pragmatic tackling of issues, showing leadership and courage”; “For the way he heads up the Church of England with such wisdom and humility at the same time standing strong in the faith.”

sheridan-westlakeSheridan Westlake OBE. Former special advisor to Sir Eric Pickles, now at No10, he is one of the most talented and respected backroom boys in Torydom. He occasionally makes it onto a list of recognition, but is far happier nudging (prime) ministers toward Christian principles. Nominated for: “having words in the right ears about the UK’s Christian heritage.”

canon-andrew-whiteCanon Andrew White. The ‘Vicar of Baghdad‘. It’s been an odd year for the 2014 winner of this award (more explanation HERE); not to say a profoundly challenging one as his health deteriorates and he finds himself pleading for funds via Facebook. Nominated for: “(being) a great man of God who has sacrificed everything for his flock and his faith. No more needs to be said.”

ann-widdecombeAnn Widdecombe. Former MP and now author and charity worker. Became President of ‘Christians for Britain’ this year, teaming up with Giles Fraser to lead the debate against prominent ‘Remain’ Christians. Nominated for: “putting her faith before politics and her Christian convictions before gongs and career.”

andrea-williamsAndrea Williams. CEO of Christian Concern, seeking remedy for some of the more concerning injustices against Christians in the UK. Nominated for: “fight(ing) gallantly to ensure that the Christian voice for justice and fairness is reflected in UK law”; “stoutly defends Christians that are being persecuted simply for wanting to live their lives reflecting Christian truth.”

catherine-wybourneSr Catherine Wybourne. Benedictine nun (aka @Digitalnun) who blogs at the incredibly popular iBenedictines. Daily prays for her Twitter followers, and infuses the often rancid Twittersphere with the grace and peace of Christ (even as she battles her own chronic health problems). Nominated for: “(being) a living example of how to pray”; “she is so wise and humble with a great sense of humour. She brings so much light into a dark world.”

  • William Lewis

    Sterling work, Your Grace. Thank you for reminding us of these brothers and sisters.

  • Anton

    Bless them all. Aisling Hubert deserved to be higher.

    PS King Alfred, Your Grace, not King Arthur!

    • maigemu

      But the listing is alphabetical.

      • Anton

        Silly me!

        • Good to see you ending the year on an honest note, Anon.

          • Anton

            Good to see you acknowledging the truth of one of my postings here, Jack. Try it more often.

          • When you speak sense, as above, Jack will.
            Have a Happy New Year, Anton. Jack loves you really.

          • Anton

            Whatever be the state of your health at present, Jack, may it be better in 12 months time.

        • Old Nick

          I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. Not silly at all !

    • Old Nick

      Then slowly answered Alfred from the barge

  • maigemu

    Most worthy choice folks.

  • Jill

    Phew! Quite a labour of love, dear Crannie. Thank you!

  • Martin

    So no one of any note who has stood up for the gospel and a goodly sprinkling of non Christians as well. Why do you waste your time, it’s God’s accolade that matters, not yours.

    • Royinsouthwest

      Apart from the bit about God’s accolade your response is rather churlish. There are many inspirational figures on the list, most of whom put me to shame.

      • Martin

        Roy

        But not, that I can see, one preacher of the gospel.

        • Anton

          Evangelical sermons don’t get into the popular media.

          • Martin

            Anton

            Biblical sermons don’t get into any mainstream media.

        • Old Nick

          That is probably because only you know what the True Gospel is (well you and the Revd. Mr. Jones of Kool-Aid fame). What a pity no one nominated you.

          • Martin

            ON

            I see plenty of the Established Church but none that I’ve heard a decent sermon from.

          • Old Nick

            Might that be God’s way of suggesting to you that sermons are not that important in the greater scheme of things.

          • Martin

            ON

            No.

          • Old Nick

            How can you be so sure ?

          • Martin

            ON

            Because sermons are at the heart of Christian worship.

          • Old Nick

            Really, I thought that was the sacraments.

          • Martin

            ON

            Hardly. Have you not noted that preaching is what Peter starts with and what Paul continues, even when someone falls asleep in his sermon.

    • Sarky

      Jealous Martin? These people encourage Christianity, not put people off it.

      • Martin

        Sarky

        Not in the slightest. If you were to understand what Christianity is you’d understand why this is so inappropriate.

        • William Lewis

          Did Paul not encourage his brethren with the examples of others?

          • Martin

            William

            He didn’t create a Paul’s list each Hanukkah. And that was in letters to specific churches.

          • William Lewis

            And? He didn’t setup a Twitter account either.

    • Anton

      Why waste time commenting?

      • Martin

        Anton

        Because otherwise everyone just goes on their merry thoughtless way.

        • Anton

          In the world yes, but many in the church, myself included, have theological reservations about a Top 100 ranking yet are glad to see prominence given to some of the good works that Christians have done in our land this year out of the overflow of their hearts. Especially people not “of any note”, just as the apostle Paul said in 1 Cor 1:26. Their example uplifts us. Aisling Hubert’s work certainly did me.

          • Martin

            Anton

            There are plenty of preachers out there, giving of their time and preaching the gospel who never get mentioned anywhere. I wonder who it was who Daniel McArthur sat under to get his understanding of Scripture.

          • Anton

            The point is to preach to the *un*converted. And preach well, although as that cannot be judged by number of conversions it is not clear how to decide.

          • Martin

            Anton

            The preaching should also be to preach to the believer, that they may grow and stand firm as Daniel McArthur has.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Paul spent much time and many years preaching to the converted. So should we. Otherwise how can people grow in the faith as Paul exhorts them to do?

          • Anton

            I call that teaching rather than preaching, but I take the point.

          • Martin

            Anton

            Preaching is teaching.

          • Anton

            Why then use the word Preaching at all; why not call it all Teaching? What do you consider the difference, please?

          • Martin

            Anton

            Preaching is a specific kind of teaching, proclaiming from God’s word.

          • Anton

            But the main teaching that goes on in church (or should go on) is Bible teaching. Where’s the difference? Perhaps it’s time to go to the New Testament in Greek and see if two words are used.

          • Martin

            Anton

            I’d suggest preaching is done as a one way process, proclaiming, teaching as a two way process.

            2784 kerusso kay-roos’-so of uncertain affinity; to herald (as a public crier), especially divine truth (the gospel):–preacher(-er), proclaim, publish.

            1321 didasko did-as’-ko a prolonged (causative) form of a primary verb dao (to learn); to teach (in the same broad application):–teach.

          • William Lewis

            Why does the Bible differentiate between preaching and teaching?

          • William Lewis

            I hope you mentioned one of them.

          • Martin

            William

            I don’t consider it right to publish such a list.

          • writhledshrimp

            Oh Crumbs Martin, I think you are over thinking! For me it was an interesting and encouraging read through a list of people that are rubbing a bit of salt and shining a bit of light into a world that needs it. The competitive side of it is trivial to the point of irrelevance.

          • Martin

            I’d say that it does those listed no favours.

        • Politically__Incorrect

          Rather than looking at this as a spiritual beauty contest, one can look at the result as a reflection of a wider view on the current state of Christianity. Obviously for many, religious freedom in the UK is now a big issue. Personally, I think it is a threat which has been played down and underestimated for too long, but it’s happening. I’m sure not one of the nominees would want to be presented with a Christian equivalent of an Oscar, though they may justifiably take some encouragement from knowing other Christians recognise and support their actions.

          • Martin

            PI

            I’d agree that the pressure on religious freedom has been a problem for a long time, but some of those who have been a cause, or at least not spoken out, are on that list.

  • len

    All who are prepared to make a stand for Christ and Christians is a winner in my book.

  • William Lewis

    Just read the Sally Phillips link. Great story and witness.

    • petej

      Of the people here, she would be my pick for top.

      Many of the people are here for causing controversy, she is here for helping children…the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.

      • William Lewis

        I’m not very interested in the rankings but it’s always good to know the stories and work of other Christians

        I’m not too sure about your second paragraph as:

        “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

        • petej

          Apologies I was referring to Matt 19.14

          • William Lewis

            It’s interesting that you “dismiss” the others on the list for causing controversy. Is Christianity not inherently controversial? Jesus certainly was and still is, I believe.

          • petej

            1 Peter 2.12

          • William Lewis

            I’m not sure what point you are making here. William Wilberforce was not a man of violence but then neither are those in the list (to my knowledge). That’s not the same as being controversial, though, and Wilberforce was certainly that.

            Anyway, Happy New Year to you.

          • petej

            Most of the people who I recognise on this list are famous for upsetting others. Sally has managed to be good in the world without upsetting anyone

      • Martin

        Pete

        She’d not be for helping children in the way you imagine.

        • petej

          I don’t imagine, I *know* she is trying to improve knowledge of and treatment of children with Down’s syndrome because she has a son who has Downs.

          • Martin

            Pete

            But you are more interested in perversion aren’t you.

          • petej

            Sally Phillips is married and had her children whilst being married. I’m not sure that even you can find a reason to claim she is “perverted”

          • Martin

            Pete

            I don’t, I said you were only interested in perversion.

          • petej

            Why do seemingly all conservatives have to use insults? Why do you have to be so nasty towards me?

          • Martin

            Pete

            Why do you imagine it is an insult? You support perversion here so I thought that was clearly your aim.

          • petej

            I made a comment that Sally Phillips was my favourite of this list because of her work supporting children with downs.

            You responded by calling me a pervert.

            That’s an insult and it was nasty and unprovoked.

          • Martin

            Pete

            Homosexuality is a perversion of God’s good gift of sex, you have nothing to complain of.

          • petej

            With respect, I don’t see what this has to do with Sally Phillips.

            Do you intend to call me a “pervert” every time I comment on anything?

            What evidence do you have that I am a pervert and you are not?

          • Martin

            Pete

            You come on her to comment on Christianity and abuse those who are Christians. You cannot choose who you will like among us on the basis that they haven’t offended you yet.

  • Dreadnaught

    Never heard of him.
    Christians have lost their voice and no longer reach beyond their own cosy confines.

    • Anton

      It was one of the few stories of Christian faith that made the mass media. I spend very little time listening to the BBC or reading newspapers nowadays but this was prominent. Where were you?

      • Dreadnaught

        Must have blinked.

        • Anton

          Very sloowwwly!

          • Dominic Stockford

            Again and again and again. It was in the media again yesterday, as well as being discussed on this site many times.

          • Martin

            Dominic

            It’s hard for him to hear with his fingers in his ears.

          • Dreadnaught

            You are missing the point. Its people like me who should be aware in the same way we know of Osama bin Laden, Amjem Choudry, or Abu Hamza. Then you will be getting your message out.
            I doubt many people even know who Welby is.

          • len

            These are all notorious people.Christians don`’t do notorious.

          • Dreadnaught

            Henry 8 – Bloody Mary – come off it Lenny Lad.

          • len

            See above to Manfarang

          • Martin

            His point well made.

          • Samuel

            One of those is a cocktail….

          • Manfarang

            The Borgias?

          • len

            Christians don`t do notorious.

            There are some that call themselves ‘christians’ but their actions betray the fact that they are not Christians.

            ‘But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.’ (revelation 21:8)

          • Manfarang

            No true Scotsman eh?
            Poor old Tommy Cooper!

          • Martin

            Oh dear, if you only understood what that meant.

          • Manfarang

            I did once invite Antony Flew to speak at a meeting. He couldn’t as he was in Canada. I loved the way Tommy did his tricks.

          • Martin

            And there we see the extent of your thought.

          • Manfarang

            And yours.

          • Martin

            Precisely.

          • Manfarang

            Well if you need something to think about try God’s Chinese Son: The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan.

          • Martin

            Try thought, you might find it enlightening.

          • Manfarang

            Many people in this world have different ideas to you. Your ideas are what my old philosophy teacher would refer to as philosophical unfalsifiable, that doesn’t mean they are valid it means whatever anyone says you would go on believing them so there is no point in arguing.
            As I can see in your picture there is something you believe in as an historical fact. It is for you to prove the events happened not for me to say they didn’t.

          • Martin

            The historical events are without doubt. And God has ensured you know that He exists.

            Your own position is philosophically unfalsifiable, You can provide no evidence for the origin of life or of any other claim.

          • Manfarang

            No No No. There are few references by historians to Christians in the first two centuries of the modern era when a small Jewish sect changed into a new religion. The only records are their own books of which -“16 Meanwhile, the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain Jesus had designated. 17When they saw Him, they worshiped Him, but some doubted.” Mark the earliest gospel has no appearances of Jesus following the visit of the women on Easter morning to the empty tomb. Just a young man (not an angel ) telling the women to go to Galilee as they had been told.(There are of course some ancient records of a few who survived crucifixion. It was as much a method of torture as execution but a very brutal torture)
            Proving God exists does not by itself authenticate Christian doctrines.
            I tend to believe matter in some form has always existed therefore it does not have an origin as such.

          • Martin

            So tell me, who do you know of in Israel in the first century, other than those mentioned by the Christian writers? You try to deny something from your own ignorance, displaying your bigoted ignorance for all to see. What a pathetic individual you must be.

          • Manfarang

            There is plenty of scholarship of that era to provide insight.
            I think you have proved my original point. Jesus did have some humility. All you can do is call people names and insults, clearly you are going to persuade no one to follow what you believe and clearly it seems you have a blind acceptance so where is your thought?

          • Martin

            There’s very little written from Judea in that era. It certainly wouldn’t have attracted much attention from the ‘scholar’, yet events there produced the best attested ancient documents we have. So don’t try to cast doubt on the events recorded in the New Testament.

          • Anton

            It was on the front pages of newspapers, and on the day that the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland announced its verdict it was lead story on BBC radio news. Given coverage like that, I think you should accept responsibility for your unawareness of it. As for Welby, those who don’t know who he is probably couldn’t name the Home Secretary either.

          • Dreadnaught

            Another point. This is the same media you blame for not giving enough coverage of Christianity. Surely the issue should be how effective the man has been in his endeavours and profile exposure to date, rather than making the ‘news’ on one particular occasion

          • Anton

            If you wish to question the criteria for being on this list, that is a matter between you and His Grace, not me.

          • Dreadnaught

            Missing my points completely – I’m off – Dragons to slay and Maidens to rescue…

          • Dreadnaught

            I got my wires crossed along the way.

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            But it wasn’t “on one particular occasion”, but many times.

            Searching for ‘ “Daniel McArthur” Ashers ‘ gives me 13,400 ghits, with dates on the first two pages in February, March, May, July, August October & November.

          • Dreadnaught

            Now if someone had said NI Bakery – I would have been there. Thanks.

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            From the first paragraph:
            “Daniel McArthur … If you haven’t heard of him, he’s a baker. Or, rather, he’s the general manager of a bakery in Belfast”.

            I would have thought that enough of a clue.

          • Dreadnaught

            Entirely my own fault for not reading the whole of the text rather than the headline which sent me down the wrong from the start.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    An excellent choice for the winner. I hope Mr McArthur has been told the result. I’m sure it will encourage him and his family to know that other Christians are endorsing him. Our response to this result should be to ask ourself how far would I go to defend not just my Christian faith but the right to live it and express it for myself and others? We may not know the answer until we find ourselves tested. After all, we don’t normally choose to be in these situations.

  • David

    A truly excellent first choice ! God bless the whole McArthur family !

    I am exceedingly pleased for the whole family, which continues to be an inspiration to us all. Andrea Michenello-Williams of Christian Concern will be delighted with this I am sure, and it is good that she too receives a mention lower down the list.

    Additionally it is truly heartening to see a list of so many brave, hard working Christians living their lives in service to God.

    This exercise, conducted so well by Cranmer, is a stout retort to the many anti-Christian forces in our country, and it says to me :-

    “we are here, as witnesses, and we will not compromise with Caesar over essential matters of our faith and faithful living.”

    Well done and thank you Archbishop Cranmer !

    • John

      Andrea Williams will indeed be delighted, though it should be noted that it is the Christian Institute, not her organisation Christian Concern, that has backed and financed the McArthurs’ legal challenge.

      • David

        OK. Fair point, so noted.
        I am a longtime supporter of Christian Concern.

      • petej

        What is the difference? I genuinely thought they were just two names for the same organisation

        • John

          They are two fine organisations, but quite independent of each other. I have noticed though that CC are occasionally not averse to taking credit for work done entirely by the CI, this being a case in point.

          • petej

            But aren’t they run by the same person (Andrea Wassit-Williams)?

          • John

            No. The CI’s Director is Colin Hart and his organisation is based in Gosforth, Tyne and Wear. CC is based in London and, as you’ll see from their website, (www.christianconcern.com/cases) they have had no involvement whatsoever with the Ashers case.

          • petej

            Thanks!

  • Inspector General

    A kick in the hole for Organised Buggery, if one may say…

    • David

      You have a way with words undoubtedly Inspector.

    • petej

      It was a cake for a charity supporting LGBT people. Most of them will never perform that act. Many non LGBT people will.

      • Martin

        Pete

        Charity means love, LGBT has nowt to do with love.

        • petej

          Charity was a synonym for love a hundred years ago. It still can mean that but the usage is archaic. I was using it in the more common sense of a organisation helping those in need.

          Some of the people helped by this charity will be lifelong singles.

          • Martin

            Pete

            Unless they’re involved in sexual immorality they aren’t homosexuals.

          • petej

            Which letter of LGBT stands for “homosexual”?

          • Martin

            Pete

            The first three.

          • petej

            Nope!

          • Martin

            Pete

            ‘Fraid so, last one is mentally ill.

      • Inspector General

        If it was this man here who was the manager, you’d be wearing cake as you get thrown out of the shop…

        • petej

          So you make an untrue accusation and your response when corrected is to threaten me.

          • Inspector General

            Untrue accusation? In that case, you won’t be wanting the state to finance your HIV treatment and STIs, because obviously there is no epidemic of such in your community…

          • petej

            If you are serious about wanting protections for conservative Christian beliefs about marriage I’d counsel you to work on your anger and keep the insults to yourself. You won’t be taken seriously if you are fing and Jeffing at gay people.

          • Inspector General

            Insult = A rather inconvenient truth you’d rather not be aired.

            Gay people = The High Priests of society. Or at least, that be the plan.

          • petej

            How do lesbians commit buggery? How do lifelong singles commit buggery? That is what you are claiming is “truth”.

            In reality many LGBT people still face challenges just to be allowed access to ordinary things (housing, goods and services, a job). It is frankly ridiculous to claim they are in any sort of privileged position in the UK…and it belies your prejudice yet again. In reality if society has a high priest then it is money.

            If you are opposed to buggery then be opposed to buggery, but don’t accuse an entire group of people of committing it and don’t give straight buggerers a free pass!

          • Inspector General

            Any threat to the hetronorm is buggery. One did not use the word sodomy. No need.

          • petej

            I doubt that is what you meant. It is not the common or legal usage.

            If our society (or individuals) see people as a “threat” merely by existing then how are we any better than ISIS? How is viewing people as a threat consistent with the greatest commandments? How can we fulfil the great commission if certain individuals are beyond the pale?

          • Inspector General

            Well, be in doubt no longer then. Look, one has nothing against the sexually handicapped. Nor against the mobility handicapped, come to that. But if the latter take it into their minds to abolish staircases, that would be different. The militants would then deserve everything coming their way, as you do.

          • petej

            So why the insults?

          • Inspector General

            You want an answer from someone you consider no better than ISIS!

          • petej

            Actually I said that a society where people were considered a threat simply for existing would be no better than ISIS.

            Maybe you could answer my question. If you have no problem with LGBT people in general then why the insults?

          • Inspector General

            One’s parley is not based on insulting you. If you take exception to certain words, that’s your problem, that perhaps you might find the strength within you to one day overcome…

          • petej

            I didn’t say that you had insulted me.

            You have persistently used insulting language and false claims about LGBT people and then you claimed that you “had nothing against” them. If it is indeed the case that you have nothing against them then why do you feel the need to make insulting and false statements against them?

          • Inspector General

            Nothing false about the claims at all.

          • petej

            You accused the LGBT charity of “buggery” even though you have now conceded that buggery is not an act made by most LGBT people and is done by many non LGBT.

            Although perhaps not so harmful you have also claimed that LGBT people have privilege over non LGBT people in the uk.

            As well as these false claims you have also used insulting language usually confined to Donald Trumps locker room!

          • Inspector General

            Good grief! You sound just like a judge in his summing up after a guilty verdict.

            So, what sentence do you pass on your Inspector?

          • petej

            It is not me who is making condemnatory statements, nor do I pass a sentence.

            I would like the church (including you) to move away from using insulting language against people of colour and minorities. If you hold any hatred for people because of their membership of such a group I would like you to reverse it because Jesus has called us to reach the whole world. We live in a time where the whole world is closer than ever before, but the ambition of the church is closed in on itself.

            I cannot make this happen and it is not my place to judge you. I know several people who have left the church and lost their faith because this prejudice has hurt their loved ones and they cannot see anything of Christ in it.

          • Inspector General

            You really must inform this fellow about his hatred. For he believes he has none in his soul. Now, if it’s criticism you mean, one puts his hands up and walks quietly to the cells, for lo, the days of criticising darling humanity are, if you have you way, over…

          • petej

            I can’t see into your soul which is why I wrote “if”. However it is my experience that foul language against people due to a characteristic usually indicates a hatred of the people who share that characteristic. If you use such language against an individual then they and their friends and family are less likely to want to go to your church or listen to what you have to say about the gospel.

          • Inspector General

            The Inspector is no priest. As one has determined, you militants have made your mind up about Christianity and have rejected it in favour of earthly indulgences…

  • The Explorer

    Great first choice.

    In one of the equivalent incidents in the States, a Christian bakery was sued by a lesbian couple. The resultant fine (the owners were, of course, found guilty) was punitive enough to bankrupt the bakery. That, at least, was the intention: as a warning to Christians to toe the equality line. But the owners received so much financial support from well wishers that they were able both to pay the fine and take early retirement.

    • petej

      If you are talking about Cakes by Melissa, that’s not true at all.

      In the UK and many parts of the US gay people are protected against discrimination by law. Very few cases go to court, but it seems to me that it would be ridiculous to always excuse people of breaking these laws. What’s the point of having a law if you’re not prepared to enforce it?

      • Martin

        Pete

        What’s the point of having a law that protects people on the basis of their immoral behaviour.

        • petej

          There is no such law. The equality act protects against discrimination on the basis of orientation not behaviour, but I suspect you know this already and are just being malicious.

          Regardless the law is the law. We don’t have a perfect democracy, but it is a functioning democracy. These laws have been in place for a decade and were voted for by our elected representatives

          • Martin

            Pete

            There is no such thing as orientation, just sexual sin and the attempt to hide it by talking of orientation. There is no other behaviour which attracts such protection.

      • Inspector General

        Exactly, what is the point of law. So, it has to be repealed, and we are entering a political climate where that is inevitable…

        • petej

          I think that would be extremely unlikely!

          At best there might be a government sponsored proposal to excuse Christians from the act, as religious institutions currently are, but the impracticalities of such a law mean I doubt it would pass either house.

          • Inspector General

            A clear out of dodgy judges is all that’s needed, then this evil law can be ignored as much as exceeding the speed limit on roads is ignored…

          • petej

            Law isn’t determined by judges.

            The law against speeding certainly isn’t ignored. People aren’t hung drawn and quartered for it, but it is still enforced. Likewise Ashers was seen as a minor fault and so they received only a small fine. It has dragged on for so long because they have sought to clear their name.

          • Inspector General

            How much more privilege do you people want? Allow one to answer the question as well as put it to you – and that is there is no end to your increasingly bizarre wants, nay, for they are now Human Rights demands and musts. Personally, one agrees with Richard Nixon..”I’ve nothing against them as individuals but working together, they managed to bring down Greece and Rome”. Or words to that effect…

          • petej

            Privilege?

            These are just the facts of the case. I have expressed “privilege”. I haven’t expressed any desires and you haven’t asked any questions

          • Inspector General

            You people are so soaked through with privilege you no longer realise it. Everything is now a right. The hetronorm can only stand so much…

          • petej

            Well the fact remains that in the last year

            Globally thousands of LGBT people were put to death just for existing. No people were put to death for opposing LGBT people or associated issues.

            In the UK there were a small number of public cases of people being thrown out of shops, restaurants or public transport for appearing to be LGBT. Lgbt people continue to face challenges accessing housing, jobs and goods and services. While at the same time there were no cases of people being thrown out of shops, restaurants or public transport for opposing LGBT people. People who oppose LGBT people have no issues accessing housing, jobs and goods and services.

            So I have to ask what “privilege” are you talking about?

            In reality the equality act protects against discrimination on the basis of orientation, which means straight people are protected as well as gay people. If straight people were being discriminated against then they could avail themselves of the same justice system. That there have been – I think – none such cases in the last decade, objectively you are incorrect that gay people are privileged above straight people.

          • Inspector General

            A few do suffer because they queer in public. Don’t queer in public then.

          • petej

            Again your position with me (and many other people) will be taken more seriously if you can manage to make it without using insulting language.

            Many (probably most) LGBT people do indeed take measures to keep their status private. The fact they should have to do this demonstrates that they do not have the “privilege” that you claim they have.

          • Inspector General

            There’s a thing! The name of the nuisance organisation who ordered the cake is ‘QueerSpace’. Presumably, it’s about having their own space to queer in…away from the view of the public and children, one hopes…

          • petej

            In much the same way that black people sometimes refer to each other using the N word. It doesn’t make it less of an insult when it is used as such.

          • Inspector General

            It’s modern day blasphemy and no less, of course. What a rotter! You’ll just have to live with it, it seems…

          • petej

            Not without reason is it considered deeply offensive.

            Your response is exactly why Christianity is diminishing in this country. In our society most people will have someone in their lives who is a different colour to them and who they care about. A growing number will also have someone in their lives who is not straight or who is transgender.

            A religion that seeks to insult and/or hurt and/or exclude such people cannot thrive in these circumstances

          • Inspector General

            Christianity is a robust religion. Ideal for this life. It’s beats the degeneracy you peddle.

            “A growing number will also have someone in their lives who is not straight or who is transgender.”

            Now, here is the crux of the matter. Your crowd gloating in your recruitment campaign…but the transgenders are scary. Mental illness like that should be addressed, hopefully before they demand their genitals amputated…

          • petej

            I’m not running a recruitment campaign.

            Church membership is plummeting in this country. If you are interested in reversing that then Christians like you need to deal with your racism etc.

          • Inspector General

            The health of homosexually active men is going down the pan quicker. Look up the Wiki article on ‘HIV Super-infection’. To wit, the infection of the body by more than one strain of HIV. You’ll be hearing a lot more about that term in the near future, and as the late Hughy Green used to say “You saw it here first, folks”

          • petej

            How is insulting them going to help?

            How is insulting non-promiscuous gay men going to help? Or celibate gay men? Or lesbians and bisexuals or transgender people?

            With respect, I don’t expect to get accurate health news from someone as foul mouthed as you.

          • Inspector General

            Come on, gentle fruit, you’re were doing quite well up to now. This is no time to be going all teary eyed!

          • petej

            Of for goodness sakes – that’s your response?!

            Just change your behaviour. Or don’t and see the church crumble even more.

          • Inspector General

            The Church is not directed by worldly influences, you silly idiot. Although one will concede that Anglicanism has more than its fair share of those who will be damned for all their efforts come the time of their passing…

          • petej

            The church has lost the influence and membership that it had when I was a child. I’m not saying it should be directed by culture, but I cannot see it reversing the downward trend whilst it’s pillars using insulting language towards people of colour and minority.

          • Inspector General

            You made your mind up on the church a long long time ago. All you then needed to do was to trawl the blog sites and preach your empty message….

          • Martin

            Pete

            There are no non-promiscuous gay men, as a recent court case about a certain celebrity couple made clear, nor are there celibate gay men for once they cease their activity they cease to be ‘gay’. And you are the foul mouthed racist for bringing ethnicity into the dicussion and equating it to sexual immorality.

          • The Explorer

            Bringing race in as a comparison is misleading. ‘Revelation’ 7:9. says the redeemed will include those of “all tribes, peoples and languages” Your race does not exclude you from salvation. But ‘Revelation’ does not mention a great throng drawn from the married, the celibate – which are allowed – and unrepentant adulterers, fornicators, homosexuals, paedophiles, the incestuous, necrophiliacs, coprophiliacs, screwers of sheep etc, which are not.

            ‘Revelation’ 22: 14 mentions that outside are dogs, sorcerers and fornicators: ‘fornicators’ here summing up all forms of biblically-forbidden sexuality.

          • petej

            Inspector General has no problem using insulting language to LGBT people or people of colour.

            When people have an irrational hatred of LGBT people, they often have issues with other groups as well (be they of other race, gender or religion). Opening our tongues to swear at someone because of their orientation or gender loosens it to swear at black people.

            It is perhaps part of the human condition to hate difference, but that doesn’t make it a virtue.

          • Inspector General

            ‘Irrational hatred’? Where did that come from…

            Actually petej, allow the Inspector to whisper in your ear. It’s pretty damn risky to openly queer in London these days. It’s true. And the people who are haranguing you are people of differing race and religion. But there’s little in the way of vociferous LGBT complaint. Something about ‘fellow persecuted’ minorities with their own ‘rights’. But keep that information under your hat, old son. It would not do for it to get out and reveal to all that LGBT only whine when it’s poor old much put upon whitey in the way…

          • petej

            Using such language as you have been doesn’t come from nowhere. It is usually a fruit of hatred, as are thinly veiled threats of violence…

          • Anton

            Most of the human race positively adores the outstanding difference between people – the difference between men and women.

          • carl jacobs

            Your response is exactly why Christianity is diminishing in this country

            That’s a feature. Not a bug.

            Christianity diminishes because it cuts against the established religion of the modern age in the West. It does not have to preach against homosexuality to achieve this result. All it has to do is present the concept of “sin” for moderns to gnash their teeth. Autonomous Man thinks much too highly of himself to be held to any such account.

            Serious question. How do I avoid insulting you if I reject the anthropology that underlies your entire argument? If the answer is “You can’t” that’s perfectly acceptable. Just understand where the true nature of the conflict lies.

          • petej

            It is certainly possible to oppose same sex relationships without resorting to making false statements about LGBT people or hurling insults at them. I realise that Christ’s command not to swear may be taken as in swearing an oath, but I don’t think that swearing is virtuous.

            I disagree that it is a feature of Christianity to seek to hurt or exclude people because of their physical features or because of experiential characteristics. It certainly is a feature of the British church right now and I think is part of the reason that its membership is plummeting.

          • carl jacobs

            I don’t use the word “queer” because I consider it vulgar. Truth be told, however, I didn’t realize that it was considered an insult until you mentioned it on this thread. That gives me more reason not to use it, but it’s hard to reconcile with the fact that there is (for example) something called “Queer Theory” in Universities. I’m not much persuaded by the “I can use it, but you can’t” argument.

            But you are kidding yourself if you think I haven’t been accused of levying insults simply by stating the Scriptural case (and, yes, it is the Scriptural case.) I can’t avoid making that case, which means I often cannot avoid the charge of insult. I am going to tell you that homosexuality did not exist prior to the Fall, that it is contrary to the created order and that it is therefore unnatural. I will tell you that the desire is perverse and worthy of condemnation. Does that sit well with modern man? No. He has built for himself a god of himself and he demands the right of self-creation. And so I will be condemned by modern man for speaking the truth. Indeed this entire apologetic built upon accusations of homophobia and bigotry was constructed to delegitimize the idea of sexual structural boundaries that restrict human choice.

            That’s what I meant by “It’s a feature and not a bug.”

            Jesus came not to bring peace but a sword. The son believes and as a consequence becomes divided from his father. The world does not abide the truth for the truth declares that its deeds are evil.

          • petej

            As I said to Inspector General it is a word like the N word, which is not always an insult, but when used in an insulting manner is actually a swear word. It isn’t so much the “who can use it”, but how it is used.

            You may have been accused of levying insults. I haven’t experienced every conversation you have been involved in so I cannot say whether you have or have not. Being accused of doing something is not the same as doing it. IG has accused all LGBT people of buggery and made other false claims about them. He has used a swear word to describe them and said that he has no problem using the N word to describe black people.

            The account you have made is a common enough Christian response to homosexuality and I know several people who hold it, preach it and do so without insulting or hurting LGBT people.

          • carl jacobs

            On this we are agreed. I cannot defend the Inspector’s behavior on this thread and I will not try.

          • Inspector General

            False claims? One will leave it to others here to decide if there were false claims. One at a time, and no voting twice, Mohamed…

          • petej

            You claimed that all LGBT people committed buggery in order to suggest that they deserved to be treated less well than non-LGBT people.

          • Inspector General

            One is running short of patience with you. That’s not good from your point of view…

          • petej

            How can you, a Christian I presume, claim to have the moral high ground on homosexuality and then slander and swear and threaten? You are destroying your case and the case of your fellow believers by revealing your true heart.

          • Inspector General

            How can you, an aggrieved homosexual, be trusted with male children…

          • petej

            They would be perfectly safe with me. Male Homosexuals are no more attracted to male children than male heterosexuals are attracted to female children. Perhaps you agree with Andrea Leadsom that heterosexual men should not be trusted with children either?

            Oh and I’m not aggrieved at all.

          • Inspector General

            Oh but you are aggrieved! How you wish you could trot along to your local police station and report a ‘hate crime’ that has happened here. Incidentally, the police hate you people. They’d love to take your hard drive into custody. Take that from someone who drinks with them

          • carl jacobs

            Umm. Point of clarification. The Inspector is in no part a Christian. He claims to be a Catholic but there is hardly a Catholic dogma he doesn’t reject. He is sort of a vague Deist who uses Christian language and has trouble differentiating the kingdom of heaven from the British Empire of the 19th Century.

            If you desire clarification, start asking him theological questions. He’ll start talking about “higher theology”.

          • Inspector General

            You’re too kind Carl. But the Inspector…oh, never mind…you go and worship Calvin…

          • carl jacobs

            I won’t have you hung around my neck. Especially when he is making you look like an ass. He comes across on this thread as reasonable. You … aren’t.

          • Inspector General

            He comes across this thread in grooming mode, you idiot!

          • Phil R

            I have brothers and sisters.

            We disagree but they are always family.

            Is that not what Paul spoke about?

          • carl jacobs

            No. The Gnostics were not family.

          • Phil R

            Have you seen the film Luther?

            In it there is a woman who carries her disabled daughter everywhere.

            She is desperately poor, illiterate etc. However, it set me thinking. Clearly she loved God. Her theology was non existent but she was drawn to God, compelled it seemed to seek his presence.

            The mother and the daughter in their short lives (later killed) knew no scripture never made a confession/repentance but to me if Jesus on the cross really means

          • Phil R

            Anything at all then it means salvation cannot be dependent entirely on a set of doctrines but what is in the heart.

            How can we judge that?

          • petej

            Sorry my bad. I just assumed that he was given his presence here.

          • Phil R

            Do we need to sign up…to get the dogma right in order to be a Christian Carl?

            I don’t need a list of what the Inspector does or does not believe. However, on what basis can you decide that he is not a brother in Christ?

          • carl jacobs

            The same way I can decide a Mormon is not my brother. How did I decide that?

          • Inspector General

            This from Pink News….

            Spanner1960 ServantofAngels • 5 hours ago
            “Not all LGBTQIA people want one night stands or wish to get incapacitatingly drunk.”
            No. Just most of them.

            Gay bars have rarely been for socialising. On top of that, these days LGBT people are generally accepted in most places, so there isn’t the need to hide away. There are other alternatives to meeting up, online chat and dating is popular and not all about pulling trade, (although most appears to be). Don’t shoot the messenger on this one, we have all seen it coming for a long time.
            You wanted equality, well now we have it. We can spend our lonely lives in boring pubs just like all the other straights.

          • petej

            It may surprise you to learn that a) not all LGBT people are gay and b) not all LGBT people have even seen the inside of a gay bar.

            Lots of gay people are promiscuous. So are lots of straight people.

            It is possible to oppose promiscuity without making untrue statements about LGBT people and without insulting them.

            One minute you are saying that gay people have “privilege” over straight people then you threaten that gay people are not safe on the street and now you are claiming the opposite.

            I’m really not sure what message you are trying to convey here. It seems you have given up with the fing and jeffing and moved on to saying nothing at all.

          • Inspector General

            It may surprise you that probably the overwhelming majority of people with same sex attraction want nothing to do with you so called champions and wish to be left alone to live their lives out without you trouble makers. Nearly all the women so inclined, for example.

          • petej

            I’m not a champion.

            I’m *very much aware* that LGBT people wish to be left in peace. Unfortunately certain people keep opposing their ability to live in the UK.

          • Inspector General

            Hyperbole.

          • petej

            Sadly no it isn’t.

          • Inspector General

            Seriously. Keep your queer mouth shut and behave as normal people behave. If you’re not a threat, you won’t be bothered by anyone…

          • petej

            So we are now back to the fing and jeffing. Well thankfully this is the 21st century and I can easily block you. Bye.

          • Inspector General

            Blimey! You give some trouble making poof some sound advice and he blocks you.

          • Martin

            IG

            Lucky you.

          • Martin

            Pete

            There are no LGBT people and you are conflating those who are sexually immoral with those who are mentally confused. There are no rights associated with sexual behaviour, but it is pretended that they are some sort of special people who should be treated in a special way, poor dears.

          • Anton

            Sought to clear their charge, please. Their name is not besmirched.

          • petej

            Pardon me, I did not mean it in any objective sense, but I have read that one of their concerns about paying the fine is that their bakery’s name will be tarnished.

          • Anton

            If they did or didn’t pay the fine, please; and tarnished in whose eyes? Much that could do with being clarified!

          • petej

            I don’t know whose opinion they are worried about – probably the community and their customers. They are based in a very conservative area where a negative reputation could sink a business. I think they have done a lot to put their case across and I doubt this will be an issue now. I suspect they will have lost few customers due to the case.

          • Inspector General

            ” I suspect they will have lost few customers due to the case.”

            Do you know, you can’t walk down the street these days for PC Absolute types boycotting everything in sight…

          • petej

            There is no law forcing people to use a particular business, but Ashers have had a lot of national publicity through this case. I suspect there are more people who will deliberately shop there than those who will boycott.

          • Anton

            Good!

          • William Lewis

            And right a wrong.

          • Martin

            Pete

            Law shouldn’t be determined by judges but the judge in the case against the the guest house owners specifically said he weighed up the rights of the two parties and came down in favour of the queers.

          • Malcolm Smith

            Exactly. It was open for the judge to say: “They did not discriminate because of the plaintiff’s sexual orientation, but because of the message.” After all, it is beyond dispute that the Ashers would have sold any other sort of cake to the customer.
            And as a last resort, a judge can say: “This is an immoral law, but I have no option but to enforce it.”
            By not doing either the judge was guilty of moral turpitude.

          • Malcolm Smith

            In any case, the idea of excusing Christians from a law is bad practice. It means that the lawmakers are admitting that the law is immoral, because it is is the word of God which is the final judge of morality. One the powers that be admit that a law offends Christian conscience, they must repeal it.

          • petej

            But then how would the country be able to claim to have freedom of religion and who decides what counts as offending Christian conscience. As an extreme example I spoke to a church minister who is a member of the BNP and believes that all people who are foreign or who have non-white skin should be deported immediately because God has set the borders of the nations. I don’t agree that his beliefs are remotely Christian and I don’t agree that the actions of Ashers bakery are consistent with the teaching of Christ…so who gets to decide which version of Christianity is correct?

      • The Explorer

        The Kleins were fined $135 000, which was enough to close the business; but the appeal on their behalf raised $500 000. The fine was intended to be both punitive to those who had defied the equality law, and exemplary to dissuade others of similar mind. What’s not true at all?

        • petej

          I’m skeptical that the fine would have been sufficient to close the business. As it is the bakery owners have made something like $100,000-$200,000 profit.

          The part that isn’t true is that the couple sued the bakery. The bakery were fined by the state for breaking state law. The couple charge that the owners of the bakery were deeply insulting to them and published their address online after which they received threats to their safety and the safety of their children. Being pretty sure that the bakery were acting illegally they then reported the bakery. The owners of the bakery have come out of this in profit and with everyone involved still alive. I’d say that was quite a positive result.

          • The Explorer

            The Kleins said the fine would ruin them financially. You’re right about the suing. I was paraphrasing for brevity. The lesbian couple brought to the attention of the Oregon authorities a violation of Oregon’s anti-discrimination laws. My point was the level of popular support given to the Kleins, and how far elites are out of touch with the views of those they are supposed to represent.

          • petej

            The trouble with paraphrasing for brevity is that there are a lot of people with knives out for LGBT people. It unfairly paints them as antagonists when they are actually victims. Before the incident the owners of the bakery were much better off than the lesbian couple, so I don’t think the charge of elitism sticks either.

          • Inspector General

            Revelling in perceived victim-hood again. For shame!

          • petej

            No it isn’t. I am just saying that it is false to cast them as antagonists. In reality all they did wrong was try to order a wedding cake from a bakery that advertised wedding cakes.

          • Inspector General

            Slogan cake is not wedding cake. Anyway, gay whatever is illegal in the North of Ireland. Get your facts right…

          • petej

            Wrong case!

          • The Explorer

            The couple could have gone to a non-Christian bakery rather than to the labor commissioner.

            By elites I wasn’t referring to the lesbian couple, who had a wretched time of it: losing their jobs, getting years of hate mail etc. I mean those across the western world who dreamed up equality legislation, mass immigration etc. Look at the difference between Merkel, and those who have to live with the
            consequences of her policies.

          • petej

            They did go to the bakery to ask for a cake and the bakery responded by insulting them and publishing their address.

            If it weren’t for the legal protection they still would have been verbally attacked by the Christian couple and still would have received death threats.

            Given the current president elect, I don’t think it is reasonable to say that all elites have the same politics. What you mean to complain against are progressives.

            Interesting that you are the second person here to bring up race!

            Without Merkel a large percentage of the million refugees she took in would now be dead and Germany would still be having problems with an aging work force. She was absolutely right to do what she did. My understanding of scripture is that it calls us to help the poor and needy even/especially if it costs us and that it is pagans who only help their friends.

          • The Explorer

            Three points.
            1. You’re evading the point. Cake or bread from the bakery is not the issue. Christian or non-Christian is the issue.

            2. The president elect, surely, is there because of reaction by the electorate to the policies of previous elites?

            3. I didn’t, as it happens, mention race. Immigration is also a numbers issue. And why does Germany have an ageing work force? Why are there not home-grown young?

          • petej

            1. I am so sorry, I misread what you wrote here. Can you tell me how the couple were to know that the bakery was a Christian bakery? I think if there had been a sign saying that they didn’t cater same sex weddings or even if they had been refused service politely then it would have been a different matter. The bakery would still have broken the law, but the fine probably would have been much smaller. In the states different localities have different equality laws. It may be the case that they moved to Oregon precisely due to the protection it offered and therefore were confident that they would be served. I know several people who have moved to get better legal protection so it does happen. Regardless, they did have to go to a non-Christian bakery because the Christian bakery wouldn’t serve them.

            2. By “elite” you mean “Democrat”. Trump is even richer than Clinton…or claims to be. He may be a symbol of dissatisfaction with the previous government, but by any measure he is elite as are his cabinet picks and his congressional leadership.

            3. I don’t know why Germany has an aging workforce, but that was the reason they agreed to take an astonishing number of refugees and why Merkel is still popular.

            I disagree with your assessment of the situation. The vast majority of Christian bakers on both sides of the Atlantic have not broken the law and many (maybe even most) Christians consider their actions out of line with the teaching of Jesus. But, leaving those aside, your assessment has the implication that the law should permit any truly Christian act. To do that the law would have to privilege Christianity above other religions and be decided by a group of theologians rather than Parliament.

            If it were the sort of theology shown by the bakers then gay people would probably have no access at all to housing, goods and services, jobs etc. “I am a Christian landlord, I can’t have gay people renting my house” etc etc

            In reality the UK is a country with lots of different types of people in it and we all have to live together – black, white, straight, gay, women, men, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Atheists, scientists, climate sceptics, brexiteers and remainers. I don’t for one minute think our current system of law and governance is optimal, but until someone comes up with a better solution I think it is pretty good.

          • The Explorer

            Good points here.

            To refuse bread to a lesbian for being a lesbian would be wrong and unchristian. Lesbians must eat.

            To refuse to make a birthday cake for a lesbian would be wrong and unhristian. Lesbians age, just as the rest of us do: they have no choice in the matter.

            But if to make a cake for a gay wedding is to violate one’s religious principles, then that is not quite the same thing.

            “To do that the law would have to privilege Christianity above other religions.” What do you understand by an established church?

            “If it were the sort of theology shown by the bakers then gay people would probably have no access at all to housing, goods and services, jobs etc. ” That might be the case if most landlords, traders and employers were Christian. SInce they aren’t, the problem would not arise.

            I’m not sure the story is quite as you represent it. Your version sounds like this.

            “Will you bake us a cake for a gay wedding?”
            “No. Hey everyone, here’s a gay couple. And here’s their address if you want to abuse them.”

            In practice, one lesbian went in with her mother to order a raspberry cake like one that that the bakery had previously produced for the mother’s wedding. The Kleins asked for the name of the bride and groom, and then refused to accept the order when told that it was for two brides. For the Kleins, that was the end of the matter.

            The lesbian couple went on to file a complaint with the labor commission. It was after picketing outside the shop by the gay community, threats to other firms that took their products, death threats to the Kleins’ children etc that the Kleins fought back.

          • petej

            I disagree with your desire for Christians to be free to use their businesses to deny goods and services because they oppose LGBT people. I don’t think the fact people with these views are in a minority should matter.

            However I think at the very least these businesses should advertise who/which services they will not provide. In both cases talked about here they did not and in both cases the customer has been accused of “targeting” the business.

            I disagree with your representation on the cakes by Melissa issue. Unlike Ashers, the owners were rude and abusive to their customer which left her in tears. It was after the business published their address online that the couple sought justice.

          • The Explorer

            Good points both. I’m not arguing for special privileges for Christians. I think, provided they do not complain about loss of revenue, all suppliers of goods and services should be free to decline their custom. With public services things are different, but a doctor’s surgery, say, is entitled to refuse a patient who consistently misses appointments. Where it happens in hospital, the hospital can refer the patient back to the GP. Even where there is theoretical equality, there sometimes isn’t: the treatment of the elderly in some hospitals.

            I agree that there should be carefully-worded disclaimers; although until something like the Melissa case occurs they may not exist because they have not been necessary. I concede that who said what when in the Melissa case does vary according to which account you read. Certainly, both sides suffered horribly, and some of the abuse meted out to the lesbian couple was unpleasant in the extreme.

            In the days of hanging for minor crimes, there’d be an undernourished girl in the dock charged with stealing a silk handkerchief or scarf to buy food for her starving family. The Jury, not wanting to see her hang, would find her not guilty; although her guilt was clear. There was a mismatch between the law and public sentiment, and the law changed accordingly. I see a similar mismatch in the Asher and Melissa cases between equality legislation and popular sentiment. Hence the level of support for the accused. That was the original point I was making in comparing the two cases.

          • petej

            This is not intended as a cheap point, but a genuine question. Do you think a business should be legally allowed to decline to serve a customer because they are a Christian?

            I don’t think it is fair to say that disclaimers were not necessary until these customers entered the bakery because that again is requiring these customers to have prior knowledge of the beliefs of the owners of a business before they attempt to use it. In both Oregon and Northern Ireland the existence of gay people is well known enough that they have legal protection (or rather orientation has legal protection – it applies equally to straight people) so I disagree that the business owners could not have foreseen this situation.

            The majority of the public in both Northern Ireland and Oregon support SSM so I disagree that popular sentiment is on the side of the bakers in this. In the NI case Ashers were awarded a small fine out of court (a tenth of that if they had sold out of date food). The owners chose to take it to court. In the Cakes by Melissa incident the fine was much higher because the impact was much greater.

          • The Explorer

            Yes I do think a business should be able to decline to serve a Christian: a humanist bookseller, for instance, might decline to order a biblical commentary on my behalf; a raunchy pub might not want to hire out a room for a Christian prayer meeting. The landlord would have his reputation to consider.

            Do you need to know the belief’s of a shop’s owners? If I want to by rawl plugs, say, it doesn’t matter if the proprietor is Christian, Muslim or Jewish (unless I insist on plugs made in Israel). But if I want to by pork sausages, the beliefs of the owner would be relevant.

            If you want to buy a birthday cake, the beliefs of the baker would be irrelevant: unless the baker is Jewish and you wanted to commemorate Hitler’s birthday with the message on it. But gay marriage is still controversial, and it would make sense to find a baker favourable towards it. -Failure to recognise that the issue is still controversial is naïve. Forcing your beliefs on the baker regardless of what the baker’s might be is uncharitable.

          • petej

            But do you think the humanist bookseller should be allowed to decline to sell you the same book that he’d happily sell to an atheist?

            The difference with pork sausages would be that they just wouldn’t be available. In the case of Ashers custom-printed cakes were available (just not for a gay charity) and in the Cakes by Melissa incident wedding cakes were available (just not for gay customers).

            I think if you are gay and live in a jurisdiction where it is illegal to refuse to serve a customer because of their orientation, it is actually pretty reasonable to ask a bakery that provides wedding cakes to bake you a wedding cake. Likewise in a jurisdiction where it is also illegal to discriminate on the basis of political message (NI) it is reasonable to expect a bakery that offers custom-printed cakes to produce for you your custom cake.

            In both cases, neither business advertised that they had a problem with SSM and I feel quite strongly that it is unreasonable of the owners to expect their customers to know this when no information was provided. I think with the Ashers cake that at least they treated the customer politely and with respect.

          • The Explorer

            Interesting discussion, for which I thank you.

            If the bookseller didn’t know me, he’d have no reason not sell me the book and lose revenue. If he did know me, and found, my views objectionable, I would have no problem if he refused to serve me. (In practice, I would sooner give my custom anyway to those who share my beliefs.)

            You’re quite right about the pork. You can’t demand a product that isn’t stocked. Or can you? Why doesn’t a butcher in a pig-eating country have pork? How about if I demanded non-halal lamb? Why would I, when I can get it elsewhere? But my point is that the beliefs of the owners do have a bearing on where I can shop.

            If there’s anti-discrimination legislation re SSM, then presumably it’s illegal to display information saying you have a problem with SSM. You’re breaking the law by disagreeing with it, never mind acting on your disagreement.

            If the law is Clause 28, then it would be illegal to display signs promoting homosexuality where young people could see them. If the law supports SSM, then you risk penalties by discrimination against it. Some customers will find out by accident; others will actively seek you out to see if you discriminate and can be prosecuted.

            Christians in the Roman Empire tried to obey the law but could not worship Caesar or burn incense to him. Martyrdom followed. We’re in a similar, though less drastic, situation now, and financial martyrdom is where we’re at.

          • petej

            Just to be clear the current law (since 2006) in the UK protects against discrimination on the basis of orientation, religion, gender, race, age and (dis)ability. There is no protection of SSM or protection of views about SSM. In NI there is in addition protection of political views. Section 28 was repealed in 2003 and prevented any employee of a local authority speaking about homosexuality in a positive light. Butchers do not have to stock pork if they don’t want to nor do they have to stock halal meat if they do not wish to, because “halal meat” and “pork” are not things protected by the equality act.

            It would currently be illegal to display a sign saying that you would refuse service, jobs, accommodation , etc to gay people (or Christians, women, black people, old people and/or disabled people) without a justifiable reason (e.g. You are allowed to specify a male actor for a male part in a play), but it is currently illegal to refuse a service on the basis of orientation so I was talking about a hypothetical where it wasn’t illegal. If the equality act were repealed, I think business owners who want to, for example, not cater for gay weddings should clearly say so.

            There have been very few anti-gay discrimination cases in the UK since SSM became legal. In these cases, I don’t think there is any evidence that any of the people involved were targeted for their beliefs. If they had displayed their beliefs it is likely that they would not have been troubled by these customers in the first place. In the Ashers case there was nothing to say the business was Christian let alone anti LGBT.

            I disagree that there is financial martyrdom here. The owners of Ashers are rich and the fine is very small as catering fines go. They have had a lot of free advertising because of the case. The owners of cakes by Melissa have retired early on the proceeds of their case.

          • The Explorer

            To clarify a couple of points. I know Clause 28 has been repealed, but I can see how my phrasing above might have suggested otherwise. I think serious persecution in the West lies in the future, and is more likely to take the form of loss of livelihood than loss of life.

            I think I’ve said all I can on this topic, other than to add that Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian, who led the prosecution of the Kleins, was defeated by a Republican. This is the first time since 2002 that a Republican has been elected to state wide office In Oregon, and the Melissa case may have had a bearing on the result.

          • Martin

            Pete

            Curiously the law doesn’t define orientation, so clearly it doesn’t really exist.

            And it is pretty evidence that targeting of Christians has taken place.

          • Martin

            Pete

            They’re never victims. Sexual immorality is a choice.

          • petej

            They are victims under the law. They were victims of insults and slurs from the owners of Melissa’s. They were also the victims of death threats.

          • Martin

            Pete

            There problems were brought on by their behaviour.

          • petej

            It is completely legal to go into a bakery that advertises wedding cakes and order a wedding cake.

          • Martin

            Pete

            A wedding can only be between a man and a woman.

          • petej

            In *Northern Ireland* that is true, but not in Oregon.

          • Martin

            Pete

            Everywhere, a wedding can only be between a man and a woman. It’s the nature of weddings to be between a man and a woman.

          • petej

            Well I went to one earlier this year that wasn’t. I don’t drink or do drugs so I doubt I was hallucinating!

          • Martin

            Pete

            If it wasn’t between a man and a woman it wasn’t a wedding, neither were they married.

          • petej

            Well the law says different. The reason they got married was because one of them has a job overseas. Being married means that they can both legally live abroad. If they were not married then they couldn’t do this.

            I think maybe you are living in a different century

          • Martin

            Pete

            The law has no authority in the matter, nor does that which makes the law. Marriage is unchangeably the joining of a man and woman, whatever the century.

          • petej

            Well I was referring to a legal marriage. People are free to believe whatever they want about non legal marriages.

          • Martin

            Pete

            Calling it a legal marriage doesn’t mean it exists.

  • Manfarang

    Crumbs!

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    It is of course, the time for such lists, and there are many worthy folk in His Grace’s. One wishes the same could be said of the New Year’s Honours List. Perhaps someone could explain to me how a Liverpool man spending 58 years working with the disabled gets an MBE and Victoria Beckham gets an OBE for services to fashion?

    • Anton

      It’s the flipside of how these baubles were handed out a generation ago to timeserving civil servants whom nobody outside Whitehall had ever heard of.

      • James Bolivar DiGriz

        It’s not a generation ago, civil servants still get gongs for doing their job.

        I slightly know someone who received a CBE earlier this year for ‘services to planning’.

        • Anton

          I’d guess there’s less of it now and only the highest ranks get gongs, but it’s absurd that anybody, known or unknown, gets the Order (or whatever) of the British Empire in the absence of the British Empire. How can you possibly say to foreign diplomats with a straight face that you hold the Order of the British Empire? Or are a Knight of the Garter or a Member of the Order of the Bath?

      • Dominic Stockford

        Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Gibraltar, Falkland Islands, Isle of Man, Channel Islands – Quite an empire these days.

        • Old Nick

          The word “Empire” has nothing to do with geographical extent either in its etymology or its use in the title of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. When Henry VIII declared England ‘an empire entire of itself’ he was indicating that the Crown exercized power directly Dei Gratia, as Byzantine emperors did, and did not derive its authority or imperium from some intermediate source such as the Bishop of Rome. Of course the idle and ill-informed think it has to do with dominion over palm and pine; the primary meaning (as employed, for instance, by Bede) predates this (as you ought to know). Incidentally those who think that the Act of Settlement should be repealed should first suggest to the Bishop of Rome that his predecessor erred in issuing Regnans in Excelsis.

          • Dominic Stockford

            The Bishop of Rome and his predecessors have erred in many ways, and will no doubts continue to do so – to the eternal loss of many. Repealing the Act of Settlement would be folly in many ways – so much is linked, one thing to another, in the British system that we wouldn’t even realise quite how much would come tumbling down if it were done, to our great loss.

            As for ’empire’, I was jesting, and you are correct.

          • Old Nick

            And you are generous and I am regrettably choleric. Happy New Year.

    • IanCad

      Sickos rule I’m afraid Mrs. P.

    • Oisín mac Fionn

      Fashion – even fashion as derivative and unoriginal as Victoria Beckham’s – earns profit for UK Plc. Caregivers to the disabled are a fixed overhead.

      Anyone who’s ever managed a company knows that profit earners must be recognised and rewarded. Fixed costs must be kept to a minimum.

      Want a gong? Get out there and earn it by bringing in the cold, hard cash that makes the whole system work. Without the VBs of this world, caregivers couldn’t give care because there would be no way of funding their activities.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      You have to meet certain requirements in order to appear in the New Years Horrors List Mrs P. Firstly, you have to be a civil servant known only to his or her workmates. Preferably you should have wasted copious amounts of taxpayers cash. Building an unusable airport would be a good start. Barset would be a suitable location as I expect they don’t have flying machines yet. Services to wastage and profligacy seem to be particularly well-rewarded these days.

  • Martin

    Ah, poor diddums

    • Sarky

      I doubt you even got it.

  • carl jacobs

    Who will be considered great in the kingdom of heaven? Those who are considered great on Earth? No. This is the problem with such lists. They are inevitably compiled according to the eyesight of man. But man does not see as God sees.

    We give honors to men as we see fit, and there is no sin in this. But there is no reward either. We must never mistake the judgment of men for the judgment of God. And even the rewards that men receive from God will be cast at the foot of the Lamb.

    • IanCad

      Agreed! There is something unseemly about a competition for the best Christian.

  • Royinsouthwest

    It is interesting that the so-called Equality and Human Rights Commission managed to find the time to consider the Northern Ireland cake case but still has had absolutely nothing to say about sexual abuse in Rotherham and many other English cities. This is despite the fact that the EHRC has had a role in creating a climate of opinion in which it is thought better to tolerate rape and other forms of abuse than be thought a racist.

    Why haven’t our press, broadcasting media and MPs held the EHRC to account for its appalling double standards?

    • Anton

      EHRC comprises a bunch of hypocrites living well off the taxpayer. It should be closed down forthwith.

    • petej

      Well I’m not sure anyone had brought a case to the ECHR?

      As I understand it police officers and social service workers have lost their jobs as a result of negligence in Rotherham.

      There is also of course a wide-ranging national enquiry into child sexual abuse, which I hope will result in a revolution against this evil blight across our country (including Rotherham) if the press barons don’t succeed in shutting it down.

  • Anton

    Name a park after him!

    • Royinsouthwest

      Well, the song has already been written and with luck the recipe for gay cakes has been lost …

      • carl jacobs

        They left the cake outside, and now it’s melted. I just can’t take this anymore.

        • Anton

          You should drink the beer while it is warm.

          • carl jacobs

            Instead I will sing another song just for me – about a yellow cotton dress.

          • You been drinking, Carl?
            (You’re team are trailing 1 – 0)

          • carl jacobs

            I’m not old and “Chinese” is an unwarranted extension.

          • One of the silliest songs ever written.

          • carl jacobs

            Nevertheless, Anton’s original comment was genius. You should upvote him.

          • Anton

            Thank you, Carl. My New Year Resolution may be to get more upvotes than I make posts.

          • Hmmm …..

          • Chinese chequers is a board game of German origin played by two, three, four, or six people, playing individually or with partners.

            Draughts is a strategy board games for two players which involve diagonal moves of uniform game pieces and mandatory captures by jumping over opponent pieces. The name derives from the verb to draw or to move.

          • carl jacobs

            Yean, yeah. But MacArthur Park is in Los Angeles. And when people in Los Angeles play “Checkers” they play a game that does not include “Chinese Checkers”.

          • So how do they distinguish between Draughts and Chinese Chequers?

          • carl jacobs

            So how do they distinguish between Draughts and Chinese Chequers?

            Well, first they would correct the spelling.

            So how do they distinguish between Drafts and Chinese Checkers?

            Then they would think that a draft is something you get on tap at a bar, or a cold breeze though an open window, while Chinese Checkers is a board game, and why should they ever get the two confused?

            Then they would try to understand how “ugh” can constitute an “f” sound or do the British actually pronounce the word “drawts” like it’s spelled? But then they think of how Marylebone is pronounced, and of the extra syllable in Gloucester that exists for no particular reason. And they have compassion because they decide it’s probably all down to pernicious French influence on the language.

            Poor Britain. Having to live just 26 miles from France.

          • Martin

            Carl

            Well you’re quite close to Canada which also has the infection.

          • carl jacobs

            Yes, but they are too busy fighting with Ontario to trouble us.

          • “Chinese Checkers is a board game”

            You concede “Chinese” is not a superfluous extension after all.

            Despite their difficulties with the English language, it doesn’t stop Americans using English names for so many of their towns. How do the residents of Gloucester, Massachusetts cope?

          • carl jacobs

            You concede “Chinese” is not a superfluous extension after all.

            I said Chinese Checkers is a board game. Just like Chess is a board game. That doesn’t mean the board game “Checkers” encompasses the board game “Chinese Checkers” any more than the board game “Checkers” encompasses the board game “Chess”.

            How do the residents of Gloucester, Massachusetts cope?

            They pronounce it correctly – for Massachusetts.

            And how come “Dreadnaught” isn’t pronounced “dread-naft”?

          • No. In reply to Jack saying: “Go play Chinese chequers by the trees.”, you said: “I’m not old and “Chinese” is an unwarranted extension.”

            Good to defeat you in our last encounter of 2016 – an all too familiar scenario throughout the year.

            Have a Happy New Year and best wishes to all your family.

          • carl jacobs

            Happy New Year, Jack

        • Inspector General

          Soggy gay cake is thought to cause heart failure…

          • carl jacobs

            Do you wear striped pants pressed with a fevered iron?

          • Inspector General

            That’s what Uncle Sam wears isn’t it?

          • Bernard from Bucks

            So does the thought of a Magnum Gold Chocolate ice cream bar.

          • Martin

            Nah.

            Chocolate and Ice cream together never hurt anyone.

  • petej

    Glad to see it is a reasonably balanced list (even though many of the named people made me raise my eyebrows!)

  • Dr Helen Roseveare, God rest her soul, out shines many on this list. Jack has been watching her interviews on You Tube. Wonderful woman.

  • Samuel

    Dudes / babes/ Martians and anyone else ,

    Shanah Tovah!

  • Samuel

    Great song… or according to my sister Esther. Next question : blur or oasis?

  • PessimisticPurple

    I love the way Ruth Davidson is “open” about being a Christian. I mean, what does it say when it’s easier coming out about being gay than being Christian?

  • not a machine

    well done Daniel McArthur ,interesting list surprised Vincent Nichols isn’t on there ,but a diverse list and shows some of the many different forms gods work can take.My comment on the cake one ,a business has right to refuse a customer request ,that aside rather than all the court malarkey wouldn’t it have been a good idea for the cake to be baked and someone else to have done the icing …What I admire about Daniel McArthur is the cool way he has not let the law monster him ,and in so doing informed us all that he wasn’t bigoted ,he never has sounded homophobic and if anything his case showed Christian heterophobia can become a straw man target if you have lawyers .
    Perhaps we are still sorting homosexuality out as it is different to even a decade ago , never mind when his grace was alive ,I have changed some of my views see something of the argument ,but still maintain marriage is between a man and woman ,there may well be a point when that view returns and that will be painful ,as it may seem that changing marriage was not a good move , marriage being an established thing with definition for heterosexual purposes for 3000 yrs,I mean heterosexuals need to be heterosexuals don’t they . .
    Going through the list reminds me how diverse gods work is and in some cases dangerous ,we are perhaps all living stones , but then that poses the interesting question of why we are to call upon the Christ ,have work to do ,why it isn’t more obvious what the evil is we have to guard against and defeat ,to receive Christ and Gods glory .whilst the theological inquiry at some levels does not get any easier ,Christ is changing lives in the less complex forms of prayer and the Eucharist ,that perhaps is why all should give thanks .

  • Arsering mac Fionn

    I am very interested in these top loo Christians. Which loos can I find them in?

    • Allosexuel

      In ze pissour … or is et pissoir?

      Why ‘av yoo chounged yoor nom?

    • Inspector General

      I say old chap, one does like the look of your sister. Is she around?

      • Allosexuel

        Cheeky boy!

        I ‘av just ‘ad the op in Brazil. Yoo like?

        • Inspector General

          Well, that’s certainly drained the lead out of a chap’s pencil…

          • Allosexuel

            I am all woomon …. an’ will giv yoo a lift.

          • Inspector General

            One was hoping not to heave this side of midnight…

          • Arsering mac Fionn

            Ahem. You are in a queue. However your call is important to us. Please hold.

          • Allosexuel

            Yoo hold yoor own. Wood yoo like a littel nibble of my baguette? Et is very fresh.

          • Arsering mac Fionn

            Come into my cubicle.

  • Inspector General

    Should auld behaviors be forgot,
    And never brought to mind?
    Should auld pederasty be forgot,
    And days o’ lang syne!

    Chorus:
    For anus sex, my child,
    For anus sex it is,
    We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet
    For the sake of anus sex!

    • Allosexuel

      Blush …. yoo ‘re vere rood … bot I lik yoo.

    • Arsering mac Fionn

      There’s a conversation for the bishops to reflect on.
      Could you ice it on a cake for me?
      Or maybe a pain au chocolate?

    • carl jacobs

      Was this really necessary? No, it wasn’t. It’s vulgar and crass.

      • Inspector General

        We both plunge into 2017 aware of homosexuality’s most sacred secret. Predation of the young…

        • petej

          Another slanderous statement. Doesn’t your God condemn slander?

          • Inspector General

            Ask yourself what the Christian God has in mind for YOU.

          • petej

            I’ve read Micah 4.12. My faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ keeps me secure.

          • Inspector General

            You need to think long and sure about your salvation. Consult a priest. Do mention that you arrive on blog sites to irritate good Christians, like this one here…

          • “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
            (1 Cor. 10:13).

    • You’re shocking Inspector.

    • chefofsinners

      Once again you find yourself just outside the top 100 Christians, Inspector. Who knows why?

    • William Lewis

      Why are you subjecting this blog to this filth?

      • That’s a good question..
        He is edited and this a warning.

    • Please stop this.
      It is filth.
      Comments speak what the heart is full of.

  • Pubcrawler

    Happy and prosperous 2017, dudes. Let’s make Christendom great again.

  • Happy New Year 2017 to all.

  • chefofsinners

    Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith.

  • Oisín mac Fionn

    And not since this time last year was there seen gathered together in one place a more motley crew of bigots and homophobes.

    • chefofsinners

      Yes, welcome back.

    • The Explorer

      Which one are you?

      • Oisín mac Fionn

        I’m not on the list. How could I be? I’m not a Christian. Or hadn’t you noticed?

        Those who are on the list however all believe in a religion with a holy book that condemns homosexuality as evil. Whether they’re conservative or progressive, and whatever their personal attitudes towards homosexuality, at the end of the day they support a religion which imposes the death penalty on gays, even if their so-called “messiah” may have (arguably – and oh-so “mercifully”) commuted the sentence to life in solitary confinement.

        Christian and homophobe are therefore interchangeable terms. The list compiled by the fake archbishop contains some particularly noisome examples of personal animus against gays, but all those who believe in the Christian religion are homophobes because they all give credence to a god whose “Word” defines homosexuality as intrinsically evil and sinful.

        There’s no such thing as an innocent Christian. You all share the guilt of homophobic persecution down the centuries.

        • bluedog

          Gaia cruelly discriminates too, there is no escape from the tyranny of infertility.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            Who’d want to escape from the blessing of childlessness?

            Reproduction is the tyranny you breeder types can’t escape from, although I will say you make a valiant attempt. Until the condom bursts or someone forgets to chug a pill. But there’s a failsafe way of dealing with that situation, isn’t there? One that millions of you opt for in order to avoid the life sentence of parenthood. Or at least to delay it as long as possible.

            Tyranny thy name is fecundity.

          • David

            That comment shouts out that you are very sick in mind and soul. You need to seek healing.

          • It is a disturbed comment but, let’s be frank, he has a point. Many Christians support artificial contraception and abortion. The Anglican Church and many other denominations teach these are mattes for one’s personal conscience.

          • carl jacobs

            See, this is the peace of mind that proceeds from “This user is blocked.”

            What you say is true, though. The RCC does support NFP as a matter of conscience.

            What? That’s not what you meant? No, I thought not. That’s why I mentioned it.

          • And if you cannot see the difference between cooperating with God through the natural fertility cycle to space one’s children and artificially asserting man has dominion over conception, then Jack has been wasting his breath all these years. The Church also teaches that whilst NFP is not intrinsically evil, it can be sinful if misused for selfish reasons.

          • carl jacobs

            Ah, the special pleading begins. I look forward to the day when priests can marry. I wonder what the average size of a priest’s family would be? Is two children to be the standard? Three? Five? When does family size become unselfish?

          • “When does family size become unselfish?”

            That’s a matter of examination of one’s personal conscience, informed by scripture and the Church. Jack settled for three after Mrs Jack miscarried our fourth child. The point is, in and of itself, unlike artificial contraception and abortion, NFP is not an intrinsic evil.

          • carl jacobs

            So sayeth the RCC. It just can’t define any meaningful difference between the two. Well, it tries, I admit. But it never achieves that “meaningful” standard.

            I am left wondering about two families from where I work. One is Protestant with four kids. The other is Catholic with three kids. Fine families, both. Has the Protestant family achieved a less selfish result? Assuming the Catholic family uses NFP, of course.

            I ask because I can’t see any meaningful difference in the outcome. You keep saying “means” is important. And I keep asking “How?” Were the wrong children born? Because there are four children and there won’t be anymore. Alternatively, there are three children and there won’t be any more. Both women are done – unless something unforseen happens. Possible in both cases, but the choice has been made. And the barrier used to realize that choice is of no moral significance.

            If you want to establish that moral significance, you have to come up with something better than “cooperating with God.” Otherwise, you should logically end up a Providentialist. I work with a Providentialist family as well. They have seven kids. Or maybe eight. I’ve lost count. And I wonder how that whole “selfish” standard should be judged betwern these two Catholic families – three vs eight. It’s not a clear cut question and the RCC should really try and answer it.

            Which is why a married priesthood would be so dispositive. People would watch. And infer. You know they would.

          • You know the truth of what Jack is saying, Carl. You’re just in denial. Besides, as a Calvinist, what difference does artificial or natural family planning actually make? The good and evil actions of men at all predetermined by God. Surely, what we do, makes no difference.

            It’s not being a “Providentialist ” when one uses reason and prayer to work with the means God has given us to plan our families. A Providentialist would just “do it” and cross his/her fingers and hope for the best. A Catholic couple exercise periodic sexual continence but, nevertheless, accept God’s will.

            The definition of “selfishness” is putting one’s own wants above one’s duty to God, one’s country and one’s dependents. You know, things like a big house, a big car, two holidays a year and money in the bank.

          • Dominic Stockford

            ‘Providentialist’ – actually quite thoughtless, and likely to drive the wife into an ‘early’ grave.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            And your comment shouts out that you are a judgmental religious bigot who needs to deal with the lumber yard in his own eye before criticising the speck in his neighbour’s.

            Jesus – if he existed and the story of his life is true – had no children and never expressed any desire to have any. In fact he told another childless person that his reward in heaven would be greater than that accorded to mere breeders. Did that make him sick in mind and soul?

            Was your messiah a nutcase?

          • David

            Your strange emotional and deeply irrational need to elevate those without children, through use of the insulting term “mere breeders”, above those who do produce children, speaks of a most unnatural state of mind. But you refuse to see that. As I say you need help.

          • Martin

            OMF

            Likewise only a fool with no knowledge of history would, unlike those who know history, doubt Jesus existed.

          • IanCad

            Lemmings are rodents. You are advocating their behaviour.
            The earth once ended in a flood; it is meant to be by fire the next time. Maybe that’s wrong – perhaps it will be because of folks like you abandoning their natural role.
            Happy New Year anyway.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            Noah’s flood is an ancient myth perpetuated by the ignorant and superstitious in order to try and strike fear into the hearts of those who won’t obey them.

            There is no evidence of a global flood – and indeed it’s physically impossible considering there isn’t enough water in the world to cover all the lands. By all means continue to tell your idiotic fairy stories, but you should expect to be laughed at by anyone with even basic scientific knowkedge.

            As for the world ending in fire, that’s entirely possible. If current theories about stellar lifecycles are correct, at some point in the future our planet will indeed be consumed by an expanding sun. But as that won’t happen until well after I’m dead, why should the prospect bother me?

            Think about your own descendants who may perish in flames billions of years hence. Will they be human or will they have evolved into something quite different? Will they be wiped out well before the expanding sun gets them? Who knows? And who cares? Certainly not me. But you must live in the certain knowledge that your progeny is doomed.

            So much for immortality through reproduction. At best all identifiable trace of you will be gone within a few generations anyway, successively diluted out of your descendants’ genes every time they reproduce. And when the earth does end – and quite possibly significantly before that date – you’ll be just as non-existent as me.

            Whatever you do, you and all those who descend from you are heading for oblivion. Reproduction doesn’t alter that fact. So why bother?

          • Martin

            OMF

            The one who says there is no evidence for the Flood is a fool. The rocks and fossils cry out the judgement of God, evidence of that deluge. Even the highest mountain, raised up after that flood, has fossils at its summit. Clearly you don’t have sufficient scientific knowledge.

            And the one who left this Earth in the clouds will come again, seen by all and by the likes of you in terror. Then the sky and Earth will be rolled up like a scroll that has been read, cast into the fire to be made anew.

          • Anton

            Some say the world will end in fire,
            Some say in ice.
            From what I’ve tasted of desire
            I hold with those who favor fire.
            But if it had to perish twice,
            I think I know enough of hate
            To say that for destruction ice
            Is also great
            And would suffice.

            – Robert Frost

          • William Lewis

            Tyranny thy name is libido, and you are right, abstinence is indeed a fail-safe form of contraception.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            Tell that to Mary. If your religion is right, abstinence didn’t prevent her from having a baby.

            For gay couples on the other hand, we can have as much sex as we like and no baby will come. Gay sex is contraceptive by its very nature. This is a positive advantage to those of us who have no desire to reproduce.

            Why should we abstain from it when no advantage accrues to us as a result?

          • William Lewis

            Mary could have abstained. She chose to comply.

            But you are right, there is no advantage to a soulless atheist other than to submit to the call of his desire.

          • chefofsinners

            Who will nurse you when you are old? Other people’s children.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            I’ll be nursed, if nursing is needed, by paid nurses. Unlike a Christian, I won’t have children with the selfish intention of making them care for me gratis when I’m old.

            My care will be an employment opportunity for someone. Will yours merely be a burden you impose on your children?

          • Will the nurse grow on a tree then? Or perhaps be delivered by a stork?

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            No, some random heterosexual couple will produce him or her. Or several couples will produce several nurses. I may be wanting round the clock care and 1 nurse will never do.

            Just because I don’t want children doesn’t mean others aren’t allowed to have them. And have them they will. Willingly or unwillingly. Of course the unwilling parents will be fewer and fewer in number as contraception and abortion deal with unwanted pregnancies. But there are still plenty of straight couples who want to reproduce. Even some gay couples, although for the life of me I can’t think why. But each to his own.

            Plenty of nurses to go around. For those who can afford them, at least. Perhaps those who can’t might view a child as a bargain basement household slave for their old age. But that’s their problem, not mine. Although pity the poor child. But what can I do about it?

          • Point of information: homosexual’s cannot reproduce.

            The way the West is going, your nurse will be a Muslim. And you do know what they think of homosexuals.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            A homosexual’s what can’t reproduce?

            But of course gay couples can have children via IVF or surrogacy. The theory on how to combine same sex gametes to form a viable embryo is looking pretty solid and will certainly be implemented over the next few years. So gay couples will be able to have their own biological children if they want to (and can afford to, of course).

            None of which changes the fact that gay sex does not result in pregnancy. Which is a major selling point. All the pleasure with none of the consequences. Few gay couples will ever need to resort to abortion. The foetuses gestated on their behalf are wanted and will generally only be terminated in cases of extreme foetal abnormality.

            This is the world we live in and religious objections can’t change it. They haven’t caused abortion to disappear. Nor have they resulted in the banning of contraception. They have no power to effect change in the world. The time when religion dictated how we live our lives is long gone. Only the people on this site don’t seem to realise this fact.

          • “None of which changes the fact that gay sex does not result in pregnancy. Which is a major selling point. All the pleasure with none of the consequences.”

            And therein lies its evil. Hedonistic, sterile, selfish masturbation.

            “This is the world we live in and religious objections can’t change it.”
            Perhaps not but it’s not the opinion of man that matters. Being against nature and our Creator’s design and Will, it will inevitably self correct at some point.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            Thus spake a true Catholic. All pleasure is evil and must be paid for.

            What more succinct exposition could there be of the twisted perversion that is the Roman religion?

            And there sits one of its proponents, spitting poison at all those who won’t obey his command to self-flagellate and suffer, wishing ruin and pain on them in revenge for their disobedience.

            Such is the love of Christ.

          • Jack wishes no ruin and pain on any man, nor revenge. It’s just plain common sense that a society founded on self-love and selfishness will not survive. And it’s not just homosexuals who will suffer the consequences.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            Dodo clearly nurses the fond hope that ruin and pain will be visited on all who dare to disobey his command to be just like him. The briefest of glances at the dire warnings, threats and imprecations he posts on this site proves as much. We’re all going to hell in a handbasket unless we slavishly obey the extension of his ego called god. If that’s not a deranged messiah complex, I’d like to know what is.

            What Dodo cannot comprehend is that mankind is a diverse species and that what suits him does not suit everybody. For Dodo one size – his size – fits all and anyone who denies this must be punished.

            Poor Dodo! It must be extremely frustrating having his autocratic tendencies thwarted at every turn. He consoles himself by fantasizing about the suffering that will be visited upon those who disobey him. Like all moralising religious bigots, he pretends he’s acting in other people’s interests when his true motivation is the quest for power and influence. We must all acknowledge his prophetic holiness and fall on our knees in awe at his sanctity and clarity of vision. This small man needs to believe in his own greatness and moral superiority. Because if he’s just a common garden nobody, what’s the point of living?

            What indeed?

          • The Explorer

            For those disposed to see Linus as a social justice warrior, a couple of his comments on this thread are illuminating:

            “Plenty of nurses to go around. For those who can afford them, at least.”

            “So gay couples will be able to have their own biological children if they want to (and can afford to, of course).”

            Linus is on the side of those with the money. He’s only a SJW with regard to gays: and that’s only because he’s gay himself. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be an SJW in any sense at all.

            According to his criteria – death ends all – his attitude makes perfect sense. If this life is all there is, then selfishness should be our guide to conduct. Our Linus is a particularly good example of this principle.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            My comments are based in reality. Those who can afford care will receive it. Those who cannot will not.

            Christianity has always supported free enterprise because it creates a space for the provision of care to those who cannot afford it. The aim is to recruit among the poorest and most vulnerable members of society. Gratitude creates powerful feelings of obligation.

            Christianity is targeted at the disadvantaged for this very reason. Easy prey for the ambitions of a clergy steeped in narcissism and self-sanctification. Just look at who they canonise: themselves, mainly. On what basis? The number of fevered brows mopped and platitudes whispered. Teresa of Calcutta’s bedpost must have had thousands of notches carved into it. Every one of them a rung on the ladder to sainthood.

            I support a social democratic model in which free enterprise is encouraged while adequate care is extended to those who really need it. Call this selfish if you like. In some ways you might be right. Starving masses have a habit of revolting, which is not good for business at all. But in preserving my own interests, I realise that other people’s interests must also be taken into consideration. That’s a realistic social model: pragmatic altruism.

            The Christian model is far more pernicious. You need the poor otherwise your fond de commerce disappears. In fact the poorer they are, the better your prospects. Look at the growth of Christianity in the Third World. So you exploit their vulnerability and rail against “selfish” secularism, when it actually does far more practical good for the poor than your grandstanding sticking-plaster and sympathy approach.

            That’s true cyncism at work. And if you can pick up a gong along the way, so much the better. St. Explorer the Friend of the Poor, eh? The Cynical User of the Poor for his own nefarious agenda, more like.

          • The Explorer

            Interesting how you always respond to things that were not said. I was not contrasting two systems. (Very good definition and defence of pragmatic altruism on your part, by the way.) I was simply pointing out that you are not an SJW, except in one specific respect.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            I never claimed to be a social justice warrior. That’s something you invented and tried to pass off as coming from me. It’s typical of your manipulative style of discussion. Trying to undermine your opponent by making false claims which you then debunk.

            See how Christians operate? Their arguments are based on false assertions and downright lies. No calumny is too black in defence of the indefensible.

          • The Explorer

            Note my wording above: “For those disposed to see Linus as a social justice warrior.” It addresses those who might erroneously have that impression of you.

            Had I said, “Despite Linus’ claims to be an SJW…” then you would, indeed, have a point.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            More manipulative word games. The intention to portray me as someone who claims to be a social justice warrior is clear. You plant a seed and water it furiously in the hope that it will sprout into the sort of homophobic, anti-secular weed that forms a dense and impenetrable undergrowth of prejudice and ignorance in the Christian mind.

          • The Explorer

            Translated: I’m trying to get Christians to take a dim view of you. You can do that on your own, old chap, without any help from me.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            Of course Christians take a dim view of me. I threaten the elaborate fantasy they’ve created for themselves. They’re like Patsy in Ab Fab snorting their fake drug and convincing themselves it’s making them high.

            Listening to me will bring them down with a bump and make them face grim reality.

            Much easier to dismiss me out of hand, isn’t it?

          • The Explorer

            Speaking for myself, Linus, I like you. I admire your loyalty in sticking with us for so long, if only to denounce us. I admire the unfailing vigour of your rancour. I respect your understanding of Christian doctrine, and the nature of your quarrel with God. If you were to become a Christian, your option would be celibacy: and you see that as an insult to the essence of yourself, and of those who share your orientation.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            You’re confusing anger with rancour, which is an unreasonable emotion born of bitterness and hatred.

            There’s nothing unreasonable about being angry with people whose prejudice causes them to treat you as less entitled to basic human rights.

            We may – in the West at least – largely have won those rights. But we can’t let our guard down while the forces of Christian bigotry are still active and determined to turn the clock back to medieval times.

            Those of us who have lived through the era when being gay meant exclusion, persecution and in many cases injury or even death at the hand of so-called “loving” Christians will never let that happen again.

            I am not angry with any god. There exists no god to be angry with. I’m angry with very human bigots and the god delusion they use as an excuse to wreak vengeance on those who aren’t exactly like them. I’m angry at the narcissism that makes them believe their own image is divine. My anger is a reasonable, rational emotion. And my presence here has a reasonable, rational purpose.

            Of course you’re so far gone in your religious delusion that you believe I only hang around because I’m desperate to be converted. It stands to reason you would think this. Narcissists are so enamoured of their own reflection, they believe everyone else must be too.

            I can’t do anything about that. But I can continue to defend myself and my community against Christian bigotry. That’s why I’m here. But by all means continue to assign whatever motives you like to me. You seem to make most of your beliefs up as you go along. Why not this one too?

          • The Explorer

            As King Brian puts it in ‘Darby O’Gill’, you’ve been a grand adversary.

            One point on which I’d take issue with you is making up beliefs as as I go along. That’s certainly true for the theological liberals, but those of us who believe in divine inspiration are constrained by what has been revealed. We can interpret it, certainly, but we are not at liberty to add to it, or subtract from it.

          • The Explorer

            You’re absolutely right, of course: persecution of homosexuals is one of our main priorities. Along with killing each other, burning witches, despising foreigners, oppressing women, suppressing science, drinking the blood of sacrificed children, torturing cats etc etc. If I’ve left anything out, don’t remind me: with a full schedule like that there’s barely time to do justice to the tormenting of gays. An area where the Muslims seem to be sadly outrunning us.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            “You’re absolutely right, of course: persecution of homosexuals is one of our main priorities.”

            Straight (sic) from the horse’s mouth.

            You want me to think you’re joking, but your real intent is very clear.

            The church classifies homosexuality, along with murder, as a sin that “cries out for vengeance”. Although opinions vary among Christians as to what constitutes a just punishment for this kind of sin, all agree it must be punished. Or do you advocate letting murderers go free on the grounds that it’s none of your business who they murder, as long as they don’t do it in front of – or to – you?

            If Christians ever get back into power, I’m looking at, at best, a lengthy prison sentence. At worst I might be judicially murdered.

            Try to deny it all you like, you won’t be believed. Christian hatred of the gay community is too well-established a fact to be denied. If you try to, you’re either a liar or criminally naive.

          • The Explorer

            I’m aware of Abel’s blood crying out for vengeance, but I’ve never heard of vengeance in relation to homosexuality, certainly not from the C of E.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            There you go with your paranoid Muslim delusion again. The Muslims are coming to get us! Just lile the Zionists were coming to get us, and the Yellow Peril before them. But oddly enough, none of them ever arrived.

            Demagogues have been hurling race fear threats around for more than a hundred years. They weren’t true then and they aren’t true now. People like you have cried wolf too many times before for anyone to believe you know.

            And yes, I know Christianity has a snowflake’s chance of staging a power grab. But obscurantism and fear can stage astonishing comebacks when you least expect it. Look at Brexit. Look at Trump. There are currently no signs of a Christian resurgence, but given the volatility of the times we’re living in it would be wise to remain vigilant and stamp on any signs of regrowth.

            Our lives depend on it.

          • The Explorer

            Stamp away, old chap. Just make sure you stamp on any signs of Islamic expansion as well.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            If there were any signs of explosive Islamic growth you can be sure I’d be stamping away vigorously. But Islam is confined to a small immigrant community that is not growing at an alarming rate and shows no signs of overwhelming anyone with anything.

            Of course neither does Christianity. But when it was the dominant force in society, its treatment of the LGBT community was nothing short of barbaric. At least a match for anything ISIS does now. In fact even more pernicious in the way it legitimated homophobic prejudice while disclaiming all responsibility for homophobic violence. It’s not your fault if the thugs you instruct to despise us get violent, is it?

            Yes, it is. If you didn’t legitimate their prejudice by telling them how evil we are, they would have no excuses for acting as they do. But the truth is you want them to hurt us. You want them to make an example of us. It suits you to be able to condemn us and then disclaim all responsibility for the consequences of that condemnation.

            That’s the true face of Christianity. Manipulative, dishonest and full of malice, like a playground bully who gets other, stupider kids to do his dirty work for him while holding up his lily white hands and saying “not my fault!”

            Yes, your fault.

          • The Explorer

            Great to be reassured that Islam isn’t a threat.

          • The Explorer

            I’m sure modern secular thugs need no instruction in despising anything different.

            If by thugs you mean the queer bashers of the 70’s, then I’m not in a position to speak. I was an atheist through the 70’s. One of my friends was homosexual. I tried to avoid thugs and Christians in equal measure, but I have to say I didn’t notice any link between the two groups.

          • The Explorer

            The paid nurses will need to be younger than you in order to look after you. Otherwise, they would need paid nurse themselves. If the system is unable to generate them, where will they come from?

            America has aborted 50 million, and, via the pill, has caused countless more millions not to exist in the first place. Result: mismatch of old and young within the population. This is mirrored across the developed world. Three ways of dealing with it.

            1. Technology to keep the elderly self-sufficient. The Japanese solution.
            2. Cull the elderly to restore the demographic balance of young to old. (Holland seems to be veering in that direction.)
            3. Import youth from elsewhere to make up the shortfall. The American/German solution.

            The Americans will be nursed in old age by foreigners. The indigenous elderly will have the money, and the alien youth will have the numbers. Age or youth: which will prevail? If the youth have any sense they’ll kill off the elderly. Then they’ll have the money AND the numbers.

          • chefofsinners

            You will be nursed by the children of the people you curse as ‘breeder types’. If childlessness is a blessing then you desire to die old, alone and uncared for.
            Children are a gift to humanity. Well brought up, well educated, compassionate children who become nurses much more so.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            Childlessness is a blessing for me. Others may have a different opinion. One size does not fit all.

            This is a concept Christians find hard to understand.

          • dannybhoy

            prople?
            Whatthisis?

          • bluedog

            Quite wrong. Parenthood is the greatest joy known to man and woman. After all, if ‘me’ is fantastic, ‘mini-me’ is even more so.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            Parenthood as a narcissist’s ultimate ego trip.

            Now why does meeting with such an attitude on a Christian site not surprise me?

          • Martin

            OMF

            You’ve always struck me as a narcissist.

          • bluedog

            It’s all relative. Muslims have far larger families than Christians. Fortunately secularists are by nature intensely pessimistic and see a limited future for themselves, which reduces their propensity to procreate. Reverse narcissism if you wish.

            One of the more interesting demographic phenomena is the complete collapse in the birth-rate of the former Axis powers of Germany, Italy and Japan. All three record rates of reproduction well below replacement. If the trauma of defeat is a factor, for how long does it last. Of the victorious powers, Russia shows the least fertility.

          • The Explorer

            Whatever you say, old flower.

        • The Explorer

          I didn’t realise you were referring just to the list. With the Inspector in fine form, I thought you were including commentators as well.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            There’s nothing fine about that old bigot’s form. It’s as rancid and festering as usual. But like all background stenches, the body adjusts to it and filters out the pong so that you no longer even realise it’s there.

            It’s the reek of the UK’s top 100 homophobes that was making me gag. The old fool who posts here under the name of The Inspector isn’t even on my olfactory radar.

        • Martin

          OMF

          Lots on the list aren’t Christians.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            Perhaps not according to your definition of Christian. But I’ve long realised that whatever you say should be dismissed out of hand as the ravings of a madman. Your judgment therefore counts for nothing.

            If the people on the list call themselves Christians, I’ll take them at their word and not at yours, which has no worth, issuing as it does from the mouth of a gravely mentally disturbed man.

          • Martin

            OMF

            It is neither you nor I who define who is a Christian, that is the function of the Bible.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Quite so, Martin.

        • The Explorer

          “Christian and homophobe are therefore interchangeable terms.” That’s like saying all dogs are animals; therefore, all animals are dogs. The Friday-night queer bashers of the 70’s were not Christians.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            The fact that all Christians are homophobes does not imply that all homophobes are Christians. There are plenty of Jewish and Muslim homophobes too. There are even some atheist homophobes, although unlike the religious, their belief system does not oblige them to be homophobic. Only the religious paint themselves into that corner, even though many of them persist in denying it.

          • The homophobia charge rings false. The majority of those who oppose homosexual behaviour are not “afraid” of homosexuals. A disagreement is not the same as a fear. One can disagree with something without fearing it. This is just an attempt to shut down rational discussion by crying “homophobe”. It falls flat. It is simply an attempt to divert attention from the arguments against one’s position by focusing attention on the one who made the arguments, while also trying to claim the moral high ground against him.

          • Martin

            HJ

            It’s their magic word which must clear all obstacles.

          • William Lewis

            Truly

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            The dictionary meaning of homophobia is an irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals.

            Catholic bigots don’t get to redefine the word according to their narrow definition of it and then claim it doesn’t apply to them.

            That’s a game they’ve tried to play in the past with no success. They convince only themselves. Everyone else knows they’re homophobes. The days when they controlled the language have long since gone.

          • Martin

            OMF

            There is nothing irrational in our opposition to the sexual perversion known as homosexuality. That you wish to cast your opponents as irrational makes rational discussion impossible.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            I learned during our first exchange that rational conversation is not possible with you. You always end up saying “the Bible says, therefore it must be”. There’s nothing rational about such blinkered dogmatism. It’s pure obsession.

            A more glaring example than you of how religion allies with extreme psychological states to produce deranged zealotry would be hard to find. We should perhaps be grateful you were not born in a Muslim environment. Who knows what you might not have done to make your fundamentalist point.

          • Martin

            OMF

            When did you ever have a rational conversation? And remember, I am a Christian because God made me so. May God grant you that mercy.

          • You are the person filled with irrational hatred, Linus.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            More unsubstantiated claims, Dodo? I know I’ve won the argument when you fall back into your default declamatory mode.

            Just saying something doesn’t make it true, you know. Even though I realise you think you’re god’s spokesman on earth, you’ve never presented me with any evidence to back up such a claim.

          • Anton

            Discrimination is when two things that are the same are treated differently. Christians do not believe that homosexuality and heterosexuality are the same. It is possible for any two persons to discuss any issue without personal insult if they choose, but a mutually agreed start point has to be found first or else the exercise is pointless.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            Your belief makes evil sinners out of gay people and you complain that we won’t give credence and respect to it by discussing it politely?

            You might as well ask black people to give credence and respect to the beliefs of the KKK and then berate them if they won’t politely converse with white supremacists.

            There’s more at stake here than your comfort and ease. While you’re busy tut-tutting about the rules of polite conversation, gays are being killed, beaten up, tortured, excluded and discriminated across the world.

            So why don’t you take your rules of polite conversation and ram them up your cold, tight, pitiless rear end? Then you might begin to understand how Afghan gays feel when they’re being raped before being executed by people who share your beliefs about the acceptability of homosexuality.

          • William Lewis

            Homosexual acts are sinful but so are many other acts and we are all sinners in different ways. Saying that something is a sin does not excuse violence against the sinner, which, itself, is a sin.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            The labeling of gay sex as sinful is an act of aggression against the LGBT community by a church that has never done more than pay lip service to biblical exhortations against violence.

            “Gays are evil”, it whispers into the ears of the violent thugs it grooms to do its dirty work for it. “Deal with them and we’ll forgive you if you say you’re sorry.”

            Problem solved and hands washed of all responsibility at the same time.

            That’s Christian love and respect for you. Demonise a group and leave it to fend for itself while actively encouraging others to persecute it by dwelling ad nauseum on the heinousness of its crimes.

            The church has gay blood on its hands. It knows this and revels in the fact while maintaining a facade of pious condemnation of violence.

          • Anton

            So you admit that you are here not to discus but to insult. Yet you don’t like it yourself, I presume?

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            As another poster with unusual insight (for a Christian) has already observed, I’m here to provoke a reaction. And I do. Every time.

            Christians reveal far more about themselves than they realise in the messages they post here.

            Christ’s true nature is revealed in every angry and homophobic diatribe. His nature as a sock puppet or ventriloquist’s dummy for vicious, ruthless narcissists whose sole aim is to force the rest of us to think, feel and behave according to their moral standards.

            You’re all the Inspector. With varying degrees of self-control. No anti-Christian propaganda campaign I could ever devise would undermine your credibility as effectively as you undermine it yourself. That’s the beauty of this site. It confirms every stereotype about intolerant, hateful, ill-tempered and easily provoked Christians. It could scarcely be more effective at sabotaging the cause it tries to support.

          • Anton

            In your view, certainly. But what makes you think that you see clearly and others don’t?

            You confuse hatred of persons (of which I feel none toward gays) with our zeal not to see society head further the way ancient Greece did – in which it was customary for a man to ‘mentor’ a male youth in multiple ways, including sex between his thighs. Given the rate of change of sexual mores since the war, that situation is not implausible in a few decades.

            You have insisted here in the past that gays are “born this way”. What, then, is your response to transexuals who are committed to the view that a man is free to vary his behaviour and gender according to his mood?

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            My response to the transgender community is to listen, learn and try to understand that my experience of solid identification with the gender assigned to me at birth is not universal.

            My attitude to trans people is to do them the honour of allowing them to make their own choices in life.

          • The Explorer

            What does “interchangeable terms” mean then?

            The 70’s gay bashers were homophobes = The 70’s gay bashers were Christians. If that’s not true, then neither is the statement that Christian and homophobe are interchangeable terms.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            Interchangeable means that all Christians share the guilt for homophobic persecution with other homophobes, and that all other homophobes share the guilt for homophobic persecution with Christians.

            Whether the homophobe is Christian, Jewish, Muslim or secular, he can be defined as being like a Christian, i.e. condemnatory, exclusionary and homophobic, in his attitude to gay people.

            “He’s a real Christian” is a criticism that can be applied to any homophobe regardless of religious affiliation. It’s a word that alerts any gay person to the hypocrisy, disdain and hatred he’ll be subjected to by the individual concerned.

          • The Explorer

            I doubt that a pious Muslim would thank you for calling him “a real Christian”.

          • Martin

            OMF

            Saying an action is evil does not justify an evil act upon a person. Your equality is in error.

          • The Explorer

            This is just blather; and no more true than saying that ‘dog’ and ‘animal’ are interchangeable.

            Put it to the test. Go into a pet shop and ask to buy a dog. If you get a hamster instead, you can’t complain. After all, you’ve asked (according to your terminology) for an animal. And a hamster is an animal.

        • Dominic Stockford

          Homosexuality is a lifestyle choice, homosexual activity is a sin. Thus teaches the Bible. God imposes no ‘death penalty’ on unrepentant sinners, for all people are dead in their sin if they do not hear the call of God, repent and cast themselves onto the mercy of God through faith in Jesus Christ.

          I don’t think any of us here are homophobes (afraid of men), even in the modern, inaccurate used meaning of that word. We do fear God however, for it is the beginning of wisdom – and we seek to live according to the direction He gives us if we are to follow him. Part of that is praying for others to come to new life in Jesus Christ, and another part is being saddened, like God, by those who continue to reject Jesus Christ, and deny his direction for our lives.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            Homosexuality is a sexual orientation and is, just like heterosexuality, morally neutral in nature.

            The bible is an ancient collection of myths and superstitions and teaches us little apart from the rules and regulations of a death cult called Christianity.

            Homophobia has an accepted meaning that you can find in any dictionary. It does not have the meaning you ascribe to it.

            You have the right to belong to your sad little death cult. You even have the right to believe that others should also belong to it. But that’s where religious freedom stops. You have no right to impose your religious beliefs on anyone else. But by all means, pray all you like, although if you do it in front of me or my staff in a situation such as our place of work where we can’t easily excuse ourselves and leave, I’ll require you either to stop or leave the premises.

            In your own home or church however, go for it. Shriek and wail and curse whoever you like. Subjugate your wife and treat her like a second class citizen – within the bounds of the law, of course. Terrorize your children and threaten them with divine retribution for all their transgressions against you. And if you belong to one of the sub-cults that encourage self-flagellation, knock yourself out…

          • Dominic Stockford

            Wow, you’ve got some issues.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            I have plenty of issues with Christian bigots like you, true enough.

          • Dominic Stockford

            And there we are, the name calling that defines the modern culture. ‘I used the word first, so you’re it.’ Let alone the vile accusations you make against me and others. I shall with pleasure join the majority on here who block you. Not because I hate you, but because your bile is incessant, unthinking, and irrational.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            Block away. The ultimate refuge of the Christian bigot who’s been painted into a corner is to stick his fingers in his ears and shout “I can’t hear you!”

            What better demonstration of the moral bankruptcy of your cause could there be? If you won’t answer me, it’s because you can’t.

    • William Lewis

      Bonne année to you too.

      • Oisín mac Fionn

        May 2017 see all your plans for the punishment and enslavement of those you hate thoroughly thwarted!

        • William Lewis

          enchanté

        • William Lewis

          Actually, I agree with this wish as it stands.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            So you hope that your attempts to evangelise others into your homophobic death cult in 2017 will fail, do you?

            I wonder what could motivate an attitude so diametrically opposed to the Great Commission.

            Perhaps you want to keep your messiah all to yourself.

            Or maybe you think that if many more converts are made, there won’t be enough rewards to go around in heaven.

            I mean, there can only be so many luxury condos with Throne views and if there’s too much competition, you’ll never get one, will you?

            Oh well, whatever the reason, let’s agree that 2017 will be a great year if Christian numbers fall significantly and the various denominations and churchiscules find themselves even more sidelined and irrelevant than they are today.

          • William Lewis

            You’ve gone too far now.

          • John

            Zzzzzzzz. The insults are becoming a bit tiresome now. Does it makes you feel better? It is hardly making anyone reconsider his opinion.

  • len

    Bit depressing reading through some of the comments on this Christian blog.
    I am sure that some of you realise that Linus comes here to provoke an un- Christian response from those who post as Christians.This ‘vindicates’Linus`s claim that Christians are hateful bigots and’ justifies’ his rejection of Christianity.
    No Christian is perfect, but if we can be drawn from the spirit(if we are born again Christians?) into the flesh so easily perhaps we should take a long hard look at ourselves?.
    Christians are to be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves and a little of each is needed to respond to provocation intended to discredit Christians and by that very nature to discredit Christ Himself.
    God defines sin and nothing can change that and most people are aware that they are sinners (whatever they might say publicly) but condemning sinners is NOT the Gospel.

    ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life'(John 3:16)

    • dannybhoy

      Linus will eventually stand before God and give an account of himself, as will we all.
      His intelligent comments show that he himself must realise that however he justifies the way that he lives his life, it has not/cannot, bring him true happiness and fulfilment.
      Only immersing ourselves in the love compassion and creative redemptive grace of God can we find true happiness and worship.
      Let’s seek to love him as God commands us to.

      • Martin

        Danny

        And love must require that we correct him.

        • dannybhoy

          Also Martin, but in love, not condemnation. As you yourself might accept, the Holy Spirit convicts to lead us to the Cross. We need to ask Him to love as He loves.

          • Dominic Stockford

            It is unloving to allow a child to run into the road in front of a bus without seeking to stop them, or at least shouting at them to try to achieve that aim. Eternal damnation is so much worse than being hit by a bus – it is loving to do more than simply earnestly plead, but actually shout sometimes. All the greatest preachers frequently did so, including Paul, Peter, Wesley, Spurgeon, Whitefield….. and that Jesus bloke.

          • dannybhoy

            Preaching the Gospel, living in the Kingdom, yes. But in the right spirit.

          • Martin

            Danny

            Condemnation of the sin.

          • dannybhoy

            Yes.

      • Oisín mac Fionn

        As it’s very unlikely there’s a god to stand before, I’ll be giving an account to nobody.

        On the off chance I’m wrong – and there’s no convincing evidence to suggest I might be – then my position will be that I acted according to my conscience in the complete absence of any reason to believe that Christianity was anything other than a man-made attempt at self-deification.

        The image of god shown to me by Christians is cruel, rigid, egocentric, autocratic, haughty, abusive, self-absorbed, judgmental and downright unpleasant. It’s impossible to believe that such a monster could have created a world in which much good exists.

        Thus common sense unites with a total lack of evidence to render the existence of the Christian god – or any god – so utterly unlikely as to be effectively impossible.

        The odds being massively against Christianity, why then would I contemplate sacrificing my life to someone else’s fantasy? If there’s no eternal payoff – and nobody can produce any convincing evidence of one – and no benefit in the here and now (Christians being such unlikeable people – who would want to be like them?) then what’s my incentive?

        The reaction to my presence here and the abuse and rage my posts provoke should serve as an example to anyone considering Christianity of just how appalling and homophobic this religion continues to be. Despite all the soft soap about inclusion and Christ’s love for all, scratch the surface and the rabid hatred wells up in abundance. That’s the reality of Christian love: self-worship coupled with condemnation. By their fruits shall ye know them.

        • dannybhoy

          “The reaction to my presence here and the abuse and rage my posts provoke
          should serve as an example to anyone considering Christianity of just
          how appalling and homophobic this religion continues to be.”
          I think perhaps you are perhaps a ‘non existent soul’ in a form of internal torment, and that may be why you return here again and again. Your experiences at the hands of religious people has scarred you deeply; and perhaps you therefore hate what your soul craves?
          I won’t comment on your observations on us here, except to say that all of us who seek to follow Jesus and become more like Him become more aware of our failings, blunders and sinfulness.
          And yet, He loves us totally as we are. We fail, He forgives and continues that work of redemption in us. There are no perfect Christians Linus, only honest ones..
          Just so He loves you too, and longs to take you into His outstretched arms, forgive and heal the torment and give you peace.
          I remember that in the year leading up to my own conversion how I did everything I could to find fault with the Church and with Christians.
          I didn’t want to yield you see. I was a young man, and I wanted wanted to live, to have a darn good time and live a life answerable only to myself.
          That my life was pretty miserable and the good times in short supply, did not dim my optimism!
          So I bless you Linus, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that He will bless you in your life, your work and your relationships; and that one day you too will have a personal encounter with God.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            Bless away, old fraud. Now that you realise how transparent you are, I’m not surprised to see an attempt at peace and grace. It won’t last though. Christians have just as many buttons as anyone else, buttons that are a great deal easier to push than most people’s. The gap between a Christian’s image of himself as love deified and the messy reality of his animal instincts (held at bay as they are by only the thinnest veneer of rational intelligence) is always filled with rage.

            Of course, Christian or not, rage is a constant part of the human condition. If you think about it logically, it’s the only effective response to our limited ability to survive in a hostile world.

            Rage animates and motivates. It pushes us to deal with dangerous and threatening situations and distracts us from the ultimate oblivion that awaits us all. Fight to survive so you can end up dying. It’s enough to piss anyone off.

            Love also animates and motivates. It’s one of the best ways of distracting ourselves from the gloomy prospect of certain death. But as a response to threat or danger, it leaves something to be desired. Rage helps you vanquish an enemy who limits your life in some way. Love is merely the drug that palliates the effects of loss and defeat.

            No wonder Christians want to love. Their religion is all about submission to authority, death and loss. Love seeks to render that submission palatable by distracting us from the rage we naturally feel when trapped by inexorable force or events beyond our control. It’s the crutch that lets us limp through our limited and unsatisfactory lives without being overwhelmed by disappointment. That the Christian idea of unlimited love appeals to the most thwarted, unfortunate and dispossessed among us should therefore come as no surprise.

            The rage felt by these people must be immense, as evidenced by the anger and outrage that fill your posts and form the very raison d’être of this blog. What better example of the natural human rage response in action could there be? And what clearer illustration of the fraudulent nature of Christianity’s claims? The abject failure of Christians to conjure up enough love to neutralise their rage shows us how hollow their religion really is.

            If there really was a god pouring limitless quantities of love onto the fires of Christian rage, you’d be much nicer people. Much calmer. Far harder to provoke. A great deal more loving. Your exchanges with others would be full respect and affection rather than contempt and disdain.

            It’s this constant rage that gives lie to the claims of Christianity. If there really is a magical source of “love on tap” somewhere out there, you clearly have no access to it.

            The semblance of love you managed to inject into your last post won’t last long. It’s feigned and therefore unsustainable. Christians want to believe they’ve found the mother lode of love. Like all addicts the prospect of a lifetime supply of their drug of choice reassures them. But where is all this love? Little of it is on show on this site. Where’s it all hiding? Could it be that it just doesn’t exist?

            Ever read a fable by the Danish author H.C. Andersen? The Emperor’s New Clothes could have been written with Christians in mind. Indeed it quite possibly was.

            My position is that rage defines us and cannot be avoided by the nature of who and what we are. Accepting one’s fallibility and impotence is unavoidable. This inevitably provokes rage. Trying to blot it out by wallowing in the narcotic pleasure of ersatz love for an ersatz god makes you an addict. Trying to trample others into the mud to get your fix makes you a coward.

          • dannybhoy

            Thanks for that.
            The thing is that rage you admit to blinds you to the fact that you don’t personally know me or others here.
            How we see others in the world around us depends to a large extent on our life experiences and our own sense of self worth

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            Whether I know you or not makes no difference to the fact that you must feel rage. All human beings do. Look at any child throwing a tantrum. Rage is part of who we are.

            If you’re implying that you and your fellow Christians do not feel rage then all I can really do is shake my head and laugh. Rage is so evident in everything you post that any denial is beyond ridiculous.

            You may have persuaded yourselves this love you claim to feel conquers all. But the evidence of your true feelings is there for all to see.

            Love plays no part in your attitude to your fellow man, unless of course he validates your self-deception by agreeing with you. Then you’ll tell him you love him, even as the rage provoked by some minor disagreement between you causes you to tear into him and accuse him of all sorts of sins and heresies.

            Rage dominates and controls you, you see. The love you claim to feel is just a cover for far uglier sentiments.

            Be honest about it and call your rage by its real name. If you accept it for what it is, it will no longer control you as it does now. To the point where you have to deny it exists and pretend to feel another emotion instead.

            It must be so tiring pretending all the time. The cognitive dissonance must take a terrible toll on your psyche. Could this explain why Christians so often seem to be permanently décalés and quite frankly away with the fairies most of time?

          • dannybhoy

            “Whether I know you or not makes no difference to the fact that you must feel rage. All human beings do. Look at any child throwing a tantrum. Rage is part of who we are.”
            No, no, no!
            Danny is not a man of rage. Danny is a man whose life was greatly affected by eczema, asthma and now COPD. These things caused me to observe and reflect. Not to rage.
            Of course I have a temper. Press the right buttons and I will react, in certain situations.
            But my wife will tell you that I am one of the most even tempered good natured and patient men she has ever met.
            Of course she may be lying. She may just be trying to hide all here rage and disappointment at the miserable specimen of manhood she married, but can’t bring herself to admit it…

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            “No, no, no! Danny is not a man of rage.”

            “Of course I have a temper. Press the right buttons and I will react…”

            I see. So you feel no rage. Except when you do.

            This is about the level of self-awareness I would expect from a Christian. All this fake love you slather over everything dulls your perception of who you really are. You must be a good person. You must display the fruits of the Spirit. You believe, and Christ changes those who believe. You must be better than that rabble of non-believers. You’re special. God chose you.

            Didn’t he?

            Of course he did! How could he not? All that nobility you display in the face of suffering. Someone should make a TV movie about your life. Your inspiring story of triumph over adversity would convert millions.

            Would it though? Or is the reflection you see in your looking glass somewhat skewed by your own glowing opinion of yourself?

            Sorry to burst your bubble, but where you see saintliness and nobility, I see self-absorption and ego. Illness is no joke, but neither is it a passport to sanctification. And if you present yourself as the living embodiment of the Christian notion of purification via suffering, you’d better expect robust cross-examination

          • dannybhoy

            “I see. So you feel no rage. Except when you do.
            This is about the level of self-awareness I would expect from a Christian. All this fake love you slather over everything dulls your perception of who you really are. You must be a good person. You must display the fruits of the Spirit. You believe, and Christ changes those who believe. You must be better than that rabble of non-believers. You’re special. God chose you.”

            Self awareness is a subjective thing dear Linus. Self awareness is shaped by our past experiences of being loved rejected ignored or abused. I do not rage, but I do have a temper. I have experienced domestic violence between my parents, I have witnessed the strength of emotional anger directed from one parent to another. I/we have worked with sexually abused children who have physically raged against adults.
            I must not be anything. I am not special. Or at least, I am no more special than you are. No more loved than you are, Perhaps I am more aware of being loved whereas you at the moment cannot allow God’s love to soften you, because you can’t.
            You won’t take the time to talk to Him, yell at Him and ask Him to speak to you. Your rage is not a liberating thing. lt binds you and sours your life.
            You are not a happy man Linus, your arguments and observations are deep ruts from which you have not yet broken free. I say again that God loves you and He will show you how much if you will let Him. I pray God’s blessings upon your life.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            It’s interesting to see how your comments become more and more formulaic and “textbook Christian” as you’re confronted with hard truths about yourself.

            Translated into plain English your above comment reads something like this:

            “I feel rage, but as my religion is supposed to perfect me, I cannot admit it. Even to myself.

            “Poor little me, how I have suffered! Despite this, I’m so selfless that I continue to work tirelessly on behalf of others even though nobody ever helped me. See how wonderful I am!

            “I really do deserve the love of Big Daddy God, so although I have absolutely no proof that such a being exists, I’ll pretend He (capital H) does because then I can dream about getting to His holy heaven. After all, His creation was clearly made to service Me (surely I deserve a capital too?) and My ego, so there must be a permanent place in it for Me. All I have to do to make it come true is believe it. Paradise will be Mine!

            “Still, I’m not there yet. And while I wait, life can be very frustrating. What I hate more than anything is when others cut through all the crap I spout and confront Me with My own inconsistencies and delusions of grandeur. It doesn’t help that this religion that I’ve chosen obliges Me to acknowledge that I’m nothing special.

            “In reality I know I’m the most amazing person in the world, so having to feign modesty is a bit of a bore. But My only other choices of monotheistic self-deification are Islam and Judaism, and I’m far too fond of a pint down the pub and a bacon roll to consider worshipping a god who won’t let Me have My little pleasures in life. There are limits to the sacrifices I’m willing to make, you know! Heaven is certainly not worth a ham sandwich.

            “So Christianity is My gig and as I like to plunge Myself into a role, I’ve read the script from cover to cover and am now pretty much word perfect. I can spout whole paragraphs from the Christian Handbook of Meaningless and Trite Evangelical Slogans verbatim. And there ain’t nobody who can fit more Hims (capital H) into His sentences than Me. At 10 points a pop, I’m storing up treasure on earth as well as in heaven. My ostentatious piety may not convert the evil heathen I’m directing it at, but at least I’ll convince other Christians of the perfection of My faith, so My stock will rise anyway.

            “Therefore I chant away crying “Lord! Lord!” That’ll get me to heaven. It says so in the Bible.

            “Doesn’t it?”

  • PessimisticPurple

    Not exactly sure how Gisela Stuart has been “forthright in her opposition to the Roman Catholic hierarchy”. Help me out, anyone?

    • Dominic Stockford

      Maybe she has become a Protestant?

  • Inspector General

    One wishes to apologise to all for disgracing himself last night. As a punishment and token of true regret, one will not post again for 31 days.

    • Chastity and homosexuality

      2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

      2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfil God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

      2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

      • Martin

        HJ

        Erroneous in that it treats homosexuality as if it were something the person cannot help. Sacred Scripture, of course, tells us that sin is chosen and that it becomes the master. Tradition, after all, is neither here nor there.

        • Perhaps you should read it again, Martin. It draws a distinction between proclivities and actions and acknowledges we at all sinners suffering from temptation.

          Are you denying there is such a thing as same sex attraction?

          • Martin

            HJ

            I’m saying that:

            No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
            (I Corinthians 10:13 [ESV])

            While this is written to believers, we all suffer diverse temptations, some work better on some than others.

          • And the Catechism is saying this too.

            “Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.”

            At least you are acknowledging we have to “work” on our temptations and overcome them through cooperating with God’s grace.

          • Martin

            HJ

            There are no ‘homosexual persons’ your catechism is in error. And we work on our salvation having been saved by the grace of God.

          • “Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained.”

            You deny the existence of same sex attraction?

            “And we work on our salvation having been saved by the grace of God.”

            That’s contradictory. If we are saved by the grace of God, what’s there to work on for our salvation?

          • Martin

            HJ

            There’s a combination of words there that pander to the claims of sinners.

            And while we are saved we seek to better ourselves, to glorify our Saviour. No contradiction.

          • Again: Do you deny there is such a condition as same sex attraction?
            We seek to better ourselves? We work on our salvation? Really? By our own effort?

          • Martin

            HJ

            I’ve answered that.

          • chefofsinners

            Hi Martin
            I have never seen James’ words applied to homosexuality in that way, i.e. that the temptation is the same for all. I think it means that sexual temptations exist for all, i.e. we are all tempted by sex outside of (Godly) marriage.
            I have never experienced any homosexual temptation. The same goes for a whole range of sexual preferences which are well documented. I experience the opposite: repulsion. However, some people clearly do experience these temptations.
            Yes, we all choose to sin, but some are more tempted to certain sins than others. We must be careful not to judge people, particularly those in circumstances we have not experienced.

          • Martin

            CoS

            So you wouldn’t accept that sin, when it comes down to it, is just sin? It matters not whether the desire is to take a materiel thing or a pleasure that does belong to you, it is still sin. And once a start is made on a sin, does it not lead into further and greater sin? It is quite plausible that the bank robber was once a child who stole sweets from the corner shop. Who knows what early choices have led to the sin that now binds the sinner.

          • chefofsinners

            Yes, all of that is true. But temptation is not sin.

          • Martin

            CoS

            But temptation that is secreted in the heart has become sin.

    • dannybhoy

      “As a punishment and token of true regret, one will not post again for 31 days.”
      Ha!
      As if that’s ever going to happen!
      I don’t know how you disgraced yourself, and I won’t look to find out, because I think as Carl says we’ve all been there.. (Danny caused havoc on another blog some years ago, and deeply regrets the hurt he caused).
      If I were to be impish however, I might say that (according to your own ‘whiffy’ theology), at least you have provided some amusement for The Almighty…. :0)
      ( In a Gollomly voice) “But we believes better than that precious, He loves you and as a bunch of sinners saved by grace, so do we…

      • “Danny caused havoc on another blog some years ago, and deeply regrets the hurt he caused.”
        Surprising. Time for a good confession …. Do tell.

        • IanCad

          Got me wondering as well.

          • dannybhoy

            It was not a Christian blog, but in it’s own way a very good wide ranging blog followed by people of an ethnicity that Danny himself is fond of. In my zeal for truth I caused hurt to a few folk. In retrospect I was wrong because I allowed my natural scrappiness to overlook why one particular person might be presenting themselves as they were..
            I lost sight of the fact that God completely knows us and yet loves us with an everlasting love…..
            (And that’s all yer gonna get!)

          • Ah, a Jewish blog.

          • dannybhoy

            Not so, Inspector Jack..

          • IanCad

            Got me wondering even more.

          • carl jacobs

            But you shouldn’t be asking. There’s no profit in rummaging around in this.

          • IanCad

            Yes! You are quite correct; And I criticize my wife for gossip!!

          • dannybhoy

            Carl is quite right. I mentioned it only to identify with our dear Inspector’s remorse.
            If I told you the details what good would it do? What I learnt from it is that people can hide all sorts of pain in a way that I cannot, and without meaning to hurt, I was trying to score points at the expense of another person’s grief.

          • He needs to resolve the deep inner turmoil this experience is still causing. Otherwise it will fester in his subconscious.

          • dannybhoy

            You’re a naughty Catholic lad, our Jack.
            I only resort to priests or vicars for confession and forgiveness when the Holy Spirit prompts me so to do.

          • “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”
            (James 5:16)

            Jack can assure you of total discretion and confidentiality.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Each other. To your equals, not your betters.

          • Jack isn’t claiming to be better than Danny. We’re not talking the sacrament of confession here or the authority, given by Christ to His Apostles, to forgive sin.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Betters referred to ‘priests’ who are clearly considered to be betters.

          • Are they? By who? Please cite some evidence for this assertion.

          • Martin

            HJ

            They can wave their hands and call down Christ from Heaven, you can’t do that.

          • What on earth are you talking about?

          • Martin

            “When the priest pronounces the tremendous words of consecration, he reaches up into the heavens, brings Christ down from His throne, and places Him upon our altar to be offered up again as the Victim for the sins of man. It is a power greater than that of monarchs and emperors: it is greater than that of saints and angels, greater than that of Seraphim and Cherubim. Indeed, it is greater even than the power of the Virgin Mary. While the Blessed Virgin was the human agency by which Christ became incarnate a single time, the priest brings Christ down from heaven, and renders Him present on our altar as the eternal Victim for the sins of man—not once but a thousand times! The priest speaks and lo! Christ, the eternal and omnipotent God, bows His head in humble obedience to the priest’s command.”
            Faith of Millions – John O’Brien

          • You’re referring to the consecration of bread and wine, wherein it is transformed into Christ’s Body and Blood. Jack won’t waste his time responding to your nonsense and insults.
            For an “evangelist” you lack basic communication skills. Ignorance of the subject matter, combined with insult, appears to be your chosen style. Perhaps you should read scripture a bit closer.

          • Martin

            HJ

            I’m referring to the idolatry of the Mass where Christ is considered to be at the beck and call of the priest as I have all the way along. That is from an authorised RC book, so if it is nonsense and insult it is Rome that has made it so. That Christ should be so at the call of the priest has nothing whatsoever to do with Scripture. And no, I’m not an evangelist.

          • Aren’t all Christians evangelists? Or do you believe yourself to be something greater?

            Fr. O’Brien’s words compare the role of the priest to the role of
            Mary. The “type” of role is comparable. They are a human agents
            through which Christ becomes present tangibly here on earth. In both cases, it occurs by God’s power as a consequence of their spoken words. (Mary’s “Let it be done…” and the priest’s “This is My Body; This is My Blood”).

            That transubstantiation takes place when the priest pronounces
            the words of consecration is due to the fact that Christ instituted the power of those words when spoken by Him at the Last Supper, and then provided for their continuing power to be present when spoken by an ordained priest. One might say He bound Himself to it when He told them to “Do this…”

            As Father O’Brien adds:

            “Of what sublime dignity is the office of the Christian priest who is thus privileged to act as the ambassador and the vice-regent of Christ on earth! He continues the essential ministry of Christ: he teaches the faithful with the authority of Christ, he pardons the penitent sinner with the power of Christ, he offers up again the same sacrifice of adoration and atonement which Christ offered on Calvary. No wonder that the name which spiritual writers are especially fond of applying to the priest is that of alter Christus. For the priest is and should be another Christ.”

          • len

            Another Christ ?. Or instead of Christ.

          • Morning, Len.

          • Martin

            HJ

            No, Christians are not all evangelists, although all will tell others of the gospel.

            Mary’s role was to bear a baby, little more and the Christian Church has no role of priest, aside from that held by Christ Himself. Mary’s words made no difference, nor do your priests superstitious antics.

            No change takes place in the nature of the bread and wine, it is a memorial, nothing more. Imagining anything else is mere superstition. One might almost say anything, it doesn’t mean that it is true.

            What arrogance, for a man to take on the upon himself the authority of Christ, calling himself a vice-regent, claiming the power of Christ. And what heresy to offer up that sacrifice that Christ Himself offered up once for all, to place himself in that place which only God could take. No wonder he dares to take on himself the title of father.

            Rome sought for itself supremacy long ago and still claims power over people, so different from Christ’s words to His disciples:

            When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me. I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
            (John 13:12-20 [ESV])

          • dannybhoy

            I love your Catholic sense of naughtiness Jack.
            There’s nothing wrong with teasing and leg pulling amongst believers.
            I betcha when our Lord and the disciples were walking and resting around the Sea of Galilee, they joked and teased. And Our Lord, God in the flesh. delighted in their humanity..

          • Jack waive his usual fee too.

          • dannybhoy

            Bless you my child…

          • Royinsouthwest

            I didn’t know that you sold indulgences!

          • A temporal, secular fee for professional services rendered.
            “The worker is worthy of his wages.”

          • Anton

            Despite the Reformation you can still buy them at Canterbury cathedral:

            https://www.cathedral-enterprises.co.uk/Shop/Food-and-Home/Food-Drink/Indulgence-chocolate-medal-90-g

          • Dominic Stockford

            😉

          • Dominic Stockford

            Never, then.

          • dannybhoy

            I wouldn’t say that Dominic.
            I agree with you that the priesthood/laity thing is wrong; we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. But there are many in the priesthood who love God with all their hearts, and in context we must respect their sense of calling whilst gently stating our own understanding. There are members of the clergy who perhaps have progressed further in their understanding of what it means to be part of a Royal Priesthood?

          • Dominic Stockford

            The Holy Spirit ain’t going to get you to go to a man when it is God, through Jesus Christ, to whom you should be going (unless you personally offended that man in a genuinely sinful way, not merely human so-called offence).

          • dannybhoy

            Would you deny that some are called into a role as a priest?
            I wouldn’t.
            I came to faith through an Anglican curate who loved the Lord, and prayed and listened as I confessed to God the mess I had made of my own life and asked Him for forgiveness and the promised indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
            God used that man to witness the grace of God at work, and I have never forgotten that occasion of my new birth into Christ.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Hebrews: “And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”

            The Bible tells us that we have no need of a priest, for Christ has done all that is required. Offered the choice between the teaching of the Bible and the teaching of men I stick with the Bible, every time.

          • dannybhoy

            Me too.
            The problem is, is it right to tell a sincere Christian man who has been brought up in the Anglican or even Catholic traditions, and whose whole life is dedicated to serving God as he understands it that he is misguided?
            Is it your place or mine to correct him, or love and support him, and let the Lord deal with it?

          • Martin

            But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.

            (Ezekiel 33:6 [ESV])

          • Dominic Stockford

            Yes. It is my place to point him to the truth of God’s Word. His eternity depends upon it.

          • Pubcrawler

            And he might politely remind you that alas English does not make the same distinction that the Greek does between ‘priest’ (1) ἱερεύς and ‘priest’ (2) πρεσβύτερος. He would, quite rightly, not presume to be ‘priest (1)’; but do you object to him regarding himself as ‘priest (2)’?

          • dannybhoy

            You’re a sharp’un and no mistake!

          • dannybhoy

            Anton, Martin and Dominic,
            We all agree that the priesthood/laity model is wrong/un-Scriptural; but we cannot say that a man, a devout Christian man might go to hell because his Church taught that model, and he has been shaped by it.
            Are we saying that God cannot use him as a vicar? Are we saying that someone who felt called as a nun or a monk was deceived?
            No, surely God uses us Christians despite our misconceptions and incomplete understandings of His Word.
            I told our late vicar that I didn’t believe in the clergy-laity divide, which was one of the reasons I wouldn’t be a churchwarden, but I also told him that I respected him in his role and would work with him and support him. It wasn’t my place to tell him he was wrong about being a vicar, and unless prompted by the Holy Spirit I wouldn’t. God can show or lead any one of His children into more revelation.
            Here’s the testimony of a young man and his calling.

            http://www.stepforwardanglican.org.uk/discernment/stories/
            And here’s a link to the CofE website on vocation..
            https://www.churchofengland.org/clergy-office-holders/vocation.aspx

          • Anton

            Yes, I do deny that God calls anybody to ordination. I do not deny that (a) many ordained persons sincerely believe that they were called by God to ordination; (b) many ordained persons have genuine faith in Christ; (c) God often works through such persons as in (b).

          • dannybhoy

            Quibbling.
            I have met men who as Christians felt called to the ministry..

          • Anton

            You asked a question; I gave you my answer. I believe that ordination cannot be fitted into the model that God himself gave in the Bible, of Christians as priests and Jesus as High Priest. God will not contradict himself in saying otherwise to individuals. (Women, for example.)

          • dannybhoy

            Then you deny that God can work through any surrendered vessel in any sphere of human activity??
            Of course He can.
            When I said to our vicar that I respected him in his role and vocation, I also pointed out that no one man can be or do everything. That he needed to gather around himself a group of people with definite ministries, willing to work together in humility and submission, so that God might be glorified.
            And frankly I believe that model can work, as far as the Anglican Church is concerned because the vicar up to the bishop can function as a senior elder who recognises the ministries of others in the Body of Christ; i.e. his congregation.

          • Anton

            What you believe is up to you! I believe that ordination cannot be fitted into the model that God himself gave in the Bible, of all Christians as priests and Jesus as High Priest. Whenever God speaks privately to individuals, he will not contradict his written word. Plenty of women mistakenly claim that they are called by God to ordination, and men are not less susceptible to error than women, are they?

            God will still work in various ways through the genuine faith in Christ of some persons who have mistakenly got themselves ordained, of course. I said so explicitly in my point (c) above, so I don’t understand why you think I believe otherwise, as your first sentence suggests.

      • Inspector General

        The Inspector is determined to do his penance, Danny. He needs to cleanse his soul of the toxins encountered when monitoring Pink News. So that place will also be avoided for the duration. The penance will be done and the Inspector will return. Of course, he’ll be much older and dead by then, but the soul’s needs are paramount!

        • dannybhoy

          Let it go bro.
          Penance never achieved anything, except the self righteousness of self inflicted punishment.
          You think you blew it, I don’t know what you did, but I don’t think God wants penance, He wants you.

          • Inspector General

            What you fail to understand, Clive, is that the Inspector maintains the highest standards. Or he did. See it this way. How can the Inspector apprehend some overweight 10 year old girl in Gloucester and say “there’s far too much of you, young lady. Instruct your mother to put you on fluids only until further notice.”. An onerous task he enjoy’s almost daily. Unless he himself is without impurity, It just isn’t on, is it?

        • magnolia

          Warning: attempted hack of google account from L’Aigle in France- presumably Linus who probably thinks this illegal activity is highly moral in his twisted worldview. I am careful what I say and do not, besides which no gay advocate in their right mind would wish to rattle my cage as what would come out would be some deeply shameful skeletons re their cause which they would wish they had never ever disturbed.

          Nevertheless it explains the fantasy chateau as the chateau there is owned by the whole community of the town!!

    • IanCad

      Not sure what caused this Inspector, or what you wrote. Your many unique posts must surely go some way towards granting remission for good behaviour. As you seem to be your own judge I would respectfully submit that mercy should be considered and the sentence suspended.
      Perhaps the usual court costs should be placed in HG’s collection tin.

    • David

      Recognition of your own, claimed bad behaviour, amounts to repentance, as it were, so if that is followed by a short period of further reflection, that would suffice I’d suggest. See you back in harness, maybe mid-week ?

    • chefofsinners

      It’s the Inspector reMorse New Year’s Day special. In which the Inspector opens a new case (of scotch) and drives his vintage laptop while under the influence, wrapping it around a ‘dry tree’.
      The following morning he is called into the Superintendent’s office and told this is his last chance.
      (repeat)

      • dannybhoy

        Who says to the wretched IG…
        “Pull yourself together IG for Goodness sake! What’s happened to you? You used to be one of the best: one of the finest bloggers the internet had ever known…!
        (inspired by the film Sixteen Blocks; yeah, yeah…)

  • Cressida de Nova

    I am so pleased Sir James Macmillan has received some recognition for his tireless attempts at preserving the sacred traditions in liturgical music, educating future generations. and bringing an awareness of the rich cultural heritage of the Catholic Church.
    “Beauty is at the heart of our Christian faith. It should be paramount in our attentions
    as we approach the throne of all Beauty”
    A Happy New Year to you all !

  • David

    Happy New Year ! – To one and all !
    May much wisdom and many blessings continue to flow from His Grace’s e-pulpit.

  • Melt van der Spuy

    Interesting reading for me as a South Africa based in Cape Town. Sad to see Jim Graham passed on. He was a profound influence on me in my early walk, albeit from a distance.

    • dannybhoy

      Melt?
      This is a name already?

      • chefofsinners

        Hot country, South Africa.

        • dannybhoy

          Watching The World’s Strongest Man” as I do every year (no funny business) and they had a couple of monster Afrikaaners in yesterday’s episode.
          Boy….
          Dem guys know how to sweat..

          • Allosexuel

            Oo la la …..

          • Melt van der Spuy

            I’ll send a few your way if you like…I’m an Anglicised Afrikaner myself who hooked for WP (or if you are a rugby follower) the Stormers as they now are in the 1990’s so not too small myself, but not in that league. I’ll come over myself if you like (:

          • dannybhoy

            Hey Melt! Didn’t mean to offend.
            The wife and I are rugby football fans, but even though we’re English we support Wales – passionate, see? Good singers too.
            England’s playing good, but lacks the team spirit that won us the 2003 world championship. There’s something missing in the team. Winning cannot replace team spirit, unity and sacrificing a chance to shine in order that the team might win! Rugby football is the best game out there.
            You played for Western Province as a hooker?
            There is no real need for hookers any more. The scrum is an absolute mess these days. A total waste of playing time, more concerned with health and safety than hooking the ball for your team. The scrum needs re-jigging and a return to its original intent: quick bind, straight throw in and hookers hooking!
            I think this is you…?
            http://essaadmin.dyndns.org/?p=740
            Did you ever meet Yohann Luckoff? He was I think the first leader of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem..
            A serious dude with a sharp sense of humour..
            God bless you brother.

          • Melt van der Spuy

            Hi Danny, no offense. I have a fairly dry sense of humour myself. Ya I hooked for WP but very much as a journeyman. I captained the oldest club in SA (Hamilton SP Rugby football club) and also hooked for the old Transvaal in 1989 (Lions). I was one of those players who was called up to the provincial squad when there were 3 deaths and two injuries. I .e. a good club player who played some provincial rugby. I only came to faith in 1990 (sort of mid carreer-retired end 94) and never met Johan Luckoff, but I didn’t really move in Christian circles in those days. I agree with you regarding hookers and scrums btw…they are sort of third props now. I used to hook off 95KG which is the weight of a nice solid centre nowadays… The scrums however messy are not quite as messy as SA Rugby…sadly the Afrikaner laager mentality has not transcended well into the professional era. Just one step better than the French I’d say. The Springboks have done well since 1995 despite SARU and our terrible coaching rather than because of them…we have the exchange rate to contend with now too and have reached rock bottom, so that’s the place to rebuild. Still a huge pool of talent though, although most of it plays abroad. Who can blame them. I like Wales. They’ve not reached the potential they have shown in the past ten years though. My sense always is that perhaps it’s depth? Like Ireland in the last WC they are top contenders unless they have three to four injuries and then they crumble? I’m a Vineyard pastor now, but bivocational. Cheers

          • dannybhoy

            Well said Melt. Wales has lost a bit of its flair, especially (I think) since losing the likes of Shane Williams who could always lift the team with his ability to seize an opportunity to run with the ball. Always did a little ‘jink’ like he was changing gear, and away he went. Georgie North hasn’t been able to shine in the same way, but still a valuable player.
            Right, having established a mutual appreciation of the game, perhaps from time to to time you might contribute here? I was in YWAM, heard John Wimber speak, and have a dear brother in the Lord who married a Sarf Afrikaan girl. They now live in Australia, and no; it was nothing I said..
            It’s a;ways useful to hear about what the Lord is doing around the world.
            God’s blessings and guidance in your ministry.

          • Melt van der Spuy

            Will do, be blessed

      • Melt van der Spuy

        Not everyone is of English and Irish origin Danny, my roots are Dutch. The empire is dead hey…

  • David

    A bit off thread I know, but after the victorious battle of Brexit I look forward to more excitement in 2017. Hopefully, more countries will reject centrism and globalism. Instead they can rediscover how the genius of western culture is enriched by our national differences, all within our true common denominator, Europe’s Christian heritage.

    • Anton

      One of our two common denominators, and unfortunately we are headed more towards ancient Greece in the era of its decline and decadence.

      • David

        We have had previous decadent ages, but then recovered from them, regaining new energies and conquering new peaks.

        • Anton

          We have never had family breakdown stats mushrooming by a factor of 10 in one lifetime. Never. And we have never faced such a threat from Europe’s most enduring and deadliest enemy, Islam – and from inside our gates, too. No coincidence.

          • Martin

            Anton

            Could be the invasion of Islam is in the mercy of God.

          • Anton

            Depends whether you think secularism or Islam is worse. But remember that revolutions are always led by zealots, backed by nominal opportunists who see the chance of booty. Any Islamic victory in a civil war would lead to the most rigorous form of sharia.

          • Martin

            Anton

            And by the blood of the martyrs the Church grows.

          • Anton

            Most certainly. But I was talking about Britain and Europe, not its church. Persecution is exactly what the church needs here to be got into shape. Weep for the nation, not the church!

  • Samuel

    Dude ,

    With this one I’m officially as a Switzerland . My sister Esther, however, is a Blur fan or more accurately , way back in 1995, her future better half was a blur fan , who proposed at a university JSoc ball with one of their songs playing . Despite being polar opposite we both married French speakers…. of which I’m now having that incongruity of driving a “duster”.. oy I should have put up with Hannah’s mini and pink fluffy furry dice!

  • not a machine

    I thank his holiness pope Francis ,his new year message ,I have hope ,but also know he is entering into a problem ,that is hard to see as it creates its own environment ,through its use and they are subtle.
    I have for some time been pondering if Alan Turings paper on a thinking machine , was correct , as genius as he was ,he perhaps didn’t ponder if a thinking machine could only be programmed to be a control machine and what the consequence of that would be .narcissm is a difficult thing to explain ,not quite the same thing as competition .Quite if you can develop 3 moves in narcissm or happy narcissm could well be consequence or outcome of the new beliefs the new methods of living may have created .Of course we had the imagine a boot stamping on your face for a 1000 yrs of 1984 , this feels more like imagine going through a never ending list lived through a screen device , a never ending search and change with no love or other rewards of the spirit , a way where you can become mentally lost .

  • Alicia Sinclair

    Sorry-apart from just a few here, there`s hardly any Christian who`d be worthy of persecution by Islam or the Liberal Left…ineffective.
    To me it`s the Nazir Alis, the Mullens and ANYONE who`ll aggressively deal with the culture we`re in who are worth the candle…how come nobody is forcing the BBC to boycott football for its “child abuse” current issues-didn`t they effectively close down and smear the catholics for the very same?
    As for the gay cake story…any REAL church would NOT leave the issue to his personal strengths and depth of his pockets-it would defend McArthurs case and make a national (even international) case out of it. So the EU and its gormless suckups in London, Dublin and Stormont would be less inclined to shaft the Church Militant as they do for fun.
    But the church is useless and supine-happy to weclome migrants, give out the flip flops on Margate beach and beg for BBC spots on the Toady Show.
    Pathetic.

    • David

      “But the church is useless”
      If you talking about the institutional Churches then I’d agree with you. They are far too passive and have been for decades. But there are individual Christians, scattered throughout a number of different denominational Churches, that are fighting for the faith. Others fight for the freedom of their country. Some fight for both causes. For example, they fund the charities that provide legal defence for cases like the McArthurs, as well are constantly challenging the basis of the laws used for these illiberal prosecutions. A number off us, regular commentators to this blog, bemoan the poor spiritual state of institutional Churches that have compromised, if not surrendered, to the culture.

      • Dominic Stockford

        There are various groups that our congregation supports, including Christian Concern and the Christian Institute – both of which work to help such as the McArthurs. Much better to band together in that way than to wander round as individual congregations failing to fund anything effectively.

        • David

          That’s admirable. But almost all ethical sources of funding, individual or group, can help these excellent, thoroughly Christian causes. There’s no gain in ranking them.

    • Anton

      The job of the church is to change people. If those changed people can change the culture then so much the better. But changing the culture is not the church’s job.

      • David

        I agree with your general point. But the Churches do have a duty to oppose wrong practices, and often they don’t. Abortions for convenience, not medical necessity, is an example. Also those Churches that tolerate heterodoxy will fail to change people, to teach them to conform, bit by bit, to God’s plan for how we should live.

        • Dominic Stockford

          Approximately 97% [I think] of the abortions in 2015 were for ‘social reasons’ – which amounts to the murder of about 187,000 unborn children simply because having a baby didn’t suit someone, and it was a convenient form of contraception. Pointing this out in the msmedia though, which is the only place we can in fact go to make our case, means that you find yourself blocked, pronto.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Oh, and on Rome, I know that the history there is far worse than the media in fact say – whatever anyone on this blog might like to claim.

          • David

            Talking to yourself again ? My wife tells me that this is not good – just teasing !

          • David

            Agreed. But why don’t the Churches use their own publicity material, diocesan letters, magazines etc, to convince more of their own flocks that this is wrong ? Why please the politicians who merely follow the culture ? The C of E is complicit in this murder. I pick my own denomination, although others are equally guilty.

          • Dominic Stockford

            If you are a denominational it should be done through the denomination – the fact that they fail utterly to do so is another reason why people look askance at denominations. Individual autonomous congregations outside groups that can be viewed as denominations, mainly Reformed Christians therefore, not only do (as far as I am aware) take the trouble to cover such issues, but also take the information wider than their own congregation. Its another reason why many people don’t like us.

            And even the pro-life groups out there don’t help much when it comes to it. The ONLY pro-life candidate in the Richmond Park by-election was given no support or encouragement (or even a reply) by national pro-life groups.

          • dannybhoy

            That’s right. There’s no reason why Church leaders couldn’t call for a national day of prayer and protest. A day where as many Christians as possible could come down and meet outside Parliament to protest then walk down to St Pauls for example. Nearby churches and volunteers could be contacted to lay on hot drinks and sandwiches. Offerings could be made to pay for the catering.
            And we could make it clear where we as Christians stand; we would be seen as a cohesive, unified whole.
            It’s not hard. It’s not too difficult to arrange. We’d get better at it, and most of all God would be glorified,,,

      • dannybhoy

        Anton, Isn’t the job of the Church to witness to and proclaim the power of the Gospel whilst serving our Lord wherever we find ourselves. It is God who changes people, and however much we ourselves want to glorify Him through our lives, we fail. People see the blemishes! So we stay true to God’s word, we worship Him, and we open our hearts to the Holy Spirit..

        “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants[b] for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness”, has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
        7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.”

        • Anton

          Yes, of course it is Christ who changes men for the better in ways that they cannot do for themselves. Other Christians, ie the church, oversee and guide the process. It is the church’s job to bring people to Christ. I repeat unashamedly that it is not the job of the church as a corporate body to change the culture. That is the task of changed people, ie Christians.

          • dannybhoy

            “I repeat unashamedly that it is not the job of the church as a corporate body to change the culture. That is the task of changed people, ie Christians.”
            The Church influences society in all kinds of ways Anton., even through rebellious monks like Martin Luther..
            The American Moral Majority movement was imv the wrong way to bring about change.
            Witnessing to the Truth, bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives, seeking and expressing unity through our individual relationship to our Lord is the way.
            And not getting caught up in arguing over minutiae because I am right and you aren’t ‘quite right’, is unhelpful…
            Mark 9:38-41
            38 John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name,[a] and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” 39 But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterwards to speak evil of me. 40 For the one who is not against us is for us. 41 For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.

          • Anton

            I agree about the Moral Majority; there is a fine book by an American pastor, Greg Boyd, called “The myth of a Christian nation” about that sort of thing in the USA. I didn’t consider that what I was saying differed from you only over “minutiae”, otherwise I wouldn’t have said it! Part of the issue is that I am against church hierarchies above congregations, and churches can connect with the political authorities only via such hierarchies; but I didn’t want to bring in yet another contentious subject.

          • dannybhoy

            Over my Christian life I have gone from where unity was established through theology to where it is Christ’s salvation, our love and appreciation of the nature of God as revealed in Scripture. I’m unashamedly a broad brush man who bases his understanding of unity on exalting Jesus rather than allowing differences on peripheral aspects of theology to stop me fellowshipping with another believer.
            I have changed my views and priorities over the years, and so will we all.
            Remember the old saying?
            “It’s not the truth that you speak, but the spirit in which you state it…”

          • Anton

            It’s both.

    • Steve Utley

      To be fair, the Christian Institute’s legal defence fund (supported by Christians and churches) has supported the McArthurs throughout.

  • Father David

    Why is Mrs. McArthur looking up so adoringly at her husband Daniel as though he were an American Presidential candidate?

  • Steve Utley

    Least inspirational list I’ve seen with the exception of a handful, (Mez, Glen, Dan . . .) but I guess that’s what you end up with if you’re fishing mainly in an Anglican pond. Only surprised that you haven’t included David Bowie, Lemmy and Muhammad Ali.