Labour Leadership
Labour Party

Does any Labour leadership candidate have something positive to say about Christianity?

 

Now that the Liberal Democrats have been left to their own devices to elect a new leader, the attention inevitably turns to Labour and their continued attempts to find an electable leader. But before moving on we need to thank Norman Lamb for his clumsy attempts to drag Christianity to the forefront of political discussions involving leadership candidates who show any sign that they may have some sort of faith.

Clearly undaunted by the hoo-hah stirred up last week regarding his beliefs, Tim Farron gave a parting shot in the Guardian on Saturday, which turned into a particularly explicit interrogation of his faith. Irrespective of what you think of Farron and his Christianity, you’ve got to admire a politician who isn’t afraid to discuss some potentially unpopular views and upset various people in the process.  Firstly he took a shot at liberal Christians saying he has ‘little patience with many contemporary Christians’ wishy-washy notions of a “half-baked, low-wattage, part-time God”.’ Then by declaring that everyone will go to heaven or hell he’s probably annoyed a whole group of people who ironically don’t believe in either heaven or hell. And beyond that – shock horror – he even prays about his job.

In contrast we have Labour leadership hopeful, Andy Burnham speaking late last week to Pink News about his relationship with the Church. Burnham is a Roman Catholic and is the only Labour contender who has expressed any commitment to a religious faith. In the past he has said that ‘the three most important things in my life are Everton FC, the Labour Party and the Church – in that order.’ Despite being an altar boy when he grew up, he is ‘not a regular church-goer’ anymore, which does beg the question of how much he really cares about Everton and his party too.

Anyway, unlike Farron who has stated that God is sovereign, Burnham appears less than convinced that God, or at least his church, has as good an understanding of what is right in politics as he does. Given that he was talking to a gay news site the subject matter was inevitable, but as far as he is concerned, the Pope should be sanctioning same-sex marriages within Catholic churches and that faith schools should be forced to teach sex and relationships education giving ‘absolute equality in terms of all relationships’.

For someone who professes a faith it is both curious and sad that he has little to say about it that is positive. Instead as he puts it: ‘I have been repeatedly at odds with the Catholic church for all of my time as an MP. I have always been going against what they were saying, and that is challenging.’

So there we go. It looks as though churches and Christians aren’t going to be seeing much love and support coming from whoever wins the Labour leadership contest. Ed Miliband may be an atheist through-and-through, but he nonetheless publicly declared his thanks on several occasions for all that churches do in our society to make it a better place. Can we expect even this much from his replacement?

A couple of final thoughts on this matter: It is good and right that politicians should be able to freely talk about the place of religion and faith in their own lives. It provides a window into their minds and souls that reveals a great deal. It would be beneficial therefore for each candidate standing for leadership being given a similar level of interrogation on their beliefs and philosophies instead of focusing most of the attention on those who have come out as Christians. Are the views of agnostics or atheists any less newsworthy?

Secondly, why are we finding out much about their approach to the Christian faith initially from Pink News? Tim Farron also discussed aspects of his faith in an interview with them long before Norman Lamb raised the subject. This is in no way a criticism of Pink News. They’ve obtained these exclusive interviews through their own efforts, but the question is why are we not seeing the candidates giving interviews with the Christian press? The likes of Christian Today, Christianity Magazine, Premier Radio, the Catholic Herald and the Church Times have enough readers and listeners to make interviews, especially with Christian candidates, a worthwhile and valuable endeavour. Only a fool would argue that Christians are not interested in these matters. If it’s because these outlets haven’t bothered, then shame on them, but if it’s down to politicians’ reluctance to engage with a less fashionable press that they would rather not associate with, then that is hugely unimpressive and bordering on prejudice. Is that not too much to ask?

Of course if any politician should want to collaborate with this widely read blog, we are more than open to offers…

  • len

    I wouldn`t trust any of them to run a stall at the local market let alone a country….is this the best Labour can do?.

    • RuariJM

      Unfortunately, it would appear that the answer is “yes”.

      Alan Johnson won’t stand.

  • Albert

    faith schools should be forced to teach sex and relationships education giving ‘absolute equality in terms of all relationships’.

    Which begs the usual question, “equally what”? It’s not so much that I disagree with the claim, I genuinely don’t know what is being claimed. I suspect that Burnham et al, haven’t given it that much thought either. But perhaps someone here can help him out and give some evidentially based, morally or maritally relevant sense in which homosexual relationships per se are equal to heterosexual ones per se.

    • The Explorer

      Absolute equality. Marriages can be annulled for non-consummation; non-consummation being defined as non-penetration.
      If we’re talking absolute equality, what would constitute non-penetration for a) two males, b) two females?
      If the question be deemed unfair or insensitive, then let us not talk of absolute equality; for then, such a question need not arise.

      • Albert

        That’s a good example. In fact, in the law on same-sex marriage, it was decided consummation could not be required for people of the same sex. In that sense, SSM is not equal. A lower standard has been dropped down for them.

        Someone might argue that this will make little practical difference, and they might be right. But it is enough to falsify Burnham’s demand. So here we have a legal proposal to teach something which is demonstrably false.

        And that’s before we get into any other considerations of the equality of same-sex relationship with heterosexual relationships. How is it that this cause has resulted in the rotting of the Western mind?

        • The Explorer

          If one sex act can lead to pregnancy and another cannot, then the two acts are not equal in outcome. (And equality of outcome must be a factor if we are demanding absolute equality.)

          • Albert

            Quite. So Burnham seeks to prosecute teachers merely for refusing to say what is demonstrably and obviously false.

            He’s bound to be selected.

      • RuariJM

        I think you will find that consummation is no longer mentioned in marriage law, having been removed when SSM was passed. Adultery, likewise.

        But I am willing to be corrected.

        • Albert

          Precisely. Which is another way of saying “same-sex marriage” is not marriage, or at least, “same-sex marriage” is not equal to heterosexual marriage. Either way, Burnham’s position is nonsensical.

        • The Explorer

          I think you’re right. Some legislator thought about the implications of equal requirements.
          I am reminded of H G Wells’ ‘The Country of the Blind’. A sighted man wants to marry a blind girl. There must be equality. She cannot be made to see, but another solution is possible. Lowest common denominator. Same sort of thing with SSM.

          • sarky

            And here we are back again. ….yawwwn.

          • Albert

            Back where again?

          • The Explorer

            The thing is, this time it arises directly out of the content of the thread. And it is topical. On American blogs, the decision of the Supreme Court is a hot subject.

          • sarky

            Yes, but again the majority of comments are all about one or two sentences in the whole blog.
            You just go round and round and round and round. ……

          • Albert

            Yes, but they are the sentences are about the restriction of freedom and rationality – all in the name of liberalism (ironically). Speaking personally, I’m far more exercised about the issues of freedom here, than I am about the issues of sexuality. Whenever a politician seeks to impose something which is utterly lacking in evidence and is demonstrably false, everyone should worry, whatever their view surrounding the issue itself.

          • The Explorer

            Albert said it for me below. Truth is at stake. In that sense, the debate is linear, not circular.

          • Anton

            Nobody is forcing you to take part in a conversation you find boring!

        • Anton

          This happened because Home Office lawyers could not agree on what constituted consummation in gay relationships, and as we all know that such relationships are equal to heterosexual ones the notion of consummation had to go. A transcript of that discussion would be mind-boggling.

          • Malcolm Smith

            This reminds me of the comment by the homosexual raconteur, Quentin Crisp: when a man and a woman want to do it, they just do it, but every homosexual “copulation” has to start with a conference.

          • The Explorer

            There more permutations as to who does what.

          • magnolia

            Unbelievably idiotic, and surely it messes things up for people wishing to divorce on grounds of non-consummation.

            The very fact that they might consider b*****y as possibly the equivalent of male-female consummation makes me feel ashamed of the generation to which I suppose I “belong”. In the next life, probably whichever way one goes, it will be embarrassing to have to explain this to our ancestors who will think we are totally cretinous, insane, deluded, degenerate, putrefied and filthy as a generation.

            Given the latest video from the needleblog on Sir Peter Harman you can see the latest rot in our society has been around for a while with perverted people covertly supporting others and gate-keeping for others in tones of moral superiority that leave one’s stomach contents at severe risk.

            Change is well overdue, and all the victims of unbridled sexuality well overdue being properly listened to.

          • Anton

            It would be farce if it were not a tragedy. In the 1970s there was a concerted attempt to normalise paedophilia. I suspect this will be back again soon.

          • sarky

            Don’t be so stupid.

          • Anton

            Nobody would have believed it in the 1960s a decade before that attempt either.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Yes, there was a concerted attempt to normalise paedophilia. It got nowhere. The attempt wasn’t altogether a bad thing, however, since it meant that the behaviour of paedophiles was scrutinized as never before. This broke down the previous wall of silence on the subject, so that people who had been sexually abused as children increasingly came forward and said so. As a result, over the past few decades the public has learnt ever more about the serious and lasting damage done by this kind of abuse. So if, as you suspect, the attempt will be back again soon, it will stand even less chance, if possible, of getting anywhere than it did decades ago.

          • Anton

            I would be glad to be wrong. But see:

            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/10948796/Paedophilia-is-natural-and-normal-for-males.html

            This time it’s starting in academia…

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            No, it isn’t STARTING this time in academia. Back in the 70s, as you will find if you look into the history of the subject, some figures in academia argued in favour of a more accepting attitude to adult-child sexual behaviour. This did not result in paedophilic practices being “normalised”.

          • Anton

            Then they shut up. Now they are speaking out again. Why? Anyway, I would be glad to be wrong.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Yes, I would be glad too, and I think that you are.

          • Anton

            I worked that out!

          • The Explorer

            It’s a moot point. Hitler attempted a putsch and was put in prison. It was too soon. But the next time round…

            Lord Monboddo argued for evolution, but was ahead of his time. The timescale was wrong. Then came Lyell’s ‘The Age of Earth’. Then came Darwin, with much the same theory as Monboddo, and Lyell had prepared the way. Bingo! Cometh the moment, cometh the man.

            Social attitudes may well be more receptive to paedophilia than they were in the 70’s. On the other hand, they may well not be. It’s about the last sexual taboo, and there must always be at least one taboo to cling to. So I suspect the movement represented by the ‘Telegraph’ article is still toe-in-the-water stuff. Either to be followed by the whole foot, or by a wait for when the water is warmer in the not-too-distant future. After all, SSM would have been unthinkable even in the 80’s. (And no, I’m not equating paedophilia with SSM; what I am equating is changes in social attitudes.)

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            There is a very important difference. The majority of people are themselves parents of children or will become so (and that also includes, incidentally, quite a number of homosexual people). Even those who never become parents are likely to have nephews and nieces. That is why, with the exception of that small number who are themselves sexual abusers of children, they will never, irrespective of how puritanical or liberal their views may be on consensual adult behaviour, accept that sexual behaviour between adults and children can be condoned.

          • The Explorer

            It’s a good point: as a lot of your points are. I hope you’re right.

            The paedophile apologia, as I understand it, goes like this. Homosexuals are born that way. People should be entitled to give expression to the sexuality they were born with.
            Paedophiles are born that way. They should be allowed to give expression to the sexuality they were born with. If that principle is allowed for homosexuals, it’s unfair that it is not allowed for paedophiles.

            I have two thoughts about that. One, the case for paedophiles is much weaker than it is for homosexuals because there are issues of harm to children and age of consent that are present in the one and not present in the other. Two, if being born with a certain sexuality does not entitle you to express it, that could be a backlash argument against. homosexuality as well. Paedophilia raises questions about the ultimate purpose of the sex act, and that has uncomfortable ramifications for all those – gay or hetero – who see the primary purpose as non-procreative.

            Rather convoluted, I’m afraid. I suppose I’m saying that the modern resistance to paedophilia involves more than the altruistic desire to protect children. (Though that is an undoubted and laudable part of it.)

          • Albert

            I was under the impression it was feminism that raised the issue.

          • carl jacobs

            Modern sexual morality is based upon the primacy of consent, and children are presumed incapable of giving consent to an adult. The culture would have to become significantly more pagan to take the step pf normalizing paedophilia. What has already happened however is the continued push to lower the age of consent. Children can freely consent to sex with adults at a certain age. Children can consent to sex with other children at a lower age. This teaches the logic of sexual autonomy and is intended to destroy the moral authority of those who would set limits. That’s the real threat.

            Of course those who push this agenda don’t much care about the consequences of destroying authority – in terms of disease, and abortion, and illegitimacy, and broken relationships. They care only that the authority is destroyed.

            I guess that should be past-tense. The authority has been destroyed. With all the attendant consequences.

          • sarky

            You do know that being gay is not a new thing??? Our ancestors were at it aswell 🙂

          • magnolia

            It was much rarer, unless you go back to pagan Greek and Roman times. Apart from the oversexed and the abused, like Lord Rochester but even he repented on his deathbed. Although deathbed repentances have taken place in the 20th Century, notably recently Kenny Everett. The Victorians were stricter generally. There is the notable case of Oscar Wilde However recent adulation of Oscar Wilde’s infidelity to his wife is pretty sickening, as it assumes virtual non-personhood for the person of his wife, which is appalling., and his son felt the same. At the time there were no perceived non-dramatis personae, as is more balanced and truthful.

            As for Sir Peter Hayman and George Thomas, the video I referred to that was about gay men who messed around with young boys, a subsection.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            How do you know that it was much rarer? When a phenomenon is legally and/or socially repressed, there is no means of telling how rare or common it is. I remember hearing a Catholic priest, years ago, asserting that he had never in his entire life met a Catholic priest who was homosexual. Oh yeah?

          • Anton

            I would be glad to see Pope Francis permit ordained Roman Catholic clergy to be married. We are told again and again that this would not contradict Catholic doctrine yet it never happens.

          • carl jacobs

            Too expensive. And it invalidates the sacrifice of wife and family made by those who are in the Priesthood already. If the discipline can be changed, then why was it not changed for them? Those who would have to ask that question are the very people who would have to make the decision to change. That’s a big ask.

          • Anton

            As one skeptic about Rome to another, Carl, it is likely because of the falling number of ordinands.

            A study by Dean Hoge called The First Five Years of the Priesthood (2002) found that, of the 10-15% of North American Catholic priests who resign within five years of ordination, more than half did so because they wished to marry. Hoge found that the acute shortage of ordinands in the USA would cease if priests were permitted to marry. In the diocese of Chicago almost half of those ordained in the years following 1976 resigned and married (The Tablet 1988 p1301, reporting the work of Richard Schoenherr, who did this himself and studied others of like mind).

          • carl jacobs

            A married priesthood would multiply the cost a priest by a factor of at least four or five. He isn’t going to tolerate $15K a year anymore. He has a wife, and he will have to model Catholic life when it comes to children. He is going to require more like $60K. Plus benefits. The RCC can say “We would have more candidates if we let priests marry.” But that doesn’t mean the RCC can afford them.

          • Anton

            Yes, it’s a quandary (although not mine). I said I’d welcome such a change because it would move Rome closer to the Bible, which is explicit that leaders of congregations should be family men (1 Tim 3). For more about the dubious subculture in Catholic seminaries in North America, the book Goodbye Good Men by Michael Rose (a Catholic) is revealing.

          • magnolia

            But they already pay for more glorious lodging, and frequently a cook and a housekeeper. It is said that the Anglicans have better halves but the RCs better quarters!

            I have also heard that it isn’t the wife that is the problem, for they generally increase the work done being conscientious sorts generally, and also prevent sexual misdemeanour and nervous breakdown. Indeed all too many take mistresses ,It is however more a case of avoiding the children who are dependent, not just in financial terms, but take up the precious time of the anointed one., and the RC flock prefer to remain dependent and call the priest “Father” instead of all being equals in the eyes of the Almighty, and letting the poor guy have his own real children.

            Cat amongst the pigeons time!!

          • Albert

            This is an interesting point. But in the interests of balance, it needs to be pointed out that numbers of Catholic priests globally is growing – as is the number of Catholics in the world (even when viewed as a proportion of the world population). That raises some interesting questions. Why is the Catholic Church growing? Should we change it just to suit the needs of the developed West? I’m not foreclosing answers to those questions, but I think they need to be addressed as well.

          • sarky

            It wasn’t rarer. The societies of the day made it illegal and shameful, so no wonder people couldn’t admit it.
            I much prefer to live in a society that accepts people for who they are.

          • The Explorer

            Should we accept paedophiles then, for who they are? Especially if they are born that way? I think the jury’s out on that one.

          • Coniston

            Paedophilia will be the last barrier to fall. Then wait for the paedophile pride marches.

          • sarky

            Thats just a really really stupid comment.

          • Owl

            No, it isn’t. Think about it.

          • The Explorer

            Thank you. That the comment is stupid is just an unsubstantiated assertion. We need to be shown why it is stupid.

          • magnolia

            Even if you only factor in the amount of time spent on survival yes it was rarer. If you have been working out in the fields in harsh weather you are not going to have much time to fuss and fidget and wonder who you are and whether you are gay and it is as much as you can do to feed your family, who will look after you in your old age before the advent of the welfare state. Any time off spent beerswilling in company and attending church on Sunday. This as near back as Hardy for instance. Capisco?

          • sarky

            Are you for real? ???

          • magnolia

            What is real?

          • Anton

            What’s that about Kenny Everett please?

          • The Explorer

            They were at being hetero as well. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be here.

          • sarky

            Thanks for the biology lesson! !

          • The Explorer

            That’s okay. Such lessons will become increasingly necessary. One American website had a complaint about the sex education programme. A girl had been taught how to give a guy a blow job, but did not know that her breasts could potentially produce milk. We’ll be seeing more and more of that, I suspect.

          • Martin

            It is worth noting that the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has sacked a well-respected urologist, Dr. Paul Church, from its medical staff because he voiced concerns about the unhealthy nature of homosexual behavior and objected to the hospital’s aggressive promotion of “gay pride” activities.

            So we see that even science is corrupted on the basis of political correctness and the demand that the perverted been treated as normal.

          • Albert

            I would have thought a urologist was well placed to speak on this one.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Indeed, but political correctness overrides science.

        • Dominic Stockford

          I believe it is still there, but just not in the SSM bit. Adultery is grounds for a heterosexual marriage divorce, but not a homosexual marriage one – and adultery involves consummation.

          • Shadrach Fire

            Where’s the equality here? Serial adultery ok for Gays but not Het’s.

          • RuariJM

            You’re correct – I’ve checked. It is a bit bizarre; in effect, gay sex (including lesbian sex – in fact, any non-heterosexual sex) dies not count as ‘sex’.

            Weird.

    • James Bolivar DiGriz

      My first thought was, what relationships?

      With the unravelling of one man & one woman marriage with the acceptance* of cohabiting** couples and homosexual ‘marriage’, where will the line be drawn?

      Are ‘open’ marriages (or cohabitations) to be taught? What about ‘swinging’? Dogging? Group relationships (e.g.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Thynn,_7th_Marquess_of_Bath )?

      Someone can already leave their estate to an animal and people gain companionship from animals. So when does bestiality get a turn on the curriculum?

      And one quick thought on paedophilia. When the Paedophile Information Exchange was most prominent (c. 1980) the homosexual age of consent was 21 and it is now 16. Some would say that to some extent the PIE were successful.

      * Indeed promotion in the case of the benefits system.
      ** Or even non-cohabiting couples, e.g.
      http://order-order.com/2015/06/29/new-mps-already-have-their-snouts-in-the-trough/
      entry for Scott Mann

      • The Explorer

        Excellent! “Absolute equality in terms of all relationships.” What should teachers say about sado-masochism? Can it be said to be as valid as other relationships when it doesn’t believe in the equality of the participants? Inequality is the whole point for both parties, Careers advice should be steering a girl away from being a dominatrix.

      • FYI, what used to be bestiality is now called zoophilia, no doubt so that anyone who opposes it can be called a zoophobe.

        • James Bolivar DiGriz

          Wikipedia
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoophilia
          says that some people makes a distinction between zoophilia as an attraction and bestiality as a set of actions.

          I think that that makes quite a bit of sense.

      • Albert

        That’s interesting. I hadn’t thought of the fact that “relationships” was not defined.

        Of course, for the most part, as soon as it is defined, it looks like the very discrimination they want to avoid.

        Does it make their minds hurt to think two contradictory things at the same time, do you think?!

        • James Bolivar DiGriz

          I don’t claim too much original thought. When homosexual marriage was being forced through parliament, there were numerous commentators who pointed out that as as soon as one change to what marriage meant happened then other possibilities were only a matter of time. These idea were just pooh-poohed away without any reasonable response.

          “Does it make their minds hurt to think …”

          I would not be certain that much thinking is going on! Low cunning & scheming certainly, but that is far from the same thing.

          • Albert

            Quite. I remember that when someone said that logically siblings or polygamy were entailed, in response to the first it was said the very suggestion was offensive (oddly, since that didn’t count against SSM) and against the latter that no one was calling for it (as if that is an argument). Now of course, the Greens are arguing for it!

  • The Explorer

    Years ago, I used to listen to radio 4’s ‘Beyond Belief’. For those who don’t know it, a panel of four with divergent beliefs would give their views on a particular topic.
    What impressed me particularly about the programme was that each speaker was required to define his/her understanding of the topic. Sainthood, say. Catholic definition, Protestant definition, Hindu, Humanist… That initial nailing of meaning saved so much time. I remember Neil Kinnock talking about subsidiarity on another programme, and after half an hour I still had no idea what he understood by the term.
    So my question to a politician would not be, “Are you a Christian?” for that could mean anything. My question would be, “What is a Christian?”

    • Martin

      TE

      I’d love to hear the answers.

      • The Explorer

        I suspect they wouldn’t be the same as yours or mine, or the Bible’s.

  • For your information, Mr Scott, just before the election, that excellent publication Evangelicals Now had interviews with three Christian members of Parliament, one from each ‘main’ party. Mr. Fallon was the Lib Dem. I think it was in the April issue.
    Those who are interested can go to http://www.e-n.org.uk and trawl through the back issues. It’s a fine newspaper and well-worth subscribing to.

    • Dominic Stockford

      I thought ET did that, I must be going mad in my old age…

      • Aargh! No, you’re probably right!
        Evangelical Times: another excellent newspaper.

  • Dreadnaught

    Like it or not we live in a multifaith/secular country. No politician from any Party is ever going to say anything that preferences one faith over another. The best you can hope for is that ‘Xtianity, like Islam, is a religion of peace’.

    • Albert

      Like it or not we live in a multifaith/secular country. No politician from any Party is ever going to say anything that preferences one over another.

      If that is given in our society as an a priori dogma, which cannot be falsified by evidence, then multifaith/secularism has created a context in which truth, reason and freedom of speech has been censored.

      • Anton

        I hadn’t noticed…

      • Dreadnaught

        Agreed. But a strange an example from a proponent of an ideology that laments the absence of blasphemy laws.

        • Albert

          Does it? Can you give evidence of this?

          • Dreadnaught

            Blasphemy law (Eire): The Committee (Human Rights) is concerned that that blasphemy continues to be an offence under article 40.6.1(i) of the Constitution and section 36 of the Defamation Act 2009 (art. 19). Ireland should consider removing the prohibition of blasphemy from the Constitution as recommended by the Constitutional Convention, and taking into account the Committee’s general comment No. 34 (2011) concerning the incompatibility of blasphemy laws with the Covenant, except in the specific circumstances envisaged in article 20, paragraph 2 of the Covenant.

            If not ‘lamenting’ (obviously, that for which you demand ‘proof’ and a lead-in to a nonsensical journey of inescapable boredom) the option this example of any predominately RC orientated government is that for one, it is certainly reluctant to give them up. You make as pointless a demand of me, as me saying to you, prove to my satisfaction that your god exists; for which I have neither the desire or life expectancy to conclude with the acceptance of your position.

          • Albert

            It’s funny how you find the request for the evidence of your claims so offensive. But yes, you’re right, the position of a non-RC orientated government (it’s hardly an RC orientated government when you think about it), about a law which makes no reference to Catholicism, (as opposed to “any religion”), and which could be defended by Mill’s harm principle, in one country is not evidence that I belong to an ideology that laments the absence of blasphemy laws.

            Perhaps you shouldn’t make claims you can’t defend.

            For the record, I wouldn’t defend these 2009 law.

          • Dreadnaught

            You know well enough I made a wide generalisation. Proof requires evidence. I gave the evidence.

          • Albert

            You did not give evidence of the claim you made. To do that, you need some kind of official, and Church-wide document. Even then, as we are speaking of prudential matters, it wouldn’t be proof of “ideology”, unless you could show it was doctrine.

            Whether you realise it or not, that is what you claimed, and even you cannot seriously believe that you have provided such evidence.

  • preacher

    Personally I have no problem with anyone being at odds with any Church or religion, but I would like to know what benchmark is being used, is it personal preference or the Bible ?. There’s a World of difference between discernment & ones own thoughts & philosophies.

  • Anton

    We have to get used to the fact that politicians (of all parties) will say Christian things to get the Christian vote. Judge them by their actions, not their words.

    • Shadrach Fire

      Would David Cameron be a good example?

      • Anton

        As his alas fictional predecessor said, you might think that but I couldn’t possibly comment.

  • Anton

    “For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our
    citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone” – David
    Cameron, within a fortnight of winning the election

    This alarmingly totalitarian comment and the legislation it is intended to
    enact (“disruption orders” on individuals) was inspired by last year’s “Trojan
    Horse” scandal involving Islamic extremism in certain schools in Birmingham.
    However Mr Cameron spoke only of a “poisonous” extremist ideology and was
    unwilling to specify Islamic extremism:

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/may/13/counter-terrorism-bill-extremism-disruption-orders-david-cameron

    Yesterday Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary, said that “homophobia” was
    a possible flag of “extremism”:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-33325654

    So (as some predicted), because the government is not prepared to call
    Islamic extremism by its name, Christians with religious objections to gay
    “marriage” are going to be targeted simply for peaceably speaking their mind in
    public.

    • Guglielmo Marinaro

      Not very likely. Religious (or non-religious) objections to gay marriage are not the same thing as homophobia.

      • Anton

        Under present law a homosexual can say that his feelings were hurt by public comments against gay marriage and be put before a court. A combination of what the Public Order Acts says and existing precedent regarding what street preachers have said makes that clear.

        • Guglielmo Marinaro

          Test it out.

          • Martin

            GM

            Already been done, as Anton points out.

      • carl jacobs

        Even if that is true, it is an unstable position that cannot be maintained over time.

        • Guglielmo Marinaro

          I don’t know what you mean.

          • carl jacobs

            The differentiation between homophobia and religious objection depends upon a continuing grant of moral integrity to the religion itself. You are saying that the position (however wrong) can be held with integrity because consistent application of the religion demands it. What will happen over time is that the religion will come to be seen as lacking in moral integrity and the grant will be withdrawn.

            I have in the past asked this question on various websites. “How do I make the moral case against homosexuality without drifting into homophobia?” The most frequent answer is “You can’t.” So whatever dispensation you personally might be willing to grant, you cannot establish that grant in perpetuity. Nor can you speak for those who already disagree with your statement. As homosexuality is increasingly normalized, religious objection to it will become increasingly stigmatized, and eventually punished.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            I doubt it. I am perfectly free to proclaim to the world that I regard heterosexuality and heterosexual marriage as wrong and even to make out a theological case for that belief. I wouldn’t be punished for it. I’d just be written off as a crackpot.

            I would add, however, that I don’t think that the word “homophobia” should be used in evaluating a moral case against homosexuality, since it tends to impede clear thinking. Either a case is valid or it is not. I have never yet heard or read any “moral case” against homosexuality per se which I find valid. Whether or not the person making such a case can accurately be described as “homophobic” is a matter of indifference to me.

          • carl jacobs

            You doubt it, but it is already happening. Where I work, I am free to say any positive thing I choose about homosexuality. I could get fired for saying what I think. The company has brought in gay speakers to talk about how they overcame their religious upbringing. The stigmatization has already begun. The company talks about ‘diversity’ but what it means by diversity is “We are establishing a new moral norm.”

            It is a matter of indifference to me that you find every case against homosexuality to be invalid. You have a vested interest in the outcome, seeing as you seek to justify your desire. What does matter to me is that you don’t have the standing to isolate the charge of homophobia from the evaluation of the moral case. That charge is far more often levied than not. And there is no defense against it from within the context of the dominant worldview.

            I am willing to absorb the hit for the sake of truth. But let’s not pretend there is no hit. A pro forma genuflection towards religious freedom does not obscure the reality of what will happen to those who do not bow the knee, but rather dare to defy the moral consensus of the day. The love that dare not speak its name is becoming the faith that dare not speak its name. That’s the reality.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            What is it about this job that you are doing that makes it necessary for you to say anything at all about homosexuality at work, whether positive or negative? And what is it that you think about homosexuality, and to whom would you like to say it?

          • carl jacobs

            What is it about my job that induced the company to bring in a speaker to assert that my religious was something to be overcome? What is it about my job that induced my company to hold a seminar on the legalization of gay marriage? Could I have attended these company sanctioned meetings and asked impolitic questions? Could I have done so without sanction? If someone attacks my publicly religious faith (which seemingly the company has already sanctioned) am I allowed to defend myself without risk? There are any number of ways the subject can come up in an official setting. The limits of conversation are carefully constrained.

            I saw a management training class several years back in which a hypothetical conversation occurs in the time period before the start of a staff meeting. One team member talks about seeing the movie “Rent” and says he liked another. Another team member says “i wasn’t comfortable with the gay themes.” Duh-duh-duhhhh. What was our manager supposed to do? He was supposed to jump on that employee with both feet. That’s diversity in this day and age. What do you suppose would have been the guidance if someone said “Passion of the Christ” was anti-Semitic? Should I draw a map for you?

            Here is the diverse message that has been propagated. Religion is invisible here, unless it conflicts with diversity in which case it can be publicly condemned and must otherwise keep its mouth shut. That is reality today. That is what you demanded. That is what you received.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            “Could I have attended these company sanctioned meetings and asked impolitic questions? Could I have done so without sanction? If someone attacks my publicly religious faith (which seemingly the company has already sanctioned) am I allowed to defend myself without risk?”

            You tell us. You certainly should be able to.

          • carl jacobs

            It’s nice that you think I should be able to. But you aren’t the controlling authority. I can tell you that my manager advised me to stay away. But this simply reinforces my point. You are postulating a hypothetical freedom that does not in fact exist and is not universally recognized. But people understand sanctions. And no one is going to come to my defense if I get crosswise with HR.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Why should you need to concern yourself anyway with what anyone else at work thinks about homosexuality?

          • carl jacobs

            You don’t seem to understand. I don’t have any reason to bring the subject up at work. The company is bring the subject to me – forcefully, aggressively, and with apologetic purpose. In the process it is implicitly attacking me, and all that I believe. In the name of diversity, it is explicitly carving me out. My option? Keep my mouth shut. It’s not about what anyone else thinks about homosexuality. It about what the company thinks its employees should think about homosexuality.

            So what happens in a dep’t when a homosexual with a chip on his shoulder is placed in a position of managerial authority? “Bigotry has no rights after all.” Do you think people don’t think about circumstances like that? He could ruin an employee with impunity. What could the employee do? Complain to HR? The response would be “Well, you are a bigot and we don’t want your kind around here.”

            That’s the future.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            What precise belief of yours is it that the company is attacking?

          • carl jacobs

            You means besides the fact that it brought in a gay apologist to speak about how he overcame his “fundamentalist” background?

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            If the gay apologist succeeded in overcoming a “fundamentalist” background which had indoctrinated him with the idea that there was something wrong with being gay, and that his sexuality was something that needed to be “overcome”, then good for him.

            But what specific belief of yours is the company attacking?

          • carl jacobs

            If the gay apologist succeeded in overcoming a “fundamentalist” background which had indoctrinated him with the idea that there was something wrong with being gay, and that his sexuality was something that needed to be “overcome”, then good for him.

            And there you go. You have answered your own question. Because what you have just said makes implicit assertions about the nature of Scripture, the nature of man, and the nature of sin.

          • Albert

            This has certainly been a most interesting discussion to watch. At every step of the way, GM seems not to have understood anything that is going on. Sorry GM, but that’s how it has come across to me.

          • Owl

            Albert, I believe that GM doesn’t want to understand. Understanding would imply agreeing and that can’t be done as he is following the pink pseudo argument.
            btw. a “phobia” is an irrational fear of something.
            homophobia should, logically, be a fear of homosexuals. See the wiki definition, it includes “hate” and infers that this could extend from religion. The word “phobia” has been redefined to suit the purpose.
            Feedom of opinion has died. The next stage will be “thought” although our schools are already working on that one.

          • Albert

            At its most literal level, homophobia means “fear of the same”! But the purpose of these terms is to shut down debate, as you show here.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Yes, like many other people, I have different beliefs from you. Why should that need to affect your or anyone else’s behaviour in the workplace?

          • carl jacobs

            You could express your beliefs openly and freely in my company, and the company would pat you on the head and say “What a good boy are you.” I could be reprimanded for stating my beliefs. The company isn’t going to tell you that your beliefs are wrong and immoral. It has already by word and deed told that to me. You can bring your beliefs with you into the workplace. I can’t. So you would say “But why do you need to bring your beliefs onto the workplace? Can’t you just keep your mouth shut?” Of course. But that is what I have been saying all along. And you say “But that should be sufficient for you.” Why?

            This sub-thread began with my assertion that this alleged differentiation between homophobia and religious objection is not sustainable. I have offered a detailed and personal account of why it isn’t sustainable. And all you have said in response is “Well, you shouldn’t have to bring that subject up anyways.” What you mean is “When the subject comes up, you should just stay quiet because it isn’t the time or place.” It’s evidently the time and place to be told I am wrong, and that “Fundamentalism” is the problem. But that’s supposed to be different somehow. I guess.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            So how exactly, in your view, should your company deal with the subject of homosexuality, assuming that it has to deal with it at all?

          • carl jacobs

            My judgment on how the company should deal with homosexuality is tied to my judgment on how the culture should deal with homosexuality. What the company is doing is rational given the state of the culture. It’s actually behaving exactly as I would expect it to behave. That doesn’t make it right. And it’s utterly beside the point.

            The issue is the whether this alleged distinction between homophobia and religious objection is a meaningful distinction in terms of risk. It isn’t. No one will care why I consider homosexual behavior immoral. All that will matter is that I consider homosexual behavior immoral. The culture has translated behavior into essence. To deny that this particular behavior is not essential is to commit bigotry. And that attitude must be ruthlessly stamped out. The irony of course is that homosexuals desperately seek after some self-justification that is not rooted in the legitimacy of their own desires. They cannot find that which does not exist, and so they seek to silence the accuser instead.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            So what precisely is your judgment on how (1) the culture and therefore (2) the company should deal with homosexuality?

          • carl jacobs

            It should treat homosexuality as a behavior and not an ontology. People at work do all kinds of things in their private lives that I would call wrong. But those behaviors are external to the company. Said company isn’t coming into my office and demanding that I affirm them or remain silent, and threatening me with punishment if I fail to comply.

            Remember. I am one of the few posters here who did not express great alarm over the whole “Gay Cake” thing. I am not concerned about working with homosexuals. I am concerned about being punished for being a faithful Christian. I don’t want to become the source of a hostile environment merely by existing, and I do not want to be put into the position of being declared guilty before the fact. As I said, if that role is imposed on me, I will accept it. But I would prefer not to have to accept it.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            “Said company isn’t coming into my office and demanding that I affirm them or remain silent, and threatening me with punishment if I fail to comply.”

            Fine. So you have nothing to worry about, have you?

          • carl jacobs

            As a general rule, I consider you one of the most effective gay apologists on this site because you 1) are civil 2) are reasonable and 3) generally make good arguments. I have never seen you so incapable of offering a simple response.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Yes, I think that you’re right about that. That’s probably because I’m having difficulty in seeing precisely what it is that you’re driving at. I keep trying to find out, but I seem to be getting nowhere.

            You seem to be predicting that eventually we will get to a stage where people who believe that homosexual behaviour is morally wrong and who do not approve of same-sex marriage will be treated in the same iniquitous way in which gay people were once treated. I’ve understood that much. (But correct me if I have misunderstood.) What is very unclear indeed is why you think that that it is likely to happen.

          • Albert

            That of course does seem to be the point – or part of it. It is not about achieving equality and justice for homosexuals, it is about punishing and overcoming the religious opinions which, although they promote equality and justice for homosexuals, nevertheless, believe same-sex acts to be inherently sinful.

          • CliveM

            Carl

            Is this type of corporate behaviour common in the States? We might get something like this in the public sector, but I have worked for various private sector companies here and have contacts with a lot more and have never heard anything like it!

          • carl jacobs

            Clive

            I don’t want to overstate this. It’s not like I go to work in fear. But I am conscious of the threat. Understand that I work for a large company. Yes, I believe this attitude is quite common in corporate America.

            The scenario goes like this:

            Company: “Your beliefs create a hostile environment for him. So you must be suppressed.”

            Me: “But doesn’t that create a hostile environment for me?”

            Company: “Yes. But that’s the point. We want to create a hostile environment for you because your beliefs deserve hostility. That means he could sue. You can’t.”

            Which is why I said that this position is unstable. My motivations don’t matter to the outcome.

            The company cannot afford to punish everyone like me. There are waaaay too many of us, and it knows that. But it can intimidate through example.

          • CliveM

            It is certainly true in the UK you have to be careful about what you say. What I found surprising was the active promotion of a position. Yes UK companies would probably discipline me if I started suggesting that Gays deserve to go to hell, but what they don’t do (as far as I’m aware) is to bring someone in to promote their rejection of faith as a good thing.

            I suspect this is because most companies would feel that that would cause more problems then it was worth. Particularly with our Muslim friends.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Ah, but in the minds of the politicos they are exactly that.

    • CliveM

      Not just intollerent but incredible. As long as we keep the law, the state should keeps its nose out.

      It’s the British way, a British value if you like.

      • Anton

        Cameron has instructed OFSTED to enforce British values without telling OFSTED what those values are. Ideas anyone?

        • Pubcrawler

          They are to be found in Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm.

          • Anton

            Some of Stephen Hayes’ finer rants on this blog a while ago set them out very clearly too.

        • The Explorer

          Remember that game the Nazi guards had? Give three cards to a Jewish family of four. That might mean one died and three survived, or that three died and one survived. The rules changed by the day.

          Great flexibility when the same principle is applied to Ofsted.. It means you can get rid of whomever you want to on the basis of not having the right British values.

    • Martin

      Anton

      Because their political correctness will not allow them to address the nature of the Qur’an they must generalise the ‘extremism’ and equate it to anything that is against their views. Thus, having abandoned real British values for politically correct values they make PC values into British values and decree that any who oppose their PC views are extremists.

  • Johnny Rottenborough

    why are we finding out much about their approach to the Christian faith initially from Pink News?

    Not every media outlet has such a high-ranking and influential spiritual adviser. Please, titter ye not.

    • Martin

      Johnny

      And they wonder why the CoE is in such a mess.

      • Anton

        I support that man’s freedom to believe and say whatever he likes on the subject. But to do so as a bishop, taking a salary from a church, is nauseating hypocrisy and a disgrace.

        • Martin

          Anton

          To do so as a bishop, to be one into whose care the souls of men are placed, is wickedness beyond compare.

  • len

    No Bible believing Christian politician would last would last very long in the current political climate in Europe..’Compromise’ is the name of the game in politics and as soon as you do that with the Word of God you render it null and void…This (tragically ) is also the story of much the Christian Church….
    Why is it that Muslims (who have a faith based on’ visions’ of one prophet who could not define where or from whom these visions came )are prepared to die for their faith but western Christians if they are to fit in with this world system deny their faith or have watered it down so much as to be ineffectual?.
    Christianity is being sidelined in the eyes of the public not because it is untrue but because of uncommitted Christians especially in the leadership….
    Time for Christians to ‘come out’ before it is too late.
    Our brothers and sisters in Christ in the middle East are shaming Western Christians by giving up their lives rather than renounce their faith….

    As for Labour they chose the wrong Miliband and they are now paying for that mistake…

    • David

      Totally agree Len.
      Well said !

    • Coniston

      ‘Once Logos [the divine reason implicit in the cosmos, ordering it and giving it form and meaning] as a prominent dimension of God’s nature starts fading
      from Western culture’s horizons, what is left? There appear to be three
      possibilities.
      One is “God-As-Will,” but untethered to reason. This is a God who acts arbitrarily, one whom we must simply obey. Freedom is thus found in unquestioning submission, no matter how irrational the divine command [the Muslim position].
      Another is “God-As-Love,” but without reasonableness. This is a being who, like an irresponsible parent, simply affirms his child’s choices, no matter how foolish or evil such decisions might be.
      A third possibility is “God-Beyond-Reason.” This produces a narrowed
      understanding of human reason itself: one that confines our rationality to the
      verifiable scientific method, and thereby declines to permit it to ponder the
      bigger questions opened by the intriguing possibility that Divine Reason exists
      [the Deist position].’
      – Samuel Gregg: ‘God, Reason and our Civilizational Crisis’ (MercatorNet):

  • James60498 .

    I agree with your comment on “Pink News”.

    Perhaps we are all going to have to read it to find out what the politicians think.

    The first thing Tory Equalities Minister did when appointed was to run to the UK version of Izvestia and apologise for having voted against “gay marriage”.

    Am I right in thinking that the Inspector occasionally holds his nose and stomach and looks at the website. Perhaps he could keep us up to date. I don’t think I could face it

    • Dominic Stockford

      I was directed to an amusing story there yesterday, where a protester was arrested on the ‘Pride’ march day for complaining too vociferously that many of the flags were upside down. It gave me great heart to read it, given he claimed to support the march. When they are starting to turn on each other we Christians can have hope.

    • Inspector General

      You are quite correct James. It is a beastly undertaking, not least for coming up against the dross the dregs of humanity have posted in the comments section. Madness, anger, foul language and disease abounds. But one suffers for the good of the faithful. We need to know what those buggers are about on a daily basis. For example, look at what this wicked farmyard animal is suggesting to curry their damn favour: “Norman Lamb: Gay characters shouldn’t be ‘out of bounds’ in children’s TV shows like Peppa Pig”.. It’s not as if there are any homosexual pigs. Unless somebody knows better.

      Would that militant homosexuality could pass a law that obliges a midwife to shout “There are gay people in this world” as the little one emerges out of the {Ahem} tunnel…

      • The Explorer

        No homosexual pigs. Maybe not yet, but I’m sure someone’s working on it. Start with Peppa Pig to set an example, and Nature could then imitate Art.

      • … are you still persona non grata over there, Inspector?

        • Inspector General

          3 times banned now…

          • The Explorer

            I seem to recall that D T North insisted that you should be banned, or he would sue PN. I assumed that meant you were banned permanently. Or is there a time limit on the banning order? Presumably they can’t stop you visiting, provided that you don’t comment?

          • Inspector General

            The Inspector faced hostility from day one. He then pointed out to the PN staff that his posts generated more posts on the site. And more visits means more points. And more points mean more income. And more income means they take home more at the end of the month. And it worked, for a time, and the Inspector politely put his points forward, but eventually the inmates objections were too strong to ignore…

          • Then wear the bans with pride as medals.

  • Athanasius

    Curiously, irregular attendance at Mass does not necessarily make Mr Burnham a lapsed or a la carte Catholic, although it’s certainly not to be recommended. The real mark of a Catholic, the thing which tells you if he takes the faith seriously or not, is whether he attends confession. If he doesn’t, he’s a nominal.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Not so. Given that most attending RC’s go nowhere near such a thing any more.

      • Athanasius

        The point, Dominic, is if they don’t visit the confessional, they’re not attending Catholics.

      • And you know this, how?
        What you actually mean is an unknown number of Catholics avoid the Sacrament of Confession because they are failing to follow Church teaching in some way or another and are unwilling or unable to make a firm purpose of amendment. While they attend Mass, there is hope.

  • magnolia

    Where is Tristram Hunt on the faith thing? I thought he had written history books on church history?

    • magnolia

      Whoops I have just seen that he pulled out in May. Shows how interested I was!

      He looked their best hope to appeal to the electorate to me, but they are off in their own self-referential creek in a boat with lots of gloss paint on the bow but a hole in the bottom anyway.

  • carl jacobs

    Are the views of agnostics or atheists any less newsworthy?

    The question becomes “What is the default assumption?” It used to be that the default assumption was the Christian faith. However, that is not longer true. People now assume a default atheistic or agnostic position (either functional or formal). That’s the new norm. So there is only a reason to interrogate someone about his worldview when he violates the norm. Christianity now violates the norm. It means you hold views that significantly diverge from the default worldview in the country. And that makes you a threat.

    What is a prospective politician to do? He can say “Yes, I believe all those things!” And then he will be labled a crank, and consigned to the political outer darkness. Or he can kiss the idol of Baal, and repudiate the difference between his religion and the modern world. Then people will say “He’s not one of those kinds.” It used to be that atheism was a debilitating association. Now it is Christianity that is debilitating. Why? Because people have set themselves up as little gods over their own lives, and don’t want to be told how to live. They want to do what they want – no matter how destructive. And they want to be justified in their choice.

    It’s an inevitability but it’s also an opportunity. If people will embrace it. But it means you have to be willing to suffer the contempt of the mainstream culture. You have to understand and accept that publicly identifying with the Son of Man will cost you. The old easy days are gone.

    Then to side with Truth is noble when we share her wretched crust
    E’er her cause bring fame and profit and tis prosperous to be just.
    Then it is the brave man chooses while the coward stands aside
    ‘Til the multitude make virtue of the faith they had denied.

    • Albert

      They want to do what they want – no matter how destructive.

      Provided the destruction is limited to themselves, I am generally supportive of people doing what they want. But the issue here is that those who do what they want, wish to impose their beliefs about that, on others. So it’s not about everyone doing what they want, but only those with the “right” (usually means ill-thought through) opinions.

      • carl jacobs

        It’s very difficult to hermetically isolate the life of one man from another. We occupy the same social space. For example, Bob’s divorce affects me through the inadequate socialization of Bob’s kids. The modern world understands this but prioritizes autonomy over collateral impact. The direct consequence to the one is prioritized above the diffuse impact to the many. The fight is over this very concept. What limits may be placed on Bob’s freedom in order to obtain the collective good that may be generated by constraining Bob’s choice? We can’t even agree on the concept of “collective good” anymore. We have defined it as the “natural outcome of autonomous choice.”

        Sure, I can live my life the way I desire. But I have to deal with the teenagers on the street corner who don’t work, never learned, and are looking for some way to live off the income of others.

        • The Explorer

          Agreed. We can say we have a right to tattoo ourselves because we have a right to do what we like with our own bodies. But when I was in hospital, some kid came in with blood poisoning after tattooing his entire arm: not an inch of uninked flesh.

          That decision about his own body would require an expensive course of intravenous antibiotics, and so had financial implications for the taxpayer.

          • Linus

            Where do you draw the line?

            Sometimes children fall down abandoned mine shafts. Should we make their parents foot the bill for search and rescue operations? It was their choice to let their child out of their sight, after all.

            How about women who develop complications during pregnancy? Should they have to contribute more in taxes to provide the extra funding needed for a health service that is stretched to the limit looking after them? It’s their choice to have children, after all.

            Either you treat everyone on an equal footing, or you adopt a “user pays” approach like the US. Personally I know which system I find more just and equitable.

          • The Explorer

            Yes, I quite agree with you about equal-footing funding. Accidents and unforeseen complications can happen to anyone, and there are immense grey areas about the culpability of lifestyle choices

            But that wasn’t my point. My point was about autonomy. The tattooed kid would have said that his decision was his own, and did not affect anyone else. But it did.

          • Linus

            The decision of someone who goes rock-climbing or paragliding or hiking in the mountains is his own and affects nobody else. Until he falls off a cliff, and all of a sudden the lives of many others are affected.

            Personal autonomy is something we have to live with. No man is an island and the consequences of our decisions ripple outwards causing all sorts of effects in the lives of others. Either we take the American stance that the individual must pay, or we decide that certain responsibilities devolve upon the community. It’s all about where you draw the line.

            If a kid who gets infected tattoos shouldn’t expect the community to foot the bill for his medical care, why should a rock-climber who falls off a cliff expect a free rescue? Both undertook their particular activities for personal pleasure. The only difference is in the value judgment attached to each activity by you. You think tattoos are icky so tattooed people should have to foot their own medical bills. But rock-climbing isn’t icky, so presumably you’d be happy to pay for airlifting rock climbers to hospital and caring for them.

            But why, I wonder, should society take into account your definition of ick v. acceptable and use it to determine whose care is paid for and whose is not?

            Is this yet another example of Christian narcissism rearing its ugly head? Only your opinion counts and anyone who falls on the wrong side of it deserves nothing from the community? Is this how Christians love their neighbours?

          • The Explorer

            I drew on a real-life example in my hospital ward. Had he been a rock climber instead of a tattoo enthusiast, I would have used that example instead.

          • Linus

            Fine, so lobby for an American-style health insurance system where the user pays and any high-risk activities have to be declared and increased premiums paid to cover them, or care will be denied. That’s the only fair solution according to your way of thinking.

            Quite what that makes of your claim to be a Christian, which carries the responsibility of being your brother’s keeper and caring for him when he needs you, regardless of cost and blame, I don’t know. I suspect you don’t either and are just ignoring the conundrum in order to have your cake and eat it too. You want to be a Christian without being constrained by Christian doctrine.

            Not that I’m complaining of course. Cafeteria Christians like you will be the Church’s downfall, which has to be a good thing. So keep up the good work and the prissy value judgments. “Not my problem, pay for it yourself” is exactly what I love to hear Christians saying. It makes me realize that the demise of their religion is even more imminent than I dared to hope.

          • The Explorer

            “Yes, I quite agree with you about equal-footing funding.” How you derive my support for an American-style health insurance system from that rather escapes me.

            You aren’t a secret tattoo fanatic are you, Linus?

          • Linus

            I have no tattoos. I’m of the generation of Frenchmen who view them as icky and “bas de gamme”.

            Things have changed and now the average young French person is just as likely to be tattooed as any American or Briton. It’s a fashion I deplore because I just find it so ugly. A bit like bushy hipster beards. Of course anyone who wants a tattoo is welcome to it. I would never ban tattoos, although I might ban hipster beards …

            No, just joking … I’d only go so far as to introduce a law saying they must be thoroughly laundered and combed daily to prevent bits of the wearer’s lunch from sticking to my face when engaging in the obligatory Parisian “trois bises” greeting. It’s so disconcerting to find salad leaves and a half-chewed prawn or two staring you in the face when you swoop for the first bise. It almost makes you want to go all frigid and English on them and just shake hands instead…

            But anyway, people’s fashion choices are their own affair. I might not like tattoos and beards, but I have no problem with other people liking them. Live and let live, no?

            And if I point out the paradox of you arguing for equal-footing health funding while you complain that some people just don’t deserve it because they didn’t get sick in circumstances you approve of, I would say that the onus falls on you to explain yourself. Do you want to help everyone or not? Make up your mind.

          • The Explorer

            Where did I say that some people don’t deserve it? I said that their claimed autonomous decisions can affect others, but that’s not the same thing.

          • CliveM

            Explorer

            As I’m sure you have noticed our friend doesn’t answer the point you make, but the point he wants the world to believe you’ve made. It’s about propoganda not truth.

          • The Explorer

            ‘Give a dog a bad name and then hang him.’ That’s the basic tactic towards whomever he’s arguing with. On this thread, primarily the Inspector, Happy Jack, Anton, Carl Jacobs and me. And the same strategy towards all.

          • CliveM

            Lies and camouflage. Lie about what the person says, then the use of verbiage to distract from this.

          • carl jacobs

            Objection. I didn’t argue with him. He sends a round my way every now and then. I generally ignore it. Mostly because he can’t land a shot within 5000 meters. I also generally don’t read his posts. If we all did this, he couldn’t play these games. There are atheists on this board who are civil and knowledgeable and deserving of interaction. Linus ain’t one of them.

          • The Explorer

            You were a recipient of Linus’ displeasure: along with the Inspector, Happy Jack, Anton and me. Let’s describe it like that.

          • Pubcrawler

            About as traumatising as being gently stroked with a feathery coup stick…

          • The Explorer

            Mind you, the level of trauma could depend on who’s doing the stroking…

          • carl jacobs

            I have been the recipient of his displeasure since he discovered I was an American. He made some stereotypical insult about Texans, and one thing lead to another, and suddenly I was teaching him about the invasion of France in 1940. Yeah, he didn’t like that much. It’s been all downhill from there.

            So why go down the hill with him?

          • Pubcrawler

            Yet many or his idioms, and especially his spelling choices, are distinctly American.

          • carl jacobs

            Impossible! Inconceivable! He’s French. He is anti-matter to American matter. He is Yang to American Yin. There can be nothing remotely American about him.

          • Pubcrawler

            Well, he also has, in spades, that characteristic blindspot for irony.

          • Linus

            You implied that the rest of us shouldn’t have to pay for the autonomous decisions of others. That’s the American “user pays” stance. Then you say that we should all have equal access to health care, which implies that we all have to pay for the mistakes and accidents of others.

            Basically you’re just confused, aren’t you? You hop on and off bandwagons as the conversation evolves without stopping to think where you were five minutes ago, and how that affects the credibility of your current assertions.

            London Met for sure. At least at Plumpton you’d have learned to give your arguments form and substance, a bit like a topiary hedge…

          • The Explorer

            ‘Implied’ is a lovely weasel word. Being interpreted: if the evidence you want wasn’t stated by the enemy, it must have been implied. The lack of evidence thus becomes the proof.
            As to the rest, what is a National Health Service but an insurance system on a national scale? We pay for the mistakes, accidents, misfortunes, and thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to of others and ourselves. I suppose the only real difference is that with private insurance -health, or any other kind – you chose whether or not to participate.

          • Linus

            You were the one complaining about “financial implications for the taxpayer” because of some kid’s decision to get a tattoo. To deny that wasn’t an implication that a user pays system would be preferable is rather disingenuous, don’t you think?

    • “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”
      (Cardinal Francis George)

      The Cardinal continued:

      “Analogies can easily be multiplied, if one wants to push a thesis; but the point is that the greatest threat to world peace and international justice is the nation state gone bad, claiming an absolute power, deciding questions and making “laws” beyond its competence. Few there are, however, who would venture to ask if there might be a better way for humanity to organize itself for the sake of the common good. Few, that is, beyond a prophetic voice like that of Dorothy Day, speaking acerbically about “Holy Mother the State,” or the ecclesiastical voice that calls the world, from generation to generation, to live at peace in the kingdom of God.

      God sustains the world, in good times and in bad. Catholics, along with many others, believe that only one person has overcome and rescued history: Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of the Virgin Mary, savior of the world and head of his body, the church. Those who gather at his cross and by his empty tomb, no matter their nationality, are on the right side of history. Those who lie about him and persecute or harass his followers in any age might imagine they are bringing something new to history, but they inevitably end up ringing the changes on the old human story of sin and oppression. There is nothing “progressive” about sin, even when it is promoted as “enlightened.”

      The world divorced from the God who created and redeemed it inevitably comes to a bad end. It’s on the wrong side of the only history that finally matters … entire societies, especially in the West, have placed themselves on the wrong side of history.”

  • Dreadnaught

    And here’s me thinking Pink News was a euphemism for the Financial Times – doh!

  • God save us from those who self identify as Catholic and then dismiss Catholic doctrine and teachings on faith and morals, thus materially placing themselves outside of the Church.

    With ‘commitment’ like this Burnham would make a poor leader of a political party – or would he? Perhaps being unprincipled is the important ingredient for success these days. Putting God after popular opinion.

    They go to Pink News because they know the Inspector frequents the site and monitors all things homosexual. If they can turn him, then the world’s their oyster.

    • Dominic Stockford

      I believe he is not ‘self-identifying’ as an RC, but has been baptised and brought up in the RC church – which therefore claims him for their own until the end.

      • Anton

        It repudiated Hitler. I’m glad of that, but it shows the nonsense in paedobaptism.

        • carl jacobs

          It shows the falsehood of Ex opere operato

          • You understand the doctrine of Ex opere operato and the differences between sufficient and efficacious grace; as well as grace being a free gift of God, no matter the disposition of those receiving the sacraments?

      • Athanasius

        That merely means the door is always open to him.

        • Dominic Stockford

          RC teaching – unless and until someone makes a public pronouncement of their ‘apostasy’ from Rome, they remain an RC. Not a ‘good’ one, maybe, but an RC nonetheless.

          • Hmmm … technically, they remain Catholic. However, they are formally excommunicated until they repent and are readmitted to the sacraments.

      • True. One is either a faithful Catholic or an unfaithful one, Dominic. Once a Catholic – always a Catholic.

    • Linus

      The world is their oyster, then.

      Apart from you, I know of no better example than the Inspector of a closet case desperately pretending to be straight, and accusing anyone who admits to being gay of everything he finds so disgusting in himself, but is too embarrassed and ashamed to admit to.

      It’s the obsessive nature of the accusations that’s the giveaway. You just don’t carp on and on about something unless it touches you very deeply and personally.

      Methinks these ladies do protest too much…

      • IanCad

        If Only! If Only! there was a down arrow.

        • Pubcrawler

          That would be fuel to his fire, though. Let his tiresome goading and histrionic hyperbole wash over and run down the drain.

        • CliveM

          Oh there is, it just doesn’t register!

      • Anton

        “You just don’t carp on and on about something unless it touches you very deeply and personally.”

        Yes. Freedom of speech and freedom not to have our children groomed in schools is something that does indeed touch us very deeply and personally.

        • Linus

          As far as I’m aware, the Inspector doesn’t have any children. Sad Jack claims to have at least one, I believe. But who knows if that’s really true?

          In any case, most parents I know don’t obsess about homosexuality day and night unless they’re pretty certain either they or their children are gay.

          • Anton

            Your second paragraph is entirely correct!

          • Linus

            So who is it? You or your child?

          • Anton

            Neat. But inaccurate; I’ve many better things to do with my time than discuss homosexuality. How about you?

          • Linus

            Judging from your comments here, you clearly don’t have anything better to do than discuss (or more correctly, rail against) homosexuality.

            But no matter – I’m used to Christian inconsistency, false claims and even downright lies. I’d be surprised to encounter anything else.

          • Anton

            I think you are saying that to try to wind me up.

          • Linus

            And I think that’s the last feeble attempt at a response by someone who’s comprehensively painted himself into a corner.

            The tenor of your comments certainly points towards a parent who’s slowly realizing that his child is gay, and who is casting about for someone – anyone – to blame for that fact.

            From what you’re saying, it looks like his/her teachers are going to get it in the neck, because the fact they mentioned that gay people exist, and can get married now, somehow transformed your heterosexual offspring into a raving gay as if by magic.

            Wow, I’d love to meet these teachers! They must be pretty formidable people. Apparently they hold the secret of converting straight to gay, one assumes by incantation. Or do they have some kind of gay ray they expose their pupils to during lessons?

            And this is what Christians really believe? No wonder your religion has become a laughing stock.

          • Anton

            The spectacle of somebody who knows nothing about me except my theology informing me about my family is weird and perhaps hubristic. I have no gay children.

          • Linus

            Ah, so we’ve succeeded in narrowing it down to you then.

            Another Christian closet case railing against the evils of homosexuality. This site is full of them.

            On the other hand, perhaps you’re just trying to use semantics to pull the wool over our eyes. You have no gay children, you say. What about “same-sex attracted” children? How many of them do you have?

          • Anton

            None.

            “we’ve succeeded in narrowing it down to you then”

            Readers of this blog are welcome to verify that you are the one who made it personal.

          • Linus

            Good imaginary Lord, is this your coming out statement?

          • carl jacobs

            Linus is only here to provoke a reaction, Anton. Read his response to you and tell me there is any value in this conversation. If you simply ignore him, he will get bored and leave. If we would all just ignore him, he would eventually go away.

            Just say No. It’s easy really. When you see a comment that starts with the nick “Linus” you reflexively reach for the scroll wheel.

          • Linus

            Or you could invade France on the pretext that I’m sitting on a cache of weapons of mass destruction, and then when you don’t find any, shrug your shoulders, say “my bad!” and then get on with the pleasant task of asset-stripping yet another country…

          • Anton

            He’s in the image of God and I don’t believe that’s the right approach for me. I’m not disagreeing with others who find it the right approach for them.

          • carl jacobs

            All he did on this sub-thread was take the opportunity to recklessly accuse people of being hypocritical closet homosexuals. That’s it. And on the basis of nothing more than a crass stereotype. It’s positively destructive to keep giving him a platform.

            I should blame IanCad for this. If I hadn’t noticed his “Down arrow” comment I wouldn’t have gotten curious about what he wanted to down-vote.

          • Anton

            If nothing else, consider the verses about heaping burning coals on your opponent by being kind to him – ie make his choices clearer.

          • Inspector General

            In other words you’d like us all to shut up so your crowd can have a free hand. What’s next on the agenda, after installing a homosexual cartoon pig on a children’s favourite?

          • Linus

            According to you, we already do have a free hand. So what difference does it make whether you shut up or not? None!

            I suppose at least you freely admit to your own impotence. And to being beaten and outfoxed by a bunch of queers! What sort of a sad and inferior sissy gurly-gurl does that make you, I wonder? No wonder you’re so angry…

          • Inspector General

            Anger isn’t the word. Try determined…

          • Linus

            Determined to do what? You’re like the Black Knight in Monty Python’s Holy Grail. We’ve lopped off both your legs and both your arms and knocked out your teeth. Our boot is on your neck and still you shriek about victory and revenge. What are you going to do? Lick us to death? Or explode in outraged impotence?

            Even then you’ll just make a big old mess without really harming anyone. But by all means, continue to struggle. Everyone should have a caged pet fundamentalist Christian. We’d put you out of your misery, but the the spectacle is so amusing…

          • Inspector General

            Hmmm. You really do get some kind of mental relief posting on here to your imagined enemies, don’t you. So post away, you sad old sod, and soothe your life’s despair…

      • Inspector General

        Did you know that all street preachers are really raving atheists. No? According to your bizarre thinking they are…

      • The Explorer

        If we apply this principle in a different context, WIlberforce’s constant railing against slavery presumably meant that he was either a secret slave owner, or had a secret longing to own slaves. Which was it, do you think?

        • Linus

          It’s hard to take you seriously when you confuse genres to a degree that places your intellectual credibility in real doubt.

          If you can’t see the difference between slavery and homosexuality then there really is no point in discussing anything further with you.

          Slavery is a condition imposed on men by other men. It’s an application of exterior force designed to deprive one man of his freedom for the profit of another. Slavery by its very nature requires one man to harm another, and that harm is evident to all.

          Homosexuality is an innate characteristic. It is not imposed on one man by another. It harms nobody, or at least no more than heterosexuality. Indeed significantly less than heterosexuality when you factor in all the harm done to women by childbearing.

          You cannot judge homosexuality by the criteria you would use to judge slavery any more than you can judge apples by the criteria that define oranges.

          If you don’t understand that then might I suggest a remedial course in Philosophy 101 at your local community college? The concepts will probably be a little too complex for you to handle at first, but with perseverance you might make progress. At least I hope so, although the depths of ignorance revealed by your above comment do cast real doubt on your basic ability to learn. Still, a poor education handicaps the best of minds, so perhaps there’s hope for you yet…

          • The Explorer

            Comparing homosexuality with slavery is a red herring, as you very well know.

            Our common point is the application of “the lady doth protest too much, methinks”. To keep denouncing something may mean that you are secretly attracted to it.

            There is something in the concept, as Shakespeare knew. That it need not be true is illustrated by the Wilberforce example. It should not be elevated to the status of a law.
            As for your final sentence, you don’t know the nature of my education, nor how many degrees I hold.

          • Linus

            And as for your final sentence, I can make an educated guess…

            The arguments you advanced above would have been chewed up and spat out within the first 5 seconds of an Oxbridge viva, wouldn’t they?

            So if we stumble down the rankings, where do we end up? London Met? Bolton? Plumpton College of Floristry, Greenkeeping and Agricultural Machinery?

            One can’t help wondering where Christians go to be “educated” nowadays. I hear Heythrop College is in trouble and admitting no new undergraduates this year because of lack of funding. Is Christian tertiary education dying as quickly as the Church that once underpinned it?

            Time will tell.

          • The Explorer

            Nothing, probably including seating arrangements, is resolved in the first five seconds of an Oxbridge viva. They don’t get going that quickly.

            You are making the assumption that I was a Christian when I was educated. Why should you assume that?

            As for the comparative health risks between heterosexuality and homosexuality, are you distinguishing time scales, and the number who died as opposed to the percentage? The percentage of deaths by childbirth was low for Western women in the late Twentieth century. The percentage of deaths by Aids for homosexuals was much higher.

          • Linus

            70% of AIDS related deaths in 2011 were in Africa, where it is estimated that 5% of the overall population is infected with HIV. The vast majority of these are straight, and straight sex is the main vector for HIV transmission.

            AIDS is a straight disease. Heterosexual African women die of it every day, as well as dying from complications during childbirth. It’s dangerous being a straight woman in Africa. So straight sex surely must be against God’s will. I mean, it kills people!!!

          • The Explorer

            As I said, Western women in the late Twentieth Century as the window of comparison.

            I agree that AIDS affects both sexes in a way that childbirth doesn’t; although the way things are going we can expect to see men dying in childbirth in due course.

          • Linus

            AIDS not only affects both sexes, but all sexualities as well. Even asexuals can contract it by intravenous drug use or other forms of contact with contaminated blood. It is categorically NOT a gay disease. It’s a human disease. The figures prove that, and no amount of picking and choosing your samples can hide this fact.

            Limiting your example to Western women and Western gays also makes me wonder whether you think that only Westerners count. You’re not an exiled and bitter white South African by any chance, are you?

            And as for men giving birth to children, it’s already happened in the famous case of the trans man who decided to retain his female organs post transition. I’m sure it will happen again soon enough. Will it ever become a mainstream phenomenon? Probably not because there just aren’t the numbers needed for everyone to know an affected family. Familiarity breeds contempt, but mainly in a good way. You get used to what you see frequently. It’s what you hardly ever see that shocks you, so for most people trans fathers giving birth will always remain an oddity.

          • The Explorer

            I know people like Arthur Ashe and Issac Asimov died as a result of blood transfusions back in the early days of AIDS, but I thought this was no longer an issue now that the problem is known about. I’d say AIDS is a human disease that affects some groups of humans more than others.
            I mentioned Western late-C20 women because that gave a basis for statistical comparison with the key period for fatalities among Western homosexuals.

          • Linus

            What about all previous periods in history when heterosexual women were dropping like flies while gay men’s life expectancy wasn’t measurably different from the male average?

            But of course it doesn’t suit you to speak of statistics that show the exceedingly dangerous nature of heterosexuality for women. More women have died because of complications in childbirth than have been killed by the entire worldwide AIDS pandemic. If gay sex is dangerous, it isn’t half as dangerous as the straight variety. So God must hate it, otherwise women’s babies would waft out on a puffy pink cloud in a haze of divine pleasure.

            See, apply stupid logic to a problem and you get stupid explanations. If God hates gays because we can die from AIDS, how must he hate straights, especially straight women, considering they too can die from AIDS, as well as something as routine as childbirth. If you can’t propagate the species without killing off a good part of it, isn’t that proof that you live under divine displeasure and should refrain from having sexual relations?

          • The Explorer

            “More women have died…” Are we talking straight numbers, or percentages here? Women are 50% of the population. Gays are 3 %. If ten women die and three gays die, more women than gays have died. But in % terms more gays have died.

          • Linus

            Why should percentages matter? According to you each human being is made in the image of God and is therefore as important as any other human being. It’s therefore a straight (if you’ll forgive the term of abuse) numbers game.

            More women have died throughout history as a direct result of childbirth than gay men have died from AIDS. So childbirth and the process that leads to it – namely heterosexual sex – are clearly more dangerous and more deadly, and therefore more detested by God, than gay sex.

            That’s Christian logic followed through to its natural conclusion. And there you are bonking away thinking that God loves you for it! Poor deluded fools! Oh well, you’ll get your comeuppance in the next life, won’t you?

          • The Explorer

            We all die. According to you, death is a sign that God hates us; so God must hate everybody. But you introduced God’s hatred into the argument, and then argued as if the concept had been introduced by me.
            Re statistics. Pol Pot Killed between two and three million Cambodians. That’s peanuts compared with what Stalin or Mao managed; in fact, in terms of the Chines population two million would hardly register, But given that there were only eight million Cambodians, Pol Pot managed to wipe out 25% of the Cambodian population.
            You can say percentages don’t matter, but those who compile statistics do not agree with you.

            As for more women dying of childbirth than men of AIDS, childbirth has been around for a long time. AIDS hasn’t.

          • The Explorer

            In ‘Princess Ida’, the Prince comments that he was betrothed to the Princess when he was two and she was one.

            Courtiers pointed out the problems of a marriage in which the husband is twice the age of the wife.

            But now that he’s twenty-two and she’s twenty-one, the disparity hardly matters.

            Denying the importance of percentages has a similar level of absurdity. Suppose two Madagascan soldiers in a French trench in WW1. One is shot.

            One Madagascan soldier shot. Or 50% Madagascan casualties. Which is it?

          • Linus

            Spin it any way you like, the fact remains that many, many more women have died because of heterosexual sex than men have died because of homosexual sex. Heterosexual sex is clearly a bigger killer than the homosexual variety.

            The simple fact is that you’re safer being a gay man than you are being a straight woman.

          • The Explorer

            You’re absolutely right. More French than Madagascans died in the trenches. The simple fact is that It’s safer being Madagascan than it is being French.

          • Linus

            You can extrapolate nothing accurately from one small group of soldiers serving in one restricted geographical area over a period of four years. To accurately state that it’s safer to be Malagasy than French, you would have to look at mortality rates across both populations across all of history.

            You might want to know whether it’s safer to be Malagasy or French today, in which case you can restrict your statistical analysis to recent mortality figures. But the past is important and doesn’t just go away because it doesn’t corroborate the arguments you want to put forward.

            Straight sex is dangerous because it often results in pregnancy, which is also dangerous, which in turn leads to childbirth, which is even more dangerous.

            In modern France medical science renders childbirth much less dangerous than it used to be, but only because of human intervention. Take away the doctors and the antibiotics, and women will start to drop like flies again. It’s how childbirth – the thing you say your God designed when he designed us – works. Tissues are torn, infections set in, and women, and often infants too, die.

            Without human intervention, straight sex would still be just as massive a killer in the West as it still is in the Third World. God designed it to kill women, apparently. But we intervene and the death rate goes down.

            Similarly some forms of homosexual sex can facilitate the transmission of certain diseases (as can some forms of straight sex, of course). But we’re humans. We know we can intervene in natural processes just like we intervene in childbirth to lessen the dangers and thereby greatly reduce overall mortality rates. When it comes to gay sex, we do this via a mixture of disease prevention measures like condoms and PrEP medication, and treatment measures for those for whom prevention didn’t work or wasn’t attempted.

            Any form of sex, gay or straight, can kill you. But when we apply our intelligence to the problem, we can vastly reduce mortality rates. As AIDS research advances, the dangers associated with current high-risk activities have been significantly reduced and will eventually be rendered negligible. Unprotected anal sex is no longer a death sentence just as childbirth is no longer a death sentence. All thanks to man and his determination to intervene in natural processes that you say were ordained by God.

            God may want us dead for being gay or female, but we have other ideas, and our ideas work. They prolong our lives and improve our health. We take control of our own destiny rather than leaving it up to some kind of cruel and arbitrary divine plan. We can prolong life, although we don’t yet know how to extend it indefinitely. But where there’s a will, there’s a way, and considering our progress so far, who can doubt that effective immortality isn’t that far away? I doubt I’ll see it, but someone alive today may. And then where will your churches be?

          • The Explorer

            Didn’t it go back to being Madagascar, after a flirtation with being Malagasy?

            You’re right: forget the trenches and the war – too small a sample – and focus on the broad sweep of history. Despite the best efforts of Queen Ranavalona, More French than Madagascans/Malagasies/Madagascans have died during the course of history. So God hates the French more than he hates the M/M/M.

            QED.

          • Linus

            Madagascar is the country. The demonym is Malagasy in English, or Malgache in French, as is the language. It was known for a while as the Malagasy Republic before reverting to the old name. “Madagascan” is a made-up word.

            And no, God doesn’t hate the French more than he hates the Malagasy. Didn’t you know that in Christ there is no Jew nor gentile, no Frenchman nor Malagasy? God simply sees us as naughty children who must be punished regardless of nationality. Differences between men and woman he must see because he punishes us in such different ways according to our physical morphology. But both a Frenchman and a male Malagasy can expect his wrath to be unleashed on them in broadly similar ways.

            Honestly, these Christians who don’t know the basics of their own religion are so tiresome!

          • The Explorer

            Thank you for the Malagasy clarification. I knew Malagasy was the language, but in the ‘Herbs and Spices’ sections of British supermarkets one sees ‘Madagascan vanilla pods’. So ‘Madagascan’ as a word has gained acceptability. An understandable reaction to a country’s shilly-shallying about its identity.

            For the rest, there’s some sleight of hand going on. You said more women than gays have died so God hates straight sex more than he hates gay sex. So none of this equality nonsense you’re now trying to introduce. Number of deaths is the indication of hatred. More French men than Malagasy men have died (and more French women than Malagasy women have died) in the course of history. So God hates the French more than he hates the Malagasies.

            QED. (And stop trying to wriggle out of the implications of your own statements.)

          • Linus

            I’m wriggling out of nothing. I’m merely applying Christianity’s own rules to the problem. In Christ there is no Jew and no gentile, so there cannot be a Frenchman and a Malagasy either. God does not apportion his hatred according to nationality. The Bible says so.

            The one inconsistency in my argument is that the Bible also says there is no man and no woman in Christ, but this is actually an indictment of the book itself rather than my interpretation of it. If there’s no difference between man and woman, why are women punished more severely by God in ways that no man ever can be?

            Frenchmen and Malagasy men die in roughly similar ways. But none of us will ever suffer from vaginal prolapse as a result of repeated childbirth. And the chances of us developing breast cancer are virtually non-existent. If there is no man and no woman in Christ, then logically men and women would be treated evenly by God, so no Christian woman should die in childbirth, because no Christian man can. Neither should any Christian woman ever suffer from any of those unpleasant and all too-often whiffy “lady problems” that render the female sex so very irritable so much of the time. At least not unless Christian men suddenly develop the same issues.

            So when was the last time your period synchronised with your wife’s, and you spent ten days or so out of every month shrieking at each other because the constant dull ache in the pit of your stomach was just too much to bear? Is something fishy going on in your underwear because of an unpleasant discharge from the place where your vagina would be if you had one? If not, aren’t you the living proof that there is indeed a difference between man and woman in Christ? And as you don’t have to go through anything like the same issues your wife has to, isn’t it clear that you benefit from favourable divine treatment, even though your sins may (if you’re anything like the average male) be many degrees worse than your wife’s?

          • The Explorer

            On this childbirth issue, you’ve said during this thread
            that more women have died of childbirth than men have died of AIDS. A statistic that’s missing is how many women haven’t died in childbirth, compared with those who have?

            Also, if there’s fidelity (which cuts out the risk of STD’s) what are the inherent health risks in vaginal sex (with modern medicine, pregnancy and childbirth risks are quite low) compared with anal sex? I’m not just talking AIDS. I’m also talking dysfunction of the anal sphincter muscle, prostate damage, ulcers, fissures, Hepatitis A and B: that kind of thing.

          • Linus

            Sigh!

            I’ll say it again because you clearly haven’t understood (or you have and are merely trying to reframe the argument in terms that support your predetermined conclusions).

            Modern medicine only solves the problem of maternal mortality for those who have access to it. It’s also a HUMAN solution to a problem that, if you’re correct in your belief that we were created by God, must be part of his plan for us.

            Take modern medicine away and women will start dying in the UK just as frequently as they do in Chad or Chennai. That’s how God intended it and only our intervention can changes that fact, and even then only in some parts of the world.

            What you need to explain as a Christian is why we have to rely on our own efforts to counteract God’s evident intention that women, or at least large numbers of them, should die giving birth. This is the God who’s supposed to be benevolent and love us, you understand.

          • The Explorer

            Even in Chad, childbirth is not necessarily a death sentence. Do more women survive than die, and what is the ratio? Historically, did more women in Europe survive childbirth than died? Again, what are the statistics?
            Allow fidelity and contraception, remove the threat of pregnancy/childbirth, and which is more hazardous, more in need of precaution, and more likely to generate dangerous diseases: vaginal sex or anal sex?
            Your point as to why women die is a good one, but as part of the problem of evil is a separate issue. Equally puzzling, If God is the cause of disease, then why did Christ heal diseases, raise from the dead, and rise from the dead Himself?

          • Linus

            Why did Christ heal diseases? Put yourself in Jesus’s shoes (or sandals, I suppose).

            If you wanted to persuade a dubious populace that you were the son of God, wouldn’t you choose miraculous cures as the best and most convincing demonstration of your power?

            It happens today. Christian charlatans use mass hysteria, the power of suggestion and the odd plant or two to convince fundy Protestant megachurch crowds of their ability to heal in the name of Christ. No clinical proof of these cures exists and the cured melt away into the crowd as soon as anyone starts to ask difficult questions. I imagine it was very similar in Tiberian Judæa. Some things never change…

          • The Explorer

            I’d have thought driving out the Romans would have impressed the populace more. (It happened, but not in the way the populace wanted.) I rather agree with you about charlatans. As I’ve said, I’m inclined to the view that miracles in the Apostolic sense ended with the end of the Apostolic Era.
            Now about those statistics, and relative health hazards…

          • Linus

            When did I ever say that the majority of women die in childbirth? But when nature is left to run its course, a significant proportion of them will.

            Here’s a quick quote from Wikipedia (included so that Sad Jack doesn’t feel left out…) “Maternal deaths and disabilities are leading contributors in women’s disease burden with an estimated 275,000 women killed each year in childbirth and pregnancy worldwide. In 2011, there were approximately 273,500 maternal deaths (uncertainty range, 256,300 to 291,700). Forty-five percent of postpartum deaths occur within 24 hours. Ninety-nine percent of maternal deaths occur in developing countries.”

            Working out exactly how many women would die in childbirth if modern medical techniques were to disappear overnight is problematic because even developing countries benefit from some level of modern medical care in the form of extensive international aid programs. So the 273,500 who currently die each year are really just the tip of what would be a much larger iceberg were all medical support to disappear.

            A more or less accurate method of obtaining some kind of estimate might be to look at historical records dating from periods when medical knowledge was rudimentary. “Studies by Roger Schofield, B. M. Wilmott Dobbie, and Irvine Loudon estimate that maternal mortality rates between 1400 and 1800 were between 1 and 3 percent. Most often, women died in childbirth due to protracted labor caused by a narrow or deformed pelvis, fetal malpresentation, postpartum hemorrhage, or puerperal fevers. The health risk was renewed at each pregnancy. Since a woman averaged five pregnancies, 10 percent of these women died during or soon after childbirth.” http://www.faqs.org/childhood/Me-Pa/Obstetrics-and-Midwifery.html

            If roughly 50% of the current world population of 7.3 billion are women, a 10% mortality rate due to childbirth equates to a lot of deaths. In order to work out exactly how many, I’d have to look at the spread of population over different age ranges and estimate a whole series of factors, which lack of time prevents me from doing. But we’re certainly looking at a figure of some millions, perhaps even tens of millions, of deaths per year.

            Compare that to 1.5 million AIDS deaths in 2013, three quarters of which occurred in Sub-Saharan Africa, where around 5 percent of the population is infected. For every 10 men living with HIV in Africa, there are 13 women. As the incidence of HIV in lesbian communities across the world is vanishingly small, we can only conclude that the vast majority of these women are straight, or living in straight marriages. The men who have sex with them are also straight, or constrained to live as such. AIDS is therefore a heterosexual disease in Africa, and as Africa represents three quarters of new AIDS cases every year, is now largely a heterosexual disease worldwide.

            So, if we conclude that millions of women would die in childbirth if they didn’t have access to modern medicine, it becomes clear that childbirth is a leading cause of female mortality (it is even with modern medicine, but nonetheless would clearly be far worse without it). God’s natural design for women therefore includes killing off a significant proportion of them via childbirth.

            It would appear that around 12-13% of gay men may be living with the HIV virus, however the percentage of these who go on to develop AIDS is lower. We don’t have the same access to historical data for gay AIDS mortality as we do for maternal mortality, so it’s impossible to estimate just how many gay men would develop AIDS if their HIV infection were left untreated. We know that before the development of modern treatments, not every HIV infection developed into AIDS. Some men lived with the virus for decades without developing any AIDS symptoms. So we can assume that AIDS mortality in the gay community would definitely be lower than the HIV infection rate, even if no treatments were available. How much lower is hard to say. But what’s clear is that, by and large, God did not design gay men to die from AIDS at a greater rate than straight women die from childbirth. And yet apparently the straight sex that leads to childbirth is sanctified by him, whereas the gay sex that leads to (many) AIDS deaths is not.

            How can there be no significant statistical difference between the death rates associated with licit and illicit sexual behaviour? Could it be that God just doesn’t give a flying *!%k who you sleep with? All he seems to care about is knocking off 1 in 10 no matter what they do, and to whom…

            Based on that analysis, God doesn’t hate gay men more than he hates straight women. But what’s clear is that he sure hates a LOT of people. More than half of humanity is at significant risk of getting it in the neck because of who they are. Is the fact that he only smites 10% (or thereabouts) of us an example of divine benevolence and mercy? Or does it have more to do with the fact that if he zapped us all, he’d have no time for anything else?

          • The Explorer

            You didn’t say the majority of women die in childbirth, and I didn’t say you had. I asked a question to get some idea of percentages.
            Thank you for taking the trouble to give such a detailed reply. This is you at your best, Linus: and most impressive it is.

          • According to the Lancet (back in 2010 if memory serves) homosexuals in Africa are 25 times more likely to be HIV positive than heterosexuals. It is just dawning on Africans that HIV in their continent is not some sort of special case, but has been spread to heterosexual women by bisexual men, often alas, their husbands.
            Hence the sudden regrettable rise in hostility towards homosexuals in many African countries.

          • Albert

            AIDS is a straight disease

            You make some important points here. The idea that AIDS is a gay disease is doubly dangerous because it stigmatizes homosexuals, while putting heterosexuals at risk. It’s important to point out therefore that half of those diagnosed with HIV in 2011, had not had gay sex. But it’s also important to be clear on the stats. Half of all those who were so diagnosed with HIV, were men who have sex with men. Now given that homosexuals make up only a small proportion of the population, that means homosexuals are at far greater risk. It may be good politics to play down that risk, but it is not kindness.

            Morality is about flourishing, IMO, individual flourishing and the flourishing of society as a whole. This kind of evidence needs to be factored in therefore, as we reflect on morality.

          • carl jacobs

            Albert

            Back in the late 80s/early 90s there was in the US a barely concealed anticipation of the long-awaited heterosexual AIDS boom. It was coming. It was coming. It would prove that AIDS didn’t discriminate. Everyone was at risk. You could almost see activists standing on tip-toes to peer over the horizon hoping catch some glimpse of the soon-to-arrive and long-waited epidemic. But it never happened. AIDS remained stubbornly restricted to a few primary groups: homosexual men, drug users, prostitutes, hemophiliacs, children of the same. Disappointment reigned.

            Why? Because the co-factors associated with risk – sexual partners numbering in the hundreds or thousands, receptive anal intercourse, intravenous drug use, venereal disease – were decidedly lower in the heterosexual community. I have never ever in my life felt at risk of AIDS. It is a disease associated primarily with behavior, and that association with behavior means the disease most certainly does discriminate. That’s why there was such disappointment with the non-event that was the heterosexual AIDS boom. It was supposed to de-stigmatize homosexual sex. Instead it showed the behavioral dimension with blinding clarity.

            Typhoid Mary was associated with three cases of Typhoid. Gaetan Dugas was associated with something like 47 cases of AIDS. You do the math.

          • The Explorer

            I have no quarrel with Linus that AIDS is not only a gay disease.
            But that isn’t his main argument. His main argument is that heterosexual sex is more dangerous than homosexual sex because more women have died of childbirth than gays have died of AIDS.

          • Albert

            I do realise that, Explorer. What I read of the discussion you handled well. It’s clearly a question of proportions not simply numbers (unless of course, Linus wishes to make a more general problem of evil point, in which case he’s back in the game (until it’s pointed out what a bad argument PoE is)). Some interesting questions to ask would be what proportion of sex acts result in mortal danger for those involved? What value is given to the human race by these acts. Once such questions are asked, the issues, I think go away.

          • Linus

            What, you mean reproduction is such a noble goal that women should be prepared to suffer for it? Their offspring are more important than their vaginal prolapse, or even their life, are they?

            That doesn’t address the question of why a woman must put her life in danger to reproduce. Why did God design things that way and give women bodies that are so easily damaged by the task of bringing children into the world? As punishment for Eve’s role in the Fall? What a vicious and vengeful deity he must be.

            The fact remains that childbirth is dangerous and frequently kills women. It has killed far more women than any sexually transmitted disease. But apparently you think that’s perfectly reasonable, because no woman’s life is worth as much as her child’s, so she’s expendable and who cares if she dies?

            Such attitudes certainly explain your opinion that gay people deserve to die for having sex. We don’t make babies so we’re of no value to anyone, so why should we be allowed any love or pleasure when no new life will be created by it? If all that counts is the creation of new life, we clearly don’t count, so God must therefore have decided to kill us off because we’re surplus to requirements.

            This God of yours really is nothing more than a cattle farmer intent on maximising production by ensuring as many live births as possible. Which of course makes us cattle. And gays are the male calves that are only fit to be killed off because we’re surplus to breeding requirements. There’s your dilemma, of course. Christian doctrine forbids murder, so instead of actively knocking us on the head, you prefer to shut us away in solitary confinement and hope we’ll take care of the job ourselves.

            And all this because you believe we’re God’s cattle and that reproduction is our raison d’être.

            What a bleak religion.

          • The Explorer

            The dangers of childbirth. Current death rates for France are 10 women per 100,000 births, That 0.01%. But even in medieval times, from what I can gather, only around 5% of women died in childbirth. Around 30% of medieval children died in childhood. Now that really IS a significant statistic.

          • Albert

            Okay, to give a comparison, US figures say this:

            18% of gay and bisexual men tested in 2011 had HIV and that HIV prevalence increased with increasing age.

            Clearly, people are more likely to survive HIV than in the past. Nevertheless, the contrast with childbirth is instructive. In 2013 800 US women died in childbirth. Now consider that there were 3,932,181 livebirths in the US (i.e. there were in fact more births, for the child is presumably more likely to die if the mother does), and we can see that the percentage of women who die in childbirth is tiny compared with the numbers of gay men who die of HIV.

            Now the US has a particularly bad rate of women dying in childbirth, but clearly, compared with many parts of the world, it has a low rate of HIV. So it is hard to escape the conclusion that even if one judges only deaths from HIV, homosexual sex is far more dangerous than heterosexual sex is to women.

            What I find odd, is that somehow pointing out the obvious: gay sex is a very risky behaviour, is somehow homophobic.

          • The Explorer

            Is a mouse big? Yes, if you compare it to a flea. No, if you compare it to a cat. Finally, we have some meaningful comparative data: both from you, and from Linus in his latest offering elsewhere in the thread. So, eventually, a discussion that has really led somewhere. Thank you for your part in pulling it together.

          • Albert

            What a strange post, Linus. You accuse me of saying or believing so many things, and yet, anyone who bothers to scroll up a few rolls can see that I have never said anything, nor, in the light of what I have said, am I likely to believe what you accuse me of. So here goes:

            You mean reproduction is such a noble goal that women should be prepared to suffer for it? Their offspring are more important than their vaginal prolapse, or even their life, are they?

            No, I never said that. Every woman must decide for herself, whether she wishes to risk pregnancy. What I said was:

            What value is given to the human race by these acts.

            I don’t think I actually mentioned pregnancy. But since you did, I will address it head on: yes of course, a sexual act that can lead to procreation has a greater value to me than one which is intrinsically incapable of such procreation. But that does not mean that I think women should suffer for childbirth or that their children’s lives are more valuable than their’s.

            That doesn’t address the question of why a woman must put her life in danger to reproduce. Why did God design things that way and give women bodies that are so easily damaged by the task of bringing children into the world?

            Personally, I think the reason childbirth in human beings is so dangerous is because we need large brains. Evolution has, unfortunately, not selected a better way of doing rationality, or of bringing it into being. Perhaps it isn’t possible.

            The fact remains that childbirth is dangerous and frequently kills women. It has killed far more women than any sexually transmitted disease.

            That may be true, but I note the absence of evidence at this point. The question that I asked though was:

            what proportion of sex acts result in mortal danger for those involved?

            I’m not sure how that would play out, but in the absence of any additional good stemming from a homosexual act (beyond the pleasure etc. that is common to both types of act), I cannot see how you are getting anywhere.

            But apparently you think that’s perfectly reasonable, because no woman’s life is worth as much as her child’s, so she’s expendable and who cares if she dies?

            Which of course is something I never said, nor is it entailed by what I have said, and given that I am straight and married, is actually quite offensive. The idea that the child’s life is of more value than the mother’s is plainly contrary to Christian teaching – although it wouldn’t be contrary necessarily to secular utilitarian thought.

            Such attitudes certainly explain your opinion that gay people deserve to die for having sex.

            I never said that, and do not believe it. In fact, as anyone can see, an earlier post was precisely about concern for homosexuals. This is what I said:

            Half of all those who were so diagnosed with HIV, were men who have sex with men. Now given that homosexuals make up only a small proportion of the population, that means homosexuals are at far greater risk. It may be good politics to play down that risk, but it is not kindness.

            You assert:

            We don’t make babies so we’re of no value to anyone

            I never said that, and it is plainly contrary to what I have said.

            so why should we be allowed any love or pleasure when no new life will be created by it?

            I have never said that. When have I defended preventing homosexuals being in love or having pleasure? I would oppose any such law. Morally, I think gay sex is always wrong. But that does not mean I think it is impossible for you to be in love or have pleasure.

            If all that counts is the creation of new life, we clearly don’t count,

            That’s a non sequitur and very odd to address to a Catholic. Remember: we value celibacy, thus we do not think all that counts is the creation of new life.

            so God must therefore have decided to kill us off because we’re surplus to requirements.

            In which case, I would believe as a Catholic that God had decided to kill off all the clergy (or almost all of them). But as it is, what you say is plainly contrary to christian teaching.

            This God of yours really is nothing more than a cattle farmer intent on maximising production by ensuring as many live births as possible.

            Plainly not true given celibacy.

            And gays are the male calves that are only fit to be killed off because we’re surplus to breeding requirements.

            More anti-evidential ramblings.

            There’s your dilemma, of course. Christian doctrine forbids murder, so instead of actively knocking us on the head, you prefer to shut us away in solitary confinement and hope we’ll take care of the job ourselves.

            Nothing I have said, not even at a stretch could possibly entail such a horrible opinion. Your claim is obviously false for it is founded on a false premise.

            And all this because you believe we’re God’s cattle and that reproduction is our raison d’être.

            Would you please cite for me what I have said that makes you think I believe that?

            What a bleak religion.

            Yes it would be, if I believed it. But I don’t, and nothing you have said has given any evidence whatsoever that I do. What is bleak therefore is the intellectual cogency of your position, that you have to obviously to misrepresent my posts in order give the appearance that there is anything of value in your own.

          • Linus

            I don’t have the time or the desire to engage in forensic dissections of your comments. But I will pick up on one point you make:

            “Half of all those who were so diagnosed with HIV, were men who have sex with men. Now given that homosexuals make up only a small proportion of the population, that means homosexuals are at far greater risk. It may be good politics to play down that risk, but it is not kindness.”

            Your myopia is quite astounding. There’s a whole world out there where your assumption that HIV is a gay phenomenon just isn’t true. Three quarters of new AIDS cases are now diagnosed in Africa, where by the far the main vector for HIV infection is heterosexual sex.

            AIDS is not a gay disease. If it ever was, it’s becoming less so with every year that passes. 10 steps from your front door it may still principally affect the LGBT community. But beyond the limits of your myopic field of vision, things are very different indeed.

            Why is it that Christians, and especially Catholics, can see no further than the end of their self-satisfied noses?

          • Albert

            I don’t have the time or the desire to engage in forensic dissections of your comments.

            Of course you don’t. To do so, you would need to admit that you had misrepresented me – as any reader can plainly see.

            But I will pick up on one point you make:..Your myopia is quite astounding. There’s a whole world out there where your assumption that HIV is a gay phenomenon just isn’t true.

            You can only blame yourself if you accuse me of myopia. Here’s what I said, in response to your claim that AIDS is a straight disease:

            You make some important points here. The idea that AIDS is a gay disease is doubly dangerous because it stigmatizes homosexuals, while putting heterosexuals at risk. It’s important to point out therefore that half of those diagnosed with HIV in 2011, had not had gay sex.

            So how can you say that I assume it is a gay disease? Secondly, notice the inconsistency of your position. You say AIDS is a straight disease. 50% of those who were infected had not had gay sex. But that means 50% had. So, by your own logic (which I am not accepting BTW), if you can say AIDS is a straight disease, then I can say AIDS is a gay disease, in fact I can say it a fortiori, for that means that homosexuals are more likely to be affected by it, since they make up half the infections, while making up a tiny proportion of the population.

            Three quarters of new AIDS cases are now diagnosed in Africa, where by the far the main vector for HIV infection is heterosexual sex.

            That may be true, but it would not alter the fact that homosexuals are a minority, so if they are accounting for as much as a quarter of infections, then they are disproportionately affected. But as it is, you give no evidence for this, but Martin Marprelate says:

            According to the Lancet (back in 2010 if memory serves) homosexuals in Africa are 25 times more likely to be HIV positive than heterosexuals. It is just dawning on Africans that HIV in their continent is not some sort of special case, but has been spread to heterosexual women by bisexual men, often alas, their husbands.

            So your point seems false on numerous grounds.

            AIDS is not a gay disease. If it ever was, it’s becoming less so with every year that passes. 10 steps from your front door it may still principally affect the LGBT community. But beyond the limits of your myopic field of vision, things are very different indeed.

            There’s nothing myopic about being able to understand the evidence. The latest evidence shows a rise in homosexual infections – in fact they were at a record high as recently as 2012:

            http://www.nhs.uk/news/2012/11November/Pages/HIV-in-gay-men-at-record-high.aspx

            While in 2014, as many as:

            6% of gay and bisexual men are now living withHIV, rising to 13% in London – with 3,250 newly diagnosed in 2013, an all-time annual high. It is estimated that over 7,000 gay men have an HIVinfection that remains undiagnosed and that an estimated 2,800 men acquired HIV in 2013.

            https://www.gov.uk/government/news/hiv-infections-continue-to-rise

            Mysteriously, the Government decided not to include the equivalent figure for heterosexuals.

            So, however you look at it, by your own logic (not mine) AIDS is a gay disease, statistically, and having gay sex is far more dangerous than heterosexual sex, even when we factor in childbirth.

            Why is it that you secularists hate evidence so much?

          • Linus

            We hate your evidence because it’s ALWAYS falsified.

            I know Christians live in the past, but if you want to engage in a debate with those of us who live in the present, you’d better inform yourself of current statistics rather than relying on outmoded historical data that are no longer relevant.

            According to the latest UN figures available (for the year 2013) of the 35 million people living with HIV worldwide, just short of 25 million of them live in Sub-Saharan Africa. That’s 71% of all HIV cases. Not 50%. Don’t believe me? Do the math.

            Of those 25 million, no reliable data exists as to the proportion of cases among the gay community precisely because there hardly is one. African culture stigmatises homosexuality to the extent that reporting is fragmented and very unreliable. South Africa appears to somewhat of an exception, but South Africa has a notably more tolerant attitude towards homosexuality than the rest of the continent, as evidenced by its early adoption of equal marriage. In South Africa 9% of HIV cases are imputed to sexual relations between men. It seems clear that the percentage is lower elsewhere in Africa. Stigma not only affects reporting, but also behaviour.

            If, for the sake of argument, we say that 5% of the 25 million HIV cases in Africa are imputable to gay sex, that still leaves 23.75 million cases directly imputable to heterosexual sex. That’s 68%. Not 50%. It isn’t three quarters either. But it’s far closer to my estimate than it is to yours. I may have SLIGHTLY exaggerated the phenomenon, but you have WILDLY underestimated it. And all because the older figures support your case better, so why not just ignore the data you don’t like?

            And again, if you’re going to claim that UK figures are representative of the whole world, why not just fill in the Channel Tunnel and claim that creation stops at the White Cliffs of Dover? I know that’s what many of you would like to do, but ignoring the rest of the world won’t make it go away.

          • Albert

            This is becoming bizarre. Somehow or other, my claim – which was backed up by Government figures is somehow falsified, by your comments that HIV is most prevalent in Africa. But you say:

            Of those 25 million, no reliable data exists as to the proportion of cases among the gay community precisely because there hardly is one.

            Even if I allow you to reduce HIV to Africa, how precisely, is my position falsified by data which you don’t have? You then try to extrapolate something from South Africa:

            South Africa appears to somewhat of an exception, but South Africa has a notably more tolerant attitude towards homosexuality than the rest of the continent, as evidenced by its early adoption of equal marriage. In South Africa 9% of HIV cases are imputed to sexual relations between men. It seems clear that the percentage is lower elsewhere in Africa. Stigma not only affects reporting, but also behaviour.

            But data for other parts of Africa (and more representative parts than S.Afrcia) does exist. Here’s the economist:

            Nigeria has the world’s second-largest number of people with HIV. In 2010 it was estimated that 4% of the general population were afflicted; among gay men the figure was 17%.

            So in such a country, HIV is more than four times higher among MSM. And I just don’t get your UN figures. You say S.Africa has 9% among MSM. But the report says 9.9. for S. Africa, and then gives only one other comparison Ivory Coast, which it says has rates of 18.8 for MSM. That’s higher, not lower.

            While Time magazine says this, citing the Lancet:

            As the world’s leading AIDS researchers gather for the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., scientists report that despite gains in controlling the spread of HIV, the disease has continued to spread at an alarming rate in the very population in which it first appeared — gay men.

            In a series of papers in the Lancet dedicated to the dynamics of HIV among gay men — a group epidemiologists define as men who have sex with men (MSM) — scientists say that the continued burden of AIDS in this group is due to a combination of lifestyle and biological factors that put these men at higher risk. Rates are rising in all countries around the world.

            Now the geography of this is interesting:

            Rates of HIV among gay men ranged from 3% in the Middle East to 25% in the Caribbean. In all reporting nations, rates were on the rise, even in developed nations like the U.S., Australia and the U.K. where HIV is declining overall.

            In fact, says Beyrer, income does not seem to matter when it comes to HIV trends among MSM. In the U.S., for example, infection rates among gay men have been increasing by 8% each year since 2001, contributing to a 15% prevalence rate and putting the U.S. on par with countries like Thailand, Malaysia and some African and Caribbean nations where neither awareness of HIV/AIDS nor drug treatments are as widespread. HIV prevalence rates among MSM in Brazil, Canada, Italy and India range between 11% and 15%, while many western European countries have lower rates of around 6%.

            As for your UNAIDS figures, I’d like a link, please. Because this is what I can find:

            HIV prevalence is estimated to be 28 times higher among people who inject drugs, 12 times higher among sex workers, 19 times higher among gay men and other men who have sex with men and up to 49 times higher among transgender women than among the rest of the adult population.

            http://www.unaids.org/en/resources/presscentre/pressreleaseandstatementarchive/2014/july/20140716prgapreport

            Notice that, according to UNAIDS a gay man is more likely to have HIV than a prostitute and is 19 times higher than for the population as a whole (I assume that’s the comparison, oddly the article isn’t clear).

            Again, the report itself says:

            In 2012, according to national GARPR reports, the highest median HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men was reported in Western and Central Africa (19%) and Eastern and Southern Africa (15%)

            and most significantly:

            Median HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men exceeds 1% in all regions of the world and is consistently higher than prevalence among men overall.

            and

            Globally, prevalence among men who have sex with men appears to have increased slightly, and has been at very high levels in recent years.

            So no, I don’t think the figures are against me, and I cannot see where you have answered any of the other defences of myself I made earlier.

            Let me just clarify: if it is homophobic to cite these figures then UNAIDS and the Lancet are homophobic bodies. Personally, I would have thought it was homophobic to try to cover them up – for that might result in more gay people becoming infected. As I said at the beginning:

            It may be good politics to play down that risk, but it is not kindness.

          • Linus

            I see where this is heading. You’re a Christian of the “I love gays despite their evil sexual propensities” variety, which translated means a condescending tolerance of us as long as we admit we’re filthy disease carriers.

            You cherry pick your statistics from studies that support your position and reject any that do not. Your aim is to convince people that only the numbers that confirm your predetermined conclusions can be relied upon. All else is the devil’s work.

            That being the case there’s no point in talking to you. You won’t accept any source that contradicts your dogmatic beliefs. You won’t ever change your mind.

            And you know what? It really doesn’t matter. Whether you change your mind or not, I can still get married (and recently have). My husband and I can still adopt. Our relationship is recognized before the law as equal to any other.

            You and the group of likeminded bigots who call themselves “the Church” may view us as “intrinsically disordered”. But society as a whole and the law do not. That’s all that matters. The opinions of a few backwards sky fairy worshippers count for nothing.

          • Albert

            You cherry pick your statistics from studies that support your position and reject any that do not.

            I went to the very source you cited and found firstly, that it did not say what you said it said. Secondly, it said something which flatly contradicted your entire position (thus, you are not even cherry picking):

            Median HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men exceeds 1% in all regions of the world and is consistently higher than prevalence among men overall.

            Now that’s not cherry picking. That’s the data you appealed to and it is a general principle against your position. Now since it is a general position, it cannot be cherry picking.

            That being the case there’s no point in talking to you. You won’t accept any source that contradicts your dogmatic beliefs. You won’t ever change your mind.

            Which is kind of ironic, because you won’t accept the evidence from the very source you cited.

            which translated means a condescending tolerance of us as long as we admit we’re filthy disease carriers.
            What you think of me is irrelevant for two reasons. Firstly, because this is a discussion of data, not of my feelings or morality. Secondly, because you have already made serial charges against which are plainly, flatly false – as can be judged by anyone who reads the comments put down here.
            Now if you could answer the data against your position, you would. But you can’t, so you have gone for an ad hominem. And this just goes hand in hand with your earlier imputations to me of things I have not said and do not hold. Your position is based on prejudice against Christians, not evidence – at least so it seems to me. But if you can answer the evidence I have cited, then do so.

          • The Explorer

            Yes. I can’t quite work out with Linus whether we’re in comic-opera mode, and he’s simply being mischievous; or whether he does actually take his arguments semi-seriously.

      • Just so you know, Jack will crusade against all the tide of sexual immorality sweeping the West as long as he draws breathe. This includes the forerunner to the normalisation of homosexuality, contraception; and its deformed sister, abortion; not forgetting its other unattractive relative, divorce and remarriage.
        The institutional acceptance of sexual immorality and homosexuality by a culture is a certain sign it is plumbing the depths of decadence. It’s nothing personal against you or your ‘fellow travellers’. You have a temptation to master – we’re all sinners, so we all do. His real angst is against all the liberal, modern, progressive Christians who, by encouraging people to see all these things as acceptable to God, are spitting in the very face of Christ.
        God calls us all, Linus. Perhaps you didn’t hear Him – or just turned away from Him because of your intrinsically disordered proclivities. Who knows? There’s still time, too. It’s also possible, such is the nature of your condition, that you are invincibly ignorant of God and His Gospel. There are so many Grima Wormtongues telling you its okay. He’ll judge this, not Jack.

        • Linus

          The silver lining to the cloud that is Sad Jack is of course the inescapable fact that his life expectancy is so very short.

          I give it a few months and a few more grammatically disastrous posts before Alzheimers claims the few coherent thoughts he’s still capable of. His one-man “crusade” will die before he does, and although one has compassion for the poorly-paid minimum wage care workers who’ll have to clean up the constant flow of homophobic bile and other noxious substances leaking out of his incontinence pants, rubber gloves and a bit of bleach will be sufficient protection against infection.

          Toxic old people who’ve outlived their usefulness and now only exist to vent their frustration and hatred over anyone unfortunate enough to be anywhere near them have one saving grace, which is the brevity of their dotage.

          • Goodness your use of imagery displays a morbid preoccupation with the ageing process and evidences clear fears and phobias. This reflects your hedonism, self love and self obsession.

          • Linus

            And Sad Jack’s continuing amateur attempts to psychoanalyze over the Internet in full public view and in clear breach of all professional codes of conduct AND of Christian morality, which forbids the bearing of false witness, prove that he’s neither a mental health professional nor a Christian.

            He’s a Sad Jack. Luckily there’s only one of him and his time on earth is limited. Future generations won’t be burdened with his care. Ours is, but as he lives in far-flung Scotland, he’s not my problem. This is one occasion when I’m glad and relieved to be a NIMBY.

            When the Scots declare unilateral independence and the wave of anti-English exactions begins, will they pull the plug on him? Scotland has oil, but the returns are diminishing and if they have to be ploughed into keeping old bigots alive, there won’t be much left over to maintain Ms Sturgeon’s burgeoning wardrobe. As independence approaches, perhaps Sad Jack should be planning a move south…

          • Hit a nerve, again.

          • Linus

            That’s your crusade, is it? Launching random insults at gay people online?

            I know mosquitos that pack a bigger punch. Some holy war. Will biatch-slappin’ for Christ reverse your church’s decline and make it relevant again?

            It’s symptomatic of the utter decay of Christianity that an old bigot would congratulate himself on hurling abuse at someone online. It’s about all Christians are capable of now.

          • Nothing abusive about stating the truth as Jack sees it based on his credentials – and pro bono at that. Your histrionics are the “tell”.

          • Linus

            Your credentials? You’re having a laugh, clearly. What brand of cereal box did you find them in?

            A real mental health professional wouldn’t dispense abusive “diagnoses” over the Internet because he’d be bound by a professional code of conduct forbidding such manipulative behaviour.

            You’re clearly an utter fraud. And what’s more, a completely unconvincing one. Any amateur can learn a bit of vocabulary from Wikipedia and pose as a counselor. Very few can do it convincingly. You most certainly do not.

            Given your general command of your own language and your word-perfect regurgitation of Catholic doctrine with little or no personal embellishment or interpretation added, I’d say we were dealing with a retired blue collar worker at best. But someone who’s been through the tertiary education system and come out the other end with a degree, or even just a night school diploma? Pull the other one…

          • Go you wondering now, Linus? You a text book case.

          • Linus

            I have not the shadow of a doubt that you’re a self-promoting fraud. Give a retired and disabled bin man or taxi driver an Internet connection and enough free time to be bored with persecuting his harrassed and overworked carers and the result is you. Catholic crusader extraordinaire … which translated means sad old git in a wheelchair whiling away the months before his all-too imminent demise by vomiting the accumulated hatred and bitterness of a lifetime over the nearest individual he judges to be less worthy than him.

          • Linus, who is it you really hate so much that you drag it around like chains weighing you down and project and displace onto others?

          • Linus

            A more appropriate question for you to reflect on would be hard to imagine.

            How about: “Why the compulsive need to present yourself as the fount of all knowledge, when clearly your knowledge is so very limited?”

          • Now, now, jealousy is so unbecoming. Is it a critical parent figure who once said “No” to Likkle Linus and disapproved of him?

          • Linus

            You just can’t help it, can you? Always trying to position yourself as superior to your opponent and then attempting to discredit him by casting aspersions on his mental stability. It’s pathological behaviour, Sad Jack.

            I don’t need a mental health qualification, real or otherwise, to know an evil and self-serving manipulator when I meet one. If there really is a hell, you’ll certainly fit right in when your time comes.

          • Anton

            You don’t like him then?

          • Linus

            My opinion of Sad Jack should be clear enough for anyone to comprehend.

            It’s got more to do with pity than dislike. We’re all more or less victims of circumstance, and as someone to whom circumstance has been very kind indeed, it ill behoves me to judge others for their reactions to challenges I’ve never had to face.

            Who knows what caused Sad Jack to be the way he is? If I were to take a leaf out of his book, I’d read a few Wikipedia articles, proclaim myself a counselor and then diagnose him with some kind of personality disorder. On occasion, I’ve done that (without referring to Wikipedia or claiming to be any kind of mental health professional, of course), but in this case, it just doesn’t seem to be the correct response. I can suggest to the likes of a Martin Marprelate that a psychiatric consultation might be appropriate, but to do so to Sad Jack would be pointless. Someone who masquerades as a shrink is hardly going to heed my advice to consult a real mental health professional.

            I call him Sad Jack because he really is such a sad individual. That sadness is none of my doing of course. So I can view him with the same sort of detached “caritas” that the Church he clings to in his sadness reserves for me. Do unto others as they do unto you seems an appropriate, and eminently Christian, response in the circumstances, don’t you think?

          • Anton

            You answered a rhetorical question?

          • Linus

            And I’ll do so again when I judge an answer to be pertinent.

            Sad Jack’s game is to present anyone who contradicts him as mentally ill, which of course only he can be the judge of, because he claims to be a qualified mental health professional.

            It’s important to point out just how sick and manipulative this is, and how dangerous it makes him. No accredited counselor would indulge in such unprofessional behaviour for fear of being struck off.

            Judge his motives for yourself, but understand that amateurs who present themselves as professionals for whatever reason need to be exposed for the frauds they are.

          • Anton

            I don’t think he ever presented himself as a professional in that field. I regret all abusive comments here – his and yours. It is better to stick to arguments.

          • Linus

            My responses to Sad Jack are couched in the only register he understands: condescending contempt. Any attempt to convey anything else is a waste of time. He isn’t capable of any other form of communication with someone he judges to be his inferior. He’s been educated in the patrician Catholic tradition of talking down to anyone who dares to disagree with him. It sits oddly with his clearly demotic origins, but there’s no snob like Hyacinth Bucket …

          • Anton

            I don’t believe in responding to verbal abuse with the same.

          • Linus

            Read back through some of your comments and then say that again with a straight face…

          • Anton

            Examples please.

          • CliveM

            Most people on here have disagreed with HJ at some stage or other, none of them have been portrayed as mentally ill. So your statement is incorrect.

            One of the joys of this site is to disagree and argue, it’s how you argue that’s the issue.

    • Anton

      Did the Inspector turn?

      • Never, he’s a stubborn old sod. Not an orthodox Catholic but clear on this issue.

        • Anton

          That’s a relief. By the way, if you look at that thread where we discussed the relevance of not of the ‘moral’ components of Mosaic Law, I’ve added another comment.

          • Jack saw it Anton and is still thinking about his reply.

          • carl jacobs

            Uh oh. Jack is “thinking.” Nothing good can come from this.

            😀

          • Anton

            He channels Rome rather well. My beef is with that system, not him.

          • One and same, Anton.

          • Anton

            But not with the Bible.

          • That’s a matter of interpretation, wouldn’t you say? The true Church worships Christ through the His living Word as all Truth is revealed through the successors to Peter and the Apostles.

          • Anton

            The Bible is not infinitely elastic. If it were capable of any meaning then it would have no meaning, which I presume you would deny. Rome’s violations were set out a few threads ago and I am willing to repeat one or two if you really want to go down that route.

          • In all honesty, Anton …..

            You’ve set out no violations but, in Jack’s opinion, have rather missed the point of Christ’s message and His sacrifice, if you believe the Mosaic sanctions for breeches of God’s immutable moral laws remain applicable. And, there is a debate about whether they were ever actually applied by the Jews.

            Isn’t there one where a woman should have her hand cut off for touching a man’s genitals? Not to mention that parents can and should stone to death rebellious children and that the community can and should stone to death any wife whose husband discovers that she was not a virgin when he married her.

          • Anton

            You’ve brought two threads together here. Above, I was referring to where Rome violates scripture, but you have responded here to my latest comment on an earlier thread, about whether the interpersonal (‘moral’) components of Mosaic Law are the right laws for nations today. Accordingly I’ll respond in separate paragraphs:

            Paul wrote that congregation overseers (episkopoi) should be family men (1 Tim 3). Rome forbids it. This is one example of Rome’s going against scripture. There are others.

            Regarding the Law, I’m aware of the debate about whether the Jews did actually apply the parts of Mosaic Law governing interpersonal relations (‘moral’ components). Suffice it to say that they should have done, and if they didn’t then they were both breaking their word and being disobedient to God.

            “You’ve… rather missed the point of Christ’s message and His sacrifice, if you believe the Mosaic sanctions for breeches of God’s immutable moral laws remain applicable.”

            That’s a shift! You now approve of those laws but merely believe that the Mosaic punishments for their violation is no longer appropriate. As you approve of them you presumably wish to see them on our statute books albeit with different punishments for violation. That’s a start, anyway.

            Christ’s message and sacrifice are about helping individual to change so as to be capable of conforming to godly laws. I am well aware of that in both my head and my heart, thanks be to Him. But the collective of his faithful is called the church, not the nation of England/Scotland/USANigeria or wherever. So what ‘moral’ laws and sanctions ARE applicable to nations? What is wrong with the Mosaic precedent? Why is it out of date even though human nature hasn’t changed and most people aren’t Christian?

          • 1 Timothy 3 doesn’t make marriage and children obligatory. As Haydock’s commentary says:

            !The husband of one wife. It does not signify, that to be a bishop or priest he must be a married man; nor that he must be a man who has but one wife at a time; but that he must be a man who has never been married but once, or to one wife: because to be married more than once, was looked upon as a mark of too great an inclination to sensual pleasures ….. The meaning is not that every bishop should have a wife, (for St. Paul himself had none) but that no one should be admitted to the holy orders of bishop, priest, or deacon, who had been married more than once. “

            So far as Mosaic law is concerned, Jack has not shifted at all. The moral law is immutable – not the penalties. If you read Jack’s comments on the earlier thread will you will this.

            As Jack recalls, you implied the brutal sanctions were agreed by the

            Jews as part of the Mosaic covenant. And Jack pointed out, it was

            necessary to impose strict laws and penalties on the developing People of God because of their stubbornness and predisposition to sinfulness. They were being separated from the nations and the Messiah was to be born through them. Sexual discipline was paramount for this.

            You claim both the moral laws and the penalties for breaching them remain appropriate. However, Christ fulfilled and perfected this Mosaic covenant and showed us the path to salvation through a relationship with Him, initiated by the Holy Spirit. Whilst Jack would
            like to see God’s moral laws on our statute books, because society doesn’t actually work without them, one cannot simply impose God’s commandments on others and, even if one could, one shouldn’t go around cutting off limbs and killing people for sexual transgressions.

            The civil law of Moses for maintaining and governing the nation was intended to form and preserve a peculiar people for the worship of the one true God, and to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah, through the seed of Abraham. The new Kingdom of God which Christ founded was not confined to a single nation, it embraced all the nations of the earth, and when the new Israel was constituted, the old Israel with its separatist law became antiquated; it had fulfilled its mission.

          • Anton

            Agreed that a single man may become an episkopos. If he then wishes to marry, the Holy Spirit through St Paul says that’s fine and Rome says it isn’t.

            “As Jack recalls, you implied the brutal sanctions were agreed by the Jews as part of the Mosaic covenant.”

            I didn’t only imply it; I stated it. The Israelites affirm the covenant by acclamation before going in to Canaan. Be careful not to accuse God of brutishness.

            “it was necessary to impose strict laws and penalties on the developing People of God because of their stubbornness and predisposition to sinfulness.”

            I trust that you are not saying the Jews are worse than the rest of us. (Didn’t someone with a funny moustache say that?)

            From yourfurther reasoning it would follow that the appropriate laws for the Japanese (say) changed abruptly over a weekend in AD33 even though the Japanese people didn’t change and even though missionaries didn’t reach them for many centuries. Reductio ad absurdum?

          • “I trust that you are not saying the Jews are worse than the rest of us. (Didn’t someone with a funny moustache say that?)”
            The Jews are no different to other individuals and nations. When chosen by God, they were called out from other nations and required strict laws for the reasons Jack has stated.

            “Appropriate laws” are for secular rulers to determine based on their belief systems. Christian laws would be based on the moral law of God and penalties would be determined on the basis of what promotes salvation, protects the common good and not just retribution.

          • Anton

            “”Appropriate laws” are for secular rulers to determine based on their belief systems.”

            Laws should be based on the character of the people rather than the character of the ruler. So the question is: what ‘moral’ laws would a good ruler enact? Why not the Mosaic ones?

          • Are you talking moral codes or specific sanctions for breaching these codes? This is what we are discussing. The former ought not to change; the latter is a matter for prudential judgement.

            For example – adultery. How to respond to this will vary.

          • Anton

            Why should the punishment be different from in ancient Israel when human nature isn’t?

          • Jack has actually answered that … We cannot go around stoning people to death for adultery, or for disobeying their parents, or chop off woman’s hands because they touch a man’s genitals.
            Do you believe Sharia Law is just and what God requires?

          • Anton

            Sharia law is a package that I am indifferent to. Where its components regulating interpersonal relations coincide with Mosaic Law then I agree with them for that reason.

            Do you think that God was wrong to command “stoning people to death for adultery, or for disobeying their parents, or chop[ping] off woman’s hands because they touch a man’s genitals” in ancient Israel? Yes or No, please?

          • No … how can God be wrong, we are His creation? However, it was an act of His Sovereign will for particular reasons at a particular time and Jack has outlined this. Jesus offered a different path once the Mosaic Covenant had been fulilled.
            How can you be “indifferent” to Sharia Law?

          • Anton

            I was being polite. Will “couldn’t care less” about it do? Now, will you please answer my question: Do you think that God was wrong to command “stoning people to death for adultery, or for disobeying their parents, or chop[ping] off woman’s hands because they touch a man’s genitals” in ancient Israel? Whatever else you say, please include a Yes or a No.

          • Er, Jack has already answered that question.

          • Anton

            I’m content to let readers decide between us at this point.

          • Anton, have a read of this article. Don’t worry, it’s a Reformed site and has some solid, biblically based articles. It covers most of the themes we were discussing. Jack thinks you’ll appreciate it.

            https://theopolisinstitute.com/the-death-penalty-in-the-mosaic-law/

            Let Jack know when you’ve had time to read and digest it.

          • Anton

            Not much to disagree with there Jack. He notes that the death penalty for murder is commanded unconditionally to all mankind. He says near the end pretty much the same as me in different language: I said that the Mosaic moral laws and penalties were something that Christians should work towards rather than institute unilaterally if they found themselves holding power; he says that there is no point instituting death for dissing parents if it is not there for adultery (for instance). He and I mean the same thing. He mentions that the death penalty must not be enacted without two witnesses to the crime. I didn’t bother to state that in our dialogue but as it’s Mosaic I fully accept it. I disagree with his statement, “the basic purpose and meaning of the Mosaic law is not to provide blueprints for a civil order, but to provide foreshadowings of Jesus Christ”. That is a false dichotomy; it is both. Like you I accept it is the second. I insist that it is also the first because God repeatedly tells Israel that the nation will be blessed for obedience to this code and that the man who obeys these laws will flourish.

          • It’s a good article and it looks as though we took different points from it.

            Jack focused more on the aspects of those closer to God being deserving of the full penalties of the Mosaic sanctions. Jack also liked the sections addressing the points that the sanctions, except for murder, could be modified by mercy and his discussion of excommunication, for a member of the Christian Church, being more serious than the death penalty, yet it offers a way back too.

            We wont agree on your final comment. A nation that follows God’s moral laws will of course flourish – it’s Natural Law – we both agree. It will not happen until Christ returns. The People of God are now not a single nation called out to be Holy within a specific territory, nor a theocracy. Jack also believes punishments now focus on leading to salvation and that even the death penalty in the West for murder, with abortion so widespread, is questionable.

          • Anton

            Re your 2nd para, yes indeed lesser penalties are generally going to be available, for the plaintiff can always say to the guilty party, “I won’t take you before the court to exact the Mosaic penalty if you pay me X shekels in compensation”. That option is denied by God in some cases and it is an educative exercise in divine priorities to consider why.

            I am happy to agree to disagree – or, in my language, to let His Grace’s readers decide between us for themselves based on what we’ve already written – re Mosaic penalties today in all cases but murder.

            Capital punishment for murder is in the covenant with Noah and his descendants and that covenant, unlike the Mosaic, is not obsolete. Let me ask you a question: Do you consider that God’s promise never to flood the earth again (also in that covenant) no longer applies, so that there is a risk he might? Please include a clear Yes or No in any reply you make.

          • Anton, you have a poor memory. Jack has already answered that God keeps His word – there will be no repeat of a world wide flood wiping out all of mankind. However, God is at liberty to withhold His punishment – just as He did with Adam – and to offer forgiveness and mercy.
            So we’re clear, Jack supports the right of nation states to use the death penalty if they deem it necessary. It is a just penalty for killing an innocent person. However, he does not accept that it must be used regardless of circumstances or the nature of particular nation states. To execute murderers and ignore the abortion industry and the growing euthanasia industry, means it is hypocritical and merely reinforces the “culture of death”. Plus, given most people are motivated by vicarious revenge and hate, not by implementing the law of God, instead of an act of justice it becomes an act of collective revenge and lacks moral rectitude.

          • Anton

            Jack, you brought the subject up again and I wished to ask my question again in a different way, because last time the discussion went down one path while this time I wish to start it down another.

            You say that God will not send another Flood. So you believe (as do I) that the covenant with Noah and his descendants – ie, everybody – is still in force. Since that covenant makes an unconditional command of capital punishment for murder, is it not going against a command of God to advocate anything else (after due process, of course)?

            If the death penalty for murder had not been abolished then who can say whether the abortion and euthanasia industries would not have grown? In any case, capital punishment for murder is a good place to start rolling back these things.

          • The death penalty for murder hasn’t been abolished in America. God established the principle of a life for a life – Jack doesn’t understand it to mean this is compulsory for all times and in all circumstances. God is free to pardon people.

          • Anton

            Good for America. God is free to pardon people but we are to do what He says, as follows:

            “at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man” – Genesis 9:5-6.

          • So long as we can be clear that a distinctions should be made between legislation given to Israel as a theocratic state under Moses and the more universal revelation given to mankind through Noah.

            Jack accepts Noah stood at the head of a new human race after the
            Flood and that the stipulations of the Noahic covenant, such as the permission to eat meat, the promise of no further universal flood and the death penalty mandate, applied not just to Noah and his family or to some limited ethnic group, but, in principle, to all mankind.

            The rationale for the death penalty rests on the reference to man
            being created in God’s image in Genesis 9: 6. When violence in the form of murder is done to a man, it is an outrage against God and murderous violence demands retributive justice to redress the disorder caused by the offence.

            Man is made in the image of God and the rationale for the death penalty in Genesis 9: 6 is as true today as it was in the days of Noah. It follows that while the detailed provisions of the criminal code of Israel are no longer binding under the New Covenant, the mandate requiring the death penalty for murder remains one of continuing validity and the death penalty remains morally licit and permissible – and perhaps even mandatory. This verse establishes capital punishment as just retribution to the man who wilfully takes the life of his fellow, made in God’s image.

          • Anton

            I believe it IS mandatory. Other than that, I agree in full.

          • To be honest, Anton, Jack isn’t a million miles away from you on this issue.

          • Anton

            That’s close enough for me!

          • carl jacobs

            I have no beef with him, either. But trolling Jack is one of the great joys of this site. 😉

          • Where is Grumpy when Happy Jack needs him?

          • carl jacobs

            Google “Veggie Tales Madame Blueberry” and you will probably find him.

          • Grouchy Jack

            Grrrr …

          • Grouchy Jack

            Then you understand neither, dimwit.

          • Anton

            Blogging after a bottle too many, Jack?

          • He was sleeping contently until being disturbed.

          • Grouchy Jack

            Feck off …

    • CliveM

      Burnham was a Blairite under Blair , became a Brownite under Brown a Millipede under Milliband and now claims to be a Blairite again. He faces more directions then a weather vane. He has even less principles then average.

  • Shadrach Fire

    Where is the ArchBishop? Overseas Missions in Barbados I expect.
    My Bench Mark for the Christian faith of a politician is how they voted over SSM.
    With only about 130 votes against and most of them Conservative, it does not give us much hope for a believing house of Commons. And even then, at least two I know of stated they had changed their mind when offered a job in Government.
    Real steadfastness that! It is only when an individual is faced with a situation whereby they may suffer harm or loss by standing up for their faith that you truly know who is who.

    • David

      Well said !

    • Do not panic! His Grace is indeed abroad on overseas mission work. You will undoubtedly be pleased to hear that he will be returning to these shores in the very near future.

      • Shadrach Fire

        Make sure that Queen Mary does not get to hear of his return!

  • Inspector General

    …why are we finding out much about their approach to the Christian faith initially from Pink News?

    Here’s why. The letter, we’ll assume it was a formal invitation, is picked up from the map. The luckless politician opens it. Immediately, his mouth goes dry. It’s an invitation to appear before a militant homosexual court of enquiry. Well, it’s an invitation of sorts, one you can’t turn down. It’s a summons in truth.

    His eyes dart from left to right. He considers ripping the thing up. But he can’t. They’ve found him. If he does not reply, they won’t assume he never got it, they’ll assume the truth, that he is defying them. And defiance is guilt, is it not?

    By now, his heartbeat is up, and he’s feeling rather queasy. He sits down, and reaches for a sheet of paper. He’s got to get it word perfect, he knows. Scribbles down thoughts. Must appear whiter than white. Oh no, can’t put that down, that’s racial bigotry. He knows he only has one chance with that crowd, and he’s on it now. They don’t forgive, ever.

    He’s writing away. He accedes to everything they want, ever dreamed of, and what they haven’t dreamt of, yet. He is their friend. That’s it. He loves them, their lifestyle, their ‘contribution’ to society. He’s just sorry they are so troubled by disease. Arrgh! Don’t mention that, you fool. Not even in compassion.

    An hour later, it’s all over. There, a prompt reply, they’ll appreciate that. They called and he came a-running, and bloody quick with it. He’s a good man. They’ll see that. Surely, for God’s sake there’s nothing they can have him over on. Is there?

  • Marcus Jones

    Agree Christian press could/should be doing more. However politicians often don’t make themselves available to us in the same way they do to other niche media. Welcome discussion on why that is. In run up to election we managed to get Cameron, Clegg and Miliband but took huge amount of time and persistence. (Marcus @ Premier Radio)

  • Mr M. has got it again:

    “No generation was, of course, exempt from sin. But I fail to detect in history another example of such a mass abandonment of a Christian Truth already revealed. What we are living is, compared to the French or the October Revolution, less cruent in blood shed, but so much vaster in scale. It is as if the Lord had decided that if the Christian West wants to nuke itself, it should be allowed to do so and enjoy the nuclear fallout to the end.

    We have to live in the age of the nuclear self-destruction of the very soul of the Western world, and will have to go through the fallout as long as the Lord in His Mercy decides we should do so. But at some point, we will be called, and sorted among the many Reprobates or the, most certainly, much smaller number of the Elect.

    Let us work every day, in the middle of this nuclear wasteland, so that, when our day comes, we are called among the second.

    Confutatis maledictis, flammis acribus addictis, voca me cum benedictis.”

    • carl jacobs

      Mr M?

      • Mundabor …

        • carl jacobs

          Of course. I should have known.

          I introduced that site to a Catholic friend. He reads it every day now. It probably wasn’t a wise decision on my part since it will work against my efforts to free him from the prison barge that is Rome.

          • Mr M. is a good and faithful Christian but, Jack fears, is becoming a touch too extreme. You and he have a lot in common in that respect.

            Jack still reads him and gets a great deal from his writings. It’s like going back in time to when Catholicism was clearer. He has set himself against Pope Francis and the direction the Church appears to be taking.

            These are testing times for all Christians.

          • carl jacobs

            Me? Extreme? I’m so ordinary and typical, it hurts.

          • Hmmm ….

          • Shadrach Fire

            Carl is just an American from across the pond, so he is what he is.

          • carl jacobs

            If it wasn’t for us, the world might have no alternative to Cricket.

          • Neihan, how could you up-vote that? Shame on you.

          • Neihan

            I may be an enthusiastic Jacobite, dear Happy Jack, but I am, after all, an enthusiastic, American Jacobite.

          • Ah, you are invincibly ignorant then, Neihan.

          • Darter Noster

            I might have been an enthusiastic Jacobite in the 1740s, but I really can’t see the attraction of replacing a bunch of chronically-inbred descendants of obscure German Protestant Princelings with the chronically-inbred descendants of even more obscure German Catholic Princelings. Face it: Jacobitism died with Henry IX.

            Even before then, we were stuck with Normans, French, Welsh and Scots. Unless you can find the heir of the House of Cerdic, forget it.

          • Neihan

            Well, I’ll be. That’s yella’ Whig talk if I ever heard it – not worth a hoot and a holler. Ain’t never taken kindly to no Whigs.

          • carl jacobs

            Are we talking about American Whigs or British Whigs?

          • Neihan

            British, I suppose. I was referring to the cavalier tone rather than any political belief about the proper relation between the crown and the colonies. At any rate, I may disagree politically with the American ones, but their propensity to tar and feather tax men mightily endears them to me.

          • Dude

            I’m happy to take over the royal duties as king Samuel I….. (if Jesus was Jewish and English, and his best friend a Galilean fisherman that became a Catholic pope why not?).

          • Darter Noster

            Go for it dude; you’d have no more or less legitimacy than the ones we’ve been stuck with for centuries – “idiot spawn of incestuous German robber barons”, as Jeremy Hardy rightly pointed out.

            For “noble blood” read: my ancestors stole lots of cattle, killed lots of people and carved out a robber state after the fall of the Roman Empire.

            For “Royal blood” read: my ancestors stole more cattle, killed more people, and carved out a bigger robber state than anyone else after the fall of the Roman Empire.

            European nobility and royalty, if you trace it to its roots, means nothing more than “man with big sword in right place at right time”.

          • preacher

            Hey Sam. IF is the biggest word in the English language. LOL.

          • carl jacobs

            So … what’s this “I’m an American Jacobite” stuff then?

            At first I thought it was some kind of ironic reference to the Jacobins in Scotland. Now I discover that it seems to have something to do with claims about the legitimate Royal House of Great Britain. Which would make “American Jacobite” an inherent contradiction. An American is indifferent to kings and princes and lords and such. Except in Checkers, of course.

            Who is this Francis II? What does he have to do with baseball? And why would an American claim to be a “Jacobite?” Something is not kosher here.

          • Checkers?

          • carl jacobs

            It’s a board game in which pieces can be promoted to “Kings”.

          • That’ll be draughts (British English) or checkers (American English).

          • Darter Noster

            Some of us Brits are indifferent to Kings and Princes too.

          • carl jacobs

            It’s the Tower of London for you then.

          • Darter Noster

            British republicans are sadly too few in number to be worth locking up in the Tower. More common are the total tragic idiots who hang around outside hospitals when Royal babies are due, seemingly in the belief that this year they’ll broadcast the birth live, with Jonathan Dimbleby going “And now, as the Second Yeoman of the Royal Garter Footstool hands his Royal Highness the scissors to cut the cord, we reflect on how extraordinarily gracious it is, and in keeping with tradition, for Her Royal Highness to condescend to come into the world via the birth canal”.

            Meanwhile, some total tit who happens to know the Queen’s 18th cousin 95 times removed’s Alsatian’s former pooper scooper will be sitting in a TV studio going: “Well, I believe that the Duchess will be having contractions, and in a sign of how he wants the monarchy to move with the times the Prince will be quite nervous.”

          • carl jacobs

            When Jack reads that, he will suffer an apoplectic seizure and … wait. Why is Prince married to a Duchess? Shouldn’t she be a Princess?

          • Darter Noster

            They refused to make her a Princess, probably because she’s middle class, her parents are ghastly social climbers, and her cousins haven’t married each other for the last 800 years.

          • carl jacobs

            Royalty is confusing.

          • Neihan

            Ask yourself, Mr. Jacobs, whether King George III ever bothered his subjects half so much as the Federal Government bothers us. If the Founding Fathers found his meddling too much to bear, what would they think about our current system? Would they think it a success, or would they think their experiment a failure?

            Imagine they were here now and someone described to them the way the government operates and the current political and legal state of this country. Do you think they’d pat each other on the back and say “Aha! They said it couldn’t be done, that men were incapable of governing themselves wisely, but see how the Enlightenment has triumphed and shown the detractors their error!”

            How far back would we have to go before we found something tolerable to the ideals which founded this country? President Reagan? President FDR? I suspect we’d have to go back to President Buchanan at least.

            Either a monarchy or a confederacy of quasi-independent states as the one our Founding Fathers established. Since both are equally likely, which is to say utterly impossible, I’m free to be romantic about it. So, monarchy. If monarchy the question is: Windsor or Stuart. With all deference and respect to the noble House of Windsor (the current head of which only the most intolerable and despicable cads would disrespect) I must choose the House of Stuart. This has the added bonus of being both more romantic and also legitimate. Therefor, Jacobite.

            So until the restoration of the rightful king of these lands (His Royal Highness Francis II), I will sing the Jacobite version of the Kaiserhymne and vote for whichever career politician I think is most likely to hamper, diminish, limit, or outright destroy the non-military power of the United Statesian federal government. For, let us be honest, except for owning enough weaponry to arm yourself, your wife, your children and assorted distant relatives (in addition to one’s neighbors), there is nothing more American than loving one’s state and loathing the United Statesian federal government.

          • Anton

            Baseball? How well has that gone beyond North America?

            The point about cricket is that, in a game which can last 5 days and still end in a draw (and even that can be exciting when one side is on the brink of victory but runs out of time to enforce it), you are not actually meant to watch every second. Only nerds do that. Cricket is one of the few occasions on which the English will talk to each other without benefit of an introduction. Moreover you can read the newspaper. You can get a beer. You can wander round the ground. It’s great.

          • Dreadnaught

            Our girls used to play Rounders; bit cissy compared to cricket (they even play that now) but they seemed to enjoy it .. I think you chaps decided to call it baseball.

          • carl jacobs

            Tell me. Is it true that a Cricket Match was once mistaken for an open-air exhibit from Madame Tussauds?

          • Anton

            No, that was Arnold Schwarzenegger.

          • carl jacobs

            A Cricket match was once mistaken for Arnold? So one American is the equivalent of two Cricket teams? That makes sense when you think about it.

          • Anton

            Perhaps it didn’t make the news in the USA, but Arnold Schwarzenegger stood in for his waxwork (doubtless this came naturally to him) a few days ago at Tussauds and surprised a few people by answering back.

          • carl jacobs

            Hey now. Arnold’s a good actor. He always gets a good line. His emotional range spans the entire distance from 9mm handguns to helicopter gunships, and he has at least two different facial expressions for the camera.

          • Dude,

            I agree arnie is like a Shakespearean actor and I take it you’ll be off to see the latest terminator film?

          • carl jacobs

            Strangely enough, I’m not a big fan of the Terminator movies.

          • End of Days?

          • carl jacobs

            Conan the Barbarian

          • Do you ever wonder if you were born in the wrong age?

          • carl jacobs

            And why would “Conan the Barbarian” provoke that response? I was just mentioning one of his better movies that I liked. Most Arnold movies are not paragons of cinematic genius. But they can be entertaining. If you want to know my favorite movies (in no particular order):

            1. High Noon
            2. His Girl Friday
            3. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
            4. Departures
            5. Body Heat

            Make of it what you will.

          • Departures surprised Jack – but not High Noon.
            Jack’s point, and it isn’t meant as a criticism, is that you are a warrior born in an age of bull shit diplomats.

          • Anton

            OK,

            1. Napoleon vu par Abel Gance
            2. The Best Intentions
            3. Dr Strangelove

          • Anton

            He’ll never top the line “consider this a divorce” from Total Recall.

          • …which rather begs the question.

          • carl jacobs

            Mundabor is consistent, Jack. I respect that about him. Consistency isn’t extremism.

          • True … and one has to say his consistency rests on a sound understanding of Catholicism that predates the ambiguity and misrepresentations of some of Vatican II’s documentation.

          • Dude

            I checked out this Mundabore and he does nothing but rant against his own church and the pope . When he’s not doing that he’s attacking gays and he had a bit of a rant when the pope went to Israel last year : basically he doesn’t like anyone who doesn’t fit to his version of religion and is stuck in a time warp circa 1500.

          • He’s an acquired Catholic taste, Sam.

          • Dude

            So is schmaltz herring…. my better half loves it, but at least she doesn’t like marmite, even if it is kosher .

          • Darter Noster

            That’s one way of putting it; I can think of others…

          • Not a fan, Darter?

          • Darter Noster

            I don’t disagree with the basic premise that Catholic truth is being gradually overridden in the misguided name of compassion and modernity, and that that trend goes right to the very top. As a former Anglican I know exactly what that means, how it works, and how careful the Church needs to be.

            I just think that Mundabor’s shrill, hysterical and confrontational style, and fondness for SSPX who have an unfortunate tendency towards fascism and anti-semitism, ultimately doesn’t help.

          • Jack agrees … sometimes he goes too far …. but thinks his style is necessary as he offers a sobering reminder of the actual Catholic faith and the very real threats it faces. You should try reading some of the liberal blogs in America where the enemies of Christianity reveal themselves.

          • Hi

            I know ! Next thing you know they’ll be a menorah on the High Altar of the Basilica with this Jorge Bergoglio in charge ! …..but anways his posts “The Most Jewish Pope” and “Francis, The Orthodox Jew” helped me decide never to read that blog even if i was paid 160,000 tons of gold.

          • The Explorer

            Interesting quantity of gold. !00,000 could understand. Or 200,000. Or even 150,000.
            But 160,000? Does it have a symbolic significance that escapes me?

            PS. George Bernard Shaw decided to liven up a dull dinner party by asking the woman next to him if she would sleep with him for £100,000.
            “Yes, I suppose so.”
            “Good. Now would you sleep with me for £t0?”
            “Of course not! What do you think I am?”
            “We’ve already established that. We’re now trying to determine the price.”

          • Pubcrawler

            As tonnes (metric) it’s the total amount of gold ever mined. (Yes, I play the gold market from time to time)

          • The Explorer

            Thank you. Now if she’d said that in the first place….

          • Pubcrawler

            Well, that may be just a coincidence and she had something else more numerological in mind. Dunno what, though. I’d guess not Kabbalistic

          • The Explorer

            We’ll have to wait for the lady in question to venture her own explanation. As you know, numerology is not my strong point.

          • Hi

            I just have 🙂

          • Hi explorer

            Despite my bros observation that I’m a subtle as a rhinoceros horn up the backside, I like to think I do have some subtlety.

          • Hi explorer

            Roughly that’s the amount of gold that’s ever been mined on this planet. Of course it’s a free universe *, so Mr m shouldn’t be forced off word press

            *unless you encounter the Borg or Daleks.

          • Then the Vatican goes and recognises the Palestinian State … go figure. Pope Francis has his human flaws; no harm in pointing these out.

          • Hi

            One was merely stating that she won’t read Mr M. The theology I will leave to others. But I will say that I hope that the Swiss guards are good at security.

          • Apparently Pope Francis wants to disband them. Still, his security guards carry weapons, despite his rant against the arms industry.

          • Hi happy Jack

            Don’t be such a grumpy old sausage . Well if you’re ever in need of a gay Jewish girl who knows how to wield a katana …..

            Ps : saw this and thought of you –

            http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=czWm9N6XRGM

          • Happy Jack is never grumpy, Hannah. He leaves that to ‘others’.
            How are you these days? And that older brother of yours, what’s he up to?

          • Anton

            His security guards are not the Swiss guard?

          • Lol …. if they are they dress down when he’s travelling around and carry more than swords and spears.

          • Anton

            Actually I’m genuinely looking for information. If the Swiss Guard are not his bodyguards then there is indeed little point to them. Surely they should be like the men in uniform guarding Buckingham Palace – decorative, but genuine trained soldiers/bodyguards as needed.

          • Pubcrawler
          • Anton, so far as Jack knows they are genuine military men who provide security for the Pope. Guards must be Swiss, Catholic and single men. The extent of their military training will vary and, no doubt, there will be specially selected experts in security work.
            After the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II in 1981, more attention is placed on the guard’s non-ceremonial roles, and there is greater training in unarmed combat and the use of small arms. The traditional weapons of sword and halberdas are now a front for weapons like the SIG P220 and Glock 19 pistols, Steyr TMP machine pistols and submachine guns like the Heckler & Koch MP5A3.

          • Anton

            Thanks to you and Pubcrawler for information.

          • CliveM

            Tell me Happy Jack how does he reconcile his thinking with the Just War doctrine?

            To be honest it came across as a bit of a ‘student’ style rant.

          • “Thinking” is perhaps something of an exaggeration, Clive. It was a rather immature series “off the cuff” comments. The arms industry is a complex nexus and a more careful critique of it is required, not just a rousing condemnation to young people.

          • CliveM

            He’s quite the one for off the cuff comments. He doesn’t always appear to think through the implications of what says. Because unless he thinks it acceptable to send troops into battle with kitchen knives and rocks (which would be little better then murder), you need an arms industry.

            Or you have to be pacifist and accept the implications of that.

          • A political philosopher, economic expert or military expert, Pope Francis isn’t. He reminds Jack of his own more militant, socialist days. Still, we Catholics will keep him right.

          • CliveM

            With regards his comment, to be fair about it he lived through a military dictatorship, where a lot if people disappeared, that is bound to colour your view if things.

          • Anton

            Hitler was consistent!

          • carl jacobs

            You know. That’s an interesting historical question. Was Hitler consistent? I don’t even know how to answer that question. If someone told me to write two pages on the core ideas of Nazi ideology, I’m not sure what I would say once I got past evolutionary notions of racial superiority, Blut und Boden. I could write two pages on Socialism or Communism without effort. But what’s at the center of Nazism besides the personality of Hitler?

          • Anton

            Well, you have to say what is (or is not) consistent with what. But once in power from 1933 he remained fully consistent with Mein Kampf published 7 years before. The Germans cannot say that they were not informed.

    • Anton

      I repeat: Islam is impending divine judgement for the sins of Western culture in this generation. Look at our family breakdown stats, unprecedented in 500 years, and look at Islam’s coincident rise, and ask yourself why Jesus – who has all authority – is permitting it to rise given that it denies his divinity. I see no way of reversing this other than a reset caused by a financial calamity. Certainly I do not pray for God to stay his hand when we kill so many unborn babies every day.

      • Habakkuk was there before you.

        ‘Look among the nations and watch- be utterly astounded!
        For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told to you.
        For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans, a bitter and hasty nation
        Which marches through the breadth of the earth, to possess dwelling places that are not theirs.
        They are terrible and dreadful; their judgement and dignity proceed from themselves………They all come for violence; their faces are like the east wind.
        They gather captives like sand. They scoff at kings, and princes are derided by them. They deride every stronghold, for they heap up earthen mounds and seize it……….’

        From Habakkuk 1.

        • Anton

          Yes. And Jeremiah was accused of being a collaborator after telling the Jews not to fight the Babylonians because they represented God’s determined judgement.

      • Dude

        Now I’m utterly confused. The other day a chap said – after several exchanges with Hannah – that being gay itself was the divine punishment according to Romanians chapter I, as per ‘”any protestant commentary ” and denied your statement, because Hannah had asked if that was what he was getting at (but didn’t respond to my series of questions for clarification) .So which is it ? Is , in the Christian world, Jesus using Islamic state to punish the west for gay marriage ? Also if God is doing so why is it Syrian and Iraqi Christians bearing the brunt of this punishment ? They’ve got nout to do with British gay marriage. The other possibility is that gay marriage is an obsession with certain Christians and therefore they will leap on any bandwagon to make a point. Finally , who is the authority on all of this : why can’t I be a sin finder general. What is the pope doing ?

        Can anyone help in my ecumenical attempt to understand this ?

        • carl jacobs

          I don’t know what you were told, Sam. And I am generally careful about attributing divine intent to circumstance. One has only to read the Book of Job to understand why.

          The Book of Romans uses homosexuality as an illustration of man’s natural idolatry. By nature man was created to worship God. The truth of God is on display everywhere around him. He does recognize the power and glory of God in creation and he should therefore worship God for it. Christians refer to this as “general revelation.” But instead of recognizing this self-evident truth, he suppresses that truth. He willfully chooses to indulge in false religion to avoid worshiping God. This is important. Man knows the truth. He willfully chooses to reject it even though he knows it to be true.

          Just as man was by nature created to worship God, so man was by nature created for woman. This is a self-evident truth that is on display in creation. But instead of obeying his nature, he lusts after other men. Just as man lusts after other gods against his nature, so man lusts after other men against his nature. He knows the truth. He willfully chooses to reject it. In fact, God says that He gives men over to the depravity of homosexuality as punishment for willfully rejecting man’s created nature in his refusal to worship God. The physical corruption becomes a picture of the spiritual corruption. Homosexuality becomes a picture of man’s willful rejection of his created nature. Homosexuality is willful and knowing rebellion against the limits that God has built into creation. It is a picture of man’s willful and knowing rebellion against God. This is the point of the passage in Romans 1.

          It is a common theme that God punishes by giving men over to their desires. Divine restraint is removed and men indulge what must lead to their own destruction. It is important to understand that God restrains the natural impulses of man’s evil. That’s why the illustration is not universally applicable. If He did not restrain, the world would consume itself. This also illustrates why “being good” doesn’t count much with God. Who really is responsible for the good that men claim to do?

          • Solid response, Carl.

          • carl jacobs

            Why thanks, Jack. Does this mean you will start listening to me about the Council of Trent?

          • I’ve been to Burton on Trent: the old home of British beer …..

          • Anton

            Burton simply got a reputation for beer once mass transport became possible in the Industrial Revolution, much as other towns got reputations for other specific products. Before that time the home of British beer was Britain, for every town and village brewed it as a staple. Yippee!

          • Jack always listens, Carl. He just knows you’re wrong.

            Hmmm … maybe there is something in the bishops at Vatican II acknowledging that the Christian Churches separated from the Catholic Church have been and are being used by the Holy Spirit as “means of salvation” for those who belong to them. As they taught: the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church; some – but left undefined – communities not in union with the Catholic Church are truly Churches; and serve as possible”means of salvation” in God’s redemptive plan in Christ.

            As Jack understands it some churches subsist in the one, true, apostolic Church, established by Christ, and these may have channels of grace available that might lead to salvation. In the Catholic Church, subsists the fullness of the Church founded by Christ and the only sure and certain way to salvation.

          • Anton

            I couldn’t care less whether the Vatican defines some aggregates of believers as churches or not and I give thanks that it can no longer burn dissenters from it. I recognise all who put their trust in Jesus Christ as my spiritual brethren, Catholic or otherwise. NB It is possible to be certain yet wrong.

          • Well, you’re not a Catholic so you would say that. And, as you must know, burning dissenters was an action of the State, not the Church.
            And all this from a man who believes the Mosaic sanctions for breaches of the moral laws are still applicable. Research the sanctions for false prophecy and heresy.

          • Anton

            “as you must know, burning dissenters was an action of the State, not the Church”

            Yes, but spurred by the Roman Catholic church; for instance, De Heretico Comburendo, passed in England in 1400 and licensing the burning of ‘heretics’, was, in its opening phrase, “on the advice of the prelates and clergy of… England”. Pilate washed his hands too.

            How ironic that people who pray to Mary call others heretics! Does she look down from heaven and weep?

          • Now, now ….

          • Well thanks for that Carl : it will take me time to digest,but it makes more logical sense than the arguments put forward by David Anderson in the other thread. Or even the guy “bible truth” who frequents Hannah’s blog .

          • carl jacobs

            Remember this equation:

            1. It is natural for men to worship God. It is natural for men to desire women.

            2. It is unnatural for men to worship idols. It is unnatural for men to desire other men.

            3. The later gives physical representation to the former.

            In this case “natural” refers to the intended purpose of man according to the will of God who creates.

        • Anton

          It’s not primarily about gay marriage. As an evangelical Christian I believe that gay marriage is not pleasing to God, but the proportion of the population that identifies itself as gay (let alone gets a same-sex marriage certificate) is small. It’s about the statistics for divorce, children living with one parent, unmarried cohabitation and abortion. The first three were stable for centuries at 2-5% but since the 1960s have gone up by a factor of ten. Abortion was illegal until that decade and 8 million unborn babies have now been killed. A secular study called Sex and Culture (1934) by JD Unwin found that every society to go from a chaste sexual ethic to a promiscuous one, throughout recorded history and geography, soon fell. I have a secular explanation but I also believe that this shows God in action.

          • Dude

            In the board thrust of what you are saying , I can agree to that. I believe strongly in the family and the basic unit as mother /father and according to Jewish law at minimum 2 children (preferably one of each sex) . We are somewhat more lenient in terms of abortion (only allowed when there is physical danger to the mother ). My Israeli great uncle, who is of the mystical Jewish tradition, was introduced to the Jeremy Kyle show and he said that Britain was under the influence of demons and falling into the hands of the syatan ….. but in truly Sephardic contraction has been incredibly supportive of my gay sister- precisely because of the belief in family.

            In respect of gay marriage I come from a tradition that is extremely reluctant to impose its world view in society. Instead we try to bringGod to people via action and example, to be a light to the nation’s. So for I at least there is not much wonder to see the loss of what was traditional marriage. For orthodox Jews marriage is as per Jewish law and no government has the capacity to change Jewish law. We can accept that the civil law has changed, because the law of the land is the law, but should the UK courts insist that we marry gay Jews we’d be unable to do so according to our Torah, which was given to the Jewish people by God at mount Sinai. This doesn’t mean we wish to exclude or judge gay Jews or not make them a full part of our community:Jews belong in Judaism and the Jewish community.

            I believe that the ultimate judge is God and he will judge in his perfect capacity when we slip this mortal coil.

          • Anton

            Actually Sam I would not rule out abortion in the case of risk to the mother, and I would counsel any woman to take the morning-after pill if she had been raped the night before. (Can a single cell feel pain as a 4-week foetus demonstrably can?) There is a wise maxim that hard cases make bad law. Keep reading the Old Testament and keep asking God to illuminate its meaning. May he bless you richly.

  • len

    Biblical Christianity is the only authentic religion(and I include ‘secular humanism’ amongst the ‘faith based religions’.)
    ‘A bold statement’ some might say and on what basis do I make this statement?.

    God does nothing without revealing His intentions first.And this action is only possible for someone who stands outside of time with total knowledge of all things.Secularists want ‘proof’ of the existence of God this proof is staring them in the face if they had the ability to see it….

    Every major event which has happened throughout the unfolding of God`s Plan for humanity has been recorded before that event happened. What other religion can say that? It is interesting that Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all base ‘their truth’ on the Word of God but Islam and Judaism also deny that selfsame truth as revealed within the scriptures. Catholicism (an offshoot of Christianity a mix of paganism and Christianity falls under the same error)

    So the main target for the satanic attacks is Biblical Christianity the only real threat to the kingdom of darkness…

    • sarky

      Every major event has been recorded?? Where?? Cant remember reading about Hitler in the bible or the 9/11 attacks and thats only the recent things. P.s. vague ramblings that can be interpreted as anything don’t count.

      • len

        The trouble with some people(obviously not yourself sarky ) is that people have so many prejudices and preconditions that they would not recognise the truth even if they fell over it .

        • sarky

          Most atheists have a real interest in religion and as we are in the West it tends to be christianity. Many also have a better understanding than many christians (just look at some of the many debates available and you will see this). This isnt about prejudice and preconditioning, but about testing the claims of christianity and finding it wanting.
          Just because you truly believe something to be true, it doesn’t make it so.

          • The paradox Sarky is that faith is actually a gift from God. No man can seek and find God without God initiating the search and also facilitating the discovery. It’s available to everybody; all it takes is a little cooperation – and God already knows those who will accept His gift.

          • sarky

            ????? That’s not what len and Preacher are saying.

          • preacher

            We’ve all been on that list bro’, difference is some are still on it & think it will last forever.
            In one respect of course they’re right.

          • sarky

            Yes, but if jack is right they don’t have a choice!

          • You don’t understand. Man’s inability is not something physical, but spiritual. They do not believe because they have wicked unbelieving hearts and suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18). If you cry out to God in repentance and faith, He will hear you (John 6:37), but the fact is that unless He opens your heart to do so, you won’t.

          • sarky

            Exactly, you don’t have a choice.

          • You have a choice but you won’t take it. Therefore you are ‘without excuse’ (Romans 1:20) before God.

          • sarky

            But what if I’m not one of the ‘chosen’ ones.

          • The Explorer

            Then you will go to Hell for not believing, even though you were predestined never to believe, and thus the power, majesty and justice of God will be revealed.

            That is Islam’s position for both you and me. It’s a caricature of Calvinism, but you can see why the whole issue of Election is so uncomfortable and scary. (If you believe in God, that is: if you don’t, the problem is deferred to wait and see after death, and hope Christianity is nonsense..)

          • Have you been up to heaven, had a look at the Book of Life and seen your name missing? No? Well then, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!’

          • sarky

            No thanks.

          • Well then, no complaints from you when God speaks to you in the words of Proverbs 1:22-33.

          • sarky

            Ooh I’m shakin in my boots!!

          • It’s a mystery, Sarky.

          • sarky

            Or a load of old codswallop!

          • While you keep both possibilities in mind, there is hope for you.

          • preacher

            Hello again Sarky. I’m with you on this. I was an Atheist or at least a very cynical Agnostic until I was 30, when an unexpected & unlooked for experience changed my views 100%.
            The teaching in schools in my youth championed evolution as undisputed truth & proved by science, I of course accepted this as did all the rest of my classmates. We Never doubted or questioned it.
            The generation of teachers that taught us were already sold on the theory from their training colleges & of course they never doubted it either. So you see we were programmed on a theory by elders that were pre – programmed themselves.
            We never even thought about it’s validity !!!.

            Think for a moment ; Why should anybody who is a true Atheist bother to be interested in a proved myth that talks about a non existent being ?. What a waste of time !.
            I was too busy enjoying all the daft things & experiences that young men were experimenting with.

            You are so right about testing the claims of Any belief, & I had to test the truth of what I had been taught in school, just for my own satisfaction & peace of mind before I could fully commit myself to a Total change of lifestyle & belief.
            — Guess what ? I was stunned by the gaps & holes in what I had been taught by sincere, but wrong teachers, to be honest, I really felt rather foolish about not checking it out earlier, I mean I was mister ‘ you can’t fool me ‘.

            I would totally echo your last comment, “Just because you truly believe something to be true, it doesn’t make it so”, & I would add ” No matter how much you wish it was !”
            But I could quote you, word for word to Atheists with the benefit of my experience & hindsight.

            Anyway I leave my experience with you, accept it, investigate it, or ditch it. It’s up to you bro’.
            It’s been good sharing the above with you & I swear every word of it is true.

            Blessings. P.

          • sarky

            I dont doubt you for a second. The difference between us is that I came at things from the other side of the road, in fact our stories are an exact opposite. I was bought up with the creation worldview and didn’t even know about evolution. As soon as I got into science something clicked and the world started making sense. I never really believed in god or the bible but I started questioning everything and to be honest time after time it fell short.
            Why are atheists interested? It’s because they have seen the emperors new clothes for what they are and cant quite understand why others haven’t.

          • Anton

            I’m a physicist rather than a biologist but becoming a Christian answered the big question I could not answer before that: WHY are the laws of physics beautiful? Moreover the Bible says the universe had a beginning, and said so several thousand years before science reached the same conclusion in the Big Bang. Plenty of other religions say it was always there.

            I did have to change my mind about physics-defying miracles though, such as Peter walking on water like Jesus and sinking as his faith wavered (Matthew 14). Occasionally God overrides the laws he put in place to run his creation in order to make a point.

            As for biology, I believe that it is more compatible with the Genesis account than fundamentalists realise (and I don’t take the early parts of Genesis as ‘myth’). Fundamentalists seek the most evolution-incompatible interpretation. But the original Hebrew is more flexible than many realise. And while God created man “from the dust of the ground” ie from atoms, Genesis does not say how. Moreover it is inconsistent for fundamentalists to argue that evolution proceeds by “chance” so must be wrong, yet say that they can see God at work in “chance” meetings between people that lead to marriage or conversion.

          • sarky

            I have seen your previous thread about beauty in the laws of physics. My only take on it is that the perception of beauty is a very ‘evolved’human thing. It doesn’t occur anywhere else. Just because we percieve beauty does that imply something is actually beatiful or the involvement of a creator? The human brain seems to be hard wired to find pleasure in structure and symmetry, which if you think about it makes perfect evolutionary sense. So you finding beauty in the laws of physics is just your evolved brain firing on all cylinders.

          • magnolia

            All cylinders are not contained within the confines of the physical body. The brain is a processing unit I believe and not the same as personality. To suggest otherwise seriously reduces what we experience ourselves as and has no room for the aura, otherwise known as the halo, which is clearly an observable fact.

          • Anton

            I disagree (courteously). Please provide some evidence for the ‘aura’.

          • sarky

            Thats a bit too ‘new agey’ for me.

          • Anton

            Evolution can explain why I see lions moving in grassland clearly, but it cannot explain why I have a sense of aesthetics in weighing mathematical formulae. Mathematics has been done by only a tiny fraction of the human race for a tiny fraction of its existence. Where is the selection pressure?

          • sarky

             perception delivers to our consciousness a remarkably clear and coherent presentation of discrete objects arrayed in three-dimensional space. This happens even in bad conditions, such as darkness or fog, or in chaotic soundscapes such as parties and concerts. In a huge range of conditions, many inimical to receiving information, perceivers have an extraordinary ability to construct a stable and coherent image of the world.

            To do this the visual system has to be sensitive to pattern and order, to be able to sniff out signs of significant objects and events. Finding such patterns comes naturally to us,

          • Anton

            “What I’m trying to say is that a sense of aesthetics in mathematics is a by product of other evolutionary process.”

            Understood, but that’s not more than speculation.

          • sarky

            Think about it, everything that gives us advantage gives us pleasure I.e. food, sex, drink etc
            Therfore not much of a stretch to us getting pleasure from order and symmetry.

          • Anton

            I did think about it. For years and years as an atheist scientist. It didn’t satisfy me as an explanation.

          • sarky

            Just as ‘god did it’ doesnt for me.

          • Anton

            Fair enough. But I was unhappy with your explanation even when I would have liked it to be true.

          • preacher

            Well Brother, I’m sorry to hear that. But if you ever want to come to the ‘Sunny side’ of the Street, I’m sure there are many that would love to help you across the Road.

            Blessings. P.

          • sarky

            Ha ha more like many wanting to run me down on my way across 😉

    • preacher

      Good morning Len.
      I fear it’s not lack of ability. But lack of desire.
      Christ can give sight to the blind, but when those who shut their eyes & won’t look say ” We see ” trusting their own vanity, they must be allowed to walk their own paths. Such is free will.

      • sarky

        Not a lack of ability or desire, but a lack of belief.

        • preacher

          And Good Morning ( just ) to you Sarky.
          Well Brother if you have the Ability & the Desire but have lost your belief, I’d go & search for it.
          God does promise that who ever searches for Him with All their heart will find Him.
          Good hunting Bro’.

          • sarky

            Never did like hide and seek!

          • preacher

            Depends who’s hiding & who’s seeking bro’. LOL.

        • Dreadnaught

          Realistically, a complete lack of evidence for any religious foundation. What can’t be proved can’t be disproved, is a lame defence but effective.

          • len

            The evidence is there for anyone who desires to find it and many have..but it will cost you probably more than most are willing to pay?..

          • sarky

            And many more have rejected it.

        • len

          The thinking process`s of fallen man have become so darkened so corrupted that he no longer has the ability to perceive spiritual truth.Man separated from God is spiritually dead…Dead to the Spirit of God but not dead to all sorts of ‘other spirits’. When Jesus spoke to the crowds He often said ” IF you have ears to hear, IF you have eyes to see” for this very reason.
          Man is in such a pitiful spiritual condition that God has to give man faith to be able to perceive spiritual truth ..but only if he seeks Truth above all else;
          “But if you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy4;29)

          • sarky

            The thinking process isn’t darkened, it’s enlightened!!

        • Not at all, Sarky. You have decided there is no God because you wish there were not. That was my position when I was an atheist. the world screams intelligent design at you, but you reject it because if you believe you will have to change your lifestyle. “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.”

          https://marprelate.wordpress.com/2015/05/31/categories-of-atheists/

          • sarky

            Like I have stated (with examples) on a previous thread, there is absolutely nothing intelligent about the design.
            As for my lifestyle, probably not much different from yours, except without the god bit!

    • len

      As a footnote to my earlier post I believe Christianity is going into a period of great deception possibly the worst ever with the rapid spread of information through the media and the World Wide Web..(And’ the Prince of the Power of the Airwaves is certainly in control of these.)
      Christians need to cling to the Word of God (as did’ the Bereans’) as never before…..
      The article below explains what is happening within the ecumenical movement which is pulling all towards it much as the gravitational pull of the’ Black Hole’ (quite a fitting likeness )

      http://www.lightforthelastdays.co.uk/Babylon%20Rising.pdf

  • Royinsouthwest

    Well, there is one thing to be said in favour of Andy Burnham and that is the importance he attaches to the First Commandment.

    Thou shalt have no other gods before me, apart from Everton FC, the Labour Party and the Church,