Giles Fraser Michael Sadgrove 4
Ethics & Morality

Giles Fraser backs Brexit – and the liberal elite sneer at him for it

 

The Rev’d Dr Giles Fraser is one of the very few Church of England clergy who has publicly declared that he wants the UK to leave the EU. It is, for him, a passionate cause of socialist democracy in the righteous pursuit of social justice: that in order for politicians to serve the people, they must be accountable to the people. As Tony Benn once interrogated: “What power have you got? Where did you get it from? In whose interests do you use it? To whom are you accountable? How do we get rid of you?” Succinct responses from the EU Commission might be: “Lots”; “The Treaties”; “Well, that’s a very good question”; “Well, it’s a bit complex”; “If by ‘we’ you mean you, you can’t”.

The conviction is that where laws may be made local to the people, no remote or centralised authority should seek legislate in those areas. While national governments guard the liberties of the people with justice and truth, there needs no elite imposition of a supranational corpus of law which is alien to those traditions. Where workers enjoy hard-won rights under labour and employment law, no bureaucratic elite has the right to barter those rights away in the name of some covert transatlantic trade and investment partnership.

Giles Fraser treads humbly stamps his boots firmly in the footsteps of Tony Benn, Michael Foot, Barbara Castle and Peter (Lord) Shore. He stands foursquare with the late Bob Crow, shoulder-to-shoulder with Frank Field, and channels the prophetic spirit of former Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell, who warned of the implications of EEC accession back in 1962:

We must be clear about this; it does mean, if this is the idea, the end of Britain as an independent European state. I make no apology for repeating it. It means the end of a thousand years of history. You may say: “Let it end.” But, my goodness, it is a decision that needs a little care and thought.

For the Eurosceptic political left (including Jeremy Corbyn – until he became Labour leader), opposition to the EEC/EC/EU does not represent the denial of economic necessity or ignorance of diplomatic pragmatism: it is an aversion to the deceptive Tory assurance that EU membership represents no “erosion of essential national sovereignty”, as Ted Heath put it in 1971 (and Europhiles still spout). Pooling national sovereignty enhances it, they aver, as though to pool is not to dilute, and to expand is not to enervate. Tony Benn articulated the riposte in 1974: “Britain’s continuing membership of the Community would mean the end of Britain as a completely self-governing nation and the end of our democratically elected Parliament as the supreme law-making body in the United Kingdom.” His demons then might have been capitalism, imperialism and European fascism, but it is to Giles Fraser’s credit that he is now prepared to defend those fundamental democratic principles at the risk of being accused of crass populism, nationalism, and of possessing those caricatured Powellite instincts of racist jingoism and a narrow political zealotry.

And he’s fielding the insults, smears, backbiting and invective as purely in heart as he stoops to pick up the bloody needles, druggie syringes and human excrement from his churchyard after another long-suffered Saturday night of Hackney community havoc and disorder. Actually, that’s a lie: he’s really quite angry about both, and justifiably so.

It is worth mentioning at this point that Giles Fraser favours immigration and wants lots of it, and then lots more. He wants economic migrants, asylum seekers, and the oppressed and persecuted of the world to be welcomed to the UK’s shores not in piddly trickles of a few thousand, but in waves of the tens and hundreds of thousands. That’s an important point for this blog post, and you will understand why in due course. But for those Conservative or Ukip Brexiters for whom this policy shunts Giles Fraser swiftly beyond the pale, consider that he wants no centrally-imposed free movement or proportionate refugee/GDP quota system devised by Brussels: he wants UK politicians to administer the policy in order that the people are then free to sack or support the government which enacted it. This is not an immutable supranational “free movement of persons” restricted to those confined by the borders of the European Union, but a democratic compassion and merciful hospitality to the poor and destitute of the world. Giles Fraser wants uncontrolled immigration, but he wants the absence of control to be controlled by our elected politicians. Agree or disagree with him as you wish, but he upholds the fundamental sovereignty of the people and espouses the democratic imperative.

But to the matter at hand.

On 5th May, Giles Fraser wrote one of his ‘Loose Canon’ pieces for the Guardian: Brexit recycles the defiant spirit of the Reformation. It was politically reasoned, historically valid and theologically grounded. The former Dean of Durham, the Very Rev’d Michael Sadgrove, chairman of ‘Christians for Europe’, thought otherwise: “comparing the Brexit spirit to the spirit of the Reformation is wrong politically, historically, and theologically”, he co-wrote with a QC in a terse riposte, which is now reverberating. That is to say, Giles Fraser’s reasoning is politically inept, historically ignorant and theologically illiterate. Michael Sadgrove didn’t use those terms because that isn’t his style, but it is certainly his patent meaning. He explains:

Politically, his description of EU law as law imposed by a “foreign power” is ill-informed. The UK plays a full part in making EU law, both as a member of the council of ministers (with a veto in areas such as tax) and through its MEPs in the EU parliament. The overwhelming proportion of EU law is supported by the UK. This is a union of which the UK is an important member, not a foreign power.

Except that this is wrong. Or ill-informed. Or politically inept. Or a misrepresentation of what Giles Fraser actually wrote. We may quibble over what may be meant by the term “foreign”, but in terms of law it may be understood as that which is alien to national tradition or custom, and that, in England (and subsequently incorporated into Scotland), includes the Common Law, which is certainly being supplanted by Corpus Juris. It has not been “imposed” in the sense of foisted without consent: our elected politicians have signed away historic liberties (such as the presumption of innocence, Habeas Corpus and trial by jury) in the pursuit of the European Arrest Warrant, but the people have never been consulted about this, and so may indeed view it as a foreign imposition of the Napoleonic Code over the historic Common Law.

It is important to note that EU law is not merely binding upon member states; it is superior to national law. All provisions, regulations, directives and decisions made at an EU level must be incorporated in UK domestic law, and Parliament is impotent to challenge any of these by virtue of its subordination to the precepts of the Treaty of Rome (and subsequent amending treaties). Unlike NATO and other international treaty organisations, the EU creates a developed corpus of law of its own which is interpreted by the European Court of Justice, which is superior to national courts and bound to interpret Community law in accordance with the Treaty of Rome (and successors). Now, you may argue that none of this happens without the participation and approval of the Council of Ministers (representing the governments of each member state), but when unanimity is increasingly giving way to a weighted majority vote (QMV), it is indeed the case that this EU legislative body, which meets in camera and may not be scrutinised, may impose laws upon the UK. As Lord Denning remarked: “..when we come to matters with a European element, the Treaty is like an incoming tide. It flows into the estuaries and up rivers. It cannot be held back.” This is the Acquis, which must be obeyed. But perhaps Michael Sadgrove thinks that this Lord Justice and Master of the Rolls is wrong, too. Or ill-advised. Or politically inept.

That aside, what Giles Fraser actually said was that “the EU still feels a little like some semi-secular echo of the Holy Roman empire, a bureaucratic monster that, through the imposition of canon law, swallows up difference and seeks after doctrinal uniformity.” The word “feels” is important here, and so is “canon law”, and so is “echo”. There is a pervasive demotic feeling of the abolition of Christian heritage, the abrogation of the national legal character and the disestablishment of institutional diversity in favour of aggressive secularity, an alien judicial system and political uniformity. If Giles Fraser hears an “echo” of another empire, it is not auditory hallucination. As Peter (Lord) Shore observed in his book Separate Ways:

..no one who has been engaged seriously in the business of examining draft EC laws and treaties can have any doubt about their quite extraordinary – and deliberate – complexity. Every new article or treaty clause is, with reference to articles in earlier treaties – generally to be located in a separate treaty volume. Indeed part of the whole mystique of Community Law is its textual incomprehensibility, its physical dispersal, its ambivalence and its dependence upon ultimate clarification by the European Court of Justice: and the Brussels Commission and their long-serving, often expert officials are, in interpreting and manipulating all this, like a priestly caste – similar to what it must have been in pre-Reformation days, when the Bible was in Latin, not English; the Pope, his cardinals and bishops decided the content of canon law and the message came down to the laymen, only when the Latin text was translated into the vernacular by the dutiful parish priest.

Clearly, the the themes of Reformation still resonate in the national political psyche. But perhaps Lord Shore was simply “ill-informed” as well.

Michael Sadgrove then turns to Giles Fraser’s woeful grasp of church history:

Historically, he is wrong to cite Luther as a supporter of separate national churches. Luther wanted to transform the whole church. The creation of separate national churches under the control of the nation state was, for him, an expediency to which he was driven by the politics of the day. And it has led in many cases to what I am sure Giles would accept is an unhealthily close relationship between national churches and the nation state.

The relationship between the Church of England and the English State may indeed occasionally be “unhealthily close”, but that is not a matter of dispute: it is a constitutional matter of erastian compromise, conceived historically for the common good, and to which both men have pledged their allegiance as ordained Anglican ministers. But Luther’s motives and objectives for reform were not as simple as Michael Sadgrove posits. In seeking to transform the whole Catholic church, he understood perfectly that he must begin with the German church, and in starting with the German church, it made sense to begin at home in Wittenberg.

In 16th-century Christendom, God-given authority was multi-layered: Luther understood that it resided in the princes of Empire as well as the bishops of the Church. He expressed unequivocally in The Babylonian Captivity that local communities ought to be free to choose their own ministers, from which may be derived the principle of national ecclesial autonomy, or affirmation of the doctrine of subsidiarity. He was equally insistent that God’s chosen representatives could not be random, self-declared prophets with the cultic power to make saints, and so, in the reasoned pursuit of orderly ecclesial control, he enlisted the support of the magistrates and dukes of the Commonwealth.

For Luther, it was the Prince who had the power to protect the Church, and one scripture in particular was central to his understanding: ‘Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God‘ (Rom 13:1). These worldly powers possess territorial jurisdiction and rule diversely and variously: England is not Italy; London is not Rome. Kings and princes discern the evangelical cause differently, and Luther fathomed the tension between the spiritual and temporal realms: cuius regio, eius religio (‘Whose realm; his religion’).

To dismiss Luther’s ‘two kingdoms’ apprehension of mission as “an expediency” is to misunderstand the human reality which perhaps Erasmus and Melanchthon better understood: namely that the role of the prince includes a natural responsibility as God’s anointed to have a ‘care of religion’ (cura religionis). The English national alliance of temporal kings with spiritual lords is a historic fusion of ecclesial and civil power for the peace and security of the realm. If, as the Bill of Rights 1689 observes, “it hath been found by experience that it is inconsistent with the safety and welfare of this Protestant kingdom to be governed by a popish prince”, it may be laterally adduced that it is inconsistent with the safety and welfare of this Protestant kingdom to be governed by politicians in Brussels and judges in Luxembourg.

Finally, Michael Sadgrove turns on Giles Fraser’s theology:

Theologically, there is no basis at all for the idea of separate national churches. Indeed, Paul’s letters are full of references not just to the unimportance of nationality but to the need to work together, with each playing their part and learning and growing together, with an express condemnation of schism.

This is muddled thinking. St Paul may speak of the believer’s citizenship being in heaven (1Cor 5:9f; Rom 13:1-7), but it is somewhat eisegetical to assert that St Paul thought nationality to be “unimportant”. Indeed, his Roman citizenship greatly enhanced his ministry by granting certain rights and liberties (Acts 16:37-39, 22:25-29). By virtue of his nationality, he was able to demand a trial before Caesar rather than Festus (25:7-12). He would have had certified proof of his citizenship which permitted him travel throughout the Empire provided that he met his obligations to Caesar, particularly in regard to taxation.

Nationality may be “unimportant” in the soteriological context (Gal 3:28), but it is manifestly of the utmost importance in matters of temporal liberty and law, and this is what Giles Fraser was talking about. For someone who accepts the spiritual value and freedom to “theologise differently“, it is curious that Michael Sadgrove dismisses these observations so peremptorily: there’s isn’t much tolerant latitudinalism in “wrong”, is there? But he does concede:

Where Giles has a point is that Protestantism is connected to ideas of democracy. It is also true that the EU is not a perfect democracy. But neither, in many respects, is the UK. Flouncing out of the EU has, in the end, nothing to do with democracy. What it is about is a nationalism of a particularly narrow sort, with which Giles should have nothing to do.

Being a constitutional monarchy with an established church, the UK is, of course “not a perfect democracy”. But the EU is not any kind of democracy at all: it is not merely undemocratic; it is anti-democratic, as we have seen time and again with the repudiation of national referendums which do not accord with the foundational Treaty precept of “ever closer union”. If Michael Sadgrove thinks that by sending MEPs to the European Parliament the EU is made a democracy, he is wrong. If he believes that the UK can nudge the whole behemoth toward becoming more democratic, he is ill-informed.

And if he believes that the Rev’d Dr Giles Fraser has become a proponent of “nationalism of a particularly narrow sort”, he might reflect on Dr Fraser’s manifest passion for the democratic control of pan-national mass immigration, which doesn’t sound very nationalistically narrow at all. He might also peruse a few photographs of Dr Fraser’s recent wedding (to an Israeli Jewess), which doesn’t look very nationalistically narrow either. And then he might visit Dr Fraser’s church in Stoke Newington at Pentecost, when the place will look, sound, smell and feel very much like Notting Hill Carnival.

The slur of “narrow nationalism” against Giles Fraser is evidently not “ultra vires”, unlike the allegation of “theologically illiterate” against the Dean was considered to be. It may be observed that ownership of the expressive narrative is routinely assumed by the liberal elite, with their orthodox utterances of political ideology and religious morality. But the judgmental sneer of “nationalism” is wrong, ill-informed and unworthy of the very reverend retired dean. Brexit moves the UK beyond the narrowness of Euro-nationalism: it will open up the UK’s borders to the Commonwealth and to the world. Brexit is actually less narrowly nationalistic than “free movement of persons” within the EU. And we are not “flouncing out of the EU”, which is a rather pompous proclamation. We posit a politically reasoned, historically intelligent and theologically discerning cause for an orderly secession from the secular EU empire. That is not the sort of “schism” which Scripture “expressly condemns”.

  • grandpa1940

    I never ever considered, in a million-odd years, that I would ever agree with the ‘Rev’ Giles Fraser, but here we are. I disagree with this wordy liberal bloke on so many areas that it is difficult to enumerate them, and even when he states his support for a cause which is so close to my own thinking, he then damages his reasoning by supporting virtually uncontrolled immigration.

    If he had said his piece, and then shut up, I would have been happy, but this clown has usually to be forced to shut his gob up, as he never, ever, sticks to any line but his own. With this mouthy prelate as an outrider, the ‘Leave’ Campaign is surely doomed!

    https://mikecunningham.wordpress.com/2016/04/20/why-dont-the-leave-bunch-post-this-sort-of-message/

    • William Lewis

      I think the more high profile left-wing brexiters there are the better. I hope that Rev Giles is given as much Guardian space to present his POV as possible.

    • We can disagree and debate him later on his crazy immigration policy when we are finally free of the EU shackles.

  • JustinKenrick

    a rather amusing moment in this piece is the brackets – “(and subsequently incorporated into Scotland)” – in the following chunk, that seems to be written without any awareness of the imposition that that ‘incorporation’ involved:

    “We may quibble over what may be meant by the term ‘foreign’, but in terms of law it may be understood as that which is alien to national tradition or custom, and that, in England (and subsequently incorporated into Scotland), includes the Common Law, which is certainly being supplanted by Corpus Juris.
    It has not been “imposed” in the sense of foisted without consent: our
    elected politicians have signed away historic liberties (such as the
    presumption of innocence, Habeas Corpus and trial by jury) in
    the pursuit of the European Arrest Warrant, but the people have never
    been consulted about this, and so may indeed view it as a foreign
    imposition of the Napoleonic Code over the historic Common Law.”

    • Old Nick

      Come to that, quite a lot of civil law notions were incorporated into the English Common Law in the 13th/14th century, while it retained its basic character (which was then reasserted in the 17th century).

    • PessimisticPurple

      Scottish law is based on European civil law. As for not consulting the people, that is just a native English tradition.

      • Little Black Censored

        Not entirely. It is a hybrid.

  • David

    I am amazed that finally, there is something where I can agree with Giles Fraser. Why I even admire his courage in opposing the foolish, headlong “liberal”dash towards the growing tyranny of rule by distant, unelected bureaucrats operating behind the false, deliberately deceptive facade of the EU’s pretend “parliament”.

    Yes he is right to put his trust in the people of this country, to elect lawmakers of their own choice, who they can sack if they fail; moreover Common Law and all its associations, grouped around our historic freedoms, is so superior in terms of liberty, justice, self-determination and fair play, compared to the top down oppressive Napoleonic Code. The people best placed to know what is best for Britain are the British peoples.

    Time after time a sovereign, independent UK has rescued continental Europe from its tendency to become ruled by tyrants. If now our so called elite con and scare the people into surrendering our freedoms, then I fear it will usher in a new dark age for these islands. Let us continue to work and pray for Brexit, both for the good of our own country, and also ultimately, our continental friends and neighbours.

    Giles Fraser – we can at least agree on one principle – ultimately, sovereignty, belongs to The People !

    • Old Nick

      England has saved herself by her exertions and will I trust save Europe by her example. Though I doubt if Fr. G is much of an admirer of Pitt.

      • David

        Quite ! Well quoted, Sir.
        With much effort, sadly from but a few, and with God’s help we will once again, extricate ourselves from the repetitive tendency of continental Europe to descend into tyranny on the basis of some “ism” or utopian fantasy. This time it will be indeed be a mighty close thing as our establishment is so utterly duped and deluded by the current “Grand Scheme”.

  • Anton

    Giles Fraser has got this right. It is perfectly in order to agree with somebody about one thing and disagree with them about another.

  • preacher

    I don’t know about Giles Fraser, but I admire him for speaking his mind.
    Personally I would like a deputation of Brexit supporters to nail a copy of Cromwell’s speech of the 20th of April 1653 to the door of the House of Commons & to number 10, Downing Street, with further copy to the E.U ” Parliament ” building.
    I think it sums up perfectly what’s afoot.
    ” History repeat’s, itself – it has to, because nobody listens the first time ! “

  • Albert

    One of the reasons why people don’t support Brexit is because it is associated with the small-minded right. We need to hear more of Giles Fraser, because he shows Brexit isn’t only for people who don’t like foreign people, it is for people who believe a country should be run by people who are democratically accountable.

    What’s not to like?

    • Tokalo

      Isn’t there a danger that we’ll actually hear less of him? I’m sure the BBC won’t tolerate much of this sort of independent thinking, and I wouldn’t be surprised if his radio appearances are much reduced between now and 23 June.

      • Albert

        Possibly – although he was on Question Time a while back, despite having made similar remarks a year earlier.

  • magnolia

    While it is good of Michael

  • Coniston

    It should be hammered home, again and again, that the ‘Leavers’ are not against Europe. How can we be? Britain has always been in Europe, and always will be – we are not in Africa, Asia or Asia. It is the outdated EU which is the problem; it is long past its sell-by date. It is not democratic (we cannot vote out the EU Commission, who are the real rulers of EU countries; they are a self-perpetuating elite). It is financially corrupt (its own Audit Committee has refused to sign off its finances for the past 19 years owing to lack of proper records and evidence of fraud). It is evolving into a semi-totalitarian super-state in which the peasants must do what their betters decree.

    We should cooperate as close as possible with our European neighbours – we have many vital interests in common. But the EU is not the vehicle to do it. Post EU (for all European countries) there will doubtless be different organisations covering different fields. They should be voluntary, depending on our mutual interests. And all governments should be made aware that they can be voted out of power.

    • Albert

      It is not democratic

      It’s worse than that. It is anti-democratic, since you end up in power by losing elections in your own country.

    • preacher

      Exactly ! Politicians often fall into one of two categories. Self interest or service to the electorate & the country’s well being.
      regrettably many fall into the first group & the electorate suffer, unless an honest & powerful man stops the rot like Cromwell did.
      Alas the malady is sure to return in time & must be treated as & when it appears. Fortunately there are symptoms as with any illness & the results need not be terminal.

      • Albert

        honest & powerful man stops the rot like Cromwell did

        Cromwell? You’re kidding, right?

        • Anton

          King Charles refused to listen to the people via Parliament through the 1630s and introduced deeply improper and unfair forms of taxation, while he and Archbishop Laud forcibly imposed on England one narrow form of Anglicanism. Opposition to these practices was justified and both sides raised the stakes until it became mortal. When such a cataclysmic event happens you have to look back at the original issues to decide if the outcome was better than the alternative, ie monarchical absolutism and no freedom of religion. That power then went to Cromwell’s head is not the important point.

          • Albert

            I’m not talking about the rights and wrong of the English Civil War. I’m talking about Cromwell the parliamentarian. Cromwell the military dictator. I’m talking about Cromwell the ruthless genocidalist. Whatever his merits aside from these things, surely Cromwell cannot be remembered with anything by shame and revulsion?

          • Anton

            You remember him as you like and I shall do the same, as a staunch opponent of the abuses I mentioned who had the bravery to stand against them come what may, but whose power then went to his head as it does with many dictators. Overall, I applaud his actions to January 1649 and condemn them thereafter. Your view takes no account of the passage of time in his life.

          • Albert

            No. I said:

            Whatever his merits aside from these things [i.e. I admit there may be some], surely Cromwell cannot be remembered with anything by shame and revulsion?

          • Anton

            Yours is a strange sentence: ignore his merits, remember only his bad deeds. I call that biased criteria for judging.

          • Albert

            All people have their merits. Some people do such wicked things that you simply cannot praise them as preacher did. You can say “Hitler did a lot of good in Germany, even though he was wicked” You cannot say “Hitler was an honest and powerful man, who stopped the rot, of the type we need now.”

            I’m not sure, BTW exactly what the good was the Cromwell did.

          • Anton

            Go back round the loop then.

          • Albert

            That’s not really an argument is it? What I’ve seen here is a set of comments which tend to show that Cromwellian propaganda has been swallowed uncritically.

          • Anton

            You said you weren’t sure what was the good that Cromwell did. I said that I had already set that out above, and I’ll gladly repeat it: removing a king who was determined to rule as a Continental absolutist against even Parliament and also enforce high Anglicanism on everybody in the land. You may disagree that stopping those practices is a good thing, but that would be a new subject.

          • Albert

            I’m not sure that a Civil War of the type that Cromwell fought, with all the human misery it caused makes that worthwhile. When you place it against the hypocrisy and the violence that he himself imposed, not least on Ireland (where democracy suddenly seemed unimportant), it’s pretty obvious that there is much more evil here, than good.

            I think that Cromwell was one of the most wicked people ever to come from these islands. He was more wicked than Henry VIII in my opinion – since Henry VIII was most likely a psychopath, and therefore not wholly responsible for his evils. Cromwell, I suspect has no such excuse.

          • Anton

            About which opinions I am happy to agree to differ.

          • Albert

            We’re talking about a war that cost probably 200 000 lives. For what? The Parliament of January 1649?

          • Anton

            For freedom from Continental-style absolutism and for a wider religious settlement than mandatory high anglicanism (as I have stated several times). Be careful not to blame the victors exclusively for the death toll.

          • Albert

            I’m not blaming the victors. I simply do not see the evil as sufficient to justify the suffering. What actually did England gain? Another king in all but name.

          • Anton

            You are looking at it with hindsight, which is a luxury that neither side had at the time. That is why I am comparing Charles’ execution against Continental absolutism and mandatory high anglicanism – those were the choices at the time. When you say the evil is insufficient to justify the suffering ie 200,000 dead, you are implicitly pinning the blame on the victors, but both sides are responsible.

          • Albert

            No that doesn’t follow. It is not their fault because they are victors. It is their fault because they took up arms with insufficient reason. I wouldn’t want to live in Charles’ England, but I cannot see how they could justify war even by the goods they were intending. And let’s not think of Cromwell as a democrat. He believed in upholding the social order – provided it gave people of his station a chance. Those who rebelled against him as he rebelled against Charles, he dealt with very harshly.

            Slow change is the English way.

          • Anton

            It is inaccurate to say of the parliamentarian side that “they took up arms with insufficient reason”. BOTH sides took up arms, in a process of gradual escalation. Charles raised his standard first (although I am not going to use that to pin it all on him). As for the reason, at the time it was a choice between Continental absolutism under a capricious tax-raiser together with mandatory high anglicanism, or rebellion against that. I support the rebels. You don’t. We may be glad that today it can be done with words rather than with steel. But remember that nobody knew at the time what the death toll would be. Again you are using hindsight. Both sides expected one major battle to settle it, but Edgehill showed it would be longer.

          • Albert

            You can’t pretend that they are equal. Charles was the King. He had authority already:

            Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of him who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain; he is the servant of God to execute his wrath on the wrongdoer.

            So Cromwell’s rebellion has to take into account the good he was aiming at, the evils he created and duplicated, and then weighed against the fact that he was in rebellion against the governing authorities. When that is done, it is clear he was a deeply wicked man.

          • Anton

            Cromwell was not prominent at the start of the Civil War; he came to prominence as the cavalryman who won Marston Moor and was then placed as 2IC of the New Model Army. As for Charles, his taxraising was unscrupulous yet was just one facet of his maltreatment of the people via his maltreatment of their representatives. He broke his word multiple times; just read the Petition of Right with which parliament presented him. And remember that in ancient Israel the king too was under the law – a key precedent quoted by the parliamentarians. Your way of quoting that passage from Romans could be used also to justify obedience to Hitler, of course.

          • Albert

            Cromwell was not prominent at the start of the Civil War; he came to prominence as the cavalryman who won Marston Moor and was then placed as 2IC of the New Model Army.

            My argument does not require that he was. Sure, he was in a crowd of people. Wickedness tends to be like that.

            As for Charles, his taxraising was unscrupulous yet was just one facet of his maltreatment of the people via his maltreatment of their representatives. He broke his word multiple times; just read the Petition of Right with which parliament presented him.

            Again, nothing in my position requires me to defend Charles.

            Your way of quoting that passage from Romans could be used also to justify obedience to Hitler, of course.

            You are confused. The Romans passage could be used also to justify obedience to Hitler, but that is not how I used it. I said:

            So Cromwell’s rebellion has to take into account the good he was aiming at, the evils he created and duplicated, and then weighed against the fact that he was in rebellion against the governing authorities.

            Of course I think you can rebel against a lawful authority. But my argument is that doing needs compelling reasons. In other words, the fact that Cromwell and his gang of thugs was rebelling against lawful authority means the justification for their rebellion needed to be all the stronger. It’s pathetically weak as it is, but with this problem as well, it simply cannot be justified.

            So you have given three arguments here, not one of which has addressed my position, and not one of which advances your own position.

          • Anton

            I’ve given reasons for rebelling. Read about them in the Petition of Right, which you didn’t even mention after I first pointed it out to you. (Do you know what it is?) I think they are good reasons, but you dismiss them without comment or examination and then build upon that wobbly base your usual rhetoric of logical self-justification.

          • CliveM

            Anton

            What you say can be used as justification for the deaths directly resulting from the battlefield in England. It doesn’t justify or excuse the behaviour and deliberate genocide that took place in Ireland.

          • Anton

            Please look along the thread to see that I am not attempting to justify that but have in fact condemned it.

          • Albert

            Whether these actions were the norm of the time in military campaigning in a hostile land, and what warnings he gave in advance to towns whose garrisons refused to surrender, I don’t know;

            The land was hostile because of the oppressive behaviour of English settlers.

          • Anton

            What did you expect?

          • Albert

            How exactly does this question advance the discussion or defend your position?

          • Anton

            I was wondering the same about your comment.

          • Albert

            What? Exactly what is the purpose of this sentence in your post:

            Whether these actions were the norm of the time in military campaigning in a hostile land, and what warnings he gave in advance to towns whose garrisons refused to surrender, I don’t know;

            ?

            Please explain what purpose this sentence has.

            Why were they hostile? Hostile or not, justified hostility or unjustified hostility, what can possibly justify killing unarmed women and children?

            Then you ask:

            What did you expect?

            Expect about what?

          • Anton

            You seem to think that you are my Inquisitor.

          • Albert

            This is just bizarre! I made a statement:

            The land was hostile because of the oppressive behaviour of English settlers.

            And you asked a question:

            What did you expect?

            Now it is the mark of the inquisitor to ask questions, not to make statements.

            My question followed yours because I genuinely did not understand your post. What is the point of you posting, if you do not wish to communicate anything? It was you that asked your question, I merely wanted to know what you meant.

            And somehow the unarmed women and children get forgotten…

          • Anton

            Ireland is not my subject on this thread; it is yours. I have nevertheless stated freely that Cromwell committed atrocities in Ireland. What do you want of me, and why?

          • Albert

            You have commented freely on the question of Ireland. Here’s how your post looks: it looks like you are trying to downplay the violence of Cromwell in Ireland by saying “Well, they were hostile, it was perhaps the norm for the time in such circumstances, and may be they were warned, so perhaps the victims partly had it coming to them. But yes, I condemn it.”

            And that’s why I was asking for clarification. For surely, you cannot be saying that?

          • Anton

            There is no need for me to do more than repeat myself as I consider my words perfectly clear. I am willing to say more only when I have learnt more.

            Whether these actions were the norm of the time in military campaigning in a hostile land, and what warnings he gave in advance to towns whose garrisons refused to surrender, I don’t know; I am aware of counter-comments about those things and I need to educate myself further. But I don’t dispute that he committed atrocities in Ireland, which I condemn.

          • Albert

            Well I’m sure that those women and children killed by this honest and powerful man of courage, as preacher calls him, would have found great comfort in those valiant words of yours.

          • Anton

            I have stated unprompted that he committed atrocities and that I condemn them. What more do you want of me? Please answer the question.

          • Albert

            I have answered this question already. When you wrote:

            Whether these actions were the norm of the time in military campaigning in a hostile land, and what warnings he gave in advance to towns whose garrisons refused to surrender, I don’t know; I am aware of counter-comments about those things and I need to educate myself further. But I don’t dispute that he committed atrocities in Ireland, which I condemn.

            were you really saying:

            “Well, they were hostile, it was perhaps the norm for the time in such circumstances, and may be they were warned, so perhaps the victims partly had it coming to them. But yes, I condemn it.” ?

          • Anton

            I meant exactly what I said.

          • Albert

            So, my inference is correct then.

          • Anton

            I don’t know; I’ve better things to do than check whether your inference follows from what I wrote. Your words carry only your signature, just as mine carry only mine. I wish to look into the matter more closely, as I said.

          • Albert

            What we’re talking about here is a series of atrocities against unarmed women and children. For reasons which you cannot now explain, you condemned the atrocities, but appeared to soften or slightly justify them by saying the people were hostile, it may have been the normal practice of the time and they may have been warned anyway.

            When I ask whether you meant to convey the idea of softening or justifying, you seem strangely coy. You don’t need to read about it. I’m asking what you meant at the time. Considering the nature of the atrocities Cromwell and his gang of thugs committed, I find it astonishing that you don’t just come straight out and say “Obviously, I didn’t mean to soften or justify the atrocity in anyway, what I meant was X.”

          • Anton

            I suggest it is your wish-fulfilment that causes you to call me coy, when what you are seeing is a man stating that he is not as educated as he would wish on the subject.

          • Albert

            It’s not information about the subject that you need – it’s your own disposition in saying what you said that matters.

          • Anton

            I agree!

          • Anton

            I will add that I put in those comments you are querying for the following reason. I was once staying with friends in the Republic of Ireland, an essentially secular husband and his practising Catholic wife. The subject turned to Cromwell and I said I was willing to apologise for his actions there. The husband, who has a military background, made the comments to me that I retold.

          • Albert

            The implication being that somehow they lessen Cromwell’s wickedness?

          • Anton

            Make what you like of it.

          • Albert

            Why do you say these things, if you don’t want to be responsible for them?

          • Anton

            Why do you ask?

            I accept responsibility for my words, as ever.

          • Albert

            But you don’t want to admit what you mean by them. I ask because it’s kind of frustrating – you say things, but when I ask for clarification you effectively say “You’re not allowed to ask me that.” It’s like starting a game of chess and then getting up from the table without explanation.

          • Anton

            “But you don’t want to admit what you mean by them.”

            No, I mean what I say by them. Do not assume that they mean what you think they mean. Several people here think that you are in no position to complain about shifty rhetoric.

          • Albert

            Several people here think

            Ooooh. that sounds threatening, and important.

            No, I mean what I say by them. Do not assume that they mean what you think they mean.

            That’s what’s so bad about your posts. I ask what you mean because I do not know what you mean. Then you complain that I ask. Well, if I’m not allowed to ask, or you don’t reply, then I can only take them to mean what I think they mean.

            Given all your attempts at evasion, I think you mean:

            “Well, they were hostile, it was perhaps the norm for the time in such circumstances, and may be they were warned, so perhaps the victims partly had it coming to them. But yes, I condemn it.”

          • Anton

            Are you genuinely seeking clarification, or merely hoping to draw me into saying something further, upon which you can seize? I am not being evasive (others think you are!); I simply need to inform myself better before I say more about Cromwell’s campaign, as I have already explained. I credit you with the intelligence to understand my words.

          • Albert

            Are you genuinely seeking clarification, or merely hoping to draw me into saying something further, upon which you can seize?

            I am asking for further clarification.

            I am not being evasive (others think you are!)

            Ah! These others, that always seem to be on your side. Where am I being evasive? Please state, and I will answer.

            I simply need to inform myself better before I say more about Cromwell’s campaign, as I have already explained. I credit you with the intelligence to understand my words.

            You don’t need to be better informed. The question might be phrased thus: if Ireland were hostile, Cromwell’s behaviour was the norm and warnings had been given, what then? What is the significance of these facts?

          • Anton

            I don’t know. I would answer those questions when I am better informed (and I shall be the judge of whether I need to be). Meanwhile I consider my words clear to anybody of reasonable intelligence.

          • Albert

            And so are mine. We can imagine a world in which the answer to each of those questions is “Yes” Yes, it was hostile, yes it was normal to behave that way, yes, warnings were given. What difference does it make? Why say these things, if not somehow to lessen the crime or to blame Cromwell’s thousands of victims? You don’t need to do more reading to answer that question.

          • Anton

            I refer to the critique of others on this and another recent thread.

          • Albert

            I haven’t seen anything saying I’ve been evasive. I was accused of being obtuse. I am very obtuse when trying to understand how someone can praise, as courageous a man who killed 1500 townspeople, women and children among them. I just don’t get that. But I note that your unevidenced accusation of me being evasive seems to be a way of evading my question of whether, you meant:

            “Well, they were hostile, it was perhaps the norm for the time in such circumstances, and may be they were warned, so perhaps the victims partly had it coming to them. But yes, I condemn it.”

            Because you see, the sneaking suspicion, as one brought up as an English Protestant, and looking at remarks of Protestants made here, is that there are those who somehow regard the killing of Irish Catholics as less vile, or more justified, than the killing of others. It looks like you are amongst those who felt that, and your unwillingness to clarify matters, while commendably honest, may well count as further evidence.

          • Anton

            Count as further evidence? I am not in your courtroom, perhaps to your regret. Too bad you prefer disingenuous phrases like “the sneaking suspicion” to an honest “my sneaking suspicion”. For the avoidance of doubt I regard all human life as equally sacred regardless of belief and regardless in particular of whether protestant or Catholic.

          • Albert

            Count as further evidence? I am not in your courtroom, to your regret perhaps.

            You’re just as happy to try and critique me, Anton.

            For the avoidance of doubt I regard all human life as equally sacred regardless of belief and regardless in particular of whether protestant or Catholic.

            That’s good to hear. I wonder why it took so long for you to say it! And I’m still left wondering what difference it makes if the points you raised, apparently in defence of Cromwell turn out to be true.

            You have grumbled that I have not named names of others criticising you here (even though it is a trivial matter of public record to check), so allow me to ask: Do you consider you have a psychotic hatred of Cromwell, as Preacher suggests?

            I never grumbled about that. You accused me of being evasive and said others had said so, too. I asked who. But the claim that I am psychotic is not that I am evasive, if anything, it is the opposite claim.

            No. I do not think I have a psychotic hatred of Cromwell. Cromwell murdered innocent women and children in Ireland. And yet, Preacher said we needed someone like Cromwell and praised Cromwell as “honest and courageous.” That’s psychotic if you ask me – if it isn’t ignorant. It reminds me a bit of a Russian I heard being interviewed and being asked “Do you think Putin is a great man?” Replied “Yes, he’s a great man, but not as great as Stalin.”

            How can people say such things? and how can they say such things and not expect someone to say “Actually, you’re asking for someone who made Harold Shipman look compassionate.”

          • Anton

            “I wonder why it took so long for you to say it”

            Because you were ungallant enough to bring it into question (not something I am doing of you).

            “And I’m still left wondering what difference it makes if the points you raised, apparently in defence of Cromwell turn out to be true.”

            Well, keep wondering. I intend to read up on this soon. Fresh information can alter things in unpredictable ways.

            I have made no character judgement of Cromwell on this thread; I have said simply that overall I support his actions to the end of January 1649 and condemn them afterwards. You have done your utmost to put other words in my mouth, without any success. Do waste your time trying the same with the following sentence of mine. I am glad of what both Cromwell and Henry VIII achieved in England, my own country, even if the latter man acted for wrong motives.

          • Albert

            Because you were ungallant enough to bring it into question (not something I am doing of you).

            I’m sorry to go nuclear on it, but if you had said of the holocaust, “the Jews were hostile to Germany, it was the norm in Germany at the time, and in any case,t eh Jews were warned in Mein Kampf”, it would surely not have been ungallant of me wonder what difference all that would make, even if it were true. Killing innocent people is just wrong. No amount of curious historical contingencies can change that.

            I am glad of what both Cromwell and Henry VIII achieved in England, my own country, even if the latter man acted for wrong motives.

            I’m glad you are glad of all their pillaging.

          • Anton

            That’s your idea of going nuclear? Rather I’d say that it’s going unclear.

            Pillaging? Nay, getting us shot of Rome, monasticism and monarchical absolutism. Good riddance!

          • Albert

            Pillaging? Nay, getting us shot of Rome, monasticism and monarchical absolutism.

            The word pillaging referred to the theft and damage to property, art work, architecture etc.

            I’m surprised my reference to the holocaust was unclear. I would have thought it was obvious: anyone who seeks, in anyway to justify or lessen the guilty of killing innocent people, or who will not simply condemn it, without reservation, when asked, plainly exists in a different moral universe. Is that any clearer?

          • Anton

            I was making a pun on the words nuclear and unclear. But it’s time to be serious: your reference to the Holocaust is a deeply misleading false analogy, because the Holocaust really was an attempt at genocide, whereas Cromwell made no attempt to murder all the Catholics in Ireland. You have already acknowledged the difference above, in your apology for talking about Cromwell’s genocide. So it is not only me that you are differing from, it is yourself.

            Neither side at the Reformation viewed the statues etc that were destroyed principally as objets d’art; that is a retrospective view. I am glad that the lands of the monasteries were taken from the church.

          • Albert

            Your first paragraph is confused. The objection to the holocaust is not primarily that it was a genocide, but that it involved killing innocent people. Therefore, those involved should not be praised. Cromwell killed innocent people. Therefore, he should not be praised.

            Neither side at the Reformation viewed the statues etc that were destroyed principally as objets d’art; that is a retrospective view. I am glad that the lands of the monasteries were taken from the church.

            Theft is theft, Anton. I’m sorry that you take pleasure in breaking God’s commandments.

          • Anton

            I’m sorry that you uphold a system utterly contrary to Christ’s words that his kingdom was not of this world.

            I have not praised Cromwell above for what he did in Ireland but rather the reverse – although it seems that you have forgotten this.

          • Albert

            I’m sorry that you uphold a system utterly contrary to Christ’s words that his kingdom was not of this world.

            You honestly think that I’m wrong because I believe that the Church can hold private property?

            I have not praised Cromwell above for what he did in Ireland but rather the reverse – although it seems that you have forgotten this.

            I don’t think it makes a lot of difference. You joined with preacher who had called him honest and courageous. It doesn’t matter that Hitler may have done some good in Germany. I still don’t think one should join one’s cause to someone who is describing him as honest and courageous.

          • Anton

            “You honestly think that I’m wrong because I believe that the Church can hold private property?”

            That much private property and wealth, yes; it was an obscenity against Christ’s words about his kingdom not being of this world, just like the behaviour of the hierarchy when they spectacularly ignored Christ’s words in Luke 22:225-5 about not lording it over people.

            Please explain what you mean by saying that I “joined with” Preacher in this debate, quoting exact words. Your continuing mention of Hitler in a discussion about Cromwell sits ill with your apology for saying that Cromwell committed genocide, don’t you think?

          • Albert

            That much private property and wealth, yes; it was an obscenity against Christ’s words about his kingdom not being of this world, just like the behaviour of the hierarchy when they spectacularly ignored Christ’s words in Luke 22:25-6 about not lording it over people.

            There are thirdly things wrong here. Firstly, it’s unclear how much private property you think would be acceptable. Most of the monasteries, for example, were very small often poor affairs. But they were nationalised anyway. Secondly, even if the Church, by the standards of the Gospel had amassed too much wealth, it doesn’t follow that secular lords had the right to remove it from them. You are still celebrating theft. Thirdly, the reason the state stole all this property was because of the state, in the form of Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell, was in a position to lord it over people. But Jesus’ words do not apply only to the clergy, but to us all. Therefore, by any standard your position is unacceptable.

            Please explain what you mean by saying that I “joined with” Preacher in this debate, quoting exact words.

            I’m not going to find it now. But you came in on this in his defence.

            Your continuing mention of Hitler in a discussion about Cromwell sits ill with your apology for saying that Cromwell committed genocide, don’t you think?

            I’m interested you use the fact that I apologised for misspeaking as a weapon. Would that be because you (and preacher like you) don’t apologise (let me be clear, what preacher is guilty of here, is really quite disgraceful)? But no, I don’t agree with you here. As I have said, genocide is primarily wicked because it involved killing innocent people, not the other way around. Therefore, it matters not at all to my argument whether Cromwell committed genocide.

          • Anton

            Your comments that I “joined with” Preacher are a rhetorical trick for which you should feel ashamed. He is prepared to judge Cromwell’s character positively and makes no distinction between either side of 30/1/1649; I make no judgement of Cromwell’s character and, overall, applaud his actions to that day and condemn them thereafter. You should explain exactly what you mean by my joining with him and then either justify the statement or retract it. Only a coward would fail to do one or the other.

            It was a disgrace that mediaeval Popes who lived like kings – nay, kings of kings – in Western Europe should preach the merits of poverty and humility to the people of that continent after Jesus words “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.” I am glad that the church lost its lands at the Reformation; that they were not given over as common land but went to secular lords was a shame, but a separate one.

            I apologise here when I consider myself in the wrong, by the way. I have done so on occasion. I thought not to use your apology about the word “genocide” in this subthread about Cromwell against you until you were rash enough to start mentioning the Holocaust.

          • Albert

            Your comments that I “joined with” Preacher are a rhetorical trick for which you should feel ashamed. He is prepared to judge Cromwell’s character positively and makes no distinction between either side of 30/1/1649; I make no judgement of Cromwell’s character and, overall, applaud his actions to that day and condemn them thereafter. You should explain exactly what you mean by my joining with him and then either justify the statement or retract it. Only a coward would fail to do one or the other.

            I don’t see that I should feel ashamed. He praised Cromwell. I attacked Cromwell, and you defended him. I’m not going trawling through the thread to find what I mean,- it would take too much time. I will simply say that if I have misrepresented you here, I apologise.

            It was a disgrace that mediaeval Popes who lived like kings – nay, kings of kings – in Western Europe should preach the merits of poverty and humility to the people of that continent after Jesus’ words, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.” I am glad that the church lost its lands in England at the Reformation; that they were not given over as common land but went to secular lords was a shame, but a separate one.

            You are looking at only a half of it. The state had no right to steal it from them, and many of the monks were not living like that. Frankly the state did it to fill Henry’s coffers. You no awareness of the harm this did to society, as basic things like poor relief were provided by the monks.

            I thought not to use your apology about the word “genocide” in this subthread about Cromwell against you until you were rash enough to start mentioning the Holocaust.

            I was not rash to use the Holocaust. The Holocaust was wrong because it was the killing of innocent people – as Cromwell did – and not just because it was a genocide.

          • Anton

            Of course the Holocaust and Cromwell’s atrocities in Ireland both involved killing people, but one was genocide and the other was not. You admitted as much in your apology but then you started mentioning the Holocaust in a dialogue about Cromwell. Why?

            The state had no right to steal it from them, and many of the monks were not living like that.

            Come now Albert, Romans 13 and all that. You are the one who quoted it against Cromwell without regard to circumstance (which I supplied). If you insist on circumstance now, why the difference?

            Frankly the state did it to fill Henry’s coffers.

            I couldn’t agree more; Henry became a monster. Yet, for the wrong reason, it worked out well for England, because he got us shot of a bigger monster.

            You [show] no awareness of the harm this did to society, as basic things like poor relief were provided by the monks.

            Poor relief then fell to the parishes, and attitudes to the poor fluctuated until the 1601 legislation which worked better in areas where no monastery was nearby. And you ignore the good arising from the change: many better-educated people would now remain in the community, within which they might marry and hand their learning on to their families, instead of wasting their time. In a proper Christian life your deeds in the world inform your prayer life, and your prayer life influences your deeds in the world. The monastic life lacks half of the full Christian life.

          • Albert

            You admitted as much in your apology but then you started mentioning the Holocaust in a dialogue about Cromwell. Why?

            I’ve explained that several times already. Do you want me to set it to music?

            Come now Albert, Romans 13 and all that. You are the one who quoted it against Cromwell without regard to circumstance (which I supplied). If you insist on circumstance now, why the difference?

            The prohibition on killing the innocent and stealing is absolute.

            Yet, for the wrong reason, it worked out well for England, because he got us shot of a bigger monster.

            Have you read The Voices of Morebath? More and more scholarship shows the British people, as with the EU, were duped by Whiggish propaganda.

            In a proper Christian life your deeds in the world inform your prayer life, and your prayer life influences your deeds in the world. The monastic life lacks half of the full Christian life.

            Where does this kind of nonsense leave John the Baptist and half the OT prophets?

            Poor relief then fell to the parishes, and attitudes to the poor fluctuated until the 1601 legislation which worked better in areas where no monastery was nearby

            You do not help the poor by flogging off monastery land to wealthy and ambitious land owners. You help the royal coffers that way and the wealthy and ambitious land owners.

          • Anton

            I think you have answered slightly different questions and the difference matters (as you perhaps realise).

            “The prohibition on killing the innocent and stealing is absolute.”

            So how about the Inquisition?

            “Have you read The Voices of Morebath?”

            Yes, it shows you can fool a lot of the people a lot of the time.

            “Where does this kind of nonsense leave John the Baptist and half the OT prophets?”

            What nonsense?

          • Albert

            So how about the Inquisition?

            When they killed innocent people, that was wrong.

            Yes, it shows you can fool a lot of the people a lot of the time.

            It’s an evidence based approach to history, rather than the Whiggish, we’ll just rely on what the victors said, because that suits us.

            What nonsense?

            You said this:

            In a proper Christian life your deeds in the world inform your prayer life, and your prayer life influences your deeds in the world. The monastic life lacks half of the full Christian life.

            I know that the biblical teaching on asceticism is eschewed by Protestants with even more zeal that biblical teaching on divorce and remarriage, and that the example of saints like John the Baptist and the OT prophets, and Jesus for that matter are shunned. But that does not give you a doctrine of proper Christian life or the full Christian life. It gives you an emaciated understanding of Christian life.

          • Anton

            Your indiscriminate lumping together of all protestants shows that you are still thinking, woefully, in hierarchies. Many agree with Rome’s view of remarriage. Jesus often went off to the desert to be alone with God, but he always came back into the world, to *do*. He is our model. John B was a Nazirite, for which there is biblical sanction. The prophets were embedded in their communities, who mostly scorned them. Amos was a shepherd, for instance. The idea that Christianity is better practised in solitude or in monasteries, than in the world, is erroneous. Were Jesus or the disciples hermits or mystics dedicated only to their own salvation? As I said, but you failed to grasp, the full Christian life involves praying for the world and doing in the world; the two inform each other. Monastic life, with only half of that, is impoverished spiritually – but evidently not materially before the Reformation.

            You deplore the whiggish “history is written by the winners” view in regard to the English Reformation. That whiggish approach is obviously intellectually illegitimate. I did not pretend otherwise; the touchstone is the Bible, and that is what I am comparing the pre-Reformation English church against. I am against the politicisation of Christianity whether Catholic or protestant, but it ill becomes a Catholic to squeal about the top-down imposition of a form of the faith just because it happens not to be his preferred form. It was always the Catholic strategy to go for the rulers and then get them to impose Catholicism. That might get conformity but it does not get grassroots piety.

          • Albert

            There are about 33 000 Protestants. It’s not really fair for you to expect me to distinguish between them. I was simply basing my comments on yours.

            The idea that Christianity is better practised in solitude or in monasteries than in the world, is erroneous.

            Who is making that claim?

            Were Jesus or the disciples hermits or mystics dedicated only to their own salvation? As I said, but as you failed to grasp, the full Christian life involves praying for the world and doing in the world: the two inform each other.

            It is certainly true that for the Church as a whole, there is praying and doing. But that does not in anyway prevent the possibility that some people’s vocation is simply to pray for the world. Your view that they might be praying only for their own salvation is just a prejudice, and shows that, although you critique the monastic life, you do not understand it. If God decides to devote a person’s life to prayer, who are you to complain?

            And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phan’u-el, of the tribe of Asher; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity, and as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.

            Thus, you are simply wrong when you describe the fullness of Christian life.

            The rent from all those lands gave monks a grand life compared to the peasants who had to pay it.

            Some monk yes, and that was wrong, but not all. But all the monasteries were sold. What you seem to have no concept of is of the universality of human sin – every human institution is going to suffer that corruption. Simply selling off the monasteries to the wealthy, in order to fund the King’s wars, is hardly dealing with the problem.

            I did not pretend otherwise; my touchstone is the Bible, against which I compare the pre-Reformation English church

            The only thing I find surprising about that claim is that you seem not to have noticed the sinfulness of the Protestant communities. I do not say that spitefully. It is simply another expression of the universality of human sin.

            I am against the politicisation of Christianity whether Catholic or protestant, but it ill becomes a Catholic to squeal about the top-down imposition of a particular form of the faith just because it happens not to be his preferred form.

            I have not squealed about that. I have complained about the mass theft you have supported.

            The Catholic strategy was always to go for rulers and then get them to impose Catholicism. That might get conformity but it does not get grassroots piety.

            From someone who claims to have read Duffy, I find the suggestion that there was no grassroots piety extraordinary.

          • Anton

            Duffy had an agenda.

            You wrote: “The only thing I find surprising about that claim is that you seem not to have noticed the sinfulness of the Protestant communities.”

            I associate Christian sinfulness primarily with politicised and consequently debased Christianity, whether it is protestant or Catholic. How many times do I have to say that? You even quoted me saying it immediately above, but still didn’t grasp it!

            Anna, of course, based herself in the Temple once a widow, late in lilfe. That is not even remotely comparable to mediaeval monasticism.

            Are you repeating the claim that there are 33,000 protestant denominations yet again? I have said before that you are only incorrect by some 10,000percent. The claim is based on the eccentric definition of denomination in David Barrett’s World Christian Encyclopaedia, which looks at denominations in each country and then adds the numbers per country. If you are happy to regard Roman Catholicism as 300 denominations (because there are 300 countries) then by all means quote this number. If you divide the number by about 100 (since not all denominations are in all countries) then you get something matching the list of denominations in Wikipedia. Given that I have explained this to you at least twice before, you are not very rapid in grasping it. And on top of that is the fact that, I have also explained to you before, the NT church has no hierarchy overseeing multiple congregations. You would do well to abstain from thinking hierarchically. That is the way of the world.

            You said you did not support what the Inquisition did when people were innocent. What when entirely peaceable persons were guilty of heresy by Rome’s standards – faithful evangelicals such as the Lollard and Waldenses? to the stake?

          • Albert

            Duffy had an agenda.

            You don’t seriously believe no one else had an agenda? In the end, one answers Duffy, agenda or not, with evidence. What he and others like him have shown is that the victors’ history simply does not add up. I don’t expect anyone any more seriously believes the old Protestant lie that spirituality had disappeared and that people were just crying out for Protestantism.

            I associate Christian sinfulness primarily with politicised and consequently debased Christianity, whether it is protestant or Catholic. How many times do I have to say that? You even quoted me saying it immediately above, but still didn’t grasp it!

            Because I am genuinely astonished that anyone could believe something so obviously contrary to the evidence. But of course, it fits your agenda, which is presumably why you believe it.

            Anna, of course, based herself in the Temple once a widow, late in lilfe. That is not even remotely comparable to mediaeval monasticism.

            That’s supposition, and does not fit with the evidence in Luke. She’s widowed after 7 years, and we catch up with her when she is 84, knowing she has not married in the meantime. So what’s happening in the meantime? We don’t know, but what it says is as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. This does not suggest she based herself in the Temple only late in life, rather, your other expression looks more plausible: she based herself in the Temple once a widow – most probably, when she was in her early to mid 20s . Your position also fails to notice the biblical evidence for celibacy (although I am not conflated celibacy with monasticism). And, as always, your argument only works if one accept sola scriptura. But no one accepts sola scriptura, since sola scriptura isn’t in the Bible.

            Are you repeating the claim that there are 33,000 protestant denominations yet again?… If you divide the number by about 100

            That’s not even remotely plausible – but in any case, it is plainly contrary to scripture.

            Given that I have explained this to you at least twice before, you are not very rapid in grasping it

            No I’m not. The 33 000 figure may be wrong, in which case I with draw the remark with apologies. I find it hard to keep up with the ways of counting Protestant divisions. Throw in all those non-denominational “churches” and all the various divisions of other groups which break up (e.g. all the difference Baptists), and the figure is vast. I don’t care how many it is. It is more than Christ said. And in any case, spending so long dissecting Barrett’s figures, you seem to have forgotten the scripture which says:

            God is not a God of confusion but of peace.

            I have also explained to you before, the NT church has no hierarchy overseeing multiple congregations.

            I have to say that your “explanation” was one of the worst arguments I’ve seen even on the internet.

            You said you did not support what the Inquisition did when people were innocent. What when entirely peaceable persons were guilty of heresy by Rome’s standards – faithful evangelicals such as the Lollard and Waldenses? to the stake?

            If someone is unjustly condemned and punished, that is wrong. I don’t need to go through all the examples to say that. It’s obvious. Perhaps the Inquisition never punished anyone justly. Perhaps it did. I don’t know – I don’t need to know, to be able to condemn what was wrong. But as for this chap Cromwell, there are those who wish to praise him, despite his manifest and manifold wickedness, just as they praise the violation of the 10 Commandments when the Body and Bride of Christ is the victim.

          • Anton

            “I don’t expect anyone any more seriously believes the old Protestant lie that spirituality had disappeared and that people were just crying out for Protestantism.”

            I never believed that and didn’t say it. As often you are replying to what you would find it convenient for me to have said. The people needed – rather than wanted – converting to biblical Christianity. Protestantism was imposed in England top-down, which is the way to produce conformity rather than piety. But you disagreed with that comment when I stated it about the Catholic trick for converting places…

            My argument against monasticism is not based on sola scriptura. Please stop grinding on about things I never said. Jesus was explicit that we are sent into the world but are not of the world (John 17:16-18). When Paul advocated that men stay single to serve God (1 Cor 7), he did not call them to withdraw from the world into a single-sex community. Paul engaged intensely with the world, and held himself up as a model (1 Cor 7:8). Your deeds inform your prayer, and your prayer for the world informs your deeds in the world. A monastic life of prayer without deeds is not a full Christian life: to grow, faith needs practical testing.

            I have explained to you how you are wrong by a factor of 100 – a mere 10,000% – about the number of denominations. God is not a God of confusion and peace is what you get on the NT non-hierarchical system. I regard your response to my exegesis as one of the most unconvincing things I have read.

            “Perhaps the Inquisition never punished anyone justly. Perhaps it did. I don’t know – I don’t need to know”

            And for sure you don’t want to know, either.

            Like you I’ll finish with Cromwell. I (as ever) praise his deeds in England and condemn his deeds in Ireland. Your reaction to the first part of that sentence isn’t my concern.

          • Albert

            I never believed that and didn’t say it. As often you are replying to what you would find it convenient for me to have said. The people needed – rather than wanted – converting to biblical Christianity. Protestantism was imposed in England top-down, which is the way to produce conformity rather than piety. But you disagreed with that comment when I stated it about the Catholic trick for converting places…

            We seem to be at crossed purposes. I thought your grass-roots piety claim was directed at Catholicism. These are your words:

            The Catholic strategy was always to go for rulers and then get them to impose Catholicism. That might get conformity but it does not get grassroots piety.

            You only have to look at Medieval Catholic piety to see that it is very grassroots.

            The people needed – rather than wanted – converting to biblical Christianity.

            They had it already.

            My argument against monasticism is not based on sola scriptura.

            But then you seem to have given a sola scriptura argument (ignoring, of course, the argument about Anna).

            God is not a God of confusion and peace is what you get on the NT non-hierarchical system. I regard your response to my exegesis as one of the most unconvincing things I have read.

            That the NT Church is hierarchical is obvious: everyone is under an apostle or someone(s) he has appointed. The fact that Jesus speaks through John the presbyter in Revelation, no more falsifies the hierarchical structure than Jesus speaking through Catherine of Siena showed the Medieval Catholic Church was not hierarchical.

            And for sure you don’t want to know, either.

            Obviously I do not rejoice in the wrong.

            I (as ever) praise his deeds in England and condemn his deeds in Ireland.

            You might be surprised when you read about his time in England…

          • Anton

            I meant up to January 1649, about which I consider myself adequately informed. Power then went to Cromwell’s head. Catholic Lord Acton’s dictum about power corrupting applies – a dictum he coined after studying the papacy, by the way.

            An apostolos preached at a place and appointed episkopoi/presbyteroi from among those who came to faith; these were under him until he died, after which this congregation was autonomous under Christ. I have shown these things clearly from scripture in the past even if you prefer not to see it. Arguments from scripture do not imply sola scriptura, of course, but only the principle that anything further must not contradict scripture.

            “You only have to look at Medieval Catholic piety to see that it is very grassroots.”

            Yes, but not very Christian: they were thoroughly politicised, and politics is about law whereas the gospel is about grace in contrast to law. Then there is all the de facto Mariolatry.

          • Albert

            I meant up to January 1649, about which I consider myself adequately informed. Power then went to Cromwell’s head.

            Mmmm…I was actually thinking about prior to 1649…

            Catholic Lord Acton’s dictum about power corrupting applies – a dictum he coined after studying the papacy, by the way.

            It might surprise you to know, that I knew that already.

            An apostolos preached at a place and appointed episkopoi/presbyteroi from among those who came to faith; these were under him until he died, after which this congregation was autonomous under Christ.

            The last sentence is just wishful thinking. You have provided no evidence for it that does not also fit with the idea of hierarchy continuing – for which there is evidence. I have shown these things clearly from scripture in the past even if you prefer not to see it.

            Arguments from scripture do not imply sola scriptura, of course, but only the principle that anything further must not contradict scripture.

            There is nothing contrary to scripture about living an ascetic life!

            Yes, but not very Christian

            Thoroughly Christian! It was the Protestant “Reformation” that secularised everything.

            they were thoroughly politicised, and politics is about law whereas the gospel is about grace in contrast to law.

            To say that grasroots piety was thoroughly politicised is just silly.

            Then there is all the de facto Mariolatry.

            Again, you do not know of which you speak.

          • Anton

            “Again, you do not know of which you speak [ie, what I called de facto Mariolatry].”

            Careful with that argument; it would mean you are not free to critique paganism even if you have read its sacred texts.

            “Thoroughly Christian! It was the Protestant “Reformation” that secularised everything.”

            Not so: secularism is an abuse of the legitimate freedom that began to be won at the Reformation.

            “You have provided no evidence for it that does not also fit with the idea of hierarchy continuing – for which there is evidence. I have shown these things clearly from scripture in the past even if you prefer not to see it.”

            i dispute that you have shown those things from scripture. We each think that the other is indulging in wish-fulfilment. Let readers decide for themselves.

            “I was actually thinking about prior to 1649.”

            Clearly we disagree about that too. King Charles had refused to heed or have a Parliament through the 1630s, breaking his word and introducing unscrupulous and unfair forms of taxation, while he and Archbishop Laud forcibly imposed on England their preferred ornate form of protestantism. Opposition to these practices organised, and both sides reacted to by escalating until one had won a confrontation that had grown mortal. Charles’ refusal to take his opponents’ grievances seriously and his frequent breaking of his word to heed the Petition of Right revealed that the only alternative to what happened was absolute monarchy (as on the Continent) and no religious tolerance for Puritans, who in all England were the people most committed to diligence, family life and honest dealing.

          • Albert

            Careful with that argument; it would mean you are not free to critique paganism even if you have read its sacred texts.

            Up to a point that would be true. And if I said “pagans of type X do Y” and a pagan of type X said “no we don’t”, then it would be hard for me to argue.

            Not so: secularism is an abuse of the legitimate freedom that began to be won at the Reformation.

            No, in England they were one and the same thing: power over the Church went from the Church to people like Thomas Cromwell. It was an explicit secularising of the very thing you were talking about. The Church in the Protestant “Reformation” was far more politicised, as a result.

            Let readers decide for themselves.

            Certainly.

            Clearly we disagree about that too. King Charles had refused to heed or have a Parliament through the 1630s

            Cromwell supported the illegal and absurd claim, that the House of Commons, by itself (without the Lords), when purged of those elements Cromwell did not agree with, was the highest court and able to try the King.

            How precisely, is that any better than what you accuse the King of? Of course, it didn’t cause a Civil War, but that was because Cromwell and his gang of thugs already had their army to prevent such a war – Royalists were even banned from London! That such a man then went a butchered women and children in Ireland was not because he suddenly changed as a result of power going to his head. It was entirely consistent with what went before.

          • Anton

            Really; Charles had broken his word again and again, over taxes and many other significant matters in the Petition of Right; he and Laud were cutting the ears off peaceable puritan pampleteers; finally he negotiated with the Covenanters behind the backs of the English parliament, surrendering his oh-so-principled commitment to the episcopal system for his own hope of absolute power, and thereby extending the Civil War so as to bring on the Battle of Preston. Even after that Cromwell waited several months while Charles negotiated fruitlessly with parliament. Only then did Cromwell act to curtail a man with whom it was impossible to do business in good faith. Charles was from a dynasty that had not grown under Magna Carta and he would have imposed continental-style absolutism on England. I entirely agree with Justice Bradshaw who retorted to him at his trial that a sovereign has a responsibility to his people as well as vice-versa. Don’t you?

            Let us be careful not to use “secular” in two senses: atheist; and State-above-church. I am against all politicisation of the church including protestant (as I have said), but I repeat that it ill becomes a Catholic to grumble about imposition of religion from above, given its own preferred mode of imposing itself on countries: ‘convert’ the ruler as part of a political treaty, then get him to impose Catholicism on his subjects.

          • Albert

            Your first paragraph does not address my argument, which is that Cromwell was undemocractic, absurd and illegal in his actions.

            Let us be careful not to use “secular” in two senses: atheist; and State-above-church. I am against all politicisation of the church including protestant (as I have said)

            We are talking about specific claims you made about the English situation, but if we agree on the wrongness of the English Protestant “Reformation” then well and good.

            I repeat that it ill becomes a Catholic to grumble about imposition of religion from above, given its own preferred mode of imposing itself on countries: ‘convert’ the ruler as part of a political treaty, then get him to impose Catholicism on his subjects.

            I don’t agree with this. I think you fail to see the role of culture in the conversion of a country. But then, culture is something Protestants often don’t get generally.

          • Anton

            Your usual tendency to lump all protestants together, unable to transcend your Catholic thinking in hierarchies…

            The English Reformation was imposed politically and that was wrong. It was, however, imposed on a people who badly needed converting to gospel Christianity. Please do not suppose I am arguing that the end justifies the means, by the way. But I refuse to take these statements separately.

            “Your first paragraph does not address my argument, which is that Cromwell was undemocractic, absurd and illegal in his actions.”

            You are making yourself look absurd; in which of parliament and crown does democracy reside? As for illegal, who makes the law? Your position would justify Stalin, Mao and Hitler.

          • Albert

            Your usual tendency to lump all protestants together, unable to transcend your Catholic thinking in hierarchies…

            I know full well that there are different kinds of Protestants – that’s one of the things that gives the game away. You cannot expect a Catholic to deal with every single type in one go, especially when the differences and who supports what, are so opaque.

            It was, however, imposed on a people who badly needed converting to gospel Christianity.

            They had gospel Christianity already. It was partly taken from them.

            in which of parliament and crown does democracy reside?

            In saying that, you show you know less about Cromwell’s behaviour in the run up to the execution of the King than you had claimed.

            As for illegal, who makes the law? Your position would justify Stalin, Mao and Hitler.

            You seem completely out of your depth here. There are more issues – as indicated in my post – that simply whether the King was the only person to make law.

          • Anton

            “I know full well that there are different kinds of Protestants – that’s one of the things that gives the game away. You cannot expect a Catholic to deal with every single type in one go, especially when the differences and who supports what, are so opaque.”

            You swing between lumping all protestants together and claiming that there are 33,000 protestant denominations. Clearly you will use whatever argument suits you, regardless of the actual situation. Speaking factually, that number is wrong by a paltry 10000 percent.

            Mediaeval Catholicism was very far from gospel Christianity indeed. “The kings and great men of the gentiles lord it over them, but not so among you [Christians]…” Mediaeval bishops most certainly lorded it over the people, all under their king of kings seated in Rome.

            “In saying that, you show you know less about Cromwell’s behaviour in the run up to the execution of the King than you had claimed.”

            Do say more. Let us see who is out of his depth.

          • Albert

            Clearly you will use whatever argument suits you, regardless of the actual situation.

            This discussion is about the Reformation in England. My comments are directed to that. Now you critique me for doing so! But yes, it is easy for Protestants to hide behind the “yes but that’s not my kind of Protestant” thing. But at the same time, that gives the game away.

            Mediaeval Catholicism was very far from gospel Christianity indeed. “The kings and great men of the gentiles lord it over them, but not so among you [Christians]…” Mediaeval bishops most certainly lorded it over the people, all under their king of kings seated in Rome.

            The fact that people are sinful in the Church does not mean that her message is not that of the Gospel. If it did, it would count against whatever Christian community you belong to.

            Do say more. Let us see who is out of his depth.

            I’ve already indicated the issues: the Commons had been purged of people who would disagree with Cromwell’s policy. That was undemocratic. As Wedgwood points out, the Commons claimed to be acting on behalf of the people, but it was actually being driven by Cromwell. Democratically elected members who followed their constituents in disagreeing with Cromwell’s policy were not able to participate. That’s only democracy if you think of the DDR as democratic. Then, the Commons acted without the Lords, and claimed as such to be the highest court in the land. But that was never the case. And then there is the fact that it was a case against the King and so was illegal. Thus my claim that the position was undemocractic, absurd and illegal is true. Indeed, many of those who hated the King nevertheless, stayed away because they knew it was a cabal which didn’t even look like a court. They couldn’t even find someone decent to preside over it – anyone with any decency refused. This was why Charles was able to run rings around them.

          • Anton

            You’d better define democracy if you want this to be constructive. Pericles would not have called 17th century England such, nor even today’s representative democracy.

            Differences arose between Parliament and the standing army it had created, and the latter showed great patience in not taking violent action against a parliament that tried to reduce the pay it had promised the army, and which aimed not to indemnify the army for the very wartime activities that parliament had engaged it to do. Then the army stood by even as Charles broke his word by restarting the war via bribes to the Covenanters; even after that the Army waited months while Charles and parliament haggled to no effect. Only then did Cromwell run out of patience and enact Pride’s Purge on parliament. He and the Army acted with great restraint in the protracted period between Charles’ surrender at Newark and Pride’s Purge. Read the deeply intelligent settlement proposed by the army leaders after Newark; read the fine constitutional parts of the Army’s Remonstrance proposed before that Purge.

            What is your basis for saying that Charles “ran rings round” his opponents at his trial? He stated merely that they had no authority to try him, to which Bradshaw replied that a king has a duty to his subjects as well as vice versa – a view stemming from Magna Carta. Do you think Charles was in breach of that duty in his frequent breaking of his word over matters of State? How else might he have been held to account for that?

          • Albert

            You’d better define democracy if you want this to be constructive. Pericles would not have called 17th century England such, nor even today’s representative democracy.

            You don’t seriously propose that as a defence of your position, do you? Obviously, 17th Century democracy was not what it would be today. The problem is that, under Cromwell, it wasn’t what it should have been then. Thus Cromwell was not even a democrat by 17th Century standard. Which is pretty damning.

            You second paragraph just waffles around the point. It doesn’t matter what problems there were of pay and conditions, Parliament was purged by the army to produce a particular result. By what right did Cromwell do this? Doubtless we can claim it was his religious fanaticism – the same fanaticism that would result in thousands of Irish deaths – a crime for which we continue to pay. But whatever Cromwell’s motivation, it was clearly not democratic.

            What is your basis for saying that Charles “ran rings round” his opponents at his trial?

            You’re kidding, right? The trial transcript!

            He stated merely that they had no authority to try him, to which Bradshaw replied that a king has a duty to his subjects as well as vice versa – a view stemming from Magna Carta.

            Come on! He didn’t merely do that. He made a complete hash of it and eventually got around to making that point, but only after the King had exposed the illegality of the court on some of the grounds I have exposed myself (the King presumably did not know the Commons had been purged first – if he had, he could have made that point as well).

            Do you think Charles was in breach of that duty in his frequent breaking of his word over matters of State?

            Yes, although I would not count anything he did while a prisoner.

            How else might he have been held to account for that?

            Sometimes it is not possible to get justice in this world. Cromwell ignored that and tried to get justice in an unjust way. As A Man for all Seaons puts it relating to a similar trial involving a Cromwell, in the same place:

            Roper: So now you’d give the Devil benefit of law!

            More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

            Roper: I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

            More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you — where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast — man’s laws, not God’s — and if you cut them down — and you’re just the man to do it — d’you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake.

            If you Anton will not give the benefit of law to the King, then you cannot claim it for yourself.

          • Anton

            “You second paragraph just waffles around the point.”

            I concede to your expertise in waffle, and Magna Carta is my short answer. But Charles’ father came from a land with no such tradition and did not educate his son to it.

            Charles’ comments and speech at his trial, and Bradshaw’s, are a matter of public record; I’ve read both. But your view that Charles ran rings round the tribunal is questionable: he had only one trick, I Am King, and his bluff and his breaking of his word were called. In view of his obstinacy the only alternative was continental absolutism. I thank God that England was spared it.

          • Albert

            I concede to your expertise in waffle, and Magna Carta is my short answer.

            The issue we were arguing about is the legitimacy of the court and the democracy of the Commons at the time of the trial. Here’s how it went:

            You: in which of parliament and crown does democracy reside?

            Me: In saying that, you show you know less about Cromwell’s behaviour in the run up to the execution of the King than you had claimed.

            You: As for illegal, who makes the law? Your position would justify Stalin, Mao and Hitler.

            Me: You seem completely out of your depth here. There are more issues – as indicated in my post – that simply whether the King was the only person to make law.

            You: Do say more. Let us see who is out of his depth.

            Me: I’ve already indicated the issues: the Commons had been purged of people who would disagree with Cromwell’s policy. That was undemocratic. As Wedgwood points out, the Commons claimed to be acting on behalf of the people, but it was actually being driven by Cromwell. Democratically elected members who followed their constituents in disagreeing with Cromwell’s policy were not able to participate. That’s only democracy if you think of the DDR as democratic. Then, the Commons acted without the Lords, and claimed as such to be the highest court in the land. But that was never the case. And then there is the fact that it was a case against the King and so was illegal. Thus my claim that the position was undemocractic, absurd and illegal is true. Indeed, many of those who hated the King nevertheless, stayed away because they knew it was a cabal which didn’t even look like a court. They couldn’t even find someone decent to preside over it – anyone with any decency refused. This was why Charles was able to run rings around them.

            Thus the issue is not the King, but the legitimacy of the court and the democracy of the Commons. Now I’ve given a range of reasons to question both – I don’t need to appeal to the king thing, but to the behaviour Cromwell was party to. Thus your Magna Carta thing is just waffle.

            Charles’ comments and speech at his trial, and Bradshaw’s, are a matter of public record; I’ve read both. But your view that Charles ran rings round the tribunal is questionable: he had only one trick, I Am King

            Well that’s curious, because one of the King’s arguments was about the Commons as a court:

            The Commons of England was never a Court of Judicature, I would know how they came to be so.

            Thus your claim about the King having only one trick is false. And it’s odd that you made that claim, given that I had already referred to the Commons not being legitimate twice. Moreover, if the King had known what was really going on, he would have had another argument as well. All Bradshaw could do at this point was to order the clerk to call on the King to answer the charge – which of course just gave Charles another chance to expose the illegitimacy of the court. That’s what I mean by running rings around the Court. And this was just after Bradshaw had threatened the King with contempt of court – which showed how weak he was: the King did not recognize the court and he was on trial for his life. Why would he be bothered by a charge of contempt of court? There as a lack of quality in the court because anyone who knew anything refused to take the role Bradshaw took.

            All of which serves to defend my original point and to falsify your point: it was undemocractic, absurd and illegal.

          • Anton

            Magna Carta did a good deal to put the king under the law, just as the king was in ancient Israel. But Magna Carta did not deal with the question: if the king broke the law, who would try him? Four centuries later we got an answer to that difficult question. Charles’ only argument was that as he was king nobody had authority to try him. That the Commons didn’t customarily function as a court is wholly secondary to that claim of Charles, for the Commons had passed plenty of Bills of Attainder prior to his trial.

            Undemocratic? England was not a democracy at the time.

            Absurd? Empty rhetoric.

            Illegal? Tell me, if the king is to be under the law, who should try him? Or do you think that the king should not be under the law; should be free to murder or rape whoever he wills?

          • Albert

            Undemocratic? England was not a democracy at the time.

            Democracy was in your comment! You can hardly complain about me talking about democracy when you bring it up for discussion.

            That the Commons didn’t customarily function as a court is wholly secondary to that claim of Charles, for the Commons had passed plenty of Bills of Attainder prior to his trial.

            “Customarily function” are just weasel words. The Commons did not have the authority. Moreover, it was not even the Commons, it was the Commons after it was purged of anyone who would disagree – to the degree that there was no one suitable to preside over it. Even Fairfax didn’t turn up – although his wife appeared to say he wouldn’t be so stupid. It was show trial and nothing more.

            Illegal? Tell me, if the king is to be under the law, who should try him? Or do you think that the king should not be under the law; should be free to murder or rape whoever he wills?

            This is a bogus argument. My view that the purged Commons was not able to try the King does not entail me having to have an alternative, any more than my view that a bunch of children (or perhaps more pertinently, a bunch of criminals) requires me to say who could try him. The Commons was certainly not in a position to try him – they had ceased to receive representations in the King’s favour, they had been purged of those who would disagree with the course of action they had determined upon prior to the trial. The decision was not only decided in advance, but the “Court” gerrymandered to ensure the “correct” outcome.

            So your argument is uniquely bad: you say that an illegal court, illegally purged of just and legal minded people, should try the King for breaking the law.

          • Anton

            “Democracy was in your comment! You can hardly complain about me talking about democracy when you bring it up for discussion.”

            I brought it up because you did in a previous assertion that the trial was undemocractic (sic), absurd and illegal.

            I asked: If the king is to be under the law, who should try him? You replied: “This is a bogus argument. My view that the purged Commons was not able to try the King does not entail me having to have an alternative…”

            Do try to think of the effect of your words on readers, Albert!

          • Albert

            I brought it up because you did in a previous assertion that the trial was undemocractic (sic), absurd and illegal.

            Errr….was not your whole position one directed at absolutism?

            Do try to think of the effect of your words on readers, Albert!

            I did. And I doubt that anyone seriously thinks that someone who object to a bunch of children trying the King, must necessarily have in hand the idea of who could try the King. Examples can be multiplied endlessly: instead of children try criminals, Guy Fawkes and his gang, lunatics, foreign potentates, the Pope, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi. How one tries a head of state is not easy – I don’t expect the Queen can be tried, to this day. I don’t have to be able to answer the question of who can try the monarch to be able to see that that list will not do. To that list, I add: the House of Commons by itself when purged of anyone who has not made up his mind to execute the King before the trial begins.

          • Anton

            Pride’s Purge was principally of presbyterians, who wished to keep negotiating with King Charles a full two and a half years of royal shenanigans after he had surrendered at Newark. As for your claim it was a show trial, it could hardly be anything else, could it?

          • Albert

            As for your claim it was a show trial, it could hardly be anything else, could it?

            Then it was not really a trial at all.

            Pride’s Purge was principally of presbyterians, who wished to keep negotiating with King Charles a full two and a half years of royal shenanigans after he had surrendered at Newark.

            That’s not the complete picture at all. But even if it were, who gets to decide what’s reasonable and right? Cromwell? Why him? Because he controlled (in practice at any rate), the army. So in the end, your argument boils down to might is right. But if that is the case, why take up arms against the King in the first place?

          • Anton

            To the contrary, it is royal absolutism that is based on the might-is-right principle. And please stop deliberately misunderstanding my use of phrases such as “show trial”. What else could a trial of a king be, even if kept low key?

          • Albert

            How dare you accuse me of being dishonest? Who gave you a window into my soul? Who gave you authority to judge what is there?

            I honestly took the expression “show trial” to mean “fake trial”. That’s what the word normally means. Here’s the first definition Google threw up:

            a judicial trial held in public with the intention of influencing or satisfying public opinion, rather than of ensuring justice.

            and all the other definitions I looked at have the same meaning

            If you want to use words differently from their accepted meaning, make your meaning clear: don’t accuse me of dishonesty.

            To the contrary, it is royal absolutism that is based on the might-is-right principle.

            I am not defending royal absolutism as I have indicated. Shall I accuse you of deliberately misunderstanding my words? Your position is inconsistent because in the name of avoiding might is right, you appeal to might is right. I am not making the same mistake.

          • Anton

            That is obviously too narrow a meaning, for a show trial may equally well show to the world how to bring to book someone who thought he was above the law but wasn’t. Others have suggested recently that you have played deliberately obtuse for rhetorical purposes, but I am willing to withdraw the suggestion of deliberate obtuseness.

          • Albert

            Others have suggested recently that you have played deliberately obtuse for rhetorical purposes

            Making windows on men’s souls appears to be a common problem – there seems no willingness among some commentators here to give the other fellow the benefit of the doubt as to his sincerity. I don’t think that appealing to those who make such charges is a valid defence. The need to do so is telling.

            That is obviously too narrow a meaning, for a show trial may equally well show to the world how to bring to book someone who thought he was above the law but wasn’t.

            That is not obvious, since it is not among the definitions I have found:

            a judicial trial held in public with the intention of influencing or satisfying public opinion, rather than of ensuring justice.

            a trial organized by a government in order to have an effect on public opinion and reduce political opposition, and not in order to find the truth

            trial in a court of law in which the verdict has been decided in advance

            a trial (as of political opponents) in which the verdict is rigged and a public confession is often extracted

            A show trial is a public trial in which the judicial authorities have already determined the guilt of the defendant. The actual trial has as its only goal to present the accusation and the verdict to the public as an impressive example and as a warning to other would-be dissidents or transgressors.

            a trial that a government arranges for political reasons and decides the result of before the trial begins

            Now it may well be that you can find somewhere a definition of show trial that accords with yours. But even if you can, you will have to search for it. Instead, my meaning is clearly the usual one. Therefore, you are unjust and wrong to say And please stop deliberately misunderstanding my use of phrases such as “show trial” and That is obviously too narrow a meaning, for a show trial may equally well show to the world how to bring to book someone who thought he was above the law but wasn’t or to say I am willing to withdraw the suggestion of deliberate obtuseness, for I am not being obtuse at all.

          • Anton

            That is a matter of opinion.

            “it may well be that you can find somewhere a definition of show trial that accords with yours. But even if you can, you will have to search for it.”

            Telling me what I will have to do is a common trait of yours. But although I am writing to you, I am writing with readers in mind, for my intent is to appeal to the reasonable man.

          • Albert

            You’ve accused me of dishonesty or insincerity over my understanding of the word “show trial”, but I have shown, by reference to six definitions in the public sphere, that my interpretation is just what all those dictionaries say the word means.

            And yet you won’t apologise, but have tried to change the subject: Telling me what I will have to do is a common trait of yours.

            Surely readers following this can see that you’ve accused me of dishonesty or insincerity, that you have done so without evidence, and that I have given abundant evidence to the contrary. Clearly if anyone goes around banding about accusations, they have to do something to defend those accusations or apologise and withdraw them. As your accusation was false and falsified by evidence, you cannot do the former, but rather than do the latter you change the subject and turn it into a further attack on me.

            Shame on you. Anton!

          • Anton

            “Surely readers following this can see…”

            I’m happy to let them decide.

            When I wrote, “Telling me what I will have to do is a common trait of yours”, I was not changing the subject. Please verify for yourself that I was referring to words in your preceding post.

          • Albert

            You were changing the subject from the fact that you had unjustly, and I think I have demonstrated, falsely accused me of dishonesty or insincerity. That is a change of subject to deflect the fact that although you have not been able to substantiate the accusation (and it is a pretty bad accusation), and I have falsified it, you are unable to apologise.

            Indeed, your comment I’m happy to let them decide rather suggests you are accusing me of dishonesty now that I am saying I sincerely took your use of the word “show trial” in the way that all those six definitions did.

            Why not just admit I understood the word as all those dictionary definitions did, say you’re sorry and withdraw the remark? Is it because I am a Catholic that you think I am unworthy of such a response, or is it that you are unable to apologise, even when you are so clearly in the wrong?

          • Anton

            It is you who think me in the wrong. For me to apologise you would need to convince me, however.

            “That is a change of subject to deflect the fact that…”

            “The fact that he [Cromwell] failed to fulfil his fantasies does not alter his intent.”

            And yet it is you who grumble that “Making windows on men’s souls appears to be a common problem… here”. What of consistency?

            Another quote from this thread, by Preacher: “Albert, I feel you are being obtuse on purpose with Anton & myself”. Yet you did not respond to Preacher as ardently as you just did to me. Is that because I criticise the Catholic church – a critique that Catholic Ivan was willing to see on a more recent thread?

          • Albert

            Come on Anton – you accused me of dishonesty or insincerity, and yet, despite abundant evidence, to show you are wrong, you still don’t think you need to apologise.

            “The fact that he [Cromwell] failed to fulfil his fantasies does not alter his intent.”

            It’s rather a difference between talking about a man from several hundred years ago who is responsible for death of huge numbers of innocent people, and your accusing me of insincerity when it is plainly obvious that I have not been so.

            Another quote from this thread, by Preacher: “Albert, I feel you are being obtuse on purpose with Anton & myself”. Yet you did not respond to Preacher as ardently as you just did to me.

            The two cases are entirely different. He said how he felt, and I responded to that. You made an accusation (or stated an accusation as a pseudo-fact). That’s entirely different.

            Is that because I criticise the Catholic church – a critique that Catholic Ivan was willing to see on a more recent thread?

            No. It’s because you have stated, as if it is a fact, that I was being insincere or dishonest. You have provided no evidence for that. You will not take my word that I was not (thereby compounding the original insult that I am dishonest). I have provided documentary evidence that I understood the word in the normal way. And yet, rather than withdraw your libel and apologise, you now try to make small-minded tu quoques, which fail.

            I expect this kind of deep unpleasantness from atheists.

          • Anton

            I did suggest that there was an alternative explanation for your obtuseness than deliberate. My rule is to apologise where I feel convicted.

            “It’s rather a difference between talking about a man from several hundred years ago”

            Tosh. You were grumbling about others claiming to see inside you yet you are willing to dish it out both to me (“change of subject to deflect…”) and to Cromwell (“his fantasies”). That is simple hypocrisy. Were I to adopt your mode of rhetoric I’d ask what is your evidence by which you conclude that I was deliberately deflecting, and that Cromwell nursed fantasies of genocide.

          • Albert

            This is what you said:

            And please stop deliberately misunderstanding my use of phrases such as “show trial”

            That seems pretty clear to me.

            That is simple hypocrisy.

            I’m afraid that once you’ve falsely accused someone of dishonesty, especially when you avoid withdrawing the remark, you can’t really complain if you then get accused of evasion.

            Were I to adopt your mode of rhetoric I’d ask what is your evidence by which you conclude that I was deliberately deflecting

            There’s the fact that, whereas you accused me of deliberately misunderstanding when my understanding was the same as six dictionary definitions, you on the other hand, did change the subject, even though the point had been made to you. Once you get into libel, you can’t expect people to regard you with the same respect.

            and that Cromwell nursed fantasies of genocide.

            My evidence for that is that he butchered vast numbers of men, women and children, of a different race and religion, but who were in his care. Under the circumstances, blanching at the use of the word “genocide” seems rather a legalistic distinction.

          • Anton

            Yet you acknowledged such a legalistic distinction between genocide and genocidal tendencies in your apology higher up this thread.

            I have never sought respect; don’t worry about that. I did not change the subject as a rhetorical trick. If you think I did then you are welcome to that opinion, but actually I addressed another point in your then-preceding comment, and if I didn’t go further into another subject it is because I had nothing more to say. I am aware that this is not now a particularly edifying exchange, but factually speaking I’d not change anything.

          • Albert

            Yet you acknowledged such a legalistic distinction between genocide and genocidal tendencies in your apology higher up this thread.

            I don’t think you’re keeping up with this. My point is that someone who worries about the distinction – as you do – needs to think more carefully.

            You can say as much as you like, but you falsely accused me of insincerity – and only because you do not know what a basic word means. Despite evidence to the contrary, you won’t withdraw the slur. That reflects very poorly on you.

          • Anton

            Again you tell me what I “need” to do. I feel no such need. Let others read and decide for themselves about the rest.

          • Albert

            I think that if you think you can just throw accusations of dishonesty around, which have been shown to be false, and that you don’t need to do anything about that (e.g. apologise and withdraw the accusation), then I cannot say much for your morality.

          • Anton

            Let the reader decide. I’m not asking you for a testimonial.

          • Albert

            The reader will be able to see the accusation you made, he will know the meaning of the word “show-trial” and, if he checks the dictionary, he will see there the same meaning he has and that I use. He will see that, nevertheless, you have not apologised or withdrawn the accusation.

          • Anton

            The reader will also be able to judge these words of yours against mine.

          • Albert

            If that’s how you use the word “show-trial” that’s fine. But you can’t accuse me of deliberate misunderstanding, if I take it, in the accepted sense, as found in a dictionary. Sure, that was a misunderstanding, but it was not deliberate, and it was that accusation that I objected to.

          • Anton

            It should be obvious that the meaning of “show trial” is a trial designed to legitimise the power of the tryers. For if the aim is to get somebody out of the way by having them killed or jailed, nothing is stopping those in power from simply killing or jailing the accused without trial.

          • Albert

            It doesn’t matter what a show trial entails, it is what the expression means. I took your use of the word to mean what it means in 6 dictionaries. You accused me of dishonesty for that.

          • Anton

            It is obvious that the expression means what I’ve explained and it is beyond me why anybody should consider otherwise. I can knock over the definition you have provided in two sentences; see my immediately previous comment.

          • Albert

            It is obvious that the expression means what I’ve explained and it is beyond me why anybody should consider otherwise. I can knock over the definition you have provided in two sentences

            That’s rather an admission. On the one hand you say your meaning is obvious, and yet on the other you have to knock down the definitions I have provided. Not so obvious then, is it. Moreover, to defend your accusation, you have to show not only that yours’ is the right meaning, but also that I deliberately misunderstood it. It seems obvious that neither claim is true.

          • Anton

            If it takes just two simple sentences to knock over the meaning you proposed, acting on the basis of mine, then it is obvious to all but those unwilling or unable to do the thinking for themselves.

            “to defend your accusation, you have to show…”

            Once again you tell me what I have to do to knock over your position. That is a common rhetorical trick, namely masquerading as one side of a debate and also as its arbiter. I’m not falling for it.

          • Albert

            If you make accusations, the normal thing is that you have to defend them. I don’t think that’s unreasonable, in fact, I think it is telling that you don’t think this applies to you.

          • Anton

            I’m content to let the reader decide, although on the basis of what I wrote above, not your subsequent summaries of it, which constitute another example of the same rhetorical trick.

          • Albert

            If readers go back to the original point in the thread, they will see that I have been entirely consistent, both with myself and with the dictionary definition. You seem determined to find fault in that, not just intellectually, but even morally.

          • Anton

            You seem to want to tell the reader how to read your posts and mine. What the reader will see in such attempts is coercion, of course. Do stop trying to play the victim card, after writing of Cromwell that “The fact that he failed to fulfil his fantasies does not alter his intent”.

          • Albert

            You seem to want to tell the reader how to read your posts and mine.

            Funnily enough, that’s what I was going to accuse you of. After all, you’re the one who has been introducing new elements.

            Do stop trying to play the victim card, after writing of Cromwell that “The fact that he failed to fulfil his fantasies does not alter his intent”.

            There’s an enormous difference between making a historical claim about a man long since dead, and who everyone agrees was responsible for killing huge numbers of innocent women and children, and accusing someone else of dishonesty without evidence and in the face of evidence. The fact that you think there is some kind of parity in these things, and that you will not apologise rather suggests either that you don’t know the difference between right and wrong, or else that you have problems apologising.

          • Anton

            The only difference is that you are grumbling where you reckon your thoughts have been asserted, yet you do the same to a man who cannot answer back! I apologise when I feel convicted.

          • Albert

            So to be clear: you won’t apologise, not because you don’t think you are in the wrong, but because you think I am in the wrong about something else (something which I apologised about, although whether it was precisely this bit, I don’t know). I was making a historical judgement about a man who murdered innocent women and children, in huge numbers, and therefore for whom I have evidence that he was genocidal. But you, think that is the same as accusing me, a living person, who has not murdered innocent people, of being dishonest, when you have no evidence to support that claim except for your own misunderstanding of what words mean, and there is in fact evidence to the contrary.

            I’m still left wondering whether you don’t know the difference between right and wrong or whether you just can’t apologise.

            Please answer this question, as you would say, with a yes or no answer: Do you acknowledge that when you accused me of deliberately misunderstanding you that accused me, without adequate evidence, and that you accused me falsely?

          • Anton

            That’s a little hard to parse; could you phrase the question more clearly?

          • Albert

            That’s kind of the point. Having made an unfounded accusation, for which you will not apologise, your position has become ever complicated to defend, so that when I express it, even you don’t understand. Note: I am not accusing you of deliberately misunderstanding.

          • Anton

            You asked: “Do you acknowledge that when you accused me of deliberately misunderstanding you that accused me, without adequate evidence, and that you accused me falsely?”

            That sentence is as clear as mud and its lack of clarity is to do with your phrasing of it, not the complexity of the situation. Please rephrase it – and please also explain your purpose in asking it.

          • Albert

            My apologies, I thought your comment was referring to the paragraph above – you use of the word “parse” rather than “mistype” gave that impression.

            The question is this:

            “Do you acknowledge that when you accused me of deliberately misunderstanding you, you accused me, without adequate evidence, and that you accused me falsely?”

            I ask it, because, as my previous paragraph showed, it appeared you had conceded that you accused falsely.

          • Anton

            You say that you did not deliberately mislead, but you adduce no evidence for that. The evidence you did provide, namely your definition of a “show trial”, I showed absurd in two sentences which you did not dispute. I could not therefore have been expected to know you were using an irrational definition, and it is not normal to demand apology based upon one’s own unsupported word for what one was thinking.

          • Albert

            You say that you did not deliberately mislead,

            It was your accusation, and it was not that I deliberately misled, but that I deliberately misunderstood.

            but you adduce no evidence for that.

            As I’m on the receiving end of the accusation, it does not fall to me to produce evidence of my innocence, but to you to produce evidence of my guilt.

            The evidence you did provide

            But you just said, that I had adduced no evidence!

            namely your definition of a “show trial”, I showed absurd in two sentences which you did not dispute.

            I supported my definition with six dictionary definitions – if you wish to show that they also are absurd you’re going to need a better argument than the one you gave:

            I take a show trial as a trial conducted to legitimise the persons doing the trying. That process of legitimisation might in fact be done by being conspicuously fair to the defendants, and I regard Nuremberg, where some were acquitted, as show trials. Perhaps you think that acquittal means by definition that a trial cannot have been a show trial, but that is simplistic. So, you see, there is rather more to it than a trial whose outcome is pre-determined to find someone guilty and penalise them; even “pre-determined” is a loaded word, as it depends on the reason for pre-determination. There are good reasons, such as decisive evidence that is already in the public domain, and bad reasons (to “get” somebody).

            Firstly, simply to argue with multiple dictionary definitions of a word does not establish anything, except perhaps your irrationality. Secondly, the fact that it is designed to look like it is legitimate does not mean it is. Thirdly, this was evidently a unjust trial, and a show trial in the dictionary sense of the word, since the King was tried by a court that had not the authority to do the trying (since the Commons by itself did not have the authority to anyone) and anyone who recognized the illegitimacy of the “court” or who was not onside with the decision before it began, was not allowed to be part of it, even though they were, as MPs, part of the Commons. So your position is very hard to maintain by any standard.

            But your accusation is worse than that. Since you complain that I deliberately misunderstood, you need to know that I understood your position, that I knew you were using the word “show-trial” in a way contrary to normal usage as established in six dictionary definitions, that I should have agreed with you that the court was legitimate even though we both know they had decided the outcome not only in their minds, but also in gerrymandering the court.

            As far as I can see, this is what your position entails, and it is assumptions like these that enables you to throw around accusations of dishonesty with impunity. If I am still misunderstanding your accusation, perhaps you would be so kind as to set it out clearly. When you accused me of deliberately misunderstanding you:

            1. What did you think I was misunderstanding?
            2. How do you know it was deliberate?
            3. What was the meaning I should have given to your words?

          • Anton

            This is not the Inquisition…

            I don’t think you are representing my position accurately and I invite readers to see my my position in my own words and yours in yours.

          • Albert

            I’ve asked you to express your position if I am misrepresenting it. You have misrepresented me and not given me the chance to clarify my position. It seems you expect to behave to a different standard from the one you expect of me.

          • Anton

            Do stop playing the victim card, especially in view of some of your own comments. My position is as I have stated it, not necessarily as you have stated it. All this stuff about “I am not required to…” is true, for you are not even “required” to reply, and neither am I. If you are as happy as I am for readers to decide for themselves, why are you still expending energy?

          • Albert

            Do stop playing the victim card, especially in view of some of your own comments.

            Do stop trying to avoid your accusations by pretending I am at fault for the fact that you made them.

            If you are as happy as I am for readers to decide for themselves, why are you still expending energy?

            Well, you started the “Let readers judge for themselves”, so why do you keep replying?

          • preacher

            Is this still going on ?. I thought that both Anton & myself had made this clear !. But it seems that you have a psychotic hatred of a historical figure.
            I am coming to the conclusion that your continued posting & refusal to see what I have attempted to clarify has a deeper hidden agenda.You wish to attack the Protestant / Puritan faith from a Roman Catholic position. If this is the case then I feel you should reconsider continuing. If I am wrong, then please accept my apologies for suggesting it.
            I would point out though that history has shown many evils committed against helpless, unarmed, unprepared people by power hungry individuals or organisations which you don’t mention.
            In respect of our host & from a personal position, this is a course of action that I refuse to take & would ask you to kindly refrain from your pursuit of this thread before it get’s totally out of hand.
            Please stick to the thread, your personal beliefs are your own & I don’t wish to challenge them. So please in the name of amicability let all parties now leave this pointless subject before it gets even more personal.
            Thank you in anticipation of your acceptance. P.

          • Albert

            If I am wrong, then please accept my apologies for suggesting it.

            You are quite wrong. Why not read what I have written? If I thought as you accuse me of thinking, why wouldn’t I hold animus against all Protestants? I oppose Cromwell, and am astonished when people praise him, because he was a wicked man who killed innocent women and children in vast numbers.

            I would point out though that history has shown many evils committed against helpless, unarmed, unprepared people by power hungry individuals or organisations which you don’t mention.

            So, in order for me to be allowed to condemn Cromwell when you praise him, I have to be able to name all the other monsters and condemn them as well? Is that really the best you can do?

            I think your post is a disgrace. You have upvoted a post which accused mean of supporting violent absolutism. But you’re the one who praised Cromwell, not me. And now you are trying to claim some kind of moral high ground, rather than withdraw and apologise. In fact, you go further than that you say:

            But it seems that you have a psychotic hatred of a historical figure.

            Cromwell killed thousands of people in Ireland. At least 1500 were ordinary towns people. It’s not psychotic to hate that. It is psychotic not to. And yet, despite your praises of Cromwell, you accuse me of supporting violent absolutism.

            Is it because they were Catholics that you hold their blood so cheap? or is it because he was a Protestant that you think so little of it? or perhaps the fact that they were Irish meant it didn’t matter so much in your eyes?

            So please explain what it is that I have said that gives you the right to support the accusation against me that I oppose Cromwell out of a love of violent absolutism or as a result of a

            deeper hidden agenda.You wish to attack the Protestant / Puritan faith from a Roman Catholic position.

            Or you could of course apologise and withdraw your remarks.

          • preacher

            This has gone on too long & too far. It seems to me you are taking things out of context with both myself & Anton for the sole purpose of starting an argument. Your vilification of a historical figure. IMO borders on Psychosis, & has already wasted too much time off thread – Yet still you persist. I am now closing this post & will not return to it as I feel it is a waste of valuable time trying to reason with you. I bid you good day Albert & wish you well for the future. P.

          • Albert

            So if someone describes one of the monsters of the past as “honest and courageous” as you did, and someone else objects that they were wicked, you think you get to call them psychotic and suggest that really they want to support violent absolutism? Seriously?

            Do you really think that I suppose violent absolutism? If you do, please give your reasons. If you don’t, please withdraw your remarks. Remember what the commandment says: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. It applies to you too.

          • preacher

            Hi Clive, I started this pointless debate by referring to a speech that Cromwell made as a Parliamentarian to a greedy & corrupt assembly that had allowed itself to take advantage of the Civil War which had cost the people dear. The hoped for change for the better never happened, instead the new Parliament embraced many vices & became mercenary & corrupt. This so disgusted Cromwell, who had been involved in the campaign & I believe suffered personal loss, that he made his speech – airing his grievances & cleared the chamber.
            The point being that with the best intentions, men entrusted with power can become self serving, greedy & introducing agendas that are to their own benefit, rather than the good of the people & the country.
            Albert allowed his personal animosity to Cromwell to introduce the whole genocide in Ireland debate that missed the point by becoming a personal attack on the man. Despite various attempts by Anton & myself to halt the flow as it became unrelated to the original post by our host, & get back on line to the original debate, we were caught up in side issues which were not related, i.e Ireland.

          • Albert

            It may well have been a good thing that Cromwell dissolved the parliament in 1653. But one should not in any way suggest that he was a good man, on the back of that. He was a wicked man. It’s a bit odd that you complain of my personal animus towards Cromwell.

            Let’s be clear: Cromwell ordered the killing of innocent and unarmed women and children. Everyone should feel personal animus towards him and it’s bad taste to praise him.

          • Eustace

            This is an important point. Cromwell made the idea of a divine right of kings untenable in British politics. Without him there was every possibility that a Stuart monarch might have succeeded in imposing Continental-style absolutism. After him it became unimaginable.

            Perhaps this is the true source of Albert’s Cromwellophobia. Absolute monarchs had a tendency to impose Catholicism on their people, and with all of the Stuarts’ links to the French Bourbons and their tendency to copy everything that came from Paris, perhaps Albert is mourning what might have been.

            England once more a faithful daughter of the Church. Our very own St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre to celebrate. The Queen (if we still had a monarchy, because following the French pattern too closely might have put paid to that) dressed in virginal white curtseying to the Pope on the same terms as the Queen of Spain. All these wondrous things rendered impossible by one man! Should we be surprised at Albert’s lack of cordiality towards his memory?

            Perhaps not…

          • Anton

            You make telling historical points and the development of the doctrine of political freedom began at this point, not (remotely!) at the French revolution. I learnt more of that development from a book recommended by His Grace, Nick Spence’s Freedom and Order.

          • Albert

            This is an deeply uncharitable reply, and it reflects very poorly on preacher that he has upvoted it. So here is this Cromwell whom people have been praising, despite his extraordinary wickedness in killing innocent women and children, and I get accused, on no evidence, whatsoever, by those who have praised him, of favouring violent absolutism. Have you and preacher no shame?

          • magnolia

            Surely anything he did wrong pales into insignificance next to the horribly twisted psycopathic Bloody Mary?

          • Albert

            That’s where you’re wrong! About 300 Protestants died under Mary. In Wexford alone, Cromwell butchered 1500 Catholic towns people (not including the soldiers). Remember also that the great act of religious violence in England was perpetrated by Elizabeth I against Catholics.

            It’s funny how the propaganda has affected people’s assumptions on this.

          • Anton

            Elizabeth was content to leave peaceable Catholics in peace until Pope Pius V in his hubristic Bull Regnans in Excelsis of 1570 commanded them to disobey her.

          • Albert

            Neither by Anglican standards nor by Catholic standards was Elizabeth the rightful monarch, since she was a bastard. The legitimate monarch had been imprisoned by the pretender.

          • Anton

            An adroit change of subject. As for who is the rightful sovereign, politics has always been about worldly power and it is simply a case of how many usurpations you wish to go back in order to get the claim you wish. Divine right merely cloaks in piety the ruthlessness by which monarchs or their dynasties gained their crowns and silenced their rivals. I too say this without regard to whether Catholic or protestant dynasties are involved.

          • Albert

            An adroit change of subject.

            Not at all. The Pope’s Bull was published in relation to the Northern Rebellion – itself an attempt to put the legitimate monarch on the throne.

            Divine right merely cloaks in piety the ruthlessness by which monarchs or their dynasties gained their crowns and silenced their rivals. I too say this without regard to whether Catholic or protestant dynasties are involved.

            That’s obviously true, but the case of Elizabeth is odd – she had clearly been declared a bastard by the CofE, and so, by no one’s standards was she the rightful queen.

          • Anton

            The fact is that the great majority of Catholics put to death once Elizabeth was securely on the throne died after the Pope told them not to obey her, a full decade later. Regardless of her legitimacy I am profoundly thankful that a man of Italy could not hold sway over the politics of England.

          • preacher

            I’ve decided to opt out of this fruitless discussion with Albert brother as I feel it is likely to go on longer than Coronation street & contains more story lines.
            I feel that it is generating more heat than light & will only deteriorate if continued.

            Many Blessings. P.

          • Royinsouthwest

            To compare Cromwell with Hitler is utterly ludicrous. Your criticisms of Cromwell could apply to many other political/military leaders if you replace the word “Ireland” with the names of other countries.

          • Albert

            I didn’t compare Cromwell with Hitler, I observed that that is what happens when a certain kind of argument is used: X did bad stuff, but I praise him because also did some good stuff. And that would provide me with my answer to your second sentence – I wouldn’t praise such leaders.

        • preacher

          No, After fighting a brutal civil war for the reasons that Anton relates below. Cromwell found the same selfish high handed Godless wickedness returning in the very people who were elected to protect the common people from such mercenary exploitation as he’d seen them subjected to under the reign of King Charles & his courtiers.
          Instead of turning a blind eye or jumping on the gravy train, he rebuked them & turfed them out – unlike his modern day counterparts are want to do. Even surrendering the national right of self government to foreign unelected carpetbaggers.
          I’m not defending Cromwell’s faults – I’m not his judge, that rests with a higher authority. But his honesty, passion & in this case, courage is IMO beyond doubt.

          • Albert

            mmm… I think we must be reading different books. And you make no reference to his genocide in Ireland.

          • Anton

            Genocide means a systematic attempt to wipe out an entire people group. Cromwell was brutal and ruthless to Irish Catholics in the 1649 campaign and I make no excuses for that, but it was not genocide.

            So as not to devalue the currency of the word in application to peoples who have genuinely suffered attempted annihilation, you might consider amending your description.

          • Albert

            This really is desperate. Remember that he was praised as an honest man who stopped the rot. My claim is that he was genocidalist, not that he committed genocide. I also claimed that he only be remembered with shame and revulsion.

            Now here’s what you say: Cromwell was brutal and ruthless to Irish Catholics in the 1649 campaign and I make no excuses for that, but it was not genocide.

            It sounds like your position agrees with mine, not with preacher’s.

          • Anton

            I’m replying to you, not Preacher. What about the meaning of Genocide?

          • Albert

            Well then your position is even more difficult to defend. You admit he was brutal and ruthless. I say he was genocidal. You say he did not commit genocide. How exactly does that show he was not genocidal?

          • Anton

            But I’m not trying to defend my position.

          • Anton

            By the way, in case you want to play legalism about the difference between genocide and genocidal, you wrote to Preacher above, “you make no reference to his genocide in Ireland.”

          • Albert

            Apologies – I’ll withdraw that remark. It’s his attitude that I am getting at. The fact that he failed to fulfil his fantasies does not alter his intent.

            But the issue here is whether we should praise such a man. I see no reason to do so.

          • Anton

            Nobody asked you to.

          • preacher

            Simply because this is not the issue that today’s thread is about & I’m referring to a particular incident that I feel is relevant, rather than admitting side issues that are not, & which will only lead to blind alley debates that will generate more heat than light & eventually derail the whole point of an important thread.

          • Albert

            Which particular incident are you talking about?

          • preacher

            Why Cromwell’s famous speech on the dissolution of the Long Parliament of course Albert, do pay attention, I referred to it six hours ago giving the date as 20th of April 1653.

          • Albert

            It’s all a bit hazy to me. But didn’t he just forcibly dissolve a parliament that refused to dissolve itself? That’s not great is it?

          • preacher

            Albert, I feel you are being obtuse on purpose with Anton & myself for whatever reason. Read Cromwell’s speech to the assembly & compare the situation with the current situation.

          • Albert

            I’m not being obtuse. I am disagreeing with the idea that Cromwell was a good man. Whatever he said, I wonder what his real motives were. He’s the last thing we want. As Tony Benn used to say “Better a bad parliament than a good king” and I might add, especially than a man who had killed a king, became king in all but name, and slept in the old king’s feather beds, while his men slept on stone floors.

          • preacher

            And the fact that you wonder what his real motives were, shows that you are simply judging the man from a biased viewpoint. Your statements & criticisms could be applied to many other men in history, from kings to communists, across the whole spectrum of humanity including Churchmen & Atheists. I really can’t be bothered with continuing this pointless debate, as I feared, it has wasted too much valuable time going round in circles like a toy train set.
            You must continue to believe what you like, but you cannot alter the fact of the truth of his statement to a corrupt system.

          • Albert

            And the fact that you wonder what his real motives were, shows that you are simply judging the man from a biased viewpoint.

            What is my biased viewpoint? This is a man who rose up against his king who held lawful authority, caused untold human suffering and vast amounts of death. Then seized the throne in all but name, and managed to fit in suppressing parliament after his massacres in Ireland. And when the next parliament sat, he quickly dissolved it as it was too radical. Sound familiar?

            If I doubt the man on these grounds, am I really to be accused of being biased?

          • Albert

            I’ve posted this beneath a comment by Eustace, which you have upvoted.

            This is an deeply uncharitable reply, and it reflects very poorly on preacher that he has upvoted it. So here is this Cromwell whom people have been praising, despite his extraordinary wickedness in killing innocent women and children, and I get accused, on no evidence, whatsoever, by those who have praised him, of favouring violent absolutism. Have you and preacher no shame?

            This is the comment about me that you have upvoted:

            This is an important point. Cromwell made the idea of a divine right of kings untenable in British politics. Without him there was every possibility that a Stuart monarch might have succeeded in imposing Continental-style absolutism. After him it became unimaginable.

            Perhaps this is the true source of Albert’s Cromwellophobia. Absolute monarchs had a tendency to impose Catholicism on their people, and with all of the Stuarts’ links to the French Bourbons and their tendency to copy everything that came from Paris, perhaps Albert is mourning what might have been.

            England once more a faithful daughter of the Church. Our very own St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre to celebrate. The Queen (if we still had a monarchy, because following the French pattern too closely might have put paid to that) dressed in virginal white curtseying to the Pope on the same terms as the (divorced and on her second husband) Queen of Spain. All these wondrous things rendered impossible by one man! Should we be surprised at Albert’s lack of cordiality towards his memory?

  • len

    The EU was created in deception,progressed through deception but now the aims of those behind the EU are now to be clearly seen now secrecy is no longer needed.
    The EU citizen has been re -modelled into what is ‘acceptable’ to the elites who control the EU.
    ‘Political Correctness’ has channelled the minds of the masses into thinking ‘the EU way’ which is ‘liberal’ towards EU moral guidelines and repressive of anything relating to Judeo/Christian foundations.
    The EU is ‘the Tower of Babel’ all over again men doing ‘what is right in their own eyes’ and to be ‘as gods’ deciding moral and ethical law.
    Brexit will not solve all the problems but it will sever some of the ties the EU uses to control the UK.

  • Merchantman

    One of the key factors in Britain remaining Free and Democratic during the struggles with the Revolutionary and Napoleonic French was our elites preparedness to be taxed to the then unheard of extent.
    Now money has largely replaced principal and a Christian belief it is none the less grim to see many of these people sell out to the EU rather than as a worst case suffer a temporary setback to their not inconsiderable accumulation of wealth.
    I am sure another thing at the back of some minds then and now was the prospect of a somewhat delayed Grand Tour.

    • sarky

      Grand tour?? You mean the newly named amazon version of top gear??

  • CliveM

    Church of England Priest supports Brexi!

    Now that is a shock, I’ll need a sit down.

  • Inspector General

    It may come as a surprise to the rabid left of today but 40 years ago the Labour movement was vociferously opposed to the then EEC. It was a capitalists club, so the argument went and would stand in the way of ‘securing for the people the means of production and fruits of their labours’ or some other words to that effect. All Clause 4 rot, of course.

    That a few old guard Bolshie types still have this view of what that terrible institution has become should be expected. Still, there will only be a handful of them after all this time, and they might march with us, but keep the blighters at arm’s length! When the battle is over and we’ve won, we can seize them and go back to giving them the rhetorical kicking they so rightfully deserve, what!

    Tally ho!

    • Anton

      What caused the Left to change from being anti-EEC to pro in the 1980s? Vladimir Bukovsky and Pavel Stroilov claim to know, if you can find their short 2004 book EUSSR: The Soviet Roots of European Integration. One might pray for Bukovsky, as he is presently on hunger strike against the British court system; he claims to have been set up by the successor to the KGB:

      http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/29/vladimir-bukovsky-russian-dissident-hunger-strike-litvinenko-uk-judicial-system

      • Ivan M

        Sad to see what has become of V Bukovsky. Those days spent in the padded cells have taken their toll.

        • Anton

          I’m not sure what you are suggesting in relation to the court case, but he’s still pin-sharp in his mid-70s. He and I have a mutual acquaintance.

          • Ivan M

            If you know him personally convey my respect to him for his dissident days. If he is in fact on a hunger strike he should know that these are no longer the 70s.

          • Anton

            I was at a large dinner with him in the 1980s and bought his book (To Build A Castle) but have never spoken to him. I do know someone who knows him well, though. This mutual friend confirms the details in the Guardian article.

          • Ivan M

            Thank you sir.

  • IanCad

    Thanks for this YG. A huge amount of effort on your part.
    It is much appreciated.

  • chiefofsinners

    Oh, let us all from bondage flee, Let My people go;
    And let us all in Christ be free, Let My people go.
    Go down, Boris, way down in Europe’s land,
    Tell old Junker: Let My people go.

    • Anton

      We’ve seen off worse Junkers than him in the last 100 years.

  • pobjoy

    This was predicted. Fraser is a far right importer of Muslims. Like many of his sort, he is feigning because he thinks that Brexit is on the cards, and he wants to appear to be on the side of the ‘goodies’. He’s not the first, and he won’t be the last of the poseurs.

    • Eustace

      I’d be surprised if Fraser thinks Brexit is on the cards.

      All opinion polls and other indicators like betting odds and market feeling show that the Remain campaign has a significant lead. Over 70% of those polled say they’ll vote to remain, and although polling is not an exact science and there are still 6 weeks left during which minds may change, in order for this to happen the Leave campaign has its work cut out for it.

      As far as I’m aware, 6 weeks before polling no campaign trailing so badly has ever been able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. To do so requires some kind of game-changing event or scandal to happen. Better start praying for a miracle. As far as I can see, that’s the only way you’re going to win this.

      • William Lewis

        I can’t tell if this is FUD or you are simply mistaken. Have you posted here before under another name?

        Anyway, current polls indicate a 50:50 split.

        • Account created on 9th May …. even queerer.

          • Pubcrawler

            And barely an hour after a battered Findus vanished in a puff of high dudgeon.

          • CliveM

            He’s like a moth to the flame.

          • Pubcrawler

            It will be interesting to see what, if anything, he might feel moved to say about Mrs Proudie’s column tomorrow.

          • CliveM

            Yes it will.

            I find his obsession with commenting on the site strange. He couldn’t even stay away for a couple of hours!

            Bit sad really.

          • Good fun though.

          • CliveM

            Sometimes!

          • He’ll adopt a low profile – or attempt to.

          • CliveM

            Wrong! Linus just can’t resist…………..

            I think doing so would have killed him.

          • CliveM

            Ha, he couldn’t resist!!

          • When Jack asked him if he’d posted here before using a different name, he replied:

            “What a strange question.
            What makes you think I have posted here under another name?”

          • William Lewis

            Did we find a rat? Oh yes, I think we did.

            According to Eustace:

            “I’m not a Christian, but I’m not a convinced Atheist either. I can see the holes…”

            Definitely more Queen Jadis than Eustace.

      • CliveM

        Be careful, in some of later posts your inner Linus is beginning to show. Any ways see link for a slightly moreover evidence based analysis;

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/11/remainers-are-moving-heaven-and-earth–but-not-the-polls/

  • chiefofsinners

    A mighty boost for the leave campaign today: Gordon Brown has spoken out in support of remain.

    • Anton

      Gordon Bennett!

      • chiefofsinners

        Gordon wants to know when Cameron’s going to move over and let him lead the remain campaign.
        Soon Gordon, soon.

        • Anton

          I understand that the film “Independence Day II” is coming out at the same time and the country will soon be plastered with posters bearing the title prominently…

    • Pubcrawler

      It never hurts to give this another airing:

      • chiefofsinners

        Lovely.

      • IanCad

        The look on Brown’s face @ 22:54 is priceless.

      • Anton

        Here is Hannan arguing (very well) for Brexit at the Spectator debate:

  • IanCad

    That those who wish to remain within the belly of the beast are stark, staring mad could not be made more apparent than by one – Sir Anthony Gormley – just interviewed on BBCR4. Dear Lord! Come soon!
    Why am I not rich? Why not famous? Why do I not rule? I live in a land where the best and brightest are truly the daftest souls on the planet.

    • Anton

      He’s a modern artist, what do you expect?

  • Russell Brown

    Giles Fraser blocked a prophet of God who had an important message for him on twitter.

    • Royinsouthwest

      A prophet, or a conspiracy theorist who thinks that the Moon landings were a hoax?

      • Russell Brown

        It is important people are aware the moon landings were a hoax because our children are being taught myths to promote the ‘progressive’ agenda. In which mankind conquers all – and they are not true. So while you mention it I will take this opportunity to promote this link to a video I made in which I assert I have proven both the moon and mars landings to be a ‘psyop’ hoax. As part of the ‘progressive’ agenda and conspiracy against God (Ps 2).

        Please watch it all and you will see for yourself.

        • sarky

          Is that the sound of cheese sliding off a cracker I can hear????

        • William Lewis

          If the moon landings were a hoax then where does all this cheese come from?

        • Could you stop this please. It is nothing to do with the subject matter – please put it all on your own blog.

        • Ivan M

          Is that why Neil Armstrong became a Muslim?

        • dannybhoy

          Russell, you will never be able to prove the moon landings were a hoax
          because they weren’t.
          There have been more than enough astronauts now for us to know that man has survived in man made space vehicles, conducted scientific experiments and shown us moonscapes and marsscapes enough for a travel brochure.
          Forget it.

          • Russell Brown

            I am not debating the moon landings anymore in respect for the request of the host (I provided a link to my video). However, as a general rule you would do well to remember this. Whenever fallen man (i.e the government) or a government funded agency (with money and ego at stake), start to simulate their project to such an extent it is not possible to tell if real or not, it means they are about to fake it. They did this with LIGO, they are currently doing it with fake terrorist attacks (look how realistic they have made the simulations) and just before the moon landings NASA spent a fortune on exact replicas of the moon surface in huge studio sets and used state of the art projection techniques for ‘simulating’ the approach to the moon, which you can watch today on youtube and are very obviously fake using models, but convincing at the time.

          • Anton

            Please stop insulting my colleagues at LIGO. They have dedicated their lives to the search for gravitational waves and just met with stunning success after millions of man-hours. Could you recognise, let alone solve, the field equations of general relativity for small oscillations?

          • Russell Brown

            Unfortunately your “colleagues at LIGO” and 300 other scientists managed to be deceived by a simulation involving ‘blind injections’ thus proving their entire endeavour was based upon faith. When you manage to show repeatable and testable evidence, by non interested third parties then I will start to consider what happens at LIGO real science rather than another taxpayer fraud.

          • Anton

            I doubt you would change your mind even if you were given a complete guided tour of aLIGO and a lecture pitched at your scientific level (which is what?) I know several of these people personally. What on earth would be the purpose of such a fraud?

          • dannybhoy

            I think we should stick to the script Russell…

            “Giles Fraser backs Brexit – and the liberal elite sneer at him for it.”
            You seem like a reasonable fellow, and reason and faith walk hand in hand on this blog..
            If you came on here with a one dimesional agenda it won’t work. We like to discuss all kinds of things, but central to our meanderings is Christ the King..

      • Russell Brown

        During Apollo 15 one of the astronauts throws a heavy cable at the LEM, a loud thud is heard on the audio. This is impossible as sound does not travel in a vacuum and the LEM had no air-lock, it was depressurized. That alone proves Apollo 15 was filmed in a studio. It is really about time people stopped allowing themselves to be socially conditioned by the main stream media to laugh at their own folly.

        • Anton

          I have often said that it would be harder to fake the Apollo landings with 1960s technology than actually go to the moon. Then there is the myth that information doesn’t leak in US government circles. Given the number of people who would have had to be involved, it would have leaked like a sieve by now. I’ve not seen the incident you speak of and (in deference to the blog owner’s comment below) am not going to involve myself further, but I am a research physicist and please be aware that sound travels through solids as well as gases; rather better, in fact. If the camera microphone were adequately coupled to the point of impact so that there is a reasonably undamped path through solids from one to the other then noise would be recorded.

          The wormwood prophecy in the Book of Revelation is not fitted by the Chernobyl disaster; the “one third” statistic fits what happened neither in the world nor in the Holy Land, and the prophecy is clearly of a meteorite strike (not the only one prophesied in Revelation!) Why it is called wormwood will, I expect, become apparent around the time of its impact.

          • Ivan M

            Your training as a physicist has evidently given your own ravings a patina of respectability. Russell Brown, get an advanced degree in physics to gain traction.

          • Anton

            Thank you for your kind words. There is some merit in your suggestion.

          • Russell Brown

            have often said that it would be harder to fake the Apollo landings with 1960s technology than actually go to the moon.

            >
            No, it is impossible to go to the moon as no human can survive outside the Van allen radiation belts unless incased in 12 feet of lead. The host has asked me not to derail this topic so I will just ask you to please watch my film where all your objections are dealt with in full.

            The 400.000 working Apollo were not in on the conspiracy, they believed it was for real, when it was a simulation.

            It is really time people got over these secular modern myths. NASA is a military psyop as part of the ‘progressive’ agenda. They lie all the time. It is intellectually devastating that my people believe such hoaxes as it allows you all to be continually deceived by the media as your entire assumptions on fallen human behaviour are wrong.

            NASA has recently admitted they are still trying to find out how to send humans through the Van Allen Belts.

            Wormwood is Chernobyl in Slavic, the prophecy was proclaimed at the UN General Assembly under Hans Blix Office of the fulfillment of Rev 8 (it has a dual fulfillment), symbolic and more literal as part of the additional seven thunders of chapter 10.

          • Anton

            Tell me, if I gave you the physical parameters for the van Allen belts, the thickness and composition of the metal of the spacecraft hulls, and the spacecraft speed, would you be able to estimate the dosage of radiation received by an astronaut and would you know whether and why it was lethal?

          • Stop goading the poor soul.

          • Anton

            Actually I’m not. I’m not prepared to see nonsense written about the Apollo program and I’m keeping it terse because His Grace does not wish for diversion.

          • He’s clearly troubled.

          • CliveM

            Thank you HJ, I think you’re right.

          • Anton

            Well, I’m not goading him.

          • Sometimes it best to ignore comments.

          • Anton

            I have a friend who is a teacher and it is disturbing what proportion of pupils believe the moon landings were a hoax.

          • Ivan M

            Its that OJ Simpson movie.

          • Russell Brown

            Excellent, critical thinking skills, something sadly you lack.

          • Anton

            What are your scientific qualifications, please?

          • Russell Brown

            If the camera microphone were adequately coupled to the point of impact so that there is a reasonably undamped path through solids from one to the other then noise would be recorded.

            >
            A16 Audio Analysis Summary – No longer a theory

          • You have been politely asked to stop posting your theories about the Moon-landings. If you persist, the thread will be deleted. Bless you.

          • Russell Brown

            I had stopped, I was answering someone and telling them I wished to adhere to your rules.

          • Anton

            Tell the truth. You prioritised getting your reply in, over doing what Cranmer asked.

          • Russell Brown

            No, I thought that as the question was asked after Cramner asked me to cease, that he would allow me enough grace to both answer it and request no more.

          • Anton

            Stet.

          • Russell Brown

            Why it is called wormwood will, I expect, become apparent around the time of its impact.

            >
            Prophetic Futurism is a Jesuit deception. The correct method is continuous Prophetic Historicism. What Cramner believed in his day was correct.

          • Ivan M

            I think you just won this round by using the Jesuit bomb. Very clever.

          • Russell Brown

            Well in this case it is true, people should avoid prophetic Futurism like the plague. Go learn what your ancestors believed. They had it right. Thanks to our Lord Jesus.

          • Ivan M

            Praise the Lord, Prophet Brown

          • Russell Brown

            No praise for me please, only Jesus.
            I didn’t do anything. An angel spoke with me in 1982, probably as I was in the right place at the right time? i.e a papal mass in Baginton in the UK.

          • Ivan M

            Whatever is your calling, I hope you find peace.

          • Anton

            The action in the middle and main part of the Book of Revelation alternates between heaven (the spiritual realms) and earth (right here). The seven seals, trumpets and bowls in heaven have counterparts on earth. Therefore the action cannot be stated all to be in the spiritual realms as many commentators suppose. (I am not assuming you are one such, just developing my argument.) And the events described on earth do not fit events in history, whether ancient or recent. Therefore they are in the future. You will have to knock that logic over if you wish to convince me of anything that is incompatible with it. Please do not bother to mention Jesuits; my logic stands or falls by itself.

          • Russell Brown

            When the book of Revelation refers to spiritual realms, it means high political and spiritual office. Not outer space. Let the Bible interpret itself.

          • Anton

            The seals, trumpets and bowls are in heaven, whereas Brussels and Washington are on earth.

          • Ivan M

            Preach it brother, St John did not have the current level of astronomical knowledge.

          • Russell Brown

            There was a war in the [political and religious heavens], the devil (office of papacy) and his angels (cardinals and bishops) were thrown out.

          • Anton

            I’ll leave the Catholics here to deal with this comment of yours.

          • HedgehogFive

            I am a Huguenot Hedgehog, and can understand how easy is was, during the Reformation and the years following, to regard the Pope as actually being rather than simply playing the role of the Antichrist.

            However, such over-identification falls foul of Hedgehog’s Theorem, which in matters of historical interpretation states that:

            The Devil can move the goalposts faster than Man can kick the ball.

          • Russell Brown

            Why was the office of papacy Satanic? Because it was political, because it fornicated with the kings of the earth. Is it still political in nature? The apostles used the code word the ‘devil’ or ‘satan’ atleast 4 times for the Roman authorities/political class in the NT letters.

          • Ivan M

            Obviously. Otherwise it would be anticlimactic.

          • dannybhoy

            by what margin?

          • big

            Have you ever seen the film ‘The Parallax View’ ? what are your views on 9/11?

          • Anton

            I have spent *many* hours convincing a friend – well-educated but not a scientist – that the 9/11 conspiracy theories are untrue. Technical errors are easy to find in the conspiracy narrative, and the al-Qaeda narrative is highly plausible in view of current Islamic activities in many Western countries. Suffice it to say that claims the towers fell faster than gravity are false (as anybody with the most basic high school qualification in physics and YouTube can confirm); and that all controlled demolitions involve pancaking of the floors of a building only when each floor has reached ground level during the descent. (Check YouTube again.) You can’t smuggle in hundreds of tons of high explosive and put them in the right place on every floor without anybody seeing. Although steel does not melt at the temperature of burning jet fuel, it does lose much of its strength and would become incapable of continuing to hold the towers up – especially after the kinetic damage caused by the planes’ impact, and their added weight. The longest-haul domestic flights were chosen, for minimal security and maximum fuel loading. Many people saw the planes go in while others received cellphone calls from passengers on the one that crashed into a field near-vertically (creating a very different profile from most accidents). As for WTC7, it was of a unique design which didn’t help (it had been built over something that couldn’t be touched, from memory a subway station), it had been kinetically bombed from the air by hundreds of tons of rubble from the collapse of one of the towers, and a fire had raged uncontrolled in it for many hours. Nobody should be surprised that it crumpled soon after the firefighters were pulled from the building; they knew it didn’t have long by that point.

            I’ve not seen the film you mention (which is about JFK’s killing). Conspiracies must be examined individually and in this case I certainly have an open mind on who was behind it. But I do not consider myself well informed about it and this is not the right forum for it. Has Giles Fraser spoken about these things?

          • Russell Brown

            Bush administration suppressed an FBI report that showed they had advanced knowledge of 911. It was a stand down false flag. Everything else, like were explosives planted or not in WT7 is largely irrelevant. The evidence that points toward it being allowed to happen to further the objectives of the PNAC is undebunkable. IMO, the problem is the political elite operate under the moral code of the end justifies the means, when it comes to geopolitical strategies. This needs to be challenged constantly as does the ‘strategy of tension’ idea.

          • Anton

            I think you are saying that you believe al-Qaeda did it but Washington turned a blind eye, so as to be able to pass highly controlling laws in its wake. I am certain that al-Qaeda did it. I do not doubt that the control freaks in Washington profited by it. I am sceptical that they deliberately turned a blind eye, however. Your first sentence is misleading, for US Intelligence receives (and received back then) multiple reports about terrorist plans every week, having varying reliabilities and depths of detail. To make your case you’d need to state the level of subsequent accuracy of the report and its reliability relative to reports of other plots. Moreover the cost of today’s anti-9/11 measures is not small; frankly you don’t commit those resources until something has happened, and the American public would not have tolerated the level of security screening now routine on domestic flights beforehand. On some airlines before 2001 you could buy a ticket with cash without giving a name and take your handgun on board!

          • Russell Brown

            I am afraid the host has forbidden me from communicating with you on this subject. Despite the fact I was answering posts on 911 in a debate I had not started. I got the blame for it.

          • You introduced the whole conspiracy thread, which is a flame to moths. It is now closed. If it expands, it will be deleted.

          • Russell Brown

            Has Giles Fraser spoken about these things?

            >
            I seem to remember Giles Fraser saying on Question Time he believed WT7 was brought down with explosives? I may be wrong. He said something like “there has been some good research into this” and the rest of the panel mocked him and so he shut up.

          • dannybhoy

            Well written Anton.

          • Russell Brown

            Anton, like you I was an expert debunker of 911 conspiracies, I repeated the exact same arguments as above, but if I am to be honest. Now I am not so sure. The one thing I am sure about however is that the Bush regime accidently on purpose let it happen.

          • Anton

            My summary above is based on a lot more detail about many aspects of it (some of which engaged my scientific knowledge to considerable depth), which I am not of course going to go into here. I’ve commented briefly elsewhere on this thread about whether Washington turned a blind eye.

          • Ivan M

            I had if you recall doubts about WTC7. The BBC documentary on the same has cleared all doubts.

          • Russell Brown

            I would strong advise you NOT to believe the things you see on the BBC when it comes to geopolitics/foreign policy etc etc.

          • Russell Brown

            For WT7 to fall into its footprint we need the steel weakening in all four corners simultaneously, right? Do we have evidence that the entire basement area of WT7 was burning uniformly to facilitate that hypothesis? I am not so sure we do.

          • You really are pushing this, aren’t you? From moon-landings to 9/11 – nothing at all to do with the subject matter of the blog post. You are hereby referred to the comment policy (see the About page). Any further comment on any alleged conspiracy will be summarily deleted. Any further comment after that will result in you being blocked. Do you understand?

          • big

            no ,no the film was actually about how people are eliminated who are involved in conspiracies, not JFK, its a film from the 1970s. I personally dont agree with the 9/11 conspiracy either.

          • Anton

            Apologies; as I’d not seen it I googled it and most of the references mentioned JFK.

          • big

            No need to apologise.

          • Russell Brown

            While you lot all fret over whether 911 was an inside job or not (which at best has ambiguous conclusions) can I just remind you that I have compiled a video (I made) in which I have proven beyond all doubt the most recent Brussels terrorist attack was a media psyop hoax. Here….

            It does contain some bad language (I never swear) but I included a rap song with some bad language in as on balance I thought it ok as I am trying to reach out to the disaffected youth, who have a right to be angry their governments are behaving like this.

          • big

            I don’t actually ‘fret’ about anything all i asked was his view.

          • Russell Brown

            sorry

          • big

            no problem.

      • Russell Brown

        A prophet, or a conspiracy

        >

      • Russell Brown

        A prophet

        >
        I wrote this, please read to the end….
        http://www.answers.com/Q/Who_is_Wormwood

    • Can God use Facebook?

      • William Lewis

        I suspect He can but only if he posts as Himself. A prophet of God may fall foul of Facebook’s T&Cs.

        • Martin

          If God can move the hearts of kings cannot He not move the hearts of those who post on Facebook, or Twitter.

          • William Lewis

            Presumably. You’d have to count the upvotes.

          • dannybhoy

            No.

          • Martin

            Danny

            Since the Bible says this about the king’s heart:

            The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will. (Proverbs 21:1 [ESV])

            I’ll assume you’re referring to the common man. If the king’s heart can be turned, then why not that of the common man?

          • dannybhoy

            http://biblehub.com/commentaries/proverbs/21-1.htm

            I know what it says, but I don’t accept the implication.
            If God directs the decisions of kings and commoners, then where is free will?
            Moreover it is clear from the Jewish Scriptures that there were plenty of instances where kings of Israel and Judah acted more like dams than streams..
            All through the Scriptures we see examples of men in authority either working with God or against Him.
            We return to the problems associated with building a doctrine on a few verses.

          • Martin

            Danny

            Then are you saying that the Bible is wrong? Where does the Bible say that Man is a free agent, able to do as he pleases? Indeed, we are told in Romans:

            We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. (Romans 6:6 [ESV])

            and plenty of instances where God has caused men to do as He pleases, The Pharaoh of the Exodus, or the battle of the three kings against the Moabites for example.

          • dannybhoy

            Genesis 2>

            15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

            ‘To work and take care of’ implies responsibility and accountability..

            ‘You are free to eat’ means exactly what it says. Adam was free. Ergo, he had free will.

            ‘..but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.’
            A command: ‘You must not..’

            A consequence of disobedience.. “You will certainly die.”

            Joshua 24:15 (NKJV)
            15 “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose
            land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
            Choose, Martin. The word is ‘choose.’ God holds man accountable because he gave man free will.

          • Martin

            Danny

            But Adam chose to eat of the tree, he chose to surrender his free will.

            And Joshua speaks of choosing a master.

          • dannybhoy

            Genesis 3>

            17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:
            “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it
            All the days of your life.
            18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
            And you shall eat the herb of the field.
            19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
            Till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken;
            For dust you are, and to dust you shall return.”

            No mention of death of freedom to choose there Martin; only the consequences of Adam’s disobedience.

            Continuing to chapter 4>
            3 And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. 4 Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, 5 but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.”

            Did either brother have no choice but to bring an offering, or did they do so out of choice?

            Verse 6… So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”

            See that Martin?

            “Its desire is for you, but you should rule over it….”

            God does not remove free will. but the influence of sin was spreading and leading men further away from the holiness of God.

            1 John 5:19 Amplified Bible
            “We know [for a fact] that we are of God, and the whole world [around us] lies in the power of the evil one [opposing God and His precepts].”

          • Martin

            Danny

            It is the nature of sin that it takes the sinner’s free will.

            Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? (Romans 6:16 [ESV])

          • dannybhoy

            You missed a key phrase there Martin old chap…
            “if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves,”
            It’s a choice, an act of the will. Entirely consistent with other men and women in the Scriptures who chose to present themselves as servants of righteousness…

          • Martin

            Danny

            I didn’t miss it. Once you present yourself to sin as a slave you are the slave of sin.

            Jesus answered them, Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. (John 8:34 [ESV])

          • dannybhoy

            Yes, and as we have said before He also acknowledged that there were righteous people around Him.
            Not in the sense that they didn’t need His salvation, but that their hearts were set on righteousness according to the Law of Moses, and they genuinely loved God.

            Interesting article here in an Israeli newspaper..
            ‘http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/poll-fewer-than-half-of-israelis-see-themselves-as-secular-1.313462’

            Israelis are becoming more ‘religious.’God has brought them back in unbelief and I think more of them are asking the big questions. Not that they are turning to the extremist groups, but they are trying to find a way forward in their identity as Jews and their relationship to the Almighty.

          • Martin

            Danny

            Where did Jesus acknowledge there were righteous people around Him? The Law never gives righteousness:

            Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
            (Galatians 3:21-22 [ESV])

            Until Israel accepts their Messiah they will not be saved.

          • dannybhoy

            Luke 2:21-38

            [21] On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.
            [22] When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord
            [23] (as it is written in the Law of the Lord,
            “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), [24] and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

            [25] Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
            [26] It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.

            [36] There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, [37] and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.

            [38] Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

            There are other righteous people mentioned in the Gospels Martin, and the inference is not that they were saved, but that they would accept Christ Jesus as Yeshua haMeshiach..

          • Martin

            Danny

            As with Abraham, their righteousness is based on faith, they aren’t righteous by nature.

          • dannybhoy

            You mean they aren’t sinless by nature. Their righteousness comes from an awareness of who God is and that they worship and serve Him in spite of their sinfulness.

          • Martin

            Danny

            No, I mean their righteousness is God’s gift, as it is to all who believe.

          • dannybhoy

            Our basic difference Martin is over the nature of God. Now we both believe that God has revealed His nature to us, but for some reason based on a few verses, you have convinced yourself that God chooses whom He will save and whom He will reject.
            I believe that the broad message of the Scriptures is that God does not want anyone to perish and is willing to save any who repent. Now we both agree that it is God who works within us to bring us to salvation, but comparing what God says elsewhere in Scriptures it does not mean that He is selective.
            God bless you Martin.

          • Martin

            Danny

            It’s hardly a few verses, the whole Bible speaks of God making choices. God chose Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the nation of Israel, Joseph, Moses, David, all the prophets, Mary, the Apostles including Saul, why should He not choose who He will save?

            God does not wish any to perish in the same way that He did not wish Adam to sin, that is to say He allowed for it but it wasn’t His desire.

          • dannybhoy

            “It’s hardly a few verses, the whole Bible speaks of God making choices.
            God chose Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the nation of Israel, Joseph, Moses,
            David, all the prophets, Mary, the Apostles including Saul,”
            But not for salvation Martin, rather they were chosen and anointed for a mission.
            Also there are probably the same amount of verses and passages which show God pleading with men to choose life and repent..
            Both our positions are based on Scripture, but we interpret God’s nature and intention somewhat differently

          • Martin

            Danny

            God chose Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David and Saul for salvation. That God offers to men salvation does not equate to them being able to seek it for they are dead in their sins.

      • Russell Brown

        That was an interesting and well written article. Thank you.

        • Royinsouthwest

          I should have said yesterday that I admire the polite and considerate way you respond to criticism, whether it is mild, implied criticism from Cranmer or less temperate criticism from people like me! Therefore I hope you will continue to peruse this blog and make comments when you feel like doing so.

      • He can do whatever He likes (Psalm 115:3).
        The question is not “Can He?” but “Does He?”

  • Terry Mushroom

    The Guardian today carries today an article about Peter Hargreaves, “billionaire donor to Brexit” who “trumpets ‘fantastic insecurity’ of leaving EU. He says it will be “like Dunkirk again”.

    This is the most read story and, currently, has 2239 comments. He’s obviously touched a nerve.

    • Royinsouthwest

      While the evacuation from Dunkirk was a great success, or a miracle of deliverance as it has been called, we should remember that, as Churchill said “wars are not won by evacuations.” Dunkirk was a defeat but won that mean we lived to fight another day.

      • dannybhoy

        We Brits love a plucky failure..

  • Russell Brown

    It woulds be very helpful if Giles Fraser could accept the harsh reality that there is an ongoing EU ‘psyop’ involving the media and the political elite to make us worship them as our gods and protectors. In short the Paris and Brussels terrorist attacks were legalized media hoaxes under the pretext of the war on terror and the political elite and using Islam and migration issues to fast track us into more globalisation and a EU police State.

    In this article we read that Giles had a “feeling” the EU was a type of Holy Roman Empire in the way it behaved, such feelings, intuition are important to the learned Christian as this is how the Holy Spirit most usually communicates to us, through strong impressions, feelings, gut feelings. “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, (out of his belly) shall flow rivers of living water.” John 7:38 (KJV). This is his ‘gut’ feeling and he is not wrong.

    In short, we are on a fast track to political tyranny, Giles instincts are correct. Laws have recently been passed making propaganda legal, so those involved in this are not even breaking the law. Yet deceiving my people. The MSM have socially conditioned us into believing fallen man is honest and tells the truth, he is not and does not…..

  • Russell Brown

    The concept of the nation state is the only Divine mandate we have. We are best represented at this level rather than on a supra-national level and independent nation states act as a fire-break to bad and destructive laws.

    • Ivan M

      Astute observation.

    • David

      Yes indeed ! That’s a concise and accurate observation.

    • dannybhoy

      It fits in with our tribal nature, that God created us as men rather than ants..
      Extreme patriotism is of course a dangerous thing, but a nation that cleaves to its Christian heritage and tries to conduct its affairs in accordance with the values God gave us, can only ever be a force for good in the world..

  • chiefofsinners

    And so we learn that an invisible 400,000 extra EU citizens came to work in the UK last year. But they said they would stay less than a year, so they don’t count.
    Suppose they were telling the truth.
    Suppose on average they only stayed 6 months.
    That’s an extra 200,000 in the UK at any one time.
    So the net migration figures are over half a million per year.
    No wonder Giles Fraser has got crap in his graveyard. We’re running out of toilets.

    • Anton

      It is more usual to run into toilets.

      • chiefofsinners

        I bow to your superior knowledge of the runs.

        • dannybhoy

          Down the slippery slope we go….

        • IrishNeanderthal

          From an Australian comedy, decades ago:

          . . . After losing the Ashes, the English were seen burning an effigy of Ted Dexter filled with senna pods, saying

          . . . “That’ll teach him to make runs!”

          • Anton

            He was a much better batsman than manager.

      • Pubcrawler

        Not at some festivals I’ve been to.

  • dannybhoy

    There are men who have the gift of leadership.

    Intelligent and articulate they inspire loyalty and sacrifice from their followers. If they use it wisely we all benefit. We can face huge challenges to our survival because the leader illustrates for us what is at stake and why it is worth fighting for. Historically many of them have been found in these British Isles..

    Then there are those who prefer power to leadership, and the best way to get that is through subterfuge and manipulation and fear..
    The EU doesn’t offer freedom but conformity. It kills economic enterprise with state bureaucracy, and freedom of speech with political correctness.
    This is what we are really up against, just as our forbears were up against the ogre of Nazism in ww2. Our fathers and grandfathers knew what they were fighting for. For loved ones, for families, for a way of life and a country they loved and were proud of. Our politicians are mostly small minded men who love bureaucracy, rather than freedom..

    • David

      Correct !

      • preacher

        Seconded !

        • Evie Hodgson

          Thirded 🙂

  • Reference Giles Fraser, the Americans have a saying, ‘Even a blind hog finds an acorn sometimes.’

  • chrisH

    Have no brief for Giles Fraser-but this issue is too big, not to welcome his support.
    Like Sam Allardyce, Ian Botham and all the like…this cause is too big to choose who we`d rather support…if its Giles until June 23rd, then fine-at least he`s not the usual liberal stooges that normally count him amongst them.
    Re the scriptures…Acts 17.26 says we need to get out…keep our borders.
    Simples.