Jeremy Corbyn - manchester cathedral1a
Church of England

Murmur in Manchester Cathedral: Corbyn counters Conservative Party Conference

 

The Bishop of Manchester is neither a member nor a supporter of the Labour Party. We know this because he tweeted it. He lauds the Guardian for its superior journalism; not its political morality. Any opposition he has to Conservative Party policy on (say) immigration, welfare reform, benefit cheats, right-to-buy, climate change, or nuclear defence is purely coincidental. The fact that he misrepresents Conservative ministers and mocks leading members of Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet while singing the praises of Labour MPs is neither here nor there. The fact that he routinely rails against “Tory cuts” is of no consequence. He finds Jeremy Corbyn fascinating, (or at least re-tweets those who do), but if you think he’s one of the “Bishops on the Left“, you are very much mistaken.

No, Bishop David Walker seeks only to express compassion, mercy, justice and peace. His mission is holistic and gospel-grounded; not narrowly partisan or political. He seeks to celebrate our common heritage; not stir up division or foment hate. He is “passionate about issues which affect social housing, asylum seekers and benefit cuts” because Jesus is.

And Jesus inclines a bit more toward Labour than the Tories.

At least that’s the view of the Dean and Chapter of Manchester Cathedral, who must have consented to hosting the counter-Conservative rally organised by the anti-Conservative Communication Workers Unions with the anti-Tory-cuts ‘People’s Assembly‘. “We are sending a clear message to the Government by taking our campaign to the heart of their key calendar event,” they declared. And Manchester Cathedral was only too happy to facilitate the march of the people against austerity. Indeed, the Dean, the Rev’d Rogers Govender, launched the rally with a prayer and introduced Labour’s messiah “with a smattering of jokes about Mr Corbyn’s initials, JC”.

Good grief.

Jeremy Corbyn had apparently accepted the invitation to speak at this rally when he was a lowly back-bencher. But the Dean and Chapter of Manchester Cathedral would have known about the other high-profile prophets of socialism: Dave Ward, Kevin Maguire, Owen Jones, Natalie Bennett, Lindsey German, Mark Serwotka…

There’s nothing wrong with peaceful protest, of course, but (you have to ask) would the Dean and Chapter of Manchester Cathedral have been content to host a right-wing rally during the Labour Party Conference? Would they have allowed prominent, robust right-wingers to park their purple tanks on Jeremy Corbyn’s lawn, to detract from his gospel-grounded message of compassion, mercy, justice and peace?

Would they have been content for a horde of 17,000 right-wing protesters to flood the parochial nave and besiege the Perpendicular Gothic to rail against the evils of uncontrolled immigration, unaccountable European union, and the burgeoning national debt? Would they have been happy for (say) Nigel Farage to be feted by the rood screen like a rockstar, poisoning the minds of the masses with his right-wing xenophobia, swivel-eyed europhobia and little-Englander closet racism? Would the Bishop of Manchester have been content to watch the right-wing prophets of division and hate offer a right-wing extremist sacrifice on the altar of social diversity? Would the Dean have prayed to inaugurate a Ukip rally and then joke about the need for a St Nigel..?

When the far right were marching in Manchester last August against “radical Islam, Zionism, Communism, Irish Republicanism and the militant left”, the Bishop of Manchester issued an urgent statement:

We are a city that celebrates our common heritage of peaceful protest in the name of social progress and justice, gaining strength from the diversity of communities across Greater Manchester. But we must stand together in the true spirit of hope not hate. This is my message to those who intend to whip up intolerance, violence and hatred. They are not welcome in our city which has built its foundations upon respect and tolerance. Whilst I urge people to turn their backs on these people, I recognise those who wish to express their opposition to hatred and intolerance by counter-demonstrating and I urge that this is done peacefully.

Quite right, too. Has the Bishop said anything about the intolerance, violence, threats, spitting, assaults and general abuse being hurled at delegates attending the Conservative Party Conference? Or aren’t those haters far left enough?

  • Busy Mum

    God will call the Bishop to account for the misuse of this building which should be for His glory, and His alone.

  • Demon Teddy Bear

    We need reform of the church of England. The system of having unnamed secular lefties appoint all the bishops is horribly broken.

    • Martin

      DTB

      I’m afraid the CoE is beyond reform and since those in the position to do anything are more interested in compromise that they are in preaching the gospel it will soon founder under its own hypocrisy.

  • Gordon Tough

    so the church should stand by and hold Cameron and Osborne’s coats while their policies kill the poor and disabled? We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a stake into the spokes of the wheel itself.

    • bmudmai

      What scripture tells us to do that? (not opposing but I keep reading comments like you made and I’m just curious as to if that viewpoint actually scriptural).

      As far as my understanding of scripture goes we are to proclaim Christ first and foremost and the other main part of our mission is about supporting widows and orphans. From that we are to support and show compassion to the poor and suffering but I can’t think of scriptural example of ‘fighting’ against it and making a political stand. Seems like a distraction from our mission to me. But maybe I’m wrong.

      • Gordon Tough

        Bonhoeffer would argue that it goes to the heart of the Gospel. If all we do is “support and show compassion” without doing anything about the underlying cause then what is the point? The Gospel is a deeply political work with a direct call to action.

        “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”

        • dannybhoy

          Well said. Our Lord Jesus was neither left nor right wing because they are human definitions and methods for the world in which we dwell.
          Christ’s kingdom is not of this world, so whilst we Christians can identify with this tenet or that policy of either wing, ultimately our eyes are on Kingdom values.
          I think we should be interested and involved in politics, but we know they are not the real issue.

        • bmudmai

          I do and I don’t agree. All examples of action as far as I’m aware in scripture are in house. Jesus didn’t challenge the Romans for example. I don’t think the Church is called to protest or to oppose. You are right, we should also be doing but I think our doing is far different to political protest. Our doing should be things like foodbanks, soup bars, CAP money etc. In Acts the those who could sold their land and gave the proceeds to the Church and they distributed according to the need of everyone. They didn’t spend their time protesting against the fact the system meant people were needy.

          I think it’s a false mission led by false prophets to go down the route of fighting the power as it were. We are to provide the support and bring people to Christ.

        • Phil R

          Gordon. The underlying causes of poverty are often socialism itself.

          Don’t try to enlist Bonheoffer to something very different.

          You want to tackle underlying causes of poverty then start with the Bible and strengthen families.

          Without strong families you have nothing to build upon.

          • Gordon Tough

            I honestly don’t know what to make of this. Are you honestly suggesting that for the last 35 years we have had a succession of socialist governments?

          • Phil R

            “Are you honestly suggesting that for the last 35 years we have had a succession of socialist governments?
            I don’t know where you got this from my post”

            The key point is “You want to tackle underlying causes of poverty then start with the Bible and strengthen families.”

            A strong Christian 2 parent family is the best insurance against both poverty and incidentally child abuse

    • The Explorer

      Driving in a stake is something I associate with killing a vampire.

      • Gordon Tough

        Michael Howard was described as “having something of the night about him”.

    • ZX10

      kill the poor and disabled?
      Really? OK can we have some facts on that hyperbole or are you just going to trot out the so called 80.000 figure that keyboard comrades just loved you know the one that just took a time frame and lumped any death from any cause that stopped a benefit claim for 6 weeks before and after death and then claimed it’s government policy as it suits the agenda of hate!

    • Inspector General

      “…while their policies kill the poor and disabled”. Banality worthy of the most ignorant of school children in an essay entitled “Why I hate our democratically elected government”. Give us one case where the coroner’s verdict found government policy culpable. Shouldn’t be difficult, as according to you, said types are dropping like flies all around us…

  • The Explorer

    “God has no favourites.” Romans 2:11. No, no, no; fortunately we have the Bishop Of Manchester to put Paul to rights. God is a leftie, and his favourites are on the far left. God hates right wingers.

    • steroflex

      And what authority does the Bible have today, please?
      Already we have run roughshod over divorce, gay sex, women preaching, women divorced bishops…

      • The Explorer

        None if you’re a typical bishop. It’s an old book with superseded values that needs to be updated. (But don’t scrap it altogether, because if you do there’s an equally good case for scrapping bishops.)

        • CliveM

          Oh such cynicism!

          • Mike Stallard

            Glad to please!

  • Jon Sorensen

    Outrageous. How dare that bishop do that. Jesus would never had let Labour members is his house. He was all for capitalism and right wing, not for left wing socialism (Acts 2:44).

    • bmudmai

      Neither should be in the Cathedral for political reasons to be honest, breaks the sanctity of the sanctuary. But if you are going to house one, you should be open to house both. It’s not for the church to be partisan.

      • Jon Sorensen

        I agree! The Cathedral should stay out of politics. They should be quite about marriage equality, abortion, freedom of religion issues or any issues related to the law of the land.

        • bmudmai

          I think people of the Church has as much right as any other person to express their opinion on matters. I.e. The Archbishop has as much right, if not more right, than say Russell Brand to express the Church’s stance. But they should avoid being partisan, even when it is a clear Christian stance being expressed they should separate themselves from being partisan.

          The problem I have with this idea that the Church has no right to express opinion on things such as marriage equality, abortion etc. is to suggest that Christians are sub-human. If we are going down that line, secularists shouldn’t have a say, LGBTQ+ (whatever they go by nowadays) shouldn’t have a say, etc.

          it’s more the Cathedral is not the place to host these things, to host these rallies etc. as the Cathedral is meant to be a sanctuary, a place of worship, set apart for the service of God. Political rallies, partisan conferences etc. break the sanctity of the place.

        • James60498 .

          Abortion is murder and “gay marriage” is a total perversion of the way the world is made.

          These are not politics, but simply something on which, in the UK anyway politicians make decisions.

          In the U.S. of course such decisions are made by lawyers. Should everyone who is not a lawyer not have an opinion?

          • Jon Sorensen

            I have to disagree with you, and I have to agree with the Biblical view that abortion is a choice and it is not a murder. I’m not sure why you think gay marriage is a perversion.

            In the US actually everyone can have an opinion. I have to assume their Supreme Court knows how to interpret the law even when I sometime don’t agree with their decisions.

    • The Explorer

      The giving in Acts 2:44 was voluntary, and the donors could choose the recipients. With socialism, the decisions are made on your behalf.

      • Jon Sorensen

        Socialism can be voluntary (~democracy) or non-voluntary (=dictatorship)

        • The Explorer

          If you vote for it, it makes your decisions for you.

          • CliveM

            Unless you decide that what he is addressing is simply an elective Dictatorship. I didn’t vote Labour 1997, when Gordon Brown humped up NI, I don’t see my paying it as voluntary.

          • The Explorer

            Yes. Paul did fundraising among the Gentile Christians to help Jewish Christians who had lost their employment for becoming Christian. That, I think, is the sort of thing ‘Acts’ 2 is on about. Christians were happy to donate when they could determine the destination. They would not have been happy to fund the sacred prostitutes and catamites in the Temple of Aphrodite.

          • steroflex

            …any more than I am happy today with where my money is being spent on welfare…

          • CliveM

            I accept tax is necessary, even that by necessity we live in an elective dictatorship. I just accept that unlike what is being implied, these things aren’t voluntary.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Which ever political or economical system people vote in politicians will make most of the decision for you. They will decide how much you have to pay taxes, what other duties you have, and what services you will get.

          • The Explorer

            Yes. That’s why Acts 2 is a description of a temporary situation, not a political blueprint.

          • Jon Sorensen

            It describes the attitude Christians should have. Political or not…

          • The Explorer

            Well, it does; but so does 2 Thessalonians 3:10. These things must be balanced against one another.

          • Jon Sorensen

            2 Thessalonians 3:10 works in any political and sociological system. But then again 2 Thessalonians is forgery anyways.

          • The Explorer

            The Welfare State? As to being a forgery, that’s the classic argument used to dispose of a concept a liberal theologian finds inconvenient.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Every society needs to deal with freeloader problem, freedoms and equality issue, access of poor people to public services like roads and fire department and how to take care of poor, sick and old.

            As to being a forgery, that’s the classic argument used to against forgeries. Nothing to do with liberal/conservative theology. Conservative protestants dismiss the book of Mormon as forgery.

          • The Explorer

            I was thinking of the Jesus Seminar. That was theologically liberal, and allowed only statements that fitted its preconceptions. Only Mormons don’t think the Book of Mormon is a forgery.

          • Jon Sorensen

            It’s not only Jesus Seminar, it is everyone. All theological battles are because of this. Westboro Baptist are as conservative as is gets and they pick and choose and ignore some verses. Pretty much all Christian scholars will tell you that end of Mark is later addition but it still in *every* Bible.

            And only Scientologist don’t think L Ron Hubbard writing are forgery. If it is not your religion/denomination, it is forgery.

        • Phil R

          Athiesm can be voluntary (~democracy) or non-voluntary (=dictatorship)

          • Jon Sorensen

            Confusion is confusing

  • john in cheshire

    Someone should tell this bishop that it’s impossible to be a Christian and a socialist.

  • The Explorer

    The Lord’s Prayer has, of course, long been unacceptable for its patriarchal overtones, but time to update it on other grounds as well. “Thy kingdom come.” As a conscientious leftie, God is, naturally, anti monarchy. Philip Pullman showed the way a while back with the Republic of Heaven: all about being cheerful and so on.

    Suggestions for what to do about ‘Revelation’ 19:16: ‘KIng of KIngs and Lord of Lords’. Perhaps the Bishop could advise us about how to revise the appellation.

    • Anton

      Lord Protector?

      • CliveM

        To Sexist.

  • CliveM

    Well to be positive for a moment, he got Corbyn into a Church and maybe that will kick start a reflection on that he needs Gods love in his life.

    Maybe.

    However in many ways I can’t get excited by this. We have a left wing Bishop giving succour to his political bedfellows. It’s happened before and no doubt it will happen again. The fact he sounds like a rather tediously PC social worker, frankly is all to often par for the course these days.

    When your not up to the job (in this case Bishop) I suppose you have to distract from this by appearing capable at something else (Labour Party facilitator).

    • Pubcrawler

      “he got Corbyn into a Church”

      He’s been in a church before:

      http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/pictures/Jeremy-Corbyn-Cambridge-1-300-people-hear-vision/pictures-27748779-detail/pictures.html

      A number of people, myself included, expressed reservations about whether it was appropriate for any church building, let alone the University Church, to be used for a partisan political election rally.

      • CliveM

        Sometimes it seems that to help the poor, some members of the Church think its enough to appear compassionate.

        Whether the proposed reform works or not is neither here nor there.

        • Pubcrawler

          As someone here (I think) pointed out not long ago, there is a great difference between feeling good and doing good.

          • CliveM

            Good phrase. Pity to many people fail to understand it.

    • John Thomas

      Clive, it would be interesting to know how many bishops are NOT left wing (and I don’t just mean Anglican ones) – enough to count on one hand? A hand with several fingers sadly missing?

      • CliveM

        You don’t get anywhere in the Church if you are not left wing.

        Probably not even past selection.

    • steroflex

      Once again, we see the CoE morphing into the Methodist Church – always a firm supporter of the Labour movement. (“There’s Methodism in their madness.”)

    • Shadrach Fire

      I doubt Clive that Corbyn would find the living Christ in that place.

      • Pubcrawler

        Corbyn may not find, but are you saying that there are places where Christ is not there to be found?

  • Royinsouthwest

    Don’t anyone dare say that the Bishop of Manchester is biased. Despite what his ecclesiastical superior Cranmer hinted, I am sure that Nigel Farage’s invitation to speak in Manchester Cathedral is in the post, or at least it will be once the Bishop has got round to writing it.

  • Orwell Ian

    Corbyn’s kinder, gentler politics has already been trashed by his own followers. Protesting is one thing, thuggery is quite another. When intolerance and verbal abuse turn to threats, spitting, and violent assault, the hard left exposes its true ugliness. I would not expect any Church to associate with such people or host their activities.

  • Retired Paul

    The bishop could ask for reciprocal speaking rights, and the opportunity to talk about Christ and everyone’s need for personal redemption at the meetings of these groups.

    Whether he is interested in doing so is another question…

  • Dreadnaught

    And you wonder why atheists see no legitimate place for the Bishops in the Legislature. QED

    • Martin

      Dreadnaught

      That is because Atheists are without discernment.

      • Dreadnaught

        And you are delusional.

        • Martin

          Dreadnaught

          I’m not the one pretending there is no God.

  • steroflex

    There is a very good reason that all great religious leaders do not lower themselves to join a political party. It is this: religion is God given to everybody. If you favour one half, then the other half will hate you. Jacob and his brothers, Isaac and Ishmael, Rachel and Hagar.
    I would have thought that someone as holy as the Bishop of a place like Manchester would have realised that.

  • Very good point you make today YG.

  • Inspector General

    Christ’s kingdom is not of this world. We know that but it seems to be rather lost on the Prince Bishop of Manchester…

  • Inspector General

    Breaking News. Dept of Work and Pensions to set up a jobs fair in Manchester Cathedral…

  • CliveM

    Just taken the link to read the report in the Church Times on some Bishops response to Corbyn being elected Labour Leader.

    Dear Lord is this what passes for thought and analysis with CofE Bishops? A lot of vacuous, wishful thinking and an inability to differentiate from media hype and reality. Clearly they can’t differentiate between what is happening and what they would like to be happening.

    You should really take a look.

    • Martin

      Clive

      And no spiritual discernment.

  • chiefofsinners

    So when you see the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place, let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Matthew 24:15-16

  • Sir Walter Tyrell

    I wonder if the non-religious or agnostic Jeremy Corbyn would like to preach a sermon on law and order, taking his text from Romans 3:2-3? “Therefore he that resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God. And they that resist, purchase to themselves damnation. For princes are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good: and thou shalt have praise from the same.” Admittedly, St. Paul may well be talking about the power of Church authorities, not state authorities, although the words “he beareth not the sword in vain” in verse 4 rather suggest the authority of the state and, in either case, some people might regard this as a very dangerous passage.
    And then again he might like to preach on 2 Thessalonians 3:10: “For also when we were with you, this we declared to you: that, if any man will not work, neither let him eat.”It has to be said, though, that this verse is almost certainly aimed at priests and preachers and not at the common people.

    • CliveM

      Really? I had heard it referred to those within the Church who convinced that the Lords return was so imminent that they had given up on daily life and were in effect parasitising on the rest of the Church who were still leading a normal life and working.

      Still matters little I suppose, the principle is still broadly applicable.

      • Sir Walter Tyrell

        I wasn’t aware of that interpretation but it certainly makes sense.

      • Pubcrawler

        Compare Didache ch. 12:

        But receive everyone who comes in the name of the Lord, and prove and know him afterward; for you shall have understanding right and left. If he who comes is a wayfarer, assist him as far as you are able; but he shall not remain with you more than two or three days, if need be. But if he wants to stay with you, and is an artisan, let him work and eat. But if he has no trade, according to your understanding, see to it that, as a Christian, he shall not live with you idle. But if he wills not to do, he is a Christ-monger. Watch that you keep away from such.

        http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/didache-roberts.html

        • CliveM

          Interesting. I will confess I have not read much early Christian writing, beyond a very brief look at some of the early apocryphal Gospels. I assume a wayfarer is a rootless, skill less and unemployed Christian (the chapter is headed Reception of Christians), which would suggest some obligation to feed and house someone unable to work even if only for a limited period. I assume athe wayfarer then moves onto another congregation.

          I think it still allows for the interpretation I understood for Thessalonians.

          I read the link, which was fascinating.

          • Pubcrawler

            Both interpretations have merit; the underlying principle is ‘don’t indulge those who seek to abuse your charity’.

          • CliveM

            Indeed both interpretations can be equally true.

            Yes agreed.

  • Historically, of course, Methodism focused on the gospel of personal salvation. Wesley knew that the sinner has to be transformed before society can be. Our nation’s hope lies not in the Left or the Right but in many realising the corruption of their hearts and the need to flee to Christ for mercy.

    • Anton

      It’s part of the Christian life so it’s only a heresy if it’s presented as the whole gospel.

      • len

        ‘The social Gospel’ seems to be the main way the church is presenting itself in the UK today?.

      • Thank for your comment Anton. In the minds of most unbelievers in modern Britain their view of the gospel is entirely on the level of trying to improve society along liberal secularist lines. This suggests that the mainstream churches (with some honourable exceptions) have not at all been majoring on telling people to flee from the wrath to come and to trust in Christ as the only Saviour from sin.

        • Anton

          I agree.

    • sarky

      And how are they going to realise the so called corruption of their hearts?

      • dannybhoy

        Through the convicting work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of men, By the preaching of the Gospel, those who heard recognised their own personal failings -regardless of their physical circumstances.
        After all if there was no God who would they hold accountable for their personal failings? Yes. they could blame their masters for their poverty, but not their personal failings.
        Money and possessions do not make us better people. The Gospel actually empowers men by pointing out their own responsibilities within their sphere of influence, however limited.
        Out of the Wesleyan preaching came outwardly repentant/inwardly renewed men and women, who went on to change and improve society.

        • sarky

          See my reply to p Simpson.

          • dannybhoy

            You’re right Sarky, but evangelism has changed even since I became a Christian. There are preachers out there but not in the numbers we once saw. On the other hand across the world people are becoming Christians in great numbers.
            We as Christians recognise that methods change with the circumstances.

          • sarky

            But that’s the problem, you don’t change the methods. There seems to be a genuine fear of getting in bed with the modern world. As an evolutionist I would say that if you dont adapt you are finished.

          • dannybhoy

            Sarky what do you mean by ” a genuine fear of getting in bed with the modern world.”?
            You mean modern marketing methods or what? I know of churches that (to me) are more like cinemas, with loud music and flashing lights, overflowing with people.
            Personally I dislike it, but then I’m an old geezer, and as long as these folk are truly grounded in the faith, it’s not my place to judge.

          • sarky

            I mean getting your message out there. I mean competing with everything else out there.
            You wonder why atheism is spreading so rapidly? With a tap on your phone you can see 101 convincing arguments against christianity from youtube rants to theological debates. You don’t see a balanced reasoned response from christians, normally just nutters telling you to burn in hell on the comments section.

          • dannybhoy

            I don’t wonder why atheism is spreading rapidly Sarky, it’s just that some who believe it are becoming more militant. The same thing is happening in the States as you are probably aware. The Constitution framed as it was mainly by Christians and Deists is coming under increasing attack by the American Atheists and of course Islam. Yet they remain a small minority; perhaps serving the purposes of a movement with a much bigger agenda.
            Did you look at Martin Mareplate’s link to St Helen’s Bishopsgate?
            http://www.st-helens.org.uk/meet/welcome-to-st-helen-s?ref=feature
            Some interesting vidclips from scientists who attend the church..

          • sarky

            In the 18 – 29 age group the growth has been from less than 10% to over 33%, hardly a minority and figures you could only dream of.

          • dannybhoy

            What I was pointing you to Sarky, is the fact that there are churches that are growing for all sorts of reasons. St Helens has scientists who as an evolutionist you would be able to converse with. As I have pointed out there are lots of bright learned people who believe but don’t do YouTube. Are yoyu going to be convinced by what these folk have to say?

            I doubt it, because at the heart of it all it is something that happened; something that truly hurt you in your upbringing or in a relationship that turned you away from seeking after God: and He will not be able to get through to you until that has been addressed.
            Just as in my own experience it was my belief (or rather alibi), that stopped me from coming to God in all humility and asking Him to come into my life because I had messed it up..
            Most people (I won’t say all), don’t have an intellectual problem with God, they have an emotional or self-will problem. In other words they are either angry or hurt, or they just want to enjoy life on their own terms unaccountable to anyone.

          • sarky

            Nothing hurt me, I actually had a great childhood, I just never believed and nothing since has convinced me otherwise.

          • dannybhoy

            Sorry Sarky, but wasn’t it you who had an oppressive Christian upbringing?

          • sarky

            Not me, I’ve said on here plenty of times I had a good childhood, I just never believed.

          • dannybhoy

            Sincere apologies Sarky. I know someone here mentioned that as a factor in their life.
            A good childhood is a wonderful thing, and something you want to share and give to your own children. Even an old fart like myself has lots of happy memories from childhood!

          • CliveM

            Yes pre war was an idyllic time for childhood…………….

          • dannybhoy

            Ouch, that hurt!
            (starts bawling)
            “Mammy, that Clive with the drippy nose is being horrible again!”

          • sarky

            No apology required 🙂

          • Busy Mum

            Hardly surprising considering they have been educated to be atheists.

          • sarky

            Arh right, so on the flipside if they were educated by christians, they would automatically be christian?
            Can’t you see how ridiculous your assertion is?

          • Busy Mum

            No, I can’t actually. You are equating atheism and Christianity. You are also equating nominal with real Christianity.

            Nominal Christians will educate people to be nominal Christians.

            Atheists will educate people to be atheists.

            Real Christians will teach people that they are sinners.

            Only God can teach a real Christian.

          • sarky

            Lots of christians in empty classrooms then.

          • alternative_perspective

            Sarky, I have posted balanced and reasoned responses to you in this very column.

            Atheism is advancing in the West because it preaches the moral authority of the self over all else. NOT because of convincing arguments. You dear fellow are a case in point.

            Have you looked at any of the links I sent you in the past? Have you checked out anything which disagrees with your priori convictions?

            No of course not because you want atheism to be true, you want to be the sole moral authority in your life – you like it like that and you will (like most others) adapt your beliefs to suit your desires and prefilter anything that doesn’t conform.

            Hey that’s your right and your freedom but it is dishonest to suggest that there are no balanced and reasoned responses because frankly, there’s hundreds of them.

            For posterity here are few more for your consideration, again: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/
            http://www.reasons.org/
            http://www.bethinking.org/
            http://www.rzim.org

          • sarky

            There are alot of presumptions on your part. Of course I have looked at both sides critically, how else could I come to a reasoned point of view? I tested christianity and found it wanting, based on the evidence atheism is the only thing that makes sense.

          • len

            ‘Adapting’ is not always progress specially if you once stood on a sound foundation….

          • sarky

            You can still adapt from a firm foundation.
            Just throwing it out there. As one of ‘the lost’ I’m just pointing out that what you’re doing is failing miserably.

          • alternative_perspective

            The Cambrian explosion would disagree 😉

          • DanJ0

            There are two dedicated Christian religionist channels on Freeview at the moment.

      • I might add to Danny’s excellent comments that they will realise through the preaching of the law of God, which reveals to men their sin, and which is a schoolmaster to bring them to Christ.

        • sarky

          All very well but where are these preachers? I haven’t seen or heard one in years. Does the odd leaflet through the door at Christmas and easter count?

          • I know quite a few such preachers, sarky, but their efforts will never be reported in the media, except occasionally in the context of being troublemakers and extremists. I do not set up my own hopeless and feeble efforts as any model, but this is a 60 second clip of preaching in my hometown last week. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBhWBVPaJ4E

          • sarky

            We live in different times, shouting in the street will get you nowhere. We are at a time when a kitten falling off a shelf will get 2 million hits on youtube. How do you compete with that? You are but a small whisper in the cacophony of noise that we are assaulted with daily. If you don’t change you will die.

          • Dear Sarky, Preaching is proclamation, not shouting. It is God’s chosen method for every generation. One projects the voice, so that more people will hear. Human nature has not changed one jot since Wesley’s day. We have the Internet and smartphones, they had cheap gin and cock fighting. The world always finds distractions to the gospel, because it is trying to block its ears. The problem is not the methodology of preaching, but the hardness of the hearers’ hearts, who want to hang on to their sins.

          • sarky

            Surely blaming the listeners is a cop out? Isn’t that like a manufacturer blaming the public for not buying its product?
            Just think you might need a rethink, watching your video half the people walked by with a phone stuck to their ear, the other half just walked by.
            Get in some jugglers or fire eaters or do balloon animals for kids, I gaurentee you an audience!!!

          • Dear Sarky, Gospel preaching is not an exercise in marketing. Did the apostle Peter or John Wesley use jugglers to draw a crowd? Preaching is a deadly serous business. We are not selling soap powder, but drawing men out of their Satan-induced spiritual darkness.

            Of course many just walk by or look at their phones. There is an embarrassment in PC modern Britain about even being seen to listen to a mad fundamentalist preacher, but, you know what? we often see people listening on the fringes and the preaching often leads to soul-searching conversations.

            The Lord Jesus Christ explained why it is that so many reject His message. It is not because of a failure by preachers to find hip methods of communication, but the following – John 3:20 – “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved”.

            On the Day of Judgement those who walk by ignoring the word of life in their secular sophistication will be held accountable for their rejection of the grace proffered to them.

            Yours in courteous discussion, Peter.

          • sarky

            Just pointing out that if you are so worried about souls, surely you would do anything in your power to get them to stop and listen? Seems like a no brainer to me.

          • alternative_perspective

            Sarky,
            in line with what you’ve been writing.
            Please, please, please seek after God… I beg you, seriously I have gotten on the to floor and typing this from my knees. Whatever it is that’s in your heart, that thorny pain insulating you from God’s love please acknowledge it. Please open up to it and ask God to come in an minister to it.
            Life is so short, so precious and so easily vanishes in the murderous throws of a cruel and indifferent universe. None of us knows how long we have on this earth but that period is all we have to choose how we spend eternity.
            God will always respect your wishes; if you choose separation from him that is precisely what you will get but please be warned: the Bible very, very clearly states that we are ALL sinners, every last one of us: no exception bar Jesus alone. None is good. All are deserving of punishment. Each and every one of us is an enemy of God. In fact it clearly states that spirituality speaking we are dead men walking and all our so called “good works” are but dirty rags before the Lord.
            You have no righteousness of your own to commend you, just like me.
            If you come into the presence of God absent of his mercy and cleansing you will be taking those filthy rags, methaphorically soaked in the alcohol of a lifetime of sin, corrupt thoughts and in-action into the blazing inferno of God’s holiness. Your hell will be of your own creation, your own choosing and of your own sustenance as you perpetually blame and condemn God for your choices.
            Please, let all of that go. Even though we have nothing to commend us he has not abandoned us. Even though we deserve nothing; he offers us everything. Even though a lifetime of sin demands punishment HE, yes HE has already paid for it in full, by the shedding His blood and enduring the capital punishment that hangs over you. If only you will acknowledge your wrong doings, receive that mercy and put your trust and life in God he will give you life eternally and fullness of life now.
            (I’m getting off my knees now..seriously).
            But ultimately God, the trinity, Jesus and a theistic worldview beautifully knits the disparate disciplines of science, history, psychology, sociology and personal experience together in a comprehensive and intricate explanatory web of ideas and events. The Christian God is a solitary answers to myriad questions with immense explanatory power that both satisfies the seeker intellectually and draws him or her into a never ending pursuit of deeper and more fundamental truths.
            I can promise you that as a chartered engineer with a background in engineering and physics I have never felt more stimulated and intellectually challenged now that I am a Christian compared to my life beforehand, it simply does not compare.
            That is not to say finding the answers is always easy, unfortunately our established church often prefers woolly platitudes to rigorous intellectual engagement. You will need to seek beyond the local village church and the often convincing but usually logically incoherent atheistic forums, which it sounds like you often frequent.
            God, is not an easy choice. He is not a crutch but a demanding and disciplining father. He picks you up, heals and loves you but also trains and teaches. His yoke is easy and his burden light but the world you have to live in is scornful, hostile and prejudiced. If they hated Him (and they did), they will hate you BUT fear not for He has overcome the world and is coming back soon.
            Moreover, and this is fundamental, from my personal spoken encounter with Him I can attest that He ALONE has the key to eternal life. There is no hope outside him and no greater joy than being with him.
            So, finally, in the words of St. Paul. Please (I begged you) be reconciled to your heavenly father.

          • sarky

            Sorry, I have a fantastic life with a fantastic family. god doesn’t even factor into it. You may find this hard to believe but I dont feel anything is missing and I’m not searching for anything. My comments are purely based on my christian upbringing and as I’m now on the outside I can see that on the most part christians are all mouth and no action. As most of the christians I know are genuinely nice people I don’t see a problem in giving you a shunt in the right direction even though I dismissed your belief many many years ago.

          • DanJ0

            The Life of Brian captured some of the absurdity of street preaching quite well I thought

          • Non-believers have always mocked open air preachers. We are easy game, but street preaching led to the transformation of British society in the 18th century as Whitefield and Wesley went into the highways and byways. Even secular historians testify to this consequence of the labours of the early Methodist preachers.

            Man’s need to repent of sin and to be publicly warned to do so is the same today as it was then. Yours courteously.

    • Shadrach Fire

      The social class of society believe that reform will come from social action.
      The reality is that no real social reform can come without Christ.

      • alternative_perspective

        Try telling that to a DDO, they don’t like it.

  • Prayer, prayer and more prayer ….

    Today we remember the Battle of Lepanto on 7 October 1571. A fleet of the Holy League, a coalition of European Catholic states arranged by Pope Pius V, decisively defeated the fleet of the Ottoman Empire and saved Christian Europe from Islam.

    The Holy League credited the victory to Our Blessed Lady, whose intercession with God they had implored through the use of the Rosary. Pope Pius V instituted the Catholic feast day of Our Lady of Victory to commemorate the battle. This is celebrated today as the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.

    • IanCad

      “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”
      1 Timothy 2:5

      Can’t see where Mary – blessed among women – fits into any victory over the bandit religion.

      • Mary interceded with her son Jesus who, as you say, is the one mediator between God and men.

        • len

          One interceder not quite good enough Jack?

          • Always helps to have a word with Jesus’ mum and get her onside …. look what she managed at Cana. You do know what they say about Jewish mothers?

          • Martin

            HJ

            The mother of whom this was said:

            But he answered them, My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it. (Luke 8:21 [ESV])

            Seems to me that when Mary tried to influence, she did so wrongly.

          • The mother of whom it was also said:

            “But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
            When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!”
            Then He said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own household.”

          • Martin

            HJ

            And?

          • Meditate on it ….

          • Martin

            What’s there to meditate on?

          • Well, you wont know the answer to that until you do, will you?

          • Martin

            HJ

            I’ll continue to talk to the one who promised to listen, rather than go through a intermediary appointed by men.

          • Then meditate too on these infallible and inerrant words spoken under the power of the Holy Spirit by Mary:

            “My soul magnifies the Lord”

          • Martin

            HJ

            I wasn’t aware that she announces her role of intermediary
            there. Indeed she seems to be indicating that she is a sinner in need of salvation.

          • Mary was born full of grace …. Saved by the working of Christ’s sacrifice before she was born.

          • Martin

            HJ

            No, Mary was like every other child of God, chosen before the foundation of the Earth but saved in time after a life of sin & prone to sin all her life.

          • According to Jack’s beliefs, Mary, through a sovereign act of God, was conceived Immaculately i.e. without the inherited sin of Adam and the fallen nature of man. She was saved before she was born before God foreknew her in time.

          • Martin

            HJ

            But you won’t find that teaching in the Bible, or even the early Church. It was invented because men could not understand how sinless God could be born of sinful woman.

          • The message is entirely consistent with scripture although it is not spelt out and needed formulation. The teaching was given by the Church to whom God has been and still is revealing all truth.

          • Martin

            HJ

            It is not consistent with Scripture & how can it be given to the Church, that is Christ’s Church, not the church of Rome, if it is not explicit in the Bible.

          • Where does scripture ever claim to be more than the inspired word of God? Where does it say doctrine has to be explicit? Indeed, many of the basic dogma of Christianity are not revealed explicitly.
            Scripture is the foundation of all truth who’s meaning and understanding is being revealed to the Church through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In the Roman Catholic view, the various doctrines concerning Our Blessed Lady do not contradict scripture but build on it and reveal it more clearly.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Your mariology contradicts the commands on idolatry. For whatever you say, Mary is worshipped in the church of Rome.

          • And that Martin is simply bearing false witness against both Jack and the Catholic Church. This subject has been covered repeatedly here in the past.

          • Martin

            HJ

            That is the conclusion that must be drawn from the treatment of Mary, an opinion that is not just mine but that of many Christians.

          • Well it’s an ill-informed opinion based on a lack of proper understanding and, as such, is bearing false witness.

          • Martin

            HJ

            And you must follow what you sect teaches.

          • Jack is free to accept or deny Catholicism. He understands the Church, her nature and divine authority, and also agrees with her doctrines and teachings. He knows from his relationship with Christ that the Church is His Bride.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Of course, like every other member of a sect you are free to leave. But the sect tells you that if you leave you will end up in Hell.

          • len

            Why not speak to the only mediator God appointed?

        • dannybhoy

          Mary interceded as a mother would with her firstborn and special son, not in any other sense Jack.

          • What other sense is there?
            The issue is whether the intercession carried additional weight with her only child because it came from Our Blessed Lady through the miraculous prayer of the Rosary.

          • dannybhoy

            Jack, in all humility and respect.
            Mary was honoured, “blessed among women”, to be chosen to have as her firstborn Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.
            God came into the world to as the first step in His mission to secure salvation for wayward and sinful mankind. He had to be physically man so as to be tested as the second Adam..
            Mary had the great privilege of giving birth to our Saviour and Lord. Jesus most definitely loved His earthly mother, but there was no other especial intercessory role assigned her.

          • Mary’s role was and is far more significant than the limited one you’ve assigned her.

          • dannybhoy

            You’re a man of faith and I respect you. Scriptural evidence please.

          • Jack hasn’t the energy to run the Catholic Church’s teachings on Our Blessed Lady.

            “Since the Immaculate Conception and Assumption are not explicit in Scripture, Fundamentalists conclude that the doctrines are false. Here, of course, we get into an entirely separate matter, the question of sola scriptura, or the Protestant “Bible only” theory. There is no room in this tract to consider that idea. Let it just be said that if the position of the Catholic Church is true, then the notion of sola scriptura is false. There is then no problem with the Church officially defining a doctrine which is not explicitly in Scripture, so long as it is not in contradiction to Scripture.

            The Catholic Church was commissioned by Christ to teach all nations and to teach them infallibly—guided, as he promised, by the Holy Spirit until the end of the world (John 14:26, 16:13). The mere fact that the Church teaches that something is definitely true is a guarantee that it is true (cf. Matt. 28:18-20, Luke 10:16, 1 Tim. 3:15).”

            http://www.catholic.com/tracts/immaculate-conception-and-assumption

            And here’s an article by a well known convert from Evangelical Anglicanism to Catholicism on Our Blessed Lady:

            http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/mary-mother-of-salvation

          • dannybhoy

            “There is no room in this tract to consider that idea. Let it just be
            said that if the position of the Catholic Church is true, then the
            notion of sola scriptura is false.”

            And there is the issue in a nutshell – or rather a sentence.
            And out of Christian love and respect I won’t push it any further, because we have already been over that ground…

          • Anton

            Danny, you asked for scriptural evidence for the Catholic doctrines about Mary the Blessed. It is also worth asking for historical evidence, because the gap in time between Mary and the first traces of those doctrines is several generations. They are as reliable as details in a novel written today about the Napoleonic wars.

          • dannybhoy

            I could do that Anton, but I wouldn’t.
            Perhaps when I was younger and more combative, winning arguments was more important. I want to keep Jack as a brother in Christ. He’s not trying to force his views on me, simply presenting his case as we present ours.

          • Anton

            Do remember that your discussions with him (and others here) are not private but may influence the beliefs of others. It is not in question that he remains a brother in Christ.

          • Pubcrawler

            Indeed. Informative open — even robust — discussion (of which there are many here) is beneficial to those trying to follow the Way. Combative squabbling, not so much, and is a disservice to the Faith. Never forget John 13.35.

          • dannybhoy

            Thanks for the reminder Anton. I do sometimes forget that. I don’t quite see how my not getting into a discussion on Catholic theology with Jack could affect other people’s beliefs though.. ?
            Martin and I had an ongoing conversation on predestination and irresistible grace some weeks ago. It fizzled out eventually, because (I think) one could not convince the other that they were right!

          • Ivan M

            Who died and made you the Thought Controller? You are being ridiculous. Long before you HJ was commenting on this blog. Start your own blog if you need to screw with peoples’ minds.

          • Anton

            Please stop imputing things to me that I did not say.

          • Ivan M

            Whether you said it or not, that was the implication. I don’t doubt your calling, but understand that this is an adult blog. Therefore there is no need to warn the little children. Frankly few suffer starched pinafores gladly.

          • Anton

            You tell me not to tell people what to do (although I wasn’t) and then tell me what to do?

          • Ivan M

            I am not going to tell you anything more, except to note that you should consider whether any one of us, has had his mind changed by the debates here. I should apologise for my rudeness, but then you would consider it superfluous.

          • Anton

            I doubt that any contributor has had his or her mind changed, but for every one of those there will be many silent readers. That is a fact of blogging life and is the original point I was making. In a private email exchange with Jack I doubt that I’d bring up his and my differences regarding Mary the Blessed, but this is a public forum – and that difference often makes a different style of rhetoric appropriate. I mean no offence but I don’t think I’m out of order in pointing that out.

          • dannybhoy

            ” I don’t believe I’m out of order in pointing this out, and Danny, to whom I made the comment, took no offence.”

            Some say that Danny’s too dim to know when he should take offence…. :0)
            Danny himself thinks that some people are attracted to – in the most Christian sense of the word- the mystical side of faith. That’s how their mind works.
            Some have acutely, perhaps overly sensitive consciences, and spend more time in guilt that they do in the joy of living..
            Danny is a simple, practical man and has little interest in the things that might grip someone like Happy Jack
            Danny is presently reading “Is Faith Irrational” by Keith Ward.
            Danny understands some of what yer man is saying, but remains baffled by other bits, and has to resist the urge to throw the book out of the window….

          • CliveM

            DB

            we are practical men, we leave the deep philosophysing to men like Happy Jack!

          • dannybhoy

            That’s probably why we get on well Clive.
            Your round I believe….

          • CliveM

            Well as the Inspector still owes me a pint, I’ll get him to buy!

          • Anton

            Why resist?

          • dannybhoy

            Because I want to understand what he is saying, so that if I end up disagreeing with him I shall be able to explain why I do. The man shows how he came to faith partly through the writings of St Thomas Aquinas, so I feel I owe it to him to persevere.
            And anyway, the book cost me nearly nine quid..

          • Anton

            What you make of the book is of course up to you, but nowadays I regard life as too short to persist in reading a book or watching a film that I don’t think much of. I’m not going to get my money back but I don’t have to waste the time. That said, I occasionally read books written from viewpoints I disagree with so as not to get too narrow, but it’s seldom a pleasure.

        • IanCad

          Jack,
          Mary was dead and in the grave.

          • Mary is in Heaven ….

          • IanCad

            There is no evidence that she is in Heaven. In fact, the doctrine holding that she is in that place to which we hope to enter was not declared infallible until 1950.
            When we die we enter the grave, waiting in hope for that great day when we will rise to meet Him. Or, to await the resurrection of the wicked.

          • The Catholic Church has always believed in entry to Heaven for all those who die in a state of perfected grace.

        • Martin

          HJ

          Why would we need someone to intercede with the one mediator between God and Man?

          • Who says we “need” to? It’s not obligatory to pray to Mary or to pray the Rosary. On the other hand, if you believe in the “Communion of Saints” i.e. the spiritual union of the members of the Christian Church, living and the dead, then you’ll accept intercessory prayer. And if you believe Mary has a special relationship with her son and played a unique in our salvation, then prayer to her seems perfectly sensible.

          • Martin

            HJ

            The only intercessory prayer that we may make is through that ONE mediator between God and Man, the man Christ Jesus. Anything else is idolatry. Mary had to be saved, just like all of mankind.

          • len

            The’ Mary of the Roman Church’ is an invention..as much as ‘Isa, the Muslim Jesus

      • Ivan M

        The victory, was achieved under the aegis of the Catholic Church. The Church can spin it any way it wants. No thanks though to the Protestants.
        From Lepanto

        …And the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss,
        And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross,
        The cold queen of England is looking in the glass;
        The shadow of the Valois is yawning at the Mass; …

        Glorious send up by the poet, of powdered Bess as the Witch Queen.

        • CliveM

          Not only the Protestant Queen of England who didn’t help, but also the very Catholic (and Mediterranean) French who didn’t. It would appear they even helped the Ottomens recover, due to a longstanding Franco – ottoman alliance (Wiki).

          • Ivan M

            That is true, both Liz and the Valois had back doors to the Sultan. I suppose they feared the mad Spaniards more than the Turks.

          • CliveM

            Both it would appear had reason to do so.

          • Anton

            An alliance which the French made because Catholic Charles V who ruled land on either side of Catholic France was continually attacking it.

        • Merchantman

          At the time Quite a number of Protestant volunteers did however actively fight the Turks.

    • CliveM

      Thank you for this bit of history. Now for Wikipedia!

      • It is a day that should be a day commemorated throughout Europe and the Christian world as it once was.

        • dannybhoy

          In the context of the times, and that Europe was seen as Christian and Catholic , I agree Jack.
          Secular Europe is under threat again from the Muslim world, both through terrorism and immigration without assimilation. Although now very much a minority Christians may be called on again to defend what remains of our Christian heritage.

        • CliveM

          It certainly deserves to be better remembered and celebrated, a pivotal moment.

          I was amused to read that the Ottomans thought the loss might be a Devine judgement, they were probably right.

          • Pubcrawler

            It might be better remembered had Shakespeare written a play about it…

          • No Hollywood blockbusters either and yet it is full of drama ….

          • Pubcrawler

            Pitch it to Mel Gibson, I’m sure he’d be up for it.

          • Anton

            I once wrote to Gibson’s agent suggesting that he do Owen Glendower, the Welsh Braveheart and now roughly Gibson’s age, as Wallace was when Gibson made that film. I made it clear that I was not seeking any reward for the suggestion but I got a horrible form letter back saying that Mr Gibson reserves the right to make any film without payment for the suggestion. He needs a better agent.

          • CliveM

            Considering his recent behaviour I’m not sure it’s the agent that’s the problem!

            Either way he would struggle to get the financial backing these days

          • Anton

            With Gallipolli, Braveheart and The Patriot under his belt it’s clear that he dislikes the English, so Glendower would be an obvious next step. I’d go to see it.

          • CliveM

            Well what with his drunken anti Semitic rants, his threats of violence and admission he hit his girl friend, if the film gets made, it won’t be Mel making it.

          • Anton

            I only knew of one of those incidents. Pity. Not worse than the lives of many Renaissance artists though.

          • Dreadnaught

            More like he dislikes history.

          • IanCad

            His next step is “Hacksaw Ridge” Out next year.
            Quite a boost for Ben Carson if he’s still in the running for the Republican nomination.

          • Anton

            What’s the connection, please?

          • IanCad

            Anton,
            The film is about Desmond Doss who happened to be an SDA; as is Ben Carson.

          • Anton

            I had to decipher SDA but I get the point; thank you.

          • Scottish Darts Association? Scottish Downhill Association?

          • CliveM

            Wow he’s been allowed to make another film! I thought he was a busted flush.

            Shows how wrong you can be. Anton should try again.

          • Worth a watch:

          • IanCad

            Thanks Jack!
            I know his story but have not seen this documentary.
            I look forward to an inspiring couple of hours.

          • Enjoy….

          • Uncle Brian

            The English are just about the only nationality left, I think, that can safely be cast as villains. Sometimes, to hammer the point home that a character is definitely a villain, he not only speaks with an English accent but smokes a cigarette as well.

          • IanCad

            You make a good point UB.
            Scoundrels, Bounders, and, I’m sorry to admit, Cads.
            England can take it!

          • CliveM

            Do you know HJ, if they did, Don John of Austria would be the baddie and the Ottomans, the poor brave fighters for truth and liberty battling nobly against the Crusader nations.

          • Not in Mel Gibson’s hands. He doesn’t do political correctness.

          • CliveM

            Well you’ll get no argument from me on that.

            Think the money men would prefer Ridley Scott.

          • Anton

            He was wise enough to write plays only about people who were dead. The Battle of Lepanto took place during his lifetime.

    • The Explorer

      Cervantes fought in the Battle.

      • Jack was unaware of this fact. From Wiki:

        “In September 1571 Cervantes sailed on board the Marquesa, part of the galley fleet of the Holy League …. that defeated the Ottoman fleet on October 7 in the Battle of Lepanto, in the Gulf of Patras.

        Though taken down with fever, Cervantes refused to stay below, and asked to be allowed to take part in the battle, saying he would rather die for his God and his king than keep under cover. He fought on board a vessel, and received 3 gunshot wounds – 2 in the chest, and one which rendered his left arm useless. In Journey to Parnassus he was to say that he “had lost the movement of the left hand for the glory of the right” (he was thinking of the success of the first part of Don Quixote). Cervantes looked back on his conduct in the battle with pride: he believed he had taken part in an event that would shape the course of European history.”

        • The Explorer

          Cervantes on his galley sets the sword back in the sheath
          (Don John of Austria rides homeward with a wreath.)
          And he sees across a weary land a straggling road in Spain,
          Up which a lean and foolish knight forever rides in vain,
          And he smiles, but not as Sultans smile, and settles back the blade….
          (But Don John of Austria rides home from the Crusade.)

          G K Chesterton

        • chiefofsinners

          Don Quixote is on of the most tedious books I have ever read. However, it starts to make sense if you understand it as an attempt to convince Muslims that Europe and it’s people were too dull to invade.

          • Now, now …..

          • dannybhoy

            :0)

          • The Explorer

            Myself, I love it. Wonderful exploration of illusion and reality.

          • Ivan M

            Old man, Lee Kuan Yew, the late father of modern Singapore reckoned it as one of his favourite books. Which is strange when one considers that he was a blunt-nosed pragmatist. But as he explained, one has to dream. But I found it boring, though I’ll try to read it again.

          • The Explorer

            I can see the case for an abridged version.

          • Ivan M

            No way. No Puffin editions, except for children.

          • Anton

            It’s highly relevant today. Tilting at windmills clearly relates to those of us who believe wind turbines are a needless blot on the landscape.

          • chiefofsinners

            Yes indeed. Illusion: this is a great book. Reality: I bought it in an airport bookshop and it ruined my holiday.
            Still, I’m glad someone likes it. Happy reading Sancho.

          • The Explorer

            Lunatic dragging toothbrush on a string. Keeper says, “Nice dog.” Lunatic says, “That’s not a dog, that’s a toothbrush.” Keeper leaves. Lunatic says, “We certainly fooled him that time, Rover.”

            That’s how it functions. Bunuel uses the same sort of technique in ‘Belle de Jour’. Must be a Spanish thing.
            Holiday reading. No.

          • IanCad

            Couldn’t agree more. It should have been condensed.
            When I was young I talked about it a lot; and how marvelous it was – just to sound smart.
            “Intellectual Signaling” ?

          • Now that we are on to the pleasures of intellectual signalling, an unusual work to look up is *The Turk and Islam in the Western Eye, 1450-1750: Visual Imagery Before Orientalism* edited by James G. Harper and the unabridged recently republished edition of Niccolo Capponi’s *Victory of the West: The Story of the Battle of Lepanto.* A collateral benefit to Lepanto was the number of splendid and unequalled panoramic battle canvasses.

          • IanCad

            Jogging some memories Avi.

            Had to look it up, but it was at the National Maritime Museum that I saw this stirring scene:

            http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/11753.html

          • Quite a collection of galleons, including the monster on the right, the one with the stubby mortars, forward cannon and the square sail at the foremast. I can look at that one for hours…unfortunately can’t find a higher res image. There is a so-so detail here: https://guardduty.files.wordpress.com/2006/12/battle_of_lepanto1.gif

          • IanCad

            The great days of sail; and as a Brit I’m sorry to say that, according to naval historians, European shipbuilding was of a far higher quality than the British.
            Much later I know, than the subject sixteenth century galleons, it was the ambition of every eighteenth century British captain to get the command of a captured French frigate.
            They could build ’em; We could sail ’em.

          • dannybhoy

            That’s not what I was taught at boarding school Ian.
            I was taught that it was our nimble little ships that were able to run rings around the Spanish and French that won the day..
            However it developed the English built up a sense of self belief that ultimately overcame those much more powerful European nations..

          • IanCad

            So right Danny. However, I was referring to the larger ships of battle. We beat the Dons with better tactics and the luxury of flexibility.
            Later, with our inferior ships the French got their clocks cleaned through our unmatched seamanship and the Carron Iron Works.

          • Nimble little barques that plied the treacherous Channel with skilled privateers in command. Being hunted by the French and Dutch honed their skills!

          • dannybhoy

            Avi, did you ever get to England? I think you would greatly enjoy a day out at the Museum of the Royal Navy at Portsmouth. You’d get to go on board HMS Victory and the Marie Rose, see the rope maker and sail maker sheds, the first iron battleship, and so on…
            http://www.historicdockyard.co.uk/
            An old Czech sea dog like yourself would really enjoy himself…
            If you wanted to go, let me know. We’d put you up, but I have to warn you, we don’t keep kosher…. :0)

          • Well, yes, everyone made better ships than the English and even the Mohammedans knew to get theirs from the Venecians…but England had better commanders, superior gunners, Royal Marines snipers, the greedier merchant adventurers and superb o eanographers. Besides, with all the prizes they captured, they also wound up with some good ships.

    • Dreadnaught

      Thanks for an interesting diversion.

    • len

      Think we might need them back soon?

    • chiefofsinners

      Upon which day all good Christians hold a barbecue, hence the modern name ‘the feast of Our Lady of the Rotisserie’.

      • Jack knows he shouldn’t but he found that amusing.
        Whatever the day is called, it should be celebrated by all Europe and the Americas as the stemming of Islam’s advance and the survival of Christianity through a powerful intervention by God.

        • Anton

          That was not the only occasion. Byzantium 718AD, Tours 732AD, Vienna 1529 and 1683.

          Did you have anything specific in mind by using the phrase “powerful intervention”, please?

          • The adjective was unnecessary. Not only did the Christian fleet defeat the Ottoman’s in battle but the weather scuppered most of their remaining ships.

          • IanCad

            As did the weather also do for the remaining ships of the Spanish Armada.
            Praise be to God.

          • The Battle of Britain stands out too as a remarkable event.

          • chiefofsinners

            If you wrote down all these remarkable victories and left the tome to mature for, say, 3000 years, people might call it an Old Testament. They would say it was far-fetched and obviously not true but meant to be allegorical.

      • dannybhoy

        Naughty but very funny.

    • IanCad

      And, less than twenty years later the English were saved from Catholicism with their victory over the forces of the Spanish Armada.

      • Tad more complex than the Catholic faith, Jack would say, IanCad.

  • The Explorer

    We might also ponder the fate of Bragadino, the Venetian commander of Famagusta. After the fall of Cyprus to the Turks he was flayed alive, and his skin was stuffed with straw. The outrage felt in Venice about the fate of Bragadino was a major impetus behind the Venetian involvement in Lepanto.
    (The story goes that a Greek merchant, acting for the Venetians, hid the skin in a barrel of pork and was thus able to smuggle it back to Venice: the same means as used for acquiring the remains of St Mark from Alexandria.)

    • Ivan M

      They were extraordinarily brave men. Phillipe de Valette, of the Knights of Malta is another. But I suppose when you consider that the fate of the combatants on either side, should they fall to the enemy can include being dragooned as rowing slaves, in the holds of the combat ships and very likely drown at first contact, everyone should prefer to die in harness.

      • Phil R

        “We might also ponder the fate of Bragadino, the Venetian commander of Famagusta. After the fall of Cyprus to the Turks he was flayed alive, and his skin was stuffed with straw.”

        The point I think is that Bragadino had agreed surrender terms which the Sultan agreed that the people of Famagusta would be unharmed.

        When the surrender was complete the Sultan changed his mind.

        A lesson here perhaps we should heed today?

    • dannybhoy

      The essential point of all these historical references is that our ancestors recognised the threat posed by Islam, not just to Christendom, but to the whole world. If Islam had prevailed over Europe then the world entire known world would have been plunged into darkness and despair.

      Islam has nothing to offer the world in terms of freedom, democracy, medical and scientific research, or even the arts.
      Secular Human Rightist Europe is now ripe for invasion and subjugation to Islam..