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No Easter greeting to Christians on No10 website

 

There was an official Easter message from the Office of the Prime Minister in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, and they were published for the whole world to see on the No10 website. But not this year (the screenshot above is as the site stands at 9.30am, Easter Monday bank holiday).

The omission must be to do with the election campaign, people speculated. Parliament was dissolved on 30th March, so perhaps Government websites reflect the fact that there are no longer any MPs and all parliamentary business has ceased. Except that, constitutionally, the Government does not resign when Parliament is dissolved: the Prime Minister is appointed by the Queen, and all Ministers of State are appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister. Ergo the Government remains in office until the result of the General Election is known and a new administration is formed.

Which is why the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister published Nick Clegg’s Easter message (on 2nd April), in which, despite being an atheist, he affirmed: “What it celebrates is the moving and powerful story of Jesus’s sacrifice and resurrection.” And it is also why the FCO published the Foreign Secretary’s Easter message (on 3rd April), in which he appealed: “My hope is that all those facing discrimination, persecution and violence because of their faith – particularly in the Middle East, the cradle of Christianity – have a peaceful Easter.”

But throughout the Easter period (and at the time of writing), the Office of the Prime Minister displayed a few humdrum statements, namely about a phone call with President Obama and another with Sultan Qaboos of Oman.

And there is the Prime Minister’s Passover greeting to Britain’s Jews, which was issued on 2nd April (the same day as the Deputy Prime Minister’s Easter greeting).

Funny, isn’t it? The No10 website carries prominent and very prompt (if not advanced) greetings to Jews during Passover, Rosh Hashanah and other holy festivals. And the Prime Minister never fails to wish Muslims well during Ramadan and Eid (both of them). There are effusive announcements about Vaisakhi and fulsome statements about Diwali to embrace Sikhs and Hindus. But nothing this year for Christians about Easter.

It is all the more peculiar because it isn’t as if the Prime Minister hasn’t gone to the trouble of recording one, and it has been tweeted out by the official No10 Twitter account and published on YouTube. “My video message on the importance of Christianity in our national life,” he says..

But, unlike Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Eid (both of them), Vaisakhi and Diwali, the most important festival in the Christian calendar is not apparently so important as to merit publication and dissemination on the official 10 Downing Street website.

Why would David Cameron restrict his Easter greeting to Christians on Twitter? Only 12,490 have viewed that video (it will doubtless climb today). Judging by the Eid-al-Fitr video (currently on 33,994), this increases (at least) three-fold when promoted by the Office of the Prime Minister (ignoring the relative demographic variations in numerical faith adherence, which is obviously a key variable).

Why would David Cameron issue a (bizarre) Easter greeting via Premier Christianity magazine (which doesn’t mention Jesus or the Resurrection, and takes a gratuitous swipe at the Church of England); and another through the Conservative Christian Fellowship (which at least mentions Jesus [though not Resurrection] and is crafted in slightly more orthodox terms for its target audience [there is, after all, an election looming]), but fail to publish his official Easter greeting to all of Britain’s Christians (and, indeed, to all the world’s Christians, especially those throughout the Middle East and parts of Africa) on the official 10 Downing Street website?

It’s not because he doesn’t believe it all, is it? “Easter is all about remembering the importance of change, responsibility, and doing the right thing for the good of our children. And today, that message matters more than ever,” he observes rather prosaically in that Premier Christianity article. But the lack of belief in the Resurrection of Christ doesn’t stop Nick Clegg talking about it. These are politicians, after all. So why no timely Easter greeting on the Downing Street website? Sabbath adherence? A nod to the atheist/humanist/secularist vote? Mere oversight? It may be a mystery for the ages.

  • sarky

    Who cares!!!!

    • They should be question marks, not exclamation marks unless you are suggesting that Dr Who cares very deeply

      • sarky

        Ha ha its the Doctor’s election slogan.

      • CliveM

        Oh he does………..

      • carl jacobs

        I have been told by reputable authority that the correct title is “The Doctor” and that one must never refer to the Doctor as Doctor Who.

        • CliveM

          I’m impressed! Yes you’re right, it’s a title, not his name.

  • RuariJM

    I expect his Cynical Opportunism SPAD was n holiday.

  • David Cameron would not know genuine Christianity if it bit him on the leg.

    • Dreadnaught

      Are we talking CoE Christianity or world wide Christianity in all of its many guises and sects. Any way shouldn’t it be a message from HMQ? One day there will be a Muslim PM as Christians have championed their corner for so long its inevitable.

      • The Explorer

        Muslim PM? Why stop there? Will there be a Muslim Queen?

        PS Muslim monarch, on reflection. Muslim Queen unlikely.

        • Dreadnaught

          That will signal the end of the monarchy.

        • Inspector General

          It was feared that Princess Di would provide muslim pretenders to the throne of sorts, but then she had her {ahem} accident. It was for the best…

  • Albert

    I’ve just listened to his Easter greeting, and I thought it was rather good. It spoke directly of the resurrection, and of the good the Church does, together with drawing attention to the persecution of Christians. I think it went further that I expected, and said all that needed to be said by a PM.

    In the light of which, isn’t the most likely reason it doesn’t appear on the No.10 website, more to do with cock-up theory than conspiracy theory?

    • Uncle Brian

      Albert, can this be the same Easter message that Madeleine Teahan has commented on at the Catholic Herald? “The prime minister’s attempt to woo Christians ahead of the general election is cynical and flawed,” she says in her comment posed last Wedneday.

      http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2015/04/01/david-camerons-bizarre-easter-message-shows-how-scared-he-is-of-proclaiming-his-christianity/

      • Albert

        No it’s not. The message Teahan is talking about is the one to Premier, which is deeply flawed.

        • Uncle Brian

          OK, thanks for clearing that up.

    • Coniston

      Dave is a truly deluded man.
      He thinks he’s a Conservative.
      He thinks he’s a Christian.
      He thinks he’s a Muslim scholar.

      • Albert

        All Western politicians are Muslim scholars, since they get to decide what is and what is not Islamic.

        • The Explorer

          Quick guideline for all Western politicians: if it’s violent, it’s not Islamic.

  • magnolia

    I think if you did a cut and paste job between the 3 or 4 leaders, with a sentence or two from each one, you would get an 80% good Easter message. Perhaps someone should ask his Grace to provide one that reached into the high 90s next year!

  • Linus

    Perhaps Cameron realizes that the only Christian festival that really counts in the modern world is Christmas, and that because of the roasted bird, the gifts and the faux family sentiment. Easter is for children and “chocolate” (or the thing that passes for chocolate in England) manufacturers. There are few votes in it.

    Why not secularize the whole bank holiday system and do away with religious festivals altogether? Christmas would become Winter Solstice (or Summer Solstice for Australians), Easter Spring Equinox (or Autumn Equinox for Australians) and whatever religious celebrations you wanted to indulge in would be up to you. To be done privately, of course. Like all faintly embarrassing things should be.

    I’m not holding my breath for change. Even here in secular France today is a public holiday called “lundi de Pâques” or Easter Monday. Of course you can argue that it’s just a name and that few even understand the significance of it. The little chapel in the park across the river from my weekend place in the Yvelines was closed up all weekend, whereas every other year there has been a series of Easter services there. It’s an encouraging sign of the increasing secularization of Easter as a holiday. But names are important and it seems to me that the State should have nothing to do with religion, which is a private affair, and limit itself to providing citizens with free time in the form of a public holiday that they can celebrate however they see fit.

    In time I’ve no doubt that this is what will happen. In the meantime we just have to wait until the decomposition process of a dying religion has run its course. Happy Spring Equinox (or thereabouts) to Mr Cameron. Five Christians have determined not to vote for you because you snubbed their holy day, but will that make a huge difference to the number of votes you receive? I guess we’ll see soon enough.

    • Inspector General

      You’re quite reminiscent of the Bolsheviks in their announcements that religion is finished, and its festivals were to be replaced by the likes of October Revolution Day. A secular festival that is no longer celebrated other than by the die-hards, quietly, in their homes.

      Can the Inspector add to your list, and suggest Turing day. The peoples greatest hero, as they have it in devout homosexual circles…

    • Johnny Rottenborough

      @ Linus—we just have to wait until the decomposition process of a dying religion has run its course

      Just when you think you’re rid of religion, up pops another one.

      • Albert

        Poor old Linus, the facts don’t support his point of view. As your link proves: Christianity is growing, Islam is growing and those unaffiliated are shrinking. Or was Linus referring to the irreligion as a dying religion?

        • CliveM

          Linus’s posting are frequently a triumph of style over content. Well written but empty.

          • Inspector General

            Rather think the fellow obtains some form of relief by banging his head against this site. Wretched sodomite is deserving of our pity…

          • CliveM

            Oh he can be (unintentionally) amusing. See his comment about London. What a ghastly place, how could anyone live there! (Actually I probably agree with him). But then he forgets poor London has to put up with 400,000 of him compatriots!!

            Maybe that’s what makes it so ghastly for him?

          • Albert

            Good point. London is the 6th largest French city!

          • CliveM

            It’s a French diaspora caused by a failing economy and no jobs. It will get worse. We will probably have a flood of refugees. Will need to set up soup kitchens for them. Poor beggers, they will have to put up with British cooking! Oh the fates are unkind………..

          • Pubcrawler

            A French former colleague of mine, now living in London though that wasn’t her first home in England, told me recently that she’s thinking of taking British citizenship. She must like it here.

          • CliveM

            I’ve worked with a few Frenchman. They have always been decent enough. All claimed they liked the energy of the UK. I think Linus is overcompensating for having an English Mother!

          • Albert

            Before this goes on too long, I’d just like to record that I love France! And before we go on too much about economics, we also need to recall that the UK productivity gap is a problem in comparison with countries like France.

          • CliveM

            Agreed, most people are decent.

          • carl jacobs

            Well, let’s be honest here. France has much for which it must give account: Rousseau, the French Revolution, the Internationale, French Literature, hiding Roman Polanski. But no one ever said the French can’t cook. Restaurants don’t typically advertise the services of their “Famous British Chef.” Britain may have saved the world, but France can claim first place in pastries.

          • CliveM

            It was a desire to get away from the cooking that helped create the Empire!

          • carl jacobs

            Yes, and the French didn’t litter the world with Cricket, either.

          • CliveM

            If they had, the world would have been a much more civilised place……………….

          • Pubcrawler

            You just beat me to it!

          • CliveM

            LOL!

          • Albert

            There’s nothing civilised about a load of effete young men rubbing their balls on their trousers in public (and indeed, somewhat pubic) places.

          • CliveM

            Wish the down vote worked :0(

          • carl jacobs

            “Doctor, Doctor! Everyone on the field has become catatonic.”

            “Calm down, lad. That’s just the 2008 championship Test Match between Leeds and Reading. It will finish by the end of the next Parliament. “

          • CliveM

            Dearie me, Leeds and Reading!! If you hadn’t got it so badly wrong it might have been funny!

            Well I suppose is still is in a way ;0)

          • carl jacobs

            Shocked! Shocked I am at your exclucivist and intolerant attitude towards Leeds and Reading.

          • Pubcrawler

            Have you *seen* Reading?

          • Anton

            “University of Reading” is a fine double entendre, at least since the ill-advised expansion of higher education from the 1990s.

          • William Lewis

            Ah yes, Carl, the Leeds Reading Cricket Cup Final. I remember it well. With 20 seconds to go on the final day the Reading batsmen set up a rolling maul near the boundary at silly sausage point, but the ball hit a divot and bobbled over the net with the result that the legendary Leeds spin bowler, Chucka Theoball, only needed a double top to finish.

            And they say Test Cricket is dead!

          • CliveM

            LOL……………!

          • carl jacobs

            Hrmm. If I didn’t know better, I would think that there might be a fair amount of sarcasm in that post. Perhaps even suggesting a certain lack of knowledge on my part.

            Surely not. You haven’t forgotten that I’m an American, have you?

          • William Lewis

            Never, Carl. Just savouring the classic encounters in sporting competition – one sports fan to another. I’m sure you have similar stories from your rounders league.

          • carl jacobs

            Any allegation that Rounders is the direct ancestor of Baseball is idle speculation devoid of historical foundation. It is far more correct to say that Cricket, Rounders, and Baseball all emerged from the same historical root.

          • bluedog

            Now, Carl, just you keep dissing cricket the way you do. Your views are much appreciated, as always. The Americans discovering the game is the last thing we want.

          • carl jacobs

            bluedog

            Americans know Cricket exists. We’re somewhat confused about why it exists, but we definitely know that it does exist. Interesting, however. I was just reading an article in the Telegraph from 2010 with this as the byline:

            Americans used to embrace our summer sport – now Twenty20 apes the US game, writes Scyld Berry.

            It would seem that Britain is finally discovering Baseball.

            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/cricket/7893803/Its-not-cricket-but-baseball-is-making-its-mark-on-our-game.html

          • bluedog

            ‘It would seem that Britain is finally discovering Baseball.’
            Ouch? Not really. Being the pragmatists that we are, together with the other cricketing nations, it is recognised that for a global competition like the recent Cricket World Cup, compromises are required. With fourteen participants in two pools it still took six weeks for all participants to play each other. In this instance limited over cricket was used with each side playing fifty overs at the crease. Your example refers to the format of Indian Premier League and some non-IPL comps. These short-form games are still recognisably cricket and there is no suggestion that the full international test match lasting five days is not the apex of the game.
            In closing, your interest in cricket is both commendable and courageous. One gets the impression that cricket in the US is regarded as an UnAmerican Activity, something that only a Tory or a closet Loyalist would enjoy, a bit like becoming an Episcopalian.
            One can imagine the conversation, ‘Son, your Mom and I are worried about you, is there something you want to tell us?’ ‘What do mean, I like girls.’ ‘No, its just you’ve been watching cricket on TV after we’ve gone to bed, and we’re afraid people will suggest we should move to Canada’.

          • Pubcrawler

            “There is no suggestion that the full international test match lasting five days is not the apex of the game.”

            But there are worrying murmurings about reducing tests to four days. O tempora, etc.

          • CliveM

            I thought that would only apply to test matches involving England?!!!!!

          • Pubcrawler

            Details. It’s symptomatic of a willingness to sacrifice the proper game for the pyjama-clad penalty shootout form.

          • carl jacobs

            bluedog

            I’m not actually sure that it is possible to watch Cricket on TV in the US. There does seem to be a network devoted to the South Asian population in the US. Something called Willow. Rather pricey at $15 per month, and I’m not sure it broadcasts in English. Anyways, I’ve never seen Cricket on TV. We can watch international soccer, rugby (various forms), Australian Rules Football (why?), but no Cricket.

            Perhaps this is why. “Americans watching Cricket.”

            http://grantland.com/features/so-cricket-maybe/

          • Uncle Brian

            What about West
            Indians? I once rode with a cab driver in New York who recognised my accent
            (not difficult!) and made me sit in the front passenger seat. He wanted to talk
            about cricket. He was a Jamaican who had originally moved to the States, many
            years earlier, in the capacity of coach at a cricket club somewhere in the New
            York area.

          • bluedog

            A strange omission by the US networks. There was a time in the early 20th century when cricket enjoyed a surge of popularity in isolated pockets along the US East Coast. Institutional monuments to this long lost enthusiasm remain. If you have ever enjoyed a languid Sunday lunch in the leafy surroundings of the Philadelphia Cricket Club, you would know what I mean…

          • DanJ0

            Perhaps they can resolve it with a Battle of the Bands.

          • Oh for goodness sake. Please …. Leeds and Reading … Test Matches … Championships … ?

          • Anton

            I’ll explain, Jack. Hey Carl, Test Matches are internationals, and internal matches in England are between the counties, not between towns.

          • CliveM

            Don’t tell him! He’s comes out with the Leeds, Reading thing periodically, now you’ve ruined it!!

          • Anton

            Ask him about bowling a maiden over.

          • carl jacobs

            Of course, none of this has anything to do with the fact that Cricket makes Wagnerian Opera look both engaging and brief.

          • Anton

            “Wagner’s music is better than it sounds” – Mark Twain.

          • Inspector General

            “Good day to you sir. Chef asks how you would like your duck”

            “As usual, barely alive…”

          • Anton

            Good job we Brits beat Napoleon to India; the French would have looked down their noses at the wonders of curry.

            Or perhaps not. I learned from the fine book The Discovery of France by Graham Robb, who took months to cycle round the country, that the gastronomic reputation won by France is relatively recent.

          • The Explorer

            William the Conqueror brought his cooks with him. Does that say anything?

          • Pubcrawler

            That he didn’t want to be poisoned. He had a lot of enemies.

          • The Explorer

            Good point; although I read about it in a book on Normandy cooking, and the author had a different explanation.

          • Pubcrawler

            They do seem to regard the Bastard as some sort of hero; posies on his grave, that sort of thing. (I would have left something rather less fragrant if no one had been looking.)

          • Anton

            Says simply he didn’t want to risk being deliberately poisoned by a patriotic Anglo-Saxon chef he might otherwise hire after conquering Anglo-Saxon England.

          • The Explorer

            Could be. The cookery writer favoured a gastronomic over a political explanation.

          • Anton

            Yes, you don’t want the truth getting in the way of a good narrative!

          • Anton

            Add Louis XIV and Napoleon. But nothing wrong with French literature.

          • Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre?

          • avi barzel

            “Britain may have saved the world, but France can claim first place in pastries.”

            Thanks for the morning laugh. Not so much for the coffee spray all over my device.

          • Linus

            Many of those 400.000 are Jewish and have fled from the twin bogeymen of Islamist terrorism and high taxes.

            You can’t blame them. The bogeymen are real enough. I’ve seen with my own eyes how Jews are insulted as they go about their business in some parts of Paris. And the punitive fiscal policy of our socialist government would be enough to drive anyone with a bit of money abroad.

            Indeed if it weren’t for the fact that I’ve already lived in England and know how awful it is, and also the fact that I’ll never have children and therefore don’t have to worry about leaving them something to inherit, I’d probably go myself. At least until Hollande is defeated or, as is more likely, declines to run again in order to avoid the most ignominious defeat in history.

            In any case, you should be glad of the French influx. 400.000 well-heeled, industrious immigrants can only benefit your economy. And the culinary expertise they import with them benefits everybody.

            Future generations will curse Hollande for provoking this flight of French talent and capital unequalled since the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. And what more undeserving country could they flee to? It’s always been England’s great fortune to have us as its closest neighbour. We gave you an energetic and adaptable royal family and kept a bunch of inbred cretins for ourselves. We improved your gutteral peasant language and turned it into the flexible tool of commerce and culture that it is today. And by copying our superior culture for hundreds of years you learned how to aspire to something better rather than being content with the status quo, which is our own great failing as a people.

            Still, most of us are old enough to remember what a basket case Britain was in the 1970s. Every country’s circumstances change over time and your current relative prosperity won’t last forever. So crow while you can. You’ll be squawking out of the other side of your beaks soon enough…

          • CliveM

            Well we certainly benefited from the Huguenots.

            But let’s be honest the reason why the French come here, is not the physical ease of moving (large parts of continental Europe are physically easier to get to) but our energy, tolerance, decent beer and sunny nature!

            Come on admit it, it’s why you like this blog so much :0

          • CliveM

            Yes the’70’s were a bad time for the UK. However it should be encouraging for you. Dump socialism in all it’s forms (including the Chirac version, only in France would he be seen as right wing), embrace change (don’t go for Sarkosy, he’s had his chance and blew it) and cut taxes. I’m sure the the wealthy and entrepreneurial would return.

          • Anton

            Actually Linus it is generally reckoned that the culture of Anglo-Saxon England was the highest in Western Europe when it got trashed by William the neo-Viking in the late 11th century. Of course neither England nor France were anything like as developed as Byzantium at that time.

          • Linus

            Generally reckoned by whom? The English? Quelle surprise !

            I’ll back the clear cultural superiority of Charlemagne’s magnificent court at Aix-La-Chapelle over Egbert of Wessex’s thatched huts at Winchester any day.

          • Anton

            You are choosing an instant in time, and an instant different from the one I asked about. Charlemagne’s court was magnificent (although he never learned to write properly) but matters soon went backwards as his descendants fought each other.

            Here is Gilbert Highet, from his great book The Classical Tradition: Greek and Roman Influences on Western Literature: “During the Middle Ages it became fashionable for British writers to translate and copy continental writers. But before the Danish and the Norman conquests, the standard of vernacular literature was so high, and the distribution of classical scholarship so wide, that culturally Britain was the most advanced state in Europe.” An assertion that Highet demonstrates in detail. He means Western Europe – the subject of his book – as Byzantium far outshone the West at that time. Highet has the background (classicism) and self-confidence to criticise Shakespeare in places so please don’t accuse him of Anglocentricity. Can you find a single serious scholar who dissents from the quote I have given?

          • Linus

            One oddly named Englishman writes a statement in support of his own culture’s claims to superiority and suddenly it’s gospel truth? Have you read any non-English writers? Or don’t you need to because whatever an Englishman says must be true?

            You really do take blind faith seriously, don’t you? If it is written, it must be true. Except when you don’t agree with it, of course.

            I don’t have the time to go searching for and translating quotes from European historians as I have real work to do at the moment. But I will say that the acknowledged superiority of Carolingian civilization is evident enough in the Frankish influences that shaped your own. Your language clearly shows the results of that one-way traffic. As do your architectural styles and fashions, all highly derivative of earlier Frankish models. Knowledge came to Britain from the Continent. Very little came the other way.

          • Anton

            Highet was a Scot who emigrated to America; you really do have a propensity for false assumptions. The rest of your comment is merely an admission that you are not going to knock his statement over.

          • Linus

            Scot, Schmot … you know as well as I do that the rest of the world sees everyone from any part of Britain as English. I’m one of the few that happens to know this isn’t entirely accurate, although in common parlance when I say English, I generally mean British. Just like any Frenchman, or German, or Italian, or even American or Australian does.

            As I said, I have work to do so I don’t have time to engage in the research necessary to “knock his statement over”, which I’ve already done, although true to your usual pedantic form, you won’t accept anything that doesn’t have an extensive bibliography attached. Except the bible, of course. Where are the quotes and background research in the gospels? You need a quote to support my position on some minor point of Anglo-Saxon culture, but you don’t need one to back up the fantastic proposition that a man born from a virgin died and came back to life?

            Selective scholarship is the mark of willful ignorance. If you need proof to support my statement about the historical superiority of Frankish culture, why don’t you need it to support your entire belief system?

          • Anton

            “I have work to do so I don’t have time to engage in the research necessary to “knock his statement over”, which I’ve already done”

            You reckon you’d have to do work to knock it over yet you say you already have? You’re not contradicting me; you are contradicting yourself.

          • Linus

            The statement is knocked over but Mr Pedant (what colour is he and is he morbidly obese like all those other Mr Men? It must be the British diet…) needs a quote or he won’t admit it. “On wot ‘istorical awfority is you supportin’ that staytmint?” he demands to know, as if not being able to quote passages verbatim from the various histories of Carolingian Europe written by French and German authors somehow invalidates my general argument.

            The only response to that is another question. If Mr Pedant needs a quote to back up my statement about the superiority of Carolingian culture, why doesn’t he need one to back up the gospel narratives? Where are his contemporary Roman and Greek sources who corroborate the events? Where are the references to original inscriptions, scrolls and papyruses that validate his fantastic claims?

            Mr Pedant falls silent and attempts to change the subject. His pedantry only applies to the claims of other people. Not to his own.

          • Anton

            We have more original source documents about Jesus Christ than about Julius Caesar.

            As for being called a pedant for insisting on documentation, I take the compliment.

          • CliveM

            I think you’ve won this one. I thought I should point out that although a Frank, he was in no sense French!

          • CliveM

            I meant Charlemagne of course, doh!

          • Linus

            You’re a pedant when you think it can win you a point, but when it places you at a disadvantage, suddenly you’re willing to let scholarship and academic rigour slide.

            Insisting on documentation from others to support their arguments, but declining to supply it yourself when quoting from your holy book shows just how flimsy your claims really are. Had you not made an act of will to believe in its story, you would never have accepted its claims without demanding corroborating archaeological evidence and contemporary documentary support.

            Funny how academic professionalism flies out the window when faith rears its ugly head. I wouldn’t be too proud of your pedantry if I were you. Its inconsistency merely highlights your lack of credibility in any kind of reasoned debate.

          • Anton

            My “holy book” is a source of history and I assert that it stands as such and suspect that you deny it essentially because of its supernatural assertions. I reference the book by Josh McDowell, He walked among us, for a summary of why the best scholarship now dates the gospels early and each written essentially by a single author.

            “Mr Pedant (what colour is he and is he morbidly obese like all those other Mr Men? It must be the British diet…)… “On wot ‘istorical awfority is you supportin’ that staytmint?” he demands to know…”

            People resort to insults – even racial ones, it seems – when they run out of arguments. Nor am I “morbidly obese”.

            Do you consider that the human race is competent to solve its own problems?.

          • Linus

            As I have no way of knowing your racial origin or your weight, any insult you might take from my words comes from your own mind. I leave it to invent whatever grievance it likes. The god it conjures up out of nowhere is clear evidence that fantasy and imagination play important roles in its workings, so I’m sure it will see other ghosts and shadows where none exist too.

            Your holy book is a source of unsubstantiated myth and legend rather than actual history. In the entire New Testament narrative the only historically identifiable characters are a few Roman officials and one Jewish king and there is absolutely no independent contemporary corroboration of the roles assigned to them in the story.

            To claim that the bible gives an accurate account of what these people said and did and that all the other characters and events it describes are real just because archaeological evidence proves there really was a King Herod and a Pontius Pilate is like taking that episode of Dr Who where Queen Victoria appears and claiming that her presence in the narrative proves that aliens and werewolves exist.

            Only fantasists would believe this and then build an entire religion around it.

            Your holy book is not history. At best it’s extremely embroidered historical fiction. And even then it sticks to few if any historically identifiable events. There isn’t a single contemporary corroboration of the story it tells. We have to wait more than 60 years until an independent source (who wasn’t even born when the alleged events he describes are supposed to have taken place) decides to record the story as he has heard it. A story for which no eyewitness accounts exist, but which relies entirely on an oral tradition committed to paper by devotees of the cult it gave rise to just a decade or so earlier, i.e. two generations after the purported events took place.

            We’re not talking about history here. We’re talking about legend. Claiming it as history merely highlights all the reasons why you and people like you can’t be taken seriously.

            You seem to be incapable of distinguishing between verifiable reality and religious fantasy. Your particular brand of delusion is probably essentially harmless in most circumstances, but I wouldn’t want to rely on a Christian for support in a crisis if every time he saw a shadow or something else he couldn’t immediately explain, he fell to his knees in fear and trembling of “de Lawd”! Delusion makes for unpredictability, unreliability and bad decision making.

          • Anton

            People resort to insults when they run out of arguments, not only against people but also against writing, it seems. Much of what you say is factually incorrect and/or not based on the way that reputable scholars go about historical research. Readers of this blog may verify that for themselves, and also the nature of your insults. You are the final arbiter of your own beliefs, but not of their consistency with the evidence.

          • Pubcrawler

            Sound and fury, as I’ve noted before.

        • The Explorer

          As Cecil B de Mille is reputed to have said, “Don’t confuse me with the facts.” Linus really doesn’t like having statistics quoted at him.

          • Linus

            Lies, damned lies and statistics, eh?

            The problem with statistics is that each group quotes only those that agree with their agenda. Or they fail to mention long-term trends and concentrate on short-term figures that go in the direction they want.

            Looking at the figures for Christianity for the whole of the twentieth century and the picture is less than rosy. Rates of belief plummet as prosperity and access to higher education increase. Only South Korea bucks this trend, due to the specific political situation in that country where the threat of aggression from the North is never far away. Religious escapism is a documented reaction to stress, both political and economic.

            You can describe the rise of Christianity in the Third World in similar terms. Where economic hardship is at its worst, the barely educated will of course grasp at the straw proffered to them by a religion that thrives on panic, suffering and ignorance. Even here in the West our current economic woes profit the Church. Superstition is an age-old response to stress.

            When the current recession has ended and prosperity is again on the rise, let’s look at the figures again and see what’s happening. I’m pretty confident we’ll see support for Christianity subsiding and continuing on a downwards trend. This will be more immediately noticeable in the West, but even in the Third World as incomes rise and access to education increases, religious growth will diminish. Superstition thrives on poverty, fear and ignorance. If universal prosperity, or at least the provision of a decent minimum standard of living for all can be said to be one of the goals of
            Humanism, religion will eventually fade away.

          • The Explorer

            That causal link between poverty and religion. Saudi Arabia is rich, and Islam is thriving there. In fact there’s so much religion there they’ve got some left over to export to Europe and the USA.
            Transcendental Mediation did famously with high-living Californians. No religion with a higher ratio of Rolls Royces to devotees. The doctrine of salvation through sex may have something to do with it: when your leisure activity is also your religion it’s a win-win situation. I think it was tax evasion that brought it all down, unless I’m getting confused with Al Capone.
            Christ prophesied a falling away from the faith towards the end. Some way to go yet. But those who remain eventually will be the true believers.

          • Linus

            Ah, true believers! What a happy bunch! Secure in the knowledge that they know better than everyone else without having a shred of evidence to back up their claims.

            Cloud cuckoo land has always been the preserve of a privileged few. Well, privileged in the sense of imagined privileges to come rather than any kind of concrete benefit or advantage in the here and now.

            Enjoy your fantasy. I’m content with concrete knowledge insofar as it goes and the possibilities offered by the gaps in that knowledge. Made-up stories about omnipotent gods who very conveniently fill in all those gaps as long as you bow down and worship them just don’t ring true.

          • Anton

            With you, Linus, but they do ring true to many others.

          • The Explorer

            I think persecution may have something to do with it. But let’s not lose sight of the essential point here: a decline in numbers is predicted. .

        • sarky

          The funny thing is the growth is amongst the minorities that the UKIPers on here want to stop coming in.

          • Inspector General

            We are well on the way to crowding in 100 million people, you know. The best place for French people is France, if only 10% of them are like Linus…

          • sarky

            Just think it’s ironic that the very people the church is going to need for its survival are the ones you don’t want here.

          • CliveM

            Hmm the Inspector said French! Not sure they are where the growth is…………

          • The Explorer

            Albert may have been talking globally.

      • Uncle Brian

        Thank you for the link to the Pew survey, JR. The figures for Brazil are interesting enough, I think, to merit the attention of one or two other communicants who have expressed an interest in the subject from time to time.

        Briefly, the numbers of Christians and Muslims will both increase in the 40-year period, as will the unaffiliated and the followers of what the survey calls “folk religions”. In contrast, the numbers of Buddhists and Jews will both decline in the period, as will those falling in the category “others”.

        People identifying as Christians will still be the vast majority, even though their share in the overall population will have shrunk by 3 percentage points, from 89 percent in 2010 to 86 percent in 2050. The overall population will have grown 14 percent in the period, from 195 million to 223 million, while the number of Christians will have grown at the slower rate of only 11 percent, from 173 million to 192 million.

        The Muslim population, meanwhile, is expected to grow from 40,000 to 50,000. This means that in 2050 Christians will still outnumber Muslims by nearly 4,000 to 1.

        And although the Jewish population will have shrunk from 110,000 to 90,000 in the four decades, there will still be nearly twice as many Jews as Muslims here in 2050.

    • The Explorer

      Why not pop into a zone sensible or two, Linus, and see how the mosques are doing?

      • Pubcrawler

        Perhaps a romantic weekend break in Marseille.

        • The Explorer

          Somewhere in the Arab sector, naturally.

          • Inspector General

            Israel should rebuild Sodom. Gay people complain there’s nowhere in the Middle East that doesn’t try to throw them in chokey….

          • Pubcrawler

            They have: it’s called Tel Aviv.

          • Inspector General

            Good Lord! The things you learn on this site…

          • Pubcrawler
          • Inspector General

            Hardly, but do enjoy yourself there…

          • Pubcrawler

            No fear *shudder*

    • Anton

      “Why not secularize the whole bank holiday system and do away with religious festivals altogether? Christmas would become Winter Solstice (or Summer Solstice for Australians), Easter Spring Equinox (or Autumn Equinox for Australians) and whatever religious celebrations you wanted to indulge in would be up to you.”

      But why hang them on the solstices and equinoxes Linus? Isn’t that showing favour to ancient forms of worship of pagan gods?

      By the way, if you want some religious ceremonies associated with secular humanism, look at Olympic opening and closing ceremonies. The most depressing fact about the 2012 Olympics was the demand – reflected in ticket price and scarcity – for these events. While I would have loved to go to more of the sport (I did get to one event), I would have needed paying a considerable sum in compensation in order to attend these tawdry displays.

      • Linus

        Why not celebrate solstices and equinoxes? They punctuate the year, are equally spaced and have no connection in and of themselves to gods of any sort. They’re just natural events. The fact that past cultures erected them into religious celebrations shouldn’t stop us from seeing them for what they are.

        By all means use the Olympic Games as an excuse for a bank holiday. But as they only occur once every four years (or two if you count the Winter Olympics) then you might get a few complaints. Having to wait years between bank holidays rather than months might draw a few protests.

        • Anton

          You think they are naural events because you are secular. Certain pagans take a different view. If you want to be neutral to all religions then you should draw the bank holidays out of a hat.

          • Linus

            No religious feasts should be public holidays.

            Nobody apart from a few neo-pagan druids and other crazies seriously practices a religion that counts the solstices and equinoxes as holy days, so they’re as close to neutral as it’s possible to get. They also mark regular phases of our calendar and are therefore eminently suitable as festivals that everyone can celebrate.

            If anyone wants to accord religious significance to them, that’s their private affair. But the State should not celebrate any religious festival. That’s not the role of the State.

          • Anton

            Every State has always been based as much on a people and language as on a belief system. That your preferred belief system and State happens not to involve a supernatural deity is just one national belief system among many, and the passion with which you advocate it is no different from that is the same as the passion which others feel for their religions of State.

            Real Christianity is always a dissenting religion; this was true in Judea in Christ’s time which is why he was put to death, it is true in China today, and yes it was true in mediaeval Europe too. Am I right in thinking that your main prejudice is against what is called the supernatural?

          • Linus

            Call it supernatural, call it imaginary, call it whatever you like. If it exists only on the pages of a book and cannot otherwise be demonstrated to be true, it remains at best a story or a theory.

            A theory with no supporting evidence is just an idea. It might be true, only there’s no good reason to think so. Truth has a habit of leaving convincing evidence behind it. Fantasy tends not to.

            So where’s all the convincing evidence that backs up your particular flavour of supernature? Why does every rational investigation of so-called “miracles” turn up no evidence of any kind of supernatural phenomenon? Why are so many of them out-and-out frauds, like all the pieces of the True Cross that would form a small forest rather than two beams of wood if you put them altogether? Or the various statues of the Virgin that cry whenever the ambient humidity exceeds a certain level, but only because of a hygroscopic substance has been concealed behind their eyes?

            Manifest fraud does not constitute proof of anything except an intention to deceive.

          • Anton

            “Truth has a habit of leaving convincing evidence behind it.”

            Yes absolutely; it’s called the church.

            “If it exists only on the pages of a book and cannot otherwise be demonstrated to be true, it remains at best a story or a theory.”

            What would you accept as demonstration?

            As for the true cross relics and weeping Mary statues, I don’t believe those are authentic either and the Bible does not require me to.

          • Linus

            If the Church is evidence of the truth of Christianity, why aren’t the equivalents in other religions proof of their genuineness? Islam has a clergy and although it has no central religious authority, neither does Christianity (no matter what Popes may claim). Islam also has its own holy book that Muslims claim is God’s word.

            The mere existence of the Church and the bible prove nothing. Saying they do is like saying that Disneyland proves the existence of a living, breathing Mickey Mouse.

          • Anton

            The disciples were mostly martyred for their belief that Jesus had died and come back to life. You don’t maintain a fiction that you have co-invented in the face of death for it.

            Now, what about what you would accept as a demonstration of Christianity’s veracity?

          • The Explorer

            Accepting Christianity as true would mean accepting Christianity’s morals. Non-starter.

          • CliveM

            Hmm……….,

            At the risk of being unhelpful, there are plenty of people who believe in Christianity but don’t subscribe to orthodox Christian morality.

            To go further, the Devil is a real believer, but his morality is at best suspect.

          • The Explorer

            True: “the devils believe and tremble.” But isn’t that James’ point: belief in itself is not enough. True belief will manifest itself in Christian behaviour? (Depending, of course, on the starting point.)
            But that isn’t quite the point I’m trying to make. That Linus has genuine intellectual issues with belief I have no doubt. But even if he resolved them, the matter would not end there. There is still the opposition to Christian morality and (although I do not presume to read Linus’ mind with the freedom with which he presumes to read ours) that opposition is probably enough to hinder intellectual assent in the first place.

    • DanJ0

      For all my claimng that the UK is no longer a Christian country, the shops are still shut on Christmas Day and Easter Sunday. I got caught out again this year, expecting Go Outdoors and Aldi to be open yesterday.

      • Linus

        You still have a queen who claims to reign by the grace of God, you have unelected bishops sitting in your weird equivalent of a Senate, and you think Britain is no longer a Christian country?

        Oh well, at least there’s a certain logic to celebrating Christian holidays when your country is still officially Christian. Here in France we have no excuse.

        Some will say it’s just an historical curiosity that Christmas Day and Easter Monday are still public holidays. They’ll talk about our Christian origins and how religion contributed to the creation of our cultural identity. But so did feudalism, and the plague, and disenfranchisement of women. We no longer celebrate these things. Why should we celebrate Christianity? Especially when it’s a minority faith practiced by less than 10% of us regularly, and less than a third occasionally.

        I would like to see all public holidays based on religious festivals removed and replaced by secular fêtes that all citizens can celebrate regardless of their religion or lack thereof. Equality should mean what it says, but currently Christians get holidays on both of their major feast days whereas Muslims and Jews get nothing. And if you accord holidays to them, why not Sikhs and Buddhists and Zoroastrians and Scientologists and Flying Spaghetti Monsterists as well? The principles of the Revolution remain sullied by the favouritism accorded to Christianity. It’s time to end what amounts to State sponsorship of religion.

        • The Explorer

          Principles of the Revolution, eh? How about a Guillotine Day?

          • Linus

            Why not a Guillotine Day? Celebrating the principle of “what goes around comes around” isn’t such a bad idea.

            If the French aristocracy hadn’t attempted to squeeze the life out of the rest of the populace, the Revolution would never have happened. They brought it on themselves. And I say this advisedly having had ancestors who were “trimmed” before they had a chance to emigrate.

            When I read the accounts of the charges laid against them, particularly one appalling woman who bled her tenantry dry and literally starved them in order to extract every last sou for the redecoration of her hôtel particulier in the latest style on the eve of the Revolution, I can’t help but think that the punishment was just enough.

            Whole families who couldn’t pay their rent were expelled from their homes in the depths of winter and were reduced to scavenging in the woods. Emaciated children were found frozen in ditches and this pious woman, whom the clergy praised to the heavens as an example of Christian charity, is said to have remarked “c’est ainsi que Dieu manifeste sa justice !” Her tenants were poor, so as far as she was concerned, they existed only to serve her and her lifestyle. It was like an 18th century version of that awful English Victorian hymn “All Things Bright And Beautiful” with its not-often-sung verse:

            The rich man in his castle,
            The beggar at his gate,
            God made them high and lowly, And ordered their estate.

            So yes, celebrating Guillotine Day (a stupid name that only a dismally literal Englishman could think up – la Fête de la Justice would be more in keeping with the spirit of the celebration) might not be a bad idea. The notion that gratuitous cruelty, selfishness and abusive monopolisation of vital resources will be severely punished should perhaps be something we should all celebrate.

          • Anton

            It will be Linus, but the other side of the grave.

          • Linus

            There is no proof the grave has another side. We’re born, we live, we die, we’re buried (or cremated) and that’s it.

            How do I know this? Archaelogical evidence shows us that once in the grave, our bodies don’t go anywhere. They just lay there and decompose. Ah, but what about the soul, you ask? Well what about it? It isn’t eternal because it didn’t exist before we were born. So why should it exist after we die?

            I remember nothing before my birth. I was unconscious because I was not alive. So what will I be when once again I’m not alive? It stands to reason (especially in the absence of any evidence to the contrary) that the conditions that prevailed before my birth will also prevail after it. In other words, consciousness has a distinct beginning and end.

            Show me some evidence of this existence on the other side of the grave. And not just bible passages, but reliable, repeatable, peer-reviewed evidence. “I believe therefore it is” is not good enough.

          • Anton

            You have actually avoided the question. What would you accept as evidence?

          • DanJ0

            Surely Derek Acorah has given us ample proof of life beyond the grave?

          • Linus

            Some kind of manifestation that can’t be logically explained by any other means would be needed for me to accept the principle of God’s existence. And not just something that I see. It would have to be witnessed by many and their accounts of it would have to be consistent.

            There’s no reason why God couldn’t manifest himself to us if he chose to do so. Actual interaction with him doesn’t deprive us of free will, as proved by Satan’s rebellion and the story of Adam and Eve.

            I’m not holding my breath though. If he did exist, and did love us enough to try and convince us that what is written in the bible is true, he would never have concealed himself in the first place, thereby creating the ideal conditions for our non-belief. This is the most convincing argument for his non-existence.

            It’s a bit like the whole SETI charade: if there really are hundreds of complex alien cultures out there capable of interstellar travel, where are they? Why aren’t they here now? Their absence given our fairly systematic search for them over the past 50 years indicates that if complex life does exist elsewhere in the Universe, it must be so rare and so widely spaced in terms of both distance and time that the chances of us encountering it are slim to none. Even if it does exist, it can have no effect on us. And as we can never know it, to all intents and purposes it just isn’t there.

            Same thing with God. A God we can never know is no God at all. At least not for us.

            Show me some evidence of his existence and some form of proof that what you regard as his word is more than a very human collection of writings created by plain human fancy and then I’ll have to believe. I won’t have a choice. Only a fool disregards concrete facts because they don’t fit in with his preconceived ideas of how things should be. I certainly don’t want the God of the bible to exist because as a gay man that means I’m doomed to a miserable celibate life for no good reason except that’s what he commands. But I also don’t want death to exist, or pain, or tripe sausage, or English mushy peas. My existence would be much happier without these unfortunate things to cloud it, but exist they do and to deny that fact would be foolish. I can live with the existence of death and pain and tripe sausage and mushy peas because I’ve seen reasonable proofs of their reality and, although I don’t like them (especially the mushy peas), my own personal taste is of no consequence in the matter. They’re there and must be dealt with. An a vengeful homophobic God would be just the same. If he were there.

            So where is he? Is he playing musical chairs with little green men on the far off planet of Zod and will he be along presently? Where’s our evidence of that?

            No, in the absence of any kind of convincing proof, I say bah humbug all round. This is not an unreasonable position to take. Indeed many Christians themselves take it regarding little green men, or Islam, or Buddhism, or transcendental meditation. If everyone else’s religion is superstitious nonsense, what does that say about yours?

          • Anton

            You can avoid mushy peas. But you can’t avoid death.

            You say: “Some kind of manifestation that can’t be logically explained by any other means would be needed for me to accept the principle of God’s existence. And not just something that I see. It would have to be witnessed by many and their accounts of it would have to be consistent.”

            That is what you have in the four gospels. They complement each other just as accounts of an event by differing witnesses do, without inconsistency.

            Suppose that it were true. Then the four gospels could perfectly well emerge. Whereas if it were false… Now use Bayes’ principle of inverse logic.

          • Linus

            What we have in the four gospels are dubious texts of unknown origin that were penned and amended by several hands, few if any of whom actually witnessed the events being recounted, before being gathered together by an early Church in search of the sort of divine legacy that Jesus quite simply did not leave them.

            Their authenticity and origins of the gospels are debatable and the nature of the man who emerges from these narratives is even more so. Only two of the gospels mention the virgin birth. If two of the authors didn’t even think it worth mentioning, just how important was the central miracle that places Jesus above all others? Did it even happen or was it a literary invention by two of the authors, either of whom could have cribbed it from the other?

            Jesus’s mother’s conception may (or may not) have been immaculate. But Joseph’s certainly wasn’t. And if there was no virgin birth and Joseph wasn’t conceived without sin, Jesus cannot have been either. So his divinity becomes highly debatable.

            Even your own holy book doesn’t clearly define your own god’s divinity. If you can’t persuade yourselves, how do you think you’re going to be able to persuade others?

          • Anton

            Your scholarship is several decades out of date. I welcome scholarly attempts in the last 250 years to work out the inter-relations between the four gospels and when each was written. This effort came out of the “Age of Reason”. But so did scepticism of the supernatural, and scholars who reject it are obviously never going to believe these accounts. For an up-to-date summary, see He Walked Among Us by Josh McDowell.

            The church went into a polytheistic Greek world in which philosophers imputed word and deed to Jesus according to their own ideas or what would impress. Such large-scale ‘Chinese whispers’ are how the Greek myths grew around real events, but the church needed the truth and froze the process by collecting the early writings into the New Testament. Its task was to recognise the word of God and heed it. The gospels were written by men of faith who dare not make it up, and we have more copies of New Testament passages, from nearer the events they describe, than of other ancient (and undisputed) writings. Of the Old Testament, a copy of Isaiah’s prophecies from Jesus’ time (one of the ‘Dead Sea scrolls’) is almost identical to modern copies. But a modern viewpoint, sceptical of supernatural events, holds that ancient Old Testament figures were not real people but were invented to make points (even though much irrelevant detail is given about their lives, unlike in Jesus’ parables); and holds that Israel’s law was not finalised before prophets warned of its violation, or that prophets spoke after the events they warn of, or that the gospels have been reworked by conveniently “unknown redactors” – unknown in name, place, time or motivation. Believe in their existence if you will.

          • Linus

            “The gospels were written by men of faith who dare not make it up…”

            That statement betrays the blind faith needed to believe in Christianity. You set up an unsupported premise and give it complete credence despite having no evidence for it whatsoever.

            Another way to describe it might be auto-credulity. You believe your own propaganda. Why? Does every thought that forms in your head seem like the unalterable truth to you?

            This is what religion does to men’s minds. Or perhaps it’s a symptom rather than a cause. It’s the sickness of the mind that men suffer from when they start to take themselves too seriously.

            Pull your gaze up from your navel and you might see there’s a whole world out there that may not receive every word you utter, no matter how abject, as divine truth, but that’s worth a look anyway. But then you’re probably not interested unless they submit to your “divine truth”.

          • Anton

            I believe that people should be informed of the gospel and left free to make their own choice. I regret that you claim to know what is going on in other people’s minds.

            Faith, yes, but not blind. You think in categories of blind faith and honest doubt. I say it is honest faith and blind doubt – honest faith, because I am explicit about my starting point; blind doubt, because without starting point you can’t get anywhere, using reason or anything else.

          • Linus

            Where are you trying to go? And do you think that an arbitrary act of your will is all you need to point the way?

            What you call faith, I call fear. Mixed with ego, of course. You’re afraid of the unknown, so you make a decision to call your own thoughts God (i.e. self-deification = massive ego trip) and imagine they will lead you to a mythical place of safety. That’s all faith is: scared and self-involved children seeking protection from the dangers of a big wide world.

            The problem is you base your faith on an arbitrary starting point that you assume to be real even though you have no evidence to support that idea. But if you start from the wrong place, you’ll never get where you want to go. Indeed I would maintain that you never will no matter where you start from. The destination is a myth. There is no magical place of safety with a big Daddy God who’ll make sure all the other children won’t hit you and the big bad wolves won’t gobble you up. It seems faintly ridiculous and not a little childish to think there might be.

            Doubt is an admission that we’re not God and we’re not in possession of all the facts. If you start with an admission of doubt, you accept that you are not the centre of creation and don’t have all the answers. You also accept that you must learn in order to know more, because there is no heaven where a Daddy God will protect us from all the dangers that surround us. We’re on our own and have to protect ourselves. Only knowledge can help us do that. And the starting point for gaining knowledge is the admission of doubt, because doubt stimulates enquiry, and only enquiry enables us to gain more knowledge.

            Faith is blind because it tries to shortcut the only reliable means we have of gaining knowledge and, making it up as it goes along, arrives at a point of absurdity that bears no relation to the world around us but is instead centered on the ego-satisfaction of each individual. God is perfection because deep down you think you’re pretty cool too. Or at least you deserve the very best. So why not just conjure it up out of nothing? Much easier than actually having to work at gaining real knowledge, eh?

            Doubt is honest because it’s the only starting point from which real knowledge can be gained. Faith is just a flight of fancy.

          • Anton

            Faith and doubt have objects. You have faith or doubt in something or someone. We all do, unavoidably; but theists admit it.

            “What you call faith, I call fear. Mixed with ego, of course. You’re afraid of the unknown, so you make a decision to call your own thoughts God…”

            There you go again, claiming to know what’s going on inside other people instead of listening to them about it.

          • Anton

            “Love your enemy” is for your sake not his, to prevent bitterness eating your soul.

          • Linus

            The Revolutionary tribunal adored my ancestress right up to the moment they gave her a radical haircut. She was inordinately proud of her hair. Long, blond and extremely luxuriant. She was elegance itself, even in the dock when on trial. Observers remarked on the difference between her unbowed and defiant hauteur à la Française and the haggard resignation of the Austrian queen who was dispatched soon afterwards. There were even voices raised in favour of sparing her. But her crimes had been too flagrant and her disdain too clearly expressed to go unpunished.

            Tears were shed at her execution. “Vous tuez un ange !” the crowd shouted. “Nous tuons un démon !” was the response of the tribunal’s président, who had, very unusually, turned up in order to watch justice being done. It is

        • DanJ0

          “You still have a queen who claims to reign by the grace of God, you have unelected bishops sitting in your weird equivalent of a Senate, and you think Britain is no longer a Christian country?”

          I definitely think the UK is no longer a Christian country, but our State still contains vestigial elements of Christianity.

          • Linus

            Yes, she’s getting more vestigial by the minute, poor love.

            Put the old dear out to pasture. Ship her off to Follyfoot Farm and give her a nosebag and a trough full of gin and Dubonnet and she’ll be made up. A well-earned retirement indeed! Sixty years of waving would wear anybody down.

            Once she’s been pensioned off you can can the bishops from Parliament, elect yourself a proper Senate, abolish the peerage and join the modern world.

            Not in my lifetime, I’ll warrant…

          • The Explorer

            I have memories of the process whereby Hollande was elected. As I recall, Sarkozy got about 34% of the vote first time round and Hollande got 38%. Marine Le Pen had around 20% and the far left were a write off. But Le Pen told her own supporters not to vote for Sarkozy next time round because of his support for the Euro.
            Then there was the issue of the Overseas Territories. Sarkozy wanted to curb immigration, so the Overseas vote went to Hollande so that they could continue exporting their unemployment to Paris.
            I don’t vouch for the accuracy of all this since I’ve never understood the French electoral system any more than the French themselves do, but I think the core is more or less right. And this is the system you want us to adopt? So we can inflict a British equivalent of Hollande upon ourselves? The Hollande who makes even Gordon Brown look financially competent?

          • Linus

            Do you honestly think you get better results with your system? Britain has experienced the biggest influx of immigrants the world has seen since the mass migrations across the Atlantic in the 19th century because of a policy engineered by a few cabinet ministers accountable to nobody, who basically run the government by Order in Council.

            In any case, whatever Le Pen did or didn’t do, a more pertinent question for the British right now might be what will Sturgeon do? She looks poised to be your next kingmaker. And who will she crown? And what will her price be?

            Physician heal thyself. Your own political system is on the verge of cracking apart and perhaps the unity of your nation with it. If Sturgeon wins the crushing majority of Scots MPs that everyone’s predicting, believe me when I say the intricacies of the French political system will be the least of your worries.

          • The Explorer

            I didn’t say our system was any good: it gave us Gordon Brown as both Chancellor and PM, and one can hardly say anything more damning than that. I simply said that your system is as lousy as ours: adopting it would be like abandoning a sinking ship to go aboard the ‘Titanic’.
            Not true re immigration: Mexican immigration into the States is turning California into part of the Bronze Continent, and LA is now the second-largest Mexican city. And France has over four million Muslims. Even the UK has managed that.

          • Linus

            We didn’t acquire 4 million Muslims overnight. It was due to the combined efforts on the part of all governments, left and right, over the past 40 years. Your immigrant situation however was largely the work of one political party over a single decade. That’s what your first past the post system does: it puts sweeping powers into the hands of a few individuals with virtually no checks and balances in place to prevent them from doing what they like.

            Our system isn’t perfect – none is. But it’s harder for our governments to steamroller policies through. Take the example of equal marriage, which had to achieve majorities in the Assemblée Nationale and the Senate and then be reviewed by the Conseil Constitutionnel before receiving the presidential assent. At any stage of that process the policy could have been scuppered, whereas in the UK all that’s required is a simple majority in the Commons. The Lords can delay legislation they don’t like until the government invokes the Parliament Act to drive it through and then it’s a done deal. You have no
            Constitutional Council that can invalidate laws if they don’t conform to the Constitution (unsurprising when you don’t really have a Constitution either…) And your equivalent of presidential assent is just a quaint rubber stamp wearing a silly frock and hat. Your governments do exactly what they want to do. Ours need to rely on a much broader consensus.

            I leave it up to you to determine which process is more democratic. I can’t say our governments have been particularly successful over the past few years. Consensus can be a dead weight when it favours maintenance of the status quo. But the powers that enabled Mrs Thatcher to change your country in the space of a decade or so, also in a similar period of time let Blair and Brown do significant damage to it. To the point where despite the result of the Scottish referendum, its long term
            survival as a unitary state is in real doubt.

          • bluedog

            ‘To the point where despite the result of the Scottish referendum, its long term
            survival as a unitary state is in real doubt.’

            The unitary state has already ended.

            The partially federated state was established by Blair in 1996, without thought about whether a partial federation was a viable proposition. It only remains for the political class to recognise that there is now no alternative to a fully federated UK with separate national parliaments for the four constituent entities of the union, under the umbrella of a federal assembly consisting of two houses. Of course, this will require a new constitution to implement, and inevitably the current settlement will be found wanting. Which is why we are where we are. Real leadership is required to take the necessary steps in the face of age-old habit, tradition, custom, vested interest and fear of change. It may never happen because the English way of doing things is incremental rather than radical. But the periphery, being principally the ScotsNats, want action this day. The Welsh seem to be tagging along for the ride without great enthusiasm, while the Northern Irish remain largely distracted by their own internal tensions.

            If the forthcoming GE does deliver a result in which the SNP holds the balance of power at Westminster, a full blown constitutional crisis will erupt in due course. At that point, failure to embrace a federal political structure will guarantee the fragmentation of the UK. It’s that simple.

          • Linus

            You have no tradition of federalism. Quite the reverse. Britain’s survival has always relied upon centralized power. Take it away and replace it with a weak federal arrangement that nobody respects because it just isn’t part of the British tradition and your country will fly apart.

            We have a similar, albeit less urgent situation developing in France. Our sad and incompetent excuse for a government wants to abolish the départements and create large German-style Länder in their place. Regions that have no historic affinity or shared traditions will thus be shoe-horned into artificial and unwieldy administrative units whose sole purpose will be to reduce government costs. Why have 10 départements with 10 préfets and 10 conseils généraux when you can replace them with one Minister-Président and one Landsrat.

            The idea is doomed to fail. The French state is unitary, not federal. Water down central power and within a generation the nation will break apart. Brittany, Alsace and Corsica will be the first to demand independance. Then who knows what will happen?

            As things stand the government is unlikely to be able to force these changes through. There’s enough opposition within its own ranks to make it pause for thought. We also have the salutary example of Britain before our eyes. A nation on the verge of breaking apart that hasn’t quite realized the disaster that’s hanging over its head.

            Don’t want to be dominated by Germany? You’d better stick together then.

          • bluedog

            Stick together indeed,. Otherwise, you are quite wrong, although one concedes acceptance of a federation and the outcome of federation, is a matter of judgement.

            In the case of the UK, there is no way back to the unitary state although it is a feasible step under the Scotland Act 1998. Pursuant to that Act, the UK Parliament in Westminster can simply revoke devolved Scottish powers. In the current climate, doing that would possibly start a civil war, which is one potential antidote to Scottish irredentism.

            No, the UK must go forward and try to remain cohesive through a localised version of the Spanish constitution which permits a monarchical federation. There are also Commonwealth constitutions to use as templates, such as those of Australia and Canada. The main issue is whether England should be regionalised, as suggested in reforms first proposed in the early 20th century, or remain within its current boundaries. English popular opinion would strongly favour the status quo.

            The current proposal that a change to Parliamentary Standing Orders will permit a resolution to the vexed West Lothian question has all the makings of an unsatisfactory fudge. Cheaper than an English parliament, but whether it will work in practice remains to be seen.

            The geography of France is of course completely different to that of the British Isles, and complicated by the Iberian peninsular to the south-west. The French fleet can never concentrate as quickly as the British fleet, which inhibits the ability of the French metropolitan power to suppress insurgencies in remote areas. The TGV network may not be purely for commerce and tourism.

            Enlightened French statesmen will recognise that a French federal republic may be a valuable tool in resisting the power of the Germanic state(s). Putting oneself in the Louvre, or even Versailles, as ruler of the French state, one would be tempted to offer any Francophone populations in Europe statehood within the French federation.

            Other opportunities might emerge too, as minor nations recoiled from the prospect of subjugation by the Boche. In summary, a well-handled federation opens up all sorts of possibilities both at home and abroad.

          • Uncle Brian

            Bluedog

            I don’t think federalism can be made to work where the largest unit (England) is bigger than all the rest put together.

          • bluedog

            Your point highlights a dilemma. The English will not accept regionalisation. Will they accept a federation in which their representation in the upper house is the same as that of much smaller constituent entities? For a federation to work, all states have to accept that each state, irrespective of size in any metric, is equal. The popular vote in the lower house need not, indeed should not, be aligned on geographic criteria. This is the problem that may be illustrated in the forthcoming GE wherein Scotland seems determined to vote geographically rather than by any other criteria. If Labour then reward their Scottish successors by forming a left-wing coalition, British democracy will have reached an unworkable situation in which one can envisage England triggering the dissolution of the UK.

          • Uncle Brian

            Less than a month to go now. It’s shaping up as a highly unusual election in more ways than one. How many possible coalitions are there? A Tory-Ukip coalition seems to be off the
            menu now, with Ukip doing so poorly in the polls. And Nick Clegg doesn’t seem likely to survive as Deputy PM, does he?

          • bluedog

            It’s certainly a very confused situation and it would not surprise this communicant if the Greens emerged as a stronger force than Ukip in parliamentary terms. Despite the woeful performance of Natalie Bennett, the Green message has great appeal to first time voters and the English hard Left. One can foresee a situation where Labour is outflanked on the Left by the Greens, just as the Tories are outflanked on the Right by Ukip. The apparent collapse of the Ukip vote does surprise, but shows that the economic recovery is a vote winner in itself. A Labour/SNP/Green coalition could be the answer to your question. In this scenario, the centre-Left Lib-Dems are an irrelevance.

          • The Explorer

            You may not have acquired them overnight, but you’ve got ’em now!

          • Linus

            So we do. It’s a fact. One that has to be dealt with in the real world. Crying “send them back!” is not a real world solution.

            The logistics of such an operation would rip any country apart. Would they go quietly? Who would pay for them to be removed? How would a court system already stretched to capacity cope with a sudden avalanche of millions of deportation cases? Or would you suspend normal civil liberties and process of law and just round them up? First them. Then who?

            Once they were rounded up, where would you put them while you waited for the various countries they come from to accept the principle of their return and issue them with the necessary papers and travel documents?

            Take one example: Pakistan. There may be a couple of hundred or so officials in that country working in the government department that deals with the repatriation of illegal immigrants (or emigrants from their point of view). Suddenly a deluge of several hundred thousand, possibly even millions of new cases from Britain arrives on their desks overnight. How long will it take to process? Years? Decades? Lifetimes? Or will they just refuse to do it, horrified by the prospect of a returning multitude looking for work, shelter and food?

            The “send ’em back” mentality is ludicrous. It’s the uneducated, unthinking man’s knee-jerk and ignorant response to a situation he doesn’t like and thinks he can resolve by simply waving a magic wand to make it go away.

            Migrants are here to stay and we have to find ways of dealing with them here.

            Christians and other believers in magic and wonder might place their faith in miraculous solutions and vote Ukip and FN thinking that they’ll wake up the day after the election to find their countries immigrant free. Nobody else thinks that.

          • The Explorer

            Who said anything about sending them back? I’m simply saying your lot screwed up just as much as ours did. Multiculturalism has shot itself in both feet so many times it’s blown off all its toes.
            As it is, you lot seem powerless to deal with the car-burning rituals.
            And it’s a prospect that appals
            Now that they’ve got you by the …

          • Linus

            The mark of the populist and demagogue is his ability to exaggerate a situation to the point where the average person in the street feels as though he’s personally threatened by it.

            Very few of the French have to confront burnt out cars on a regular basis. But thanks to the machinations of Marine Le Pen and others like her, even the inhabitants of well-heeled towns and villages where there is little or no crime and certainly none perpetrated by immigrants are scared to set foot outside after dark.

            Multiculturalism doesn’t cause a fraction of the problems that people like you say it does. But each problem it does cause is broadcast far and wide in an attempt to scare the electorate into voting for neo-fascist, anti-immigrant parties. It’s the politics of fear and loathing. It’s utterly contemptible.

          • The Explorer

            Don’t be fooled by the puppy: think of the grown dog. Car torching is going to become an escalating problem. Oh not it isn’t. Oh yes it is. Oh no it isn’t. You’ll understand pantomime, of course, since you’ve encountered French politics, and we could go on like this all day. Let’s just agree to differ – given that there are one or two other things we disagree about as well – and let’s meet on another thread for another amicable exchange of views.

          • Linus

            Another mark of the populist and demagogue is his ability to sneak back up the blind alleys he leads others down and head off in another direction as though nothing ever went wrong, and certainly with no admission of guilt.

            Standing for Ukip in the next election are you? Why not see if you can pull the wool over a few old grannies’ and retired colonels’ eyes with your exaggerated claims and spectres of doom? Given the current state of paranoid delusion that seems to be sweeping the Western world, you probably won’t lose your deposit. Unless you forget yourself and start to rant about how gay marriage was responsible for the hurricane in Vanuatu and how state schools are now staffed exclusively by gay transgender lesbian pedophiles who are indoctrinating all children into Satanic worship via the medium of Harry Potter…

          • The Explorer

            Linus old grindylow, you’ve given me some marvellous ideas for my campaign. I certainly recall some imam saying that the tsunami was caused because of Allah’s annoyance with the sex tourists; so maybe we should lay claim to responsibility for Vanuatu before the Muslims do.
            Isn’t it marvellous how we can exchange badinage across cultures in such a congenial fashion? Marvellous thing, the internet. But I’m tired of this particular thread; although you seem disposed to cling to it. See you on another one.

          • Linus

            By all means beat your retreat.

            Brave Sir Robin ran away, he bravely ran away…

  • magnolia

    I too suspect that it was more mess-up than deliberate. Probably someone wanted to post a video rather than a written message, and the guy who knew how to do it had gone home. This is just a guess, as I have no inside knowledge whatever!

    I wonder how the perfect Easter message for his grace’s communicants would be!

    It might include an awareness that “every knee shall bow, of those in Heaven, and those on the earth, and those under the earth…..”

    • CliveM

      Agreed, if for no other reason I don’t think it would be deliberately missed at election time, “every little counts”!

  • Inspector General

    In the absence of a Christian message from number 10, could we have an image of Cameron being scourged by the Ermin Street guard.

  • len

    Perhaps Cameron senses the hypocrisy of wishing Christians a greeting when he has driven ‘a coach and horses’ through Christian moral principles?
    I wonder? .He certainly lost my vote…..

    • Albert

      He certainly lost my vote…..

      Mine too.

    • DanJ0

      He gets mine! 🙂

      • Inspector General

        Does he really? What’s he offering your crowd next time…legalised polygamy?

        • DanJ0

          I heard he’s going to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, by giving the hunting fraternity open season on homophobes.

          • Inspector General

            Tell you what. Just for jolly, go over to Pink News and state your voting intentions. You’ll be likened to a Jew voting for Hitler. They might even call you a self loather, to boot.

          • The Explorer

            What party do the players of the pink oboe favour then?

          • Inspector General

            Think they are in the majority for the Lib Dems, but in Brighton, it’s definitely the Green stroke Militant Homosexual Alliance.

          • CliveM

            What a horrible description!

          • The Explorer

            I think Peter Cook invented it.

          • CliveM

            Doesn’t make it less horrible!

          • The Explorer

            It does contextualise it.

          • The Explorer

            As I remember, it was meant to be subversive. Monty Python were involved. Your reaction is the reverse of what was intended.

          • CliveM

            I came over all peculiar…………

          • Uncle Brian
          • The Explorer

            The Goons, eh. It figures. But Peter Cook was when I became aware of it. Some Amnesty International-inspired show. Very blurred memory, now, but the ‘pink’ triggered it.

          • Uncle Brian

            Spike Milligan would occasionally manage to slip a sly double entendre past the BBC censorship, which in those days was still very strict, of course. “Hugh Jampton” was another one.

          • DanJ0

            I have a very good vibrato technique.

          • Linus

            The female vote is pretty evenly split, is it not?

            Not the female Christian vote, of course. But then there’s no question of oboe concertos from that particular constituency. Laying back and trying to go to their “happy place” while their lord and master thrashes about on top of them for all of twenty seconds is more their style. Ten children could well be the result of a mere two minutes of unpleasantness. A pretty good return on investment when you think about it.

            Christian women have no time to listen to music, let alone play any sort of instrument…

          • CliveM

            That long?

          • DanJ0

            I was repeated linked to the far left on the Telegraph earlier. I can’t keep up. It’s been a while since I was called a Cultural Marxist here.

          • Inspector General

            No, you’re no cultural Marxist. Just a very naughty boy…

          • IanCad

            It’s the same in the US. Refer to yourself as a Classical Liberal and 99% will think you’re a commie.

          • The Explorer

            Wouldn’t that be asking them to commit suicide?

    • B flat

      He killed my natural support for the Conservatives totally, by ditching Conservatism for transient political expediency. The man is as stable as a weathercock, and no friend of Britain.

    • Inspector General

      The blighter would have had British troops in Syria, if he had his way. There’s so much wrong with the Conservative party, and that lightweight excepted, the list system is to blame. Constituencies should be free to select their prospective candidate, not have some metropolitan of dubious conservative values imposed on them.

  • carl jacobs

    Never first attribute to malice that which can just as easily be explained by incompetence. To quote the poet: “Someone had blundered.”

    • IanCad

      I’m going to remember – and use – that first sentence.
      So very well put. If it is an original my hat’s off to you.
      Ian

    • Except that it’s now Tuesday morning – a normal working day – and the website remains ‘uncorrected’. Ergo no one blundered; there was no incompetence. The omission was purposeful. Passover, Ramadan, Eid, Vaisakhi, Diwali all merit official No10 website propagation, but Easter does not.

      • Uncle Brian

        Your Grace, In the hope of helping Mr Cameron to rectify his
        omission, I have just filled in and sent off the form that appears at the foot of the No. 10 home page:

        Help us improve GOV.UK

        Don’t include personal or financial information, eg your
        National Insurance number or credit card details.

        What you were doing
        Looking for PM’s Easter greeting
        What went wrong
        Couldn’t find one
        Send

        In return, I received this nice acknowledgement:

        Thank you for your help.
        If you have more extensive feedback, please visit the contact page.

      • Anton

        Welcome to England 459 years after your martyrdom.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    My guess is that this is possibly an oversight, though that oversight was probably born out of indifference to Christians in this country.

    More importantly, we all know Camerons take on Christianity, and that of many of his colleagues. We shouldn’t regard it as something new. The OT is full of accounts of Israel’s own drift towards secularism at times of compacency and arrogance. The outcomes was seldom good. When the ship finally goes down, make sure you are not close enought to be taken under by the downdraft

  • Inspector General

    Your Inspector has just returned from an Easter Hunt. Very successful it was. The children loved it, and moreover, there isn’t a single rabbit left alive in that place…

  • magnolia

    I don’t think Cameron’s message is bad.

    But I notice he doesn’t talk about the sufferings of Orthodox Christians in poor old Greece, unfairly inveigled into the euro when Goldman Sachs, that upright institution, made the figures appear suitable for its disastrous entry into the euro. Apparently it is most likely that we will see another bail in, when the State or the ECB relocate the assets of those who have saved up in bank accounts into their own pockets. Some of us who don’t fully grasp the fact that a bank deposit is now seen as a loan to the bank would still call it stealing, but then we are not fully cognisant with newspeak.

    Or in poor Russia, watching itself being surrounded by NATO and US troops and missiles, daring a land towards defensive war that suffered a horrendous death toll in the 2nd World War, of 200 million, and then more under the Marxist invasion, and is now rediscovering with joy its Christian faith, and deeply reluctant to engage in another war, for no other reason than it is for unsearchable reasons on the list of countries the idiot US cowboy neocons and Victoria Nuland wish to do battle with.

    A ridiculously dangerous game with nuclear powers.

    And almost to a man/womanthe people in the churches are deeply but deeply opposed to this, but who is listening to us? Truly the foolishness of the Cross is wiser than the wisdom of the debaters of this Age, to paraphrase I Corinthians.

    • IanCad

      I have to agree that US/NATO policy regarding Russia is completely insane.
      Treaties were the cause of WW1. History repeats itself.

    • Anton

      The Greek government ASKED Goldman Sachs to massage the figures, and it is hard to believe that Brussels didn’t know what was going on. The fact is that Brussels and Greece both wanted the present arrangement that has worked out so disastrously. Now they face the classic dilemma: does Brussels (ie, Germany) throw good money after bad or cut its losses? Adding to the usual dilemma is the fact that it sets a precedent visible to other countries in a similar situation to Greece but with much larger economies.

      The young generation in Greece would be better of with 2 years of national pain followed by a bounce-back as the drachma finds its own level than with 20 years of high taxes and no jobs – fertile ground for extremists left and right.

      As for Russia, EU has been silly re Ukraine but is entirely right to admit the Baltics and Poland to NATO and must invoke the NATO doctrine to defend them. That is the real border. But it is distressing and telling that Russia is not flirting with gay marriage while we have embraced it.

      • magnolia

        Can’t argue with most of that.

        It is incredible that Russia has returned to thinking of itself as a Russian Orthodox Christian country, for one who grew up with USSR on the map, coloured in as Communist in terms of worldview/religion.

        I even came across an article where it ended “we would be fighting for Mother Russia, Christianity and the Russian soul; what would you in the West be fighting for?”

        And I admit I thought, “Search me, but it would probably be being “in” with the present Washington lot, and guarding the petrodollar as the reserve currency, plus some nutters who have wrongly identified it with “Gog and Magog”that they were fighting for. ” It would not be anything to do with Christianity, that is for sure. Russia poses no threat if left well alone, and shares our Christian culture and is our ally against a more real threat of ISIS and Muslim extremism. No more socialist than heaps of regimes we are happy with, and I am not even sure that they are socialist at all as they seem to be keen on free markets.

        • Ivan M

          Putin is overdoing it. Russia is simply too big and its population too small to defend itself on all fronts. They should promise a return to the status quo in Ukraine with armed observers instead of carrying on about Mother Russia. Other peoples have their histories too.

          • magnolia

            You won’t stop Russians carrying on about Mother Russia and the Russian soul. It sounds overly dramatic to us but it is how they think! The status quo in the Ukraine is what the U.S. interfered with and where things started going wrong. It had always been a buffer state and understood as such.

            Reagan and even Kissinger understood. It started going wrong with Clinton, and as for Obama…..

          • Anton

            Yes; Russia gets its very name from a mediaeval state called Kievan Rus and Kiev is the capital of Ukraine. But there is terrible corruption in public life in both.

          • magnolia

            Sadly it exists here too! I think it was better before the days of Blair and spin doctors, but we see so much injustice, special interests, ridiculous sentencing, corrupted information like the infamous dodgy dossier….We are no longer in a position to criticise others….

          • Anton

            Keep perspective; politics is always corrupt (and was even when Britain claimed to be a “Christian country”), but that doesn’t mean there aren’t degrees of corruption or that comparisons can’t be made. Where would you rather live…?

          • magnolia

            I am British and would never leave because my antecedents have come from here back into the mists of time. I would even stay on a sinking ship of a nation knowing it was going down, because it is my country.

            But it doesn’t mean I am not seriously worried by how it has changed, particularly since Blair. And now His Grace is right; no greeting on the no 10 website. In some senses it is trivial, but it just indicates a souring and an intolerance to Jesus Christ and what he stands for, and a pretence that those who say it is really a pagan festival, or those who deny Jesus’ historicity might have some kind of academically respectable point, and they just don’t.

            In a land where in one survey 33% of children thought Easter was related to the birth of the Easter bunny it matters. It is an encouragement of crass ignorance. Vast numbers of our children are so ignorant about Christianity that they are dislocated from their own culture and robbed of their birthright. It is an abomination and a betrayal.

          • Anton

            OK, but let me change my previous question to “Where would you rather emigrate to?”

          • Uncle Brian

            For anyone who’s thinking of moving abroad but hasn’t picked a destination, it might be worth taking into account a statistic that emerged from the Pew Forum survey that Johnny Rottenborough linked to on this thread. The forecast for 2050 is that, in Brazil, the ratio of Christians to Muslims will still be comfortably above 3,000 to 1.

            http://www.pewforum.org/2015/04/02/religious-projection-table/

          • Pubcrawler

            Well, I do speak a little Portuguese, and a few ex colleagues are Brazilian, so it’s tempting. But like magnolia I think I’ll stay and go down with the Sceptred Isle.

          • Uncle Brian

            I don’t think it’s going down any time soon, however hard the politicians may be trying to sink it.

          • magnolia

            Somewhere deeply Christian where you can leave your back door open. But I think that would be escape from the spiritual battle and unworthy!

          • Anton

            I meant which of (a) UK and (b) Ukraine (or Russia) you would rather emigrate to from a third country, given the choice. But never mind (unless you wish).

          • magnolia

            Well that narrows it down! But I think that is so speculative, and requires me to belong to another country that you have left unspecified to start with .. (!)… that I could not possibly answer. Where we choose to live is so often dependent upon friends, relations and ties, ambient temperature, what languages you can get by in, and a sense of God’s guidance!

          • sarky
          • magnolia

            Sorry but that is a load of old tosh, or bones. These names were common, so it is a big fat “So what?” This story gets dragged out by people with a vested interest every so often, but you can drive a coach and horses through the absurd conclusions.

            The questions are just blazingly obvious. Not meaning to be rude but you really seriously think a crane arrived from the 20th Century to roll that vast stone away in the middle of the night whilst someone put Jesus’ bones into an ossuary, and the disciples said “Well, we know we smuggled him away, but let’s all take heart and go and preach this nonsense we made up about Resurrection appearances, and let’s all be willing to die rather than renounce it.”.

            Not exactly likely. Do you think we are all cretins who have not researched the Resurrection and can be blown away by the first half-baked theory thought up by a Jewish archaelogist who does not believe Jesus is the Messiah to start with?

          • sarky

            The answers to all your questions are actually in the article.
            Lets be honest even if these results are proved to be true beyond doubt, you still wouldn’t believe them would you?

          • The Explorer

            James did not believe in the divinity of his half-brother until he saw the resurrected Christ. But if there are bones in there, then he can’t have seen the resurrected Christ. James did not become the leader of the Jerusalem Church , and was not martyred for asserting the Resurrection. Golly gee, these sorts of things had never occurred to me, what am I going to do?

            Still, I’ve got to hand it to the guy. He isn’t claiming that Jesus’ son was Barabbas.

          • sarky

            Don’t let facts get in the way of a good story! !

          • The Explorer

            I don’t want to be a killjoy or anything, but ‘The Secret Gospel of Mark’ was going to hole Christianity below the waterline and turned out to be a forgery. Baigent of ‘Grail’ fame said how the Dead Sea Scrolls were going to explode Christianity. They gave us an older version of ‘Isaiah’ than we had before, and some fragments of ‘Tobit’ in Aramaic that give support to the idea of ‘Matthew’ in Aramaic. The New-Testament scholar Craig Evans has written a book on the James topic already, ‘Jesus and the Ossuaries’, and since there’s already been a court case about possible forgery on the casket I’m not getting too excited.

          • sarky

            Christianity – the purposeful suspension of critical thinking.

          • The Explorer

            By ‘critical thinking’, are you citing Adorno and Horkheimer? If so, then I agree absolutely to its suspension.
            PS This James casket was found in 2002. Hardly a new story.

          • sarky

            It’s the link to the others that’s the story. Also the fact that the names, although commen, are rare in the combination found.

          • The Explorer

            There’s a disparity between the lettering for ‘Son of Joseph’ and ‘Brother of Jesus’. is it because the Jesus bit was added later, because of different qualities in the limestone, or because of a fake chalk infill? After a seven-year trail some experts said it was genuine and some experts said it wasn’t. Impasse.
            There’s a big difference between thinking critically, and critical thinking. Critical thinking seeks to close down independent thought. Very largely, it has succeeded.

          • magnolia

            Yes, I have invigilated in a “Critical Thinking” exam, and was shocked. It was more like a “Can you understand the (very) basic argument in this piece of Government propaganda about man-made global warming?” exam to my eyes. There was no room to question the logic or the progression of the argument. The underlying assumption was that it was dead right and the examinee was there to appreciate it, imbibe and copy.

          • The Explorer

            Just trace its ancestry to the Frankfurt School. Critical theory. Tells you all you need to know.

          • magnolia

            Ah, thanks for that.

          • The Explorer

            Let’s confirm we’re arguing about the same thing. A family burial site was discovered in 1980. One box containing bones has ‘Judah’ on it. The controversial one says James son of Joseph and brother of Jesus. If that’s the James of the Epistle then the Judah (= Jesus) box contains Jesus’ bones and Christ did not rise from the dead.

          • sarky

            Pretty much!!!

          • magnolia

            It might seem strange to you but I prefer the gospels and two thousand years of scholarship to an archaeologist who stands to make more money if he claims that an ossuary full of bones belonging to a family which had many of the preferred names of the day belongs to Jesus’ family, despite no evidence with any merit whatever, printed in “The Daily Mail”.

            How exactly would you identify Jesus’ DNA? Now I am more convinced by Ron Wyatt’s theories about the Ark of the Covenant and the blood found upon it which he claims only had 24 chromosomes and which he claimed was still living when analysed in a Jewish lab. The guy went pale and became a Christian apparently. But if that was proved to be true beyond doubt, I guess you wouldn’t believe, would you?

          • sarky

            When was the ark of the covenant found? (Didn’t think indiana jones was real)

          • magnolia

            Just stick Ron Wyatt into Youtube and all sorts will come up. He was a decent guy if a little strange in his beliefs (7th day adventist). Many attest to his honesty, and I see nothing other in the man. Of course that doesn’t mean he was right in all things, but I don’t think he is a liar at all.

          • sarky

            Archaeologist Joe Zias of Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) has stated that “Ron Wyatt is neither an archaeologist nor has he ever carried out a legally licensed excavation in Israel or Jerusalem. In order to excavate one must have at least a BA in archaeology which he does not possess despite his claims to the contrary. … [His claims] fall into the category of trash which one finds in tabloids such as the National Enquirer, Sun etc.”[14]

            Thought I recognised the name, he was the guy who also claimed to have found noahs ark.
            Dont you think it’s a bit desperate hanging on to the alleged discoveries of a proven fraud?

          • magnolia

            Who has proven him a fraud? I spent several days once trying to discover whether he was genuine or not. You seem to have come to “proof” within minutes and finding one quotation from someone who says he was. One quotation from someone who opines is not and never has been “proof”. You need to consider means, method and motivation for a start. Now your non-Christian archaelogists with the bones, and also this guy have the means, the ability and the motive to angle it towards his conclusions. Not least financial. In contrast, Ron Wyatt, when terminally ill, stuck to his conclusions. Terminally ill deeply committed Christians are apt to stick to the truth on the cusp of death as we think we might have a lot of unpleasant explaining to do to God. Yes he might have been deluded on some of the details, but I think he was honest. The idea that he was deliberately fraudulent is very unlikely.

            Other Israelis have incidentally said other things about Wyatt which you have clearly filtered to go for your chosen quotation.

            Also an Israeli Judge has opined that there is no good evidence whatever to link these bones with Jesus’ family. But you ignore him to go for what you already wanted to conclude. That is prejudice looking for confirmation.

            You are trying to suggest that for two millenia Jesus’ bones were available to all those people with a strong motive for finding them, to quash this troublesome sect but no one managed to track them down, with all the facilities at their disposal. (The tomb was guarded by soldiers, and a massive stone had been rolled over it, and Jewish people were not allowed to operate on the Sabbath, facts you seem unaware of.) Fantastically improbable, is it not? But you would willingly swallow this massive improbability because it suits your prejudices. It’s very gullible to fall for this.

          • sarky

            The fact you believe the story of the resurrection is, I believe, the reason why you are so willing to believe the nonsense from Wyatt. By the way I have not dismissed wyatt in minutes, I have read about and seen documentaries on his ark search (like I said I thought I recognised the name)
            it is all utter rubbish and it is clearly not me who is gullible.

          • magnolia

            So you reject the eyewitness accounts of the Resurrection out of hand? Furthermore you appear to have no anxiety when falling for this ridiculous load of nonsense in “The Daily Mail” that there is no oral tradition nor written account from the writings of the time to back up your postulations of what you think happened 2000 years ago. There is better extra canonical written evidence for the Resurrection than there is evidence against it, even.

            The very idea that the disciples and Jesus’ family would circulate false stories of a physical Resurrection and then be stupid enough to put bones in their family burial site marked “Jesus” is to suggest stupidity and dishonesty of epic proportions, or maybe you just hadn’t noticed that it would be absurd?

            But I guess people saw what they wanted, and failed to see the obvious vast gaping holes in their argument.

          • Linus

            There are no eyewitness accounts of the resurrection. There are four gospels written a generation after the events telling stories passed on from others.

            That’s like you writing a story about the abdication of Edward VIII as if you were there, although at least you would have contemporary eyewitness accounts to draw from, so your account would probably be a lot more accurate than anything in the gospels quite simply because the events were written down while they were still fresh in the minds of the people who lived through them.

            Nobody wrote anything down when Jesus died. The gospels date from much later. And isn’t that the most damning thing you can say about them?

          • The Explorer

            Here was I thinking I’d left this thread, but there’s not much happening on the new one. A couple of thoughts.
            1. Don’t forget the importance, and reliability, of the oral tradition in the ancient world. Not just Jewish: think of the importance of memory in Plato’s ‘Phaedrus’. The Gospels were simply the oral traditions that had been circulating for years written down.
            2. There was probably an Aramaic version of Matthew circulating very early, which was later merged with bits of Mark and translated into Greek for wider circulation. There is precedent for this. Consider that Josephus wrote Aramaic and Greek Versions of his Jewish-Roman War, and that there are fragments of an Aramaic version of ‘Tobit’ among the Dead Sea Scrolls.

          • Linus

            1. Oral tradition in the ancient world spoke of Zeus hurling thunderbolts from the sky, beasts like satyrs and centaurs and a mountain on the top of which lived real live gods and goddesses. Was that all true too?

            2. There was “probably” an earlier version of Matthew, eh? And did it “probably” say what Matthew says now? What about the possibility that it said something else and the early Church suppressed it because it didn’t match up with the story they preferred? I guess we’ll “probably” never know.

            In any case, we can’t even talk about the probability of such a text existing because there are no references to it and no idea of what it might have contained. It’s pure supposition.

            We’re talking about something that should have formed the core of the New Testament had it really existed. An eyewitness account of the life of Christ would be worth any number of documents cobbled together a generation after the events had taken place. And yet it doesn’t exist. A bit slapdash of God to allow it to disappear and force us to make do with second and third hand accounts instead, don’t you think? It’s almost as if he doesn’t want us to know what really happened…

          • The Explorer

            1. Not truth, but accurate record. We know about these things because oral tradition recorded them until they could be written down. There were those who knew Homer by heart. I refer you again to Plato’s point about writing and the atrophy of memory.
            2. Papaias and Irenaeus both refer to Matthew’s Aramaic gospel. Basically the Greek version, minus the supplements from Mark. The Greek superseded the Aramaic when the faith spread beyond the Jews. The same sort of thing happened with the Josephus version of the War: more Roman than Aramaic readers.
            3. Eyewitness accounts. Oral versions began very early after the Resurrection. It was quicker to speak to a group than to write a book which then had to be copied by hand. The oral version reached more people. Matthew and John were disciples. Mark was Peter’s travelling companion (only better than Peter at writing). Luke was Paul’s companion. Paul refers in ‘Galatians’ and ‘1 Corinthians’ to his early meetings with the eyewitnesses Peter, James (brother of Jesus) and John.
            Cobbled together. The written versions grew out of the oral versions. The cobbling would have been done at the oral stage. But Matthew and Luke both had the logical minds developed through their respective professions, and each gospel has its unifying theme. With ‘Matthew’ it’s Christ as the new Moses, and the five sermons that match the Pentateuch. With Mark it’s the slowness of recognition who Christ was. Luke’s is about the new faith’s increasing challenge to Rome. John’s theme is Christ as the lamb of God, and the seven signs of Christ’s divinity.

          • Linus

            So what you’re saying is that your entire belief system is based on a game of Chinese Whispers played across several generations and multiple languages and cultures.

            You want me to believe that an accurate description and interpretation of events so fantastic they have never been recorded at any other point in history has reached us unchanged and accurate in every detail through the filter of an ill-educated and superstitious populace living in a war-torn and highly unstable period of history.

            It really brings new meaning to the word “gullible”, doesn’t it?

            We have a phrase in French that describes it far better than anything I know how to say in English. The ultimate insult you can level at a French cook is to describe his/her culinary creations as “étouffe Chrétien”, which literally means a “Christian choker”. Why? Because Christians are known for their ability to swallow anything no matter how indigestible, improbable or plain ridiculous it might be. So if a Christian chokes on your dish, it must be pretty bad.

            It’s a pity Christians don’t choke on their own indigestible myths. They might then cough them up, spit them out and start living lives based on reality rather than superstition. I don’t mind what they do with their own lives, of course. But anything that stops them trying to interfere in mine has to be a good thing.

          • The Explorer

            1. Who’s interfering in your life? This is a Christian blog that you have chosen to visit. You’re interfering with us. And the PC Thought Police who determine modern social virtue are not Christian.
            2. Not Chinese whispers. You’re still not addressing the points raised by Plato in ‘Phaedrus’.
            3. Not multiple languages. Aramaic and Greek. Not several generations: the generation that knew Christ recording details for the next generation. If you’re talking about the problems of translation for a global faith, that’s a completely different issue and I didn’t raise it.
            4. The Atonement was a one-off event. It won’t recur again in history: that’s what a one-off event means. I detect Hume again, here: always his weakest point, I’ve always thought.
            5. The recorders were not ill-educated. Matthew and Luke both had training. Mark came from a wealthy family. John would have had access to educated scribes. If you mean all education in the ancient world was bad, then I disagree. The average Platonic dialogue is a great deal more rigorous and searching than the average modern seminar I’ve attended.
            6. The Christian choker is a good point. Does it date from the Enlightenment, or is it earlier? ‘Cretin’ is another one: th process whereby Christian moral simplicity became transmuted into Christian mental simplicity.
            Always a pleasure to exchange ideas with you: you express them with a welcome vigour.

          • sarky

            Your last paragraph can also be said of christianity.

          • magnolia

            Except that Mary Magdalene was not expecting to see Jesus, in fact so much not so that she mistook him for the gardener, as we heard read to us on Easter Day this year.

            And what of the question of what would motivate people carrying out a fraud to put the evidence for the fraud in a clearly labelled box so that they could be clearly identified as lying fraudulent cheats and their families dishonoured, at least imprisoned, and even killed. I look forward to hearing you explain that.

          • sarky

            What if they weren’t fraudsters?
            What if the stories were only written many many years later when the bones were long buried and forgotten about.

          • magnolia

            You really have barely studied this at all. All the disciples except John were martyred for their beliefs, and Paul the Apostle had his head sliced off his body. They were deadly serious about the whole business, as were the early Christians thrown to the lions in the Colisseum, or are you about to suggest the lions were made up too?

            I can somehow tell you are not a historian, let alone a theologian by discipline as you don’t seem constrained by primary sources- at all!! You speak as if there were no established scholarship and everything was up for grabs by Johnny-come-latelies of any and all disciplines, with a story to tell and a few shekels to elicit.

            “What if?” is a very fair question as the cry of a writer of fiction but we must be constrained by the proper theological and historical disciplines, and the vast quantity of work of all who have studied in the last two thousand years!!

          • sarky

            But there are no contemporaneous accounts for any of this, it was all after the fact.

          • magnolia

            Here is an Easter present for you:
            http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/index.html
            where you can browse to your heart’s content, and which will help put the article in “The Daily Mail” in more historical context for you. As you can see there are more writings than you might have supposed, and it is quite possibly not an exhaustive list. I don’t know! There are also things which will have come down predominantly as oral tradition.

            These writings are all highly important, but there are also all those things done “in the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth” afterwards, which all eloquently bear witness to the Resurrection.

          • CliveM

            Sarky

            This is a re-hash of an old story. One simple fact that blows the whole argument, the James, brother of Jesus Ossuary was found in a different location.

            Anyway:

            Asbury Theological Seminary’s Ben Witherington III points out some other circumstantial problems with linking this tomb to Jesus’ family:[13]

            “So far as we can tell, the earliest followers of Jesus never called Jesus ‘son of Joseph’. It was outsiders who mistakenly called him that.”
            “The ancestral home of Joseph was Bethlehem, and his adult home was Nazareth. The family was still in Nazareth after he [Joseph] was apparently dead and gone. Why in the world would he be buried (alone at this point) in Jerusalem?”
            “One of the ossuaries has the name Jude son of Jesus. We have no historical evidence of such a son of Jesus, indeed we have no historical evidence he was ever married.”
            “The Mary ossuaries (there are two) do not mention anyone from Migdal. It simply has the name Mary—and that’s about the most common of all ancient Jewish female names.”
            “We have names like Matthew on another ossuary, which don’t match up with the list of [Jesus’s] brothers’ names.”
            The Archaeological Institute of America, self-described on their website as “North America’s oldest and largest organization devoted to the world of archeology,” has published online their own criticism of the “Jesus tomb” claim:

            “The identification of the Talpiyot tomb as the tomb of Jesus and his family is based on a string of problematic and unsubstantiated claims […] [It] contradicts the canonical Gospel accounts of the death and burial of Jesus and the earliest Christian traditions about Jesus. This claim is also inconsistent with all of the available information—historical and archaeological—about how Jews in the time of Jesus buried their dead, and specifically the evidence we have about poor, non-Judean families like that of Jesus. It is a sensationalistic claim without any scientific basis or support.”[43]

            DNA and family evidenceEdit
            Dr. Darrel L. Bock, a New Testament scholar and research professor of New Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminary points out some of the inconsistencies, including: “If Jesus’ family came from Galilee, why would they have a family tomb in Jerusalem?”[44]

            Dr. Ben Witherington III points out an inconsistency related to the James Ossuary. He points out that the James Ossuary came from Silwan, not Talpiot. In addition, the James Ossuary had dirt on it that “matched up with the soil in that particular spot in Jerusalem.” In his opinion, this is problematic, because “the ossuaries that came out of Talpiot came out of a rock cave from a different place, and without such soil in it.” Therefore, he believes that it is difficult to believe that the one known family member of Jesus was buried separately and far away from Jesus’ family.[13]

            In addition, during the trial of antiquities dealer Oded Golan there has been testimony from former FBI agent Gerald Richard that a photo of the James ossuary, showing it in Golan’s home, was taken in the 1970s, based on tests done by the FBI photo lab. This would make it impossible for the James Ossuary to have been discovered with the rest of the Talpiot ossuaries in the 1980s.[45]

            With reference to the DNA tests, Witherington wrote in his blog: “[T]he most the DNA evidence can show is that several of these folks are interrelated…. We would need an independent control sample from some member of Jesus’ family to confirm that these were members of Jesus’ family. We do not have that at all.”[13] This quote clarifies the fact that the documentarians do not believe they have tested the DNA and have proven it to be Jesus. They simply used DNA testing to prove that the “Jesus son of Joseph” and the “Mariamne” in this tomb were not maternally related (i.e. that they did not have the same mother or grandmother). The film asserted that this DNA evidence suggests they were probably spouses. Critics contend they could have been paternally related (e.g. father and daughter, or grandfather and granddaughter), or related by someone else’s marriage. Mariamne could just as well have been the wife of one of the other two males in the ossuary.

            The New York Times article of February 27, 2007, (reprinted in full on many websites) states:

            The documentary’s director and its driving force, Simcha Jacobovici…, said there was enough mitochondrial DNA for a laboratory in Ontario to conclude that the bodies in the “Jesus” and “Mary Magdalene” ossuaries were not related on their mothers’ side. From this, Mr. Jacobovici deduced that they were a couple, because otherwise they would not have been buried together in a family tomb. In an interview, Mr. Jacobovici was asked why the filmmakers did not conduct DNA testing on the other ossuaries to determine whether the one inscribed Judah, son of Jesus was genetically related to either the Jesus or Mary Magdalene boxes; or whether the Jesus remains were actually the offspring of Mary. “We’re not scientists. At the end of the day we can’t wait till every ossuary is tested for DNA,” he said. “We took the story that far. At some point you have to say, I’ve done my job as a journalist.”

            In the televised debate following the airing of the film, Ted Koppel pressed Jacobovici on the same question and received the same response. According to the authors of one blog, “the response is manifestly disingenuous. The question, in fact, necessarily arises whether the team or one of its members decided not to proceed with any further DNA tests. Such tests may have revealed that none of the ossuaries are related—hence defeating the underlying presupposition that the crypt was in fact a family tomb, and thereby eliminating any valid basis at all for producing and showing the film.”

            William G. Dever said that some of the inscriptions on the ossuaries are unclear, but that all of the names are common. “I’ve known about these ossuaries for many years and so have many other archaeologists, and none of us thought it was much of a story because these are rather common Jewish names from that period. It’s a publicity stunt, and it will make these guys very rich, and it will upset millions of innocent people because they don’t know enough to separate fact from fiction.”[42]

            Jodi Magness, an archaeologist at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, notes that at the time of Jesus, wealthy families buried their dead in tombs cut by hand from solid rock, putting the bones in niches in the walls and then, later, transferring them to ossuaries. “If Jesus’ family had been wealthy enough to afford a rock-cut tomb, it would have been in Nazareth, not Jerusalem,” Magness writes.

            According to Magness, the names on the Talpiot ossuaries indicate that the tomb belonged to a family from Judea, the area around Jerusalem, where people were known by their first name and father’s name. As Galileans, Jesus and his family members would have used their first name and hometown. “This whole case (for the tomb of Jesus) is flawed from beginning to end.”[42]

            There is no information on analyzing relation of “Mary” and “Jesus son of Joseph” or any other tomb occupants. In Jewish tradition of the time, after one year, when bodies in rock-cut tombs were decomposed, bones were collected, cleaned and then finally placed in an ossuary. Due to this conduct there is no real assurance that what scientists have really examined are remnants of “Mariamne e Mara” and “Jesus son of Joseph.”

            Interpretation of the inscriptionsEdit
            David Mavorah, a curator of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, points out that the names on the ossuaries were extremely common. “We know that Joseph, Jesus and Mariamne were all among the most common names of the period. To start with all these names being together in a single tomb and leap from there to say this is the tomb of Jesus is a little far-fetched, to put it politely.”[46] David Mavorah is an expert of Israeli Antiquity, and (presumably) not an expert of statistics. However, Dr. Andrey Feuerverger, the statistician cited by the makers of the documentary, has said that determination of the identity of those in the tomb was the purview of biblical historians, and not statisticians. For another interpretation of the statistics see the statistics section above.

            Professor Amos Kloner, former Jerusalem district archaeologist of the Israel Antiquities Authority and the first archaeologist to examine the tomb in 1980,[47] told the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper that the name Jesus had been found 71 times in burial caves at around that time.[46] Furthermore, he said that the inscription on the ossuary is not clear enough to ascertain, and although the idea fails to hold up by archaeological standards it makes for profitable television. Quote: “The new evidence is not serious, and I do not accept that it is connected to the family of Jesus…. They just want to get money for it.”[8]

            Dr. Richard Bauckham, professor at the University of St Andrews, catalogued ossuary names from that region since 1980. He records that based on the catalogue, “Jesus” was the 6th most popular name of Jewish men, and “Mary/Mariamne” was the single most popular name of Jewish women at that time. Therefore, finding two ossuaries containing the names “Jesus” and “Mary/Mariamne” is not significant at all, and the chances of it being the ossuaries of Jesus and Mary Magdalene are “very small indeed.”[48]

            Concerning the inscription attributed to Jesus son of Joseph, Steve Caruso, a professional Aramaic translator using a computer to visualize different interpretations, claims that although it is possible to read it as “Yeshua” that “overall it is a very strong possibility that this inscription is not ‘Yeshua` bar Yehosef.'”[6]

            The name “Mary” and its derivatives may have been used by up to 25% of Jewish women at that time.[49]

            PublicityEdit
            Lawrence E. Stager, the Dorot professor of archaeology of Israel at Harvard, said the documentary was “exploiting the whole trend that caught on with The Da Vinci Code. One of the problems is there are so many biblically illiterate people around the world that they don’t know what is real judicious assessment and what is what some of us in the field call ‘fantastic archaeology.'”[8]

          • sarky

            I do love Wikipedia!

          • CliveM

            Says the man referencing the Daily Mail……..

          • sarky

            But at least it’s at the cutting edge of honest journalism. …ahem

          • CliveM

            LOL……… Yes quite!!

          • The Explorer

            Someone’s been reading ‘The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail’ and decided to do his own version.

      • B flat

        This is entirely off the point of No10 website ignoring Easter and Christians; however, I value your comments highly but am nonplussed by your distress “that Russia is not flirting with gay marriage while we have embraced it.” You are not writing with obvious irony, yet both your express distress, and assertion that “we have embraced it” are quite contrary to your many statements of your faith, and also to the statistics of those of like sex taking up the possibility in law to contract what they choose to call marriage. Having rejected the reality, they have opted for a sham. That is truly distressing, but they are adults, and they have what they chose freely.

        • Indeed it is. So please revert to the chat facility below. Bless you.

          • B flat

            My apologies for putting you to the trouble of intervention. I don’t believe I was introducing a diversion from Your Grace’s topic. My question arose from a comment on this thread in a longish political diversion, which I specifically cited. I checked on chat, but found no illumination there. Hey-ho. Happy Easter, and sincere thanks for your thoughtful postings on these days.

    • Ivan M

      The elites in Greece wanted what the international finance class wants. The ability to move their assets wherever they want without any costs or taxes or guilt, and the corresponding ability to put the labour market on a Dutch auction.

      The hoi polloi on the other hand were very happy spending money that they did not earn. For years on end, they were partying on the back of the strong European economy. They cannot now turn and claim that they were cheated out of their birthright. They gave it up for glitz and glamour, the same as the “working classes” throughout the developed world.

      As usual there may have been one or two Cassandras, but while the money was good everyone was in it. Of course I feel sorry for those who are turned out of their homes and have been unemployed for years on end, but the demagogues should have a good look at themselves first.

      The solution for Greece and the weaker economies is to get out of the EU and move to the slow lane. For that to happen all should acknowledge that the go-go years of living on borrowed money and time is at an end. Next stop Portugal and Spain.

      • magnolia

        Well the (probably middle class) Greek people who have moved here to whom I have spoken say that they have relations left who work their socks off. It is not their fault that the Euro was set up. It was the ill-considered wish of many European countries, and the fault is shared amongst the whole silly lot of them. Such things have been tried before and always the same result. It was already a well known phenomenon.

        Also Greece was made to pay a high interest rate on the basis that lenders were taking a risk. If a gun is held to their heads and other citizens’ life savings from hard work are taken then the lenders were taking a fake high risk and so should not have extrapolated so much interest. It is simply unjust.

        If the social contract between government and the governed breaks down under clear cases of injustice all kinds of grimness will be let loose. And then, as you say, Portugal and Spain, not forgetting rather a lot of other dominoes.

        I think our brothers and sisters in both Orthodox churches are in for trouble, and we should pray for them.

  • David

    My money is more on cock-up than conspiracy.
    But I hear that our esteemed leader “Dave” is planning on writing a theology textbook explaining Easter, from his revisionist perspective. So how about that !
    Following on from his successful, philosophically deep tome on “British Values”, it should represent a very profound contribution to not just Christianity, but the broad sweep of western thought.
    I’ve pre-ordered a copy from Amazon, a snip at £29.99, which also includes one years party membership.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      I hope HG gets asked to write a review or, better still, the Foreword!

      • David

        Review ? In what sense, please ?
        I am a bit thick and slow at times – it’s me age, don’t y’know !

      • David

        Ah yes, (cogs turning slowly after two glasses of wine, for medicinal purposes, as Paul recommended, of course), you’re speaking of a book review ! Oh no, that would be far too trivial for a theologian of His Grace’s stature !

  • Shadrach Fire

    Your Grace;
    David Cameron: Immoral.
    Ed Milliband:

    • Anton

      Couldn’t possibly comment?

    • sarky

      Pointless????

    • Shadrach Fire

      Sorry about that post. I collapsed over the keybord and had to abandon the comments.

  • Inspector General

    The Inspector would like to place on record his admiration of the Russians, and their efforts to overcome decades of socialism. Rather like we should be doing in the UK, leaving socialism and the Labour Party behind…

    Don’t vote Labour, chaps. Jesus wouldn’t. And you’ll all end up in hell if you do (hopefully)….

  • chiefofsinners

    This is the man who left his eight year old daughter in a pub. The man who omitted same sex marriage from the manifesto or the Queen’s speech. ‘Mere oversight’ is his calling card. Some of us might forget to vote for him.

    • saintmark

      My faith in DC comes and goes like Magic FM in the Chilterns……I’ve changed to a different station now

  • Dominic Stockford

    In the leaders of the SNP, Tories, Labour, LibDems, UKIP, and Greens we lack an awful lot. And the Christian faith is the biggest and most significant lack of all.

  • He is far too arrogant.
    His latest call for UKIP supporters to return to the Tory Party demonstrates this.
    I want the Tory Part to return to me, to the position on the moderate right that it occupied under prime ministers up to, and including Mrs Thatcher.
    Probably the last Easter message from No 10 appeared last year, If Miliband gets in we certainly won’t have any religious messages except for those pertaining to Islam.

    • No amount of grovelling to UKIP supporters is going to get me to vote for Cameron, nor for that ghastly half-wit Hugo Swire who is my MP and has been floating around the world at tax-payers expense for the last 5 years instead of looking after his constituency.
      Throw the rascals out! And if that means we get Milliband, no doubt we deserve him.

      • As far as I’m concerned Cameron has neglected the most important job, that is the Defence of the Realm. Apart for running down the military he has surrendered to the EU and allowed terrorists within, disguised as immigrants.

        • sarky

          Unfortunately most of the terrorists are home grown, so the problem had its seeds long before Cameron. However, I do agree that the running down of the military, police and border force is a national disgrace.

          • Most are home grown because we did nothing about all the extremists due to their Human Rights.

          • DanJ0

            Apart from the Irish Nationalist ones. We interred and shot people suspected of terrorism from that stable.

        • Anton

          That was Blair. Google Andrew Neather, Blair’s speechwriter who went public by saying the plan was to multiculturalise Britain by stealth to stick it to the Right, and if challenged say it was for economic reasons.

          What was the traditional penalty for treason?

          • Blair abolished the death penalty for treason, I wonder why. Was he worried?

          • DanJ0

            Tidying up. We’re committed to not having the death penalty for any crime right across Europe. It’s a matter of being civilised.

    • Anton

      If the 2-party system that nowadays comprises soft left and hard left is ever to be broken then people must vote with their hearts rather than tactically and recognise that the objective runs beyond one election.

      • carl jacobs

        The Left flourishes among an irreligious people because they look to the state to fill the roll of God. Do not underestimate the extent to which people fear the exposure of their essential nakedness . They want something above them to whom they may cry out “Save us!”

        • sarky

          All parties are ‘existing’ amongst irreligious people.

          • DanJ0

            I thought we were all asserting our own sovereignty not so long ago. An a-theistic libertarian-leaning liberal like me must be quite a phenomenon as I very much value my own freedom, and especially from the State.

          • sarky

            So do I !!! Bit scary when the state forces reliance on people. Sadly I can’t see that changing.

          • DanJ0

            In my experience, it’s the poor or feckless rather than the irreligious who look to the State to provide for them … for the obvious reasons. New Labour sought to create a ‘Client State’ mentality during its last tenure with tax credits, pension credit, etc so that the lower quintiles all rely on the State on some way for money, and are more likely to vote New Labour in order to sustain the flow.

          • DanJ0

            The Roman Catholic Church fulfills a similar sort of role too for the religious of that flavour, or used to in places like Ireland in particular. The mandatory weekly attendence at mass, regular confession, the priest being involved in family life in the community, public morailty maintained by a shame and stigmatisation culture, rules and regulations right into the bedroom, and so on. Mother Church is exactly the right term, I think.

          • sarky

            Absolutely! !!!

          • CliveM

            An updated version of a Feudalism, what now are the Three Pillars?

          • carl jacobs

            And within those parties, could you show me the Conservative party?

      • It’ll never happen. Too many people say something like “My father always voted that way and he’d turn in his grave if I did anything different”

        • Anton

          Don’t make that a self-fulfilling prophecy. it needn’t be.

          • It was so, I heard it as a child, long before I could vote, from the next door neighbour. And I still hear it, even though I’ve been retired more than twenty years. It’s ingrained in some people.

          • CliveM

            True, but the percentage is diminishing.

          • I won’t see the end of that attitude in my lifetime!

        • sarky

          Not any more, people vote for who will put the most in their pockets. Loyalty to a single party is long gone.

          • That’s a problem which is not helped by the attitude of most media commentators. The phrase “The Chancellor gave away” so much in his budget is accepted by all those who seem to think that he has a money tree. I think “he’s not going to take so much”, but how many think that way.

          • CliveM

            It’s part of the BBC’s agenda to try and convince us that our money is not ours but the States.

          • It’s not only the BBC unfortunately, it seems to be most of the media which use the phrase.

          • CliveM

            Yes your probably right.

          • Anton

            An awful lot of it has simply been printed rather than taken in tax revenue. That’s QE.

          • Uncle Brian

            I think they always did. Certainly as long ago as the fifties, politicians, journalists and broadcasters would regularly harangue the public at election time, complaining that it was the wrong thing to do. Of course, there were people who would never vote for any other party than Labour and there were people who would never vote for any other party than Conservative. But the prime motive for that behaviour was that they assumed it was what suited their wallets.

          • IanCad

            Money every time!

          • dannybhoy

            There are still some Sarky, who vote for the party which is going to be best for the country’s prospects.
            That’s why for most of my adult life I voted Tory, until I realised our entry into the EEC was a precursor to joining a German led European Superstate..

    • David

      Exactly my position too !
      I am still standing on the same patriotic, Christianity supporting piece of ground as I was when I was a Conservative voter, of a vaguely One Nation type. But the party is now way off to my left. So now I find that I fit very comfortably within Ukip, as they moved up onto the same old patch of ground that I have always stood upon – damn I almost own the freehold !

  • David

    Tonight finds me uncharacteristically short of words, and wearing strong armour, so I shall just say : –
    If you love your country, vote UK1P !