Christian Persecution

Prince of Wales to UK Christians: “Do not take your rights of freedom of worship and freedom of expression for granted”

The Prince of Wales has visited London’s Melkite Greek Catholic parish, based at St Barnabas Church in Pimlico. Coptic Orthodox Bishop Angaelos was in attendance, along with Syriac Archbishop Athanasius Father Aphrem, Fr Shafiq Abouzayd and Canon Robin Gibbons. Prince Charles spoke of his own faith, his despair at the appalling plight of Christians in the Middle East, and his hope during this season of Advent:

It does seem to me that in our troubled times, when so many Christians in the Middle East face such desperate trials, there is at least some potential comfort to be found in remembering our connections to the earliest days of the Church. Indeed, as all of you know only too well, the Christmas story itself ends with the Holy Family fleeing for refuge from persecution; just as in 2017 large numbers of Christians, such as the families that I had the particular pleasure of meeting before this service, are being forced to leave their homes in the face of the most brutal persecution on account of their faith. Such barbaric persecution is even more perverse and dreadful when as many Christians seem unaware. The true spirit of reverence, which Muslims display towards Jesus and his mother Mary springs from the fountain head of their faith as described in the Koran.

As someone who, throughout my life, has tried, in whatever small way I can, to foster understanding between people of faith, and to build bridges between the great religions of the world, it is heartbreaking beyond words to see just how much pain and suffering is being endured by Christians, in this day and age, simply because of their faith. As Christians we remember, of course, how Our Lord called upon us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute. But for those confronted with such hatred and oppression, I can only begin to imagine how incredibly hard it must be to follow Christ’s example.

And then came this nugget of theo-political awareness:

It is so vitally important, in this season of Advent and throughout the year, that Christians in this country and elsewhere, who enjoy the rights of freedom of worship and freedom of expression, do not take those rights for granted; and that we remember, and do what we can to support, our fellow Christians for whom the denial of such rights has had such profound and painful consequences.

Nuggety, because the Prince of Wales has gone further in this speech than many politicians and church leaders currently dare. Most will talk effusively of inter-religious tolerance and the imperative of freedom of worship, but very few these days will defend Christians’ freedom of expression, i.e., freedom of religion; the freedom to manifest their faith in the public space; to walk in spirit and in truth; to propagate the Christian faith and witness to Christ in the world. Freedom of worship is practised in oppressive and tyrannical countries where freedom of religion is forbidden. You may be free to be a Christian (Jew/Jehovah’s Witness, etc) in Islamic and Atheist-Communist countries, but you are not free to manifest your faith in the public arena or to share your beliefs with others.

By juxtaposing freedom of expression with freedom of worship, the Prince of Wales is talking inter alia about those street preachers whom no bishop defends, but Christian Concern doggedly shields and sustains from the forces of Islamism, secularism and judicial activism…

Mr Courney had been arrested by police under Section 5 of the Public Order Act, and was charged with using threatening or abusive words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress.

In court, Christian Legal Centre’s allied solicitor Michael Phillips argued that the law provides the freedom for him to preach the Christian message, a freedom which has been upheld in the courts for many years.

Oluwole was charged by police under Section 5 of the Public Order Act for using threatening or abusive words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress which was racially aggravated.

Christian Legal Centre’s allied solicitor Michael Phillips argued in written submissions to the CPS that the law provides the freedom for him to preach the Christian message, a freedom which has been upheld in the courts for many years. The CPS accepted these submissions and dropped the case.

Freedom of worship and freedom of expression are foundational British liberties, currently besieged (if not nullified and negated) by ascendant and increasingly frequent appeals to ‘religious hatred’. By exhorting British Christians to guard these hard-won liberties, the Prince of Wales shows that he is patently aware of their incremental erosion – not least because they aren’t included among the Government’s rather fuzzy  notion of ‘British values‘. We supplant religious freedom with statist tolerance, and exchange public theology for mandatory respect, at our peril.

The glorious things is that when Prince Charles speaks about it, Clarence House tweets about it. And the ensuing thread, replete with freedom of expression, is a wonder to behold:

  • Inspector General

    Freedom of Expression! Now there’s a thing…

    An intolerable injustice in these intolerant times…

    It has come to an Inspector’s attention that there be an established Christmas tradition he knew nothing about…

    It concerns the Christmassy song ‘Fairytale of New York’. Every year, a collection of scumbags, maggots and cheap lousy faggots and combinations thereof bitterly complain about its playing. Certain words are extremely objectionable, apparently, and if that wasn’t enough, the words continue in extending a rather crude version of the season’s greetings coupled with a sentiment that this will be the final time they are due, as it is hoped the recipients be no longer extant 12 months from now.

    The young are the worst offenders, it is said. At parties ,the entire crowd stop what they are doing and shout these words out. Much to the chagrin of those who identify as such.

    No doubt a 100,000 signature petition is somewhere about.
    This harrowing state of affairs to be discussed in parliament. Maybe even Mrs
    May, a proven patron of everything LGBT might personally involve herself (as
    her attempts to get the North of Ireland to ‘move with the times’ on queer
    marriage has failed, and she’s abandoned all hope of such for a year or two at
    least).

    Then again, perhaps the complainants might wish to put up
    and shut up, and realise they can’t dictate to the rest of us. Which would be
    rather nice, but won’t happen. “You can’t always get what you want” as another
    song goes. Unless you’re special, or think you are…

    • Bernard from Bucks

      “cheap lousy faggots”? Well if they will shop in Lidl and Asda. What do you expect?
      The only good faggots are the ones you make yourself.
      The best recipe I found was from the book ‘A Feast of Floyd’.It’s his mum’s recipe.
      Failing that go to a good pork butcher.
      And…a very Merry Christmas to you Inspector (and of course Marie).

      • Jilly

        It’s a sad, angry despairing song from the streets, from people with no hope. Not ‘Christmassy’ in a cosy sense but authentic in its way. Worth a listen, with the lyrics (words) in front of you as not easy to follow without.

        • Anton

          The mood of its music does not match the mood of its lyrics, though. That’s like “Born in the USA” which Springsteen meant as a protest song, but its upbeat music and chorus turned it into a celebratory anthem!

      • Inspector General

        Seasons greetings, Bernard

  • Arden Forester

    “Do not take your rights of freedom of worship and freedom of expression for granted”

    In this muddled semi-secular, right-on progressive box-ticking world, Christians have every right to be alarmed. And much of that alarm comes about because of the half-hearted approach taken by Church of England leaders. Amazing number of ordained clergy who have consulted biblical cherry-pickers. Added to that, fudging the Faith is the new norm. No wonder people are fearful. Any defence of the Tradition of the Faith and one is met with sardonic criticism.

    I posted on another thread http://disq.us/p/1oq4cqu regarding Sarah Mullally. We live now with what the C of E neatly offers as “being clear” but not “absolute”. However, for the liberal secular world and those that ape it within the Church, the new notions are the absolutes and we must all be clear in understanding that.

  • Sir John Oldcastle

    I await the knock on the door. I have expected it for years. Being chairman of a Protestant Society which ‘probes’ parliament and its decisions has made me realise how likely it is.

    • Royinsouthwest

      If you do get a “knock on the door” you should make sure that it is publicised as widely as possible, both in Britain and abroad in order to gain support from other defenders of freedom. The invention of printing in Europe (I know the Chinese and Koreans had developed it before Europeans) greatly facilitated the Reformation. The Internet may also help to spread resistance to the enemies of democracy, despite the attempts of governments, public organisations, universities and big companies like Google and Facebook, to censor expression and limit democracy.

      • bluedog

        Look at the way the CCP censor WeChat in China, and don’t allow Google and Facebook.

    • Get over yourself, do.

    • Sir John Oldcastle

      Those criticising my comments above should wind their necks in. The Charity Commission were set on us by someone in government for doing something that is in our Articles of Association. Despite it being there, in black and white, as it has been for over 100 years, the CC threatened us with closure for actually doing it.

      ‘Leave’ won the Referendum so we didn’t take on the fight, but their threat was still there.

  • gadjodilo

    Well done Prince Charles. Proof, if any were needed, that the UK’s Royal Family has a purpose and in fact, in matters such as this, often does things better than those paid to do those things can manage. Whether Charles III will want to let the C of E to continue as the country’s established church judging from their current performance is another matter.

    • bluedog

      Charles was a strong supporter of the former Bishop of London, Richard Chartres. One can only guess what he thinks about the replacement of Chartres with ‘Bishop’ Sarah. The interesting thought is how Charles would discharge his duties as Supreme Governor of the CoE should he eventually become King. Would he adopt a traditionalist view of the CoE, seeking to reverse the progressive tide of events? If Sarah were to replace Justin as ABoC, it could be a very interesting Coronation.

      • gadjodilo

        It’s hard to imagine Charles having the powers to ‘reverse the progressive tide of events’ in this day and age, but it’s a nice thought! I’m sure Sarah Mullally is an excellent person in many ways, but…. “It is a time for us to reflect on our tradition” – I think we all know what that means.

        • bluedog

          The role of the Monarch in terms of the Parliamentary executive is well established, but is there a definition of the role of the Supreme Governor of the CoE? The Monarch is not the ABoC and does not have an executive role, but in terms of doctrinal positioning, one could expect Charles to put forward strong arguments. What for example, if Charles were to seek the advice of a retired prelate or chaplain? Would he be within his rights to make his own appointments? One can think of a few names who might strongly defend the traditions that ‘Bishop’ Sarah seems determined to reflect on, and yes, we know exactly what she means. Indeed, a situation could develop in which the Monarch spoke theology and ‘Archbishop’ Sarah replied in a secular managerial newspeak.

  • I don’t normally take much notice of the Prince of Wales because on many matters his views seem somewhat eccentric.

    But in this case it seems that he is absolutely right, freedom of religious expression is being eroded in this country (except for one religion which would like to chop your head off if you disagree with them).

    The law is crazy; Almost anything can cause “harassment, alarm or distress” to someone. Could I have Corbyn prosecuted as he causes me “alarm and distress” every time he opens his mouth! Presumably an orthodox Jew could claim that they are “distressed” because Christians believe that Jesus is the son of God.

    They say that the law is an ass, it most certainly is in this particular instance. As for Prince Charles, he’s clearly more ‘on the ball’ than Welby.

    • If Charles can see it (the threat to Christianity) and is dismayed then it must be pretty clear and pretty bad.

      We remember, lest fear drives us, ‘in the world you will have tribulation. Fear not, I have overcome the world’.

      • I’m glad that he’s spoken; no-one else seems to want to, and the media hasn’t reported his visit.

        • bluedog

          Actually it did, see the DT.

          • Given up the DT since they started charging for the on-line version and got rid of most of their worthwhile columnists. Plenty of news elsewhere.

          • bluedog

            News, yes. But comment? Charles Moore is always worth a read and the latest predictions of economic apocalypse from Ambrose Evans-Pritchard can be informative.

          • Anton

            Charles Moore was a superlative editor of the Telegraph but I don’t think he is anything special as a contributor. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard did a grand job of calling out Bill Clinton in the 1990s.

          • I miss Norman Tebbitt’s occasional piece but that’s about all!

          • bluedog

            Yes, but by your own admission, you don’t know what else you are missing. For example, on the DT website at present is a fascinating article by one Sumantra Maitra. Now, who is the writer, what is their position, what is the topic and why is the article controversial? You’ll never know. While you may have been prepared to buy a paper at the news-stand, for some reason you have persuaded yourself that all content should be free on-line, because some is. Well, you can get a free newspaper every afternoon outside every tube station in London. And what does it tell you? Complete irrelevance. Unintentionally, you offer a wonderful example of the difference between price and value in consumer choice.

          • There are lots of fascinating articles to be read on-line, even more if I search for sites in other English speaking countries and, even being retired, I wouldn’t have time to read them all.
            Newspaper prices have gone up out of all proportion. When I first went out to work the Telegraph cost 1½d whilst a letter cost 2½d. Now it costs £1.60 weekdays and a letter costs 65p. We are told Royal Mail is inefficient, it seems that newspapers, now produced using computers rather than hot metal, are even more so! I think that I do know about price and value.

          • bluedog

            Owning a newspaper doesn’t seem to be a very profitable business. Circulation of printed papers continues to decline and on-line readership and subscription sales continue to rise. The Guardian is an interesting study, being free to readers in-line and yet losing money hand over fist. How long can the controlling Scott Trust foot the bill? One suspects that if subscription came at a cost, the Left, who always expect something for nothing, would simply desert their flagship on-line, without reverting to print sales. Which begs the obvious question. How does accurate and honest news coverage continue in a democratic society that very much depends on a free press? We can probably say that the leading mastheads of today could never be recreated. So if not, what? To this writer, it’s a very serious issue and subscribing to a few quality publications puts off the day of reckoning and is compensated by access to excellent journalism and interesting ideas. There is and will be life after Norman Tebbitt, great man that he is.

          • Too few good articles and too much rubbish for me to spend my money. Looking at the on-line edition of today’s Telegraph, there is no article that makes me think that I’m missing out. I usually but the Mail on a Saturday, mainly because it comes with a TV supplement giving the next week’s programmes!

          • dannybhoy

            Me too!

  • Dolphinfish

    Yesterday I was defending the Archbishop of Canterbury. Today, I’m giving it up for Prince Charles. I’m definitely spending too much time around Protestants.

  • Anton

    Well said Your Royal Highness, although it might have been better not to mention the Quran, for although it reveres Jesus it denies his divinity and calls for forcible conversion where its message is not accepted freely. That is a political matter and our authorities should categorise it as such.

  • Freedom of worship and freedom of expression are foundational British liberties

    The (wholly intentional) damage done to our civilization by diversity and multiculturalism has probably reached the stage where it would be more accurate to say, ‘were foundational British liberties’. A country of many different races, religions and cultures is inevitably more unstable than the Britain of old and, in order to keep the peace, it will become more authoritarian and less free. The more diversity, the less freedom.

  • Chris Bell

    Note that Charles is surrounded by the Eastern Orthodox church the only remaining extant thread of the true Christian church. How ironic it is that vibrancy of this tradition is consequent on its continuing to reject any form of re-expression of its orthodoxy. Yet the western church dies in ignominy as it seeks to ‘include’ all ‘free expression’. Its final days will be as an NGO of a moral social work department. Theologically bankrupt.
    Even in the secular world the golf club, cricket club or otherwise, the rules of the game are maintained to be sacrosanct. The golf club would not seek to embrace the rules of cricket or vice versa. They don’t do inclusion. Yet they include all who are passionate about golf no matter where on the planet a golfer may be. This happens only because they remain committed to their exclusive interpretation of the rules of golf. Who would join a bastardised golf club which espoused the rules of cricket, bowling or any other because they wished to be seen as including all ‘free expression’???
    This does not even require any theological argument.
    The disciple follows the Teachings. The Teachings do not follow the disciple. Is this too difficult to understand? ‘Free expression’ translates as the arrogant refusal to accept the rules of 2000 yrs Orthodox Christian tradition. Its proper location is in the secular world.

    • Dolphinfish

      I’m not sure paralysis is the same thing as steadfastness. The Orthodox don’t change because they hate each other almost as much as they all hate the Pope (not quite, but nearly). Nobody has the authority to even call a council, so it’s hardly surprising nothing changes. They only thing they agree on is how much they distrust the Catholic Church. Well, except when the Patriarch has his hand out to Rome for some Christian solidarity. Ever think of joining, Len? They even carry apostolic succession.

      • Anton

        The Orthodox have done a much better job than the Catholics of maintaining unchanged the church as it was soon after it became the religion of State of the Roman Empire – which, although more than 3/4 of the church era ago, is still very different from the apostolic church.

        • Dolphinfish

          What is it about this blog that everyone on it thinks he knows something about the world two thousand years ago that the one institution still extant from that period doesn’t?

          • Anton

            To verify my statement it is necessary only to know the New Testament describing the apostolic-era church and know a little church history. A change from being a persecuted religion to being the religion of State of the world’s largest empire is going to make an enormous change to the church, of course.

            Constantine’s vision and victory was in AD312, supporters of rivals for the papacy brawled mortally in the streets of Rome in AD366, Christianity became the only religion approved in the Roman Empire in AD381, and execution for heresy began in AD385 (of a man named Priscillian). In one lifetime the church moved from seeing its members put to death, to having people put to death. Which example did Christ set?

          • Dolphinfish

            Obviously not a legal scholar. “Example” is another word for “precedent”, and precedent is inferred by the subsequent court, not mandated by the supposed setter of the precedent. That’s what’s wrong with Protestantism, it infers whatever it wishes, and it’s the reason why He gave His authority to Peter – “…on THIS rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against you”, so inference is unnecessary.

          • Anton

            Obviously a legalistic reply.

          • Dolphinfish

            Well, yes. Isn’t this what we’re arguing about? Catholics follow the law, protestants follow…whatever.

          • gadjodilo

            ….they follow The Protestants’ Paper Pope! Which, I believe, is older than both the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. Oh, and the Holy Spirit. (Now, respect, I’m new here, don’t want any trouble, just happy to have a forum for discussion…..)

          • Dominic Stockford

            Why insult God’s Word AND Protestants then?

          • gadjodilo

            I wasn’t, I was being ironic – sorry it didn’t come across. I am a Protestant. And, if anyone’s interested, I live in a country where the majority religion is Eastern Orthodoxy.

          • dannybhoy

            I understood you sonnybhoy..
            Irony doesn’t translate very well on the web..
            And by the way, “Welcome to the blog!”

          • gadjodilo

            Aye, you’re no wrong. Thanks a lot!

          • carl jacobs

            Irony doesn’t translate very well on the web.

            Ahem! Jack?

          • Not for folks like Danny. It’s an art form.

          • carl jacobs

            So that’s your story and you are sticking to it …

          • “Irony is a clear consciousness of an eternal agility, of the infinitely abundant chaos.”
            (Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel)

          • dannybhoy

            Jack’s so darn intelligent and intellectually inscrotable, I never know when he’s doing irony..
            I rather think he goes easy on me because..
            a) I’m simple
            b) He hopes to bring me into the true Church one day..

          • Sir John Oldcastle

            Criticism withdrawn and deleted – your sense of humour seems rather germanic!

          • gadjodilo

            Germanic? I’m curious to know why you think that! While I admire Luther’s bravery, I fear their denomination, like the C of E, has been losing its way somewhat.

          • Dominic Stockford

            It was because, like German humour, it seems to have been completely missed by those here in the UK!!

          • dannybhoy

            See youse outside, sonny bhoy…

          • gadjodilo

            Me and youse and a bottle o’ Buckie!

          • dannybhoy

            :0)

          • Royinsouthwest

            “Catholics follow the law” – unlike St Paul then.

          • dannybhoy

            Does being ‘a legal scholar’ anymore zealous for truth and justice?
            I think not.

          • Which one institution would that be? Not the organization masquerading as the ‘catholic Church, that’s for sure.

        • ardenjm

          That would include the Russian Orthodox Church that came in to existence about 1000 years ago, right, because the Catholic Pope sent Saints Cyril and Methodius to evangelise them?
          And that the model of Orthodox Church-State relations is almost always Byzantine and thus Caeseropapist unlike the Catholic Church which was always getting in to disputes with political power-brokers down the centuries: from the investiture controversy to our very own caeseropapist, Henry VIII?

          Truly, the historical ignorance of so many protestants is shocking.

          • Anton

            Cyril and Methodius lived in the era before Rome and Eastern Orthodoxy split, so they are claimed as faithful by both. Take that up with the Orthodox, for it’s not my concern which is the change in the 4th century, as exemplified in my comment about 312-385AD below.

    • Little Black Censored

      He is actually surrounded by Catholics in the photograph.

      • Anton

        I think that they are people in full Communion with Rome rather than actual Catholics.

        • Same thing ….. There is only one Catholic Church (all those in communion with Rome) with a Latin rite and an Eastern one.

          • Anton

            Thank you. I stand corrected.

          • You’re welcome.

            In the 2,000-year history of the church, several complementary expressions of the Christian faith emerged throughout the world, most prominently, the Western and Eastern Christian traditions. The Catholic Church continues these traditions, through constituent autonomous particular churches, also known as “churches sui iuris” (Latin: “of one’s own right”). The largest and most well known is the Latin Church, with more than 1 billion members worldwide. Relatively small in terms of adherents compared to the Latin Church, are the 23 self-governing Eastern Catholic Churches with a combined membership of 17.3 million as of 2010.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church#Latin_and_Eastern_churches

          • Anna

            One of these Catholic Churches – Syro Malankara (not Syro Malabar) is opposed to the use of images in their churches. They broke with the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch, and still follow a strict old Syriac Orthodox style of liturgy and worship, and do not permit icons or other aspects of Catholicism incompatible with their old faith except for this – they accept the Pope rather than the Patriarch of Antioch as their leader. I have often wondered how the RCC can embrace all these opposing strands of thought – it seems numbers matter more than values.

  • David

    Well said Sir, you have made a brave and very necessary speech proving, yet again, the relevance of the monarchy to the UK. In fact you and your mother often provide the nation with far better demonstrations of the Anglican faith at work than those provided, or more often than not, not provided by the weak and vacillating bishops and archbishops who attempt to pursue a false institutional unity at the expense of truth itself.

  • Richard B

    Thank so much for this piece, to which I’ve drawn my reader’s attention and quoted three pertinent paras at https://richards-watch.org/2017/12/21/prince-charles-warns-uk-christians-not-to-take-freedom-to-worship-for-granted/

  • Little Black Censored

    The more time Charles spends with these eastern Christians, the more hope for his orthodoxy. (We used to say the same thing about Runcie but, alas! it didn’t work.)

    • Demon Teddy Bear

      The only thing that would have straightened out Runcie would have been 5 feet of steel pipe straight up the arse.

      • dannybhoy

        You can recommend it can you?

        • Demon Teddy Bear

          Without hesitation.

          • dannybhoy

            I thought you seemed a very upright sort…

  • If I may re-punctuate Prince Charles’ words:

    ‘Such barbaric persecution is even more perverse and dreadful when, as many Christians seem unaware, the true spirit of reverence which Muslims display towards Jesus and his mother Mary springs from the fountain head of their faith as described in the Koran.’

    HRH’s argument seems to be that Muslim reverence of Jesus should give rise to Muslim respect for Christians, but Islam regards Jesus as a Muslim. Christians it regards as followers of a perverted faith who, ‘as described in the Koran’ [9:29], must be fought against until they either convert or willingly submit to Muslim rule ‘and feel themselves subdued.’

    • Anne

      Muslim reverence for Jesus and Mary was conveniently ignored in the bloodthirsty takeover of Byzantine Hagia Sophia. Christians ruthlessly murdered while worshipping the Mother and Son. Are we not now seeing this repeated continuously in the middle east? The Temple Mount in Jerusalem is used as a picnic area and football pitch by Muslims. I wonder what would happen if Jewish children started kicking balls around the ka’aba? The Jewish people were extremely generous to hand over their most sacred ground to the Muslims. Maybe they are living to regret it.

      • Manfarang

        “hand over their most sacred ground to the Muslims”
        Did the Jews have any say in the matter?

        • Anton

          Yes. Moshe Dayan in 1967.

          • bluedog

            Why do you keep sniping at Moshe Dayan?

          • Anton

            I have only ever mentioned him in relation to the handing over of the day-to-day running of Temple Mount to the local Muslims after Israel won the Old City in June 1967. I have described this decision here, from memory, as “extraordinary” and suggested that it is part of a mystery of God; while above, I merely answered a question factually. Those responses correspond to my gut feelings about him; I do not think I have been “sniping” at him, and if I wished to attack him then I’d have been a lot more explicit.

          • bluedog

            ‘The Temple Mount remains, under the terms of the 1994 Israel–Jordan peace treaty, under Jordanian custodianship.[99]’

            and,

            ‘Minaret proposal: Plans are mooted to build a new minaret on the mount, the first of its kind for 600 years.[173] King Abdullah II of Jordan announced a competition to design a fifth minaret for the walls of the Temple Mount complex. He said it would “reflect the Islamic significance and sanctity of the mosque”. The scheme, estimated to cost $300,000, is for a seven-sided tower – after the seven-pointed Hashemite star – and at 42 metres (138 ft), it would be 3.5 metres (11 ft) taller than the next-largest minaret. The minaret would be constructed on the eastern wall of the Temple Mount near the Golden Gate.’

            While the site is administered by a local Waqf or Islamic trust, that trust falls under the guardianship of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It follows that matters regarding the site would be resolved through negotiations between Israel and Jordan. Interestingly, there is not a single mention of Moshe Dayan in wikipedia’s extensive commentary on the Temple Mount.

  • ardenjm

    Prince Charles wrings his hands over this from time to time and makes earnest speeches.

    But he’s still the most popular Royal in the Middle East where vast swathes of the Muslim world believe him to be a Muslim convert.

    And of course he’s also a Freemason – so not credible at all.

    • Anton

      Unlike many royals, HRH detests Freemasony. Check your facts and if you have any credible evidence, please post it.

    • Chris Bell

      HRH doesn’t need freemasonry……..he is what freemasons would aspire to through their gobbledygook.

    • dannybhoy

      He’s a freemason? Evidence please.
      Freemasonry is a spiritual blight, especially in the Church of England.

      • Anton

        It reached its high point under Archbishop Fisher in the postwar era, but a famous article by Rev’d Walton Hannah in 1951 led to this heresy, at least, being reduced in influence in the CoE over the next decades. Hannah expanded his theme into two books, emigrated to Canada and became a Roman Catholic priest. Interesting chap.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walton_Hannah

        • dannybhoy

          Then you will know that Rowan Williamson tried to deal with the influence of Freemasonry within the CofE and failed, and eventually issued an apology to them..
          “The ‘Satanic’ Brotherhood with clergymen in its ranks
          Freemasonry: Dr Rowan Williams reveals his concerns over a secret society he believes is incompatible with the Christian faith”
          http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/the-satanic-brotherhood-with-clergymen-in-its-ranks-133468.html
          “Rowan Williams apologises to Freemasons”
          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1427978/Rowan-Williams-apologises-to-Freemasons.html
          Then there’s this..
          http://www.virtueonline.org/welbys-masonic-service-canterbury-cathedral-odds-christian-faith

          • Anton

            What a spineless crumbler Rowan Williams proved to be!

          • dannybhoy

            I disagree.
            I didn’t much like him when I met him briefly, but in an organisation such as eg the CofE, any man or woman who speaks out against perceived corruption or malign influence will find themselves drinking alone at the bar. It’s just the way it is, even in Christian circles.
            I betcha that pressure was brought to bear on Rowan Williams and when he realised that noone else would stand by him, he caved in. Sad but let’s not judge him too harshly. Not all of us can aspire to Martin Luther’s stature…

          • Anton

            Until or unless someone does then the CoE will continue to die quietly.

            Luther started as a lowly monk and risked martyrdom. Williams was an Archbishop and didn’t even have the spine to resist harsh words and the risk of being asked to resign.

          • dannybhoy

            And then there’s men like Gavin Ashenden who gave up his privileged roles and decided it was more important that he make a stand for His Lord.

          • Dominic Stockford

            And many who decided many years back that independency was far better than being part of the theologically dissolving CofE. Friends of mine, and myself (a little more recently – the late 90’s).

          • dannybhoy

            Quite so Dominic, there are many saintly folk in all the denominations, whom I think God judges by what they did with what they understood of the Gospel, but we must rejoice that there are men of integrity, devotion, education and intelligence (like St Paul) who are eloquently able to stand up for the Gospel.

          • dannybhoy

            No, because of course there is no real cost involved in becoming a bishop or an archbishop…

          • “Not all of us can aspire to Martin Luther’s stature…”

            Do you not know about the powerful forces who protected him?

          • dannybhoy

            Nope, but I rather fear you may be well enough to tell me.
            But in any case Jack, was he right?
            Had the Church lost its way and become corrupt, and if so how do you personally think it would have been dealt with?
            I thought I made a rather good point about how the ancient Israelite priesthood of your forefathers accepted the concept of prophets being raised up by God to tell the people that they were going astray..
            I don’t think the Church would allow for that, then or now..

          • carl jacobs

            One wonders why he should have needed protection. What was his crime? Oh yes. I remember now. He defied the temporal authority of the RCC.

          • A tad more complex than that, Carl. Do some research about Frederick III.

          • Anton

            He was in real danger between the lapsing of the 60-day period of grace for him to recant or be deemed a heretic, in the bull Exsurge Domine, and the calling of the Diet of Wurms. At that stage the issue was purely theological, so there was no question of a ruler protecting him in order to promote protestantism and grab church lands. And he was lucky to get away from Wurms immediately after his final statement.

      • carl jacobs

        Leave side for one moment the doctrinal problems a Christian must find in Freemasonry. I’ve never quite understood the malignant reputation that Freemasonry possesses in the UK. It’s almost invisible in the US and has a very benign reputation here.

        • dannybhoy

          That Colonial Carl, is because you don’t have the same class structure as we do.
          You are a people’s melting pot, we are the product of fiercely independent tribes gradually developing into kingdoms, shaped by Christianity becoming separate nations eventually dominated by the English and then becoming a Union.
          And going on to sire various colonies and bringing British civilisation to parts unknown and heathenish…
          So the true original Freemasonry became intertwined with our particular culture, heavily influenced by royalty and Class and how to achieve wealth and influence..
          Whereas the poor sickly colonial imitation concentrated more on self help and working together to achieve mutual and individual well being.
          They both stink though…

          • Manfarang

            Yankee boy? He sounds more mid-western.

        • Anton

          Better disguise. Check the vows.

    • CliveM

      “But he’s still the most popular Royal in the Middle East where vast swathes of the Muslim world believe him to be a Muslim convert.”

      So? It’s amazing what some people believe, some think the Royals are lizards, are we to hold that against them as well?

      • Anna

        Prince Charles’ behaviour when visiting the gulf nations can only be described as strange. His wife is often seen in public wearing expensive diamond jewellery gifted to her by the Arabian ‘royals’. Interestingly, the British royals return these presents with autographed photos of themselves, and under rules of Middle Eastern hospitality, this is considered cheap, shameless and greedy. The Arabs don’t believe ‘it’s the thought that counts’ or consider the autographed photo of the queen as a gift worthy of a nobleman. Anyway, I doubt whether Prince Charles will ‘bite the hand that feeds’, so while truly I hope that as king, he will live up to his title ‘Defender of the Faith’, I have no great hopes.

  • saintmark

    To late, Pastor Steven Anderson of Arizona was banned from the UK because he didn’t support gay inclusion. How long before the authorities look to their own?

    • CliveM

      He happens to want gays to be stoned to death, is anti Semitic and a holocaust denier.

      I don’t see that this implies we have anything immediate to worry about.

      • carl jacobs

        But other than that, Mrs Lincoln, how was the play?

        So I looked up one of this guy’s videos on the “Holocaust Hoax”. His first argument was … the changing numbers on the memorial plaque at Auschwitz. I kid you not. Evidently there was an early plaque that said four million died. Then it was changed to 1.5 million and then it was revised again to something like 1.2 million. You know, because scholarship. Because people over time developed a clearer picture of what happened. Because Treblinka and Sobibor and the Einsatzgruppen and … “How come the numbers get revised but the count never goes down?” I kid you not.

        I made it all of 5 minutes before I couldn’t take it anymore.

        • CliveM

          So not only unpleasantly homophobic (in the real sense), anti semitic and a holocaust denier, he’s thick!!

          • carl jacobs

            He’s either dumb as a rock or he is being disingenuous. I don’t see a third alternative.

          • Don’t discount the way evil can enter and influence the mind of the disturbed.

          • carl jacobs

            Doesn’t “disingenuous” cover that possibility? Do you have somethiing else in mind?

          • Disingenuous implies a degree of conscious self awareness.

      • On the other hand, there is a move to ban Franklin Graham (son of Billy) from coming to Britain.

    • Anton

      He was banned for some of the comments in this speech:

      http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/tempe-pastor-hails-orlando-massacre-for-leaving-50-less-pedophiles-in-this-world-video-8372346

      “The bad news is that a lot of the homos in the bar are still alive” – on the shooting-up of a gay bar in Orlando, Florida.

  • Chefofsinners

    Around the world and throughout history Christians have been persecuted in the name of all manner of false Gods and false ideologies, but only in the 21st century have we begun to be persecuted in the name of tolerance. This absurd situation could only arise in a society where the population’s thinking is tightly controlled by the mass media pumping simplistic notions at them faster than they can think them through.

    Charles illustrates why God never instituted democracy: because emperors have no need to be elected, so they can cry out the truth when the population’s new clothes are really nakedness and deception.

  • Charles for Bishop of London? His Christian orthodoxy doesn’t seem any worse than that of the incumbent-elect, and unlike her, he occasionally says something worth-while hearing.

    • Anton

      He is the man of the day on modern architecture, to be sure. It is as foul as modern art or modern classical music but unlike those it cannot be avoided.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Shut your eyes so you can’t see it, and step out boldly into the central London traffic. Architecture’ll never worry you again……

  • Father David

    So, perhaps Charles will prove, in time, to be Defender of THE Faith after all? Although as the Church of England rapidly breaks loose from its moorings and continues to sideline and neglect the Book of Common Prayer, which he loves, maybe he will favour more the orthodox spirituality of his father’s original church which has no truck with these modern innovations that the Established Church has so freely embraced in recent years.

    • Anne

      Don’t be so sure about the Orthodox church not going the way of the CofE. There are clergy in the Orthodox church in this country who are beginning to push for women priests and who say that Yahweh is the same God as Allah. And even, that Mohammad should be given the title of “Apostle”! When the boundaries fall, all manner of disordered behaviour takes root. But ” woe to those who call evil good, and good evil.”

      • Manfarang

        Orthodox understand the purpose of ordination differently than many Protestants do. For them, it has to do primarily with setting someone aside to be a minister of the sacraments. Non-sacramental ministry, such as preaching, is open to non-ordained people, as long as they are continuing in the faith and worship of the Orthodox Church, and in obedience to a spiritual father or confessor.

        • Anne

          “Setting someone aside to be a minister of the Sacraments.” That someone in the Orthodox church is an ordained male priest after the order of Jewish priests. When Jesus sent out the Seventy, how many were women? The twelve Disciples were men. In all areas of faith we are to take the example of Christ. He ordained a male priesthood. He had very good reasons for doing so, and it has nothing to do with power. I think we can already see the results of turning against His will in this.

      • Lucius

        I am an Orthodox Christian. I have not heard of this. Are they preaching that poison to their congregations? Give me those Orthodox priest’s names and the name of the Church they pastor, I will see if I can notify the Archdiocese.

        • Anne

          Check out the facebook website of St John the Forerunner. Oxford based Metropolitan Kallistos says in a video that there should be a discussion about women’s ministries. He has started something called the Orthodox Women’s Ministries initiative. Fine if its just about Deaconesses – but I get the impression there is a bigger agenda. Of course, I may be wrong!

          • Lucius

            Thank you. I will take a gander over the Facebook page. I am somewhat familiar with Met. Kallistos. But the idea of female priestesses is pure “innovation” and bending the Church to worldly pressure. It has no roots in Scripture or Holy Tradition.

            The role of the female deaconess is historical, but the proponents of reviving the deaconess are intellectually dishonest. The deaconess position was very limited in scope and one born purely of necessity. Specifically, baptism in the early Church was in the nude. As you can imagine, no male priest would hold a nude female given the strict social norms at the time. Further, women were often guarded from non-relative men by fathers and brothers, again as a strict social norm, meaning that only women could meet with and speak to other women about the Gospel. Thus, the deaconess was born out of necessity, but for the limited purpose of spreading the Gospel to other women, not serving as clergy more generally. Once social norms relaxed on non-relative male and female interaction and baptism was done predominantly while clothed, the deaconess position naturally faded into non-existence.

            Smart men like Kallistos know this history, which is why support for women in the clergy, even if in a deaconess role, is both intellectually dishonest and colored with ulterior motive.

          • Anne

            You are absolutely right. I too, am an Orthodox Christian and was shocked by this. See if you can watch the video and let me have your thoughts on it. “Women’s Ministries Initiative” says quite a lot in itself.

          • Anne

            metropolitan Kallistos didn’t start the Women’s ministries initiative but he says he gives full support to it. I have just watched the video again and he is basically opening up a discussion of the whole idea of women priests in the Orthodox Church! The website is The Orthodox Fellowship of St John the Baptist Facebook. You have to scroll down a distance and its just after some pics of a Greek taverna.

      • Father David

        I’m sure!

  • Jilly

    I suppose in this weird society, it is inevitable that Christianity and freedom of religious expression should be under attack. Christians have been persecuted in the Middle East or the last 20 years (more, of course, but worse since late 90s) by one religion in particular and instead of calling this out, we have busily imported members of this religion and then changed our laws to ensure that Christianity does not offend them or hold them to account for unBritish cultural practices and preachers can be arrested,free speech is a hare crime.

    Alistair Burt when at the Foreign Office gave three reasons why we must not give persecuted Christians in ME preferential treatment: it could fuel extremism, establishing rule of law is more important, and giving them shelter here removes them from their ancestral lands. (ConservativeHome 7Feb 2014)
    I wonder, now that Christianity has almost disappeared in Iraq and is under attack here to the extent that Prince Charles speaks of his concerns, whether many people would agree with this passive approach?

    • Royinsouthwest

      Is the first excuse, “it could fuel extremism” anything but the worst form of appeasement?

      Are the second and third excuses “establishing rule of law is more important, and giving them shelter here removes them from their ancestral lands” also applied to Muslim asylum seekers?

      • Jilly

        I would say not… to all three.
        The words of Pastor Niemoller: ‘First they came..’ etc start to sound for us. First the Iraqi Christians, then the Syrian Christians, then the Copts, the Egyptian and Turkish. Nigerian Christians are being attacked in outlying areas. Christian refugees are hunted by groups of Moslem refugees in the refugee centres in Germany and Sweden…
        Our street preachers are arrested for breaching the peace by our police in our country.
        And the Church of England obsesses about sex….

        • Anton

          The failure of our bishops to stand up for street preachers is disgusting.

    • Manfarang

      The Christians enjoyed secure lives under the rule of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

      • Anton

        As secure as anybody else, to be sure.

        • Manfarang

          A lot more secure than now.

          • Anton

            I agree. What point are you hoping to elicit in people’s minds?

          • Manfarang

            The Middle Eastern Christians suffer as a result of western military action. Similar things happened during WW1.

          • Anton

            In neither case intentionally. The two situations deserve to be considered separately.

            The USA either should have gone in harder to Iraq or not gone in at all. They weren’t prepared to act like a new colonial power and kill the previous high-ups and then turn the next layer down and the armed forces to their own service. Instead they imported democracy to a place where the electoral parties were not prepared to peaceably accept losing an election. That is incredibly stupid, because the resulting catastrophe is predictable: it led to a power vacuum filled by the most militant.

            As for WW1, the Turks sided with the Axis, and the Middle East was an active theatre of war. Which Christians do you mean?

          • Manfarang

            TheTurks sided with the Central Powers.
            The Assyrians

          • Anton

            Blame the Ottomans for that.

          • Manfarang

            After Iraq’s independence the general Iraqi public opinion, promoted by newspapers, was that the Assyrians were proxies used by the British to undermine the newly established kingdom, this view was also shared by some leading officials, including the prime minister. British and European protests following the massacre only confirmed to them that the “Assyrian rebellion” was the work of European imperialism.

          • Anton

            No doubt they did believe that. We got the blame when Muslim and Hindu butchered each other after we left India, too, but the deepest reason lay in their own hearts, did it not?

  • Anton

    Britain voted for the UN motion expressing “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem” (meaning Trump’s recognition of it as Israel’s capital). The motion also asserted that “any decisions and actions which purport to have altered the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council”.

    Not in my name, Mrs May.

    • Dolphinfish

      An address of the General Assembly has no force in international law. Just like the one that recognized the foundation of Israel.

      • Anton

        Given that there is no such thing as international law, I agree with you.

        • Manfarang

          Indeed there is and there is the International Court of Justice.

          • Anton

            People can say there is as long as they like but there are really only international treaties to harmonise laws and recognise institutions like the ICJ.

            A code of law has to include means of enforcement. That is why there is no such thing as international law: enforcement is done on a national basis, unless you want to start a war.

          • Manfarang

            Chapter XIV of the United Nations Charter authorizes the UN Security Council to enforce Court rulings. However, such enforcement is subject to the veto power of the five permanent members of the Council.

          • Anton

            Only on nations that have signed up to the UN Charter. As I said, there are only international treaties.

          • Manfarang

            Nearly every country is a member. The Republic of China is seeking readmission.

          • Anton

            Yes, but all by choice.

            China is a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

          • Manfarang

            The People’s Republic of China (mainland China) became a member in 1971, talking the Republic of China’s seat.
            China being of the victorious Allies of the Second World War (locally known as the Second Sino-Japanese War), the Republic of China (ROC) joined the UN at its founding in 1945.

        • Dolphinfish

          Hamas thanks you for your support.

          • Anton

            Agreeing with somebody about something specific is not the same as supporting them. I agree with Hitler that communism is evil. That does not mean I support Hitler. I agree with Stalin that fascism is evil. That does not mean i support Stalin. I expect you think that at least one of fascism and communism are evil. Should I accuse you of supporting Stalin or Hitler?

          • Dolphinfish

            You may accuse me of what you wish. Not being a snowflake, I won’t complain. My point is that if there is no such thing as international law, then the Arabs would do no evil if they ever got their act together and rolled Israel back into the sea. Who’s to say they’d be wrong?

          • Anton

            If two countries have never signed up to the UN or any other treaties with any other countries then what body of legislation prohibits one from invading the other?

            I’m not saying that such actions are morally acceptable, of course; that is a different thing.

          • Dolphinfish

            Not listening, are you? Quite apart from the fact that you don’t have to “sign up” to international law to be subject to it, the question was, what would be wrong with the Arabs rolling Israel back into to sea if they could manage it? The fact that you support Israel doesn’t count for this exercise.

    • Jilly

      Does anybody really take the UN seriously these days?

      • Lucius

        When the UN appointed that late Muammar Gaddafi as head of the UN Human Rights Commission, all confidence (what little there was in the first instance) was lost.

        • Jilly

          That is so. Also Saudi Arabia was given a seat on UN Human Rights Council and elected to women’s rights commission 2018-22.
          Robert Mugabe was invited to give a speech to UN in Sept 17 in which he attacked Trump. Clearly the UN does not really respect democratic mandates..

    • Chefofsinners

      These are just the death throes of an institution that has been failing for years. Time for Trump to stop wasting US money funding the UN.

  • not a machine

    HRH The Prince of Wales makes again an important picture of what a future may be like, perhaps we cannot take for granted our freedom, but then other things would be lost also, because the thread of Christianity would be lost. My own opinion is that there is a difficult situation about the modern construct which is occult, it’s not so much change, and it’s co companion the desire for change, but if we truly know if something is being broken, destructed for something of little value as culture. HRH The Prince of Wales perhaps shows us where such deeper questions may lie, I find it difficult to see if the Muhammadians want the Christian understanding, but then I have seen quite a lot personally about how they operate, without the usual news items, even my bishops don’t venture onto that ground any more. That we may be Godly and quietly governed, says the intercession, and its the Godly bit in modern construct that I hope to attempt next year, his graces blog hopefully not being removed for being too biased in favour of Christ. It is difficult to not make a wholly political argument because it looks to me most days that we have arrived at a sort of mental control, that denies Christ, perhaps then my anger will be better understood. If anger is something of a spiritual fraud, then I can only apologise, but at the moment the truth about strategy for the passing on of the Christian faith is vexatious to say the least

  • Chefofsinners

    Motorists who accidentally infringe the speed limits are sent on ‘speed awareness’ courses.
    Perhaps there should be re-education courses for police officers who ‘accidentally’ arrest innocent street preachers. ‘Creed awareness’, we could call it.

  • Anne

    I’m afraid that Prince Charles played a pivotal role in getting the p.c. ball rolling with his comment about being “Defender of The Faiths.” The current undermining of the Christian faith in this country can, to some extent, be attributed to his influence. Only one religion is true. To say that all are true is like saying a man is not a man, a woman is not a woman and the grass is not green which we all know only too well is the current state of affairs in our increasingly dystopian, Godless Britain.

    • I like to think I’m a Christian and believe that it is the true religion, but at the same time, not having studied theology, I find it hard to justify this.
      I have a Jewish friend, she believes that Jesus was not the son of God but merely another in a long line of prophets. Other religions believe in a ‘Supreme Being’ or god in one form or another. Who is to say this is not the one God seen through different eyes? I’m happy with most religions having their beliefs as long as they don’t wish to interfere with mine, and would defend both my Jewish friend and a Buddhist erstwhile work colleague’s right to practice their faiths.
      So, in a way, from my point of view, Prince Charles’ comment has some merit.

      • not a machine

        Ah the big question, does God have different workings? I find this difficult also, if you are happy with your conclusion, you can pray to God and offend no faith but equally things that may not be God can sit in that belief.

        • My problem is that I find it difficult to believe that there are more people who are wrong about their religion than right about it.
          I can find logical reasons for not believing Islam, but are all the Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus, etc all wrong? Hence my feeling that there must be commonality somewhere.

          • Jilly

            I have sympathy for your view. I know quite a few ‘committed’ Hindus and Sikhs. They are good people, they are obedient to the ‘rules’ of their religion: prayer, fasting, charity giving and family values. The first line of the Sikh Holy Book, the Granth Sahib, is ‘There is only one God’ but I’ve not met a Sikh who would argue that his God is not ours or, indeed, get into any argument about the nature of God. Hindus appear to have many gods but apparently all are manifestations of different aspects of One. And they all are tolerant of Christianity. I’ve visited a Hindu temple in the Himalayas in which there are shrines to Jesus, Sikh gurus and Jain deities. Of course the theology is different but in all humility I would venture to say ‘By their fruits shall you know them’.

          • I’ve never looked in detail at the various religions, but the few individuals that I’ve met who are of other religions seem to be just as convinced that their faith is the correct one. Perhaps the Hindu view of many Gods being different manifestations of One is how I am thinking.

          • not a machine

            It could also be possible that God is expressed more completely in Christ if chosen.?

          • Who knows? I’m certainly not qualified to pronounce on such matters.

          • Jennifer Cali

            Since Christianity is the largest religion in the world, there are actually more people who are right about their religion than wrong about it.
            You have already disregarded Islam and rightly so since Islam, which is based mostly on the Quran, contradicts all the prophets and the apostles, thus making Muhammed a false prophet.

            You are, however, still considering Buddhism, for instance. But all I can say is that polytheistic religions could acept Jesus as a god, yet contradict everything Jesus proclaimed, and the same goes for your Jewish friend whom you say claims Jesus was just one of many prophets (I’m actually surprise he says that since Jews in general believe Jesus was a blasphemer, son of a *beep*). The point is if Buddhism or Hinduism were right, Islam, for example, couldn’t be wrong, but Islam is wrong, therefore, Buddhism and Hindism can’t be right. So you see, universalism might sound attractive, but it is a logical fallacy.

            Consider this, the Buddha was believed to be enlightened, that’s what Buddha means “the enlightened one”, but, Jesus claimed not to be enlightened but to be light itself, so how could had Buddha been enlightened, or for that matter his followers, if they don’t have Jesus? They can’t.

            I highly recommend you to read at least one of the four gospels; the gospel of John is my favourite, but the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke are very insightful, too, in regards to what Jesus said and did. Please, take the time to read it because, how can you believe in someone you don’t really know?

            I hope you realize God is not condemning everyone to hell, but rescuing people from it. It is our sin that condemn us, for it is our sin that separates us from Him. But God so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. So if you really care about your friend and your neighbour, read the gospels, learn about the Son of God. And pray about it; ask Jesus Himself! Trust me, the main reason why Christianity is the number one religion in the world despite the persecution we have to endure every now and then is because our God is real, He is the Almighty one. As the Bible says, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)

            May God bless you.

      • Anne

        I understand what you are saying and it is commendable. But what I’m talking about is the TRUTH. Not subjective responses. If the true and living God has revealed Himself through the Bible – then that is the TRUE description of Himself. If the true and living God has revealed Himself through the Koran – then that is the TRUE description of Himself. But only one of those descriptions is REALLY true because the description of God in the Bible is utterly different to the description of God in the Koran. The grass is green, not pink.

        • Manfarang

          There isn’t much grass in the desert.

          • Anne

            When the rain comes, there’s lots of grass in the desert. But the rain doesn’t often come, true. However, the seed lies dormant in the ground, waiting for the rain.

          • Manfarang

            That may be true of semi-desert but I never saw any grass after it rained.
            (the Arabs believe the rain comes because of the will of Allah)

          • Anne

            The desert would be as green as England if the rain came there as regularly as it does here. I’ve seen the desert start to bloom with just two cloudbursts.

          • Manfarang

            The Atacama?

          • Anne

            Oman.

          • Manfarang
          • Anne

            Thanks. Oman is a very lovely country.

          • Anne

            Mark 6:39 – “Then He (Jesus) commanded them to make them all sit down in groups on the GREEN GRASS.” (NKJV). Had naturally reached that chapter in my consecutive daily readings – I didn’t go looking for it! He was listening to our conversation!

          • Manfarang

            Grass in Galilee, desert in the Negev.

        • not a machine

          A good line of thought for belief, but where is the truth of the Bible to be found?

          • Anne

            The truth of the Bible is not found through reason, but through faith. An active relationship and communication with God through prayer, worship, obedience and study of the Scriptures (with a strong eye to the interpretations of the Church Fathers). I am the Door, said Jesus. We must actively walk through that door. I am the Truth, said Jesus. So when we ask Him to illumine our path with His Truth – He will answer, because He’s promised to do so.

          • not a machine

            Well yes but could it be found in your soul?

          • Anne

            Could what be found in your soul?

          • not a machine

            Is your soul the truth of your faith in God /Christ? Or what could the soul be?

          • Anne

            The head and heart are split in modern man. The heart “knows” in a different way to the mind. The heart represents intuition which reason cannot access. The pride of reason says that all must be explained. Humility says that there is much that is inexplicable.

          • not a machine

            Interesting answer

          • Anne

            Modern man has become a human “doing” rather than a human “being.” Everything must be analysed to the enth degree because we’ve lost the ability to simply “be.” Technology traps us in our minds, and our hearts cry out because they are no longer fed. God can release us if we give up the desire to cling to the rapacious desire to always be in control. Our materialism and loss of the sacred is at the bottom of this head and heart divide.

          • not a machine

            I am sort of in the same view myself which I hope to be able to have a go at next year.

          • Sarky

            “How is it that you use reason as a path to truth in every endeavor of your life, and then when it comes to the ‘ultimate truth’ – the most important truth – you’re saying that faith is required. And how does that reflect on a god (who supposedly exists and wants you to have this information); what kind of god requires faith instead of evidence?”

          • Anne

            Do we use reason in every endeavour of our lives? How often do we place our faith and trust in those around us? The pilot and his aircraft carry us high up in the sky – if we were to employ our reason as we board the plane, surely we would not board it?

          • Sarky

            Bad example. Reason is the only way we can reconcile getting on a plane. Knowing that, on average, you would have to take a flight everyday for 11,000 years, for there to be a chance of anything happening, the fact that we understand the science behind flight all go towards us not requiring faith at all to fly (and this is coming from someone who hates flying)

          • Anton

            So you have faith in reason?

          • Sarky

            I don’t have faith….period.

          • Anton

            O yes you do! You can’t use reason to prove reason, so if you trust reason -and you say you do – then you have faith in reason.

            Perhaps you think that ‘faith’ by definition of the word can only be in an asserted volitional deity? Ask a buddhist about that.

          • Sarky

            I don’t use reason to prove reason..i use evidence.

          • Anton

            No… you throw evidence into a box called reason, turn the handle, and out of it comes your conclusions. But to trust your conclusions you have to have faith that the box called reason works OK, don’t you?

          • Sarky

            No.

          • Anton

            Why not?

          • Sarky

            If you have evidence you don’t need faith.

          • Anton

            To reach that conclusion from your evidence, you used reason. Therefore you need faith in reason.

            Do you trust reason in general? That’s no different from having faith in it.

          • Sarky

            Reason is based on evidence. Faith is what you have in the absence of evidence.

          • Anton

            No. Reason is what you use to get from the information you have in order to reach your conclusion. If you have different information then you reach a different conclusion but using the same principles of reasoning. In either case you trust the principles of reasoning to lead you to the appropriate conclusion. In other words, you have faith in those principles.

          • Anne

            I suppose I used that example because I am terrified of flying and only faith in God and Psalm 91 will enable me to board an aeroplane, because reason fails me utterly in that situation. Have you never come across a situation in your life when reason has failed you?

          • Anne

            Evidence is to be found after going through the door of faith in an ongoing relationship with God; when specific prayer is answered in a specific way – a person comes to know that God hears him and that there must also be growth in our ability to hear Him.

          • Sarky

            Thats not evidence. Thats testimoney that can’t be tested by the scientific method.

          • Jennifer Cali

            Although I disagree with Anne when she says that the truth of the Bible is not found through reason, but through faith (I disagree because we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind–in my opinion the mention of mind implies reasoning), I agree with her in that the answer to our prayers is in fact the most powerful evidence for us to believe.
            If God were not real, we couldn’t have a relationship with Him, but over a billion people do have a relationship with Him because in fact, through prayer, we communicate with Him and know of His power to hear, answer and save.

          • Sarky

            Its funny that your most powerful evidence is something that cannot be scientifically proven. Having been raised in a christian family I always found it amusing that if a prayer was answered it was ‘gods will’, if it wasn’t, it was also ‘gods will’. Says it all really.

          • Jennifer Cali

            I don’t know how adept your family is in discerning God’s will for them, but it’s a fact that God answers prayers. And it is true also that science can not disproof neither prayer nor God, so science should say nothing on this matter. Yet, when one studies theories such as the Big Bang theory and the fine-tuned universe, one can not help it but understand the Bible doesn’t only stand the test of time, but of science itself. If you don’t understand the implications of those two theories in connection to the Bible, I can explain them to you if you want.

          • Sarky

            I have posted links on here before about a scientific study on prayer with regards to hospital patients. The crux of it was that those prayed for actually did worse than those that received no prayer.
            With regards to the big bang and the bible, are you one of those god of the gaps christians??

          • Anne

            C.S. Lewis’s book “Beyond Personality” may be of interest to you. It might answer some of these questions.

          • Sarky

            I doubt it!

          • Malcolm Smith

            The truth of the Bible can be found by simply judging it by the same criteria as any other ancient document. I explained that in reason #3 of my article, “Why I am a Christian” at http://malcolmsmiscellany.blogspot.com.au/p/why-i-am-christian.html

          • not a machine

            Is there no spirit to consider?

        • Sybaseguru

          I think you may be asking the wrong question. A better question is to go back a step – “Is it reasonable to believe in the God of the Bible”. If it is, then, as Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the light” and your answer follows from that. To answer my question we turn to Apologetics and we can show that it is more reasonable to believe in the God of the Bible than any alternative – including None. The only absolute truth is in Mathematics (because it defines it), everything else is faith – including science.

        • All arguments about religion end up going round in a circle. and I’m sure that a Muslim would make exactly the same arguments as you about the validity of his religion. It’s an argument that I don’t consider myself qualified to get involved in.

      • dannybhoy

        You don’t have to study theology, just look through a simple book on comparative religions and you will find that not only are there big differences on the nature of God personal/impersonal/God is everything/God is millions of gods etc. and where those various interpretation lead you as regards the nature and value of man.

        It might be nice to think “that this is the one God seen through different eyes”, but the evidence doesn’t support it; and in any case our Lord told us “I am the way, the truth and the life, and no man comes to the Father but by me.”

        • But are millions of people who support other religions wrong? Are their Holy books wrong? It all depends on belief and a circular argument.

          • If any other religion is true, then Christianity is most definitely false.
            It is unthinkable that God would have sent His Son to suffer and die such a terrible death if there had been another way, many other ways, for men to be right with God.

          • But my Jewish friend believes that Jesus was merely another prophet in a ling line of prophets; who am I to disagree?

          • Well, my friend, you need to make up your mind what you believe.
            If your Jewish friend is right, the Bible is false and Christianity is false for the reason I gave above.
            The best I can do for you is to recommend a prayerful study of the Bible, noting especially how many Old Testament prophecies are fulfilled in Christ. The Ethiopean eunuch (Acts 8:26ff) was reading Isaiah 53, and asked Philip, ‘”Of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?” Then Philip…..beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.’

          • I’m content with my beliefs as they stand.

          • dannybhoy

            I agree with you Martin, but what EP is saying is what many thoughtful people have puzzled over; and I suspect is part of the movement towards universalism, especially in Christian circles, but not of course Islam.
            However that does not excuse us from coming to Jesus with a humble heart and receiving His salvation.

          • dannybhoy

            Define holy books EP and how they came about.
            Hinduism for example teaches that the world was established on the back of a turtle supported by elephants..
            You said “I like to think I’m a Christian and believe that it is the true religion, but at the same time, not having studied theology, I find it hard to justify this.”
            A Christian is not one who simply follows the golden rule, but a Christian is one who has taken up Jesus on His promise that He is not only willing to forgive us our sins, but is able to make us new people through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. If you believe that Christianity is the true religion then you really need to start talking to the Author and come to Him in humbleness and ask Him to show you if these things be true. Ask Him in prayer to come into your life as your Lord and Saviour.
            When you have done that in all sincerity He promises to give you eternal life and a new heart. Then your concerns about all the other people in the world will be answered by Him whose love and compassion prompted Abraham to say in Genesis 18:25 to say
            “That be far from you to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from you: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

          • Your last paragraph sums up the situation, most religions (except Islam) define a somewhat similar way of living with ones duties towards others rather than self.

  • John

    Charles is right to highlight the systematic persecution of Christians in the Islamic and communist worlds, to which we could certainly add the curtailing of Christian expression in the public sphere of western democracies.

    But I have no complaint. It is part of what I signed up for as a Christian. Nowhere does the New Testament say anything about human rights or fair treatment for followers of Jesus. If anything, the opposite is true.

    Jesus made it perfectly plain that being hated and attacked is one of the inevitable consequences of being a Christian. When the first Christians were given a beating for preaching about the resurrection in the streets they rejoiced for being counted worthy of suffering for the name of Christ. That’s the spirit…

    • not a machine

      Suffering is a very difficult thing to master and it is one of the greatest understandings of the way of the Christian faith and approaching the salvation through Jesus Christ.

    • Chefofsinners

      It is the spirit. But even Jesus prayed “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me.”

    • IanCad

      True John; We are signed up to a faith that may require our suffering. Waxing fat and in need of nothing is a pleasant state, and I readily admit that in my daily entreaties I ask for the winds of strife to be delayed a little longer; So the harvest will be greater of course.

  • David

    To stray from the topic I see that the BBC’s new man in charge of Religious Broadcasting is an atheist. The last one was a Muslim.
    I need say no more.

    • Manfarang

      Reminds me of someone who did a GCE o level in religion. He said it was an easy subject and he didn’t have to believe in it.

      • James60498 .

        They all say that. The only thing that my son’s RE teacher demands that they believe is that women footballers are as good as men. Everything else is up to them.

        • Anton

          At the next parents evening ask him who he thinks would win a match between the England men’s XI and women’s XI.

          • Royinsouthwest

            Hmm, that would be a tough question. However, because it is so tough I will give a clue as to the likely answer. Before the Rio Olympics Australia’s national women’s football team played a warm-up match against an under-15 boys’ team.

            What happened to girl power? Australia’s national women’s soccer team the Matildas lose 7-0 to an under FIFTEENS boys’ side
            http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-3609949/Matildas-lose-7-0-Newcastle-Jets-15s-Rio-Olympics-warm-up.html

          • bluedog

            Meanwhile, in order not to let the biological evidence stand in the way of current political ideology, the SAS Regiment is lowering its standards in order to allow women to pass the selection test.

          • Anton

            Amazon.co.uk

          • Royinsouthwest

            The link is broken.

          • Anton

            It’s not meant to be a link! Read the words, and what it replies to… I tried to figure out a way to make the blogging software not over-cleverly turn it into a link, and I expect there is one, but I don’t know it.

          • Royinsouthwest

            Men in their 70s are much more expendable than young men with, hopefully, a long future ahead of them and are far, far more expendable than young women.. Therefore it would be just as logical to recruit healthy 70 year olds and to adjust the entry standards accordingly.

            This suggestion reminds me of something The Duke of Wellington once said, although I suspect his meaning was not the same as mine in quoting him:

            I don’t know what effect these men will have upon the enemy, but, by God, they frighten me.

          • bluedog

            What you say makes complete sense. But that’s why the government is not doing it. Putting the breeding female population at risk so that the numbers may collapse is a recipe for catastrophe. It was Cameron who started this stupidity, and he always claimed he was a country boy, hailing from West Berkshire. Let me tell you, if he was a farmer he’d go broke!

        • Manfarang

          In my day it was RI.

          • not a machine

            In tribute to the 4 Yorkshire men sketch, “in my day at Easter the new boys used to be nailed tut cross wi proper metal spikes” ☺️

          • Manfarang

            They nail people to crosses in the Philippines

          • not a machine

            They do very tricky to perform I suspect to keep the hand to
            function afterwards.

          • Anton

            Divinity?

          • Manfarang

            Instruction

          • Chefofsinners

            Scripture knowledge in my mother’s day.

          • Ray Sunshine

            Just plain Scripture in my day.

          • Phil Young

            For us it was ‘doctrine’…but I did go to a Catholic school, and actually I don’t remember much doctrine, rather, different social issues would be discussed such as apartheid etc.

          • Dominic Stockford

            At school I was taught RI (state school), RE (another state school), Mark’s Gospel (RC Boarding school, for the O Level), and then ‘Christian Thinking’ at the same place. The last was the worst – and I failed that GCE after hammering abortion in my exam paper…..

        • not a machine

          It could be some past upset about toilet facilities at football grounds, you never know how the third way operates ☺️

    • not a machine

      Mmmm I was slightly puzzled when the BBC announced, more religious programmes were to be commissioned. I had wondered where James Purnell had been working all these years. My own thoughts around media determination of faith is it can only handle it as religious education , which has some uses, religious thinkers are risking as much as any of us, in discussion if terminology is not worked out, we would I think end up being insulted by mere ignorant noises.

    • Chefofsinners

      A man? How dare they?

      • not a machine

        Yes only your cyber presence is the real and proper one these days ☺️

    • Royinsouthwest

      I hope David Attenborough continues doing what he does so well but, like the Queen, he can’t go on forever. Will his successor at the BBC be a Young-Earth Creationist?

      • Anton

        At least that’s a harmless mistake, unlike climate change.

    • Jilly

      Yes, James Purnell, a senior Labour politician until he fell out with Gordon Brown. There are loads of channels on Sky which are dedicated to religious affairs. Al Beeb’s contribution isn’t necessary except to cock a snook at Christians in the name of ‘equality’ and the multi-culty agenda.

  • Mike Stallard

    British values: Christmas is Santa’s Birthday. Buggery is Right. Sex is a right for all – except for paedos who ought to be chemically castrated.
    Me? I’m out.

    • Jilly

      Out of what?
      Or just fed-up with the crazies who seem to rule the roost?

  • Bob Hutton

    The most important of “British Values” is the right to freedom of speech.

    Every year, in November, we are told that 1,000s of people gave their lives so that we can have freedom; and yet that freedom for Evangelical Christians is being eroded. Even groups like the National Secular Society, who hold no brief for the Gospel, recognise the dangers to free speech that is highly prevalent in today’s Britain.

    It ill behoves us to take our freedoms for granted – may the :Lord give us the courage to continue to preach the inspired and infallible word of God.

    • Royinsouthwest

      The most important of “British Values” is the right to freedom of speech.

      But we have all got freedom of speech. The only type of speech that is banned is “hate speech” – i.e. speech that the Guardian would regard as unacceptable.

  • len

    Freedom of speech can only exist in a country with Judeo /Christian values, that is fast becoming an established fact.

  • len

    Good Old Charlie boy, he has faith , but not exactly sure what in?.