Giles Fraser3a
Church of England

Why do left-wing clerics insult and alienate right-wing laity?

I don’t just disagree with Ukip. I despise them. I despise them for their smug Little Englander mentality. I despise them for their total absence of fellow-feeling towards vulnerable people who look and sound different. I despise them for the way they scapegoat immigrants and whip up the resentment of the white working class. But I especially despise them for the way they dress all this up as the protection of something they call Christian England.

These are the words of the Rev’d Giles Fraser – one-time Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral; now parish priest at St Mary’s Newington – who, writing in his Guardian column, berates Ukip for perverting Christianity and lambasts Nigel Farage in particular for nullifying the very essence of gospel of Christ – that is, the exhortation to love one’s neighbour as oneself. How can Ukip demand the “muscular defence of our Judeo-Christian heritage”, he growls, if they can’t grasp the “basic Christian doctrine” inherent in the parable of the Good Samaritan?

The question isn’t without merit, though Giles Fraser, being a deep-thinking sort of cleric (not to mention a nice guy) who is routinely paid (quite handsomely) by the left-wing media to philosophise on complex matters of theological morality (which he usually performs rather well), does himself a disservice by reducing Ukip immigration policy to the crass caricature of an Owen Jones / Katie Hopkins binary rant of agonisingly dichotomised apprehension. Certainly, some Ukip policies are delinquent in their principles and deficient in their expression. But – let’s be honest – so are some Conservative, Labour and Liberal-Democrat policies, the proponents of which might also be accused of the failure to grasp “basic Christian doctrine”. But you tend not to hear many bishops giving Labour hell, or clergy giving the LibDems a bit of what for, do you?

Right-wing Conservatives, however, are just a precarious breath away from the loony Kippers: those evil Tories spend their days scheming how they might best torture the disabled, victimise the vulnerable and the persecute the poor. Their creed of greed and cult of selfishness and individualism are epitomised by the idolatry of the wicked witch of Grantham, Margaret Thatcher, whose grasp of “basic Christian doctrine” was manifestly as anti-Christian as that of Nigel Farage. When bishops and clergy denounce Ukip, they are simultaneously and vicariously censuring the Conservative Party: there can be no fellowship of Anglican light with Tory darkness.

To be fair, Giles Fraser isn’t alone in this sort of tabloid vilificaction: only a few weeks ago Bishop Pete Broadbent of Willesden tweeted that precise “Little Englander” left-wing vernacularism in the context of constitutional reform: Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are, it seems, permitted their nationalistic yearnings for independence, but God forbid that the “little Englander” might demand something as bigoted and xenophobic as English votes for English laws. Bishop Pete has also dismissed Ukip as “vacuous” and “a blot on the political landscape”, even going so far as to exhort his flock not to cast a vote in their direction, the inference being that to do so would be somehow antithetical to Christian values and an offence against Christ.

One tires of countering these pervasive political caricatures and the left’s hegemony in the Synod’s houses of Bishops and Clergy. People are being lost to salvation; time is precious, and life is short. The Rev’d Giles and Bishop Pete know exactly what they’re saying and precisely what they’re doing: while they minister to the poor, feed the starving and house the homeless (and they do), they cloak their left-wing politicking in the rebuke of Christ, alienating all who derive the same simple-souled inspiration to social works of compassion from quite a different political tradition or philosophy of theology. Their knowing and feeling are not inferior: in the collusion of faith with life, there are variable understandings of duties, limitations, obligations and renunciations. The right-wing monuments are just different in their hermeneutic from the left-wing movements, and somewhere between the two extremes is a richer social justice and a deeper un-thought expression of relationship which bishops and clergy ought to be fostering, not disproving.

Both left-wing and right-wing politics aspire to social goodness and expressions of Christian-ness. For sure, we might differ on means, priorities and the relative ordering of questions, and there may be greater virtue in one specific response to a particular dilemma than may be found in its political parallel. But, from Socrates to Nietzsche, the philosophy of man has erred: his insights have conflated vice with virtue and irrationalism with reason. In a representative liberal democracy, Christians who vote are bound to deal with left-wing confusions and right-wing mystification: both traditions are cloaked in respectability, and both polarities expound a pastiche of religion. But we are not dealing here with good versus evil: Parliament is not divided into into sheep and goats.

Bishops and clergy of the Church of England have a primary pastoral function and duty in this messy democratic context, and it is not to characterise as evil that which seeks to do good, and it is certainly not to foment strife and make enemies where there is none. There are many sincere Christians in Ukip – Margot Parker MEP being just one (the Church of England even has a Kipper vicar – the Rev’d Sam Norton). We may differ on the relative extents of their goodness, and interrogate vigorously their worlds of ideas and ideals. But the church which does not welcome Nigel Farage along with Nelson Mandela is simply not the Church.

Setting aside “basic Christian doctrine” (which, let’s face it, left-wing bishops and clergy routinely do where it does not conveniently accord with their interpretation of the “social gospel”), what of basic Christian praxis? One wonders, for example, whether Jesus entertained more prostitutes and tax-collectors than Giles Fraser and Pete Broadbent have ever voluntarily dined with Kippers, Thatcherites or other bigoted blots on the political landscape.

  • Shadrach Fire

    What is it about Giles Fraser that I find so repugnant?

    • retiredbloke

      How about his masquerading as a Christian and using the church in order to bang a political drum. His position in the church gives him, to some people, a moral superiority whereas the opposite is true. It is impossible, philosophically, to be a Christian and a socialist; his Christianity is a figment of his own imagination, not biblically based, but based in left wing envy and greed. He never, or rarely, states what he believes but attacks others for what they believe. In fact, your right, this list could go on forever!

      • Nick

        Yes, but Giles Fraser won a lot of respect from many people because he resigned rather than see the Occupy London protesters removed from outside St Paul’s by force. That’s pretty much how he got his regular column in The Guardian as far as I can see – because many on the left were impressed by his act of principle. If he has become as condescending and vicious as those he rails against then it is simply a case of both being in the wrong. But many people still respect the man and saw his resignation as a very Christian act.

        • retiredbloke

          In what way is it Christian to defy authority on matters secular? He was making a political point without any scriptural authority but one entirely of his own making. If I remember correctly the protestors were railing against institutions acting entirely within the legal framework. Please tell me what was “Christian” in what he did; support from the most secular and anti-Chistian of all newspapers should not be what he was seeking.

          • Nick

            Well, that is the public perception of many on the left – that it was a principled and Christian stance in the face of a lot of pressure. I think Occupy London were protesting about various things including unfair treatment of the poor in favour of the rich and they needed a place to protest. But they were forcibly moved on with the blessing of St Pauls. I think a lot of people thought that Fraser was conscientious in resigning because of the idea that the Church should welcome all people. I’m just saying that that is part of the public perception. But I didn’t really set out to defend the man – Fraser is as much a part of the establishment now as any. Perhaps that makes him compliant – I don’t know.

      • CliveM

        Retiredbloke

        Of course socialists can be Christians, let’s not ape the mistakes of our critics.

        • retiredbloke

          Have we now become so complacent that we now accept the world’s standards of what constitutes sinfulness? Socialism’s existence is is owed to the acceptance of tenets that are inherently sinful: that we should envy the possessions of our neighbours and that we should sanction theft from our neighbour in order to satisfy that envy. Social engineering and the redistribution of wealth have become such an accepted part of all political thought that we have forgotten God’s commandment of loving our neighbour and are are prepared to steal his goods as a matter of policy. In the OT responsibility was given to individuals to care for widows, orphans and foreigners and in the NT to widows and orphans; not to anyone capable of work. We have rejected Godly standards for those we consider preferable.

  • CliveM

    The left in this country are like the Pharisee in Luke 18:10. They like to parade their ‘moral superiority’ as a badge of pride. To actually engage in dialogue and make an effort to understand another’s position, would diminish their cosy glow of self-righteousness. They don’t say anything difficult, or even try to. They grandstand and play to their audience. Goodness to actually suggest that the right may have something relevant to say and have a point to be seriously debated, would be heresy. May even lead to a column being cancelled.

    • David

      You’ve hit the nail on the head ! Well said.

  • David

    Well said, Your Grace. The hypocrisy is breathtaking. Whilst attacking one set for unfounded xenophobia they manifest it themselves, in abundance.

  • JayBee

    Now here is a verse from Proverbs that cuts both ways.
    It is a sin to despise one’s neighbour, but blessed is the one who is kind to the needy.
    If it be a sin to despise one’s immigrant neighbour it follows that it might also be a sin to despise your indigenous political opponent does it not? Pot, kettle, black, Giles? Full marks for ministering to the poor, feeding the starving and housing the homeless, but don’t forget lost souls, particularly the white working class whose rising levels of resentment are driven not by political agitators but by marginalisation and abuse.

    Sadly its not only left-liberal clergy who bask in an attitude of compassionate self-righteousness while dismissing everyone of different political persuasion as uncaring. Some ‘progressive’ Christian charities are doing something rather similar and making a fine job of alienating their supporters by thinly veiled anti-Semitism and the like.

    • dannybhoy

      Context is all JayBee!
      Proverbs (or Mishlai Shlomo in Hebrew) was written in the context of a theocratic people separated unto God.
      Deuteronomy especially deals with laws and rules regulating this people, and they had to provide for the needs of the poor within that society as illustrated for example in the book of Ruth. There is no concept of ‘benefits’ in the Bible.
      Everyone is expected to do something to provide for themselves and society as a whole according to their means.
      What the social gospel does is to make a virtue out of caring for the poor wherever they may be found.
      One could almost make Luke 14:23 into a parable for the social gospel..!
      “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country
      lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.”

  • Royinsouthwest

    Giles Fraser seems to be in agreement with Matthew Paris, who was a Conservative MP a long time ago but now is very PC newspaper columnist. About a month ago Paris wrote an extremely condescending article about the town of Clacton and UKIP supporters in the Times.

    Tories should turn their backs on Clacton
    http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/article4198515.ece

    Paris seems to have little self-awareness, otherwise he would have realised that his article makes him seem like an insufferable snob. He would not have dared write a similar article about a place with a high proportion of immigrants.

    Giles Fraser and Matthew Paris seem to be cut from the same cloth but the latter has the excuse that he does not pretend to be a minister of the Gospel.

    • Please don’t think that we’re all arguing about what the ONE RIGHT ANSWER IS. I thought that was more the mistake of the Guardian, but here we have it.
      Matthew Parris is a journalist, he doesn’t have a flock with diverse views. Everybody has a point of view, and despite the beating he took, I don’t think Mr Parris will have changed his – he prefers the big smoke to the coast, and that’s what he wrote.

      • DanJ0

        He seems to prefer rural Derbyshire to both, which is where he lives most of the time.

    • DanJ0

      :O
      Matthew Parris is the exemplar voice of compassionate conservatism.

      • Royinsouthwest

        Not much compassion for the people of Clacton.

  • Daniel1979

    YG, your final paragraph summaries my feelings nicely.

  • Hello Pot, meet Mr Kettle.

    When it comes to insulting and condescending behaviour towards fellow-Christians, conservative Christians aren’t exactly blameless.

    • For sure, rudeness abounds. But your deflection misses the purpose of the post, which is manifestly concerned with church leaders and their particular pastoral obligations to laity. Which Conservative bishops and clergy express “condescending behaviour toward fellow Christians”? Which go out of their way to insult and alienate left-wing believers? And which exhort the faithful not to vote Labour or Liberal Democrat or any other expression of a left-wing worldview?

      • well played your grace. I doubt Mr Hall even considered the evidence, because that’s not what you do when you know you are right.

      • James Bolivar DiGriz

        Some of the hatred shown by Giles Fraser (Pete Broadbent, Owen Jones, etc) is apparently down to their ignorance.

        Apparently ‘left-wing’ people when asked what ‘right-wing’ people think about issues, their assessment is largely wrong (making the ‘right-wing’ people out as more harsh & judgemental than they are). Conversely when ‘right-wing’ people are asked what ‘left-wing’ people think about issues their assessments are largely right.

        So perhaps what Giles Fraser hates is not UKIP but his (incorrect) perception of UKIP.

        • dannybhoy

          I can say that as a Conservative town councillor I found that 90% of the social, business and community care was carried out by Conservatives in their spare time.

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            I have discussed with ‘left-wing’ friends, why they think that people using foodbanks is bad but benefits are good.

            After all a foodbank is me helping my neighbour who has a short-term problem, when the ‘neighbour’ may actually be three or five or thirty
            five streets over and be someone I do not know about, and benefits are money being taken from my salary in order to help my neighbour, when the ‘neighbour’ may actually be …

            A key difference being that the benefits system involves lots of public employees who all get paid (reducing the benefit to the neighbour) and the foodbank pays noone.

  • magnolia

    I am sure there must be a well trained cleric in an Anglican-type church in Eastern Europe who could undercut Giles Fraser and work for less money from a small house and send money back to his relations in E. Europe, gaining from the exchange rate.

    This might help him with his despisal problem, bring in an interesting cleric, and do a favour to the Church of England.

    • Nightblogger

      Well that’s probably true for everybody, even Internet Trolls like you and I. Doesn’t quite fit with UKIPs policies on immigration though.

      • magnolia

        “Troll” is going a bit. I think. It seemed a suitable topic for a bit of mischievous humour!! As a youngest child I got much worse than that daily if not hourly.

    • dannybhoy

      🙂

  • carl jacobs

    for nullifying the very essence of gospel of Christ – that is, the exhortation to love one’s neighbour as oneself

    Here is the source of the problem. This statement is false. The essence of the gospel is that Christ died for sinners, and rose for their justification. A different gospel means a different religion. If you want to understand this phenomenon, you must begin here. It is not first a political disagreement. It is a spiritual disagreement about the nature of man.

    The fundamental presupposition of the Left is the the source of Evil is external to man. They believe that man is by nature good, and will progress in moral capacity if the externals are arranged properly. The purpose of Gov’t becomes arranging the externals so that man may progress. To oppose this moral imperative is to commit evil. That is why the Let looks at the Right as Evil. Its opposition to Leftist schemes can only serve to retard the moral progress of man.

    None of this fits well with Christian anthropology. All the stuff about “we are by nature sinful and unclean” has no place in the universe of morally perfectable man. It has to go. The Cross must be replaced by the Good Samaritan. It is that hostility to the Cross that explains the animosity. While it stands on Golgotha, it declare that man is not perfectable. He is not progressing. He cannot be cleaned of sin by the application of a minimum standard of living, and free health care. The purpose of man is not to realize the Kingdom of God on Earth by dint of his own effort.

    And that is what the Left cannot abide in Christianity. It’s not really about politics. It’s about self-image. I’m technical terms, we call it the Offense of the Gospel. They hate that man is not the master of his own moral destiny.

    carl

    • CliveM

      It’s also an attempt to silence debate. Moralise your position, demonise the opposite view point and you can simply resort to proclaiming the moral superiority of your argument. An example of this is the capitalism v socialism argument in the west.

    • Busy Mum

      “They hate that man is not the master of his own moral destiny.”….exactly; and that is why they love Nelson Mandela for saying ‘I am the captain of my soul’.

      • Royinsouthwest

        If Mandela said it he was quoting the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley.

    • dannybhoy

      Well written Carl.

  • Coniston

    There is also a big problem with ‘Thought for the Day’. Whenever it is announced on the radio, I have my finger hovering over the Off switch – which I usually use.

  • magnolia

    I don’t find it right even to condemn the hurt and outrage that people feel when they are sacked from a job they have held down for decades because someone from Eastern Europe will do it for less. This has not happened to either me or any close family member, but I do know skilled engineers and other people to whom it has happened. I could not possibly criticise them if they feel bitter and betrayed to be so devalued essentially because an exchange rate, very liquid borders, and a lower cost of living elsewhere has robbed them of their ability to contribute their skills to society, their ability to provide for their children in the land of their birth and the land of their ancestors, and their self respect.

    I would find it downright cruel and improper. What is wrong with feeling a deep attachment to your own culture and the land of your birth and your ancestors? What is so special about bending over backwards to help your 60th cousins at the expense of your third cousins? And what is wrong with advantaging those who would never leave Britain in a crisis to find another better honeypot because their roots go down very deep? That is a nation’s core, and it should be cherished.

    UKIP would have stronger borders. Nothing more. It is not a racist organisation, Nor little englander, though actually the UK and England are NOT the same, and the assumption that “little englander” is the correct name is itself narrowminded Englishness, ironically, and annoys the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish.

    Nor is stronger borders actually all that UKIP policy is about anyway. Nigel Farage also, for instance, supports an end to manipulated markets, which as a 20 year gold trader he knows all about I expect. Are fair and free and well regulated markets also a subject for despisal? I wonder.

    • James Bolivar DiGriz

      During the 2010 election campaign I heard some vox pop from Scotland, and a women was complaining that her husband (who was a skilled carpenter previously earning something like £11/hour) was having difficulty getting work as their were Polish carpenters who were equally skilful but were working for the minimum wage.

      This was in one of Scotland’s Labour ‘rotten boroughs’ so the result was guaranteed but she was asking why she should vote Labour as she could see no good in what Labour, and its open door policy, had done for her, her husband, her neighbours, etc.

      No hatred, or even dislike of the Polish carpenters at all.

      • dannybhoy

        But the Social Gospellers would applaud this because it’s providing work for people from poorer countries, and we can always mount a crusade for more and bigger welfare benefits for the British workers who lose their jobs..

        • James Bolivar DiGriz

          “more and bigger welfare benefits for the British workers who lose their jobs” All payed for, of course, from the magic money-tree! 😉

          My point was that this woman from a solidly Labour seat (probably a regulat Labour voter, I don’t remember) was esposing UKIP (or UKIP type) policies but her resentment was not directed at the Polish carpenters but at the politicians.

          • dannybhoy

            Well I have some – a lot- of sympathy with that view James.
            We can’t blame people who come here from abroad to take advantage of the opportunities available.
            If I were a young fella from an impoverished, backward or dangerous country I would come here!
            No I don’t blame the people, I blame the politicians for discriminating against our own people.

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            Indeed, the people who have moved country have done nothing wrong, the problem is the politicians.

            Not only are they harming this country but potentially the other country as well, by drawing skilled people from there and thus making it harder for that country to develop.

          • dannybhoy

            Absolutely agree.The other problem is that the immigration is increasingly one way. From the poor third world nations and those in the EU with faiiling economies into the stable still prosperous countries.
            No one’s heading for Africa, China or the Middle East (apart from Israel..)
            We now have the tragedy of desperate people coming from Africa and troublespots in the ME to Italy and eventually France with the ultimate destination being the UK.

          • Phil Rowlands

            Looking back at our accounts

            Semi skilled job my father paid 1980 £7.50 Today we pay £14.50

            In Africa very similar job 1988 we paid 22p Today we pay 73p…
            A day (9 hours). Number of applicants per job 30+

      • tiger

        Ah the left’s favourite charity drive; wealth re-distribution. aka communist socialism. The end game is to make everyone equal except that experiment has already proved hopeless in both the USSR and China. Despite the rhetoric some are more equal than others. You don’t see your favourite lefty socialists mixing with the peasants much do you? Or sending their kids to State schools. Or using the NHS (private all the way).

        Importing foreign tradesmen and non-skilled workers has lead to wage compression. Both my wife and I are victims of both. The only result of the process is greater profit for the owner, excessive pay and rewards for the management (currently running at 60 times the wages of employees). This is proved by the fact that with reduced input costs we should be encountering deflation at a rapid rate.

        • dannybhoy

          Sorry to hear of your troubles tiger. The problem with the importation of cheap labour is that it destroys the lives and livelihoods of our own people who can’t afford to work for the low wages immigrant workers will take.

          • tiger

            Thank you Danny, not complaining. An example of this; Wife is from management level in the hotel industry and made redundant 2009. Applied for a post in the NHS as middle manager. At interview she was asked if she spoke Polish. Being British she doesn’t but asked if this was a problem. The interviewer said well yes because all the staff are Polish. She didn’t get the job

          • dannybhoy

            And this how you lose the unity of a nation and end up destroying it..
            When we did lead the world with the Industrial Revolution, we didn’t have to import people to do it. The talent was here.
            The talent is still here, but we are not offering the incentives for our young people to train in the disciplines we need.
            We are robbing other countries of their skilled labour whilst building up resentment here at home.

  • dannybhoy

    Good balanced article.
    Personally I disagree with the “social gospel” precisely because it usually leaves out the heart of the Gospel of our Lord, – Salvation.
    General Booth had the balance right. He cared for the poor and preached the Gospel. To only care for the poor is to miss the point of Christianity.
    Salvation, Regeneration, Fruitfulness and Witness.
    Anything else is social work.
    Interestingly the New Testament emphasis is on the Christian poor, not the seeking out of poor people..

    Acts 4:23- 35
    ” On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all
    that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:

    “‘Why do the nations rage
    and the peoples plot in vain?
    26 The kings of the earth rise up
    and the rulers band together
    against the Lord
    and against his anointed one.

    27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

    31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

    The Believers Share Their Possessions

    32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of
    their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.”

    I think the social gospel is a perversion of the true gospel, catering for the ideals of an earthly humanistic utopia rather than the Kingdom of God.

    A Christian should be working at agape love for his/her brothers and sisters in Christ, rather than being ‘a good kind caring person’

    (You can go join the Humanist Society if that is your objective.)

    On to politics!

    I am an unashamed member of UKIP, active in my area distributing leaflets as requested.

    As a Christian citizen I cannot be “a little Englander.”
    I don’t want an English parliament. I want a United Kingdom in which everybody has the same privileges and educational opportunities, the same health care, the same services etc. regardless of where they live.
    As a Christian citizen I want security of borders, to limit immigration- even have a temporary halt to immigration so that a debate could take place around shaping a sensible and fair immigration policy.
    To sustain and maintain the values that have shaped my country and I want my British laws and customs to remain the ONLY law of the land.
    I would like to see the deportation of all peoples including extremists, terrorists and criminals who despise, abuse or actively plot against my nation.

    There is nothing wrong with Christians taking an active and participatory interest in politics and social issues, as long as they recognise that our real calling is to serve the Lord Jesus and share His gospel of redemption.

    • Royinsouthwest

      We are commanded to love our neighbours (and also our enemies – not the same group, I hope!) not just fellow Christians. In case there is any doubt about this the parable of the Good Samaritan makes that perfectly clear.

      • dannybhoy

        Risw,

        But still in context. The Samaritans were neighbouring heretics according to the Jews, so for Jesus to offer that as an example was revolutionary. I am not saying we shouldn’t care for the poor, I am saying we shouldn’t base the Gospel on it.

        Perhaps scottspeig puts it best.

      • David

        Yes but does the neighbourhood now include the whole world ? So do we welcome them all here, in which case it will become mighty overcrowded in this tiny set of islands, and rather depleted of people everywhere else, with all the adverse effects that flow from rapid population reduction, especially the disappearance of the young, most able and ambitious. This is a serious point I am making. In Bulgaria and Romania villages are dying, emptied of their youngsters, all gone west, as a result of the “we must welcome our neighbours policy”. Was that what Jesus envisaged ? I don’t think so, do you ? The parable of the Good Samaritan represents a crucial underpinning of Christian compassion extending outside ones own in-group, but it has to be applied with intelligence, taking account of context and all other realities, I’d suggest. Moreover the political motivation for the EUs free movement policy is not Christian compassion but as a means of breaking down national identities, so as to rule the resulting amorphous mob more effectively. The old divide and rule becomes , lump together and rule. Let’s be sophisticated enough not project Christian motivations onto base motives, I suggest. Jesus told us to be wise but also wary.

  • Uncle Brian

    As a tentative answer to Your Grace’s question, “Why do they do it?”, the word “arrogance” springs to mind. We won’t find it recommended as a virtue anywhere in the works of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, but the available evidence suggests that it must feature very prominently indeed in the Gospel according to Giles Fraser.

  • scottspeig

    They confuse the State as an individual and thereby think it is the state’s role to be compassionate and good etc. What they fail to realise is that Christ cares for the individual hearts, and the issue is to convert the heartless while still keeping free will.

    Giles et al seem to think that forced altruism is a moral good whereas those on the right realise that not only is forced altruism not altruistic, but that it harms true altruism. That, and the individual is better placed than the state to minister to those in need!

  • Great post. The only think that would make me even consider voting UKIP (see my moniker) is a sermon from a self-righteous Anglican wet.

    I think you said it when she died, cranmer, that the failure of the CofE to engage with Maggie T’s Christianity was a great error, and it’s one that the Church has still not understood.

    • dannybhoy

      Unfortunately the CofE is identified with the Establishment and the State. As a result of those ties it has lost its prophetic voice and Christian authority turning instead into a religious version of the Citizens Advice Bureau..

      What I personally like about it though, is that if you decide not to go on a Sunday nobody misses you… 😉

  • Nick

    I don’t think the left have a monopoly on nastiness. For instance, there is a reason that people still call the Tories ‘The Nasty Party’. It’s because (one way or the other) they end up crushing the poor and vulnerable (and appeal to selfish motives in voters).

    I don’t think UKIP are necessarily much nicer than liberals (or Tories) either. They can get pretty nasty too. I mean, it used to be the case that to be a Christian MP you would be a benevolent man or woman of integrity and great principle, but it doesn’t seem to be the case these days. Eurosceptic and Europhile, left and right are united only in nastiness.

    The fact that comments like this (which call for greater compassion) are met with derision kind of proves my point.

    • dannybhoy

      some.. Eurosceptics and Europhiles, left and right are united only in nastiness.

      • Nick

        Okay, it’s a generalization, but my point is just that politics is nasty and that kind of cruel outlook is corrosive for many who are involved in it (even Christian leaders who write for the Guardian). I’m at a point where I believe that Government makes things so intolerable for (some) Christians that we end up beating each other up.

        • dannybhoy

          There is a tension between our life as a Christian and our life as a Christian citizen.
          Yes politics is often dirty, but there are lots of Christians involved in politics. This is a good site..
          http://www.christiansinparliament.org.uk/
          It could be less dirty if we could get shot of party politics and introduce more discussion and secret ballots on the important issues.
          Politics now is like joining a club. You join the club, obey the rules, do your best to be loyal and useful to your leaders.
          (not the people -Heaven forfend!)
          Through loyalty, usefulness, intrigue and and sheer ruthlessness you will eventually reach the top…
          It shouldn’t be like that.
          It doesn’t have to be like that, and perhaps if more Christian people used the avenues open to them we could change it.

          • CliveM

            Still not got the highlighting sorted I see!!

          • dannybhoy

            Driving me bonkers Clive. I only want to highlight one word, and it does the whole lot.
            IT’S OUT OF CONTROL>>>//////….

          • Jack has explained what to do on the previous thread.
            Remember to close the italic code with a (omitting the spaces).

          • Nick

            I don’t feel that the system can be changed from within anymore. But I admire your idealism.

            I know that CIP encourage Christians to join political parties. Personally I’ve learned a lesson from Thomas Wolsey (and a brief spell in the Labour party before the Iraq war): “If I had served God as diligently as I served the king, he would not have given me up in my gray hairs.”

          • dannybhoy

            Nick,
            I hold conservative values, always have; but the best system for a democracy is where a (disestablished) Church has a strong and vital moral influence in society.
            Christians should be idealists shouldn’t they?

          • Nick

            Christians should be idealistic in some things but we should also not try to emulate the politicians whose primary agenda is to look good in every situation.

            But I agree that the moral influence of the Church would be significantly enhanced if the CofE became disestablished.

          • alternative_perspective

            Would be even greater if the population was more Christian.

          • Nick

            Exactly. Which is why an influx of European Christians is a good thing.

            I favour an open door immigration policy.

          • dannybhoy

            ??

            I don’t favour an open door immigration policy…..

          • Nick

            I know. I do. I merely mentioned that you did say Christians should be idealistic. And my ‘open door policy’ is idealistic. Have I said something wrong?

          • William Lewis

            Yes you have.

            The ‘ideal’ is not to introduce more Christians into this country in order to make life better for those (Christian and non-Christian) already here, but to persuade those non-Christians already here to step into the light. Not to mention the fact that an open door policy will let in non/anti Christian/British people as well.

            It seems to me that your proposal is neither ideal, nor practical, nor beneficial.

          • Nick

            Yes but nobody except for me favours an open door policy. I’m a dying breed. You should be happy.

          • William Lewis

            I am not particularly happy about dying breeds, but some memes are better going the way of the dodo. Multiculturalism, which is the end-game of open door immigration, is all about nullifying British/English culture. Hopefully that goose is now cooked.

          • dannybhoy

            “Have I said something wrong?”

            Not at all. It’s just my own sense of nationalism, of belonging, of identity,
            I think for older people like me born just after ww2 society has changed so much, especially since the ’60s.
            I believe in respecting everyone, their culture and their country. I also believe as much as possible we should stay in our own countries.
            Anything else will eventually result in confusion or loss of freedoms.

          • Nick

            Well I’m eurosceptic if that helps. Out of interest – how do you think, pragmatically, that there could be any hope of moving out of Europe without a Tory Government next year? UKIP won’t get in. Labour won’t offer a referendum. So how can British sovereignty be defended by voting UKIP?

          • William Lewis

            Nick

            Strange that you wound profess to be a eurosceptic and yet be in favour of an open door immigration policy. The EU is the only organisation that has ever managed to deliver open door immigration to this country, at least so far as the EU is concerned.

          • Nick

            Yes, article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights provides a right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This is just as well because I think the EU is effectively a revived Roman empire.

    • David

      Few Conservative MPs are right of centre anymore. Also how many MPs are committed Christians, albeit a number could be described as cultural Christians.

  • Demon Teddy Bear

    Loving your neighbour means NOT conspiring with his enemies to fill his country with outsiders and send him to prison if he objects.

  • magnolia

    It reminds me of that Lewis Carroll rhyme:

    “Speak roughly to your little boy,
    And beat him when he sneezes,
    He only does it to annoy
    Because he knows it teases.

    I think Giles Fraser likes stirring it, because he is more than capable of nuance when he wants to be. Obviously there is much wrong with society at the moment, but I think he is being insufficiently radical when he tries to assess what is going on, i.e. not getting to the major roots.

    I suggest a read of “The Reece Report” , well obviously not a word for word but an effective semi-skim read of its 3000 odd pages, as a very very important document to assess where much of the rot, the breakdown in morals, churchgoing, family, nation state, respectable markets and educated questioning people has emanated from, i.e. the vast – and rolling over with decades of accrued interest-coffers of the tax exempt foundations of the U.S. which were infiltrated by Frankfurtian Marxist types soon after inception though some were initially very well intentioned.

    Some try to disrespect it as ….well, in the usual ways, biased, right-wing, whatever…, but it was a senate commissioned report headed by a nuanced gentlemanly and softly spoken Yale graduate who was well respected and very precise, polite, and meticulous in his approach, as those who had worked for some time in banks in those days typically were, and as can be seen from the film footage.

    • dannybhoy

      Got a link?

      • magnolia

        This video has been much posted up: here is one version, though I don’t find the initial heading a particularly good introduction:

        and this is the first part of the transcript of the whole:

        http://www.americandeception.com/index.php?action=downloadpdf&photo=/PDFsml_A

        I think that it is available on another site as i have seen the whole lot but cannot remember where. I think it is through a library. The Norman Dodd transcript is readily available in many places such as https://www.scribd.com/doc/3768227/Dodd-Report-to-the-Reece-Committee-on-Foundations-1954

        A lady called Charlotte Iserbyt claims to have the only privately owned original. But I think there is a library copy

        Other books were written by one or two of the participants on particular foci which they were especially interested in, which dealt with those subjects in greater depth, one of them being education, if I recall rightly

        • dannybhoy

          Thanks Magnolia.
          I will watch it tomorrow.

  • DanJ0

    Article: “Right-wing Conservatives, however, are just a precarious breath away from the loony Kippers: those evil Tories spend their days scheming how they might best torture the disabled, victimise the vulnerable and the persecute the poor.”

    That is, indeed, how the majority of my virtual-me’s Facebook friends list think. Most of them are disabled, or home-carers, or in difficult circumstances, and they favour New Labour because they think New Labour has their best interests at heart. Facebook lends itself very well to the propagation of anti-Tory Internet memes.

    • CliveM

      Facebook sounds like Scotland!

      • The Inspector General

        Brilliant !
        You’re a scream at times Clive…

        • Most of Jack’s Facebook friends support Man United. That maybe because he ‘unfriends’ those who support teams like Man City or Liverpool.

          • CliveM

            A person I worked with (bristol Rovers fan) stopped speaking to his 6 yr old son who announced he was a Bristol City fan, until the poor kid recanted and apologised!!!

            Some people are a little unbalanced!

          • True – who on earth would support either Bristol Rovers or Bristol City ???

            (The actual point Jack was making is that Facebook Friends are a self selecting group)

          • dannybhoy

            Facebook supplies you with friends you never knew you wanted…

          • carl jacobs

            Envy is a terrible affliction, Jack.

          • This is very true, Carl.

  • The Inspector General

    Fraser making noise again ? Stirling news ! It means he’s upset…

    They’ll be plenty more to come from him and his ilk, as they see their socialist multicultural open border paradise come to an end. The Left shouts but doesn’t debate. They see no point in having their policies put up for scrutiny, because they’re not for revision. The left doesn’t do compromise, you see, it’s all or nothing, and they don’t do nothing.

    On a similar, the Inspector notes the self-important Cable is still crowing about the ‘benefits’ of immigration. Apparently, one immigrant is worth more than one Briton any day. Barely believably, he calls it sanity, so he does. Rather grand to see that as the Lib Dems face mass electoral extinction, they are going down slowly with all
    guns still firing.

    What shall we do with a politician who believes immigration strengthens society, chaps ? That’s right, we vote UKIP

    Tally ho !

    • CliveM

      Does anyone care what that shifty little party thinks?!

      There are debates and discussions to be had on immigration. But when insults are flung ie little Englanders (as a Scot I find that highly offensive!!) and accusations of unchristian bigotry are made, you know the perpetrator has no faith in their own argument.

      By the way I am not anti all immigration. I think that’s the debate to be had.

      • The Inspector General

        Apparently not anymore. Ask any honest Lib Dem, if you can find one, and he’ll tell you that protest votes make up around half of their support. There’s a new boy in town now when it comes to protest votes, as we’ve seen at the MEP elections recent.

        • CliveM

          I think they flatter themselves if they think 50% of their vote is a protest vote. It is higher then that.

          They have played at being the nice party, but as anyone who has been active in politics will tell you, if their are dirty tricks being played it is the Lib Dems who will be playing them.

          • The Inspector General

            Can’t abide the blighters meself. Never could. If political parties were personified, they’d be the cheap whore in the polka dot dress…

          • CliveM

            Cheap and poxed!

          • James60498 .

            Absolutely agree.

    • dannybhoy

      Very moving Panorama programme tonight on the employed struggling to survive on tax credits and benefits.
      The wife and I found it quite distressing, and again you wonder what on earth is the point of all this immigration. It’s not really helping our working classes, rather driving them into breakup and poverty.
      When we were kids we often ate bread and dripping or bread and jam, but I don’t think anyone doubted that things would get better, and they did.
      When you see young working couples with children stressed and struggling and no sign of improvement, we are taking away their hope.

      • The Inspector General

        If you can find any benefit of unregulated immigration, do say. Personally, one has nothing against our (hopefully temporary) EU guests. The grass being greener, and all that…

  • The Inspector General

    It’s a curious feature of the left, to have its present flagship as unrestricted immigration. It used to be power of the masses through unions until that fell flat on the emergence of a new reality, to wit, if you want to keep your job, you don’t vote for strike after strike, and you stop the unions from using you as political cannon-fodder in their battles with the powers that be.

    However, the unions promised their membership increased wages for their work, whether it would drive the employer out of business or not, but what appeal does unrestricted immigration have for the indigenous. Have the left come so far in their beliefs that they are now forgetting to bring the masses with them by order of bribery ?

    Fraser condemns little Englanders. At the other end of the spectrum, the present leader of the BNP last year described England as a multicultural sh_thole. The man in the street falls between the two poles. He’s been hard done by with immigration. His employment prospects may have been hurt by it. He’s probably paying more rent as the market forces of limited supply and excessive demand rule there. He might be waiting longer for an operation. And what is happening to him now will affect his children in the future. Yet through all this, one does not believe the man in the street considers himself a little Englander. As for this place being a multicultural whatever, just ask him. He’ll freely tell you the truth on that. Take your dog collar off and try it, Fraser…

    The politicians. They’ve stopped representing the people. They now oppose them.

    • dannybhoy

      The ‘colourful’ language is unnecessary though!

      • The Inspector General

        Most necessary. We use live ammunition on Cranmer…

        • The Inspector General

          Well, not actually ON Cranmer…

          • dannybhoy

            It’s a plan….

    • CliveM

      What do the left get from it? Well if the polls are to be believed, lots of votes. I think that gives an insight to the motivation.

  • bockerglory

    My local Vicar is too busy tending to his flock to have time to write articles for national papers. St Paul said don’t boast about your works so please Rev Giles stop boasting about your views and get on with helping the poor in spirit or poor in poverty.

  • davylongshanks

    The left have always assumed they have a monopoly on compassion. Not so.

  • Carl said early in the debate: “The essence of the gospel is that Christ died for sinners, and rose for their justification. A different gospel means a different religion.”

    Agreed, this is the Good News and is central. However, a focus on the poor and needy is a Christian duty as we are called to manifest the Love of God towards others in need. We have been warned we will be judged according to this.

    Jesus told us about a Christian’s action towards others.

    “Master, what must I do to possess eternal life?” Jesus was asked. ” … he said to him: What is written in the law? How readest thou? He answering, said: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and with thy whole soul and with all thy strength and with all thy mind: and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said to him: Thou hast answered right. This do: and thou shalt live.”

    He then went on to tell the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

    Jesus also told us through the Parable of the Sheep and Goats how we shall be judged.

    “Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in: Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me …….
    Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me “

    • The Inspector General

      So, we burn in hell do we for having immigration restrictions.

      • Lol ….. is that how you understood what Jack wrote?
        Or perhaps you are you simply looking for disagreement? This would be most uncharacteristic of you.You may be judged for your attitude and manner towards those of the “lesser races” and for the motives you hold for wanting to restrict immigration.

        • The Inspector General

          You’re an arse Jack. A self serving one at that, who’s not afraid to twist the bible for his own ends. A good Catholic boy like you too. Leave the bible for those who are best suited to interpret it, our priests. Otherwise you’ll end up like some of the protestant extreme that haunt this site. It’s already affecting you, don’t think the Inspector hasn’t missed the signs…

          • Ah, you do want an argument.

            Do you know the social teachings of the Catholic Church?

            Have a read of ‘The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church’ published in 2004, after approval by Saint Pope John Paul, before ill-informed comments such as this: “Leave the bible for those who are best suited to interpret it, our priests.”

          • The Inspector General

            This man will put you right when you err in future. Don’t you worry about that…

          • Actually, Happy Jack would worry greatly about that …. if he paid any attention, that is.

          • IanCad

            Inspector wrote:

            “Leave the bible for those who are best suited to interpret it, our priests.”

            That you IG, of all people, would allow another man to do your thinking for you seems entirely out of character for one – of all who post on this site – who is just about the most original, outrageous and creative blogger around.

            You disappoint me.

          • Oh, don’t be too disappointed. The good Inspector freely rejects Catholic teachings when it suits.

          • The Inspector General

            One is loath to disappoint you, Iancad, and is delighted to find to his own satisfaction that he has not done so on this occasion.

            When instructing young Jack, who is rather
            obtuse even on the best of days and needs to be led by the nose, one must resort to “do as I say, not as I do”

            For his own good, you understand.

            It is better that someone else does his thinking for him, even
            priests, than to leave it to himself, and the strange results that brings…

    • dannybhoy

      Jack my own view is that caring for the poor is but a facet of the whole Gospel. When we come across the poor or hungry of course we should respond, but nowhere in the New Testament do we see this as the Gospel.
      My other concern in line with the recorded practices of the New Testament, is that there are in churches Christians who are struggling to pay bills or stay warm or eat, and the members of the church don’t know or are embarrassed about it.
      If the Body of Christ is not looking after its own, that too is wrong.

      • Danny, the ‘common good’ is the responsibility of our politicians and a difficult task they have too balancing all the competing interests and attempting to see all our needs are properly met.

        Jack is neither ‘right’ nor ‘left’ wing in these matters.

        “When we come across the poor or hungry of course we should respond, but nowhere in the New Testament do we see this as the Gospel.”

        As Carl said earlier, the essence of the Good News is our salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, scripture is full of references of a Christian’s duty to others and, by implication, how we should act as citizens. We cannot hive our faith off into a ‘personal’ box.

        Luke 10 and Matthew 25 are part of the Gospel too.

        • dannybhoy

          HJ,
          Luke 10:8-12
          “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.”

          That was the great commission the Lord gave to His disciples, to preach the Kingdom of God and to validate what he disciples said by healing and deliverance.
          It goes without saying that a Christian would do good to all men. How could they not, it being one of the fruits of the Spirit. So in my own little world we look to do kind and helpful acts. We may be moved to give money anonymously or to give people lifts or have them to meals. That’s what we should want to do.

          My point is (and I don’t think we disagree) is that looking after the poor is only a part of the Gospel, so whilst some may be called to that ministry it is not the whole Gospel.

          • We do agree and it is all a question of emphasis.
            Happy Jack had Luke 10: 25-30 more in mind.

            “Master, what must I do to possess eternal life? But he said to him: What is written in the law? How readest thou? He answering, said: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and with thy whole soul and with all thy strength and with all thy mind: and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said to him: Thou hast answered right. This do: and thou shalt live. But he willing to justify himself, said to Jesus: And who is my neighbour?”

            Charity and selflessness is indeed a fruit of the Spirit it is but one we have to respond to and consciously implement, setting aside our own narrow interests which can sometimes intrude and are conditioned by the way we see situations.

          • dannybhoy

            Absolutely HJ
            A question of emphasis and one which I tie in with giving both as a Christian and as a Christian citizen.

  • Johnnyrvf

    What is that written in the bible about knowing a person by what they do rather than what they say? and even more important Christ’s last commandment to ‘ Love one another’ which I always understood to be able to heed the concerns of others without hating or judging. A lot of UKIP supporters are not little englanders but people who have serious concerns about the direction of their country. He might be a ‘nice’ guy but I don’t see it and truth trumps mr ‘nice’ guy every time. Perhaps he should study proper Christian theology instead of Fabian fantasy.

    • The terribly nice Giles seems to misunderstand the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He has written:

      “For, once again, what [Dr. Jeffrey Philip Hywel John] has been saying is nothing other than a truth known by most people in the pews: that the idea of God murdering his son for the salvation of the world is barbaric and morally indefensible. It turns Christianity into ‘cosmic child abuse.”

      • Johnnyrvf

        If that is what he has written he has no worthwhile spiritual comprehension of the Resurrection and Christ’s purpose on earth. But then he is no Christian, just some other unenlightened socialist with an ego bigger than his intellect who acts out a fantasy to gain a nod from the adversary, who despises him ( Giles ) more than Giles does UKIP supporters.

        • So far as Jack is concerned, what’s wrong with this “cosmic child abuse” position is that it misrepresents the Atonement as ‘murder’ of a son by a vindictive and wrathful father. This could not be further from the truth. It overlooks the fact that Jesus was God incarnate and freely and voluntarily sacrificed Himself.

          • Darter Noster

            The fact that you can get into trouble with the CoE for having the wrong political views but not for denying the divinity of Christ tells you everything you need to know about the institution.

          • The ‘theory’ was first put forward by one Jeffrey Philip Hywel John, the current Dean of St Albans.

            “He made headlines in 2003 when he was the first person to have openly been in a same-sex relationship to be nominated as a Church of England bishop …..
            In August 2006, John and the Reverend Grant Holmes entered into a civil partnership.”

            (Wiki)

            One can safely assume he is a liberal modernist with a personal agenda.

            He put forward his ideas on BBC Radio 4 in Holy Week 2007, saying the idea of Christ dying to satisfy the wrath of his father: “It was worse than illogical, it was insane. It made God sound like a psychopath.” He believes there is no wrath in God – it being an old fashioned notion.

            The theology of the Atonement is nuanced and such a one sided misrepresentation of it is scandalous. The Christian position, to those on the pews properly taught, is that Christ’s cross had a sacrificial character before God the Father. Only an infinite God could provide the infinite satisfaction for man’s offence to God. Yet, only a man can satisfy the offence since he caused the offense. But man is in a state of sin. Therefore, God became man. However, because Jesus was God incarnate, it wasn’t all about Justice and Wrath. It also reflected the Love of God, in the Person of Jesus, for us. To stress Wrath at the expense of Love misses an essential ingredient. So too omitting giving satisfaction to God’s Justice.

          • Rejection of Penal Substitution does not make one a revisionist. It is one particular perspective on the Atonement and certainty not the most ancient.

          • Well, Jack agrees as he doesn’t subscribe to protestant ‘Penal Substitution’ doctrine and its logical follow-up of ‘Limited Atonement’. These emphasise the Wrath of God and the omission of the Love of God and, in Jack’s view, is biblically unsound.

            However, out and out rejection of Christ’s sacrifice to restore man’s relationship with God is revisionist. It was Love that
            gave Christ’s sacrifice its value as redemptive and reparatory as atonement and satisfaction – not receiving our
            punishment to offset God’s wrath. This is a Christian theology that goes back centuries. Jesus freely offered his life as an expiatory sacrifice and made reparation for our sins with His Love. It was the good work of Christ, His
            commitment to loving sinful man, even in the midst of His persecution, that led St Paul to describe His sacrifice as a “pleasing aroma”.

            If Giles et al. are shifting away from this view of ‘atonement’ as one in which the guilt and punishment due to one person
            is simply transferred to another, then it is one Jack rejects too. However, don’t they go further and overstress Love at the expense of a necessary self sacrifice by the Second Person of the Trinity?

            [3]

          • Johnnyrvf

            I was bought up under the duristiction of the Patriarchate of Moscow in the Orthodox Church in Knightsbridge. The srtongest impression from those who had escaped the Soviet regimes persecution was one of forgiveness and a desire to see beyond the concious thoughts of a person. However that did not mean speaking out forcefully against falsehood. My understanding of Christs attonement is that God put part of himself to ‘death’ for the sins of mankind such is his passion for us. I have found it very difficult to have serious conversations with some protestants because they don’t recognize the deep and enduring compassion of God.

          • dannybhoy

            Johnny
            You should find lots of serious conversations here!
            As for the atonement my own understanding is that the second person of the Trinity the Son, took the form of a man and as our Paschal Lamb He allowed His human form to be put to death.
            Because He was a sinless man death could not hold Him
            -Alleluia!
            The wages of sin is death… Romans 6:23
            So yes, the second person of the Trinity experienced birth, life and death for us and for our salvation, and is still found in Heaven (in the form of a man.. )
            The words in brackets should be in italics, but I haven’t sussed out how to do that properly yet.
            I had the privilege to visit the USSR as it was back in the mid seventies and attended a church service in I think Odessa.
            The USSR was a real eye opener.

          • avi barzel

            Like this: italicised text here but no spaces between the brackets and letters.

            A convention for HTML is not available: *italicised text*

          • dannybhoy

            Todah Rebah Avi. Happy Jack has already tried to explain it, but Danny’s bulb burns ever dimmer..

            Oh! It worked this time.
            Wow!
            A humorist,
            A writer,
            A teacher;
            If you were English instead of Canadian you’d be perfect…. 🙂

          • avi barzel

            Tovakashah, dannybhoy, you have now joined a special elite, a brotherhood of Titans. Respect and don’t abuse the power of the html and don’t worry about your bulb; it’s clear that it burns brightly.

          • dannybhoy

            Avi
            Do you speak modern Evrit or classical Hebrew or even Yiddish?

          • avi barzel

            Neither; got religion somewhat late in life. Comprehension proceeds articulation, as they say, so I can read and understand partially the weekday and sabbath prayers and the Torah portions in the Classical, struggle through the Aramaic in the Gemara and that’s about it. I’ve met Evangelicals who do far better than I in Classical and Modern, and my ears burn….

          • dannybhoy

            I struggle with reading Classical Hebrew. I did learn some at ulpan but have forgotten most. I did better with Evrit. I love Jewish humour and I loved Israel.
            Would you call yourself a baal teshuvah?
            ps
            As long as they don’t catch on fire I wouldn’t worry about it…

          • Smart ……….. Well done.

          • avi barzel

            All due to enforced brevity by having to type with one finger on my hated device. On a keyboard I would have been more wordy and incomprehensible.

          • For sure, this aspect of the Love in the Atonement of Christ is open to being downplayed by some protestants – especially those who believe Christ died only for the predestined elect and those holding to imputed righteousness. It can also be overplayed by liberal theologians.

            Jack’s eyes were opened about all this when he began to learn more about St. Anselm’s ‘Why Did God Become Man?’ (Cur Deus Homo?) and about the disputes and disagreements this triggered between him, Peter Abelard and St. Bernard.

            Ps

            Did you mean “However that did not mean speaking out forcefully against falsehood.”

          • Johnnyrvf

            Apologies. Yes and also by forcefully I did not mean aggressively, I meant with courage of conviction. As to reading I have read little outside of the Saints such as Maximus the Confessor, St John Chrysostom. St John of Kronstat and other more recent saints.

          • dannybhoy
          • Thanks Danny.

            Anselm’s theology cannot be described as “Penal substitution” in the more usual protestant sense. The introduction says Anselm argued that “Christ was substituted in our place and paid our penalty.” Yet, Anselm was more subtle than this. He talks about Christ’s satisfaction for sin as a “precious the gift … that the Son freely gave.” and the “reward for freely giving such a great gift to God.” was human salvation.

            Here’s a link to Anselm’s ground breaking insights in his book ‘Why God Became Man’. It is worth a slow read:

            http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/anselm-curdeus.asp

            And here’s a link to a recent dispute between a Catholic and (Jack thinks?) a Calvinist on ‘Penal Substitution’.

            http://catholicnick.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/does-catholic-view-of-christs-atonement.html

            Isolated and exaggerate any one theological theory and one runs into error.

          • dannybhoy

            Happy Jack. There are so many interpretations of the Atonement you can truly boggle your mind!
            Personally I hold to the belief that God is loving, compassionate, forgiving, righteous and holy.
            He showed His love for us and satisfied the needs of righteousness and holiness through Jesus Christ.
            I think this pretty much sums it up for me..

            Ezekiel 18,
            “30Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD.
            Return ye, and turn yourselves from all your
            transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.
            31Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereto ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house
            of Israel?
            32For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live.”

            Beautiful.

            I’m also quite a fan of Francis Shaeffer and his understanding of our faith..

          • There are various theories of the atonement and Jack thinks they are well worth the effort to understand.

            The Catholic theology of the Mass cannot be fully grasped within the ‘Penal Substitution’ understanding. This theory also rationally lends itself to ‘Limited Atonement’ and to the belief in ‘imputed’ as opposed to ‘infused’ righteousness.

            All that said, these matters remain a deep mystery.

      • dannybhoy

        I don’t have problems with Christians who doubt. All of us have times of doubt. Even really nice people like me..
        No, what I have problems with are members of the clergy who not only have doubts, they wear them like medals whilst continuing in positions of influence and responsibility in the Church.
        Now to me the only thing that would convince me to wear funny xdressesx vestments or a pointy hat and indulge in strange or antiquated rituals would be that my God was calling me to do so…
        So if you have lost your faith you stay because………?

        • CliveM

          I have been told that amongst the Anglo Catholics, the party frocks and pointy hats etc are part of the attraction for some!

          • dannybhoy

            Tsk!
            I was trying to be diplomatic Clive. 😉

  • Question: “Why do left-wing clerics insult and alienate right-wing laity?”

    Answer: Left-wing clerics have abandoned the Truth of the Gospel and replaced it with a relativist, humanist ideology, devoid of God’s revealed absolute morality, that doesn’t stand up to biblical exegesis.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      I think that is true HJ. The answer is not really complicated. In my view, politics and religion don’t generally mix well; not because they are conflicting views of the same thing, but because one is a human analysis of our human circumstances, the other is God’s analysis of us as his creation according to His immutable law.
      It is of course fashionable to demonise UKIP supporters, especially as the party is now on the ascendency and poses a serious threat to the LibLabCon conglomerate. Thankfully, nobody is taking these attacks seriously. I do not see UKIP as a vehicle for getting to a more “Christian” UK particularly, but it does embody many of the values I also hold. That includes a sense of national, cultural, and religious identity, which has been diluted or lost altogether thanks to multi-cultis in Westminster. I have just renewed my UKIP membership for the year and am delighted to be a supporter.

      • dannybhoy

        P-I
        My understanding is that the early Christians lived in an Empire, the Emperor was worshipped and whether slave or freeman they had no say in their society.
        Two thousand years later and we live in a democratic society in which we have privileges and responsibilities

  • Charles Cottam

    Sorry Rev Fraser but that sort of attitude makes me despise your ilk and all like- minded leleaders in our church. I despair because such entrenched, self righteous cant shows me how far removed you are from understanding God’s renewed emphasis on prophecy and the prophetic. So you cannot understand Islam, Israel or the deperation felt by many lay people that we are lead by those with a genuine prophetic calling able to say to their congregations ” Thus saith the Lord!”
    Unless you understand this you cannot be a man of God . You are a manager of opinion or a dowdy CEO instead.
    Go on cast off your ridiculous lefty clothes and listen to what the Spirit is saying. Alternatively read about Smith Wigglesworth and sign up for Canon Whites Facebook account

  • likes2lurk

    How can a Christian despise anyone?

    • Quite. Fraser is an idiot, and now just another tool of/at The Guardian. Pay him no heed and hopefully he’ll shut up.

  • A significant number of clergy I have worked with have been right of centre. However right of centre clergy do not sell newspapers.

    Bishop Pete and Giles represent very different expressions of the Christian left. Bishop Pete being an evangelical, Giles is not. As a teenager I grew up in a theologically non-conformist conservative environment that was very Old Labour. I have since worked with Tory theological liberals. There is no direct correlation between theological party and political party.

    Clergy are lower paid well educated professionals, who rely on state education and healthcare for their families, and frequently engage with social problems that they do not have access to the resources to solve. Clergy also struggle to own property. It may be considered short sighted, but surely the natural tendency would be for clergy to support a party that taxes those wealthier than themselves, invests in public services that benefit them personally and professionally, and is not obsessed with property ownership?

    Or am I being too cynical?

    • avi barzel

      Cynical? No. Rather refreshing to see someone pay attention to what drives…at least in the aggregate… our cultural and intellectual choices.

    • dannybhoy

      You’re being too cynical..
      Not to boast but in my life I have done 17 years of unpaid voluntary work, my longest spell out of work was two years, and we once lost everything in a business venture and had to start again in our 50’s.
      I remain a believer in Conservative values.

      • Which conservative values? I tend between Blue Labour and Red Tory, so we probably share some.

        • dannybhoy

          Quite likely.
          A lot of my political thinking was influenced by my experiences as a volunteer on Israeli kibbutzim back in the ’70s and guided by my evangelical Christian faith.
          So I know that socialism can work because I experienced it working on kibbutz. Every member of the kibbutz was committed to the philosophy.
          I know that Capitalism works because it recognises the self interest of human nature.
          I think in the future we will see a state imposed form of socialism as the world’s resources shrink and our world becomes more polluted.

  • avi barzel

    A brilliant piece, Your Grace; one of your best. Shows what having a good breakfast will do….

  • Hi your Grace,

    An interesting post. I think this is where the gulf is with the political left lies: it doesn’t appreciate that one can believe in abolishing the welfare state, but be actually very compassionate when it comes to helping the poor, because the left believes the only way to or the only institution that can provide welfare is the state. This overlooks many right wingers who do support and “help” the poor, sometimes in better ways than the state, for the money not only goes to feed people, but also to retrain, educate and do something for the long term. Jews are officially supposed to give 10% of their income to charity, for example, so the state isn’t the only way of providing for the wider community nor is the state the only or ideal medium to do so. Of course there are some matters that are best left with the state, such as defence.

    Whilst I’m a mixture of left and right in political beliefs, I also find that I part company with the left utterly when it comes to supporting Israel and the Jewish state. Again something bizarre because Zionism was founded as a left wing philosophy/ national liberation movement. But the left hates Israel, despite it being the only democratic society in the middle east, one which doesn’t persecute minorities and the only place where homosexuality is legal. I saw that with the one sided biased coverage of the defensive war in Gaza, over the summer. And the attitude that Jews ” have it coming” in this country because of that war.

    As for UKIP, 2 points :

    1. When there’s a referendum, we’ll see that the established parties and media will do them what was done to the SNP(and I ponder if kippers will be as bad as cyber nats, during the campaign).

    2. During the recent European elections, UKIP fielded a Jewish Hasidic rabbi as a candidate. But rather than acknowledge that this shows the party not to be as narrow as the critics make out, all the media could do was focus on the story about him not shaking hands with women…. which is funny because many on the left are vocal to defend the practice of Islamic women wearing burkhas etc, which you could argue is equally sexist or patriarchal as a belief….

    • CliveM

      Hannah

      I think you are wrong regards UKIP and the media during any referendum campaign. Whereas the media was fairly solidly anti-Scottish independence, I think the media will be more supportive of withdrawal from the EU. Daily mail and Express spring to mind for a start.
      Secondly cybernats and UKIP. The SNP have a younger average demographic then UKIP and will therefore be more social media savvy. I don’t see that ‘cyberkips’ would be a big problem!

      Now to get flack for suggesting UKIPERS are, how can I say, more predominantly of a certain generation!!

      • Hi Clive,

        When I foray into the telegraph blogs (note to inspector, they DO, as with the j post, use live rounds there), there is a band of solid UKIPers, among others. I hope I’m wrong on the issue of the referendum. It very much depends on the wording and what Cameron negotiates with the eu. Assuming he’ll still be PM, of course after 2015 and assuming he isn’t propped up by the liberal democrats.

        • CliveM

          Yes I have seen a lot of UKIPERS comments on the Telegraph and Mail sights as well. If their ever is a referendum it will be interesting. I just don’t see that it will get as vicious and as threatening as the Scottish referendum. I saw things on my wife’s Facebook that were appalling.

          • Hi Clive,

            Yes, I did hear that it got quite nasty. I hope things have died down a bit now…

      • dannybhoy

        Darn right they are Clive! (he said, hanging onto his zimmer frame)
        At least there won’t be any bullyboy tactics..

    • avi barzel

      Hi Hannah, well, since you already veered off a tad, a comment about the UKIP rabbi. While the press did show bias, I think the rabbi is in the wrong halakhically by committing the serious sin of shaming someone (halbanat panim; lit., causing one’s face to blanch) which is a greater aveira than the debatable humra of not shaking a woman’s hand because it might lead one to lust. One need not initiate a handshake with a woman, but if she extends her hand, he should shake it properly as social convention dictates, as do even many black-hats. It is a norm among the Orthodox to apply acceptable leniencies in minhag when taking on a public position. Nothing like a bissle of Torah-schmuess on an Anglican blog, eh?

      • CliveM

        Avi

        I think I just about worked out what you are saying!!

        • Shall we revert to Scots?

          • CliveM

            I did consider it but decides I didn’t want to sound like the Broons!

          • avi barzel

            Och na, nae again jack. Unless it’s yin o’ th’ concession Cameron made tae th’ indepence pairtie.

          • dannybhoy

            that’s Canadian Scots surely!

          • avi barzel

            Ha, another dig at us suffering Canadians, I see. Next thing I’ll hear about how the Toronto Leafs can’t bring home the Stanley Cup. Or a reminder than Justin Bieber is a Canadian. Anyhow, would have to ask my Scots wife…not that she’ll necessarily know being non-Gaelic speaking Anderson clan lowlander…but for now, blame the http://www.scotranslate.com translation engine.

          • CliveM

            Scots – is what lowlanders speak. Think Rabbie Burns

          • avi barzel

            I pay homage to “Rabbi” Burns on the 25th of January as, properly fortified with a few wee drops of single malt I try to slur my way through the Address to the Haggis. Highlander and lowlander Scots become a bit blurred at that time….

          • Hi happy Jack,

            Interestingly whilst there are English to Scottish translation pages, I can’t find a site to translate the Scottish. I DID try Scottish to Klingon and it seemed to work ok (:

          • CliveM

            !! If you get bored with Scots, look up the Doric.

          • Hi Clive,

            I will do when I’ve finished reading/ translating various family journals of my parents and grandparents. They’re written in different languages and flit between Arabic, Jewish Arabic, Hebrew, Ladino, French and English. Quite a challenge. I’ve been reading about the farud pogrom in 1941, as written by my grandmother. Made me cry.

          • CliveM

            Hi Hannah

            Had to look up the Farhud Pogrom. The British didn’t do to well. It must be hard reading such family history.

          • Closely guarded secret, Hannah.

          • Scots or scotch? (:

            How’s things with your daughters baby?

          • Grandchild 9 days late and we’re all getting anxious !

            Apparently Catherine has a very tight cervix. The midwife has carried out a couple of procedures – Jack will spare you the details. If there’s no natural labour by Friday, then the baby will be induced.

            Missed ‘Grandparent’s Day’ on Sunday – was hoping for a good Irish and a cigar too.

          • Hi happy Jack

            Thinking of you all…..

        • avi barzel

          Ha! Now you know how I feel when you Christian fellows get really going and I have to wear out the Google engine. I usually translate, but didn’t want to come across as a patronizing prig to Miss Hannah who is quite learned.

          • CliveM

            Frankly I have to google a chunk of what is said on this site. Mentioning no names, but should we ask HJ to translate for us a bit more!

        • Hi Clive,

          I’ll try and provide the definitions:

          Halaknah: Jewish law as based upon the Torah, the Talmud and to its broadest, post Talmud era rabbinical decisions or writing .

          Hashkafa: Jewish philosophical position

          Tiznuit: Jewish modesty laws

          Kol isha: the prohibition of women signing in front of men

          Neigah: the idea of non married men and women touching each other, outside of one’s family circle.

          Sephardi : Jews of Spain, but today meaning Jews descended from southern Europe, middle east, northern Africa and Asia. Sometimes including the Ethiopian Jews of beta Israel. Traditionally we speak Ladino (Spanish/Hebrew) and Jewish Arabic. We don’t have denominations as such, so we are reasonably broad in our orthodoxy.

          Ashkenazi: Jews of Germany, but today meaning Jews descended from northern Europe, eastern and central Europe and who are either haredi, Hasidic, modern orthodox or reform. Traditionally they speak Yiddish (German/Hebrew).

          That’s just a brief outline, but I hope it helps.

          • CliveM

            Hannah

            Thanks. One of the joys of this site it finding out how profoundly ignorant one is! 🙂

          • Hi Clive,

            That’s what’s fab about this site! I won’t mention that this week it’s sukkot and we’re eating in a sukkah , a booth, or in effect a gazebo, for a week (:

          • CliveM

            Why?!!!

          • Hi Clive,

            Sukkot is celebrated for 2 reasons: first as an agricultural “harvest festival” and secondly to remember the time we spent in the wilderness.

            Leviticus 23: 33 to 34: “on the 15th day of this 7th month is the festival of sukkot, 7 days for the L-rd”

            And then later:” you will dewell in booths for 7 days: all Israel shall dwell in booths” (Leviticus 23:42).

            It is also referenced in Nehemiah (chapter 8 verses 13 to 18) and expanded upon in our Talmud. In the diaspora we celebrate the festival for an extra day.

          • CliveM

            It was the gazebo bit that really startled! Beginning to think Christianity doesn’t have enough feasting. It seems to lack in that department in comparison with other faiths!!
            Thanks for the explanation.

          • Hi Clive,

            It was the best way I could describe it. Google a sukkah and you’ll get an idea. The purpose is the symbolism, as with our special daily prayers during this time ( a lulva and a fruit that looks like a lemon, called an etrog) and of course it’s great fun! A bit like camping in one’s backyard for a week (:

          • CliveM

            Have looked it up on google. So do you sleep out in it at night? Are you for or against cloth walls provided they don’t move more the three hand widths?

            Don’t need to answer, just showing off!!!

          • dannybhoy

            Clive,
            Feast of Succhot..
            http://judaism.about.com/od/holidays/a/whatissukkot.htm
            The guy is looking for imperfections in his lulav (read the article for an explanation)

          • CliveM

            Thanks for the link.

          • dannybhoy

            Clive if you are at all interested in Israel, its society, government, history archaeology etc. may I recommend this website..
            http://unitedwithisrael.org/
            It’s a very interesting mix of contemporary life, the people archaeology, religion etc. Practically anything you might want to know about the country and the people you’ll find it here.

          • CliveM

            Thanks, will take time later to read it.

          • dannybhoy

            Hannah that’s quite evangelical in its way…. 🙂

      • Hi Avi,

        Not to worry as I quite agree with that, I don’t agree with what this rabbi said, just like I was embarrassed with the recent episode on an airline, when haredi refused to sit next to women passengers. in my mind I was comparing the outcry on the left when the man said what he did, with the left’s support of women wearing burkhas in Islam. To liberal progressive eyes, surely both should be criticized for their sexist approach (?), but this was overlooked because it was UKIP.

        My own stance towards tizniut, is to follow it without going to extremes, so I take a lenient position ( which is the Sephardic mentality through and through). It’s not difficult in today’s society, because a lot of women my age go to work with heavy make-up, high heels, skirts barely covering their assets and tops that show their boobs. I don’t dress like that, because that’s not modest(my married sisters do wear bandanas, but not wigs because the view is in Sephardic circles is that wigs have become too sexy).

        Like wise with kol isha, I do sing in front of non family men, but as they are goyim, this doesn’t apply. If I had non family Jewish men, it depends on what’s being sung. No Britney, but a psalm is ok (ie providing nothing sexual is in the songs).

        Regarding neigah, which is what this rabbi was on about, I agree with the lenient approach you’ve given and that’s my view as well. My brother extended that principle recently when we were entertaining a south Korean client at his home( I work in the family biz). They’d gone out of their way to agree to eat kosher and had brought a bottle of expensive Israeli wine for the meal. Unfortunately it was not meshuvah and it had already been drunk, so it couldn’t be drunk. But we did because our custom is quite biased towards hospitality, that and in Asia they do study the Talmud and Jewish scriptures with a lot of respect , do have an emphasis on family and because in Asia saving face and not being embarrassed publicly is important.

        • avi barzel

          Yes, it is a clash between the Hareidi and centrist and Modern orthodox. I take the more stridently modernische view that antics such as pulling crazy stunts to avoid a handshake or being a pain in the arse by standing throughout a flight in order to avoid an added stricture is more problematic than being reasonable as it leads to hillul ha Shem (desacration of the Name) and opens Jews to unnecessary ridicule over a point of minhag…as we can see by the hostile press reports which expended more column inches on those stories than on ISIS beheadings. Besides, if a dude gets hot under the collar from a mere handshake or from sitting beside a woman, he’s got way bigger issues.

          • Hi avi,

            I quite agree! (:

          • dannybhoy

            I would take issue anyway with the idea that doing all this stuff is the mark of a truly pious believer or a club member obeying the rules.
            As a Christian I find it fascinating, but I think I would feel trapped by it too.

      • dannybhoy

        I thought the handshaking bit had to do with (ahem) a monthly biological event?

        • Hi Danny,

          Wrong section of Jewish law, I think that you’re referring to niddah?

          • dannybhoy

            Yep, and I thought that was the main reason for not touching a woman, for fear of ‘impurity’ The mikvah is used for cleansing or better, purification I think.

          • Hi Danny,

            See Avi’s reply above (:

        • avi barzel

          Common assumption, but applies to one’s wife when she is in a state of niddah, before she has immersed in the ritual bath, the mikvah. Assumption being that after sleeping apart for about two weeks, the couple is verily climbing the walls and a little “accidental” touch here and a little fleeting touch there and next thing…..well, you get it. One’s wife is the only person with whom sexual touching is permissible and in the right circumstances obligatory, which is why one may appropriately touch a female relative or a stranger even though they may be niddah.

          I note that Miss Hanna has provided ample detail…although her Sephardic transliterated spelling of the Hebrew words is a bit different from the Ashkenasi.

          • Hi avi,

            Yeah, sorry about that, my Ashkenazi friends pick on this as well, but they prefer Sephardic food to gelifite fish (:

            Although I don’t get why shabbos is pronounced shabbis? I got long email about how shabbat is an incorrect word , from a haredi guy in a kollel. I politely replied that he shouldn’t be speaking to me bein female. He replied that as I was a ok lesbian/ heretic it didn’t matter, I was soooo tempted to forward his email to the messianic Jew who decided to email me about why I should stop being a rabbinical heretic and follow you know who….

          • avi barzel

            You see what I mean about some of the yevishivish Hareidi set?They study and daven all day and then get the basics all mixed up because their rebbes’ heads are usually in the clouds and don’t bother to instruct them on the practicals. Ashkenazi pronunciation is of influenced by Slavic diphthongs and most, including me, will agree that the Sephardic is more historically accurate….and practical as well, as it delineates between s and t ‘s. There is no ruling I know of where one or the other has been invalidated.

            Neither does being a lesbian remove your full status as a Jewish woman, nor does he have any grounds to suggest that you are a min, a heretic. For presumably saying such things to you, he has offended you and should do sincere teshuva. Bloody boor. As for you communicating in a friendly way with the Messianic fellow, well, he is considered a heretic if he’s a Jew and unless you do so for purposes of kiruv, to bring him back, I think there you might be running into a problem.

          • Hi Avi,

            I quite agree. Such is the joys of cyberspace!

            Regarding pronunciations, I use both pronunciations interchangeably, and I’m trying to improve my Yiddish, but anyways, having a regional English accent makes it even more interesting, e.g. one of my friends is from Essex, another from Newcastle….

          • Uncle Brian

            On the third hand, so I’ve had it explained to me, the standard pronunciation of modern Israeli Hebrew is a manufactured (so to speak) blend of the other two, to make the process of assimilation as straightforward as possible for immigrants from all over the world. They did away, for instance, with a guttural consonant that is only heard in Sephardic and that Ashkenazim found almost impossible to pronounce, at the same time making corresponding concessions to Sephardic speakers. Have I got it right?

          • Hi uncle Brian,

            I’d say Ashkenazi pronunciation is more guttural, or at least Yiddish is. Israeli Hebrew does lend itself more to Sephardic pronunciation….but given that Jews are from all over the world the language isn’t static, but a blend as a lot Sephardic and Ashkenazi intermarry and service in the IDF means both communities have been brought together (except for the unfortunate attitudes of the fundamentalist sections of the haredi , who are hostile towards anyone outside of their bubble). There is also quite a large Russian speaking population in Israel now, who were the refusniks, banned from learning Hebrew during the Soviet era. Of course we are all convent people and when we stood at Sinai to receive the Torah from God, we did so as Jews, not as Ashkenazi or Sephardic.

          • dannybhoy

            Thanks for that Avi. Hannah has explained quite a few things on her own blog and despite the theological differences between us I think it’s wonderful that Jews and Christians are communicating and sharing together.

    • dannybhoy

      Good post Hannah.
      My sister who is a Labour supporter couldn’t understand how I could work with disturbed children and adults in care and remain a Conservative.
      I believe God expects us all to have the dignity of working according to our ability whilst being supported by our brethren if necessary.
      In fact on one left wing kibbutz I was on the motto of
      “From each according to his ability and to each according to his need”
      was their guiding principle, and I had absolutely no problem with that.
      You’re right that right and left political wings hate Israel but the Left has no problem supporting the rights of Muslims..
      I sincerely hope that UKIP does not resort to underhand or bullyboy tactics, and I would not remain a member if I thought they were covertly racist -although I am sure there are some individuals who are.

      • Hi Danny,

        Thanks for that . I suspect that it’ll be the other side that will use underhanded tactics. Both will be bullish or bullying I think.

  • Albert

    alienating all who derive the same simple-souled inspiration to social works of compassion from quite a different political tradition or philosophy of theology.

    And there’s the rub. I know people who think that it is unintelligent to be on the Left. It’s not that they lack compassion, it’s that they think Left-wing solutions do not work. So if you say Christianity = the Left, you say Christianity = unintelligent. But Dr Fraser’s first role is surely to bring people to Christ, not Marx. So why set up an ideology which will simply alienate people, one should be calling?

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    ‘Tis the strangest thing, but I have never seen Dr Fraser and Mr Slope in the same room at the same time together…hmmmmmmm

    • Uncle Brian

      Well, Mrs P., I have never seen Giles Fraser anywhere, so I wouldn’t care to speculate. In any case, I wouldn’t want to cast a slur on Mr Slope’s reputation as an irreproachable member of the Anglican clergy.

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        Dear Uncle Brian, Mr Slope is a paragon of virtue…or do I mean a virtual pariah?

  • grutchyngfysch

    I stopped worrying about the views of such clergy when I started to note just how heterodox they are on a range of theological issues.

    It stings a lot less to be told you are unchristian when your critic is openly and proudly heretical. The only Person whose opinion we should be caring about is Jesus. Aye, but there’s the rub: He never was one for easy political solutions or cheap moralising. We must be salt and light whether we walk on the left or the right.