Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Public prayer to be outlawed in France

A dark and frightening warning for our future from France.  Say goodbye to any outdoor processions of the Blessed Virgin or the Sacrament through the streets.  Presumably, you could be arrested for saying grace before a meal outside a cafĂ© or crossing yourself as a hearse passes. They are even threatening to use force. Yet you can wear a belt instead of a skirt or eff and blind as loudly as you like. This, apparently, is less offensive to the French public's sympathies. How long before France encourages the EU to adopt and impose this oppressive legislation on its member states, I wonder? This is very much a time for solidarity with our Muslim brethren. 

Friday, 23 September 2011

Society for the Promotion of Pagan Knowledge

A new society has been formed with an ambitious agenda.  A well-organised and highly educated cabal of zealous volunteers around the nation means to infiltrate as many state schools as it can. Its avowed aim is to inseminate infant minds with the fruits of pagan learning.
And I heartily approve.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

I have often wondered whether the Church of England might be the spiritual wing of the Labour Party, but I never thought of the Church Times as the Socialist Worker - until 26 August, when a Trotskyite tirade by one Dr Northcott was juxtaposed with Simon Parke preaching that all property is theft.
Presumably the editor thought Northcott's political musings suitable for publication because of the bit of Christianity tagged on at the end.  Yet it would take a cynic indeed to believe, as Northcott opined, that the wicked Tories want to destroy state education, the NHS and the notion of society, or that their economic policy is intended as a clandestine assault on democracy.  I think I last heard such conspiracy theories from a Marxist undergraduate in 1997.
Dr Northcott is right that capitalism is partly to blame for the recent riots.  But his argument is insufficient because the rioters are also the product of a Labour government which poured unprecedentedly vast (borrowed) funds into welfare, education and the health system.
A more balanced analysis might suggest that we are suffering from the worst elements not just of capitalism, but also of liberalism and socialism.  The best of liberalism instils self-criticism, the worst self-justification; the best of capitalism a work ethic, the worst greed; the best of socialism care for the weak, the worst a sense of entitlement.  Combine that sense of entitlement with a lust for luxuries and the belief that one's actions are beyond reproach, and you have exactly the 'sheer criminality' that the Prime Minister has diagnosed.
Socialists do not have a monopoly on social justice, and many of Dr Northcott's fellow Christians voted Conservative in the belief that poverty will be lifted only by reducing the dependency of the poor on the State.  Measures to this end include boosting economic prosperity, restoring the nuclear family to its position as the base social unit, and returning to the quality of education lost when grammar schools were closed in the name of leftist ideology.  It is uncharitable to write these off as crypto-neoconservative moneygrabbing.
As an aside, after Dr Pridmore's drubbing in that week's Letters, where he dismissed most worship songs as the vacuous trash that they are, he may be pleased to know that many ordinands still believe that the Church should be bringing the best of culture to the poor, rather than the worst to the rich; some rebels even dare secretly to long for the day when the Church of England was still the Tory Party at prayer.

Friday, 16 September 2011

BBC 'News': Dawkins says science is better than myth

Two interesting facts: Dr Dawkins was never professor of biology, but had a chair made up for him in 'public understanding of science.' Now that he no longer holds the chair, he is not entitled to style himself 'professor' at all. So it says a lot about him that he still does.
Besides, isn't science grounded in the indispensable myth of empiricism: that finite data can lead to an absolute conclusion?
And while many might like to do away with the fiction of human rights - that a universal code devised by liberal Europeans applies across all cultures - I suspect that Dawkins would not be among them. Nor do I see science offer an alternative.
Surely all our supposed truths are grounded in some sort of unprovable collective consensus that one can only call 'myth'?

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Materialism and abortion

The Guardian is absolutely spot-on in its condemnation of the consumer culture's effects on children. So why does it maintain a ruthlessly market-driven approach to abortion?
At present, the organisations which give supposedly unbiased information to women considering terminations are the very ones which receive money on execution of the deed - and only then. Surely, a vested interest.
Organisations, for example, like that named after the eugenicist Nazi-sympathiser Marie Stopes, who sent love letters to Hitler and disowned her child for marrying someone with poor eyesight. The Guardian practically beatifies her as the patron saint of women's rights, but if they really wanted to follow in her footsteps (or goosesteps), maybe they should just start an AH fan club.

'My body, my choice': you couldn't ask for a more consumerist mantra. And OK, it's excusable when it really is only 'my body' at stake. In that case, there are many reproductive choices already available: you can choose contraception, for a start, or even choose not to have sex with someone you wouldn't have a baby with.
But when it's not just 'my body' but another human life at stake, the consumerist attitude is sickening. Life should not be terminated for the sake of convenience: whether for the sake of a hare lip or a sparkling career. If people want rights, they also have to take responsibility for their actions.
Of course, that goes for men just as much as women. All this stands in favour of that ultimately anti-consumerist institution of marriage, which is surely one of the strongest means of social justice: the unconditional commitment to fidelity is a guarantee of stability to women and children, who suffer far more than adult men from the isolating effects of a society driven by a consumeristic approach to sexuality.
The bottom line of this approach is that unimpeded sexual expression is a fundamental human right, and procreation an unfortunate side-effect.  To the Christian looking at the natural world, such thinking is plain topsy-turvy.
I am not suggesting that we ban abortion, only that it is a necessary evil.  The Christian ideal would be a world where abortion was unnecessary: where rapes did not happen and mistakes were not made.  But this is not the real world, and state-regulated abortion is better than back street rackets.  But if Britain is more than just a nominally Christian country, we must move towards the ideal, and aim to cut the obscene number of abortions carried out in this country seemingly without remorse.
When infants are terminated with a market-driven, utilitarian disregard for the sanctity of life, arguments about the effect of consumerism on children seem rather hollow.

UK children stuck in 'materialistic trap'