Thu 30th Oct 2014 | Last updated: Thu 30th Oct 2014 at 16:43pm

Facebook Logo Twitter Logo RSS Logo

Comment & Blogs

Christians who are tired of being pushed around in Britain could learn from straight-talking Americans

And does Cameron really mean what he says about standing up for Christian values?

By on Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The White House Christmas tree, which this year is called a 'Holiday Tree' (Photo: PA)

The White House Christmas tree, which this year is called a 'Holiday Tree' (Photo: PA)

It seems that the White House has succumbed to political correctness: apparently it referred to Christmas trees as “Holiday Trees” for the first time this year. It has prompted this response from CBS presenter, Ben Stein, who broadcast his response on the CBS Sunday Morning commentary:

“I am a Jew and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it doesn’t bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful, lit up, bejewelled trees, Christmas trees. I don’t feel threatened. I don’t feel discriminated against… It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say ‘Merry Christmas’ to me… In fact I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year.

“I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat…”

I think we need some of Ben Stein’s straight-talking over here, too. There have been too many public incidents in this country where Christians have been pushed around for stating firmly their Christian beliefs; these range from foster parents being discriminated against for upholding Christian moral teaching, B&B owners being hounded for the same reason, and other cases of conscience that have hit the headlines.

Last Friday David Cameron made a speech at Christ Church, Oxford to mark the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible in which he said: “We are a Christian country and we should not be afraid to say so. The Bible has helped to give Britain a set of values and morals which make Britain what it is today. Values and morals we should actively stand up and defend.” The Prime Minister called for the promotion of “Christian values”, saying it was “profoundly wrong” to believe that promoting Christianity would “do down other faiths”.

It’s all very well saying this – but does Mr Cameron really understand what he is saying? Is he just promoting the gospel of middle-class niceness to each other – or is he really signing up to Christian beliefs? In the latter case, how can he state, as he did notoriously at the last Conservative party conference, that he believes in same-sex “marriage”? This certainly isn’t Biblical teaching.

And would Mr Cameron agree that Nick Lansley, head of research and development for the Tesco website, should be called to account for what amounts to a hate speech, when he wrote on the same website that he is campaigning against “evil Christians (that’s not all Christians, just bad ones) who think that gay people should not lead happy lives and get married to their same-sex partners”? Suppose a Christian public figure in the supermarket industry had stated on a public website that he was campaigning against “evil people of same-sex attraction”? It would have caused an outcry.

On another topic: if you receive mail in the post that has not been franked, are you allowed to re-use the stamp? This has happened to me several times recently. I once asked a Benedictine monk this question. His reply was that certainly we are; the Post Office is the culprit. I then asked a Jesuit the same question. He looked shocked that I could even raise the subject. “It’s a form of theft!” he declared.

  • Anonymous

    I actually don’t really have a problem with ‘Happy Holidays’ since I think it suggests both Christmas and New Year’s. An etymological tidbit: ‘holiday’ is from Old English haligdæg ‘holy day; Sabbath,’ from halig ‘holy’ + dæg ‘day’. So politically correct secularists are going to have to do better than that… maybe ‘Happy Winter-time Celebratory Period’? I think that sounds newspeak enough.

  • ms Catholic state

    Personally I am very glad of Mr Cameron’s speech.  Whatever he meant by it personally….it is absolutely true what he said and it has given a philip to the beleagured Christians of this nation.  Whether Mr Cameron is going to claw back un-Christian laws etc remains to be seen.  But this speech is definitely a start.  (Shouldn’t we Christians be playing our part by Evangelising with zeal instead of moaning?!)

    I’m reminded of little Hungary who annoyed the EU bigwigs when they stated earlier this year that they too were a Christian country…and they drew up a pro-life constitution.  (Sadly they still have legalised abortion).  But maybe this is the start of something new in European politics – a return from the godless and hopeless secularism which is in the process of destroying us.  Let’s hope so.  Keep praying folks.

  • Andrea

    I feel the same way about Christmas customs as I do about sacred music…
    If you want new traditions…or lyrics…that sound more “inclusive” then, knock yourself out.

    But leave the old ones alone…don’t take something beautiful and wash away it’s depth of meaning.

    No more “holiday” trees or “Jesu, Joy of “Our” Desiring” for me, please!

  • Bob Hayes

    Christians are being pushed around in this country and most of the pushing is done by our own version of the former Soviet Union’s nomenklatura. These are what I call the ‘meddling classes’ (those employed in managerial roles within the law, education, health and welfare, local government and in the public relations, personnel, advertising and consultancy businesses) who impose a ‘presumption of guilt’ upon Christian practice and symbolism. 

    These are the people who have Biblical images removed from municipal Christmas displays, prohibit the wearing of crucifixes, claim that parish halls are unsuitable venues because they are not inclusive and promote the absurdities of ‘The Holidays’ and ‘Winter Festival’. They seem to work on an assumption that Christian practice and images should routinely be expunged from the public space. Some, no doubt, have a particular anti-Christian perspective. However, I suspect many in the public sector are merely worshipping at the altar of tick-box utilitarianism, while those in the private sector kneel before ‘brand’ as a new idolatry.

    We do need to stand up and be counted: bring on the New Evangelisation! 

  • David Lindsay

    Even those of us who have left it can look at the Church of England, by no means only on the more partisan Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical wings, and see a body, or a series of bodies, with a record of combating moral collapse which more than bears comparison with that of the Conservative Party over the last 30 years. If “there is no such thing as society” (and yes, Margaret Thatcher really did say that), then there can be no such thing as the society that is the family, or the society that is the nation. There cannot be a “free” market generally but not in drugs, prostitution or pornography. There cannot be unrestricted global movement of goods, services or capital but not of labour. American domination is no more acceptable that European federalism. The economic decadence of the 1980s is no more acceptable that the social decadence of the 1960s.

    The principle of the planned economy came down to the Attlee Government, via the Liberal Keynes and via Franklin Delano Roosevelt, from an ultraconservative Catholic, Colbert. The principle of the Welfare State came down to the Attlee Government, via the Liberals Lloyd George and Beveridge, and via the Conservative Governments of the Inter-War years, from an ultraconservative Protestant, Bismarck. Those who looked to the union-busting criminality of pirate radio, which was funded by the same Oliver Smedley who went on to fund the proto-Thatcherite Institute of Economic Affairs, were enfranchised in time for the 1970 General Election, gave victory to what they thought were the Selsdon Tories, and went on to support first the economic and then the constitutional entrenchment of their dissolute moral and social attitudes by Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair.
    Labour MPs defended Catholic schools, and thus all church-based state schools, over several successive decades. National leaders of the Social Democrats supported Christian religious instruction in the schools of Berlin. The House of Lords inflicted a cross-party defeat on Thatcher’s attempt to end such instruction here. Early Labour activists resisted schemes to abort, contracept and sterilise the working class out of existence. Upper and upper-middle-class people joined the early Labour Party precisely because their backgrounds and involvement in the Church of England made them familiar with the importance of State action against social evils, and they used their new party as a platform from which to defend Establishment against Liberal assaults.

    Many Social Catholics in post-War Italy promoted Keynesianism and felt a strong affinity with the domestic policies of the Attlee Government, but they were also sceptical about NATO. Jakob Kaiser’s vision was of a German Christian Democracy that looked to British Labour for its inspiration in giving effect to Catholic Social Teaching, and which gave such effect by emphasising co-operatives, the public ownership of key industries, extensive social insurance, and the works councils later suggested in the SDP’s founding Limehouse Declaration and advocated by David Owen, while also seeking a United Germany as a bridge between East and West, allied neither to NATO nor to the Soviet Bloc. The witness of Bob Santamaria in Australia is also of crucial historical importance.

    Cardinal Manning led the 1889 London dockers’ march serenaded by the Salvation Army band, and he played a pivotal role in settling that strike. When the Attlee Government legislated to regulate marriage, it simply presupposed that marriage could only ever be the union of one man and one woman. Catholic and other Labour MPs, including John Smith, fought tooth and nail against abortion and easier divorce, not least including both Thatcher’s introduction of abortion up to birth and Major’s introduction of divorce legally easier than release from a car hire contract, as well as Major’s abolition of adultery and desertion as faults in divorce cases, a recognition whereby the community at large declared its disapproval of those actions even though they were not criminal offences. Methodist and other Labour MPs, including John Smith, fought tooth and nail against deregulated drinking and gambling. John Smith was also among those who successfully organised, especially through the USDAW shop workers’ union, against Thatcher’s and Major’s attempts to destroy the special character of Sunday and of Christmas Day, delivering the only Commons defeat of Thatcher’s Premiership.

    Callaghan took a strong stand against drugs while he was Home Secretary. Mary Whitehouse voted Labour from time to time, and Lord Longford’s was a lifelong Labour allegiance. The Parliamentary Labour Party voted unanimously against the Finance Bill that abolished the recognition of marriage, as such, in the taxation system. The trade unions fought numerous battles to secure paternal authority in families and communities by securing its economic base in high-waged, high-skilled, high-status male employment. Trade union banners frequently depicted Biblical scenes and characters, as well as historic landmarks geographical and chronological, including the fallen of two World Wars. The name of Margaret Thatcher is abominated in pro-life and pro-family circles, matched only by the abomination of the name of Tony Blair.

    I have been told that this affinity with the glory days of Continental Christian Democracy, which itself felt such an affinity with the glory days of British Labour, is incompatible with “the Protestant Anglophone tradition”. But, especially in Germany and in Switzerland, Christian Democracy has both deep roots in Protestant as well as Catholic thought, and huge electoral support among Protestants as well as among Catholics. And looking at those English-speaking countries (a small minority of the total) presumably meant by my interlocutors, I can see only three explicitly Protestant political movements of any note. One is in Northern Ireland, and the other two are in the United States, where one of them is white and the other is black. None of them is socially liberal, to say the least. All three are in favour of public spending generous to the point of lavishness, provided that it is on their own respective constituencies; if the price of this is the same provision for certain others, who are very often Catholics, then that price is paid, if not gladly, then at least in full. All three simply presuppose the capacity of the several layers of government to do both economically social democratic and socially conservative things, identifying that as axiomatically the whole point of governmental institutions.

    It was ever thus. Those very Protestant Tories, Shaftesbury and Wilberforce, used the full force of the State to stamp out abuses of the poor at home and slavery abroad, both of which are now well on the way back in this secularised age. Victorian Nonconformists used the Liberal Party to fight against opium dens and the compelling of people to work seven-day weeks, both of which have now returned in full. Temperance Methodists built the Labour Party in order to counteract brutal capitalism precisely so as to prevent a Marxist revolution, whereas the coherence of the former with the cultural aspects of the latter now reigns supreme. But that economic and social libertinism is not the Protestant Anglophone tradition, and it ought not to present itself as such.

  • James

    It’s a fairly safe bet that Cameron was talking about his own brand of Christianity (Roman Cameronism maybe?). To the Cameron’s of this world, Christianity can be bent and distorted any which way to endorse whatever politically correct cause it is electorally beneficial to embrace.

  • Anonymous

    Not only does he “believe” in same sex “marriage,” he also went out of his way in his speech to make another erroneous point about the bogus “ordination” of women being somehow linked with women’s “emancipation” (from their own womanhood no doubt).

    Nice try, Mr. Cameron.  But I would say that you whiffed. Better than nothing, I suppose.

  • Anonymous

    Absolutely correct, James.  When Roman Cameronism means anything, at any time, and can be changed at will, it means nothing at all. 

  • Ben

    Hi, just a point of information, Nick Lansley did not post his opinion ‘on the same website’ as Tesco. He posted it in 2008 on his own personal Flickr (photo website) profile and did so, according to several news outlets and blogs, in response to hateful messages from ‘so-called’ Christians on his civil partnership ceremony video posted to YouTube.
    I don’t agree with Lansley’s use of the word ‘evil’ but in the circumstances he may well have had good reason to call a subset of Christians ‘evil’ – and even points this out in his comment “thats not all Christians” so please let’s not lose context here.

  • Anonymous

    “Christians who are tired of being pushed around in Britain could learn from straight-talking Americans”

    ## Well, possibly. But the disciples were told to expect to be “pushed around” – and to rejoice when it happened. Pushing others *in return* would not be counter-cultural – joy, by contrast, would be & is.

    “Suppose a Christian public figure in the supermarket industry had stated on a public website that he was campaigning against “evil people of same-sex attraction”? It would have caused an outcry.”

    ## Some Christians do that all the time – it’s unsurprising, to put it no more strongly, that Lansley speaks as he does, given the nastiness of some – not all, but some – Christian comment on the subject; especially in the US. Criticising Christians for real faults is not hate-speech, however unwelcome it may be to them.

    Advocating same-sex marriage is not Biblical teaching, true – but by the standards of the OT, St.Paul’s  relativisation of circumcision was downright anti-Biblical, since he totally ignored Genesis 17 on the subject. That is just one example of how part of the Biblical tradition corrects or contradicts or modifies earlier parts. Or there is is the (from one POV) asinine suggestion by the author of Hebrews that Jesus, despite being of the tribe of Judah & not of Levi, is the Christian body’s High Priest; nobody reading Exodus & Leviticus (& other books too) would ever get the impression that the tribe of Levi could possibly be superseded.

    More recently, the Church has ditched, trampled on, forgotten, ignored & generally marmalised its older teaching on religious liberty – Humanae Dignitatis reverses the Church’s earlier teaching without so much as a “by your leave”, & with even less explanation of how its about-face can be justified. That something has not been taught, or has been rejected, does not mean a time cannot come when it should be accepted – so it cannot be taken for granted that same-sex activity will always be thought inconsistent with Catholicism. The statements or silences of the Bible have not stopped the Church teaching as it saw fit in other matters – it allows gambling (!) :(  – so the Biblical argument is not very strong, for it is applied inconsistently: Jesus never said a word about having a sacrificing priesthood with Gentile members. That does not stop the Church having one. It is perfectly possible that the Bible cannot be the final arbiter of Christian ethics, for the simple reason that society 1900 years after the first century is vastly & significant in many respects from any in the NT. What did the Apostles do about suicide ? The problem, a living & painful one now, is not touched. Would Jesus have approved of ICBMs, germ warfare, standing armies ? On a great many points, we are simply not in the first-century setting, in culture, knowledge of the world, assumptions, religious outlook. Are we to ignore our knowledge of alcoholism, just because the first Christians lacked it ?  If not – why should their ideas on being gay be final ?

  • Garry

    As people desert the pews, the Catholic Church becomes more retrenched, more reactionary and more right wing.

  • Nick_r29

    Don’t let the door hit you on the way out Christians. Your days in this country are numbered. Cry all you like, but you have lost the war, our schools have effectively beaten all the stupid out of us.

  • Bob Hayes

    Just dropped-in for a sweeping generalisation, bereft of evidence or analysis, eh Gary?

  • Bob

    The sad reality is that society has moved on, and the Christian churches are lagging behind. It seems most Christians are in the moral majority, and wish to help forge a better society. There remains a highly vocal reactionary subset who resent change in society, and/or try to create a sense of victimhood.

    That the author sees some form of moral dilemma in whether it is right to reuse a stamp—akin to taking eating twice in a restaurant whilst only paying for one meal because the waiting staff didn’t keep track—should be flashing neon signpost of the very moral slippage that the Christian right bemoans.

    Join the majority of society, join the majority of Christians, join the moral majority. You can live your life as you see fit, cleaving close to your biblical beliefs, just don’t try to force others into a way of life that they reject.

  • Anonymous

    Hapy Winter Festival to one and all.

  • Brian Utterback

    Too bad the Whitehouse has a Christmas tree this year, just as it always has. Seems that the “war on Christmas” is more in the minds of certain Christians than in reality. Not to mention that Ben Stein wrote that in 2005, not this year. Nice fact checking.

  • Bob Hayes

    Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace to men who enjoy His favour.  Luke 2:14

  • Bob Hayes

    Wishing you a Joyous Christmas and Peaceful New Year. 

  • David Lindsay

    The events described in The Red Flag took place in Chicago. So when President Obama switched on the lights of those 50 Christmas trees around the White House, and that strangely familiar tune struck up, I think that we all know what he and those around him should have started singing. Indeed, as many people as possible, not least from Chicago, should have surrounded the White House itself for that very purpose. Oh, well, they are pretty much guaranteed four more years in which to do so.

  • David Lindsay

    The bumper Christmas edition of the New Statesman, guest edited by Richard Dawkins, has arrived. And you know what? It is rather good.
    It begins with the following: “Merry Christmas! I mean it. All that “Happy Holiday Season” stuff, with “holiday” cards and “holiday” presents, is a tiresome import from the US, where it has long been fostered more by rival religions than by atheists.” Frankly, we all know which one, in particular. As Christopher Hitchens tells Dawkins on page 33, “The Jews very quickly secularised when they came [to America]. American Jews must be the most secular force on the planet now, as a collective.”
    (On the previous page, Hitchens remarkably states that American Catholics “are only holding firm on abortion, which, in my opinion, is actually a very strong moral concept and shouldn’t be decided lightly. I feel very squeamish about it. I believe that the unborn child is a real concept, in other words. We needn’t go there, but I’m not a complete abortion-on-demand fanatic. I think it requires a bit of reflection.”)
    Hanukkah is a strange one. After the emergence of Judaism, set out below, Hanukkah was historically a very minor festival until almost into living memory, and in much of the Jewish world it still is. But it does provide an opportunity to pre-empt this year’s round of lazy claims that Christmas is a taking over of some pagan winter festival. There is of course a universal need for winter festivals. But the dating of Christmas derives from Hanukkah, not from the pagan Saturnalia or anything else.
    No British or Irish Christmas custom derives from paganism. There is little, if any, fokloric pagan continuation in these islands, and little, if anything, is known about pre-Christian religion here. Most, if not all, allegations to the contrary derive from Protestant polemic against practices originating in the Middle Ages, and usually the Late Middle Ages at that. The modern religion known as Paganism is an invention from scratch, the very earliest roots of which are in the late nineteenth century.
    Furthermore, the dating of Christmas from that of Hanukkah raises serious questions for Protestants, who mistakenly exclude the two Books of Maccabees from the Canon because, along with various other works, they were allegedly not considered canonical at the time of Jesus and the Apostles. In fact, the rabbis only excluded those books specifically because they were likely to lead people into Christianity, and they are repeatedly quoted or cited in the New Testament, as they were by Jewish writers up to their rabbinical exclusion. Even thereafter, a point is made by the continued celebration of Hanukkah, a celebration thanks to books to which Jews only really had access because Christians had preserved them, since the rabbis wanted them destroyed.
    Indeed, far from being the mother-religion that it is often assumed to be, a very great deal of Judaism is actually a reaction against Christianity, although this is by no means the entirety of the relationship, with key aspects of kabbalah actually deriving from Christianity, with numerous other examples set out in Rabbi Michael Hilton’s The Christian Effect on Jewish Life (London: SCM Press, 1994), and so on. Hanukkah bushes, and the giving and receiving of presents at Hanukkah, stand in a tradition of two-way interaction both as old as Christianity and about as old as anything that could reasonably be described as Judaism. As Rabbi Hilton puts it, “it is hardly surprising that Jewish communities living for centuries in Christian society should be influenced by the surrounding culture.”
    There are many, many, many other examples that could be cited. These range from the Medieval adoption for Jewish funeral use of the Psalm numbered 23 in Jewish and Protestant editions, to the new centrality within Judaism that the rise of Christianity gave to Messianic expectations (the Sadducees, for example, had not believed in the Messiah at all) or to the purification of women after childbirth, to the identification in later parts of the Zohar of four senses of Scripture technically different from but effectively very similar to those of Catholicism, to Medieval rabbis’ explicit and unembarrassed use of Christian stories in their sermons. Many a midrash – such as “to you the Sabbath is handed over, but you are not handed over to the Sabbath” – is easily late enough to be an example of the direct influence of Christianity, yet Jewish and Christian scholars alike tend to announce an unidentified common, usually Pharisaic, root, although they rarely go off on any wild goose chase to find that root. I think that we all know why not.
    But the real point is something far deeper, arising from the definition of the Jewish Canon in explicitly anti-Christian terms, and from the anti-Christian polemic in the Talmud. Judaism hardly uses the Hebrew Bible directly rather than its own, defining and anti-Christian, commentaries on it and on each other. Jews doubting this should ask themselves when they last heard of an animal sacrifice, or which of their relatives is a polygamist. Judaism, I say again, is not some sort of mother-religion. Rather, I say again that it is a reaction against Christianity, specifically, like Islam, a Semitic reaction against the recapitulation in Christ and His Church of all three of the Old Israel, Hellenism and the Roman Empire; there are also, of course, culturally European reactions against that recapitulation by reference to Classical sources, as there always have been, although they are increasingly allied to Islam.
    Thus constructed, Judaism became, and remains, an organising principle, again like Classically-based reactions, for all sorts of people discontented for whatever reason by the rise of Christianity in general and the Christianisation of the Roman Empire in particular, including all the historical consequences of that up to the present day, without any realistic suggestion of a common ethnic background. Above all, Judaism’s unresolved Messianic hope and expectation has issued in all sorts of earthly utopianisms: Freudian, Marxist (and then Trotskyist, and then Shachtmanite), monetarist, Zionist, Straussian, neoconservative by reference to all of these, and so forth. They are all expressions of Judaism’s repudiation of Original Sin, Christianity’s great bulwark against the rationally and empirically falsifiable notions of inevitable historical progress and of the perfectibility of human nature in this life alone and by human efforts alone.
    It is Christianity that refers constantly to the Biblical text. It is Christianity in general, and Catholicism in particular, that has a Temple, Jesus Christ, Who prophesied both the destruction of the Temple and its replacement in His own Person. It is Christianity in general, and Catholicism in particular, that has a Priesthood. It is Christianity in general, and Catholicism in particular, that has a Sacrifice, the Mass. It is Christianity in general, and Catholicism in particular, that is the religion of the Hebrew Scriptures. Including the two Books of Maccabees, the origin of Hanukkah, the true form of which, as of so much else, is Christmas.
    So, Merry Christmas to you, too, Richard Dawkins and, wherever you are now, Christopher Hitchens.

  • Murdo

    If the ‘meddling classes’ mentioned in another comment refers to individuals who brazenly think for themselves, encourage tolerance and equality, question bigotry and reactionary rejection of progress and reason … then it is they who will bring a new order and a better society for all. If anyone should be told to ‘get off’ it is those who wallow in entrenched bigotry and ignorance. If the cap fits…

  • Bob Hayes

    The meddling classes to whom I referred most certainly do not ‘think for themselves, encourage tolerance and equality, question bigotry and reactionary rejection of progress and reason’. The western nomenklatura are in the business of enforcing uniformity (of the type to which we were alerted by George Orwell in ’1984′), suppressing any opposition to the ‘free’ market, liberal-democratic cult of individualism and selfishness and hijacking the word ‘reason’ to append to notions emanating from the quack elements of social and political science. Yes, the cap fits perfectly: the meddling classes do indeed ‘wallow in entrenched bigotry and ignorance’.

  • Anonymous

    “Your days in this country are numbered.”

    IF Christians are becoming a shrinking minority in the UK, that can only be because Britons in general are disappearing.  The UK has had it as a viable nation, thanks to the ravages of abortion and contraception, and the indigenous Anglo-Saxon people are now dying out.  Immigration can go only so far to check the decline in our numbers, but that too will rapidly dry up as a source of new blood as the depleted nations slam their doors shut and refuse to allow any further emigration.
    I repeat: demography is the great dictator, and there is no way that anyone is going to beat it.  With a birth-rate of only 1.65, and no prospect of any improvement in the foreseeable future, Britain is a has-been nation, doomed to oblivion, like so many others in history.  Whether it has a remnant of Christians or not is quite irrelevant.  The nation that we know today will no longer exist, but in all probability it will be a colony populated by the more prolific Africans or Asians.

  • Anonymous

    You are living in your own pipe-dreaming wonderland, if you imagine that the Catholics will sit back and allow this situation to engulf them.

  • Anonymous

    What a load of old tosh.

  • Anonymous

    “Are we to ignore our knowledge of alcoholism, just because the first Christians lacked it ?”

    What on earth is this supposed to mean!? 
    Are you saying that the Apostles had no experience of dealing with drunks?  Or that they had no idea of what caused drunkenness?
    Dearie me, your whole post is a complete joke.  How can we take it seriously when you make the following absurd comment:
    “That something has not been taught, or has been rejected, does not mean a
    time cannot come when it should be accepted – so it cannot be taken for
    granted that same-sex activity will always be thought inconsistent
    with Catholicism.”
    Are you a gay, trying to persuade the Church to contradict herself?
    If so, you are most definitely not a Catholic, and you should have the honesty to admit to this without trying to deceive us with your weasel words.

  • Anonymous

    “Suppose a Christian public figure in the supermarket industry had stated on a public website that he was campaigning against “evil people of same-sex attraction”? It would have caused an outcry.”And rightly so. Because being attracted to people of the same sex is in no way “evil”. How can it be?
    Whereas someone who makes it their business to try to stop gay people from leading equally happy lives as everyone else, is doing so out of pure and irrational nastiness, as gay marriage has no consequences to anyone else.

  • Anonymous

    One of the most confused and self-contradictory comments I’ve ever read.
    First you say we’ll get no “new blood as the depleted nations…refuse to allow any further emigration”, then you say we “will be a colony populated by the more prolific Africans or Asians”.
    Which is it?

  • Bob Hayes

    Ah, the old favourite: ‘….
    has no consequences to anyone else’. Really?

  • Anonymous

    What did you have in mind, Mr Smith?  Evangelism, forced conversions or a fast-breeder programme?

  • Clairesolt

    Demography is not destiny. Bad trends can change over night. The doom sayers never mention that Europe recovered from devestation of the Black Plague and two and a half centuries of suicidal wars.  They were done in by barbarians before, and face that threat now. Their history also includes kicking the foreigners out. They have choices.

  • Clairesolt

    PC dictates tolerance of all religion and denounces actually believing in one.

  • Anonymous

    Bob, care to name what these consequences would be?
    Let’s say this year there’s a gay unmarried couple living at the end of your street.
    This time next year, they are married. How would your life have changed?

  • Anonymous

    It is quite simple to understand when you apply the normal rules of English comprehension to it.
    If we wish to remain as a white European nation with the title of ‘the UK’, we need new blood derived from our present stock of Anglo-Saxon indigenous natives.  This, however, will not be forthcoming, in sufficient numbers, the disease of contraception having gained a terminal foothold in the nation.  Consequently, Britain has no future as at present constituted.  The nation is dying out – literally – and this leaves just one inevitable outcome; a more prolific nation will seize its opportunity to add the territory of the former UK to its expanding empire.  No prizes for guessing who this coloniser will be, but my money would be on one of the African nations or even Asian, such as China.  The Chinese will need a lot more lebensraum in the next 100-200 years, and the ex-UK would do very nicely.
    I trust I have explained the outcome of the British people’s genocidal conduct to your satisfaction?

  • Anonymous

    “Demography is not destiny.”

    Oh yes it is.  The birth-rate is way below the replacement level for the UK, and this is one bad trend that will not change overnight, if at all.  Contraception is now ingrained into the psyche of the British people, and there are few women who will agree to have more than two children.
    Europe recovered from the Black Death and major wars only because most couples were sufficiently prolific to replace the dead and add new blood to the nation.  Without large families of at least three children, there is no hope of survival for Britain.  No way are you going to beat demography.  No babies, no nation.  Simples.

  • Anonymous

    A birth-rate that matched, or even excelled, that of the Muslims would do very nicely.  We would soon outgrow our opponents.
    Failing that, an aggressive evangelism would be in order, making use of the avenues of advertising.
    I did toy with the idea of forced conversions, but reluctantly discarded it as being too similar to the Muslims.  We need something really distinctive, such as the doctrine that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, made man.  That should make a lot of people sit up and take notice, wouldn’t you say? 

  • Anonymous

    “Let’s say this year there’s a gay unmarried couple living at the end of your street.  This time next year, they are married. How would your life have changed?”

    Big mistake.  Gays cannot be married whatever the law may say.  No one can prevent them from shacking up together and pretending to be married, but that is far removed from reality.
    They cannot have children, which is what marriage is all about.  Gays should be satisfied with their CP lot, and think themselves very lucky that they have that.

  • Anonymous

    Ah, yes. The Jews’ fault, is it? Can’t say I haven’t heard that one before.

  • Anonymous

    Disgusting. If society declares that 2 + 2 = 5, should I believe that too?

  • Anonymous

    Hey, Nick, did you know the United States has military bases in your UK?

  • Anonymous

    Whist I am as dismayed as yourself at the growth of Islam in Europe, I’ll have to admit that our standpoints are somewhat different.  But here’s a serious question for you.  Why are Muslims so much more successful than Catholics at passing on their ideology from generation to generation, at least as far as the experience of post-war Europe is concerned? To what extent has a loss of credibility of the RC hierarchy been responsible, bearing in mind that Islam seems to thrive without any such?

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately, if you ‘stand up and be counted’ you will probably be drawn to some unwelcome conclusions: (a) that there are a lot less of you than there used to be, (b) that those of us who do not define ourselves as Christians (in the active ‘believing’ sense; I don’t think you can really count people who were baptised as babies but have since shown no interest in religion of any kind) are actually in a majority and expect our views to be taken into consideration on issues of public policymaking. 

    The examples that you quote are trivial and largely irrelevant, although I would have to add that personally I would be in favour of strongly discouraging any conspicuous display of personal religious affiliation in public.  If you allow the wearing of crucifixes, then it makes the banning of burkas that much more difficult.

  • Bob Hayes

    personally I would be in favour of strongly discouraging any conspicuous display of personal religious affiliation in public’. Thank you for so effectively illustrating the repressive agenda of secularism. Would you also be in favour of, ‘strongly discouraging any conspicuous display of personal’ cultural heritage, national or regional identity, trade union membership, political allegiance or any of the other lifestyle choices? 

  • Bob Hayes

    Why is any change in my life the only issue that should concern me Simon? There’s the cult of the individual rearing its head again. Have you noticed how many so-called ‘progressives’ are rather fond of Margaret Thatcher’s questioning of the concept of society?

    Anyway, looking at the broader issue: whenever any group or individual is given legal rights, duties are imposed on other individuals, groups, organisations and the State at local and national level. These bodies, groups and individuals must respect and facilitate those rights. There is no point in securing a legal right unless it changes the behaviour of others. Think about it.

  • Anonymous

    Muslims use an element of force in transmitting their religion from one generation to the next.
    In extreme cases, even in Europe, they have been known to murder their own family members, for refusing to conform to what are perceived as the demands of the religion.  This practice is utterly alien to Christianity.
    Any loss of credibility by the hierarchy is entirely due to the incompetence of a number of bishops, allowing homosexual paedophiles in their dioceses to continue in the priesthood when they should have been denounced to the authorities.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think you’re strengthening your argument by bringing in broader issues, although I should have made it clearer that I was primarily alluding to Islam, and would have preferred, rather, to extend this to other religious groups (such as Hassidic Jews) that enforce a conspicuous dress code as a way of reinforcing their tribal identity and thereby rejecting the values of the wider society that surrounds them; also that by ‘in public’ I meant ‘where a person’s employment brings them into contact with members of the public’.  By allowing any one religion concessions in this area, it is historically the case that this has opened the door to wider abuse, whereby any attempt by an employer to enforce a non-tribal appearance on its staff has been met by claims of religious discrimination, and inevitably these are likely to come from those religions which seem to be perpetually on the lookout for opportunities for grievance.

    So, on that qualified basis, I would also have to say ‘yes’ to some of the other examples you offer, in particular re. political allegiance.  Are you in favour of banning, in the workplace, badges that declare membership of the BNP?  Or any militant Islamic political party?  Would you support the right of a Jewish worker to wear a Star of David in a workplace that contained many Muslims?  As a more extreme example: would you allow the wearing of swastikas?  Would you be comfortable with the idea of being served by cross-dressing male homosexuals?

  • Anonymous

    “This practice is utterly alien to Christianity.” quite so. Unfortunately it seems to be extremely effective.

    Without wishing to get into a pointless argument on the subject of religion in general, I would propose that the method of transmission of religious doctrine down the generations is based largely on a similar pressure, although one that is largely social and psychological rather than physical, at least as far as Christianity is concerned. To reject the religion of one’s parents is not a million miles away from rejecting them altogether, while on the other hand a whole-hearted affirmation of the parental religion is a sure way to win a place in their hearts.

    Would I be correct in assuming that your own family has been Catholic for many generations?

  • Anonymous

    “Would I be correct in assuming that your own family has been Catholic for many generations?”

    My grandfather was a German Lutheran.  His son, my father, was a convert to the Catholic faith.  His conversion meant a permanent estrangement between them that was never healed (Matt. 10:34)

  • Bob Hayes

    You start off by questioning my broadening of the issues and conclude by introducing ‘cross-dressing male homosexuals’, thus further broadening the issues!

    In your first paragraph you suggest your focus is upon, ‘where a person’s employment brings them into contact with members of the public’, while in the second para. you appear to refer to workplaces in general with the question, ‘Would you support the right of a Jewish worker to wear a Star of David in a workplace that contained many Muslims?’. Are you referring to all workplaces or only to those working with the public?

    Also I return to my earlier question about other allegiances and whether you believe in, ‘strongly discouraging any conspicuous display’. You seem to be opening-up the prospect of a legislative and judicial minefield. In a factory (no public contact) do you permit the wearing of football colours? Sheffield United or Sheffield Wednesday rivalry is about sport, but what about Glasgow Celtic and Glasgow Rangers?

  • Anonymous

    I was offering cross-dressers as an example of a ‘lifestyle choice’. 

    “You seem to be opening-up the prospect of a legislative and judicial minefield.” … well, at least we’re agreed on that point, although I’d like to limit my feeling of personal responsibility in this area.  If you look at the recent history of litigation in this area, both in Europe and the USA, we are already well and truly in the middle of the minefield, which appears to be the inevitable result of attempting to shoehorn a variety of incompatible cultures and ideologies into the same living space.  We also appear to be rapidly trading off our rights to freedom of speech in order to appease a whole spectrum of minority interest groups.  Does person A’s right ‘to be offensive’ take priority over person B’s right ‘to be unoffended’, or vice versa?  Do animals have a right to be humanely slaughtered, except where the butcher is a Jew or a Muslim (probably the only issue where they see eye to eye)?

    Anyway, Happy Christmas to you.