Wed 17th Sep 2014 | Last updated: Tue 16th Sep 2014 at 19:31pm

Facebook Logo Twitter Logo RSS Logo
Hot Topics

Comment & Blogs

Mr Cameron is trying to please Christian voters by saying nice things to us: Archbishop Nichols approves. We mustn’t, however, be taken in

He will press forward with gay ‘marriage’ whatever we say

By on Monday, 9 April 2012

David Cameron listens to the Westminster Abbey boys' choir at an Easter reception for religious leaders at 10 Downing Street

David Cameron listens to the Westminster Abbey boys' choir at an Easter reception for religious leaders at 10 Downing Street

Archbishop Vincent Nichols has now given his seal of approval to David Cameron’s recent attempt to get the Christian vote onside. So, here is a question: do you really think the archbishop should have done that? Or are you, like me, more than a little sceptical about the sincerity of Mr Cameron’s recent words? Pumping his fist in the air, apparently, he said: “I think there’s something of a [Christian] fightback going on, and we should welcome that. The values of the Bible – the values of Christianity – are the values that we need.” He referred to former Archbishop George Carey’s warning that Christians face gradual marginalisation, which he uttered after Bideford town council had been banned by a court order from opening its proceedings with prayer. Referring to this case, Mr Cameron pointed out that the Government had responded by amending the law. He also indicated, very interestingly, that if necessary, the law might be changed to allow Christians to wear the cross and crucifix at work.

Does this mean that he is in the process of executing a new U-turn, having given the strong impression that his Government was becoming, in the words of the splendidly named Daily Mail columnist Alexander Boot, “the most aggressively atheistic government in our history”? I hope so, of course: but if so, he had better begin by telling the Home Office to stop opposing the BA check-in clerk Nadia Eweida and the nurse Shirley Chaplin who have gone together to the European Court of Human Rights to claim that they were discriminated against when their employers barred them from wearing the cross. Cameron says that “if the ECHR does uphold the ban we will consider what further action we must take. We could potentially change the law, though our view is that the existing Equality Act gives people the right already.” Well, if he really thinks that, why are Government lawyers opposing these women in Strasbourg? Is this a case of the right hand (Tory) not knowing what the left hand (Lib Dem) is doing? Or is he speaking with forked tongue?

Sorry, I don’t buy this great pro-Christian declaration of the Prime Minister’s. Someone compared it last week with George Galloway’s successful attempt in Bradford to exploit the Muslim vote by strongly implying that he was himself a secret Muslim. One of his leaflets began thus: “God KNOWS who is a Muslim. And he KNOWS who is not. Instinctively, so do you. Let me point out to all the Muslim brothers and sisters what I stand for.” This really does look to me like Cameron pointing out to all the Christian brothers and sisters what he stands for: just the same as them, really. The difference is that Galloway got away with it. It seems to me that Christians have to make sure that Cameron doesn’t. If he allows us to wear the cross in public, that’s fine. But the institution of marriage is entirely another matter, and it’s on a quite different level of importance. He recently told church representatives gathered at Number 10: “I hope we won’t fall out too much over gay marriage. There’ll be some strong arguments and some strong words.”

Well indeed there will. This is where it matters. Throwing us a little tidbit here and there is not, I sincerely trust, going to buy us off, despite Archbishop Nichols’s welcome for Cameron’s smooth overtures. I prefer the stance of another bishop, Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury, who got much nearer to the root of the matter when he said at his Chrism Mass last week that “The laity [that’s us] … have an enormous task of transforming a society marked by a ‘dictatorship of relativism’, of which the attempt by the Government to redefine marriage was one of the latest signs.”

This was, of course, a reference to the former Cardinal Ratzinger’s famous last sermon before he was elected Pope, the following extract from which, with all due humility, I diffidently suggest to Archbishop Nichols as being a passage he might well with profit read, mark, learn and inwardly digest:

How many winds of doctrine we have known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking… The small boat of thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves – thrown from one extreme to the other: from Marxism to liberalism, even to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism, and so forth. Every day new sects are created and what St Paul says about human trickery comes true, with cunning which tries to draw those into error (cf Eph 4, 14). Having a clear faith, based on the Creed of the Church, is often labelled today as a fundamentalism. Whereas, relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and “swept along by every wind of teaching”, looks like the only attitude [acceptable] to today’s standards. We are moving towards a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognise anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one’s own ego and one’s own desires.

However, we have a different goal: the Son of God, true man. He is the measure of true humanism. Being an “adult” means having a faith which does not follow the waves of today’s fashions or the latest novelties.

Mr Cameron’s “rebranding” of the old principled but sometimes rebarbative Toryism does indeed sometimes look like following “the waves of today’s fashions or the latest novelties”. But is it fair to accuse him of “dictatorship” in this? Surely, that’s the opposite of the impression he wants to create? The fact is, however, that the word “dictatorship” is all too appropriate to describe his underlying attitude: therein lies the brilliance of the Pope’s original analysis. Relativism isn’t soft and accommodating: it’s ruthless and unbending. A dictator is someone who imposes his will with an iron fist, even though it may be in a soft and cuddly glove. The old dictators were greatly given to “democratic” plebiscites and elections, which they always won with 99 per cent of the vote. Mr Cameron’s version of that is the “consultation”, which is carried out with the proviso that whatever we say when we are consulted, it will make no difference to him: he is going to do it anyway. It is clear that the Coalition for Marriage’s petition (see here; if you haven’t signed it, do so now), judging by its present rate of growth, will end up with well over half a million signatures: it will be one of the highest totals ever attracted by an online petition.

But Mr Cameron, the Dictator of Relativism, will ignore it. His attempts to get the Christian vote, however, do seem to show that he realises he may have a problem with us, and that we need to be appeased. We must do nothing (and neither must our bishops and, especially, archbishops) to indicate that we have been taken in by his attempts to pacify us. A luta continua: the struggle goes on. We mustn’t weaken now. Cameron, for all his soft words, is still the enemy.

  • JByrne24

    Well, one can USE language but also abUSE it, and it seems to me that you have done the latter in order to arrive at your desired end-point.(I have retained your bad English)

    I illustrate: 
    (1)  ‘ Thus Cameron is trying to WIN OVER  the “gay”[sic] vote’

    (2) [Cameron is] ‘ trying to ASSUAGE Christian rancor[sic]  over this…’

    (my capitals in the above quotations)

  • JByrne24

    I think I said: the leading Catholics in our country, and so therefore those not yet in Heaven.
    I was thinking of many of the Senior Clergy, as you possibly well know.

    May I add that I feel many of them will well-deserve their place in Heaven after suffering the bone-headed and ignorant comments (from some) on this website. The comments, of course, are totally unoriginal and show the individuals are not thinking for themselves. They are invariably regurgitating opinions fed to them by a small number of politically motivated people.

  • JByrne24

    ” Flogging a dead horse  comes to mind.”
    It’s the only horse in the race.

  • JByrne24

    I do not understand what you are saying.There are no “double standards” here at all.

  • JabbaPapa

    Your intellectual dishonesty is quite simply flabbergasting, JB.

    and FYI — the ad hominem fallacy is exactly what you have just provided.

  • JByrne24

     “there is a legal right to wear religious symbols”
    Well there is such a right, but iff (if & only if) the item is a requirement of the particular religion.

  • JabbaPapa

    I think I said: the leading Catholics in our country, and so therefore those not yet in Heaven.

    Here is revealed your radical misunderstanding of not just Catholicism, but Christianity.

    The Church equals the Communion of the Saved — the Unborn, the Born, the Deceased.

    May I add that I feel many of them will well-deserve their place in
    Heaven after suffering the bone-headed and ignorant comments (from some)
    on this website. The comments, of course, are totally unoriginal and
    show the individuals are not thinking for themselves. They are
    invariably regurgitating opinions fed to them by a small number of
    politically motivated people.

    cripes !!!

  • JByrne24

    You are chasing your tail, Jabba old bean, although I do appreciate the joke about the woman strawman.

    And I have never mentioned coercion.

    But I well understand that you will need the last word.

  • JabbaPapa

     The question was just that: A QUESTION! …………. I understand very well why this was not done.

    Thank you for confirming in your very own words that your “question” was not a request for information.

  • theroadmaster

    It seems that it is you, who needs to re-evaluate your understanding of the use of English, as my use of the words that you have highlighted in BLOCK CAPITALS are fine in the context that I have used them.  

    1)Here is the dictionary definition of the phrase “WIN OVER”:
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/win+over 

    win over - make (someone) agree, understand, or realize the truth or validity of something; “He had finally convinced several customers of the advantages of his product” 

    I used the above phase in the context of Cameron trying to gain the confidence of those in the gay community, and by extension their vote, by promoting the idea of same-sex couples being included within it’s definition.
    2)Here is the dictionary definition  ASSUAGE as outlined by the site: dictionary.reference.com/browse/assuageverb (used with object), as·suaged, as·suag·ing. 1. to make milder or less severe; relieve; ease; mitigate: to assuage one’s grief; to assuage one’s pain I used in the sense of Cameron trying to lessen the palpable anger of Christians, in regard to his promotion of legislation to extend marriage to same-sex couples, by offering them the possibility of future legislation to safeguard a person’s right to wear religious symbols in work places etc.  

  • JabbaPapa

    It seems to have escaped your notice that you yourself are the dead horse in question.

  • JByrne24

    JabbaPapa wrote: “Thank you for confirming in your very own words that your “question” was not a request for information.”

    But it WAS a request for information.
    I’d really like to know what you (and some others) believe the reason [for the non-use of the e-petition system] to be.

    The reason seems clear enough to me – but what do you think is the reason?

  • JByrne24

    You have misunderstood my posting.

    I was not making reference to bad English when you used the words which I then repeated in capitals. I was simply illustrating the fact that you used them.
    The bad English lies elsewhere.
    However, I doubt that you will understand.
     

  • JByrne24

    The abuse of language to (I hesitate to use an adverb derived from your most discourteous language) make a point is, I believe, well-worth highlighting.
    It should cause a reader to reflect.

  • JByrne24

    cripes !!!

  • Attitude

    Not requires, Christianity does not demand this of its followers, perhaps it should, for it is indeed the most natural adornment for one who believes in Christ.  Why should this bother an employer.   I worked a lifetime in offices, hospitals and schools, no one every questioned it.    This situation has been heightened by other religious items, such as the muslim head-dress etc. (which are allowed) being worn.   Suddenly the cross must not be displayed in case it causes offence? Please…. who can really, in all common sense, believe that  in this country one should be banned from wearing  a cross!

  • theroadmaster

    You started the discourtesy with your reference to “backwoodsmen” to describe those who hold on on their Faith-based beliefs.  I am of the opinion that courtesy should be extend ed to those who disagree with your arguments.  Counter-arguments should be put forward as reasonable alternatives  and not ill-thought out , ad-hominem descriptions of those who propose them.  

  • JabbaPapa

     JB writes :

    You just don’t understand. (paraphrased)

    Your hypocrisy is demonstrated.

  • JabbaPapa

    And I have never mentioned coercion.

    Again with a changing of your story because you’ve been caught out, it gets very wearisome very quickly.

    How, exactly, do “must” and “required” (used twice) not signify coercion ?

  • JabbaPapa

     WTF is that even supposed to *mean* ??????

  • JByrne24

    I did NOT apply the word “backwoodsmen” generally to people who have Christian faith-based beliefs. Although I think it appropriate for some of them. But I have accused NOBODY of dishonesty, as JabbaP has accused me.
    I’m sure they believe the errors that they say they believe.I am myself a person who has strong Christian beliefs.READ my posts – and how dare you put words in my mouth!

  • Benedict Carter

    You miss the point entirely; hardly a first for you.

  • Bart_0117

    David Cameron welcoming Christian fightbacks? Hm… Sounds very trustworthy, does it not?