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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Anglicanism - that it should have come to this!


"Worshippers at the St Michael and All Angels Church in Uffington, Lincolnshire, wanted their oak altar to double up as
a place to 'serve refreshments' ".  Photo: Alamy


Friendly service with Coffee (see 'Services and Events' here).

Worshippers at St Michael and All Angels Church in Uffington, Lincolnshire, wanted their oak altar to double up as a place to “serve refreshments” but Mark Bishop, chancellor for Lincoln, and a judge of the Church of England's Consistory Court, decided the altar could only be used for worship, not to serve snacks. Read the report here. Putting the request for a faculty in a slightly different but no better light, another account here reveals that the application was part of the church’s refurbishment project "which has included a revamp of the Casrewick (sic) Chapel and a new roof".

It beggars belief that for some Anglicans tea and coffee are now on a par with Holy Communion. If anyone doesn't understand why the application had to be rejected they should watch this video:




Monday, September 1, 2014

Personal cost


Photo: Nathaniel Ramanaden

From the Church in Wales web site (here), "History was made in St Asaph on Sunday 31 August as Bishop Gayle Harris from the United States became the first Anglican woman bishop to preside and preach in a Welsh Cathedral.

Bishop Gayle, who is Suffragen (sic) Bishop of Massachusetts, led the service at 11am, both preaching and leading the Eucharist. She is in Wales to attend the “Crossing the Threshold” conference in Cardiff – a conference to mark the change in church law in Wales which means women can become bishops.

Invited by the Bishop of St Asaph to preach at the Cathedral, Bishop Gayle spoke about being a follower of Christ in her sermon, explaining that discipleship isn’t easy and involves personal cost." 

She can say that again!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Premature celebrations


The Jackson/Wigley Morgan partnership

Following the Church in Wales Governing Body vote to allow women to become bishops their Archbishop,  Dr Barry Morgan, said, "While we, as bishops, welcome the decision that women can now be ordained as bishops in Wales, we recognise that there are some people who do not. We want to make sure that adequate provision is made for them so that they will still feel valued and accepted in the Church and will continue to worship and minister alongside us.  We have been entrusted to draw up a Code of Practice within a year and we are keen to consult as widely as possible with church members in order to reflect their views as best we can." [My emphasis - Ed.]

Under the Bench of Bishops' original Bill, as soon as practicable after the promulgation of the Canon the Bench had to establish a Working Party which would (a) invite, receive and consider proposals for a scheme of provision for Members of the Church in Wales who, for reasons of conscience, dissent from the provisions of section 1 of the Bill to permit women bishops and (b) produce recommendations to the Bench of Bishops for such scheme of provision.

Recommendations made pursuant to the provisions of subsection (1) of the Bill and agreed by the Bench of Bishops were to be included in a Bill introduced into the Governing Body of the Church in Wales within two years of the promulgation of the original Bill. 

That commitment seemed clear. An accommodation similar to that being worked on in the Church of England would allow all members of the Church the opportunity to flourish but having achieved their primary objective of allowing women to be admitted to the Episcopate through the Jackson/Wigley Amendment, that commitment under a voluntary Code of Practice is already looking pretty thin, adding to the suspicion that the Amendment merely provided Dr Morgan with the opportunity to maintain his position that there would be alternative pastoral and sacramental provision 'over his dead body' despite the costly charade of inviting submissions and organising diocesan meetings throughout the Province to receive and consider proposals for alternative provision.

As the date to allow women bishops draws near, arrangements have been made to celebrate the success of the women bishops campaign - jumping the gun in the process. For those who wish to remain true to the Catholic faith there is not even a whisper of what the bishops have in mind. According to Credo Cymru (here) the bishops' scheme will be presented as a fait accompli after women bishops become legal in the Church in Wales. 

This is contrary to the spirit of the amendment to the Bill which, according to the accompanying explanatory notes (here), aimed for a shortened one-year lead time from the previous two years to:-

a) impart a sense of urgency to the Bench that a Code of Practice should be agreed 
without delay, but 
b) provide a period of time in which the Bench may reassure as wide a range of 
people as possible of their good faith, and desire to give a sense of security in the 
future, to individuals holding different views. 

The amendment sought "explicitly to restore the relationship of Trust between the
body of the Church in Wales and the Bench of Bishops, and to reassert the desire
for this trust to lie at the heart of the bishops’ ministry and their role as a focus for
unity."

There has been no sense of urgency or reassurance of a sense of security for the future of those members of the Church for whom provision has to be made under the Code of Practice. It remains to be seen if good faith suffers a similar fate.

The decision to allow women bishops was greeted at Governing Body with wild applause. No doubt there will be similar expressions of ecstasy at the Crossing the Threshold event in Llandaff on 4 September which ends with a Eucharist at 7.45pm in Llandaff Cathedral when the President will be the Rt Rev’d Geralyn Wolf of the US Episcopal Church.

As she stands at the Altar, she and the congregation may wish to reflect on the fact that her presence there appears at this point in time to be as the result of a deception. Not good news or the best start for women in the Episcopacy in the Church in Wales!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

"Easy meat"




In 2011 the former Home Secretary Jack Straw was accused of "stereotyping" after suggesting some men of Pakistani origin see white girls as "easy meat". He was quick to qualify his remark by adding "Pakistanis, let's be clear, are not the only people who commit sexual offences, and overwhelmingly the sex offenders' wings of prisons are full of white sex offenders" (here).

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham (1997 – 2013) makes grim reading (download available here). From the Executive Summary:

No one knows the true scale of child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Rotherham over the years. Our
conservative estimate is that approximately 1400 children were sexually exploited over the full
Inquiry period, from 1997 to 2013.

In just over a third of cases, children affected by sexual exploitation were previously known to
services because of child protection and neglect. It is hard to describe the appalling nature of the
abuse that child victims suffered. They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other
towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten, and intimidated. There were examples
of children who had been doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, threatened with
guns, made to witness brutally violent rapes and threatened they would be next if they told anyone.
Girls as young as 11 were raped by large numbers of male perpetrators

Over the first twelve years covered by this Inquiry, the collective failures of political and officer
leadership were blatant. From the beginning, there was growing evidence that child sexual
exploitation was a serious problem in Rotherham. This came from those working in residential
care and from youth workers who knew the young people well.

By far the majority of perpetrators were described as 'Asian' by victims, yet throughout the entire
period, councillors did not engage directly with the Pakistani-heritage community to discuss how
best they could jointly address the issue. Some councillors seemed to think it was a one-off problem,
which they hoped would go away. Several staff described their nervousness about identifying the
ethnic origins of perpetrators for fear of being thought racist; others remembered clear direction
from their managers not to do so. [My emphasis - Ed.]

This is a serious problem. Rotherham is just the latest town to be highlighted where Asian men have targeted vulnerable children. Evidence has been produced showing that children were "trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England". Where does it end? For far too long the politically correct have held sway. We have been inhibited from stating the obvious for fear of causing offence to minorities who in their own country in Pakistan, for example, do as they please using blasphemy laws to their own advantage. It is time to stand up and defend our values even if it risks offending the sensibilities of those who have accepted our hospitality.

Section 8.16 of the Report highlights: "One of the common threads running through child sexual exploitation across England has been the prominent role of taxi drivers in being directly linked to children who were abused. This was the case in Rotherham from a very early stage, when residential care home heads met in the nineties to share intelligence about taxis and other cars which picked up girls from outside their units. In the early 2000s some secondary school heads were reporting girls being picked up at lunchtime at the school gates and being taken away to provide oral sex to men in the lunch break."

I have often been puzzled by the rise in ethnic taxi drivers, especially those who are able to afford to live in the more affluent areas of our cities but the observation in the Rotherham Report raises a more serious issue which should place all of us on our guard for suspicious behaviour around our schools and the homes of vulnerable children.

The claim that most sex offenders are white also finds space in the Rotherham Report [11.2]:
 As has been stated many times before, there is no simple link between race and child sexual exploitation, and across the UK the greatest numbers of perpetrators of CSE are white men. The second largest category, according to the Children's Commissioner's report, are those from a minority ethnic background, particularly- 92 - those recorded as 'Asian'. In Rotherham, the majority of known perpetrators were of Pakistani heritage including the five men convicted in 2010.

Let us be clear. The population of Britain is still basically White. British people of Pakistani origin account for only 1.9% of the United Kingdom population according to 2012 figures. Of those, 90% living in England and Wales at the time of the 2011 UK Census stated their religion was Islam, mainly Sunni Muslims yet they comprise the second largest category of offenders. Proportionately that is a serious problem, the point Jack Straw was making. We need no more excuses that there are more White perpetrators for fear of being accused of racism or Islamophobia. That serves no interest, least of all to those who have suffered the most appalling sexual abuse, Muslim, Christian or no faith at all.

This evening on the BBC's One Show we were served up another helping of how the troubles in the Middle East are the fault of the US and the UK with no mention that the displaced peoples were there centuries before Muhammad was born. That minorities are being cleansed abroad is bad enough. We must ensure that we are not cleansed in our own country, standing up for what we believe even if it offends our guests.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Merciful and merciless


William Pooley, seen here, worked as a volunteer for The Shepherd's Hospice in Sierra Leone 
before he moved to serve on an Ebola treatment ward


William Pooley is a brave young man among many who has risked his own life showing mercy to help others affected by the Ebola virus outbreak in Africa, an unavoidable, hideous disease for which there is no cure, story here.

By contrast, merciless Islamists who have benefited from the hospitality of this country among others flock to the Middle East to spread an avoidable virus which slaughters others simply because they do not share the misguided belief that it is the will of Allah. In the latest skirmish according to Aljazeera hundreds have been killed as fighters storm the Tabqa base in northeast Syria, the army's last foothold in the area (here).

Syria has said that it was willing to work with the international community, including the United States, to tackle "terrorism" but that any strikes on its territory must be coordinated with Damascus (here). The Foreign Secretary has ruled out sharing intelligence with President Assad to take on Islamic State forces because 'my enemy's enemy is not my friend' (here). That too is misguided. His sentiments are understandable but regrettable.

It is clear from the lessons of Iraq, Libya and indeed from Syria that the devil you know can be better than the devil you don't. Sir Christopher Meyer, former British Ambassador to the United States, responded "Britain’s foreign policy has to reflect the world as we find it – not as we would like it to be". He is correct. 'Islamic state' must be stopped. Sir Christopher concluded his remarks by saying "This would be the mother of all U-turns. It would stick in the craw of many. But, as the great Victorian foreign secretary, Lord Palmerston, once said, we have no permanent friends or enemies, only permanent interests."

Postscript

 "Islamist groups work together in perfect harmony like an orchestra that sings to the tune of “Allahu Akbar.” And when Islamic terrorism and beheadings anger the world and turn public opinion against Islam, that orchestra starts playing a different tune to confuse and prevent the world from uncovering their coordinated handy work". Read here.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The sword




The beheading of the American journalist, James Foley, apparently by a British Muslim with a London accent, drew pledges by outraged Western governments to aid those 'battling the jihadists' among whom British extremists are thought to be among the "most vicious and vociferous fighters" (here). The British Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, described the execution as an "appalling example of the brutality of this [Islamic State] organisation" (read here). But it is not simply the "shocking and depraved" action of a single organisation as Mr Cameron described it. It is part of a culture:

"In Islam, the prophet Muhammad is the greatest example for the faithful to follow. He is the model of dedication to God par excellence; in fact, he is deemed the perfect example of submission to Allah...

Sunni Islam is the largest Islamic sect, encompassing 85% of Muslims in the world. “Sunni” is based on the “sunna,” “the pathway of the prophet” Muhammad (to which all Muslims are committed, whether formally Sunnis or not). “Muslims have the duty of da’wa, calling, summoning people to submit to Allah and to follow the sunna, the pathway trodden first by Muhammad.” 

But what is the example, the way, the path of the prophet? He not only engaged in caravan raids early in his career as a prophet and in war later, but he himself was involved in the massacre of the Qurayza Jews wherein he “had trenches dug, and the men were led out in batches and beheaded.” Ibn Ishaq’s ancient, authoritative Life of Muhammad records this event: “There were 600 or 700 in all, though some put the figure as high as 800 or 900.” How could the recent beheadings and dismemberments of a few “pagans” alarm the devout Muslim today? His “perfect” prophet beheaded upwards of 900 in one setting! We are alarmed because we are Christians." - See "Christ, Muhammad, and the Culture of Beheading" here.

Many Christians are not only alarmed but thoroughly confused that such actions can be justified as acts of faith in the name of God. Christians are taught to ''Love your neighbour as yourself', having moved on from Old Testament excesses. It is the reverse in Islam which after its peaceful period becomes increasingly violent, using the sword to threaten those wishing to convert from Islam and those who refuse to convert to Islam as is now witnessed intensely by minorities in Iraq.

Some Muslims protest that the violence is contrary to the teaching of Islam. Indeed an Imam was doing precisely that on BBC Breakfast time this morning despite evidence to the contrary from around the world. Muslims are themselves victims if their interpretation of Islam differs from fundamentalist hardliners. Saudi Arabia's top cleric says that extremism and the ideologies of groups like Islamic State and al-Qaida are Islam's No. 1 enemy and that Muslims have been their first victims (here). But watch this chilling video to see how "Taqiyya: Islamic doctrine of deception" (here) operates in the defence of Islam to the detriment of all other faiths and none making it difficult to know who is telling the truth and who is engaged in deception. The closing words in the report are "We will be paying for it [playing patsy] a vast amount in the years to come". Prophetic words indeed!


On that score, and no doubt in the spirit of brotherly love, Christian leaders have been moved to make extravagant gestures which appear to validate Islam at the expense of Christianity. In his Archbishop Cranmer blog in 2007 Cranmer reported that the Bishop of Liverpool had accepted the invitation of a Muslim friend to become patron of a mosque renovating project. More recently the Bishop of Portsmouth "along with numerous other clerics visited the Al Mahdi Center in Wessex where verses from 'the Noble Qur’an' were recited before Bishop Christopher blessed the community and the centre" (here). In Wales Archbishop Morgan has far more time for his Muslim friends than for faithful adherents of the Catholic faith - see 'Barry's blunder' here. Having been warned about false prophets and told by Jesus Christ that 'No one comes to the Father except through Me' such gestures appear ill-advised to say the least.

While Anglican leaders in this country water-down the Christian faith, questioning the legitimacy of basic beliefs such as the virgin birth and even the Resurrection, Muslims by contrast will not tolerate any perceived criticism or even discuss apparent Contradictions and Inaccuracies (here). Recall how, even though "beheading was practiced by the Prophet Muhammad himself during the 7th century period of Islam and by the most Islamic rulers thereafter" (here), Pope Benedict was obliged to apologise for a misunderstanding following a speech to university professors in Germany in 2006 after he cited the words of a Byzantine emperor who characterized some of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, Islam’s founder, as “evil and inhuman”:

"Pope Benedict XVI said Sunday that he was “deeply sorry” about the angry reaction to his recent remarks about Islam, which he said came from a text that didn’t reflect his personal opinion. “These (words) were in fact a quotation from a Medieval text which do not in any way express my personal thought,” Benedict told pilgrims at his summer palace outside Rome." Full account here.

James Foley was a freelance photojournalist whose work highlighted the depths to which these jihadists will sink, even killing fellow Muslims in the name of Allah to achieve what they mistakenly believe to be their reward in heaven. Reports of James' own death have done far more to galvanise world opinion than any other report so far. May he now rest in peace.

The International Civil Liberties Alliance reported in May that that a new organisation, Sharia Watch UK, was launched in the House of Lords. See their special report: SHARIA LAW: Britain’s Blind Spot. Here is a taste:

 "We call on the UK government to recognise that the establishment of a sharia state, or campaigning for such, is itself an extremist position. We base this on the fact that a sharia state would involve profound mistreatment of women and girls (including forced marriage and unequal legal status), the implementation of barbaric punishments (including stonings and amputations) and the complete destruction of freedom of speech and democracy."

It also has something to say about the Muslim organisations including the Muslim Council of Britain which "has received several hundred thousand pounds of taxpayers’ money, despite evidence of its links with extremists and its own extremist beliefs". Full Report here. Church and State take note!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Head in the sand


"Multicultural education is a 'cult of tolerance' in which you demonstrate your
 sensitivity to other cultures by being almost totally insensitive to your own."


The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter - Quran 5:33


Archbishop of Mosul: "I have lost my Diocese to Islam - You in the West will also become the victims of Muslims" (read here).

Coptic Bishop: Without Action, It’s Only a Matter of Time Before Islamic Fundamentalism “Infects the Entire World” (read here and here).

It is not as if the West had not been warned. See herehere, here, here, here, here and here. Need I go on? While the Islamic threat seemed to be someone else's problem it was much more convenient to be able to bury one's head in the sand in the mistaken belief that Islam is a religion of peace rather than confront the fact that cleansing of Christians and other minorities continues around the world where Islam dominates. In the current threat minorities are no longer simply displaced. - It is convert or die! Even young children are being groomed for jihad, recruited to kill Christians other minorities and Shiite Muslims (video here).

For too long apologists for 'the religion of peace' have dismissed Islamic extremists as not representative of Islam but on what evidence? Islam means 'submission' or 'surrender'. If lying is necessary for the sake of Allah, so be it - see understanding Taqiyya - it is part of the faith. Not all Muslims are bad any more than all Christians are good but that should not obscure the reality that when Islamists have the upper hand their attitude to others changes.

As soon as the Prime Minister arrived back from his Summer holiday he was belatedly identifying with the plight of the starving Yazidis who had at the same time been struggling to survive on Mount Sinjar after fleeing the terrors of Islamic State (IS) (here). Mercifully many found their way to relative safety while the rest of the world dithered (BBC pictures here).

Current events so alarmed the Bishop of Leeds that he was prompted to write to Mr Cameron in the following terms: "The focus by both politicians and media on the plight of the Yazidis has been notable and admirable. However, there has been increasing silence about the plight of tens of thousands of Christians who have been displaced, driven from cities and homelands, and who face a bleak future. Despite appalling persecution, they seem to have fallen from consciousness, and I wonder why. Does your government have a coherent response to the plight of these huge numbers of Christians whose plight appears to be less regarded than that of others? Or are we simply reacting to the loudest media voice at any particular time? Full text here.

Mr Cameron was on TV again this morning assuring voters that the current terrorist threat will not cause mayhem on our streets; his priority is to protect British citizens form the IS threat. But IS sympathisers are already here. They have been distributing leaflets in London's Oxford Street while around 500 are thought to have left these shores to fight with the jihadists in Iraq and Syria. In Tower Hamlets the Black flag linked to jihadists Isis has been flown as a sign of solidarity with their brother Muslims, once again demonstrating where loyalties lie.

If, as Mr Cameron says, he wants to keep families safe here in the United Kingdom he needs to address the real issue of the spread of Islam and investigate the contradiction between the so-called religion of peace and use of the sword. He could start here.

The name Muhammad with its variants is again the most popular boys name in Britain adding weight to the conclusion that Islam will be the dominant religion in Great Britain within a generation (here). Unlike Christianity there is no separation of Church and State. Islam is a way of life without borders based on a religious ideology governed by Sharia. It has already taken root here:




"There is not another religion in the world that consistently produces terrorism in the name of God as does Islam.  The most dangerous Muslims are nearly always those who interpret the Quran most transparently.  They are the fundamentalists or purists of the faith, and believe in Muhammad’s mandate to spread Islamic rule by the sword, putting to death those who will not submit.  In the absence of true infidels, they will even turn on each other."
- from The Myths of Islam (here).