Anglican Samizdat

November 24, 2009

Churches in UK must lift ban on employing homosexuals

Filed under: Christianity,homosexuality — David Jenkins @ 12:17 pm
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From the Guardian:

Brussels says churches must lift ban on employing homosexuals.

EU decides British government was wrong to allow exemptions under equality law.

The government is being forced by the European commission to rip up controversial exemptions that allow church bodies to refuse to employ homosexual staff.

It has emerged that the commission wrote to the government last week raising concerns that the UK had incorrectly implemented an EU directive prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of a person’s sexual orientation.

The ruling follows a complaint from the National Secular Society, which argued that the opt-outs went further than was permitted under the directive and had created “illegal discrimination against homosexuals”.

It is interesting that it’s the National Secular Society that made the complaint. The NSS believes that Christian Churches are hotbeds of irrationality and superstition and – by NSS lights – anyone associated with or employed by a church would be constantly exposed to propaganda designed to lead them down the slippery slope to that most despicable of delusions – faith.  So what does the National Secular Society have against homosexuals?


November 17, 2009

Taking Christ out of Christmas has a Nazi precedent

Filed under: Atheism,Christianity,The fall of the West — David Jenkins @ 12:50 pm
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Something to think about before you wish someone a Happy Holidays:

Nazi Germany celebrated Christmas without Christ with the help of swastika tree baubles, ‘Germanic’ cookies and a host of manufactured traditions, a new exhibition has shown.

The way the celebration was gradually taken over and exploited for propaganda purposes by Hitler’s Nazis is detailed in a new exhibition.

Rita Breuer has spent years scouring flea markets for old German Christmas ornaments.

She and her daughter Judith developed a fascination with the way Christmas was used by the atheist Nazis, who tried to turn it into a pagan winter solstice celebration.

‘Christmas was a provocation for the Nazis – after all, the baby Jesus was a Jewish child,’ Judith Breuer told the German newspaper Spiegel. ‘The most important celebration in the year didn’t fit with their racist beliefs so they had to react, by trying to make it less Christian.’

November 8, 2009

Crucifix ban in Italy a victory for Muslims

Filed under: Christianity,Islam — David Jenkins @ 6:47 pm
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Before Soile Lautsi appealed to European Court of Human Rights, Muslims in Italy had been working hard to have the “small body on two wooden sticks” removed from classrooms. A victory for Muslims and Soile Lautsi and a sad defeat for Western Civilisation:

In 2003, the Union of the Muslims of Italy (UOMII), led by a radical convert to Islam named Adel Smith, brought a court action to have the crucifix removed from all public schools in that predominantly Catholic country. Calling the crucifix a “small body on two wooden sticks,” and “a miniature cadaver,” Smith and UOMII lobbied hard for their removal. Also on their agenda was the removal of an “offensive” 15th century Giovanni di Modena fresco in the Bologna cathedral and the deletion of Dante’s Divine Comedy from the school syllabus. Smith said both showed the prophet Mohammed cast into hell and were blasphemous against Islam.

The local Italian Court ruled in favor of the Smith and the Muslims. The schools appealed.

The matter was taken up by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France (along with a similar action by a different plaintiff), and in a stunning decision, which has gone almost entirely unreported by most major news outlets and cable programs (with the exception of a small, peripheral mention on Fox News) in this country, that Court also ruled last week that displaying crucifixes in the Italian schools violated Europe’s principle of “secular education,” and “might be intimidating for children from other faiths.

November 4, 2009

Bankers loving themselves

Filed under: Christianity — David Jenkins @ 3:31 pm

From Bloomberg:

Nov. 4 (Bloomberg) — Barclays Plc Chief Executive Officer John Varley stood at the wooden lectern in St. Martin-in-the- Fields on London’s Trafalgar Square last night and told the packed pews of the church that “profit is not satanic.”

The 53-year-old head of Britain’s second-biggest bank said banks are the “backbone” of the economy. Rewarding high- performing bankers with more pay doesn’t conflict with Christian values, he said. Varley was paid 1.08 million pounds ($1.77 million) and no bonus in 2008.

“Talent is highly mobile,” Varley, a Catholic, said. “If we fail to pay or are constrained from paying competitive rates then that talent will move to another employer.”

“Is Christianity and banking compatible? Yes,” he said in an interview after the speech in the 283-year-old church. “And is Christianity and fair reward compatible? Yes.”

Varley joins Goldman Sachs International adviser Brian Griffiths and Lazard International Chairman Ken Costa as London bankers who’ve gone into London churches in recent weeks and invoked Christianity to defend a banking system that critics say has created wealth and inequality in the U.K.

“The injunction of Jesus to love others as ourselves is an endorsement of self-interest,” Goldman’s Griffiths said Oct. 20, his voice echoing around the gold-mosaic walls of St. Paul’s Cathedral, whose 365-feet-high dome towers over the City, London’s financial district. “We have to tolerate the inequality as a way to achieving greater prosperity and opportunity for all.”

While I agree with this maybe-I-have-an-axe-to-grind banker that making a profit is not Satanic, it isn’t particularly virtuous either. I have nothing against capitalism, but once it loses its ethical footing – and just like most other things in the West, I think it has – its power is just like any other power: subject to corruption.

This piece of pop-psychology enlightenment alone is an ample demonstration of why bankers should stick to banking and leave the pulpit to priests (who, admittedly, tend to use the pulpit to decry the evils of banking):

“The injunction of Jesus to love others as ourselves is an endorsement of self-interest,”

When Jesus told us to love others as we love our selves, it was hardly an endorsement of self-interest or loving ourselves; it was simply recognition of the fact that we do love ourselves. Even people who are miserable and consumed with apparent self-loathing are only in that state because they feel hard-done-by and wish for better things – because they love themselves. A person does not become suicidal through a lack of self-love, but by an over-indulgence in it; he loves himself enough to do anything to escape from his misery.

Let’s hope that John Varley takes some other sayings of Jesus to heart, too. Like:

And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God”


“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life?

October 14, 2009

Defaming Jesus in Scotland

Filed under: Christianity,The fall of the West — David Jenkins @ 9:34 pm
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When Jesus asked Peter “who do you say that I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matt 15:16.

He asks us the same question: whoQueen do we believe he is?

Apparently, Jo Clifford thinks he is a transsexual woman and is performing a play about it at the Tron theatre, Glasgow, Scotland:


Jesus is a transsexual woman. And it is now she walks the earth.

This is a play with music that presents her sayings, her miracles, and her testimony.

And she does not condemn the gays or the queers or the trans women or the trans men, and no, not the straight women nor the straight men either. Because she is the Daughter of God, most certainly, and almost as certainly the son also. And God’s child condemns nobody. She can only love…

It isn’t particularly surprising to note that the Tron theatre is not only a Scottish registered charity – a word whose use is replete with irony, considering its agape etymology – and a beneficiary of the Scottish Arts Council, or the Scottish taxpayer.

Other than the obvious blasphemous aspects of this, what makes it such bad art is, first, it is cowardly: Christianity is an easy target – too easy. A play entitled “Mohammed the Paedophile” might not appeal to everyone, but at least it would take guts and have the potential for being historically accurate. Second, anything masquerading as art that has to resort to such politically correct perculsion, is sufficiently devoid of imagination that the only way it could survive is through grants from intellectually bankrupt Arts Councils. Third, it is part of the Glasgay festival, whose purpose is to:

… celebrate all things FAMILY and FEMININE. From trapped lovers to mothers on the verge, Hollywood legends, old queens, random storks, transgender goddesses and ginger stereotypes.

a statement which, as far as I can tell, is completely without meaning.

October 4, 2009

The state’s obligation to punish vs Christian forgiveness

Filed under: Christianity — David Jenkins @ 4:04 pm

Yet another demonstration that Mr. Bumble was right: The law is an ass:

Child rapist strikes again days after being let off because victim’s Christian family forgave him.

A top judge is at the centre of an investigation after he freed a child rapist who then kidnapped and raped another youngster just eight days later.

Judge Adrian Smith had spared the 16-year old sex attacker a jail term after his first victim’s family, who are devout Christians, forgave the teenager.

Judge Smith is thought to have allowed the boy to go free after hearing statements from the victim’s father who said his ‘religious faith’ had allowed to him to forgive the attacker.

As part of the three-year community rehabilitation order, the youth was ordered to receive counselling sessions to address his behaviour and supervision from probation officers.

The Christian family who forgave the rapist did something extremely difficult that their faith, nevertheless, requires – both for their own benefit and because God forgives them. The state, though, is there to restrain evil by punishing the wrongdoer, not to indulge in vicarious Christian forgiveness. As St. Paul says, “for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” Rom 13:4b

Instead, a mealy-mouthed judge has permitted more evil because he did not do what his job requires.

September 28, 2009

Insulting for Jesus

Filed under: Christianity,Islam — David Jenkins @ 5:12 pm
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A Christian couple who own a hotel have been charged with a criminal – yes criminal – offence for insulting a guest:

Ben and Sharon Vogelenzang are awaiting trial accused of breaching public order by insulting a guest at their hotel in Aintree, Liverpool, about her religion.

The couple, who are members of an evangelical congregation, were arrested by police after getting into a discussion with the woman about the differences between Christianity and Islam earlier this year.

Mrs Vogelenzang, 54, is understood to have described Muslim dress as putting women into “bondage” while her husband, 53, allegedly described the Prophet Mohammed as a “warlord”.

The Christian Institute, which is finding the Vogelenzangs’ defence, said that the case showed that Christians are suffering growing “persecution” by officials who use the law to prevent them speaking about their faith.

I left Britain 35 years ago, but as far as I remember, insulting guests was an accepted way of life in British hotels. No more, it seems. Those who want to see how it’s done properly, watch this:

September 20, 2009

Ignite the Light

Filed under: Christianity — David Jenkins @ 7:47 am

I attended the conference, “Ignite the Light” in Toronto yesterday.

I went partly to hear Ravi Zacharias, whom I had never seen in person, but have always enjoyed listening to – largely because of his adroitness in apologetics. In God in the Dock, C. S. Lewis wrote:

Finally, I must add that my own work has suffered very much from the incurable intellectualism of my approach. The simple emotional appeal (“Come to Jesus’) is often successful. But those who, like myself, lack the gift for making it, had better not attempt it.

Not so for Ravi Zacharias; I discovered yesterday that he can manage both.

September 18, 2009

Christopher Hitchens vs John Lennox, “Is God Great?”

Filed under: Atheism,Christianity — David Jenkins @ 12:41 pm
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From the March 2009 debate at Samford University in Birmingham, AL.

September 17, 2009

T-shirt theology

Filed under: Atheism,Christianity — David Jenkins @ 11:06 am
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Now atheists do it:

The war of words between believers and non-believers is being fought in books, on television screens, and even on the front of T-shirts.

Below we have selected 20 of the coolest and funniest atheist tops on the web, for anyone wanting to make a public statement of their scepticism.

We’ve also gathered 20 humorous Christian shirts, so you can decide which side is winning the fashion war.

I must admit, the atheist T-shirts do sum up the atheist position much better than the Christian T-shirts do the Christian position. This, of course, is because the atheist argument is considerably more trite than the Christian argument and is best suited for summarising on T-shirts and bumper stickers.

Add an Image

September 15, 2009

Christianity, the religion of exclusion

Filed under: Christianity — David Jenkins @ 7:24 pm

Christianity, and Judaism before it, is unique in its demand for exclusive loyalty. There is one God and he is a jealous God: he will not share allegiance with other gods. Not because he is an egoist, but because other so-called gods are not God and, if they exist at all, they are malicious not beneficent. This was something that disturbed the pagan world; as David Bentley Hart says of the early church,

And, while of course “miracles” might also be produced on behalf of gods other than the Christian, the signs and wonders wielded by the Christian evangelists were associated with a cult that was unprecedentedly exclusive of all other religious loyalties; and so, uniquely, the miracles of the Christians destroyed faith even as they created faith. In this way, from the first, Christianity was engaged in extinguishing all rival faiths.

Sadly, in contemporary Western Christianity this is no longer the case. The Anglican, Lutheran, United and most other non-Roman mainline denominations have reverted to the pagan notion that gods are interchangeable and – may the best god win. Thus, we have the god of sex – Xochipilli – the god of reproductive rights – Moloch – the god of ecology – Gaia – all cavorting unrestrained in the hallowed cathedrals of contemporary Christianity-lite.

God is not mocked, of course and, just as a dog flees its own excrement, so members of mainline denominations are bolting as fast as possible to exclusive Roman, evangelical and congregational churches.

August 25, 2009

Good, clean, wholesome Christian music

Filed under: Christianity,music — David Jenkins @ 6:41 pm
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h/t: IM

August 23, 2009

Science and Christianity

Filed under: Christianity,John Lennox,Science — David Jenkins @ 5:11 pm
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The incomparable John Lennox on science and Christianity:

A superb series; listen to it all starting Here.

Blaspheming in Ireland

Filed under: Christianity,Islam — David Jenkins @ 4:12 pm
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Is to be no more: Ireland introduces a new blasphemy law:

The Irish government plans to bring into force a new law in October that critics say is a return to medieval justice.

The legislation, aimed at providing judges with clear direction on the 1937 Constitution’s blasphemy prohibition, imposes a fine of up to 25,000 euros — about $39,000 — for anyone who “publishes or utters matter that is [intentionally meant to be] grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion.”

Police with a search warrant will be able to enter private premises and use “reasonable force” to obtain incriminating evidence.

The truth is, there are already blasphemy laws actively operating in every Western nation: they only prohibit an offence against Islam, though and the penalty is often death at the hands of a demented Muslim. So effective are the existing laws that a new book from Yale Press – the fearless bastion of controversy and free speech – is self-censoring itself by not publishing the notorious Mohammed cartoons in a book about the cartoons.

At least the new Irish blasphemy law evens things up by prohibiting Christian blasphemy too – although the penalty is a measly maximum of $39,000, not death.

Richard Dawkins has an opinion, of course:

“It is a wretched, backward, uncivilized regression to the Middle Ages,” said prominent atheist author Richard Dawkins in a statement last month, arguing that the law risks shattering Ireland’s new image as a “modern, civilized . . . green and pleasant silicon valley.”

Now, Richard, since when did you care about civilisation? As long as we are evolving, surely that’s all that matters; why are you not happy with the remorseless evolution that produced this new blasphemy law?

August 20, 2009

How not to make Christianity believable

Filed under: Christianity,Politics — David Jenkins @ 5:08 pm
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h/t: Hairy Eyeball

One of the leading characters in Tolstoy’s War and Peace – Pierre Besukhov – spends a considerable amount of energy playing with numbers in the Bible to prove that Napoleon was the antichrist.  As is often the case in a Tolstoy novel, his fictional character is pretty close to reality: what obsesses some – I hope it’s fringe, I really do – Christians is just that: identifying the antichrist.

Napoleon may have been disagreeable, but he wasn’t the antichrist; neither is Barack Obama, in spite of a popular youtube video declaring that he is. I disagree politically with Obama and I think the adulation he has attracted is foolish, but I don’t thinks he is about to usher in the Great Tribulation – well, other than the trillion dollar debt.

Nevertheless, there are some who take this sort of thing seriously. This article does an effective debunking job:

More than one Christian friend has suggested to me, in all seriousness, that President Obama is the Antichrist. I haven’t taken such suggestions too seriously, but recently a video has shown up on Youtube that seems to claim that Jesus identified Obama as the Antichrist. Some Christians have been startled by this (and the video is wildly popular) and believe that the evidence is compelling. The video is found here.

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