Anglican Samizdat

November 3, 2009

Crucifixes banned in Italian schools

Filed under: The fall of the West — David Jenkins @ 11:54 am

From the BBC:

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled against the use of crucifixes in classrooms in Italy.

It said the practice violated the right of parents to educate their children as they saw fit, and ran counter to the child’s right to freedom of religion.

The case was brought by an Italian mother, Soile Lautsi, who wants to give her children a secular education.

If Soile Lautsi is so averse to her children seeing a crucifix in school, perhaps she should home-school them to ensure the expunging from their education of all vestiges of Christianity, even though it underpins the human rights to which she believes she is entitled.

Or she could move to an explicitly secular state like North Korea.


October 30, 2009

Larry David is PC

Filed under: The fall of the West — David Jenkins @ 10:11 am

Larry David, in urinating on a picture of Jesus to gain a laugh, is PC in two ways:

He is Politically Correct because mocking Christianity is Hollywood-cool and he knows no reprisals are likely from Christians. Just imagine if it had been a Koran.

And he is a Pee Comedian; toilet jokes are the last refuge of a comic who has run out of ways to be funny.

October 22, 2009

Should we legislate morality?

Filed under: The fall of the West — David Jenkins @ 2:31 pm

The answer used to be a unequivocal “yes” since the alternative is to legislate amorality; life is no longer so clear-cut:

Lorne Gunter: Prostitution may be immoral, but it shouldn’t be illegal

I have sympathy for the groups lining up in Ontario Superior Court to preserve Canada’s laws against prostitution.

As Derek Bell, a lawyer representing the Christian Legal Fellowship, the Catholic Civil Rights League and REAL Women of Canada told Madame Justice Susan Himel yesterday, “the prohibitions contained in [the Criminal Code] in part were designed to protect public morals and against moral corruption.”

These are important considerations. I don’t want my daughter or yours or any other young girl drawn into prostitution. Like the largely Christian groups asking the court to turn down a constitutional challenge of the ban on prostitution — brought by a dominatrix, a former sex trade worker and a working prostitute — I oppose prostitution on moral grounds.

But I am even more opposed to laws dictating morals between consenting adults. The state has no business proscribing what is right and wrong for people quite capable of making up their own minds. I would not, for instance, overturn laws against statutory rape, child pornography or bestiality; children and animals cannot give informed consent. Nor am I in favour of legalizing murder, assault, rape or robbery, because no one has a right to take another’s life, liberty, wellbeing, dignity or property without their consent.

Such is the argument of the Libertarian. The problem with it is this:

On the one hand, Gunter says prostitution, while immoral, should not be illegal, implying the legality of a thing should rest on something other than morality.

On the other, he asserts that laws that allow the harming of one individual by another must stand;  the difference is in the harming of an individual, something which he would view as, well… immoral.

This is not untypical of those who proclaim that we cannot “legislate morality”: the truth is, everyone wants to legislate morality. It’s just that the only moral imperative left in our civilisation is “do what you want as long as you don’t hurt anyone”; but it is still a moral imperative, albeit a narrow and short-sighted one. The Libertarian might make the argument that laws against murder, theft and so on are there merely to maintain order; but that doesn’t further the argument, since it assumes that order in human society is better – more moral – than disorder.

So Lorne, we do legislate morality and prostitution, if immoral, should also be illegal.

October 20, 2009

Senior IBM VP, Bob Moffat arrested for insider trading

Filed under: The fall of the West — David Jenkins @ 1:47 pm

I have worked in large corporations for the last 43 years; one of them was IBM. The main thing I have learnt is, as Jeremiah says, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? – Jer 17:9.

Apparently there has been financial hanky-panky at the most senior levels of IBM:

NEW YORK (Reuters) – It isn’t often that big blue gets a black eye.

But Friday IBM , the leading U.S. technology firm known for its conservative management, found itself entangled in the largest ever hedge fund insider-trading scheme involving Galleon Group founder Raj Rajaratnam.

Robert Moffat, senior vice president and head of IBM’s systems and technology group was named as a defendant. Executives at leading chipmaker Intel Corp and management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. were also implicated.

At IBM, when the mighty fall, they are not put on display for public excoriation as an example to plebeians who might otherwise be tempted to follow in the footsteps of their putative betters: instead, they disappear. An attempt to look up Bob Moffat at IBM yields: The biography you tried to access does not exist. He has been cast into outer darkness.

Moffat had been with IBM since 1978, so he was a true blue IBMer; clearly he didn’t take the yearly pledge of obedience to IBM’s Business Conduct Guidelines very seriously, though. In recent years his popularity with the rank and file at IBM has not been high since he was the architect of numerous purges and of moving North American jobs to India, Brazil, Argentina – anywhere where labour is cheap. IBM euphemistically calls this “Global Resourcing” – GR for short.

Unsurprisingly, when the news of Moffat’s arrest was made public, there were reports of cheering employees in IBM buildings all over North America. I confined myself to a smile.

October 19, 2009

Doing Funerals “My Way”

Filed under: The fall of the West — David Jenkins @ 9:59 am

Funerals for the lost:

A LEADING Tunbridge Wells clergyman has been branded “insensitive” after unleashing a scathing attack on modern funerals.

Father Ed Tomlinson, of St Barnabas’ Church, Quarry Road, said he had better ways of spending his time than at crematorium services where the dead were “led in by the tunes of Tina Turner…and sent into the furnace with ‘I Did It My Way’ blaring out across the speakers”.

The vicar whose blogsite rants attract a cult following, said the widespread fashion for “a poem from nan combined with a saccharine message from a pop star before being popped in the oven” left him feeling like an unwanted guest at many funerals.

He added: “I have… stood at the ‘crem’ like a lemon, wondering why on earth I am present.”

There was a time when even non-believers craved the aesthetics of the Church at the important moments of their lives: marriages and funerals. Now, it seems, all that is left is the expectation that a tame vicar will do the honours while trite secularisms-du-jour are injected into the ceremony. Congratulations to Father Ed for speaking his mind.

October 15, 2009

Living in the past

Filed under: The fall of the West — David Jenkins @ 8:08 pm

On the same day there are two stories, one of the intense romantic love of Queen Victoria:Add an Image

By Victorian standards, it is really rather daring.

Even more so when one realises that the lovely young woman languorously baring her shoulders is none other than Queen Victoria.

The portrait, known as ‘the secret picture’, was commissioned by the young Queen in 1843 as a 24th birthday present for her beloved husband Albert. It was painted by the respected artist Franz Xaver Winterhalter.

By all accounts it was well received. Victoria, also 24 at the time, referred to it as ‘my darling Albert’s favourite picture’.

He was said to particularly like the way he hair, half released from its traditional knot, cascaded down her back.

The phrase ‘the secret picture’ was taken from Victoria’s journal and referred to the fact that she had commissioned it for her husband’s eyes only. It has only been displayed in public on one occasion since she gave it to him 166 years ago.

And the other of a tawdry and repulsive 21st Century meretrix:

Britney Spears is racy in lace as she films video for controversial new song 3.
The track has already claimed the top spot in the U.S. charts and is taken from her forthcoming album The Singles Collection, released next month.

Cavorting with two men in a skimpy see-through lace outfit, this is Britney Spears filming scenes for her latest controversial song 3.

Victoria had 9 children, was publicly modest and, contrary to the preconceptions of contemporary bigotry, enjoyed sex.

You can keep Britney, give me Victoria.

October 14, 2009

Defaming Jesus in Scotland

Filed under: Christianity,The fall of the West — David Jenkins @ 9:34 pm
Tags: ,

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 10, 2009

Expunging the Cross from our civilisation

Filed under: The fall of the West — David Jenkins @ 1:04 pm

For once I agree with the ACLU – sort of:

Perched high above the ground in the middle of California’s Mojave National Preserve is a two-metre-tall structure known simply as the cross in the desert.

The white cross, erected 75 years ago by veterans to honour soldiers killed in the First World War, has plunged the U. S. Supreme Court once again into a debate on the separation of church and state.

In trying to defend the cross that sits atop Sunrise Rock, Justice Antonin Scalia has raised a far thornier issue: What does the cross represent? Is it a religious symbol of Christianity, and therefore an affront to other religions? Or is it simply a common symbol marking the place of the dead, which therefore transcends religiosity?

For now, the cross — made out of metal pipes — is covered with plywood to hide its significance.

The Supreme Court case, which is actually over complex land transfer rules, has prompted a fascinating philosophical exchange.

Peter Eliasberg, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California, told the Supreme Court many Jewish war veterans would not wish to be honoured by “the predominant symbol of Christianity” and that the cross “signifies that Jesus is the son of God and died to redeem mankind.”

The lawyer is right: of course the cross “signifies that Jesus is the son of God and died to redeem mankind.” To pretend otherwise in an effort to surreptitiously slip Christian symbolism into public life is less than honest. The real problem is, the Cross and what Jesus bought for us when he died on it, is the foundation upon which Western civilisation was built: remove it and our concepts of good, evil, justice, charity, fairness, the sanctity of life and human dignity will all be blown away by the first puff of wind.

It has already begun: scientist, Peter Singer advocates infanticide for “defective” babies; situational ethicist Joseph Fletcher advocated decontaminating our gene pool by weeding out “idiots” and the “diseased” through compulsory abortions; Linus Pauling proposed a policy of segregating genetic “inferiors” by branding them with indelible marks; transhumanists like Lee Silver wish to develop human chimera (something that has already been done in the UK) by combining human and animal DNA to “improve” the species. These ideas have infiltrated today’s society, unfettered as it is by the restraints once imposed by the morality of the Cross. What a nightmare.

September 23, 2009

Rowan and Ahmadinejad on capitalism

Filed under: Rowan Williams,The fall of the West — David Jenkins @ 9:19 pm
Tags: ,


Capitalism’s “unfair system of fault has reached the end of the road and is unable to move,” Ahmadinejad, Iran’s president, said in his highly anticipated speech in New York.

Delegations from several nations, including the United States, walked out during the speech, partly in protest of Ahmadinejad’s past statements blasting Israel and denying the holocaust.

Rowan Williams:

Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said he feared that the City was returning to business as usual with no ”repentance” for the excesses which led to the economic collapse.

”There hasn’t been what I would, as a Christian, call repentance. We haven’t heard people saying ‘well actually, no, we got it wrong and the whole fundamental principle on which we worked was unreal, was empty’.”

”It’s a failure to name what was wrong. To name that, what I called last year ‘idolatry’, that projecting (of) reality and substance onto things that don’t have them.”

Other than the fact that Ahmadinejad is a little more incoherent than Rowan, is there much difference?

September 12, 2009

Anthony Robbins does 9/11

Filed under: The fall of the West — David Jenkins @ 12:24 pm

There are few things that I find less motivating than a motivational speaker and there is no motivational speaker that can provoke a stronger desire in me to do the opposite of what is being peddled than Anthony Robbins.

In one of Robbins’ latest endeavours, the use of other people’s tragedies to hawk his brand of self-stimulating vacuous ambition sets a new low even for motivational speakers:

September 9, 2009

How to make children sexually responsible: tell them all about it younger

Filed under: The fall of the West — David Jenkins @ 11:18 pm

At the same time that Spotted Dick is being renamed “Spotted Richard” to avoid giving the Flintshire County Council an attack of the vapours, we have this from the UN:

Children as young as five should be taught about explicit sex acts, according to guidelines from the United Nations.

The advice also calls for youngsters to learn about abortion, same-sex relationships and sexually transmitted diseases.

The draft report on sex education has been compiled by UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

Not to worry, everything should be fine so long as they can keep the children away from the Spotted Dick.

August 16, 2009

The trans-gender police roadshow

Filed under: The fall of the West — David Jenkins @ 12:02 am

In a subtle move to counter their overly butch image, the police in the UK have come up with this:Add an Image

The trans-gender police roadshow spreading the word at a gay festival.

Dressed in matching black t-shirts and handing out balloons, these are trans-gender members of the National Trans Police Association.

They were pictured at the recent Sparkle 09 festival in Manchester’s Gay Village in a bid to encourage the trans community to report more incidents to the police.

I understand the next pioneering effort will be to dress like criminals complete with tattoos and piercing, get to know the criminal community, hand out ducky little switchblade and lock-pick sets and encourage thugs to give themselves up on their own.

August 14, 2009

Animal sacrifice in Texas

Filed under: The fall of the West — David Jenkins @ 4:56 pm

It’s not safe for a goat in Texas:

Jose Merced seems like an average Texan: He has a good job with an airline, a house in a suburban cul-de-sac, three chihuahuas and strong religious faith.

It is what transpired in a bedroom attached to his garage, however, that piqued his neighbours’ interest about five years ago. Police in Euless, a suburb of Fort Worth, received two anonymous calls warning that Mr. Merced, 46, was preparing to slit a goat’s throat.

When officers arrived at his door in 2004, they learned that for the past 16 years, Mr. Merced had been sacrificing more than goats — ducks, chickens, doves and turtles had all been brought to his door, and killed at the same time in ceremonies for a little-known religion.

Jose Merced astutely acknowledges that Goat sacrifice is never going to be popular in Texas; nevertheless, he is insisting that he has a right to practice his religion in spite of what the neighbours think. Curiously, the law is agreeing with him – which goes to show that the law, once freed of its tether to Judeo-Christian morality, has become just as deranged as Mr. Merced and his exsufflicate god.

In addition to the occasional goat and chicken, during 2005, with the law’s permission, the good people of Texas also sacrificed 77,374 babies to the god of convenience in abortion clinics – which goes to show that the law is not just daft, but scelestious.

August 11, 2009

I used to think that Polly was the name of a parrot

Filed under: The fall of the West — David Jenkins @ 4:09 pm

Oh, sorry, it’s “poly” for polyamorous – what used to be called fornication. It would appear that it’s the next Big Thing, meaning that the poor old Anglican Church – in its never ending pursuit of trendy cultural decadence – has some catching up to do.

Terisa and Matt and Vera and Larry—along with Scott, who’s also at this dinner—are not swingers, per se; they aren’t pursuing casual sex. Nor are they polygamists of the sort portrayed on HBO’s Big Love; they aren’t religious, and they don’t have multiple wives. But they do believe in “ethical nonmonogamy,” or engaging in loving, intimate relationships with more than one person—based upon the knowledge and consent of everyone involved. They are polyamorous, to use the term of art applied to multiple-partner families like theirs, and they wouldn’t want to live any other way.

The idea of “ethical nonmonogamy,” or engaging in loving, intimate relationships with more than one person” is begging for liturgical enshrinement by heretical bishops like Michael Bird. I am looking forward to the inevitable densely impenetrable theological reflections that explain why being poly is not contrary to the machinations of contemporary biblical deconstructionism. Rowan Williams is half way there already:

Rowan Williams believes that gay sexual relationships can “reflect the love of God” in a way that is comparable to marriage, The Times has learnt. Gay partnerships pose the same ethical questions as those between men and women, and the key issue for Christians is that they are faithful and lifelong, he believes.

… “definitely come to the conclusion” that the Bible did not denounce faithful relationships between people who happened to be gay.

Substitute poly for gay and the Anglican church can take another confident step towards oblivion.

August 8, 2009

Sick as a dog, but worse off

Filed under: The fall of the West — David Jenkins @ 3:25 pm

Human vs dog health care:Add an Image

In the last few years, I have had the opportunity to compare the human and veterinary health services of Great Britain, and on the whole it is better to be a dog.

As a British dog, you get to choose (through an intermediary, I admit) your veterinarian. If you don’t like him, you can pick up your leash and go elsewhere, that very day if necessary. Any vet will see you straight away, there is no delay in such investigations as you may need, and treatment is immediate. There are no waiting lists for dogs, no operations postponed because something more important has come up, no appalling stories of dogs being made to wait for years because other dogs—or hamsters—come first.

Things aren’t much different in Canada: our much vaunted health care may be “free” but it doesn’t work very well.

A few years back our dog was sick and needed an ultrasound on his liver; the wait time was 1 day. Coincidentally, my wife also needed an ultrasound; the wait time was 2 months. While at the veterinary hospital I suggested a two for one discount – dog and wife – but was turned down.

My dog tells me that he finds it comforting that all humans are treated equally (badly) in our free health care system – but he doesn’t want to enrol.

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