27 Mar

“Goose brought back from the dead”

Let no one say that Christians lack seriousness

Church Times informs us that there has just been a conference of Christians in Waterloo about the place of animals in the church’s faith. The discussion was organised by a society calling itself Sarx – which might be considered rather inappropriate as sarx is the Greek word for flesh; specifically it is the derogatory term used by St Paul to refer to the sins of the flesh or the bondage of the flesh. These sarky Christians proclaim their love for animals and complain that the church generally does not regard the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air sufficiently highly. But if these folk insist on a Greek tag, I suggest they might think of renaming themselves Soma – the respectful word for body.

Christians still don’t love animals passionately enough, but we are getting better. David Clough, Professor of Theological Ethics at the University of Chester, argued that “Things are changing in the Church” which was now at a “tipping point”. Those in attendance could be “at the vanguard for providing a new understanding about the place of animals in Christianity.”

He alleged that our concern for animals had been “disenfranchised. . . It is there, but we do not think we have permission for it from our faith or the Church we belong to. For some animal lovers, that puts them on the fringes of the church, or makes them give up on the church altogether.” This was “odd,” he said, as there were “strong biblical and theological reasons” to care.

I really don’t recognise my fellow Christians in Professor Clough’s description. And I have always welcomed well-behaved dogs at our services. Usually the dogs are better behaved than those children encouraged to run around, shout and generally “express their personalities” by modern parents.

Professor Clough complains that Christian animal lovers are often thought to be “cookie” or “weirdoes.” Professor Clough is no weirdo and he can prove it, citing his hero St Werburgh “…who raised a goose from the dead.”

When Professor Clough had sat down, up marched the keynote speaker Dr Tony Campolo, a Baptist minister and Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Eastern University, Philadelphia. He demonstrated he was no weirdo either as he spoke movingly of “…something sacramental” in his wife’s “spiritual connectedness to our poodle, Jamie.” He added. “Whales have been heard singing a new song every year, which is more than you can say for most Evangelical churches..”

I’m with him on that one!

I’m no cookie weirdo either. I once had a budgie called Steve that could sing the Hallelujah Chorus and Snowball, a lady hamster that could play Beethoven’s Opus 111.

O brave new church that hath such people in it!

I shouldn’t wonder if they ended their conference with the hymn Nearer my dog to thee.

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23 Mar

Christian Europe RIP

All over Britain escaped horses are running through the streets and that deafening noise you can hear is the slamming of stable doors. We are told that there will be more armed police on the streets today “to reassure the public.” They were patrolling the streets yesterday, but they couldn’t prevent the slaughter.

The hills are alive with the sound of cliches. Mrs May is of course leading the way: “We will never allow evil to drive us apart.”

But, haven’t you noticed, prime minister, we have been apart for years as they choose to segregate themselves and live in ghettos?

A senior policeman described the attack as “An Islamist act of terror.” I don’t know what this means. No one can know what it means – because it doesn’t mean anything. What’s the difference between “Islamist” and “Islamic”?

Yesterday’s attack is (as usual) being described in all this morning’s papers as “a tragedy.” It is not a tragedy. A tragedy usually connotes a great person being brought down by a single fatal flaw: Caesar’s ambition, Hamlet’s indecisiveness etc.

Yesterday’s attack was an atrocity, a bloody outrage crying to God for vengeance.

Naturally, the television companies are delighted. They have some real news for once and it’s live, all captured on camera, SLAUGHTER AND MAYHEM BROUGHT TO YOUR FRONT ROOM IN HIGH DEFINITION COLOUR.

It’s better than the Cup Final –  we can send for a takeaway and watch all those action replays of violent death. And, just as with all those talking heads who come on afterwards to review the match, we now have innumerable “experts” offering “analysis” – ie helping us slam all those stable doors.

A friend wrote: “Hell! When shall we reach the tipping point?”

I’ll tell you: there isn’t going to be a tipping point.

The day after 9/11 I abandoned a conference in Oxford and took a train to the City of London to be with my family and my parishioners in case devotees of the well-known religion of peace and love decided to repeat their New York successes in Britain’s capital. The headline in The Daily Telegraph screamed AMERICA AT WAR. Small comfort: I thought to myself, “Well at least this outrage will put an end to all the politically correct nonsense. Now the West will wake up!”

No, it didn’t. If 3000 deaths in New York, followed by more in Bali and Madrid, and in scores of cities since, is not enough to rouse the West to take decisive action against violent Muslim imperialism, then nothing will.

Mohammed’s hordes have waged war on the West for 1400 years. In AD 732 they suffered an outright military defeat at Tours at the hands of the Christian warrior Charles Martel. At the Battle of Lepanto and at the Siege of Malta, Europe was delivered again by Christian knights. The last time our enemies threatened serious insurrection – that is until the present insurgency – was at the Siege of Vienna in 1683 when the Christian Jan Sobieski defeated a Turkish army of some 200,000 men.

There is a saying: “When Allah is strong, God is weak.” God is not weak, but Christianity in Europe has evaporated – or rather it has been banished from public life by the forces of militant secularism.

Muslims have been telling us for the whole of those 1400 years that their aim is the conquest of Europe. They have never stopped announcing this intention. So why do we not believe them?

The Islamic cause is greatly assisted by our suicidal policy of allowing mass immigration and by the far higher birth rate in the Muslim population.

I don’t blame the Muslims for wanting to acquire Europe. It’s a much better place than the filthy, barbaric countries from which the millions of immigrants and would-be conquerors emerge.

I blame ourselves. We are not being defeated. We are giving up without a fight. Europe is dying by her own hand.  

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15 Mar

Achtung, Juden!

When an example of Jew-baiting is condemned by Diane Abbott as “disgusting,” we know it must be pretty vile. And so it is. In London’s Stamford Hill, yards from an Orthodox synagogue, a sign has been erected featuring a picture of a traditional Jewish man wearing a fedora. The image is set within a red triangle – the usual symbol for a warning.

Jews in those parts have had to get used to vicious treatment and there have been thirty-two cases of such abuse in the last month alone: an eight year old was beaten up and a Jewish woman was greeted by a thug giving her a Nazi salute.

In January 2015, Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) produced its first Antisemitism Barometer Survey. CAA questioned the British population about their attitudes towards Jewish people. The survey showed seven antisemitic statements to respondents and asked whether they agreed or disagreed with them. 45% of British adults believed at least one antisemitic stereotype to be true, 26% believed two or more antisemitic stereotypes to be true and 17% believed three or more antisemitic stereotypes to be true.

A subsequent report by CAA quoting data from Ipsos MORI found significantly elevated antisemitic attitudes among British Muslims.

As the youngsters say, “Like, how surprising is that?”

The problem has become much worse over the last twenty years. In 1997, there were recorded 219 attacks on Jews and by 2015 (the last year for which figures are available) this had risen to 1168 – a nearly six-fold increase

Jew-baiting is not just an occupation for yobs and oiks. As George Orwell reported in the middle of the last century, antisemitism has always been endemic in the British. It is common among otherwise “respectable” people on the non-yob, literate right. I witnessed an instance first hand…

Twelve years ago I was at a private lunch in North London and one of my fellow guests was Michael Wharton who wrote as Peter Simple for The Daily Telegraph. I can’t remember how, but the topic turned to Hitler. Mr Wharton turned out to be something of a supporter and he claimed that the Fuhrer had been much traduced, that he was generally misunderstood and that he had had many good points. I commented, “He slaughtered a lot of people.”

Mr Wharton replied sardonically, “Oh no, he didn’t slaughter many people.”

Jew-baiting is nasty enough when it’s perpetrated by brown-shirts, black-shirts and assorted louts. It’s especially vile and shocking to see antisemitism rife among the urbane and the educated, people who “ought to know their manners.” 

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