Light Engaging Darkness 8
Is there anything more dark than the situation in Yemen?
1) Yemen –
The disaster in Yemen continues to unfold. This is only one of many tragic stories. 3 million Yemenis have been displaced, half a million infected with cholera, 5000 are being infected daily. There is a Saudi blockade and children are dying of malnutrition. There was a UN report which threatened to expose the Saudis, it was redacted when they threatened to withhold funds. The war in Yemen began three years ago. The Saudis decided to intervene in case the Iranians obtained power. They bombed hospitals and schools and civilians. 20 million Yemenis are now in need of emergency assistance. by the Saudi Air Force continues to stop this happening – with about half of their planes been provided by British arms manufacturers. The UK has sold £3.6 billion worth of weapons to the Saudis since the conflict began. We condemn the Russians for helping Assad remain in power, but are the Americans and the British any better when they fund and support the Saudis in their war in Yemen?
2) The Proms and the EU Cult
“Telling people that you voted leave is a bit like coming out as gay in the 1950s, even some of your oldest friends suddenly want nothing more to do with you”
It was great to watch the last night of the Proms on Saturday. But there was one thing that puzzled me. Why were there so many EU flags in the Albert Hall – not in Hyde Park or the other venues in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, but in the main event? I know the arts/music establishment are of course all on board with the ‘EU is the epitomy of civilisation’ narrative, as exemplified by the most non-daring thing to occur at the Proms when Daniel Barenboim gave a wee sermon , but even so it was a bit surprising.
Were the BBC embarrassed by Rule Britannia, Pomp and Circumstance, Jerusalem and the jingoism of it all? why did Swansea and Glasgow leave before the rule Britannia? After all it is Britons who shall Britons, ‘never, never never shall be slaves’.
But let’s return to the EU flags. It was so incongruous to have land of Hope and Glory accompanied by the waving of EU flags in the Albert Hall. At first I thought it must be the BBC trying to offer some of the celebrated “balance” that they boast about – but don’t often practice. But in fact it was a pro-EU group who spent £4000 buying up flags and handing them out to promenaders as they entered the building. It’s quite incredible how Britain’s elites have developed this fetish for the EU, as though it is some kind of replacement religion. In this week’s Spectator there was this marvellous little anecdote which illustrates the point perfectly – “Telling people that you voted leave is a bit like coming out as gay in the 1950s, even some of your oldest friends suddenly want nothing more to do with you” Baroness Ruth Deech the former principal of St Anne’s College, Oxford. Being pro Brexit may make you weird from the perspective of Britain’s metro elites – but being against same-sex marriage or abortion apparently makes you unelectable and insane!
3) Jacob Rees Mogg and the Illiberal Media
I was not the only one to write about Jacob Rees Mogg last week Premier Christianity had this excellent article from Peter D Williams. And our old friends on Spiked wrote this article reflecting on whether there was a new anti-Catholicism amongst the elites in the United Kingdom. But my favourite worst piece came from the Guardian with this article from Zoe Williams . It’s a long time since I have read anything so profoundly ignorant. Ms Williams seems to think that the Pope would not uphold Catholic teaching on abortion and SSM – this is of course a fantasy theology to match her fantasy politics. Lets just deal with her biggest errors.
a) “The problem with people who bring religion to their politics is that they’re obsessed with sex”. – But this wasn’t Rees-Mogg’s obsession. He was grilled on these issues by Piers Morgan who was doing the usual liberal elite thing of trying to demonise by ridicule on the social shibboleths they have absolutised. He did not go into the studio wanting to talk about abortion and SSM. It is Ms Williams and her friends who are obsessed with imposing their views of humanity on the whole world.
b) “It’s never “I’m a devout Anglican, therefore I couldn’t possibly vote for a cap on social security payments (Acts 4:34).”. Strange thing that. I know Acts 4 inside out and have preached on that verse several times and I hadn’t realised that it was really about voting on social security payments! Because if Ms Williams actually knew what she was talking about she would have known that this was speaking about ‘the believers’ (not the general society) and how they shared everything. But that’s the trouble with the champagne socialists of the Guardianistas. They really do think that buying the Guardian and voting for a particular political system is a sign of their virtue. If they have any religious inclination at all it’s merely a spiritualised version of their virtue signalling politics. Christ is not concerned so much with what we vote to do with other people’s money – but it’s what we do with our own. I have no idea if Rees-Mogg gives substantial amounts away, but neither does Ms Williams. I wonder if she gives away her not insubstantial salary and has all things in common….or does she really think that voting on a welfare bill is what Christ was talking about?!
c) “The sharp edge of the social violence is that when women don’t have access to legal abortion they die.” – This is always the emotive card played – without any thought given to the millions of girls who have died just because they are in the womb – and some because they are female and their parents are doing gender selection. It is the superficial emotive side of the debate, devoid of facts and reason, that is so distressing. Agree with him or not, at least Rees- Mogg is consistent. Unlike the ‘Christian’ who wrote me to tell me that we needed to kill children in the womb in order to save children’s lives! She incidentally also went on to play the ‘if JRM was a Christian he wouldn’t have voted for the Bedroom tax’ and then asked me if I believed Matthew 25. Which of course I do. When I said I was delighted that she did and obviously believed in hell “depart from me you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (v.41) – she said that she didn’t – thereby illustrating yet more intellectual incoherence in the ‘liberal position’ – citing Christ as an authority but refusing to believe him!
4) Religious Decline in the UK
According to the latest British Social Attitudes survey, 47% of British people say they are religious – a record low. In 1983 it was 69%. 29% of 18 to 24-year-olds are religious, compared with 73% of over 75s. The Spectator had this fascinating lead editorial entitled – Keeping Faith. They get so much right in their analysis but they still don’t really get it. The article concludes with this astonishing paragraph.
That is modern Britain’s relationship with religion. While shy to admit belief, we continue to exhibit the behaviours of religious people. As Alastair Campbell once said to Tony Blair, ‘We don’t do God’. Yet our society is as underpinned by faith as it ever was.
No, No and thrice No. We may exhibit the ‘behaviours of religious people’ (although that is open to much dispute) but our society is not underpinned by faith as it ever was. Or at least it is not underpinned by Christian faith. Humanist faith is the shaky foundation on which we stand and that is why we are in so much trouble. The Christian church is largely in trouble because it too has forsaken the living well of Christ for the broken cisterns of our culture – just see the numerous vicars in dog collars on everything from Come Dancing to Celebrity Masterchef – who seem to have little if any acquaintance with the Christ they are supposed to follow and the Word they are supposed to preach.
5) Canadian Immigration
Justin Trudeau has backed down from the welcome he extended to immigrants facing the threat of deportation from the US, in response to a surge in the number of people crossing into Canada. 11,000 have made the journey this year – most from Haiti – and the authorities are struggling to cope. Now Trudeau says that those who want to settle in Canada must “follow the rules, and there are many”. Quelle surprise! Liberal Canada cannot cope with diversity of views – even from as few as 11,000 immigrants in their vast country and so now they have to follow the ‘many rules’! Whatever happened to equality and diversity?!
“one of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” Plato, quoted in the New York Post.
6) Hurricane Irma and Climate Change –
We watch with fascinated horror the devastation wrote by Hurricane Irma and wonder whether this is concrete proof of the continuing effects of climate change. And then I read this incredible article about James Lovelock, the founder of the Gaia theory and the guru of the modern Green movement. The man who in 2010 was predicting the end of the human race by the end of the century seems to have had a change of mind!
Environmentalism has gone too far; renewable energy is a disaster; scares about pesticides and chemicals are horribly overdone; no, the planet is not going to end any time soon; and, by the way, the answer is nuclear…quotes from James Lovelock!
7) St Andrews Principal and the Snowflake Students
The former principal of St Andrews University, Louise Richardson (now of Oxford), has been told to apologise after she upset some students by claiming that they have no right not to be offended. Predictably they were offended by her remarks. She claimed that she had been approached by several students who are uncomfortable with the views about homosexuality expressed by some professors and lecturers. “they don’t feel comfortable being in class with someone with these views. And I say, I’m sorry but my job isn’t to make you feel comfortable. Education is not about being comfortable. I’m interested in making you uncomfortable. If you don’t like his views, you challenge them, engage with them and figure out how a smart person could have views like that. Work out how you can persuade him to change his mind.” Her sensible and mature attitude surely would not in almost any other age in the UK, have needed to have been said- but in today’s censorious, dumbed down and intolerant culture they were deemed to be highly controversial. Oxford University student union president Kate Cole, said “Freedom of speech is not an excuse for homophobia”. In other words forget freedom of speech if it is deemed across our absolutist line! Oxford City Councillor, Tom Hayes added;” it simply not acceptable for students to face prejudice tutors who will propagate hateful views and pass of discrimination as debate”. Doubtless Mr Hayes will tell us what hateful views are ( presumably anyone who disagrees with him) and will ensure that no debate takes place at all.
In another sign of the irrationality gripping some sections of academia, a student Latin course (Reading Latin by Jones and Sidwell) was outed by an American PhD student because the text featured three goddesses, each confidently stripping off, determined to win the golden apple from Paris, and two rapes. Such ‘offensive’ choices, she said, did not help the cause of Latin, ‘or make the historically racist and classist discipline of classics more acceptable”.
Meanwhile back on planet earth normal students face their own University Challenge
Rod Liddle – “The idea that she might subordinate her feelings for the good of some higher purpose did not sit easily with Diana. Because according to this new mantra, there is no higher purpose than simply what one feels”
8) Knox’s Transgender Toilet
A friend was visiting John Knox’s house in Edinburgh and noticed the sign for the toilets – nothing needs to be said – although I can only imagine what Knox would have!
This past week saw the death of the country great – Don Williams….I leave you with one of his beautiful songs – for Annabel!
Not sure if I will manage LED next week – I am due to go into hospital for surgery on Friday – pray for a quick recovery!