Thursday, September 30, 2010

Books read in Feb-Aug 2010

1. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother: The Official Biography by William Shawcross

This is the longest biography I have read as befits such a long life. It is the one drawback of this volume, it is so big you need a table for reading. The author is a man in sympathy with his subject. Their politics seem to be at one.But this is more than a biography. It surveys a whole century of history. I found it a fascinating read if at times prolix with detail.
Elizabeth was changed by WWI which cost her a brother but gave her the abiding admiration of men she nursed. She had the common tough and cared about people. This is best exemplified by her driver in Iran saying none of his passengers had ever asked after his family as she did.
She was not a clever woman but she was a wise one. She knew that marriage to a prince would change her life for ever, hence two proposals turned down. There were lots from other men too before she joined the royal family.
The prickly king adored her. Her brother in law was a friend until his marriage. She was a woman who did her duty unlike Edward who she blamed for her husband's early death. Abdication was the great trauma.
Her care for her regiments and charities was meticulous. Diana had her admiration until she gave up her charities when she separated from Charles.
A great biography of a great woman. The archbishop wrote to her that she was like Esther, come for such a time as this. She made George V what he was as king. We owe her a debt.


2. The Tartan Pimpernel by Donald Currie Caskie

This is the sort of tale of heroism that warms the heart. Forced to leave his church in occupied Paris, the Scottish minister finds a new ministry in Marseilles, helping POWs to escape. Deceit is not often the gift of a Christian but this man had in it trumps. He fooled the authorities for a long time. Then forced again to leave he continued his saving deceptions until in a hair raising flight he returned to Britain. Astonishing courage and a great read.

3.You can change: God's Transforming Power for Our Sinful Behaviour and Negative Emotions by Tim Chester

This is a first class practical guide to sanctification, to the constant spiritual warfare that is the calling of every Christian. It is biblical teaching with practical tasks to apply it. Life can be changed. We used it to good effect in house group studies. The only criticism is the less than circumspect opening to the introduction.

4. Counterfeit Gods: When the Empty Promises of Love, Money, and Power Let You Down by Timothy Keller

I put this book in a unique category. Never before have I read a book, immediately reread and then studied it again.

When I was given this book I thought it would be evangelistic. It is but it is much more. it challenges you to think what is the most important thing in your life. Is God in prime place? The idols of our age are confronted, family, wealth, nationalism, success, sex, power and hidden idols we may not know we conceal. Each chapter is also an exposition of a Bible story to expose the idolatry. Each story is brought to a Christ honouring exegesis. The command of other sources cited is impressive including non-Christian ones.

I have only one minor criticism. After wealth, the idol I see most in the world around me is the state. People would rather have their future depend on the state than on God. The state is allowed to make demands in all of life. It educates, heals and provides financial security and we love to have it so. Maybe this is omitted because the US is not the welfare state we have in the UK.

Superb book. I must read more from Keller.

5. Beyond the Mosque: Christians Within Muslim Community by Phil Parshall

Parshall's earlier 'New Paths' broke new ground with a sensitive contextualised approach of witness to Muslims. Others have taken his work beyond where Parshall is prepared to go. He is no syncretist allowing Muslims to confess both Christ and Mo hammed. Neither does he want to remove converts from their community. But how can converts stay in a community where they are not merely apostates but traitors in the eyes of Muslims? They have betrayed their community. Can they still stay in it and form a new Christian community? This is Parshall's aim. Homogeneous convert churches will be the initial form with practises influenced by the surrounding culture. Christians can and must form better, more united communities than that which Islam boasts. Some of Parshall's suggestions will be controversial. I for one would not advocate what he did in observing the month's fast of Ramadan. But this is the work of an experienced witness who really has got alongside his Muslim friends and pointed a way forward in Christ.

6. The Secret History of the World - Jonathan Black

This book is testimony to the gullibility of those who reject Christian truth. It starts well with a good critique of why science does not have all the answers because it cannot even ask the why questions, only the how ones. After that it is all downhill into a morass of off the wall folly. I am tempted to say you could not make it up, but fools have and Black has chronicled them. There are much better ways to waste time than to read this.

7. The Burning Land (Alfred the Great 5) by Bernard Cornwell

The fifth of the series and it is getting somewhat formulaic with our hero the reluctant champion of King Alfred against the Danes. I am left wondering when we will get the denoumnet with reclamation of Bamburgh from the wicked uncle.

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Anthony J. D'Angelo - christiansquoting.org.uk

Become a student of change. It is the only thing that will remain constant. -Anthony J. D'Angelo

Always be nice to secretaries. They are the real gatekeepers in the world. - Anthony J. D'Angelo

Become addicted to constant and never-ending self-improvement. - Anthony J. D'Angelo

Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow. - Anthony J. D'Angelo

Have a strong mind and a soft heart. - Anthony J. D'Angelo

If you have time to whine and complain about something then you have the time to do something about it. - Anthony J. D'Angelo

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Khwaja Abdullah Ansari of Herat, (1006-1088) - christiansquoting.org.uk

Can you walk on water? You have done no better than a straw. Can you fly through the air? You are no better than a gnat. Conquer your heart--then you may become somebody. - Khwaja Abdullah Ansari of Herat, (1006-1088)

Abu Ismaïl Abdullah ibn Abi-Mansour Mohammad or Khajah Abdullah Ansari of Herat (1006-1088) (Persian: خواجه عبدالله انصاری) was a famous Persian[ Suf] who lived in the 11th century in Herat (then Khorasan, now a city of Afghanistan).

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Nigeria’s Jubilee

October 1st sees 50 years of independent Nigeria. I expect more celebrations than the passing of Nigeria’s centenary 10 years ago. Who wanted to mark a British colonial creation?

In fifty years Nigeria has had more years of military government than democracy, she has survived a civil war, built a new capital and had the blessing of wealth from oil. Her population has grown but so have civil disturbances.

But a jubilee is a time for celebration. The concept of jubilee comes from the law God gave to Israel. The Promised Land was divided among the 12 tribes. Everyone had a share of land but sometimes land was sold if people were poor, they even sold themselves into a form of slavery if they were in debt. But in the 50th year, the jubilee, land reverted to its first owner and slaves went free. God said the land was his. The people did not own it but they had certificates of occupancy. Every 50 years the land went back and people were free again.

I have heard it asked, what has Nigeria to celebrate after 50 years? I have a suggestion. It is that Nigeria’s wealth should revert to Nigeria.

In the early 70s, there was a government-enforced minimum wage, the Udoji award. It raised the incomes of many but not all. I recall a t-shirt with a sad face and the words, ‘O Brother. Udoji no reach me.’ Nigeria has had enormous wealth from oil but it has not reached ordinary people. Where has the money gone? It built Abuja but much of it has gone into the Swiss bank accounts of her various rulers.

In England Christians have has a campaign, ‘make poverty history’. Donations were sought to relieve developing world poverty. I did not give. My attitude is that the West should get the third world’s money out of the Swiss banks where corrupt rulers have creamed off the wealth. Only then will I donate to the campaign. Here is the jubilee I suggest for Nigeria. Get the corruption money back to Nigeria for the good of all.

Of course the problem is that turkeys do not vote for Christmas. Corrupt rulers are not going to direct their U.N. ambassadors to start making waves. In the West, politicians may not be so brazenly corrupt but too many of them are directors of banks and will not rock this financial vote. Banks in Switzerland and off shore havens are the Augean stables of the capitalist world and should be cleansed. End banking secrecy. Honest people have nothing to fear. Only the corrupt need this darkness to hide their sins.

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Barbara De Angelis - christiansquoting.org.uk

Something in our human nature longs for that experience of complete emotional absorption, that magical moment when we are swept away. It is passion that entertains us. When a book is written ,without passion, you lose interest. When a team plays without passion, the game becomes boring. "These guys are asleep," a fan complains. To feed this appetite, we reward those who can stir our emotions to the greatest heights. Actors, athletes and rock musicians make millions because they know how to turn on our passion.-Barbara De Angelis, _Passion_

Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver. - Barbara de Angelis

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

ANDERSON - christiansquoting.org.uk

Prayer begins where human capacity ends.-- Marian Anderson (1897-1993) In "The Speaker's Electronic Reference Collection," AApex Software, 1994.

I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it in the right way, did not become still more complicated. Paul Anderson

Some days you're the pigeon; some days you're the statue. ~ Roger Anderson

You hear it said that fathers want their sons to be what they feel they cannot themselves be, but I tell you it also works the other way. A boy wants something very special from his father.- Sherwood Anderson

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

J. N. D. Anderson - christiansquoting.org.uk

Jesus has also been accused of being ineffective, in a political sense, and of having done little to right social injustices. But it is clear from the Sermon on the Mount that he was deeply concerned that his disciples should be both the "salt" and the "light" of secular society; he endorsed the authority of those Old Testament prophets who vehemently rebuked social injustice; and he consistently identified himself with the poor and weak, with social outcasts and those who were regarded as morally disreputable... It is true that he did not lead a rebellion against Rome, seek to free slaves, or introduce a social revolution. He had come for a particular purpose, which was far more important than any of these things -- and from that purpose nothing could or did deflect him.- J. N. D. Anderson (1908-1994), Christianity: the Witness of History

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Friday, September 24, 2010

ANDREW ANDERSON - christiansquoting.org.uk

A sculptor can leave his work and come back to it another day, and take up where he left off. But it is not so with the growth of the soul. The work of grace in us either waxes or wanes, flows or ebbs.- ANDREW ANDERSON

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

'NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE' TO CONVICT CHRISTIAN PREACHER

As prayed for and expected, the Crown Prosecution Service today withdrew the case against a Christian man accused of a public order offence for offending two homosexuals.

Paul Shaw was charged by Essex Police with a 'hate crime' after an election address was distributed in Colchester calling - in very moderate language - for a review of whether sodomy and other homosexual acts should remain legal.

But after raising questions of freedom of speech in a preliminary hearing four weeks ago, the CPS decided today that there was 'not enough evidence' to proceed.

Paul Shaw was understandably unhappy that they had not withdrawn the case completely and apologised.

The police have yet to return Paul's diaries seized in a completely over-the-top search of his flat in June. Christian Voice have promised to underwrite the costs of any action Paul decides to bring against the police for wrongful arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

We also believe action should be taken against the two homosexual men from New Park Road, Colchester, whose vexatious complaint led to the police action.

A dozen Christians, from Colchester and farther away, came down to support Paul on the day.

THANK GOD that the case against Paul Shaw has been dropped. PRAY that action will be taken against the police to stop them doing the same to others. PRAY for positive reporting of the case in the press and for God to be glorified.

Continue to protest to the CPS:

Chief Crown Prosecutor of Essex

Ken Caley

County House, 100 New London Road

Chelmsford, CM2 0RG

01245 455800

EMAIL: eastern.goc@cps.gsi.gov.uk

and Essex Police:

Chief Constable of Essex

Jim Barker-McCardle

Police HQ

PO BOX 2

Springfield

Chelmsford, CM2 6DA

EMAIL: chiefconstable@essex.pnn.police.uk

Studies On Homosexual Parenting

This was written by Professor Bradley P. Hayton in response to claims that children raised by homosexual parents are typically no different to those raised by normal married couples:



"Homosexuals... model a poor view of marriage to children. They are taught by example and belief that marital relationships are transitory and most sexual in nature. Sexual relationships are primarily for pleasure rather than procreation. And they are taught that monogamy in a marriage is not the norm [and] should be discouraged if one wants a good 'marital' relationship.



The reason that same-sex parenting is detrimental to the well being of children is due to several factors:



1. Higher Incidence of Violence



There is a higher rate of violence in lesbian and homosexual relationships than in married, heterosexual relationships. A study in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence examined conflict and violence in lesbian relationships. The researchers found that 90% of the lesbians surveyed had been recipients of one or more acts of verbal aggression from their intimate partners during the year prior to this study, with 31% reporting one or more incidents of physical abuse. This is verified in a number of other studies. According to the homosexual authors of Men Who Beat The Men Who Love Them, domestic violence affects half of all gay couples. The vast majority of violent crimes against homosexuals are committed by homosexuals, and are not considered hate crimes. According to the leading US gay magazine The Advocate, 75% of its readers admit engaging in violent sex, 20% in sadistic sex and 55% are using painful objects.



2. Higher Incidence of Mental Health Problems



There is a higher incidence of mental health problems among homosexuals and lesbians. These include problems of substance abuse, as well as a greater risk for suicide. Homophobia is often blamed for the high suicide rate of young gays but this cause is only one among many, such as prostitution, broken families, sexual assault at a young age, disappointments in love affairs, and premature homosexual labeling.



3. Reduced Life Expectancy



Male homosexuals have a significantly reduced life expectancy. A study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology on the mortality rates of homosexuals stated as follows:



In a major Canadian center, life expectancy at age twenty for gay and bisexual men is eight to twenty years less than for all men. If the same pattern of mortality were to continue, we estimate that nearly half of gay and bisexual men currently aged twenty years will not reach their sixty-fifth birthday. Under even the most liberal assumptions, gay and bisexual men in this urban center are now experiencing a life expectancy similar to that experienced by all men in Canada in the year 1871.



4. Higher Incidence of Same-sex Orientation



Same-sex parents are inclined to influence their children's sexual orientation. A study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, stated as follows:



...there are developmentally important, statistically significant differences between children reared by homosexual parents compared to heterosexual parents. For example, children raised by homosexuals were found to have greater parental encouragement for cross-gender behaviour [and] greater amounts of cross-dressing and cross-gender play/role behaviour.



5. Greater Risk of Sexual Involvement with Parents



According to a study published in Adolescence, 29% of the adult children of homosexual parents have been specifically subjected to sexual molestation as a child by a homosexual parent, compared to only 0.6 percent of adult children of heterosexual parents.



These findings were confirmed in a study published in the American Sociological Review.



6. Greater Risk of Social or Psychological Problems



The vast majority of the American studies widely used by homosexual activists claim that same-sex parenting is as valid as opposite-sex parenting. However, as mentioned previously, these earlier studies have been found to be seriously flawed. According to a study there were noticeable problems with children raised by same-sex parents in regard to discipline expectations, and general parent-child relationships. Other studies have also reported that boys raised by homosexual mothers may have a lower self-image, regarding masculinity.



A study of children of lesbians revealed many problems, including a "defensiveness" on the part of the children of lesbian couples she studied, a pattern of denial - especially deep in the youngest child in the lesbian couples, hostility from older boys, especially directed at the mother's lesbian lover, the children expressed concern for the welfare of siblings, the children had concerns about their own sexuality, the children had concerns about the integrity of their family, concerns about their mother's homosexual activities, there was evidence that one of the lesbian mothers expressly encouraged her daughters to make lesbian sexual choices, and that the children were forced to conceal one parent's secret sexual behaviours from the other parent.



All these problems have led to the children raised by same-sex parents becoming dysfunctional and disadvantaged.



7. Higher Incidence of Child Molestation



Proportionately, homosexual men are more inclined to child molestation than heterosexual men.



According to American studies, the evidence indicates that homosexual men molest boys and teenagers at rates completely disproportionate to the rates at which heterosexual men molest girls. A study shows that the homosexual child molester accounts for approximately 7 times more victims than the heterosexual molester. When it comes to child sex abuse, men are almost always the perpetrator. Less than 3% of the population is homosexual, yet one-third of the sex abuse cases are committed again boys.



Although pedophilia is condemned by most homosexuals, it remains condoned by many leading gay and lesbian North American activists who lobby for the lowering of the age of consent for sex. Early sex is said to be healthy for boys claims the self-proclaimed homosexual association NAMBLA (North American Man Boy Love Association). Intergenerational sex (an often used euphemism for pederasty) is an undeniable fixture of gay literature, gay films, gay travel and gay prostitution. In the 70's, The Advocate repeatedly ran full page adds for a "penetrable boy doll" and in the 90's, 21% of its readers admitted having been molested before the age of 15."



Romans 1:26-27 - "Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion."

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Tori Amos - christiansquoting.org.uk

Some people are afraid of what they might find if they try to analyze themselves too much, but you have to crawl into your wounds to discover where your fears are. Once the bleeding starts, the cleansing can begin.
Tori Amos ,American Musician
Date of Birth: August 22, 1963

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Kingsley Amis (1922 - 1995 ) - christiansquoting.org.uk

It is no wonder that people are so horrible when they start their life as children.--Kingsley Amis

No pleasure is worth giving up for the sake of two more years in a geriatric home at Weston-super-Mare. - Kingsley Amis

Twentieth century music is like paedophilia. No matter how persuasively and persistently its champions urge their cause, it will never be accepted by the public at large, who will continue to regard it with incomprehension, outrage and repugnance.-- Kingsley Amis

He was of the faith chiefly in the sense that the church he currently did not attend was Catholic.
Kingsley Amis, One Fat Englishman

Outside every fat man there is an even fatter man trying to close in.- Kingsley Amis (1922 - 1995 )

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Monday, September 20, 2010

The Bishop of Rome is in London

It is the first ever state visit of a Pope who as well as being the leader of the Roman Catholic Church is also the Head of State of one of the world’s smallest young countries.

I was in Nigeria during the only previous papal visit in 1982. That was a purely religious event with no government input. This time is different. Benedict has met Her Majesty and addressed Members of Parliament. Last time any protests were from Protestants eager to remind people of the 39 Articles of the Church of England which say, ‘The bishop of Rome has no jurisdiction in this realm of England’. Now the protests come from secularists.

Peter Tatchell, campaigner in the past against Robert Mutable, is taking a leading role in protests against the state visit. He said it was inappropriate for taxpayers to foot the £12m bill. He has a point. But the RC church is funding, and charging attendees, for the religious ceremonies while the state funds state ceremonies including Benedicts meeting with our Queen.
I am surprised to have seen no media comment on why the Pope met the Queen in Scotland and not in England. Is it merely because she is on her annual vacation at Balmoral? I think there may be more to it than that. The Queen and her government are aware that she is monarch in Scotland and in England but in England she has a role denied to her in Scotland. South of the border she is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. This is the title of the monarch ever since Henry VIII broke with the bishop of Rome’s claims to universal ecclesiastical supremacy. In Scotland H.M. is merely a member of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. This was one of the strokes of genius of the 1688 Glorious Revolution, which removed James II our last RC monarch.

So, meeting in Scotland, two heads of state come together. If they were meeting in England it would not be so easy to hide their contrary claims over Christians.

Ian Paisley was as ever out protesting in Edinburgh but such Protestant voices are few and while rejecting papal claims to universal authority over the church I am more ambivalent over the state part of the visit as highlighted by the likes of Tatchell and fellow secularists. Tatchell issued a challenge to the Vatican to be more open about child abuse scandals. He said: “We think it is time the Pope himself apologised for his failure to tackle sex abuse in the church.”

This is rich from Tatchell who is in favour of all things homosexual including lowering the age of consent.

I am with Benedict in declaring all sexual acts outside of marriage, not merely child abuse, to be morally wrong. I am also very pleased with what he said in Westminster Hall, “There must be no facile accommodation to the spirit of the age … Britain has emerged as a pluralist democracy which places great value on freedom of speech, freedom of political affiliation and respect for the rule of law, with a strong sense of the individual’s rights and duties, and of the equality of all citizens before the law.”
While couched in different language, Catholic social teaching has much in common with this approach, in its overriding concern to safeguard the unique dignity of every human person, created in the image and likeness of God, and in its emphasis on the duty of civil authority to foster the common good…. Each generation, as it seeks to advance the common good, must ask anew: What are the requirements that governments may reasonably impose upon citizens, and how far do they extend? By appeal to what authority can moral dilemmas be resolved?

These questions take us directly to the ethical foundations of civil discourse. If the moral principles underpinning the democratic process are themselves determined by nothing more solid than social consensus, then the fragility of the process becomes all too evident – herein lies the real challenge for democracy.

The inadequacy of pragmatic, short-term solutions to complex social and ethical problems has been illustrated all too clearly by the recent global financial crisis. There is widespread agreement that the lack of a solid ethical foundation for economic activity has contributed to the grave difficulties now being experienced by millions of people throughout the world… the world of reason and the world of faith – the world of secular rationality and the world of religious belief – need one another and should not be afraid to enter into a profound and ongoing dialogue, for the good of our civilisation.

Religion, in other words, is not a problem for legislators to solve, but a vital contributor to the national conversation. In this light, I cannot but voice my concern at the increasing marginalisation of religion, particularly of Christianity, that is taking place in some quarters, even in nations which place a great emphasis on tolerance.

There are those who would advocate that the voice of religion be silenced, or at least relegated to the purely private sphere.
“There are those who argue that the public celebration of festivals such as Christmas should be discouraged, in the questionable belief that it might somehow offend those of other religions or none.

And there are those who argue – paradoxically with the intention of eliminating discrimination – that Christians in public roles should be required at times to act against their conscience.

These are worrying signs of a failure to appreciate not only the rights of believers to freedom of conscience and freedom of religion, but also the legitimate role of religion in the public square.”

Here, Benedict calls the politicians to account in a way I applaud. So, I am pleased with this state visit though I am still bemused as to why he wanted to worship in Westminster Abbey with the Anglican archbishop when his RC church officially teaches that Anglican orders are null and void. I think Benedict’s message to the politicians is clearer than his one to Protestants.

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

From the man leading protests against the Pope.

Several of my friends - gay and straight, male and female - had sex with adults from the ages of nine to 13. None feel they were abused. All say it was their conscious choice and gave them great joy. While it may be impossible to condone paedophilia, it is time society acknowledged the truth that not all sex involving children is unwanted, abusive and harmful. - Peter Tatchell, letter to the Guardian, June 26, 1997:

PT is a poacher protesting that a gamekeeper has done a poor job.

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Radical Islamism challenges notions of freedom

Michael Nazir-Ali From: The Australian September 15

IT is often thought the main threat of radical Islamism to the West and, indeed, the world, is terrorism. It is also said to be the isolation of Muslim communities, which allows extremists to recruit people to their cause.

Such views are not mistaken but they confuse effects with causes. What the world has to recognise is that we are not simply dealing with faith, but with a political, social and economic ideology. Radical Islamism is a worldview. Its nearest parallel, despite many differences, is Marxism.

Radical Islamists claim their all-encompassing program for society is rooted in fundamental Islamic sources. They reject the interpretations of Koran and sharia law offered by reformist or moderate Muslims. We must, of course, respect the faith of ordinary Muslims, but the ideology has to be met in a different way.

It is basic to Western societies that there should be one law for all. This idea emerged from the Judaeo-Christian tradition that all humans are made in God's image. It has been mediated by the Enlightenment, which emphasised not only dignity but also liberty.

The radical Islamist vision is absolutist. It applies to every area of human life, including politics, business and, above all, law itself. Recent demands by British and some Australian Muslim leaders for the recognition of aspects of sharia law should be seen in this light. Western clergy and jurists who advocate such demands fail to recognise that acknowledging aspects of sharia in public law will lead to a greater involvement with Islamic law.

A few years ago some Canadian Muslim women campaigned against the proposal to introduce Islamic law to settle family issues in Ontario. Their instincts were right. Islamic law is not just an intellectual legal tradition; it exists in highly prescriptive codes of law called fiqh. These codes differ from one another but would all be incompatible with the assumption of equality in Western law.

Muslim scholars recognise the three great inequalities of their legal tradition: between men and women, Muslims and non-Muslims, slave and free. In the case of family law, for example, there is inequality between men and women in marriage, and in provisions for divorce, custody of children, laws of admissible evidence and inheritance.

In Britain two years ago, when the then lord chief justice was arguing for recognition of some aspects of Islamic family law, the British Law Lords were ruling that a woman should not be deported to her own country because under sharia law there she would be deprived of the custody of her child. The Law Lords saw this as a violation of her basic rights.

While many predominantly Muslim countries have signed international covenants on fundamental rights, some have entered codicils declaring their adherence to these covenants must be in conformity with sharia law. The Organisation of the Islamic Conference, representing the world's Muslim countries, has issued the Declaration of Human Rights in Islam. This differs from the international declarations in a number of respects, not least in the absence of a provision corresponding to Article 18 of the UN Declaration on Human Rights, providing for freedom of expression, belief and change of belief.

In a number of Muslim countries apostasy from Islam is punishable. In some, the punishment is death. In Pakistan, the so-called blasphemy law prescribes a death sentence for insulting the prophet of Islam. Muslim commentators admit that internationally recognised commitments to personal freedoms are difficult to reconcile with sharia law.

Although punishments for apostasy and blasphemy cannot be implemented in non-Muslim countries, they do contribute to attitudes that have consequences in these contexts as well. Such attitudes have resulted in harassment and persecution of those who have given up their belief or changed their faith, even in the West. They have led to demands for laws against defamation of religion, which would effectively restrict freedom of expression.

While we should all be committed to civility in public discussion, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights already provides protection from incitement to religious hatred, which leads to discrimination, hostility or violence. To go beyond this has implications for free speech.

Muslims, like anyone else, should be free to practise and propagate their faith. They are free also to contribute to public debate. The principle of one law for all, however, cannot be compromised. Freedom of expression and the right to change one's belief must be maintained. So must easy access to the courts and police.

Michael Nazir-Ali was bishop of Rochester in Britain, a member of the House of Lords and bishop of Raiwind in Pakistan.

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Thought crimes: time for a re-think

Thought crimes: time for a re-think
“Britain is a liberal and progressive utopia – and the authorities will arrest anyone who disagrees.”

So writes Melanie Phillips in a “thought crime special” edition of the Spectator magazine, published this weekend.

Concerns about the policing of opinion are shared in the magazine by the homosexual journalist, Matthew Parris, and the Sikh comedian, Hardeep Singh Kohli.

Heresy-hunting

Melanie Phillips, who describes herself as an ‘observant agnostic’, writes that “the intellectual trend in Britain is a remorseless slide towards a dark age of intolerance, reverting to a reason suppressing, heresy-hunting culture in which certain opinions are being turned into thought crimes.

“Astoundingly, people are being arrested by the police – even if the case against them eventually falls – because of what they have said. They are not inciting violence or any criminal activity. They are merely expressing a point of view. Yet for that they may find the police feeling their collars.”

She refers to the case of Dale Mcalpine, a Christian street preacher who was arrested, held in police cells and charged with a crime because he believes that homosexual conduct is a “sin”. The costs of his legal defence was financed by The Christian Institute.

Free speech

Dramatic video footage shows the moment he was arrested, captured on a hidden camera. It shows police ignoring his calm pleas for officers to consider his free speech rights.

Click on title for rest of article.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

N. Korea in Turmoil as Power Transfer Possible

North Korea is quietly preparing for a successor to leader Kim Jong-Il while the country is in turmoil with many dying from hunger, according to Open Doors, a Christian organization which secretly supports persecuted believers in 60 of the most dangerous and restrictive countries in the world.

Kim Jong-Il’s third son Kim Jong-Un was expected to be voted in as a member of the Workers Party Central Committee, probably during a secretive conference held earlier this month. If true, it would be a significant step towards a real power transfer in the future. Kim Jong-Il is reportedly in poor health.

North Korea, the No. 1 persecutor of Christians according to this year’s Open Doors World Watch List, is taking harsh measures to strengthen the clique around the Kim family – with terrible consequences. A disastrous currency reform, announced near the end of last year, has led to many suicides.

Dr. Carl Moeller, president/CEO of Open Doors USA, says: “Change is likely coming to North Korea. We need to pray that the change will be a positive one for the Christians there – including the 40,000 to 50,000 believers who are suffering in North Korean prison camps where 200,000 people are held. We need to continue to not only pray, but also advocate for those brave Christians who live under brutal and nightmarish conditions with no basic freedoms.”

Civilians are openly protesting decisions made by the government. These protests sometimes have led to violence between civilians and police. These clashes are a rare occurrence in a country with a tight security system and vast network of spies.
“Fifteen years ago Kim Jong-Il was still considered a god, but all these years of hunger have left the people disillusioned,” says Simon, Open Doors’ main contact for North Korea. “They have stopped believing the lie. Each time they put their trust in their leader, he has let them down.”

Around the same time of the failed currency reform, it was announced that people would no longer receive food rations from the government. In the first seven months of 2010 food was only distributed occasionally and in just a few cities. On top of that, the country was again hit hard by floods this summer. Open Doors sources report people are dying of starvation in the provinces of Hamkung, Yanggang and Jagang. Many North Koreans compare the past few months with the devastating famines in the 1990’s when over one million people starved to death.

Recently North Korea has dispatched dozens of secret agents to China to track down North Koreans who have fled, including Christians. Simon states: “Their purpose is to root out any defector problems. Defectors are seen as a destabilizing factor. The pressure on refugees is increased because of the party leaders’ meeting earlier this month and before the party anniversary in October. In our work with North Koreans in China we need to be extremely careful. We can only do this work when we completely depend on God’s wisdom, protection and guidance. The risks increase, but so do the ministry opportunities.”
Despite all the rumors about the possible upcoming power transfer, North Korean Christians haven't focused on the politics. The current generation of Christians knows nothing but persecution. Open Doors has come along side the Christians in North Korea for over 10 years. Open Doors supports believers with Bibles, training, food and other practical help. Open Doors also connects the Church in the West with them through prayer and advocacy campaigns.

The North Korea Freedom Coalition (NKFC) will hold Save North Korean Refugees Day on Friday, Sept. 24, with events in Washington, D.C. focused on raising awareness and action for the North Korean refugees fleeing North Korea. For more information, go to www.nkfreedom.org. Open Doors is a member of the NKFC.

If you would like to arrange an interview, please contact Open Doors USA Media Relations Director Jerry Dykstra at 616-915-4117 or email JerryD@odusa.org.
An estimated 100 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation, arrest and even death for their faith in Christ, with millions more facing discrimination and alienation. Open Doors supports and strengthens believers in the world's most difficult areas through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development, prayer and presence ministry and advocacy on behalf of suffering believers. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535) or go to our Website at www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Why the Pope is meeting H.M. in her northern kingdom

I am surprised to have seen no media comment on why the old German is meeting the Queen in Scotland and not in England. Is it merely because she is on her annual vacation at Balmoral? I think there may be more to it than that. The Palace and her government are aware that she is monarch in Scotland and in England but in England she has a role denied to her in Scotland. South of the border she is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. This is the title of the monarch ever since Henry VIII broke with the bishop of Rome's claims to universal ecclesiastical supremacy. In Scotland H.M. is merely a member of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. This was one of the strokes of genius of the 1688 Glorious Revolution which removed James II out last RC monarch.

So meeting in Scotland, two heads of state come together. If they were meeting in England it would not be so easy to hide their contrary claims over Christians. The media and Joe Public are either ignorant of this or chose to ignore its significance.

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Henri Frederic Amiel - christiansquoting.org.uk

Let us be true: this is the highest maxim of art and of life, the secret of eloquence and of virtue, and of all moral authority.-Henri Amiel (1821-81) Swiss philosopher, poet and critic

The test of every religious, political, or educational system is the man that it forms. - Henri Frederic Amiel

An error is the more dangerous in proportion to the degree of truth which it contains. -Henri Frederic Amiel

Cleverness is serviceable for everything, sufficient for nothing. -Henri Frederic Amiel

Conquering any difficulty always gives one a secret joy, for it means pushing back a boundary-line and adding to one's liberty.
Henri Frederic Amiel

Every life is a profession of faith, and exercises an inevitable and silent influence. -Henri Frederic Amiel

Everything you need for better future and success has already been written. And guess what? All you have to do is go to the library. -Henri Frederic Amiel

I'm not interested in age. People who tell me their age are silly. You're as old as you feel.
Henri Frederic Amiel

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Stephen E. Ambrose, (1936 – 2002)

As of 1945 -- the year in which more people were killed violently, more buildings destroyed, more homes burned than any other year in history -- World Wars 1 and 2 had made a mockery of the nineteenth-century idea of progress, the notion that things were getting better and would continue to do so.-- Stephen E. Ambrose, (January 10, 1936 – October 13, 2002) American historian,"Citizen Soldiers"

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Maryam, Marzieh Say Power of Prayer Sustained Them

Over a year ago two Christian women appeared before an Iranian judge who asked them if they would deny their newfound faith and return to Islam.

Maryam Rostampour, 28, and Marzieh Amirizadeh, 31, had been held in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran for months, accused of two serious charges.

Both women refused to recant their faith. The judge sent them back to their prison cells where they suffered severe illness.
Open Doors launched an advocacy campaign to put pressure on the Iranian government to release the brave women. Last November during the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) millions of Christians prayed for their release.

Later in November they were released pending another court appearance. Then on May 22, 2010, Maryam and Marzieh were acquitted of all charges by Iranian judicial authorities and secretly fled the country.

Maryam and Marzieh said after their escape that “we are most eager to thank Christians who have been praying for us. We have no doubt that God heard the prayers of His people. The prayers encouraged and sustained us throughout this ordeal.”
As in the case of Maryam and Marzieh, prayer is the No. 1 request of over 100 million persecuted Christians around the globe. Christians in the West again have the opportunity to join the largest global prayer event of its kind on Sunday, Nov. 14, when IDOP 2010 is observed in churches, small groups and homes. IDOP is an international day of intercession for persecuted Christians worldwide with its primary focus on intercessory prayer, awareness and action on behalf of those suffering for their faith in Jesus Christ. It crosses all denominational lines.

“Your prayers really do make a significant difference in the lives of Christians in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, India and North Korea,” says Open Doors USA President/CEO Carl Moeller. “I have visited hundreds of persecuted believers in my seven years with Open Doors and those dedicated believers always ask me not to forget them and to pray for them. Will you join me in intercession for them on IDOP and all year long?”

Open Doors USA is again offering a free IDOP kit (either via the Website or regular mail) to equip churches and small groups to participate in the annual event. The web kit is available to order at www.OpenDoorsUSA.org\kit or www.OpenDoorsUSA.org and includes such materials as a training video, bulletin inserts, a sample sermon and a World Watch List 2010 map. Also, there is information on an Open Doors campaign called “Free to Believe,” which encourages Christians to help defeat the Defamation of Religion Resolution at the United Nations. Passage of the resolution is akin to the United Nations condoning persecution of believers.
www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.

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Isaac Ambrose - christiansquoting.org.uk

Errors are sown thicker in times of revival in the church of God than at any other times.- -- Isaac Ambrose

O Christian, never be proud of things that are so transient, injurious, and uncertain as the riches of this evil world! But set your heart on the true and durable riches of grace in Christ Jesus. ISAAC AMBROSE

The flesh is a worse enemy than the devil himself.-- Isaac Ambrose

Use thy duties, as Noah's dove did her wings, to carry thee to the ark of the Lord Jesus Christ, where only there is rest. ISAAC AMBROSE (1604 - January 20, 1663/1664) English Puritan

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Burning the Koran

I write this morning on the anniversary of 9/11. I read on the BBC URL, ‘The US is preparing to mark the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on New York amid controversy over the pastor who has threatened to burn the Koran. The pastor, Terry Jones of Gainesville, Florida, has arrived in New York where he hopes to meet a leading imam. His plan to burn the Muslim holy book has caused international outrage, but Mr. Jones says his plans have been put on hold. Mr. Jones has instead travelled to New York where he wants to meet the imam at the head of a project to build an Islamic community centre and mosque near Ground Zero.’

I first learned of the plan of a Florida church to burn Korans from a Facebook friend a week before the story hit the headlines. The publicity went global when the American general in Afghanistan said it would be an act with dangerous consequences. General David Petraeus warned “images of the burning of a Koran would undoubtedly be used by extremists in Afghanistan – and around the world – to inflame public opinion and incite violence”. Attorney General Eric Holder called it “idiotic” and “dangerous.” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said it is “disrespectful.” A State Department spokesman called it “un-American.” President Obama opined, “This is a destructive act.” In Afghanistan there have been anti-American demonstrations.

We remember how innocent people died in Nigeria and other countries when Moslems protester against the Danish cartoons of Mohammed. Truly this act planned by an obscure, small church in Florida is an incendiary act. Many Christian organizations in England have condemned it. We fear that Christians in Islamic countries will suffer because a pastor in Florida wants to protest concerning the link between Islam and the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre.

BBC News had a helpful piece on why the U.S. government is powerless to stop the proposed bonfire.
‘The United States stands apart from many other Western democracies in priding itself on a near absolute commitment to allowing freedom of speech.

It is enshrined in the First Amendment to the US constitution, alongside the right to free exercise of religion.
“Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble,” the relevant passage says… The courts have decided that speech encompasses a wide array of non-verbal actions intended to communicate a message. That means symbolic acts such as the burning of a cross or Bible are protected under the free speech clause.

“Generally the first amendment protects offensive, repugnant and even hateful speech,” says David Hudson, a scholar at the First Amendment Center in Washington DC. That is why, in America, demonstrators can legally burn the American flag or the Ku Klux Klan can burn crosses, even though such activities can both outrage and offend.’

Ever since 9/11 the American and British governments have told us that Islam is a religion of peace. But it is a Muslim who claimed responsibility for the 9/11 attacks who remains their most wanted man. Afghanistan was invaded in a futile attempt to find Osama. The official line is that terrorists like Osama do not represent the real Islam, which is peaceful. Of course Islam is peaceful when it gets peace on its terms. I have many peaceful Muslim friends. But one of them told me that 9/11 had nothing to do with Islam. It was a Jewish plot. I could not dignify such nonsense with a reply. This was from a friend who I respect but whose calm vanishes when any criticism of Islam is voiced. When are we going to wake up to the historical fact that Islam has always had a violent strand? Mohammed’s realm spread by jihad. He was a prophet with a sword, a victorious fighter. He was not the Prince of Peace who willingly laid down his life in a shameful death for the sake of others.

Our media know the difference between Muslims and Christians. Offend Muslims and there will be trouble. So they gagged themselves and did not publish the cartoons. Offend Christians and they face no problems except the occasional law suit that the Christians are likely to lose. He U.S. government does not want Korans burned but is happy to destroy Bibles. In 2009, a church in the U.S. saved and held fundraisers to afford the cost of buying and shipping Bibles in the Pashto and Dari language to an American sergeant in Afghanistan. The Bibles were confiscated by military personnel, thrown away, and burned.

Most Christians will condemn the proposed Florida Koran burning but many of us are frustrated by double standards by government and media in their treatment of Islam and Christianity. I hope Korans are not burned today and pray that no Christians suffer because of folly in Florida.

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Is this an ancestor of mine in Bristol?

"WEEKS’S HOTEL AND Lamplighter’s Hall Inn and Tavern.

P. WEEKS, truly sensible of the gratitude he owes to a generous Public, begs leave to return them his thanks for the very flattering and increasing encouragement he has experienced since opening the above House. He continues to dress DINNERS for Parties on the most liberal Plan. TEAS, COFFEES, &c. as cheap as at any House in the United Kingdom.

Ladies and gentlemen going Passengers to any part of Ireland, or elsewhere, provided with Sea Stock of every description.

He wishes to inform Ladies and Gentlemen living in the Neighbourhood, that he has a constant Supply of fresh Fish, of every description, in the highest perfection.
PLEASURE BOATS of any Size, with comfortable Accommodations, provided to go to any Part of the Bristol Channel, at Six Hour’s Notice. …"


[Commentary: Philip Weeks was brother to John Weeks of the Bush Tavern in Corn St. (c.1773 to 1804). Philip Junior also ran Lamplighters in the 1820s. John Weeks was famous for his turtle dinners. The Reference Library has a copy of John Weeks' Scrapbook.]

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Books read in September 2010

My reading this year has been hampered by five months of bad depression. However, normal service can now be resumed.

1. Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West by Christopher Caldwell

I lived in Nigeria when apartheid was ruling in South Africa. South Africa was a subject I never discussed with Nigerians for any attempt to show reasons for understanding the regime would be regarded as racism. Similarly, today in England it is nigh impossible to critique immigration without being accused of racism or to criticise Islam without accusations of Islamophobia. Rational discussion is lost as accusations of hatred fly.

But Caldwell has given a forthright critique of immigration policy and history and warnings about Islam without sounding like his sympathies are on the far right. He shows how most immigrants throughout history have been economic migrants and that postwar Europe encouraged such migration. However he is critical of the benefits to host countries and also rejects the guilt ridden socialist justifications for liberal immigration policies. In no way is he disparaging of immigrants crediting them with an above average knowledge of European laws which can be used to their advantage.

He examines the reactions to Muslim immigration in various countries. He sees Muslim communities set for growth while birth rates fall among the indigenees. His conclusions are, 'It is certain that Europe will emerge changed from its confrontation with Islam. It is far less certain that Islam will prove assimilable. Europe finds itself in a contest with Islam for the allegiance of its newcomers. For now, Islam is the stronger party in that contest, in an obvious demographic way and in a less obvious philosophical way.... When an insecure, malleable, relativistic culture meets a culture that is anchored, confident, and strengthened by common doctrines, it is generally the former that changes to suit the latter'

Once again, a book great in diagnosis but lacking in any prescription for a hopeful cure.

I confess that my attitude to immigration is drastically changed due to my Christian faith. Left to myself I would be very, very critical. But I welcome the fact that I no longer have to go overseas to spread the gospel across cultures. The world has come to London.

2. The Cobra by Frederick Forsyth

Once you start a Forsyth you cannot put him down. This time it is war on cocaine. The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil and here they are described. The war is not won but much blood is shed. Far fetched perhaps but a good read.

3. Visual History of Nigeria by John D. Clarke

This is a school text book so we are spared some of the harsher details of the story. It is a very good brief introduction to Nigerian history up to the seventies. Here is a country that was united only by British colonialism though that seems to have been a reluctant imperialism at first. It was driven by the desire to suppress slave trade and promote other trading, particularly palm oil.I found the book to be rather secular with no story of the Christian missions and the colonial policy of stopping them in the north so that rule could be through the emirs.

4. Bad Science by Ben Goldacre

The author is a doctor and limits his book to bad science around his profession. His main targets are charlatans, homeopaths and journalists. The reader is given a basic course in evidence based medicne and how not to be deceived by quackery. It should be required reading for journalists so they stop misleading Joe Public.

I did not find it a compelling read. Parts were boring. But my major criticism is that the book limited itself to medicine. Environmentalism deserves a similar volume. But more fundamental would be to take on the common views of origins which derive from science not knowing its own limits. The folly of not examining presuppostions besets so called science. The uniformity of natuural causes in a closed system is an article of faith. It is not science. It is presupposition. This should be exposed as well as the reductionism which assumes that if you have described how a thing happens you have understood why. More debunking is needed.

5. The Assembly of the Lord: Politics and Religion in the Westminster Assembly and the 'Grand Debate' by Robert S. Paul

The Westminster Assembly is here put in historical context. Called by Parliament during the civil war in response to the Solemn League and Covenant it was tasked with devising a uniform Reformed church for all of Britain. Paul shows how politics and national characteristics led to its failure to produce uniformity. A minority of English Independents concerned for liberty of conscience sabotaged the Scots Presbyterians desire for uniformity. He shows that from the start the differing histories and the characters of the two nations were at the root of the difficulties. It was generally thought that men who submitted to Scripture from a Calvinist perspective would come to agreement. They could not. Paul shows how the military situation affected the Assembly. As Cromwell grew in power so the Scots influence waned. They converted a majority of the English commissioners to their way of church government but toleration of dissent was being firmly planted among the English. In an age when providences were seen as significant we can but conclude God's ways are not our ways and in this history God put his seal upon Christian liberty and not on a divine right of presbytery. This is not an easy read but it has an important message. History, politics, national characteristics and theology are not separate but intertwined. Life is more complicated than we think.

6. Heart speaks to Heart - The Pope in the UK

This booklet is the official RC one issued in preparation for the visit to the United Kingdom of Pope
Benedict XVI.

'Contents
Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Why is the Pope meeting the Queen?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
What has the Pope got to say about how our Society works?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Why are there different churches?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Why is Pope Benedict meeting leaders of other faiths?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
What is the Holy See and its contribution worldwide?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
What is the Catholic contribution to British society?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
What about child protection? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Why are there Catholic schools and colleges?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Why is the Pope beatifying John Henry Newman?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
How do I connect with God?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Prayer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
So what is the Catholic Church for?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

Much of this is I believe a fair statement of RCC teaching where I have few quibbles. But...

Why are there different churches?
'Members of different churches now embrace each other as
friends and allies instead of as rivals or even enemies. '

I believe the RCC claims a monopoly on saving grace. No salvation outside the RCC. On this I am totally opposed to the RCC. I am one with them on catholic creeds but then we part company. On many social issues we can be co-belligerents

Why is Pope Benedict meeting leaders
of other religions?
'.. respect is not achieved by regarding all faiths as “equally true”, because that can easily
mean they are all equally unimportant.'
Amen!

What is the Catholic contribution to British society?
Notable in this section was the lack of any protest over the banning of their adoption agencies by RC Blair's government.


Why are there Catholic schools and colleges?
'Education's gradual growth in Britain from the 18th century means the system wasn’t
born in one piece and then set up throughout the country.
Our present state education system was initially based on schools funded and staffed
by the various Churches, as well as industrialists and the labour movement from the
start of the nineteenth century.
Only in 1902 did these networks become loosely connected together into the
beginnings of a proper school system. ....
The Catholic system remains the single most
significant exception to the view that there should
be a uniform educational culture in Britain today.'

No. There are far more C of E schools than RC ones.

'The Church never forgets
that the first and primary educators of children are their parents, and technically schools
act on their behalf, in loco parentis. Children do not belong to the state. Rather it is the role
of the state to support and supplement this fundamental duty of parents. '

Amen.

How do I connect with God?

'The story of the fall of Adam and Eve explores that failure. It is not a literal historical
account. It explores a deeper truth, of how the relationships of human beings to God and
to each other are somehow skewered and distorted. '

I am surprised at such liberal theology. It the first Adam is not historic, what about the second?

'Jesus himself was asked by his disciples how to connect with God. He answered by
suggesting a simple prayer, known ever since as the Lord’s Prayer. It talks of failing and
forgiveness, or God’s concern for our daily needs, and above all of doing God’s will - “Thy
will be done.” That means understanding and carrying out our duty to ourselves, to our
neighbour (which includes the stranger in our midst) and to God. In fact there is an even
deeper truth here. Jesus was himself God’s own answer to the question “How do we
connect with God?” For he is God’s presence on earth, among us even today. In the words
of Scripture “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son...” (John 3:16).
He is closer to us than our own souls, and always instantly available to us through prayer.
Christians are invited to develop an ever-closer relationship with him, a relationship of
friendship and love. So how can we deepen this relationship with God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit? To start
with, by loving our family, friends and ultimately our enemies too. We are apprentices of a
love which is purified of all contempt or superiority, so that it is an ever deeper sharing in
the love that is the Trinity. '

No real repentance for sin or clear faith in Christ alone here. Classic obscuring of the gospel by the RCC.

So what is the Catholic Church for?
'The Bishop of Rome, the leader of the church
community, was the direct successor of St Peter, the leader of the first apostles. Throughout
its history the fundamental role of the Pope, the traditional name given to the Bishop of
Rome, has been to act as a sign of the unity of the Church. '

A hotly disputed claim.

So there is much good in this booklet but also a clever plan to reclaim our country for Rome and no real gospel.

No surrender!

7. A Foot in Two Worlds by John Chapman

A first rate short book from a respected Australian Anglican, It is about the joy of new life in Christ and the life long battle with sin, the flesh and the devil. No bed of roses but an ongoing warfare with victory assured for it was accomplished on the cross. The Christian already has hope in the world to come but must live with the tension between being part of a new creation while living in this fallen world. This is a sure, short biblical guide. It also warns against modern evangelical errors.

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Gambling: The sure way of getting nothing for something

Last Saturday I was at Lords watching England beating Pakistan. It was a great day of cricket – a world record stand for England’s eighth wicket and Pakistan bowled out for their lowest score at this beautiful ground.

The next day, The News of the World accused three Pakistani players of involvement in a betting scam. They were alleged to have agreed to bowl no balls at specific times so a gambling coop could take place. The players denied it. An agent alleged to have taken £150,000 from the newspaper to make the deal was arrested by the police and then released. Investigations continue. The Pakistan cricketing authorities did not suspend the players. The High Commissioner of Pakistan in London proclaimed the innocence of the players. Then the sport’s governing body suspended them pending investigation. Next weekend when I see England play Pakistan again they will be missing their former captain and their two top bowlers.
The Apostle Paul wrote that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. What else prompts men to risk their careers for dishonest gain? Cricketers are celebrities in Pakistan. The Corruption Perceptions Index puts their country at 139 out of 180 countries listed. U.K. is 17, Nigeria 130 on the index. Pakistan is a country devastated by Islamist strife. The government does not control some areas of the country where the Taliban terrorise the people. Due to terrorist attacks, Pakistan cannot play international cricket in their own country. The unpopular, ineffective government is seen as a client of the U.S.A. whose bases send drones to bomb the Islamists. The small Christian minority in the county often suffer the persecution of false allegations under Shari’a law. But cricket was the Pakistani obsession and pride. Local reaction was incredulity and shame at the idea that their sporting idols could possibly be so tarnished.

Gambling is illegal in Pakistan but widespread there as it is all over the world. In the U.K. it is not only legal but also promoted by the government in the form of the National Lottery. Betting shops abound in every town. Most British people see nothing wrong with it. I beg to differ. ‘The whore and gambler, by the state 
licensed, build the nation’s fate.’ wrote William Blake.
I believe the Bible teaches us that the ways we are to gain wealth are by hard work and inheritance. Until Protestant reformer, John Calvin, a refugee from France granted asylum in Switzerland, taught that business loans are not usury, Christian Europe could not invest money in return for interest. Investment makes your money work but some investment is morally no different from betting for it is mere speculation on the future. My criticism of gambling applies to the futures market and stock exchange as much as to investing with the bookmaker.

Archbishop William Temple wrote, ‘Gambling challenges the view of life which the Christian Church exists to uphold and extend. Its glorification of mere chance is a denial of the Divine order of nature. To risk money haphazard is to disregard the insistence of the Church in every age of living faith that possessions are a trust, and that men must account to God for their use. The persistent appeal to covetousness is fundamentally opposed to the unselfishness, which was taught by Jesus Christ and by the New Testament as a whole. The attempt (which is inseparable from gambling) to make a profit out of the inevitable loss and possible suffering of others is the antithesis of that love of one’s neighbour on which our Lord insisted.
The darkest hour in any man’s life is when he sits down to plan how to get money without earning it. When there is a lot of money involved the odds of “winning” matter very little to many people. This is the appeal of our National Lottery. Untold millions offered for a £1 stake. Never mind the odds that you are more likely to suffer several lightning strikes than to win what I call, the morons’ tax.

‘Lotteries, a tax upon imbeciles’, said Count Camillo Benso di Cavour. After the French Revolution, the state lottery was abolished. ‘It is all the more dangerous,’ a leading opponent argued, ‘since it devours the substance of the poor. It was born of despotism, and used with putridity to drown out the cry of misery, deluding the poor with false hope. The lottery, an odious financial trick, invades the product of the poor man’s toil and brings despair upon innumerable families.’ But when government promotes the lottery, I am but a Christian voice crying in a secular wilderness.

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

WHY it is so important for Moslems to build near GROUND ZERO

The HISTORY OF ISLAM may hold answers to WHY it is so important for Moslems to build near GROUND ZERO .

In 630, Muhammad led 10,000 Muslim soldiers into Mecca and turned the pagans' most prominent spot, the Ka'aba, into the Masjid al-Haram Mosque.

In 634, Rightly Guided Caliph Umar conquered Syria and turned the Christians' most prominent spot, the Church of Job, famous for being visited by Saint Silva in the fourth century, into the Mosque of Job.

In 637, Caliph Umar conquered Hebron and turned the second-most prominent spot in Judaism, the Cave of the Patriarchs, into the Ibrahimi Mosque. (This was repeated by Saladin in 1188.)

In 638, Muslim generals Amr ibn al-As and Khalid ibn al-Walid conquered Gaza and turned the prominent fifth-century Byzantine church into the Great Mosque of Gaza.

In 638, Caliph Umar conquered Jerusalem.

In 691, Caliph Al-Malik ordered the _Dome of the Rock_ built on the most prominent spot in Judaism, the Temple Mount, followed by Caliph Al-Walid building the Al-Aqsa Mosque there in 705.

In 651, Muslims conquered Persia and turned Zoroastrian temples in Bukhara and Istakhr into mosques.

In 706, after Muslims took Damascus from the Byzantine Empire, Caliph Al-Walid turned the prominent Orthodox Church of St. John the Baptist into the Umayyad Mosque.

In 710, Gen. Muhammad bin Qasim conquered Pakistan, defiled the prominent Sun Temple in Multan, which house the great idol "sanam," and erected a mosque.

In 784, after the conquest of Spain, Emir Abd ar-Rahman turned the prominent Visigothic Christian Church of Saint Vincent into the Great Aljama Mosque of Cordoba. After the conquest of Egypt, Caliphs al-Mamun (813-833) and al-Hakim (996-1021) turned prominent Coptic Christian churches and Jewish synagogues in Cairo into mosques.

In 831, Muslims conquered Palermo, Sicily, and Asad ibn al-Furat turned the prominent Church of Saint Mary of the Assumption into the Great Mosque of Bal'harm. In 1193, Muslims conquered Delhi, India, and Qutbuddin Aibak turned the Red Citadel in Dhillika, the most prominent spot of the last Hindu rulers, into the Qutb Minar Mosque.

From 1250-1517, Mamluk Muslims controlled the Golan Heights and used the ancient Synagogue of Katzrin as a mosque.

In 1387, Turkish Muslims conquered Thessaloniki and turned the Katholikon Monastery and the Church of Aghia Sophia, which housed the relics of Saint Gregorios Palamas, into mosques, as Symeon of Thessaloniki recorded: "The greatest number of the buildings of the churches fell to them, of which _the first_ was the Holy Church of the Savior. … These were trampled underfoot and the infidels rejoiced in them. … Most of thhe religious buildings in the city were despoiled, while altars were demolished and sacred things profaned."

On May 29, 1453, Sultan Mehmet II conquered Constantinople and turned the great Byzantine church, Hagia Sophia, into the Ayasofya Mosque. The _largest_ church in Christendom for a thousand years, the church's four acres of gold mosaics were covered with whitewash and Quran verses.

In 1458, Sultan Mehmet II conquered Athens and turned the Greeks' most prominent spot, the Parthenon on Acropolis hill, into a mosque. When Venetian Gen. Francesco Morosini drove the Muslims out in 1687, a cannonball hit the gunpowder stored in the mosque, blowing it up. In the 15th century, Ottoman invaders turned Saint Clement's Macedonian Orthodox Monastery in Plaosnik, Balkans, into the Imater Mosque.

From 1519-1858, Muslim Mughal rulers gained control of India and turned over 2,000 Hindu temples into mosques, including demolishing the Temple of Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya, the birthplace of Rama, and replacing it with the Babri Mosque. India's Mughal Muslim ruler, Jahangir (1605-1627), wrote in Tujuk-i-Jahangiri: "At the city of Banaras [was] a temple. … I made it my plea for thhrowing down the temple … and on the spot, with the very same materials,, I erected the great mosque."

In 1543, Hayreddin Barbarossa's 30,000 Muslim troops wintered in Toulon, France, and turned the prominent Toulon Cathedral into a mosque.

In 1570, under Sultan Selim II Khan, Muslims conquered Paphos, Cyprus, and Gov. Mehmet Bey Ebubkir turned the prominent Christian church into the Great Mosque of Paphos.

In 1571, Muslims invaded Famagusta, Cyprus, and turned Saint Nicolas Cathedral, a rare Gothic church, into the Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque, and Saint Sophia Cathedral in Nicosia, constructed in 1228, into the Selimiye Mosque.

In 1588, Sultan Murat III turned the Eastern Orthodox Church of Saint John the Forerunner in Constantinople into the Hirami Ahmet Pasha Mosque.

In 1781, after having conquered the Old City of Acre, Ottoman Muslims turned the Roman Catholic church built by Crusaders into the Jezzar Ahmet Pasha Mosque, where a hair from Muhammad's beard is preserved.

In 1923, Muslims expelled Greeks from Turkey and turned Orthodox churches into mosques. In World War II, Nazis allied with Bosnians and turned the prominent Artists' Gallery Museum in Zagreb, Croatia, into a mosque.

In the 1950s, Muslims expelled Jews from Arab lands and turned synagogues into mosques. Algerian Muslims warred against French colonial rule till France pulled out in 1962, after which the Cathedral of St. Philippe was turned into the Ketchaoua Mosque. Violence against Jews caused 30,000 to flee and the Great Synagogue of Oran was turned into the Mosque Abdellah Ben Salem.

In 1974, Turkish Muslims invaded northern Cyprus, and prominent Greek Orthodox churches were turned into mosques. In 1981, Muslim immigrants to the Netherlands converted Amsterdam's historic Catholic Sint-Ignatiuskerk into the Fatih Mosque, and a synagogue in The Hague into the Aksa Mosque.

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What is safe sex?

The accepted wisdom of the secular world is that education solves problems. It is evidently not solving the problem of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

New figures released last week revealed that almost half a million cases of sexually transmitted infections reported last year in the U.K. were an increase of 3% on that of 2008 with young people the worst affected. The Health Protection Agency (HPA) reported 482,696 cases in UK sexual health clinics in 2009, with teenagers and young adults accounting for the majority of the increase.

According to data released by the HPA, young women aged 19 and men aged between 20 and 23 are at the greatest risk of infection and of the 12,000 additional cases reported last year, over two thirds were in women under 25. The figures also revealed that re-infection is a serious issue, with at least 11% of women and 12% of men aged 16 to 19 becoming re-infected with an STI within one year of being treated for a previous one.

The HPA’s Gwenda Hughes said: “These latest figures show that poor sexual health is a serious problem among the UK’s young adults and men who have sex with men.”

She continued: “These figures also highlight the vulnerability of young women. Many studies have shown that young adults are more likely to have unsafe sex and often they lack the skills and confidence to negotiate safer sex.”
What is this ‘safer sex’? It is intercourse with condoms. It is what official government sex education tells us is the way to have intercourse. ‘Safe sex’ is the mantra of sexual health. But it is a questionable message and one evidently not well heeded.
Justin McCracken, chief executive of the HPA, added: “These are all preventable infections and it is a cause of considerable concern that we are still seeing increases across the UK.”

Yes, these infections are among those that no one need have. “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases on you.”

But this message is the one our educators will not give; chastity before marriage and fidelity within it. Why will our sex educators not even use the words chastity and fidelity, only ‘safe sex’? Why is their message on sex so different from that on smoking cessation? With smoking the message is simply, ‘Stop!’ Smokers are not advised to smoke low-tar cigarettes, pipes or cigars. They are to cease. But in sex education, even in Church of England schools, why the message about condoms, which are often not used and are not very effective, especially when used by novices? Why is the message not one of chastity and fidelity? Why is the word ‘marriage’ never mentioned? Why no message about self-control?

The official answer is that people will not listen and take it on board. This is not the real reason. The truth is that there is one thing the sex educators are more afraid of than even STIs. They are afraid of hypocrisy. Most of them have given up smoking but they continue to sleep around. They cannot teach chastity and fidelity because they do not practice them.
One such worker in sexual health when confronted with this argument told me that none of his friends lived with chastity and fidelity. I replied that all my close friends held to these principles.

Many have criticized the former government’s sex education and teenage pregnancy strategy. Last year, a leading academic and former government advisor, Professor David Paton, told a Westminster health forum that the former government’s £250 million teenage pregnancy strategy had been “absolutely disastrous”, commenting that since it began the increase in STIs had continued to rise.

Andrea Minichiello Williams of Christian Concern For Our Nation said: “These figures are yet further evidence that the former government’s sex education programme, which targeted children and young people, has failed drastically. Sex education seems to expect young people to have sex.”

In 1963, we asked our 16 to 18 year old classmates in school, boys and girls, how many had ever had sex. Only one boy out of about 30 students said they had experienced intercourse. Today 80% of girls say they have had sex by the age of 18.
Promiscuity is the problem to be tackled and condoms are not the answer.

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Comment: Koran book burning is not Christian

REACTION TO PLANNED KORAN BURNING PROVES PASTOR'S POINT

This ia a press release from Christian Voice. It presents an interesting take on a man who seems an obstinate, ungracious fool to me, but I am not his judge.

Wednesday 8 September 2010 18.00hrs

"A leading Christian lobby group has said the reaction to the plans of an American pastor to hold a burning of the Koran proves his point.

The Reverend Terry Jones, whose small church is based in Gainsville , Florida , is intending to burn copies of the Koran on the 9th anniversary of 9/11.

The event will be held at his church, the Dove World Outreach Centre on Saturday, unless the Pastor calls a halt. He has promised to pray about his decision.

General David Petraeus warned that "images of the burning of a Koran would undoubtedly be used by extremists in Afghanistan - and around the world - to inflame public opinion and incite violence". Pastor Jones has already been burned in effigy in Afghanistan .

Mr Jones himself said he has received more than 100 death threats and has started wearing a .40-calibre pistol strapped to his hip.

But Stephen Green, National Director of UK-based Christian Voice, said the General's comments and the threats against Pastor Jones illustrate why the pastor has felt the need to take such a dramatic step.

'I sympathise with the General's position, even though American and British troops have no business being in Afghanistan - or Iraq - in the first place. If David Petraeus wants to know what radicalises Muslims in the West more than anything else, he need look no further than his own command of US forces in Afghanistan. Our troops are courageous and I have nothing but admiration for them, but it is not just their lives in peril as they fight a lost cause for democracy in a foreign land, our Government is putting the lives of British people at risk from terrorism at home.

'I am also concerned about the impact of Pastor Jones' actions on Christians in Pakistan and other Muslim countries. They are already terrorised by their Muslim neighbours. How much more will they have to put up with by becoming identified with Pastor Jones?

'Christian Voice members would never burn a Koran. I hope that would be more out of respect for the feelings of others than out of fear.

'Pastor Jones' action is extreme, but he is obviously a man of courage and sometimes extreme things have to be done. I can think of nothing more extreme than going to the Cross to bear the sins of others, which was what Jesus Christ did. But if we are talking of extremists, Islam has more than its fair share of them.

'The Koran itself commands Muslims to retaliate. A Muslim lady kindly gave me a copy of the Koran when I was helping Muslims set up a parents' group against sex education in schools in Waltham Forest . In it I read from Sura 2:194, "And one who attacks you, attack him in like manner as he attacked you." Agreed, we must defend our wives and families, and Jesus said "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends", but the Lord also extolled us to turn the other cheek.

'The previous Koran verse says, "And fight them until persecution (another version says 'tumult and oppression', meaning resistance to Islam) is no more, and religion is for Allah." It is hard not to build a theology of violence and global expansion on Koranic verses like that, and on the life of Mohammed himself, who went about expanding Islam at the point of the sword.

'I was on the Jeremy Vine programme today, listening to the ultra-moderate Muslim (actually she is more of an extreme secularist) Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, call for tolerance from Muslims and plead for her religion to be regarded as one of peace. She is right that Western governments have encouraged in the past the very terrorism they now fear. But she ignores her own history and is whistling in the wind.

'If you enter the great Islamic beacon which is Saudi Arabia with a Bible, you will soon find out about Islamic respect for sacred texts. If they find it in your luggage, customs will shred it. If they find two, you are in the cells. And it is all very well for people like Yasmin to condemn that, but it is actually happening with Islam-in-practice.

'The majority of Muslims in the UK may well be currently peaceable and wanting to live a quiet life, but all the news we hear shows they are easily radicalised by almost anything. They are not at all impressed with infidels treading all over Iraq and Afghanistan , as I have mentioned. But it goes farther than that. A Muslim converting to Christianity is immediately a pariah and will be ostracised and attacked, because the penalty for apostasy is death. The earthly penalty for apostasy in Christianity is that we pray for the man to return. We don't throw bricks through his window or torch his car, as has happened to Nissar Hussain in Bradford.

'And us Christians should hang our heads in shame that for all this trouble and fear about the burning of the Koran, hardly a breath of protest was heard about the burning to death of a Pakistani Christian in March, whose wife who witnessed his death was then gang-raped by three policemen. The Italian Foreign Ministry summoned the Pakistani envoy, but why were we not all outside the nearest Pakistani Embassy or High Commission?

'I truly wish Christians would take the persecution of our brethren and indeed insults against our faith more seriously, although I should never want us to be screaming hatred like Muslim youth do. The threshold for tolerance in Islam is set very low indeed. In Christianity it sometimes seems so high (on the pretext of turning the other cheek) that we tolerate anything and evil has a free hand.

'I am also glad that Christians would never contemplate suicide (they call it "martyrdom") missions killing innocent bystanders, as Muslim terrorists do. Sadly, you will find a significant minority of Muslims ready to express support for their brethren who flew planes into the Twin Towers , caused the London bombings or who let off bombs in crowded restaurants in Tel Aviv. In polls, 16% of young British Muslims supported suicide bombings in Israel and 24% agreed or tended to agree that the London bombings were justified. A similar percentage denied that Muslims did them at all, blaming them on the British Government.'

Pastor Jones said: 'How much do we back down? How many times do we back down? Instead of us backing down, maybe it's to time to stand up. Maybe it's time to send a message to radical Islam that we will not tolerate their behaviour.'

There can be little doubt that Pastor Jones is reacting in part to the proposal to build a mosque near the Twin Towers Ground Zero site, but his concerns are wider. Significantly, Hilary Clinton upbraided him at a dinner she attended in observance of 'Iftar', the breaking of the daily fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Politicians on both sides of the Atlantic seem mesmerised by Islam, promoting it to the extent of fanaticism.

Stephen Green continued, 'Anyone condemned by Hilary Clinton, who has gone so far out of her way to promote the wickedness of abortion and homosexuality across the globe, must have at least some good in them. Although I would not do what Pastor Jones is doing, I must say I could not help warming to him as soon as I heard that Hilary Clinton had condemned him.

'But perhaps the secularist agenda that Hilary stands for explains the rise of Islam in the West. Both Pastor Jones and I live in a hedonistic, selfish, crass, idolatrous culture in its death throes. Sex has become exalted into a religion, sodomy is regarded by the elite as morally equivalent to heterosexual love and marriage, marriage vows are cast aside on a whim, children are thrown into day-care, the elderly are legally euthanased and we sacrifice our own children in abortion clinics.

'Our elite extol everything that isn't Christian, whether it is secularist or Hindu or Islamic. Add in their fear of Islam and their aversion to offending Muslims out of fear or because they want to be seen as "multi-cultural" and you have all the ingredients of an Islamic takeover when the population reaches around 30%, which it could do in the UK within a generation.

'Pastor Jones is trying to raise a prophetic voice albeit in too provocative a way, but I know his church has focused on sodomy and abortion in the past. In one sense Islam is a symptom rather than the cause of the problem, and I speak as someone who opposes the building of mosques and who leads regular prayer vigils at the site of the proposed West Ham 'megamosque', praying against it.

'Islam is only filling a vacuum which would not exist if Christian men stood up to be counted against the secularist evils of our day. We should be pressing the Crown Rights of King Jesus, proclaiming loud and strong that this is a Christian nation and that it needs to repent and return to Almighty God, overturning a lot of fashionable laws passed in the last fifty years along the way. Then, faced with what the Prayer Book describes as 'Christ's Church Militant here on Earth', Islam won't find a spiritual foothold in either the UK or the USA , or in any Christian country.

'The truth is, if we don't stand up for Jesus now, we shall find ourselves bowing the knee to Allah before very long.'"

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Our failure in Afghanistan

In late 2001 the United States was preparing to enter Afghanistan on the side of the Northern Alliance which was fighting the Taliban, the people the U.S. saw as sheltering Osama Bin Laden, the self proclaimed leader of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre in New York. Listening to B.B.C. Radio, I heard the writer, Frederick Forsyth, tell why he thought the U.S. would fail in Afghanistan.

He said that his military contacts described Afghanistan as a divided country, an artificial state of warring tribes; Tajiks, Pashtuns, Hazaras, Uzbeks, Turkmen and others. Fighting one another was their natural condition. They only united when faced with a foreign invader. In modern history this was the British, twice in the 19th century and the Russians in the 20th. They always defeated the invaders. Then the Afghans went back to their default position of fighting one another.
The Northern Alliance with foreign help was victorious and Karzai led the government in Kabul. But despite the continued help of an international military coalition force, Karzai’s government is not the power controlling most of the country. Karzai is often referred to as merely the mayor of Kabul. The coalition’s death toll is now nearly 2,000 men from 26 countries. Taliban insurgents in the parts of the country closest to Pakistan continue to kill coalition soldiers, mainly American and British, and to terrorise the local population into supporting them.

In 2006 I was in Kabul. My best friend is a doctor there. At that time he was teaching post-graduate Afghan doctors in a government hospital, which had many expatriate workers from a voluntary agency (known as an N.G.O – Non Government Organisation). Funding of the hospital was from the U.S. He later left that work due to the endemic corruption, which manifested itself in that the doctors he trained were not promoted to posts in their profession according to ability. Afghanistan, with Somalia and Iraq is at the top of world corruption indexes.

Kabul reminded me of Northern Nigeria – very dusty brown, very Muslim, and traffic worse than Sabon Gari when Kano traffic lights failed. What was different from Nigeria was the security. We could walk in some parts of the city but not travel far outside by road. Security was even more evident than what I had seen in Northern Ireland at the height of The Troubles. Only in Kabul have I eaten in a restaurant which had an armed guard on the door.

In the past four years the situation has deteriorated. Expatriates can no longer walk the streets since the murder of one lady on her way to work. The Taliban claimed responsibility for her murder as they did two weeks ago when 10 medical workers from the oldest NGO in the country were killed on their way back to Kabul after taking eye care to a remote region, which is not a place where Taliban are active. The Taliban are murderers but also slandering liars. They said that these workers had been killed because they were engaged in Christian missionary activity.

Christian evangelism is against the law. N.G.O. workers are scrupulous in obeying this law otherwise such organizations could not have been operating there for over 40 years. Yes, the people murdered had Bibles in Dari, the main Afghan language, but working there an expatriate wants to learn the language and Christians have Bibles.

Four years ago only expatriate Christians could gather behind high compound walls and worship as church. There are no church buildings allowed. Any Afghan who is known to be a convert to Christianity will disappear, often killed by the family he/she has ‘shamed.’ Now the Kabul expatriates have lost their main place for worship.

In the UK, as political pressure increase for our troops to be withdrawn, I wonder what will be left in Afghanistan? I fear it will be a failed state, violent, torn by internecine fighting, a place unsafe for Christians with no freedom of religion at all. That is the way it always has been.

What will Western intervention have achieved? It has not found Osama Bin Laden. It has not defeated the Taliban or united the country.

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Thursday, September 09, 2010

From Fatwa to Jihad: Legacies of the Salman Rushdie affair by Kenan Malik

Kenan Malik says the Rushdie affair changed his life. In 1989 a crowd of over a thousand Muslims burned Rushdie’s Satanic Verses in Bradford. Like Rushdie, Malik was born in India. Both were born Muslims. Rushdie was already a prize-winning novelist with the Booker Prize for Midnight’s Children. Rushdie’s new novel was not an easy read. I never finished it. Muslims were offended by its derogatory references to their religion, its prophet and his wives. The Muslim reaction marked a turning point in British Islam. Muslims became assertive.

Liberal British people were appalled at their desire for censorship. Penguin the publisher refused to withdraw the novel from sale. India banned it. The Saudis encouraged a campaign against it in Britain. 7,000 Muslims marched through Bolton to protest against the novel. On 14th February 1989 Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran issued a fatwa sentencing the author and publishers to death. $3 million was the reward for any Muslim who murdered Rushdie. For a non-Muslim assassin the price was merely one million dollars. Britain, which had been vilified by Rushdie, began years of intense security protection for him. Penguin’s offices had police protection. The British government broke off diplomatic relations with Iran, but condemned the book as offensive to Muslims.

Malik writes that before these events, Muslims in the U.K. were identified more by race than religion. He describes a racist country, which had provoked young men like him to take action. But now, South Asian Muslim immigrants who had come to England for a more prosperous life, started to stand up as Muslims. 1981 saw the Brixton and other riots. This violence and clashes between different groups, racial and political, led to government promotion of multiculturalism. Malik offers a very critical analysis.

In Muslim communities he says it led to the businessmen who control the mosques being the link between Muslims and the political establishment. Mosques have no central organising structure. All are independent. Imams are often not the respected community leaders. Businessmen and other non-elected community leaders were able to rise further in esteem with minority and majority communities, as they became the one seen to be getting government money into the minority communities. He says that multiculturalism transformed Muslim anti-racism into demands for separate Muslim schools, halal meat in schools, separate schools for girls and a more tribal, not a united society and eventually it led to the terror of 7 July 2005.
He asks why the terrorist rage of the Islamists? He denies two common explanations for the bombings. He says Islam has no violent global jihad lurking within. Nor does he believe Western hatred of Islam has provoked the rage. He says that young respectable Muslims have been radicalised because Islamists have given them a cause to which to rally in their generational rebellion against both traditional Islam, which was happy to live as a non-assertive minority in Britain, and against a racist, Islam hating West.

He says, “there are four broad ‘schools’ of Islam today”: traditionalist, fundamentalist, Islamist and modernist. Traditionalists accept that over the centuries Islam has been transformed into different cultural manifestations from that of 7th century Arabia. Fundamentalist object to this transformation and want to get back to the real, original Islam. But fundamentalist divides into majority Sunni and minority Shias. That division is as much political as it is theological.

Do Arabs or non-Arabs have the final say as to what is true Islam? Is Saudi or Iran the true leader of Muslim orthodoxy? But the enemy of fundamentalism is tradition not modernity. I know that in Nigeria these groups have been at loggerheads for decades. In the seventies, the military government banned public preaching because of conflict between Izalatu Bidi’a, influenced by Saudi Wahabbism, and the traditional Islam of Nigeria. The Wahabbis said they preferred Christians to traditionalist Muslims.
Islamist radicalism grows out of fundamentalism. It rejects nationalism and democracy. Sunni Islamists wants a universal caliphate restored. Violent jihad and suicide bombing are the tools to use. Modernists though espouse Western liberal values to the extent of being influenced by secularism with its privatisation of religion separating religion and politics. Malik is a modernist.

Kenan Malik argues that after the Satanic Verses liberals are now sensitive about the feelings of Muslims and have restricted their speech so as not to offend. They agree that cartoons of Mohammed should not be published, for fear of offending a minority community. But Obama confirms that the liberal establishment does not show the same sensitivity to the feelings of the majority community.

Let me say I am not opposed to freedom to build places of worship for religions other than my own. I recently visited our local mosque to see their plans foe a new building. It was very impressive; probably it will be the most impressive structure in the area. I incurred the wrath of some fellow Christians for saying I had no objections to the new mosque. But my home area of Ealing is not Ground Zero.

Communities need to be sensitive to one another’s feelings and show respect but when those communities have different values there will be a clash. Malik’s book looks at how that tension is being resolved in England. He sees that government has chosen the way of multiculturalism in the U.K. in contrast to the melting pot way of the U.S.A.

Malik says.” The term ‘multicultural’ has come to define both a society that is particularly diverse, usually as a result of immigration, and the policies necessary to manage such a society. It has come to embody, in other words, both a description of a society and a prescription for managing it. Multiculturalism is both the problem and the solution – and when the problem and the solution are one and the same we can only be dealing with political snake oil. “

The problem as ever with writers about the impact of Islam is that while they are adept at analyzing the problem and the defects of prescribed cures they have little or nothing to offer as alternative medicine. I think Malik is much the same. A very perceptive diagnosis is offered but no prescription.

Malik says, “Multiculturalists assumed that minority groups would not want to jettison the past but to embrace it, that those born here would want to define themselves through their parents’ cultures and traditions. They imagined Britain as a, ‘community of communities’, and pushed second generation Britons of immigrant stock back into the traditional cultures that they had rejected. And so those second generation migrants found themselves adrift without any cultural ballast.” He thinks the lsalmists; working mainly through academic institutional setting not mosques, had an attractive cause to which discontented youth could rally. But it is a unique cause for it is the only one that demands the ultimate in self-sacrifice from its devotees.
In 1993 I was surprised to receive an invitation from a Muslim group to a meeting in our town hall. I had never heard of Al-Mouhajiroun. I found myself the only non-Muslim present in a meeting that called for the overthrow of national governments by any means and the establishment of one Islamic umma. Later the Blair government banned this group. But Malik contends that many of those that the Labour regime took on as advisors and to be links with Muslim communities are men whose sympathies are with the Islamists. Blair failed to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir. In the 19th century England gave refuge to political refugees from Germany like Marx and Engels. Here they developed their revolutionary doctrines that were to kill millions in the 20th century. Has 21st century U.K. done the same with radical Muslims whose home countries are deemed too illiberal for British courts to repatriate these revolutionaries who threaten to cause worldwide havoc. Their young British recruits are invisible to their own communities let alone to the security forces. The 21st century West has its very own fifth column of invisible sleepers. When will they next awaken?

I grew up in a world where people feared nuclear war. Now the fear is terrorism, a far more subtle and difficult threat to combat Where is the way forward as proposed by modernist peaceful Muslims like Malik. It seems to me that Islam is like the Church of England, a broad church with very diverse beliefs and practices. Like the Anglicans too there is a lack of discipline when radical heretics are part of the community.

The Islamists seem like the Freemasons or homosexuals. Some reveal themselves, but unless they do, no one knows who they are or what they may be up to.

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