Free Speech for Christian MPs
The charity Voice for Justice UK (VfJUK) plans to deliver a petition to the Prime Minister Theresa May calling fo the protection of the right of Christian MPs to free speech, and for secular activists not to be allowed to suppress Christian belief.
So far VfJUK has just over 26,000 signatures. The online petition reads:
Increasingly we are seeing Christians ridiculed and vilified in the public arena before the relentless drive of Secular and LGBTQ activism. It is time for the intolerance, bigotry and intimidation of so-called liberals to be exposed.
Tim Farron was hounded out of office because of his faith. Andrew Turner, former MP for the Isle of Wight, was forced to resign after saying he believed homosexuality was wrong and a danger to society. The DUP was pilloried for its Christian position and robust defence of traditional morality … Unremitting pressure is being placed on the Church to reinterpret its core values so that its teachings align with current morality.
We would respectfully remind the Prime Minister that the Church of England is the established Church of this land, and the laws of this land since before Magna Carta are founded upon Christian faith and belief. More than that, in the coronation oath the monarch undertakes to maintain the established Protestant religion in the UK, and to uphold the laws of God, while Members of Parliament are required to swear allegiance to the Crown while holding the Bible in their upraised hand before taking office.
Standing on Articles 9 and 10 of the Human Rights Act 1998 - respectively protecting the rights to freedom of thought, belief, and religion; and the freedom to hold and express your own opinions - we assert the right to follow and practise without impediment or restraint our Christian faith, and to express without fear of condemnation or intimidation the core beliefs on which our faith is founded and as set down in the Bible. We call for freedom of belief and of speech for all.
And we call for all political parties to uphold the right of both current and future MPs to express support for traditional Christian belief, without fear of intimidation by activist groups seeking to silence dissent by unjustified accusations of bigotry and hatred.
The online petition can be signed here.
Why do Good People do Bad Things?
“We know no spectacle so ridiculous,” wrote Lord Macauley, “as the British public in one of its periodical fits of morality.” The recent outbreak of morality at Westminster in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations is perhaps an indication of a swing of the ethical pendulum from libertarianism to puritanism that in some ways ought to be welcomed. "Something must be done", say the politicians after half a century spent systematically breaking up the foundation of western civilization, the Ten Commandments. Now, in a rare display of inter-party unity, Jeremy Corby is backing Theresa May’s clamp-down on inappropriate behaviour.
Prevention is, of course, always better than cure and for a start, as well as encouraging those who have experienced the unwelcome attention of their seniors, the party leaders could issue a ruling that MPs refrain from inviting members of the opposite sex (or, for that matter nowadays, the same sex) to their homes or hotel rooms alone. MPs could be instructed to leave the doors of their offices open, or at least ajar, when alone with attractive females or, when it is necessary for them to speak behind closed doors, to inform a colleague. This might be regarded as ethical overkill but let's not forget that our parliamentary representatives (or at least some of them) are the cause of their own misfortune. Oh yes, and for good measure, it would be helpful if all women were to dress modestly.
Incidentally, I’m acutely aware that expressing myself in this way opens me to the charge of political incorrectness and misogyny. But it's PC that is at the heart of the current confusion about ethics and morality. Even while condemning those who behave badly, one risks being condemned for straying beyond the prescribed, pedantically patrolled borders of political correctness.
Blade Runner 35 years on
I’ve just returned home after seeing Blade Runner 2049 and I feel depressed. The 1982 original was a landmark in cinema in every way: story, acting, cinematography, special effects and music. It’s a film I’ve returned to several times since 1982.
Without explaining the story, the original Blade Runner explored what it means to be human, to be alive, to think and to feel. And fans of the movie have debated for 35 years whether Deckard the principal character. played by Harrison Ford, is human or a replicant, an artificial human.
Like its predecessor, Blade Runner 2049 is stunningly filmed and provokes questions about what it means to be human further than the 1982 version. It draws on biblical imagery and allusions, as in the case of Rachel, the replicant love interest of Deckard in the original movie. The artificial woman it seems gave birth to a child. How could that happen? Nobody seems to know but those who witnessed the birth say it’s a miracle: the Lord “opened Rachel’s womb.”
Martin Luther: Warts and All
On 31st October 1517, a young monk nailed a large, handwritten notice to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. It was an act that would change the course of history. The ninety-five theses, or propositions, on the notice challenged the very authority of the Roman Catholic Church and would put the life of the young Martin Luther in danger. Freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of conscience were not high on the agenda of the early sixteenth century Church but the Reformation that would follow in the wake of Luther’s bold challenge would change of all that.
Had it not been for the newly invented technology of printing, Martin Luther’s broadside might have been a storm in a teacup. But printing was to Luther what Twitter is to Donald Trump. It wasn’t Luther himself who began printing and distributing thousands of the Ninety-Five Theses but there were no copyright laws in sixteenth-century Europe so there was nothing the young monk could do, even if he had wanted to, to halt the progress of truth.
I confess to having a love-hate relationship with Luther. I am in awe of the fearless young firebrand (and fearless old firebrand, for that matter). I love his life-affirming earthiness, which twenty-first century evangelicals prefer to ignore or forget.
I can’t remember whether I was puzzled or shocked the first time I was asked on an official form whether I was Male, Female or “Other”. A recent edition of Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour was dedicated to the concept of “gender stereotyping”. It seems we can no longer can we say that little girls are made of “sugar and spice and all things nice” and boys are made of “snips and snails and puppy dogs tails.”
So it all seemed a little rich that a programme called Woman’s Hour (“The programme that offers a female perspective on the world”) was applauding those Brave New World experts and the parents who think it’s cool to bring “gender-free” offspring into the world! I mean, what’s to happen if the social engineers succeed in abolishing gender? Can we expect, ten years from now, to be listening to “Non-Gender Hour”, “Person’s Hour” or just plain “Hour”?
A concerned mother (or should that be “parent”?) phoned the programme to confess she was trying really hard to bring up her children (a “boy” and a “girl”, by the way) to be “gender neutral”, while a teacher called in to say that she had to have a serious little tête-à-tête with her primary school class after one of the boys said something derogatory about “girls” (huh!). Left to himself—and I stress “left to himself” and not to politically-correct social revisionists—ten years from now the boy’s attitude to girls will have significantly modified.
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