"...All this goes far beyond a piddling little issue of ecclesiastical niceties about which ordinary people care nothing; a bit of churchy crinoline and old lace. For these last 200 years and more we have been living through a period of revolutionary historical and social upheaval. Our banners now are not led by the cross of Christ – which is the cross of St George – but they are emblazoned by slogans which owe their origin not to the counsels of God but to an increasingly overbearing and dictatorial atheistic state. 'Diversity' has replaced the Ten Commandments.
The revolutionary change from a Christian society to an overbearing secular authority is profound and it will not be reversed – and certainly not by some supposed natural process such as 'the swing of the pendulum'. When we look to discover how this catastrophe has come about, we should turn to the philosopher and poet T.E. Hulme. At the beginning of the 20th century, he wrote:
“We have been beaten because our enemies’ theories have conquered us. We have played with those to our own undoing. Not until we are hardened again by conviction are we likely to do any good. In accepting the theories of the other side, we are merely repeating a well-known historical phenomenon. The Revolution in France came about not so much because the forces which should have resisted were half-hearted in their resistance. They themselves had been conquered intellectually by the theories of the revolutionary side. An institution or a civilisation is beaten only when it has lost faith in itself, when it has been penetrated by the ideas that are working against it....”
Read it all at Cranmer [here]
The Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks on BBC Radio 4's Thought for the Day [here] this morning had some interesting comments to make about true freedom being far more than mere majority rule but something which places limits on power. Quoting J.S. Mill, he said that the danger of democracy is that it can lead to the tyranny of the majority and hence the oppression of minorities, going on to speak about the necessity of exercising self-restraint in imposing our views on others. It is necessary to make space for the people not like us.
Of course, he was speaking about the situation in Egypt: equally he could have been reflecting on the Synod in York...
And on broadly the same subject, the all-conquering and intolerant 'democratic' ideology of our day (no 'civilised' dissension is possible: opponents are all mired in bigotry - the modern version of 'error has no rights' but taken to the vicious extreme of 'no one whom the zeitgeist deems to be in error has rights') , Cardinal Caffara of Bologna lets the city's mayor have it with both barrels on the subject of same-sex marriage [here]:
"The statement by the Mayor of Bologna regarding the right of gay couples to marry and adopt children is so egregious that it warrants reflection.
What the mayor has prophesied to be the inevitable destiny of our country, to at last become civilized by recognizing the right of homosexual couples to marry and adopt, is an impromptu comment which comes cheap, since recognition doesn't depend on the mayor anyway.
But this does not lessen the seriousness of the stand taken publicly by the person who represents the entire city. Where do citizens who differ fit in? What about those who, not out of a phobia, but prompted by motivated reasoning, think that marriage is what has been defined as such from the dawn of civilization? Or those who think that what must be of concern to us all is not a right to adopt but the right of every child to have a father and a mother ?
Must these citizens, their culture and their arguments, really be considered uncivilized and outside the bounds of history, condemned to feeling like foreigners in their homeland, because they can't keep up with this so-called progress?
Naturally there will be those who, mouthing platitudes about the separation between Church and State (which is a much more serious issue than this!), are bound to accuse us of wanting to impose a religious doctrine. But this has nothing to do with either religion or parties: this undermines the foundation of a civilization which is coextensive with the world and as ancient as history itself; and perhaps there is not enough awareness of how much is at stake.
To say that to society and to children it makes no difference whether couples are homo or hetero is to deny something so obvious that to have to explain it makes one want to cry. We have reached such a dimming of reason that we seem to think that truth can be established by law, such a blotting out of common good as to take one's every desire to be his/her fundamental rights."
Not a few of us have been accused (unfairly, I think) of taking an 'extreme' conservative position on these matters. Not so: our 'problem' is that we see all too clearly that the fundamentalism of contemporary ideological liberalism is the mortal enemy of human freedom.