Sunday 12 July 2015

Change and decay ...

The problem many of us have with the modern liberal left (or, rather, one of a myriad of problems) is its collective lack of a sense of humour, and its total lack of proportion, not to mention any semblance of a sense of what constitutes half-way decent, much less honourable, behaviour. 
It wouldn't be so much of a problem if its ideas, standards, and generally 'transgressive' (that is, 1960s adolescent) culture hadn't taken over virtually the whole of public life. This is the contemporary establishment, sitting among the ruins of a civilisation, picking away at what little mortar is holding the stones together. 
So its not that easy just to get on with things (as, predictably, some are advising) and  ignore something which now surrounds us like the air we breathe. Yes, the sun still rises in the east, but what its light illumines is not such a pretty sight.

That Nobel prize winning biologist Sir Tim Hunt could be hounded out of professional life and public service for a few ill-judged and, admittedly, dubiously humorous remarks about female scientists shouldn't surprise us in the least - his most vocal critics are the new puritans (joyless roundheads, but stripped of their calvinistic theology) who will seek to impose their twisted sense of reality upon the rest of us at the least opportunity. But that he was abandoned - 'hung out to dry' - by the academic institutions and charities he has dedicated his life to serving, and by colleagues he had previously regarded as friends, should appal us beyond measure.
But this is the present reality of our society - we should be so proud to be part of it.. 
An interview with Sir Tim here on The Guardian website

Just to brighten up a damp Sunday evening here in Britain, two pieces by the Canadian / American / British-educated commentator Mark Steyn.
The first - 'Insufficiently Independent to Hold an Independence Day Parade' - is about the farcical madness of official bureaucracy on the New Hampshire - Vermont border, and nicely illustrates the stifling of the human spirit in the modern West by an ever-expanding and ever-demanding officialdom: 
Yet, while I salute the New Hampshire end for declining to let some jumped-up Vermont twerp rain on their parade, I don't think that was quite the ideal solution. When someone like Constable Godfrey tells you are no longer sufficiently independent to hold an Independence Day parade, the correct response is: Sorry, pal, we're coming through. You can stand in our path, and we'll let the 4-H-ers plow you into the asphalt. Or you can call for back up from the Sheriff's Department and tase us into submission. But you're gonna have to tase us all. Because isn't that what the Declaration of Independence was all about? George III thought this was the King's highway and freeborn Americans told him, get lost, creep, it's the people's highway. And on this Independence Day the people are coming through! 
"...I like to think that's what the late Ray Burton, longtime NH Executive Councillor for the North Country, would have done. He marched at the head of the parade for years alongside his car (license number "1") , and I find it hard to imagine him meekly consenting to be turned away. But lots of other folks wouldn't agree to it, either. Had, say, the Dearborn Ramadan Parade or the West Hollywood LGBTQWERTY Parade taken a wrong turn, like Bugs Bunny at Albuquerque, and wound up on that Connecticut River bridge, do you think they would have submitted to Constable Godfrey's diktat? Not at all. They would have brushed him aside and poured through. And their willingness to do that is why the gays and the Muslims win everything they want - and compliant losers don't. 
And, in fact, try telling those despised "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" in France that Bastille Day's off because of insufficient signs - or Quebeckers on St-Jean-Baptiste Day. This prostration before irrational, capricious but deeply totalitarian officialdom is unbecoming to a supposedly free people. 
So, as ridiculous as Constable Godfrey's behavior was, the bovine acceptance of it by the citizenry is far more disturbing. In my Fourth of July rerun of an old Telegraph column, I noted how the regulatory bureaucracy was crushing the spirit of independence. That was back in the Nineties when "safety" was being used to hyper-regulate anything involving children. Two decades on, we are all children. When you can have your Independence Day cancelled by bureaucrats on 45 minutes' notice, you are not citizens, you are not even subjects - you are wards of the state, a state that no longer recognizes you as capable of functioning adulthood... "    [here]

And a much darker take than the conventional 'Spirit of the Blitz' narrative on the commemoration of the 7/7 London bombings [here]
"... And so it proved. The killers turned out to be "Yorkshiremen" - British subjects born and bred and into fish'n'chips, cricket, lousy English pop music ...and jihad. All were lifelong Muslims, except for one "revert": Germaine Lindsay. We're used to it now, from Jihadi John and all the other "Britons" head-chopping their way across the Islamic State to the two reverts who decapitated Drummer Rigby on a London street in broad daylight. But a decade ago it was new, and thus slightly shocking. You didn't have to be some halfwit goatherd in a cave in the Hindu Kush to be hot for the caliphate. You could be a materially prosperous young man in Northern England, and the only difference between you and the goatherd is that you prepared for your suicide mission by taking a whitewater-rafting weekend in Wales.  
I argued in that morning-after piece that, whereas for Neville Chamberlain Czechoslovakia was "a faraway country of which we know little", for Tony Blair the faraway country of which he knew little was Britain...  "
See also here for a taste of the fanciful evasions the West's self-hating Christians (fully paid up members of the 'new orthodoxy' to a man, woman, or whatever ...) can come up with ... but, BBC Radio 4 at ten to eight in the morning? Just switch the damn thing off ... and listen to some Mozart.

I've thought for some time that the ideal 'modern' candidate for the title 'National Hero' is, in fact,  a very traditional one, Admiral Lord Nelson - multiply disabled, from relatively humble origins (his father a mere country parson)  and with a notably unconventional lifestyle. 
Alas, he would be ruled out because of his far from craven attitude to petty rules and regulations,  and, above all, he was spectacularly successful in defeating the enemies of freedom and the enemies of his nation. Unforgivable. 

Thursday 2 July 2015

And the clocks were striking thirteen

In the wake of the United States Supreme Court ruling - in what must be the apotheosis of judicial activism - the Episcopal Church of the USA at its General Convention this week has voted to change its canons so as to permit the 'marriage' of same-sex couples and to authorise experimental liturgies in order to make this a reality (well, you know what I mean ... at least a sociological reality) See George Conger's article in the Washington Post [here] which does much to explain the politics and the diocesan geography of it.
Why should this be of concern to those of us on this side of the Atlantic? We all know, at least we've been told laughingly for at least a generation, if not more,  by those - it turns out -  with very considerable axes to grind and lengthy agendas to pursue, that the cultural context of TEC is so very different from that of our own.

Well, of course, it is now crystal clear that it isn't. Following the British State's own, at least legislative,  re-definition of what we must now call the law of civil marriage, the Church of England is already engaged in 'facilitated discussions' on what has become for western Anglicans this most thorny and divisive of all issues. In the land of my fathers, the bishops of the Church in Wales are just completing a consultation exercise on same-sex marriages in church and, the vote of the Diocese of St David's notwithstanding, recent 'consultations' in Wales [there's an interesting take on one such here] have not led us to expect anything like an outcome consonant with the tenor of the meetings held, much less with either Scripture or apostolic tradition, or for that matter honour or previous solemn undertakings.

Of course, the matter may very well be somewhat 'academic' for some of us who are at present hanging on by our fingertips, or maybe clutching at odd clumps of grass as we slide inexorably into the void; rumour has it that the financial and 'membership' crisis now biting deep into the resources of the Province may well be used as an excuse to exclude (de facto, of course)  from any future exercise of priestly ministry in the new-look 'ministry areas' those who remain opposed in any meaningful way to the ordination of women. Perhaps, if I'm feeling brave,  more of that at a later stage....

'The Bible and other rubbish' is the Revd Dr Peter Mullen's take on the situation. As we might expect it's trenchant and doesn't pull any punches. We may not necessarily find the tone particularly congenial, we've become so fearful of adverse reaction from family, friends and the wider society where even reasoned discussion of this has become anathematised, or perhaps 'rainbow-ised'; but having said that, it's hard to disagree with the content - particularly, as he points out, given the blind alley of erastianism, and social conformity at all costs, into which the Church has turned: 
"The house of bishops in the Episcopalian Church of the USA  has voted to alter its canons to remove the stipulation that marriage must be between a man and a woman. By this ECUSA has repudiated biblical teaching and indeed the 2000 years old doctrines of the church. The scriptural definition, which is also an injunction – what in better days we called a commandment – “A man shall leave his father and his mother and cleave to his wife” is thus rendered null and void. The Bible says, “Male and female created He them.” Don’t be ridiculous! Don’t be so unprogressed. The Bible was in the wrong for millennia. Thank goodness – do I really mean goodness? – that the liberated lights of ECUSA have now come to put things right.Nowadays we know that male and female are only social constructs. You are what you say you are. You can do whatever you want to do. And to hell with both the biological evidence and the authority of scripture. 
Well, that’s all happening in America, so it doesn’t affect us, does it? But it does, because the Church of England and ECUSA are in communion. So I suppose the Archbishop of Canterbury is very upset and angry over ECUSA’s apostasy. Surely the Archbishop will leap to defend the age-old biblical teaching and denounce this un-Christian innovation? I can just hear him saying, “What you have done is an abomination and contrary to the word of God.” 
Actually, I have just read  Dr Welby’s official response on the Church of England website. He says, “We must respect the prerogative of The Episcopal Church to address issues appropriate to its own context,” 
That’s socking it to them Justin! Attaboy – you tell ‘em! There’s leadership for you. There’s the prophetic word of judgement from the Primate of All England.
I bet the prophet Isaiah himself wished he had coined that ringing condemnation: “…address issues appropriate to its own context.” That would really have made the hearts of the heathen quake.   
In truth, what we are hearing in this latest Archiepiscopal pronouncement is only confirmation of the fact that, as a moral and spiritual authority – you might say as a church – the C. of E. has resigned. Its long history of speaking truth to power and of being the conscience of the nation is finished. The bishops, the clergy and the General Synod now exist only to endorse the rapidly-changing nostrums of secular society. Not only is this the way things are, it is, according to Welby’s predecessor Rowan Williams, the way things ought to be. In one of his last sermons before he retired, Williams told us, “The church has a lot of catching up to do with secular mores.”....  "