The Bible isn’t Biblical

A link from the WordPress dashboard took me to one of the many post-Christian, de-conversion blogs. I didn’t realise that’s where I was heading when I clicked on the link, but I find it interesting to understand better the loss of faith. Most of the people I deal with daily are of the never-had-faith type.

I think we all go through the dark night of the soul. Different people deal with it in different ways. Unlike well-meaning commenters on these blogs, I have no interest in Bible proof-texting them back to faith. In fact, I find most of these well-meaning attempts using an approach that has been directly rejected by the de-converting or de-converted.

I certainly haven’t seen lots of these blogs, so I don’t presume that the crisis of faith comes to each person in the same way. However, the ones I have seen seem to have a similar background. I have see ex-Catholics mostly describing their disaffection with things that’s aren’t actually Catholic dogma. However, most of the deconversion seems to be from Evangelicalism. The former evangelicals are sometimes pastors or other sorts of leaders. They are well-versed in the Scriptures.

Herein seems to lie the problem. They find internal inconsistencies – or have long been aware of what appear to be internal inconsistencies – in the Scriptures and finally admit that in their Protestant paradigm if the Bible fails everything fails. This exposes a weakness, not in Christianity, but in that Protestant paradigm.

The further a group eschews the Holy Tradition the more it has to adopt a sola scriptura approach. This means that the Word of God is exactly what the text says and the key to the Truth is in finding exactly what the text says. God specifically spoke certain words in Hebrew or Greek and we have to find out exactly which words He used.

Then He put them all together in One Big Book. Now it’s like a giant jigsaw and the work of the biblical scholar is to fit all of the pieces together so that there is a single internal consistency. That’s not to say that there is any consistency in the scholars – otherwise we wouldn’t have the vast discrepancies in commentaries, surveys, handbooks, and other reference materials that span the Protestant theological gamut.

The only problem is the the One Big Book view of the Bible isn’t biblical. The closest thing to a collective reference is Jesus’ reference to the Law and the Prophets. This does not refer to the whole Old Testament, as He makes no reference to the Writings (Ketuvim). References in different biblical sources to “the Word of God” do not somehow look ahead to 66 writings eventually recognised as canonical by Protestants, the 74 recognised by Rome, or even the 77 recognised by Orthodoxy.

Long before I was Orthodox, I realised that using verses like Proverbs 30:5-6 or Revelation 22:18-19 to refer to the unified Bible was completely non-contextual. That would somehow suppose that the Church did not have the full Truth before an agreement was reached over time about even the New Testament canon.

This does not mean that the Bible isn’t inspired by God. The Church, being led by the Holy Spirit, recognised those writings which have been specially inspired by the Holy Spirit. But this is why I don’t have a problem with Protestant Bibles. They may lack 11 writings used by Jesus and the early Church, but what they have is inspired.

As a quick aside. . . It’s not that the Protestant Bible has lacked these writings for a long time. Stories vary slightly as to when they were commonly removed – from just after the American Revolution to the 1820’s – but it seems to be universally agreed that the reason was to save printing costs. Because Protestants refer to them as the Apocrypha, put them in a separate group and sadly, as they were not read often, no one seemed to miss them. It is only post-Revolutionary homegrown American denominations and their progeny that completely rejected them.

But back to my point. . . Once you remove the One Big Book view, it doesn’t matter that there are different ways of saying things, or even times when the individual books say different things. Each book is a way of God telling us things, but God is bigger than all the writings.

Back

The grandparents are on their way back across the ocean. We wanted to get out and do more things while they were here, but as is typical of the summer half-term, the weather did not cooperate. The first nice day was yesterday when I took them to the hotel near the airport to catch this morning’s flight.

It is unheard of for me to go so long without blogging, but since we only see them a couple of weeks out of the year, faithful readers had to take a backseat. Sorry. I know you’ve all missed me.

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One Ring (of Ministers) to Rule Them All

In a move regarded by the Conservative Party and much of the media as evidence of the further Stalinisation of the UK, the Government is planning to further centralised the police. Until now, chief constables of the 43 police forces across the country have been appointed by local police authorities, comprised of local councillors, magistrates, and others.  Now they will be hired and fired by the Home Secretary or other Home Office ministers.

They will become political pawns. If they do not carry out Government policy effectively enough, they will face the sack. Missing Government targets on cutting crime will be regarded as poor job performance. It will also ensure that police chiefs will not be critical of the Government, and especially of the Home Secretary.

If they can hire and hire the bosses, there will be nothing to stop them getting rid of troublesome lesser mortals. Jan Berry, head of the Police Federation, would have to think twice before publically accusing Home Secretary Jacqui Smith of fraud for refusing to abide by decision of the independent arbiter regarding police pay. Ms Berry probably wouldn’t even dare to bring up Ms Smith’s past as a admitted user of illegal drugs.

The Labour Party knows you can’t trust local people to carry out the Governments totalitarian rule. Only the highest officials can be trusted to stay on message and guide the country.

Women in Pointy Hats

The principal beneficiary will be the Roman Catholic Church, but Orthodoxy in Britian may also benefit from the decision made by the Church of England House of Bishops. The bishops have decided that it is time for the purported consecration of women to join their number. At the same time, they have left opponents out in the cold.

Heretofore, those in the C of E who have faithfully received the sacraments from men of God were cared for under the shepherding guidance of “flying bishops” – officially known as episcopal visitors – authorised to cross diocesan boundaries to care for parishes objecting to women priests. If the General Synod approves the legislation, flying bishops will be no more and all of the Church of England will be ruled by women. For many Anglicans, any pretense of valid orders and valid sacraments will be gone.

As far as I’m concerned the C of E can do what it wants to do. I’m not opposed to women priestesses or bishopettes. As far as I’m concerned, just like any other Protestants they don’t have valid sacraments, so it doesn’t matter what they do. Since this new development will push more people out of the C of E, perhaps I should even view it as a positive development.

Being rather ecumenical as I am toward Rome, I’m not bothered that most of them will swim the Tiber. I know that most western Christians find Orthodoxy a difficult fit – something that I think is probably as much to do with the non-essential cultural and liturgical aspects of Orthodoxy as anything – but Rome has valid sacraments despite some theological deficiencies. Some, due in part to lingering anti-papal attitudes, will cross the Bosphorus instead.

The huge number of clergy threatening to defect to Rome will boost the declining numbers in vocations there. Perhaps this will enlighten the Holy Father to the possibility of extending the Eastern Catholic practice of married priests to the West as a normality rather than a concession to certain converted clergy. Thus, if played right, the knock-on effect of the Anglican decision could be quite significant. I’d still call it a long shot, though.

Even if they are only Protestant clergy, I still can’t get over the cringe factor of seeing a woman pose as a priest in a black shirt and white collar. No doubt I will double cringe at a woman in a cope and mitre.

For Love or Money

In the wake of Parliament declaring that children do not need fathers and that the need for a father cannot be taken into account when someone gets IVF treatment, the Daily Mail has exposed the truth behind Tracy Lagondino (or “Thomas Beatie”, as she prefers) and the “man having a baby” story. Seems it’s mostly about militant gay rights and lots of money.

Wow. There’s a big surprise.

They have a book coming out. (“Nancy and Thomas declined to be interviewed because, Nancy told me: ‘We’ve got a book coming out in September and we want to have stuff left to say so people buy the book.’ “) They have a deal with a picture agency and a contract with People magazine.  They say they weren’t paid for all of exposure on Oprah.

They became well-known campaigners for gay marriage and other gay rights, and once walked through the streets carrying a coffin bearing the names of ‘hate crime’ victims persecuted for their sexuality.

In 2000, Tracy and Nancy, both avid body-builders, posed in their bikinis for a gay magazine called Odyssey.

Well before Tracy got pregnant, they called their screen printing business “Define Normal”.

Parliament was concerned about the creation of human-animal hybrids. Those aren’t the only worrying sort of hybrids.

When he had surgery to become a man, he had his breasts removed and was given testosterone to make him look and sound like a man, but he chose to keep his female reproductive organs.

So Beatie is really a man/woman hybrid. Call him a freak, if you like.

The One and the Many

I would not have thought Steven Curtis Chapman would be so well known that the terrible news of his daughter’s death would be mentioned on BBC Radio 2. Thus it was a double surprise when I heard it on the way to work this morning.

I don’t want to take away from my sympathy for the Chapman family nor fail to pray for the soul of little Maria Sue.

At the same time, I couldn’t help but think that there are so many other families who face the tragedy of the loss of a child. Because they are not celebrities, Christian or otherwise, they don’t have countless blogs eulogising with strings of commenters offering condolences and sympathy. They don’t have the prayers of millions.

I wonder how many families lost a child today. I’m glad they are known to God, even if they are unknown to me. May His mercy and grace, His peace and comfort surround them. May the souls of all those departed children find a place of peace and rest in the bosom of the Father.

Culture of Death is Alive and Well

Well, the great debate is over. I’m sure there have already been plenty of post-vote post mortems in the blogosphere, though I have trawled through to read them. Between marking exams and getting ready for the arrival of the grandparents, I haven’t had the time.

The culture of death is alive and well in Britain. We will continue to have some of the most liberal laws in Europe and babies will continue to die at a rate exceeding 500 per day. There has been no change to 24-week social abortion limit. Supporters tried to play this down by emphasising that only 1.5% of abortions occur between 20 and 24 weeks, Of course if you do the math, that’s over 3000 babies chopped up and pulled out of wombs each year. That’s more than eight per day. It’s also an increase of 44% over the last ten years. For those aged over 17 weeks, and there were 7,123 abortions, or more than 19 per day. Those children were also removed one amputated part at a time.

And speaking of eight, that’s the highest number of previous abortions recorded. In other words, in the statistics available, they only note individuals (we can’t really call them mothers, can we?) who have had eight or more previous abortions. This number obviously continues to increase. The 2006 figures – the latest available – show that 54 women had procured at least eight abortions. There were 65 who had six abortions before they were 30 years old.

Then the numbers get really scary. In just the year 2006, 1300 women had their what was at least their fifth termination. More than 3,800 were on their fourth and nearly 15,000 were killing their third child. I suppose it is some comfort that of those achieving a hat trick, only 82 of those were under 18.

Most all of this is at taxpayer expense. Don’t be fooled by hearing that less than 25% are carried out by the NHS. A further 67% take place in private clinics that are funded by the NHS. That’s 92% in total.

As for the rest of the legislation, MP voted for human-animal hybrids, against children of IVF needing a father, and for the production of children as saviour siblings.

The Spectre of Radical Christian Fundamentalists In Britain

When it comes to the mainstream media in the UK, The Daily Telegraph is about as conservative as it gets. So when it comes to running an article on conservative evangelical Christians, what sort of thing can we expect from the Telegraph? I dare say it would shock American readers.

To help promote long-time Telegraph photojournalist David Modell’s contribution to the Channel 4 TV programme Dispatches, they’ve run a story about his discovery of Christian fundamentalists. You want to scare Brits? Start an article with something like:

“They think society should be built on their beliefs. They claim non-believers are damned.”

Oooooh…. It’s like something out of horror film. Christians who believe they should have an active faith-based input into politics and they think you have to be a Christian to go to heaven. But it’s worse:

“But these radical Christian groups are not in America – they are here and are aiming to change the laws of our land. . .”

So not only are they politically active “born-again types” – they’re in Britain! And I’ve reduced the font size of these quotes from the original, just so you don’t get too frightened. But it gets worse. They even have Christian schools based on this sort of curriculum. What sort of horrible indoctrination is taking place? Well, here’s what David Modell found when he visited one such school:

One little girl has to do a science test. A classroom assistant kneels next to her, takes her hand and says: “We pray, Father, that you’ll help her check all her spellings. In Jesus’s name, Amen.”

The test is multiple choice. Question five is: “God made the world in [BLANK] days.” The options are “five, six or seven”. The six-year-old carefully writes “six”. The right answer.

This scene would be surprising enough if the school were in America’s Bible Belt, but the voices around me are English, and we’re in Bristol.

Can you believe it? Prayer for help with spelling? What is the difference between this and children being trained as suicide bombers by Islamists? David Modell doesn’t think there is any. Besides, you start praying about spelling tests and who knows what you’ll be praying for next? For everyone to play safely and not get hurt during recess? For God to heal people and makes them better? They’ll start believing that God actually answers prayers, and then where will they be? And remember, the worst thing of all is that they are English.

American readers – at least my regular American readers and most non-liberal Christians in the US – will probably still wonder if I am making this up. I wish I was. The school in Bristol using Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) curriculum is a frightful thing to secularist, modernist Britain. After all, they, and schools using similar curriculum like the Alpha Omega based school from which I graduated those many years ago, are very mainstream in America. But then again, in America, the idea that Jesus saves is not radical, revolutionary, or dangerous.

David Modell is most worried because these people (remember, not stupid Americans, but actual British people) think the Bible is (shhh….) true. You know, literally true. “Not all evangelical worshippers hold such hard-line beliefs, but the fundamentalists will almost certainly describe themselves as evangelical.”

What’s worse (as if it could get any worse) not only are they teaching their children this stuff, they are getting involved in politics. Modell looks at Christian Action Research and Education (Care) – an organisation featured in the Independent, about which I commented at the end of March. What’s so scary about them?

The organisation’s published doctrinal basis is distinctly fundamentalist and among other things talks of “the divine inspiration of Holy Scripture and its consequent entire trustworthiness and supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct”. In other words, the Bible is the literal truth.

The Bible is trustworthy? Could British people actually believe such a thing? And these people are lobbying Parliament?

Where does David Modell think this is leading? He attends a seminar in Islamic fundamentalism. “But another thing strikes me while listening to [the] depiction of Islam as a dangerous fundamentalist belief: he could be describing the beliefs of the Christian fundamentalists I’ve met.” Yes, Britain will soon be a Taliban-style repressive theocracy. Like America, apparently.

No Place for Conscience

A registrar in the champagne socialist London borough of Islington wants to opt out of officiating at gay weddings. It’s not like there aren’t plenty of registrars in the borough who are willing to do the deed.

Lillian Ladele has the distinct disadvantage of being a Christian whose beliefs and conscience are violated in performing such ceremonies. She’s having to sue to try to keep her conscience and her job. Until this year, registrars had a conscience opt-out.

But as with so many of the moral boundary changes enacted by the Labour Government, conscience matters for nothing in this area. After all, if they are going to force all the Catholic adoption agencies to shut down rather than actively provide services to gay couples, what chance do individuals of conscience stand?

Ben Summerskill, of Stonewall, the homosexual rights group, said: “Doctors and nurses can’t choose who they treat, and nor should a registrar be allowed to discriminate.” Too bad he’s wrong. Doctors and nurses can choose not to do procedures which violate their conscience. That’s why there’s a shortage of abortionists in this county, even though we have the some of the most liberal abortion laws in Europe.

Of course the local council is not prevented from accommodating individual registrars, as long as the council’s registry office does not deny the opportunity for the state to officially such unions. But we are talking about Islington. It’s either give in to the spirit of the age or hit the road. A council spokesman said: “Islington council will be robustly defending its position at the employment tribunal.”

Muscular Christianity

I just saw Dr Evan Harris, MP – key proponent of hybrids, embryo testing, and abortion – on BBC News The Record. He was discussing the upcoming legislation.

“I’m actually relieved that we’re not in the American situation, where I think there’s disproportionate influence in my view of white, extreme right-wing, muscular, evangelical Christianity.”

Dr Harris works better in an environment where the Church isn’t so strong.

Life and Death

According to the Daily Telegraph, Prime Minsiter Gordon Brown has been warned by his whips that his opposition to reducing the abortion gestational time limit is likely to fail. The mood of the House is to bring the limit down. With nine time-limit amendments tabled, the most likely compromise appears to be a fortnightly reduction to 22 weeks. I think 20 weeks should be a reasonable adjustment to even the most die hard pro-death supporter, but it would seem that even that extra two weeks will be too much for some to stomach.

The son of a Church of Scotland minister, Brown will vote against the pro-life position on any attempts to change the law. Even though less than one percent of abortions happen between 22 and 24 weeks, and those are the most gruesome (except for the very later abortions, which it appears will continue to be legal), Gordon doesn’t want to keep them from happening.

What is interesting to me about battle lines on this “women’s rights” issue is that the chief pro-life leaders in the House of Commons are women. The pro-choice campaign is led by men. Abortion is a very cross-party issue here. The Labour Party has long had significant support amongst Catholics.

So next week as the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill is debated by a committee of the whole House, it will be a matter of life and death.  On Monday, the debates will cover human-animal embryos and saviour siblings. Tuesday will start with lesbians and fertility treatment, before moving on to abortion. The preservation of the unborn and the sanctity of the entire human species is up for grabs.

Done

As they left the exam, most of the Year 11s seemed fairly positive. Looking at the exam, I really can’t complain about the questions. Sometimes you look at a GCSE exam and try to figure out which is the planetary residence of the chief examiner.

Since they had no solid preparation for the exam before this year, and many of them didn’t take lessons particularly seriously this year, I am still concerned about the quality of the results in August. Most of them said my revision pack made a big difference in their preparation, so that is a positive.

So the exam is in the bag and now it is just a matter of waiting.

Leaving Day

Well, the Year 11s are officially gone. Only officially, because their first exam is tomorrow and it is mine. If my timetable will permit it, I hope to be outside the exam room as they leave to get exit poll reaction before I collect up the question papers for my future use.

At the request of some of them, I brought my guitar into school and played a 30-minute set for a modest crowd of them at lunch outside on the playing fields in the marvellous sunshine.

The Heresy of Modern Marriage

As part of the RE curriculum, I teach about Christian views of marriage and family. Because the textbook – and the course, for that matter – is rooted in liberalism. It’s not called that, of course. It’s called modernity.

To balance out – or attempt to bump off – traditional views of marriage roles, they chuck the entire corpus of the New Testament aside in favour a non-contextual use of Galatians 3:28. Of course it is not within the purview of the syllabus to query how St Paul can intend to throw away everything he has said about the family with the use of one sentence in one of his letters in which he is not even discussing the subject.

But at the end of the day, that the best shot the “modern” view of the family has – a family with no head and no authority structure, no priorities and no defined roles. But even then, the theological ramifications are emmense. Modernist usually don’t have a lot of time for ramifications. Anything that stands in the way of fleeting selfish happiness is quickly pushed aside.

The husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church. The former is a lesser reality which shadows the greater reality. After all, the marriage of husband and wife is temporary, bound only by this mortal realm. The headship of Christ over the Church is eternal, transcending this realm. To deny the shadow is to deny the greater reality. It is to reject the headship of Christ. It is to reject the Church.

Just as a priest in the church is an icon of Christ, so is the headship of the husband in the marriage. Honour paid to the icon is honour paid to the reality behind the icon. To desecrate the icon is to desecrate Christ.

That’s why the husband’s headship isn’t dependent upon whether he is good enough or worthy enough.  The sacrament of the Eucharist is not valid based upon the worthiness of the priest who prays the epiclesis. Neither is the sacrament of marriage valid based upon the worthiness of the husband as icon of Christ.

In the Orthodox Church we view marriage as salvific. Heresies don’t save. To have a heretical view of marriage is to challenge salvation itself. The Orthodox Church sees marriage as martyrdom. Modernist don’t have a lot of time for martyrdom.

Someone recently told me that I would be much happier if I would stop living in the past and embrace modernity. To embrace so-called modernity is to embrace heresy, to embrace death. It is to reject Christ.

Many Years

Today is the birthday of the Younger Unnamed Child. She is 4.

First thing this morning she declared that as she is now 4, she can do whatever she wants. I’m not sure why she thinks this now. This is no different than when she was 3.

This may be due in part because of her intellectual precociousness. She is articulate beyond her years and has the number sense to do multiplication. Or it may be because she is her mother’s daughter.

She’s spent the late morning watching Return of the Jedi. She explained the plot in detail on the way back from her birthday party, focusing particularly on all of the internal conflicts dealt with by Luke Skywalker, on pretty much a scene by scene basis. Hello Kitty just doesn’t cut it, at least some of the time.

May God grant her many years.

Another Religiously Motivated Attack

A couple of months ago, I mentioned the incident of a Anglican vicar being attacked on the grounds of his church in Wapping, East London by Muslim youths.

It’s happened again, this time in Bethnal Green. Rev Kevin Scully was attacked on Tuesday afternoon. He’d been taunted with religious abuse before. He took their football last Saturday when they had been hurling it against the church cross. They came back, fueled under age by the alcohol forbidden by the Qur’an and beat him up.

He ended up with two black eyes, cuts and bruises. He told the East London Advertiser, “One of them was instigating the violence. I thought the other two were going to stop it, but in the end they joined in. Even a passer-by who saw what was going on and tried to intervene got a kicking too. I was punched twice in the face, hard, hit again, and kicked from behind. I crouched down to ward off the blows before running to the Rectory and calling police.”

When Kids Get Angry

If you are a teenage girl and upset with a love rival over a boy, what do you do? Do you send nasty notes? Cyber bully? Have a chick fight in the street? No. That’s amateur stuff.

You research how to make a bomb on the internet. Then you blow up her house. Just to make sure you get her, you blow up the two houses next door and kill a neighbour.

In the States, if you want to blow up several houses, you need the Philadephia Police Department. In the UK, you just need an angry girl. And some people wonder why I say Britain is the more violent country.

The intended target of the attack, Charlotte Anderson, is in intensive care with severe burns. She’s stable and she’s conscious. Emad Qureshi had just completed a post-graduate degree. He was sitting at home next door with his parents and a visiting friend. He wasn’t so lucky.

Sixty people living in the street have had to be moved to temporary accommodation and the road has been closed to manage the cleanup. Hopefully some people have been able to return home this evening.

And all because of someone didn’t like a new girl dating a local boy.

Open Season on Ridiculing Christianity

Britain is now almost completely officially a post-Christian country. As reported in the Daily Telegraph, the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill, which was passed with amendements abolishing the blasphemy laws, has received the Royal Assent.

As junior Justice minister Maria Eagle said in debte, “Given theat these laws protect only the tenets of the Christian Churches, they would appear to be plainly discriminatory.” Of course, given that the UK is officially a Christian country, with an established Church, this would appear to be plainly appropriate.

As a practical matter, this will mean that non-Christian religions, which are increasing protected, will be at an advantage over Christianity. This is not because prosecutions will now cease under the blasphemy laws. The last prosecution was in 1977. It is because it sends the message that Christianity does not even enjoy the pretense of protection.

The amendment was proposed by Dr Evan Harris, the Liberal Democrat who is always at the forefront of the affront to Christianity. Dr Harris is also the big proponent make abortion more accessible and genetically modifying humans through embyro manipulation and hybridisation.

Begging to Help

Burma is in the midst of a terrible national disaster. At least 100,000 people may have died as a result of the cyclone, with many, many more in dire straits. It appears that 1.5 people are homeless. Rotting corpses are everywhere. Massive outbreaks of disease are days away. Starvation is imminent. Even if the illegal ruling junta hadn’t destroyed the economy, it would impossible for the Burmese to take care of their own.

If there was ever any question that the junta has no concern for the people of Burma – and, okay, there’s never been any question, but just say there was – it would be answered by the way they have prevented help from reaching those who need it.  The world has come to Burma’s aid. Relief is on the doorstep.

Why should the UN have to beg to save lives? The US military, at the expense of the American people, is waiting to fly in with relief supplies. The broke off military exercises with Thailand to help, but even the negotiating help of the Thai government, the junta budged but then backed off.

“They were very suspicious that the Americans would do more than just distribute relief supplies, but we helped convince the Burmese to allow the Americans in,” Boonsrang Niumpradit, Thailand’s military chief, told Reuters. Then the Burmese junta changed it’s mind again. What do they think the Americans will do?

What it appears to come down to is the junta’s pride. They are refusing help from governments like the US which have criticised their policies. Since that means most of the first world, as well as the UN, they are cutting off their collective noses to spite their collective faces. It is only places countries like Indonesia, which have been careful not to be to critical in the past, which have been welcome to send in supplies.

Pride goes before destruction. It’s too bad that it is not just the proud who are destroyed by it.

Good Turk, Bad Turk

Boris Kemal Bey Johnson, the new mayor of London, is an ethnic Turk. His paternal great-grandfather was Ali Kemal Bey, a high profile Turkish journalist and Interior Minister.  Boris’ grandfather Osman, who was born in England while Ali was in exile, took on his grandmother’s maiden name of Johnson.

As longtime readers will know, I’m not big on the Turks. Despite the doner kebab being my favourite takeaway meal, Turks in positions of governmental authority tend to worry me. But not wanting to be given to stereotyping, I must acknowledge that there are good Turks and bad Turks. Boris comes from a line of good Turks.

I say this because Ail Kemal Bey passionately condemned the attacks on the Armenians during the genocide of 1915. Again, as longtime readers will know, I am not willing to let the Armenian Genocide be swept under the rug of history.

The question is whether the good line stops at Boris. Ali’s great-grandson has not made an passionate condemnation of the genocide. There have been a number of oportunities in Parliament to do so. In the current session there have been four Early Day Motions about it, none of which have been signed by the MP for Henley. In the last session a motion by then-Tory MP Bob Spink garnered 182 signatures. Boris’ wasn’t one of them.

In addition to being a flamboyant character, Boris is now in one of the most influential poilitical roles in the country. He has been elected by a greater constituency than any other Conservative politician. Is he going to be one of the good Turks? We have yet to see, but so far it doesn’t look promising.  Neither the Conservative Party nor the Labour Government have been supportive of the Armenian cause. Politics has won out over truth. I hope pressure can be brought to bear to encourage Boris to follow the example of his great-grandfather.

May Days

These are the waning hours of the long weekend. Most of the Year 9 reports due this week will have been written by the end of the evening. It’s now just 14 teaching days until half-term.

The Year 11s leave in six teaching days. I’ve offered them as much revision time as I could. Most of them didn’t take it up. The exam is the day after leaving day and it’s all up to them now.

The non-resident grandparents will be here for most of the half-term week. Because they will have been away from home since today, involved in various ministry projects, they will only have five days with us. We want to go away on holiday, but holiday lets are invariably Saturday to Saturday. I have a few days to try to work out what we are going to do.

Local Government at Its Worst

The world is full of jobworths. It’s really not that surprising when someone with a uniform and a limited secondary education meets a quota by some sort of oppressive official action, usually involving an undeserved and out-of-proportion fine.

Jean Raine is 82-year-old and suffers from Parkinson’s Disease. She was feel ill and taking a rest in her car. The car was legally parked in a handicap bay. She has a disabled parking badge. But, oops, it was the wrong way up. Perhaps not surprising when you are 82, have Parkinson’s, and have been taken ill. Still, in a world of semi-literate, quota-driven jobsworths, it is no excuse.

The only care taken by the parking attendant was to quietly put the ticket on the windscreen, so as not to disturb Miss Raine. After all, had he done that, she would have turned the badge over and proven that it was, in fact, fully valid. Then he would have to find another unlucky driver to ticket.

But like I said, this bit is not surprising. But when faced with this sort of action, sometimes it is necessary to appeal to responsible and rational authorities. Miss Raine and her partner 88-year-old Martin Westgarth (who was shopping while Miss Raine rested) appealed to the South Lakeland Council in Cumbria. The council rejected their appeal. Why? “Guidance notes issued with the badge and parking disc clearly state that it should be clearly and correctly displayed at all times.”

You can read the full story in the Daily Telegraph.

I think it would be nice if people across Britain let South Lakeland Council know how terrible their policies are. The cabinet member of the council responsible for parking is Mrs Hilary Stephenson. If you click the link you will find all of her contact details, including her email address.

Missing the End of the Season

I had planned to be watching football right now. The elder child and I went to the football ground about 30 minutes before the match. Normally this is plenty of time to get a ticket at the turnstile and get seated during the player warm-up.

Today’s match does even have anything riding on it. However, last week our club went and got itself promoted to the next league. Now everyone has ex post facto promotion fever. There should normally be between 3,000 and 4,000 spectators. Today the 8,000-odd capacity has been reached. The seats were all taken and the standing areas full.

I considered – and even stood in the queue for – the last of the standing ends. However, I realised that two hours of standing on one leg while pressed on all sides and the swearing in the football chants right next to the child were not worth the price of admission.

Instead the child and I sat across the street on the pavement and waited for the Unnamed Woman to come pick us up. At six years old and not from a football mad family, he’s still working out the distinction between teams that play for countries and those that play for clubs. I also tried to explain the whole promotion thing, but he’s still getting his head around it.

The elder child was disappointed to miss the last game of the season, but I assured him that we will go again next season, which begins in just a few weeks.

Catching the Real Criminals

With the continuing rise in violent crime, it is comforting to know that some criminals are being prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Rachel McKenzie is one such criminal. Now admittedly she didn’t kill anyone. She didn’t even beat up anyone. She didn’t rob anyone. Criminals like that can be treated with lenience.

No, Ms McKenzie, who works for the Catholic archbishop of Southwark (I sense a true scandal brewing) failed to pay 20p of a bus fare. Those who know that justice must be blind should agree that not realising she hadn’t paid the fare is no excuse. She should have heard the beep when she pressed her Oyster card on the reader. She should have checked that her card had enough credit. If we as a society start letting people pay 70p for a 90p bus journey, where will it end?

And it doesn’t matter than when the ticket nazi inspector got on the bus and read her card, she offered to pay 20p out of her purse. A crime had been committed. Now some people might think that if 20p isn’t enough, she should be allowed to pay the £20 penalty fare. After all, as a Transport for London legal department wrote to Ms McKenzie, “Consistent with all cashless services, it is your responsibility to ensure you have sufficient credit in your card to pay for your bus journey.”

But does a penalty fare of 10,000% send the right message to Ms McKenzie and criminals like her? The ticket nazi inspector and his superiors at Transport for London don’t think so. No, some criminals must face the music in court. Why shouldn’t she get a criminal record, a fine of up to £1,000 and pay the costs of prosecution? That’s what will happen if she is convicted.

If she isn’t convicted, the costs will have to borne by taxpayers. This is going to be in the range of £5,000. I don’t know about you, but as a taxpayer, I have to hope Ms McKenzie is brought to justice. Remember, it’s not like she’s the only offender. After all, Transport for London brought more than 30,000 prosections last year, in additon to the more than 47,000 who were clearly less culpable than Ms McKenzie and received the £20 penalty fare.

Now before you think I am blowing this out of proportion and that a court will never find against Ms McKenzie, bear in mind that Ashley Williams tried to get off the bus last year when her Oyster card beeped insufficient funds, but the driver closed the door and pulled away too quick. She got off as soon as the bus reached the next stop, but as the court realised, a crime had been committed and must be punished. Ms Williams has a criminal record and like Ms McKenzie she will now have trouble with things like getting a visa to visit the US.

The Scandal of No Scandal

Peter Phillips is 11th in the line of succession to the British throne. He was on the verge of losing his place in less than three weeks. He was planning to marry a Roman Catholic. He could marry a Buddhist or a Muslim or even a Baptist and keep his place. It’s only Catholics that pose a problem.

He will now remain in the succession. He’s still getting married to the same person. His intended, Autumn Kelly, has conveniently converted to Anglicanism. She has been receiving instruction from the Dean of Windsor and was confirmed in the C of E. None of the news articles indicate which bishop confirmed her.

This has raised hackles on various sides of the argument. Reading the comments on the various online newspaper articles, some people are outraged that she would have to leave her faith for him to keep his place. Others ostracise her for giving in. Some think he is being selfish for making her leave the Catholic Church rather than giving up his place.

I really don’t see what all the kerfuffle is about. News articles all say they don’t know whether she was a practicing Catholic. If they would read their own articles they would realise that she wasn’t. She has been living with Peter for a long time without the benefit of marriage. They have a flat in London and a cottage in Gloucestershire.  They live in open fornication.

The question I have is why she was confimed in the Church of England in the midst of what should be scandal. Sadly, this says a lot about the C of E.