Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Chancellor and the Pope

Cranmer has reported on this before, but the more frequent the meetings, the more credible an agenda appears. The German Chancellor met with her compatriot Pope yesterday, and both agreed that Europe needs a constitution that makes reference to Christianity and God.

No matter that the EU’s Constitution has been rejected by the electorates of two of the EU’s founding states; no matter that ratification has to be unanimous among all EU members; no matter that France’s secularists have previously rejected that ‘God’ should feature in the document: no matter that it may present Turkey with an insurmountable hurdle for EU accession: the Pope has other plans, and Chancellor Merkel is his mouthpiece. She said: ‘We need a European identity in the form of a constitutional treaty and I think it should be connected to Christianity and God, as Christianity has forged Europe in a decisive way.’ In this, she echoes the suggestion of other EPP leaders that the Constitution should be resurrected as a ‘treaty’, thus bypassing the need for national referenda, and should include more overt references to Europe's Christian heritage.

All this, of course, is largely ignored by the mainstream media. Cranmer notes that when one examines the notion of a European economy, there is acknowledgement of competing agendas; when one raises European defence, there is discussion of diverging priorities; when one looks at European justice, there is examination of differing histories; when one raises European agriculture or fisheries, there are national interests. Yet when one raises the issue of a European religion, it is dismissed as a ‘plot’. Thus the search for the EU’s political identity is openly discussed in terms of agendas, priorities, and interests, but there is no quest for the EU’s ‘soul’, and those who assert the contrary are dismissed with 16th-century verbiage. Thus there is no ‘plot’; there is not even a Vatican ‘agenda’, and any discussion of such is purely for the obsessive eccentrics preoccupied with yesterday’s battles. And further, the German Chancellor’s frequent meetings with the German Pope are of no significance whatsoever…

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Archbishop of Canterbury takes a lead

Cranmer must confess a degree of surprise to be writing this article. It is reported in The Sunday Telegraph that the Archbishop of Canterbury has come off the fence on the issue of homosexual relations, and has told homosexuals that ‘they need to change their behaviour if they are to be welcomed into the church’. The Archbishop has found it difficult to come off any fence since being appointed the 104th to the See of Canterbury, and this issue has presented him with numerous problems, not least because of his strong defence of same-sex relationships earlier in his academic career.

However, unlike the Pope, the Archbishop never pronounces infallibly, and is therefore permitted to change his mind on such issues. Of course, the liberal wing of the Church of England is somewhat dismayed, as are certain homosexual politicians. One such, the Labour MP Chris Bryant, said that many people would feel betrayed by the Archbishop's comments. He added: ‘Rowan has refashioned the Church of England into a narrow-minded, conservative sect.’ Aside from the observation that this homosexual MP presumes to be on first-name-terms with the Archbishop, his comments about the Church of England are perfectly scriptural:

‘narrow-minded’ - broad is the way to destruction, but narrow is the path to salvation.
‘conservative’ - disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.
‘sect’ - Luke consistently reminds his audience that Christianity is indeed a sect of Judaism.

But Mr Bryant’s complaints are possibly more to do with his own spiritual struggle and concerns for his personal salvation. The MP professes to be a Christian, yet posts pictures of himself on the internet, soliciting for buggery with complete strangers. Scripture doesn't really tolerate that sort of behaviour. Such conduct is an abuse of his position of influence and authority, and Scripture is quite damning of that also. No wonder he takes issue with Rowan’s ‘narrow-minded, conservative sect’.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Cross yourself with care – you could be prosecuted

Cranmer sympathises with the Catholic Church. Yes, you read correctly. It has criticised Scottish prosecutors for cautioning Artur Boruc, the Polish Roman Catholic goalkeeper for Celtic, who crossed himself during a match against Protestant Rangers. He was cautioned for a ‘breach of the peace’, insofar as the gesture was considered ‘provocative’. Boruc had the choice of being prosecuted, or accepting a caution. He chose the latter, which leaves him with a criminal record.

The Catholic Church is right to find this ‘worrying and alarming’. Crossing oneself is a religious and devotional gesture. To assert that Boruc used it provocatively is to judge the man’s heart. Of course, he may have done so, and apparently there had been other concerning aspects of his behaviour during the match, but the Procurator Fiscal has decided to focus on his making the sign of the cross. Such a development means that religious expression is limited by the effect it may have on others. What, for example, should be made of the ritualistic mantra that precedes the All Blacks’ rugby matches? Translated, the words include pseudo-religious phrases:

It's my time! It's my moment!
Our dominance
Our supremacy will triumph
And will be placed on high


Provocative, perhaps? Such words would certainly be considered so if they were chanted by Germany or Iran. And what if, in some future World Cup, the USA’s ‘Great Satan’ happens to encounter Iran’s ‘Warriors of Allah’? Would an American Christian who crosses himself, potentially offending the Muslims, be arrested? Members of the Italian team, and some from South America, have all been seen to cross themselves at moments of high tension during a match. Such gestures are expressions of personal devotion, and are not considered to be provocative in the way that, say, a Nazi salute may be (and the above picture of Boruc looks ominously like such a gesture). Perhaps most significantly, Boruc's treatment is markedly different from that meted out to Rangers' Paul Gascoigne, who inflamed tensions in exactly the same Celtic-Rangers context with his imaginary flute-playing. Gascoigne pretended to play this Loyalist symbol, and aimed it directly at the traditionally Catholic Celtic supporters. For this, he was simply fined by his own club. He was not given a formal caution by the police, and he did not earn a criminal record through the action. Why was Boruc treated so differently?

If nothing else, this should persuade Cardinal Keith O’Brien that the Act of Settlement is not the only cause of Scotland’s religious problems, and that even Catholic rituals may inflame sectarianism.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Richard North’s link with the Jesuits

Cranmer has enormous respect for this man. He has consistently and persistently exposed the failings of the European Union, and contributed an enormous body of information to the anti-EU cause. His research is broad, and his depth of inquiry profound. He has spoken and written on almost every dimension of ‘ever closer union’ conceivable, and he has done so with the passion of a convicted patriot and democrat.

Dr North frequently and unashamedly berates politicians (and others) for missing ‘the elephant in the room’. He has little time for those who focus on the minutiae while failing to acknowledge the real source of the problem. Thus his eminent EU Referendum blog has talked of the folly of European economic governance; exposed the Galileo satellite system for the covert intelligence-gathering, anti-American project that it is; detailed how the EU is not good for agriculture, fisheries, or the environment; destroyed the notion that the EU is about freely-cooperating nation states; identified the lack of democratic accountability; and poured scorn on the notion that the EU is responsible for keeping the peace in Europe.

His research has drawn on thousands of books, papers and official documents, many of which have only become publicly available in the past few years. He has been assiduous in tracing the EU vision to its source of a handful of determined visionaries, yet he himself misses an elephant in the room, and quite a significant one. What these visionaries all had in common was a faith, an inspiration to do ‘the work of God’ in Europe. It is the principal source of the EU’s woes, and the main reason why nothing in the EU seems to change. It is simply that these visionaries constructed the ECSC/EEC/EC/EU on the bedrock of inviolable, immutable Roman Catholic social doctrine, which constitutes the ‘infallibility’ at the heart of the EU edifice. As a reward, the Vatican was reported to be considering the beatification of the ‘Founding Fathers’– yes, politicians on the path to sainthood. Does that not send out a message to the faithful that the EU is possibly a design of God?

The Vatican has made consistent efforts to influence and dominate the whole process of European integration, indeed, not only the Pope but also leading Jesuit Cardinal Maria Martini of Milan addressed the European Parliament on the crucial importance of unification. The agenda has been on-going, expressed in their recent demands for 'God' to feature in the EU Constitution. Dr North has done no analysis of the implications of this, nor has he understood why the inclusion of ‘God’ would confirm that the EU is a ‘design of God’, for whom the Vatican claims to be the sole interlocutor for communicating truth to the world. What does the Pope seek to gain by addressing the EPP? Why is he invited to address the entire European Parliament? What are the threats made against Catholic scientists and politicians who do not toe the Vatican’s line? Why does the Vatican oppose the admission of Turkey into the club? Dr North has done no detailed analysis of these issues.

There is presently an ages-old battle going on within the EU, with the re-emergence of the ancient conflict between Church and State. The Frankish Enlightenment vision is presently on the ascendancy, and Cranmer found the treatment of Rocco Buttiglione an appalling consequence of amoral secularism. Indeed, faith is presently being so marginalised in the EU that Babel is once again seen to be arrogantly rejecting God. But such developments and persecutions do not deter the Vatican, nor persuade the Pope that the EU as a political project is anything but a force for good. The Vatican has consistently supported ‘ever closer union’. Pope John Paul II lauded the single currency - 'the first since the Roman Empire' – and was credited with swinging the referendum on Poland’s accession: ‘The Holy Father hopes that... Poland can make a contribution with its moral and spiritual values and its religious convictions’, said Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls, at a crucial point in the campaign. It is noteworthy that voting picked up on the Sunday, as many churchgoers went from the political message of the mass to the polling booths.

Does Dr North not realise that when the leader of the EU’s Roman Catholics speaks, that his words have political as well as spiritual significance? That if the Pope says the EU is a good thing, then the overwhelming majority of Roman Catholics may be persuaded to believe that this is the case? Of course. there are divisions within Catholicism on the EU as there are within all faiths, but Cranmer is talking here of significant majorities, not the notable or eminent exceptions. The population of the EU is more than 60% Roman Catholic, which means that when His Holiness declares the EU to be a design of God, however subliminally, his words and allusions may sway almost 300 million European citizens. No other individual in the Union has such power, authority, or potential influence. No wonder Boris Johnson perceives an element of the Roman Empire in the construction.

Cranmer has asked the EU Referendum blog about this, and was dismissed. He was told: ‘The Pope has expressed certain strong reservations about the European Union. I don't mind people re-fighting ancient battles - that is what history is all about - but some accuracy is required’. Cranmer enquired as to what these ‘strong reservations’ were, and when they were expressed. He received no reply. He asked again, and still nothing was forthcoming. When Dr North and Dr Szamuely dismiss Cranmer as ‘fighting ancient (ie irrelevant) battles’, or demand ‘accuracy’, the least they could do would be to provide proof of the Vatican’s ‘reservations’ of the process of ‘ever closer union’. But the truth is, there are none, beyond expressions of disquiet when the Church’s traditional teachings are set aside.

Cranmer has wondered why a man with such insight as Richard North has never acknowledged the role of the Roman Catholic Church in the whole EU process; indeed, he has not only ignored this dimension, he has specifically rejected it. But the answer may lie in a recent posting on his blog, in which he reveals: ‘Being brought up as a good Catholic boy - by Jesuits, no less’.

What was it the Jesuits said?

Give me the boy until the age of seven, and I will give you the man.

Even people of considerable insight retain their blind spots, and although the shape and colour of elephants tend to remain the same, they come in all sizes, and the clever ones may hide behind very, very large pieces of furniture…

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Cardinal condemns UK’s Constitution

The Scottish Cardinal, Keith O'Brien, has been banging his favourite drum once again. He has reiterated his previous assertion that the Act of Settlement amounts to ‘state-sponsored sectarian discrimination’, and demands that it be amended if Scotland is ever to escape its ‘shadowy sectarian culture’. He says: “Our constitution contains legislation which describes my faith as 'the popish religion' and defines me and my co-religionists as 'papists'. That this arcanely offensive language enjoys legal sanction is outrageous. Anyone who seriously believes that introducing legislation aimed at eradicating sectarian attacks, which are often verbal, while elements of the very lexicon of hate they seek to abolish remain on our statute books is indulging in wilful ignorance."

Cranmer finds this a little tiresome. As a theologian, the Cardinal ought to know that historical documents are bound by their context; they are products of their age, replete with contemporary expression and limited by temporal perception. To look at this Act through the lens of the present, and demand that it be re-worded to accommodate fickle changes in the usage of words, is not only unintelligent; it reduces the historical process to the whims of band-wagon superficiality. What is his next demand? The re-wording of the preface to the Authorised Version? The abolition of the 39 Articles? Neither the Cardinal, nor those politicians who support this agenda, appear to have any idea of the political and constitutional complexities of their demands. It would not only require months of parliamentary time to examine every act since 1688, it would also require that the legislatures of 15 Commonwealth countries amend their constitutions also.

Cardinal O'Brien’s demands are also hypocritical. He is part of an organisation that asserts that education should be controlled by the Church. In the UK, Catholic schools are financed by the state, but he appears not to view this as state-funded sectarianism. And when it comes to the propagation of ‘arcanely offensive language’, how many Protestants enjoy the ‘separated brethren’ tag of Vatican II? The term is hardly conducive to the sort of ecumenical equality that the Cardinal appears to advocate, sustaining, as it does, that Protestants are effectively still heretics. Since the Vatican is a state, it is therefore also responsible for state-sponsored sectarianism. At least in the UK the only bar to Catholics is on becoming or marrying the Monarch. Vatican law not only bars all Protestants from becoming pope (who is also a monarch), it propagates global discrimination against Protestants by prohibiting their participation in Catholicism’s Holy Communion.

Maybe the Cardinal should look to the plank in Rome’s eye before challenging the splinter in England’s.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The future's bleak...

Poor Mr Inigo Wilson. He wrote a satirical ‘Lefty Lexicon’ for a private website, solely to highlight the manner in which the political left inhibits or prevents debate in order to propagate their particular world view. His humorous definitions clearly indicate an aversion to collective stereotyping, preferring instead to view people as individuals. The article was written in his own time, and did not mention his employer. Unfortunately for him, a group calling themselves the Muslim Public Affairs Committee discovered that he was employed in the community relations department of Orange, and so they whipped up a number of complaints. He has now been suspended, pending an internal review.

Cranmer is more than aware of the importance of words. If one’s personal definition, no matter how pedantically correct, does not chime with the vernacular, it may mean death – professional if not physical. When any pressure group seeks to grasp an agenda by re-defining words, this results in a distortion which restricts public debate by producing a uniform pattern of public utterance in which the first trace of unorthodox thought reveals itself as a jarring dissonance. It is virtually impossible to survive this.

Orange is, of course, entitled to fire any of its employees with just cause, but only Mr Wilson's contract will clarify whether or not he was barred from making political comment. But more importantly, this suspension is solely at the behest of a reactionary, self-appointed group which purports to speak on behalf of all British Muslims. A cursory glance at the MPAC website reveals not only a defence of Hezbollah, but a certain distaste for Jews. These odious and humourless Muslims have contrived charges of ‘Islamophobia’ and ‘racism’, and many of them seem determined to return the United Kingdom to an era where religious views, however extreme or offensive, may not be challenged, even satirically. This is a fundamental issue of freedom of speech.

But on these charges, firstly, Islam is not a race, so Mr Wilson’s comments cannot be racist. Secondly, the MPAC defines Islamophobia as ‘an irrational fear of Islam’. How then are we to define those who fear Islam for entirely rational reasons?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Multiculturalism is to blame for perverting young Muslims

The Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, is both personally and professionally qualified to comment authoritatively on religious tensions. His father converted from Islam to Roman Catholicism, and the Bishop himself is a convert from Roman Catholicism to Protestantism. This journey from darkness to light has given him considerable insight. Writing in The Daily Telegraph, he says:

It is clear, therefore, that the multiculturalism beloved of our political and civic bureaucracies has not only failed to deliver peace, but is the partial cause of the present alienation of so many Muslim young people from the society in which they were born, where they have been educated and where they have lived most of their lives.

Unlike the politicians, and most of the pontificating religious types, the Bishop offers a solution:

The cultural heritage of people who come here must be respected. They should be able to take pride in their language, literature, art and spiritual background. At the same time, if they are to adjust to life in this country, they should be prepared to live in mixed communities, and not on their own. Their children should attend school along with those who come from the host culture, or from other cultures and traditions. They should be willing to learn through the medium of English and to be socially mobile, rather than "ghetto-ised" on the basis of religion, language or culture.

Cranmer simply says Amen.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Catholic extremist appointed to combat Islamic extremism

Ruth Kelly, the Secretary of State for Communities (who thought that one up?), and member of Opus Dei, has been appointed to deal with what is termed ‘Islamic extremism’. It is ironic that a religious extremist is dealing with the matter of religious extremism – one might almost say it takes one to know one. For those who don’t consider Opus Dei to be ‘extreme’, see here, and here, or here.

Many Muslim leaders met with the Secretary of State, and the messages were stark:

1) ‘If you want to combat extremism - whatever that extremism is - you have to remove the ingredients that feed it and foreign policy is one of them.’
2) ‘We need the government to think about ways that we get young Muslims to feed into the policy process.’
3) ‘You have young people who perceive that our foreign policy is a war against a religion. Anybody knows that if you try to fight a religion it will only get stronger.’

The first of these appears to be a demand for a right to veto the foreign policy of a democratically-elected government; the second is a request for Muslims to have some sort of input into its formulation, above and beyond the mechanisms available to the rest of the population; the third is the tacit threat, that if these concessions are not made, their bombs will get bigger and better.

The Secretary General of the Union of Muslim Organisations requested holidays to mark Muslim festivals, and Islamic laws to cover family affairs which would apply only to Muslims. The UK would therefore holiday at Christmas, Easter and Eid, and, if you live in Bradford or Oldham, you will be able to beat your wife or divorce her by simply saying so three times. They did not request the stoning of homosexuals, or the amputation of limbs of criminals (yet). Most concerningly, the Secretary of State did not reject outright this request for the implementation of Shari’a law in the UK. Amazingly, she said she would ‘look sympathetically at the suggestion’. If she finds sympathy with such an agenda, one can only assume that it is already latent within her.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

British Muslim leaders to Prime Minister: ‘Change your foreign policy or we’ll blow you up’.

This, actually, is not Cranmer’s summary paraphrase of an open letter from the UK’s leading Muslims, but the words of the Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman, Vince Cable. He said that the letter - although ‘expressed in very moderate terms’ - could give some comfort to the kind of people who say: ‘Well, change your foreign policy or we'll blow you up’. British Muslims have a considerable problem when they begin to lose the support of ultra-moderate British opinion, such as that traditionally held by the Liberal Democrats.

This letter could (and should) have been an opportunity for the UK’s leading Muslims to unequivocally condemn terrorist atrocities against British citizens. Instead, the Muslim Council of Britain, Muslim Peers of the Realm, and Muslim Labour MPs have indicated that they believe there to be justification for blowing up women, children and other innocents. They express distaste for the strategy with a series of qualifying ‘buts’. To paraphrase them further:

September 11th was unacceptable, but so is US and British policy in Palestine;
July 7th was unjust, but so was the war with Iraq;
Suicide bombing is appalling, but so is British support for Israel's bombing of Lebanon.

These ‘buts’ do not dissuade the terrorists; they justify their acts by implying that the UK's foreign policy is linked to the terror threat, from which we must infer that such policy must be changed if we are to avoid being blown to kingdom come. Neither foreign policy nor any other policy should be shaped under the threat of terrorist activity. According to Government figures, there are presently 1.6 million Muslims living in the UK. Of these, around 25% profess a degree of sympathy with such terrorist activity. This means that the foreign policy of 60 million British people is being hijacked by around 400,000 Muslims, or less than 0.7% of the population. This stark reality needs to be confronted forcefully, directly, and with no consideration for over-sensitised ‘political correctness’.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Mohammed – prophet of doom?


As the UK begins to comprehend the scale of the terrorist catastrophe that almost befell it, with (so far) 24 young men arrested, all British born, all Muslim (some converts), it is worth considering the source of their inspiration.

The vast majority of Muslims in the UK are congenial and peaceable. They would quote from the Qur’an passages like Surah 2:190: ‘Fight in the way of God against those who fight against you, but do not begin hostilities, for God does not love aggressors’. The problem is, there are many others who prefer 'martydom', possibly 1000 in the UK, and Cranmer would like to point out that those who use this surah to insist that Islam means 'peace' are quoting out of context. This passage is from the sixth year of the Hijrah, when the Muslims were a strong and influential community, but not supreme. Mohammed ordered them to defend themselves against Meccan attacks, but not be aggressors because they had a treaty. Many of them were exiles from Mecca, where the Pagans had established an intolerant autocracy, persecuting Muslims. When they tried to assert their rights, the result was bloodshed. This surah was therefore concerned with a specific period of self-preservation; it is not a blanket command regarding all acts of violence. Being bound by context in time and space, there are many who do not consider it to be an eternal injunction.

Mohammed used what today would be termed 'murder', 'aggression', and 'terrorism' in order to propagate his beliefs and spread his ideology. (Quran 8.17; 33.26; 8.67). He raided towns without warning, killed unarmed men who had gone to the fields and markets on their daily business, captured their wives and children, and is said to have distributed the younger women among his soldiers while always keeping the prettiest ones for himself and having sex with them in the same day he murdered their fathers, husbands and loved ones. These are not fables and neither are they the bigoted musings of those who may be termed 'Islamophobe', but it is history as recorded in the Qur’an and the Hadith. This is the biography of the 'prophet’ who sets the example for today’s Muslim youth, for many are taught by unenlightened imams for whom this Mohammed is considered the template for perfect manhood.

Political Islam (or 'Islamism') demands the use of terrorism because it is intrinsic to its ideology. They are fused and inseparable. Islamism is the terrorist; Muslims are the victims. But the assumption that by appeasement the Islamists can be persuaded to accommodate Western values is a delusion. The two systems are antithetical: they cannot co-exist; one must give way to the other.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

As Sterling soars, is the Euro the root of all evil?

The pound is 1200 years old, born about 775AD, when ‘sterlings’ or silver pennies were the main currency in Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. Through numerous incarnations, the name has persisted, derived from the old German word ‘ster’, meaning strong, pure, stable, reliable, or excellent. English silver was held in esteem and that respect was worth keeping. Before the foundation of the Bank of England, the first central bank in history, the Tower of London was the store for spare money. Silver pennies were the only coins right through until the 13th century and silver was the currency standard till the 18th century, when gold became the basis of the Pound. While it reduced exchange rate risk, stability based on gold helped British investors and traders. Global finance took off, ushering in an era of 'gentlemanly capitalism' when British investors poured money into offshore investments, protected by the immense strength of sterling and the might of the British Empire. When Britannia ruled the waves, sterling was the global economy's lifeblood.

It seems that much of the world is finding once again a confidence in Sterling, even as Her Majesty’s Government reiterates its intention to ditch the currency and adopt the Euro as soon as it can engineer a referendum victory. Other countries have been buying Pounds at the expense of the Euro, proving utterly wrong those who predicted that if Britain did not join the Euro that the consequences would be disastrous – economically and politically. We were told that the Pound would sink without trace, the status of the City of London as ‘financial capital of the world’ would diminish, and the Euro would supplant the US Dollar as the reserve currency of the future. Six years on from the Euro’s birth, the Europhiles have been proved wrong on all counts.

Conversely, the European economy has stagnated as the UK has enjoyed almost 14 years of continuous growth since liberation from the ERM. Unemployment is stuck at 12% in the Euro-zone, while in the UK it is presently 5%. And now the Pound Sterling is being restored to its traditional status as the choice of reserve currency for the world’s major central banks. Italy has displayed a supreme lack of confidence in the Euro by holding 24% of its reserves in Sterling, and she is joined by Russia and Switzerland who also hold large amounts of Sterling. The City of London has retained its global status, and known global reserves of Sterling have risen from £55 billion to £111 billion in the past two years. If the love of money is the root of all evil, the love of the Euro epitomises the adage.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Muslim produces BBC series questioning the divinity of Jesus

The BBC is beginning a series examining the authenticity of the miracles of Jesus. Apparently, ‘new evidence’ has come to light questioning the claims made in the Bible. The series is produced and presented by Rageh Omaar, the BBC’s most high-profile Muslim correspondent, who has previously presented a documentary on Europe's Islamic past, which claimed to ‘look back to a golden age when European civilisation was enriched by Islamic learning’. In his examination of Jesus, Omaar travelled to the Sea of Galilee to look at the historical and archaeological evidence for events such as the feeding of the 5000, walking on water, and the Resurrection itself.

The alternative explanations for these miracles that Omaar suggests include mass hysteria or delusion, and he questions whether the crucified body of Christ could have been ‘thrown to dogs in a rubbish dump’. The BBC is promoting this as ‘Rageh’s journey’, but it is manifestly more an Islamic slant on the man Christians believe to be the Son of God. The Qur'an corroborates Isa the miracle-worker, but for the Jesus of the Bible they were proof of who he was.

The Old Testament reveals a high ethical conception of God who works miracles for high ethical purposes, and unfolds a dispensation of prophecy leading up to Christ. In fulfilment of this prophecy Christ works miracles. His answer to the messengers of John the Baptist was that they should go and tell John what they had seen (Luke 7:22; cf. Isaiah 35:5). Jesus openly professed to work miracles. He appeals repeatedly to his ‘work’ as most authentic and decisive proof of his divine sonship (John 5:18-36; 10:24-37) and of his mission (John 14:12), and for this reason condemns the obstinacy of the Jews as inexcusable (John 15:22, 24). He worked miracles to establish the Kingdom of God (Matthew 12; Luke 11), gave to the Apostles (Matthew 10:8) and disciples (Luke 10:9, 19) the power of working miracles, thereby instructing them to follow the same method, and promised that the gift of miracles should persist in the Church (Mark 16:17). At the sight of his marvellous works, the Jews (Matthew 9:8), Nicodemus (John 3:2), and the man born blind (John 9:33) confess that they must be ascribed to divine power.

To refute the miracles is to deny the immanence of God and the divinity of Jesus, and one is left more with an Islamic view of God and a Muslim Jesus – prophet, but not divine. The series is yet a further example of the BBC's pathological inclination to undermine Christianity and exalt Islam uncritically. The religio-politics here? Well, Cranmer is forced to pay a compulsory government tax of £131.50 to finance the BBC. He wonders why a portion of this could not be spent on a documentary in which a prominent Christian presents an evidence-based examination of the claims of Islam and the character of Mohammed…

Friday, August 04, 2006

Catholicism and Islam unite to condemn Madonna

It is a relatively minor sideshow (literally), but the Pope has apparently got the hump with Madonna for her self-crucifixion, and there are demands for her excommunication. It is reported that ‘in a show of solidarity’ leaders of the Jewish and Muslim faiths have joined in the protest.

Why?

Jews one may understand, but Muslims? They do not even believe Jesus was crucified, so why on earth are they protesting about the mockery of an event which they refute? Surely one cannot replicate, blasphemously or otherwise, that which did not occur?

Still, any excuse for a religious conflict…

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

EU children to be fingerprinted

The UK’s Euro-schizophrenia continues. A group of influential MPs are demanding that the Government have a Churchillian moment - the United Kingdom must once again save Europe from itself, and so it must lead the way in encouraging other member states to ditch the EU Constitution because ‘although (it) is not dead, it is comatose and on life support’. They believe the Constitution is unlikely to ever come into force, though they note ‘attempts may be made to enact some of its provisions by other means’.

It is these ‘provisions by other means’ that the Government is tacitly supporting. There is a move towards an EU foreign minister (in the present Middle East war, Javier Solana has been heard pontificating ‘above his weight’, purporting to speak with one voice on behalf of the eminently divided EU member states), and EU embassies with a diplomatic service are springing up all over the place (who is paying for John Bruton’s marble-clad mansion in Washington?). There is also a wholesale move towards the elimination of the national veto in justice and home affairs, which includes that vital function of the nation state - law enforcement.

It has been known for some time that the EU requires all its citizens to be numbered and placed on file. The move towards identity cards in the UK is simply in line with this harmonisation demand, all in the name of ‘the war on terror’. What is new, however, is that this ‘citizen database’ demands the fingerprinting of children, possible as young as six years old. Under laws being drawn up behind closed doors, all children will have to attend a finger-printing centre to obtain an EU passport by June 2009. Perhaps they should not worry. They can have it all explained now that the ‘Europe Minister’ has demanded that ‘EU lessons’ become compulsory in all schools.

There is something sinister indeed about some massive computer in Brussels containing the biometric details of every EU citizen, including children. Not only is this a fundamental change in the relationship between the child and the state, it is potentially a means of totalitarian intrusion and control. When the powers that meet in secret to examine the effectiveness of finger-printing, and decide that universal ID cards with biometric data are still open to fabrication and fraud, why not implant every EU citizen, including every baby from birth, with a microchip? Cranmer suggests the forehead, or the right hand. But only because they are the easiest parts of one’s body to scan in a supermarket…

UPDATE (4th August)

EU states will be free to fingerprint children from day one of their life as soon as it is technologically possible. A quote from the EU Council Presidency, June 2006:

- 'scanning of fingerprints: up to 12 years of age.. if provided for by national legislation... from 12 years of age: Compulsory' (EU doc no: 9403/1/06)
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