Monday, November 07, 2011

57% of UK Christians will abandon the Conservatives over ‘gay marriage’

British Christians have never cohered politically around a unified moral agenda. Unlike their counterparts in the US, for whom abortion often appears to be the primary determinant in voting intentions, Christians in the UK are much less inclined to protest strongly on any matter. The Westminster 2010 ‘Declaration of Christian Conscience’, presently with 67,000 supporters, was an attempt to mobilise believers dedicated to: ‘Protecting human life, protecting marriage, and protecting freedom of conscience are foundational for creating and maintaining strong families, caring communities and a just society’. But it failed to inspire many of even the five million weekly-church-going Christians, let alone the 70 per cent of the entire population who profess the Faith at census time. And, with a gentle appeal to the individual conscience, it is unlikely ever to effect change. The campaign has been dormant now for a year, even as the present Government has continued along the ‘equality’ path set by New Labour. This is strange, considering the Declaration also pledges to support marriage – ‘the lifelong covenantal union of one man and one woman as husband and wife’ – as ‘the only context for sexual intercourse’ and ‘the most important unit for sustaining the health, education, and welfare of all’.

The reality is that British Christians are not only divided denominationally, but fractured and fragmented within those denominations, with many now purposely rejecting (and often publicly repudiating) foundational creeds and confessions of faith. When we see bishops rejecting the virgin birth and denying the resurrection, or vicars and priests questioning the atonement and redefining sin, it is no wonder that questions of morality – the secondary and tertiary hurdles to Christian unity – are downplayed as the Church seeks to define what it means by holiness.

There have, of course, always been differences of opinion between what constitutes a primary article of faith – that which justifies schism – and those which may be termed ‘second order’. Both of these have their roots in cultural identity and mission tradition, and so, in a liberal democracy, are expressed diversely at the ballot box. But the ultimate integrity of the Church is dependent on a single identifiable ministry of unity to which all local ministries are accountable. They do not all have to agree with each other, but they are commanded to love one another. Where there is no love, there is no faith.

Democratic politicians are compelled to the broadest appeal: they may neither believe so strongly nor repudiate so vehemently as to alienate any influential constituency. They must become, as St Paul exhorted, all things to all people. There is healthy debate and disagreement on the extent of that ‘becoming’, but ultimately, as Shakespeare observed, politicians must seem to see the things they do not.

It is not yet the case that ‘gay marriage’ has become to British Christians what abortion is to those in the United States, but a recent survey suggests that it has every danger of becoming so. ComRes were commissioned by the Premier Christian Media Trust to interview church-going Christians aged 18+ on their opinions of David Cameron’s intention to redefine marriage. 544 people were interviewed between 25-31 October 2011, and the results are available online.

Firstly, it must be noted that this survey relates only to ‘church-going’ Christians: there can be no quantifiable validity or replicability in the wider ‘census group’ of professing Christians: we are here concerned with somewhere between 5-7 million, not 49 million. A previous survey established that 7.6 million attend church monthly (including 4.9 million weekly). If one were to add fringe and occasional churchgoers (5 million), we arrive at the figure of 12.6 million (26 per cent of the population).

But even the most conservative estimate of 4.9 million is not without significant influence in marginal constituencies (as Dr Evan Harris discovered in Oxford West and Abingdon), and it would be politically naive to assert that these results have no bearing at all on the views of the ‘cultural Christians’, for whom marriage as the union between one man and one woman may have a far deeper cultural resonance than any other sexual ethic.

What the survey shows is that the Conservative Party risks losing 57 per cent of church-going Christians if they proceed with their plans to legislate to permit ‘gay marriage’. Significantly, not one respondent claimed this move would make them more disposed to vote Conservative. The Prime Minister is therefore gambling on a policy which may lose him more votes than it will gain. In more detail:
85% were concerned that the value of marriage would be further undermined
78% that it would be harder to argue against ‘other novel types of relationship’ such as polygamy
88% that schools would be required to teach the equal validity of same-sex and heterosexual relationships
93% that clergy would have to conduct gay marriages against their consciences
Denominationally, the results were unsurprising. While only 11 per cent of those surveyed supported ‘gay marriage’, a massive 83 per cent were opposed (75% ‘strongly’). Hostility was particularly concentrated among the Pentecostals (69%) and Roman Catholics (75%), which are the two groups unified in the US on the question of abortion.

This really ought to be of concern to CCHQ if not to the Prime Minister (not to mention individual MPs). If 57 per cent of church-going Christians would be less inclined to back the Conservatives in future – this being especially true of Pentecostals and Roman Catholics – that amounts to anywhere between 2.8-7.2 million votes.

While Roman Catholics have historically been more inclined to vote Labour than Conservative, it would be ironic if, having signalled an amendment to the Act of Settlement to permit a Roman Catholic to marry the Monarch, more Roman Catholics were actually alienated by the introduction of ‘gay marriage’ than were attracted by the superficial pitch for religious equality.

It would be a profound mistake and strategic electoral folly for the Conservative Party to believe that the gay rights lobby in the UK is stronger than the Christian lobby. Better organised, possibly. Louder, most certainly. But when it comes to putting crosses on ballot papers, the Conservatives have historically got the lion's share of the Christian vote. If the party were to lose millions of these, the boycott/exodus would represent a seismic psephological shift which would certainly lose the party the next general election. And this whole survey hasn’t even touched on the effects of the policy on Muslims and Sikhs – two ethno-religious constituencies David Cameron has fought hard to attract. Somehow, His Grace thinks the concept of ‘gay marriage’ would repel ‘strongly’ a rather higher proportion of these two groups than it does the Pentecostals and Roman Catholics.

The 'gay' issue is by no means at the top of the agenda for British Christians: they are every bit as concerned with poverty, family breakdown, injustice and ‘Broken Britain’ as the Prime Minister. They may differ in the solutions, but they will talk to each other, debate, listen and learn. But David Cameron has consistently refused to listen to Christians, and he now risks tarnishing the party's reputation with indifference. Considering that he lost the last general election by just 16,000 votes, his stragegy seems incomprehensible.

111 Comments:

Blogger blondpidge said...

I am a former constituent of David Cameron & a Roman Catholic who has previously voted Tory.

I am politically disenfranchised, unable to vote for any mainstream parties in good faith.

7 November 2011 11:21  
Blogger Dan Rodger said...

As a Christian its almost impossible to vote for any party in good conscience, I just try and vote for the least worse party..which is getting increasingly more difficult to discern.

7 November 2011 11:35  
Blogger Gnostic said...

I tossed the Tories overboard shortly after Major took over. I haven't voted for any mainstream party ever since. I didn't need any kind of religious conviction, just an example of the obscene haste Major displayed as he signed us up to Maastricht. His successors have not been an improvement and the current incumbent is an unmitigated disaster.

Still, if 57% of Tory voters quit voting Tory on a matter of conscience rather than because their party has turned on the British people and is even now treaonously selling our sovereignty down the river as fast as they can, I say better late then never, eh?

WV wispier, which sums up this nebulous exercise in blinkered response.

7 November 2011 11:49  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Dan Rodger said @7 November 2011 11:35

"As a Christian its almost impossible to vote for any party in good conscience, I just try and vote for the least worse party..which is getting increasingly more difficult to discern."

Young man, you have just laid bare the problem facing all voters, not just we christians, except those tribally inclined 'come hell or high water' types.

Ernst Blofeld

7 November 2011 11:55  
Blogger David B said...

I am not likely to change my Liberal party allegiance.

However, should Cameron do what he, and I, thinks is right on this occasion, even at the expense of some votes, then that would raise my respect for him.

'Right' in this context being to legalise gay marriage, but not to impose an obligation to perform them on sects which are opposed to it.

Righter still, to my mind, being to make all marriages secular, and leave whether people want a religious service as well up to the individuals concerned and the churches they wish to perform the service.

David B

7 November 2011 12:13  
Blogger graham wood said...

"David Cameron has consistently refused to listen to Christians..... his stragegy seems incomprehensible."

Indeed so Cranmer. I go further. It is the height of folly electorally, but also in moral terms. A move which will not be understood by large numbers of non Christians, those of other faiths or none, and all who value the institution of marriage as historically understood.

His policy also represents a massive cultural shift that defies comprehension.

Not least in spiritual terms his move is arrogant and a defiant rejection of God who instituted (heterosexual) marriage as a creation ordinance.
He would then be guilty of "rending asunder" what God has joined together - a move of almost incalculable folly.

Politically, culturally, and spiritually therefore he has seriously miscalculated.

On a practical note, concerned Christians should note that the leading supermarket TESCO has decided to endorse and support London's "Gay Pride" event 2012.
I suggest Tesco should be deserted by Christians in the UK.
Positively, why not support one of the leading Christian organisations already actively engaged in opposition to the "gay" agenda - The Christian Institute.
The CI's opposition is always soundly rooted in Scripture, delivered with grace, and organised with commendable professionalism.

7 November 2011 12:14  
Blogger Simon said...

"It would be a profound mistake and strategic electoral folly for the Conservative Party to believe that the gay rights lobby in the UK is stronger than the Christian lobby."

I'm not so sure, Your Grace. Surely people who are neither active Christians nor active gay rights campaigners make up the majority of the electorate, and I think they are more likely to support the gay lobby.

7 November 2011 12:15  
Blogger raggedclown said...

Another day, another Christian boring for Britain about the evil gays. Anyway, what's the idea here, "Do what I say, or this blind, toothless old cat gets it"?

7 November 2011 12:23  
Blogger Jonathan said...

@graham wood - does the Christian Institute sell milk?

7 November 2011 12:46  
Blogger Gonzo said...

And who would they vote for instead? UKIP? The Conservative party has at least a long and proud tradition of homophobia, which you can't really say for Labour or the Lib Dems, so I don't think this will make any difference.

7 November 2011 12:46  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

...'if they proceed with their plans to legislate to permit ‘gay marriage’...

Would this be legal if it fails to apply the same obligatory rule to all religions extant in the UK?

7 November 2011 13:00  
Blogger Derek T Northcote said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7 November 2011 13:04  
Blogger Derek T Northcote said...

57% of 544 polled is hardly representative.

7 November 2011 13:05  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Ditto Blondpidge & Dan Rodger.

Time has come to abandon the political parties - or the unholy trinity of Lib/Lab/Con at least. There's usually a 4th party or - better still - an Independent in most elections who would gladly welcome your vote. If nothing changes, nothing changes.

Sadly, because some short-sighted people of the old-guard (Cranmer included) prefer old wine in old wine-skins, we're stuck with an anachronistic voting system which makes it next to impossible to do anything but register a protest in this way.

A plague on all their-houses.

7 November 2011 13:30  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

David B said, "'Right' in this context being to legalise gay marriage, but not to impose an obligation to perform them on sects which are opposed to it."

Your tolerance is to be aplauded...and entered into the records, Mr David B. If it wouldn't be too much to ask, would you back clear and specific legislation guaranteeing the right of the religious to decline officiating or accepting as religiously valid same sex marriages?

Alas, in countries such as my Canada, where same sex marriage has enjoyed legislative protection for a while, and the law, businesses and institutions must treat them as valid, the increasing pressure on religious institutions and clergy is inexorably moving onto legal forae. From the lawyerish scuttlebut going around, the last hold-outs, traditional congregations, will soon face civil challenges from dues-paying members who will insist on their right to be "married" at their own institution by their own clergy. The new extra-judicial human rights tribunals will fund challenges by the "victims" and ensure their victory.

7 November 2011 13:30  
Blogger Albert said...

It's rather difficult to know who exactly is going to vote for Cameron at the next election:

1. The left was never going to vote for him.

2. Anyone remotely in the centre is unlikely to vote for him because they will regard his economics policies as too severe.

3. Most people on the right I suspect feel pretty hacked off about the fact that an unelected PM dared to prevent people's elected representatives from voting as their electorate wanted, with regard to them having a say on the EU.

4. And then there will be many who, normally vote Tory because they are naturally conservative. They will think he has lost the plot over "gay marriage", and feel this indicates a lack of moral seriousness on his part.

If he couldn't win even against Bigot-gate Brown after so many years of Labvour, without all of these hindrances, it's hard to see how he can win with them. Does anyone actually do any work in the Conservative Party central office?

Matters are not helped in the "gay marriage" question, by the fact that Cameron has clearly colluded with those who wish to prevent public debate on this - while forcing the issue (inevitably, without an electorate mandate).

So it seems that Cameron will very likely join that small and ignoble group of people who have served as PM, but never actually won an election.

7 November 2011 14:10  
Blogger Albert said...

David B

'Right' in this context being to legalise gay marriage, but not to impose an obligation to perform them on sects which are opposed to it.

If you're not imposing an obligation on people, you are not talking about marriage. Marriage necessitates certain actions from others.

7 November 2011 14:11  
Blogger Jon said...

Actually, YG, your headline is a little misleading. Since the survey doesn't establish whether those surveyed were likely to vote Conservative before hand, the 57% number could me misleading. If the whole cohort had been Tories to begin with, this number would be striking (but for the sample size and my next point), but if the whole lot were pretty much dyed in the wool labour voters anyway (or a significant number of them were) then it's probably not going to keep the PM up at night.

Also, since the results in Q1 and Q2 showed a strong preference against gay marriage, the fact that 37% said it wouldn't affect their voting preferences is striking to me. Additionally, I'm suspicious about the decreased granularity of question 3 given the numbers of options available in Q2. It may be that presented with a third choice that it would "strongly" influence their vote, the 57% number would be much lower in that category, and therefore not something the PM is going to worry about overly (in the face of a weak opposition and, he hopes, more benign economic circumstances in 2015).

I know that your communicants find it simpler to ascribe the various gay lobbying groups a unified agenda, since it makes the enemy scarier, but the truth is, that there's probably as many "Agendas" are there are gays. I suspect that you'd find much the same amongst Church- going Christians - and I find this rather re-assuring. People are still able to think for themselves!

7 November 2011 14:20  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Jon,

You are, of course, quite right.

And the reality than some gays oppose 'gay marriage', not to mention that even more object to the aggressive tendencies of Stonewall and the likes of Peter Tatchell, rather inclines one to believe that the advent of homosexual marital union will have as much effect in the gay community/ies as amending the Act of Settlement will have among Roman Catholics.

7 November 2011 14:29  
Blogger graham wood said...

David B

Firstly. This is not primarily a political issue - so dumb and ignorant politicians would be advised to oblige the rest of us with a welcome 'period of silence'
Doubly so since there is no compelling public demand to change the unique status of God given marriage.

Secondly, Nobody is preventing those who wish to have a "secular" marriage. That facility has been there for many years. Again, there is no need to legislate further.

Third. Try to understand that there is no such thing as "gay" marriage - call it what they will. By definition marriage is a God given, world wide recognised and permanent union between a man and a woman for life. Period.
The definition is biblical and represents a religious, cultural, and spiritual norm. "Gay" marriage and normal sexual union are mutually exclusive and mix incompatible concepts.

If homosexuals wish, to seek endorsement via the use of Christian language, symbols, and church buildings/services & etc it would be the height of hypocrisy.

Let them find their own "clerics", buildings, and religious paraphenalia as any other "religious" sect.
What have they to do with the God of Christianity?

7 November 2011 14:48  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Jon,

You do make a good point. The push for same sex marriage did not initially come from the Gay community, although once the issue was brought up, the leaders were stuck with defending it. In fact, if my anecdotally-based impressions reflect reality, the majority seem to think the whole issue a silly, if not risky distraction which only a minority of befuddled members consider as important.

The push for same sex "marriage," appears, instead, to be a concoction of the secular liberal sector which is openly at war with what it considers to be expired, morally unsustainable traditions. On its heels is the "logically" following conclusion that if we accept a union between two same-sex partners, it would be a violation of human rights and our multiculturalist policies to disallow polygamy, especially since it has a long history and is acceptable in Islam and a number of other religions. And on the heels of that one, still in the margins, but increasingly more prominent, is the notion that child marriage, another established custom, should be reconsidered on the grounds that our concept of an age of majority is merely an old cultural construct and that the "ageism" which justifies it, violates a child's rights. Once we've established these, I half-jokingly propose, the notion that the anachronistic biblical prohibition against zoophilia will have to be overturned, and not only will insurance companies have to now make payments to veterinarians, but ministers will have to officiate group unions comprised of multiple spouses including men, women, undecideds, children and Fifi and Rover. Silly? Perhaps, but check in a couple of decades from now.

Anyhow, I suspect that in this case the Gay community is being exploited and used as a buffer by a politically radicalized generation of unelected civil service, regulatory, educational and judicial bureacratic ciphers who appear to be our current leaders. For a recent Commentary Magazine symposium on America's future, Dennis Prager provided a short and sweet conservative summary of the issue:

...civilization’s single most important institution, marriage, is increasingly regarded as pointless and is being redefined for the first time in history to include members of the same sex. Why? Because the notions that marriage is sacred and that men and women are intrinsically different—a difference that carries unique significance—are depicted as patriarchal, anachronistic, and sexist.

Our nitwit leaders were educated by nitwits and their nitwit acolytes are now pushing their nitwittery as if it is the only equitable, ethical and possible path to be considered.

7 November 2011 15:08  
Blogger graham wood said...

Avi Barzel. I like the points you make, and especially this neat summary:
"...civilization’s single most important institution, marriage, is increasingly regarded as pointless and is being redefined for the first time in history to include members of the same sex. Why? Because the notions that marriage is sacred and that men and women are intrinsically different—a difference that carries unique significance—are depicted as patriarchal, anachronistic, and sexist."

Incidentally, your earlier point about legalised same sex unions, as you now experience in Canada, being the means for exerting severe pressures upon orthodox views is I think a good one.
Such fears have already been expressed here in the UK, and not least on the matter of the protection of the freedom of conscience.
Also, what may be at first permissive, is but a short step to becoming coercive.
How soon before the freedom of assembly (not to admit "Gay"s) for Christian congregations is denied?

7 November 2011 15:33  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

What disappoints me is the accuracy of the opening comments. Without clear leadership from all the Christian churches, regardless of denomination, on the key issue of sexual morality, irrespective of 'preference', is it any wonder a 'live and let live' approach prevails?

If people want to embrace sin, a good old fashioned concept, so be it. But let's explain the Christian principles and lets ask people to think about the social consequences of abandoning these.

7 November 2011 15:36  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Mr Graham Wood,

I'm on the move again and will not be stopping until somewhat later, so I'll just quickly clarify that the quote you like is one by Dennis Prager, an American Jewish neoconservative. You'd like the rest of his piece, I think, and it can be found at:

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2011/11/07/optimistic-or-pessimistic-about-america-dennis-prager/#more-772945

7 November 2011 15:42  
Blogger Enemyof the State said...

Cameron is a Fabian. He is the antithesis of a Christian. We are all sinners but we don't make a habit of making promises and breaking them to the point where no one expects us to keep them. As for homosexual lobbying and bullying perhaps Tesco's recent commitment to Gay Pride at the Olympics in 2012 at the expense of its former contributions to a cancer charity will focus the minds of the Christians who are not asleep at the wheel and a boycott of that organization can be affected.

7 November 2011 16:17  
Blogger Gary said...

I am a Christian and a tory (in that order!). I would NEVER vote for a pro-sodomite government and I would NEVER attend a pro-sodomite church. No true Christian would!

7 November 2011 16:23  
Blogger David B said...

@Avi, who said -

'Your tolerance is to be aplauded...and entered into the records, Mr David B. If it wouldn't be too much to ask, would you back clear and specific legislation guaranteeing the right of the religious to decline officiating or accepting as religiously valid same sex marriages?'

I would, insofar as it applies to church weddings, back such a guarantee, though if someone religious has a job as a registrar, then I would not. I'd expect them to do the job they are paid for.

I don't see whether or not people accept any marriage as religiously valid or not a matter for legislation at all.

David B

7 November 2011 17:09  
Blogger David B said...

@Graham Wood, who said

'By definition marriage is a God given, world wide recognised and permanent union between a man and a woman for life. Period.'

So until the existence of a God who can give such a union, there is no such thing as marriage?

The Islamic world, believe in a God though Islamists do, would disagree with you, since i gather they allow divorce and marriage between a man and more than one woman.

Many Christian sects accept divorce - I think I'm right in saying that the Bible Belt in America has a very high divorce rate.

Even the RCC accepts something like divorce, by changing history to say that a marriage never happened, given that people can pay for the canon lawyers to find a get out, as far as I can tell.

In fact a marriage is what a state says it is, period.

As is a divorce. I was pleased to see that Malta recently took a more humane attitude to marriages that break down than the RCC, with its vested interests, wanted.

7 November 2011 17:21  
Blogger Oswin said...

David B @ 12:15 :

Surely all marriages are already part-secular, that 'part' being the 'marriage licence' - your proposal being axiomatic, according to venue, and/or choice?

7 November 2011 17:24  
Blogger David B said...

In haste I left a few words out of my post to Graham Wood above.

It should have read

'So until the existence of a God who can give such a union can be adequately demonstrated, there is no such thing as marriage?'

David

7 November 2011 17:26  
Blogger Jon said...

Avi,

From memory, His Grace has featured comment from a writer previously who attempted to dispel the myths about gay marriage being the gateway to polygamy etc. I thought his article excellent.

Don't get me wrong, I'm in favour of marriage equality. I'm less bothered by what it's called, but I don't subscribe to the view that the word "marriage" is somehow sacrosanct. This strikes me as somehow akin to idolatry, since it's surely the 'state' of marriage rather than the word which is the source of society's strength in your eyes? Why do you mind what it's called?

On the balance of the arguments, I would probably take the same view as David B, which would be to dissociate the religious institution of marriage from the governmental recognition of marital unions for legal, benefit, inheritance tax and immigration purposes. I don't see why church's should forced to conduct gay marriages against the will of their congregations, but I don't see why I should be forced to pay taxes to recognise or encourage a union which is denied me by dint of favoured treatment either.

7 November 2011 17:27  
Blogger David B said...

@Albert, who said

'If you're not imposing an obligation on people, you are not talking about marriage. Marriage necessitates certain actions from others.'

Like what? I can't think what obligations anyone's marriage imposes on me.

I have to accept that the couple get some tax breaks, and that they become each others next of kin, but that's it as far as I can see.

David B

7 November 2011 17:30  
Blogger David B said...

@Gary, who said

'I am a Christian and a tory (in that order!). I would NEVER vote for a pro-sodomite government and I would NEVER attend a pro-sodomite church.'

I am a liberal, and an atheist in no particular order, and I would find it hard to vote for a pro-sodomite government, too.

One that treats it adult citizens even-handedly, on the other hand, is one that I would vote for, and one which discriminates against a small but significant section of the population I would not be happy to vote for.

David B

7 November 2011 17:35  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

David B, you say that you would I would, exempt religious functionaries from being forced to officiate religious weddings, but not public registrars. Funnily enough, we went through this here in Canada.

Many in the conservative sectors accepted the notion of a limited, but legally defensible union between two adults of whatever gender, but not through the mechanism of marriage acts. No, no, it could only work under the marriage act, as equity is at stake, but it would be a limited change and no one not affected would really notice. A private arrangement between a progressive and caring government and a tiny, disadvantaged minority...not our business really, come to think of it. The government wisely did not commit to any specifics in writing when it formalized same sex marriage, and at first promised minimal intrusion, sensitivity to traditon and protection of dissenters' right to their conscience. Those who warned about the slope becoming slippery on this one were loudly poo-poohed by the mainstream media...mostly the liberal, but the conservative as well, I must say...and were accused of dangerous alarmism and, of course, underlying homophobia. Your position which without a second thought you appear to think of as reasonable, equitable, good and natural became regulated and scrupulously enforced. Almost overnight, a millenia-old universal definition was scrapped and replaced and any opposition to this became laughable at first, then shameful, then dangerous and is now becoming illegal.

Fine, that's the way the cookie crumbles, perhaps. But the most important precedent in these social engineering tricks, these bureaucratic and judicial fiats, is that significant social and cultural changes ca be legislated rather quickly. Good; that means they can be scrapped even faster.

7 November 2011 18:11  
Blogger Albert said...

David,

Like what? I can't think what obligations anyone's marriage imposes on me.

I think it's fascinating that you even need to ask the question. That is a consequence of the fact that marriage has become a purely private thing between two individuals. Viewed from that perspective, there is no reason why homosexual couples shouldn't marry (I speak as a Catholic), and it is understandable why homosexuals should take offence at others who say they shouldn't.

But those of us who oppose "gay marriage" are not opposing people of the same sex making private commitments to each other.

We believe that marriage entails certain privileges in society - these should include things like tax-breaks and various other legal benefits (a quick Google reveals that in the US there 1400 benefits accruing to married people). These privileges inevitably require certain things from other people. Marriage is essentially a social institution - affecting society as a whole, not just the couple. If you are not talking about such an institution when you speak of "gay marriage" you are not speaking of marriage as any opponent is likely to understand the institution.

Even the RCC accepts something like divorce, by changing history to say that a marriage never happened, given that people can pay for the canon lawyers to find a get out, as far as I can tell.

No, that's not true. Marriage tribunals refuse annulments and many cases don't even get that far, because they have no chance. However, there is no doubt that, provided there is some kind of definition of marriage in place, it follows that some ceremonies which look like marriage ceremonies turn out not to be.

7 November 2011 18:17  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

In that case, perhaps George Osborne could save a bit more money by only paying tax breaks and the like for those straight-married couples who actually go on to have children.

7 November 2011 18:27  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

Who cares ??
Religion in politics is a really poisonous mix.
Look at Ireland, or Poland....

7 November 2011 18:31  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Your Grace

What a gift to UKIP. All they need is to place a firm manifesto commitment to reverse Gay Marriage and Gay Adoption and they’re home. And home really is the word. UKIP will become the natural party for the moral majority. The Libdems finished too for the serious crime of collaboration, so expect a large number of abstentions from their former supporters next election. Most excellent news, what !

We also have UKIP policies to send Johnny Foreigner home, releasing their jobs for Britons, as well as the large number of their non-working types who seem to hang around every town or city centre, doing or planning God knows what. And of course, disengagement from that German-French run EU.

It’s almost as if the moral majority were asked what do YOU want in a political party !

7 November 2011 18:34  
Blogger niconoclast said...

Thank God the Tories no longer do God.It is their only saving grace right now.Church and State may still believe they have a divine right to pry into the nations collective crotch but they are but sad and deluded Orwellian busybodies with totalitarian impulses.Anyone or institution that obsesses about another's sexual proclivities has too much time on their hands and really should try and get a life.

7 November 2011 18:39  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Jon, you declare and then ask:

Don't get me wrong, I'm in favour of marriage equality. I'm less bothered by what it's called, but I don't subscribe to the view that the word "marriage" is somehow sacrosanct. This strikes me as somehow akin to idolatry, since it's surely the 'state' of marriage rather than the word which is the source of society's strength in your eyes? Why do you mind what it's called?

First, I don't know your definition of idolatry, but in my tradition that term, which most would agree is a religious one, has already been scrupulously defined a few millenia before you and I came squeeling into this vale of tears. It doesn't meet your definition or any criteria you might have. Secondly, your attempt to create what I would consider a false dichotomy between the word and the act is an artificial one which I'm free to reject. Think of the two as one in the sense that marriage is by definition a socially and religiously sanctioned union between a man and a woman. Thus any changes to that basic foundation are new and different cultural entities. This is admittedly a tradition-bound, proscriptive and authoritarian definition, one which in our case is based on Judaic and Christian principles. So, when the term is redifined, the authority which is doing the redefining is not only changing law and custom, but intruding on the integrity of religion. If I accept it, I have to accept the state's right to redefine other religious definitions for me. It can, for example, decree that under whatever rationale can be invented, all social workers are now priests, ministers and rabbis, and I must accept them as such. Crazy? Yes, but something like this has already been done before, as recently as in the nineteenth century by Russian Czars and under the Habsburgs, who set up their own criteria for who can be called a minister, priest or rabbio, yes, words do matter and they can be very real and tangible indeed.

7 November 2011 18:40  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Hey, given that I don't expect to have offspring, perhaps I ought to get some of my tax back as a gay rebate. Afterall, my kids won't be taking up school places or using health services etc. Let breeders pool their resources outside of the tax system and pay for all the services their kids collectively use. Blimey, I'm actually sounding like an Old School Tory now. ;)

7 November 2011 18:40  
Blogger Albert said...

In that case, perhaps George Osborne could save a bit more money by only paying tax breaks and the like for those straight-married couples who actually go on to have children

Indeed Dan, but it would be hard to make that distinction without harming the very institution and its purposes. If a couple, for instance, only got state and social support when children arrived, such support would arrive too late.

7 November 2011 18:41  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

They do not care for decent folk,
our political parties we rest our hope.
But gays they don’t see any way
but homo rights and every day !

Come wind or rain or hail or snow,
It’s their agenda fierce and now.
Selfish, inward, totally immersed
in their lifestyle, for best or worst.

Let gays together a party set.
And then we’ll see how far they get.
Election time, they’ll spread their ware.
They’ll see in truth how much we care.

7 November 2011 18:42  
Blogger Albert said...

Anyone or institution that obsesses about another's sexual proclivities has too much time on their hands and really should try and get a life.

I agree niconoclast. Broadly speaking it is no one else's business what homosexuals do to each other, which is why it makes not sense to institutionalise such relationships.

7 November 2011 18:43  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Avi: "Think of the two as one in the sense that marriage is by definition a socially and religiously sanctioned union between a man and a woman. Thus any changes to that basic foundation are new and different cultural entities."

Avi, we have civil marriage in the UK already. They're currently not allowed to include religious elements in the ceremony. Hence, your definition is observably wrong over here.

7 November 2011 18:43  
Blogger Albert said...

Dan,

my kids won't be taking up school places or using health services

Neither will they pay for your pension when you are retired, nor care for you when you are old and ill. But if we do not look after the children of today properly, by supporting the relationships in which they flourish, then someone else's kids may come and break your windows and still not pay your pension when you are retired, nor care for you when you are old and ill.

7 November 2011 18:45  
Blogger David B said...

Albert said

'I think it's fascinating that you even need to ask the question. That is a consequence of the fact that marriage has become a purely private thing between two individuals. Viewed from that perspective, there is no reason why homosexual couples shouldn't marry (I speak as a Catholic), and it is understandable why homosexuals should take offence at others who say they shouldn't.'

Not purely private, I think. There is also becoming legal next of kin, and other legal benefits and obligations.

'But those of us who oppose "gay marriage" are not opposing people of the same sex making private commitments to each other.

We believe that marriage entails certain privileges in society - these should include things like tax-breaks and various other legal benefits (a quick Google reveals that in the US there 1400 benefits accruing to married people). These privileges inevitably require certain things from other people. Marriage is essentially a social institution - affecting society as a whole, not just the couple. If you are not talking about such an institution when you speak of "gay marriage" you are not speaking of marriage as any opponent is likely to understand the institution.'

As I said in another thread, it is principally this sort of issue that led me to changing my mind about gay marriage.

Before seeing discussions on-line on the issue I had pretty much considered it unimportant, and, since I am hetero, an issue that affected me not at all.

It was reading harrowing tales of long term partners being unable to make funeral arrangement, being thrown out of a long term joint home and similar thing that led me to believe that marriage is not purely a private issue, as I had previously thought.

That some long term partners were denied the ability to become next of kin, and have the same sort of position as married heterosexual couples regarding inheritance tax etc was, I concluded, fundamentally unjust.

It is odd, is it not, that your justification for denying gay marriage coincides so closely with my justification for accepting it.

David B

7 November 2011 18:47  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Perhaps gay or lesbian people should be allowed to get married if they commit to adopting children or having children by surrogate arrangements or, in the case of lesbians, lie back and think of England [1] with one of their willing male friends or a turkey baster.

[1] insert country, province, or principality as appropriate.

7 November 2011 18:48  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

DanJO,

Fair enough, we troglodyte "breeders" with prominent brow lines who've selfishly pulled our kids out of a crashing public system, also pay school taxes like you and private school fees without even the benefit of a measly tax deduction. Whenever our neurons manage to fire between endless hours of sky fairy worship and sanctioned copulation, we think...in a manner of speaking... along the same lines. Given the demographics, though, your withdrawal would be unnoticed, whereas ours would crash the whole universal education scheme. You still sure you want to start along that road?

7 November 2011 18:56  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Albert: "Neither will they pay for your pension when you are retired, nor care for you when you are old and ill. [...]"

That's okay. With the money we get in the proposed gay tax rebate, we'll invest it and go private later in life. I'm expecting the willingness of breeders' kids to provide pensions or care in the future to be sorely tested anyway. 'Sides, I'm hoping to retire to Nepal when I'm older in a reverse-Gurkha manoeuvre. :)

7 November 2011 18:56  
Blogger Albert said...

David,

It was reading harrowing tales of long term partners being unable to make funeral arrangement, being thrown out of a long term joint home and similar thing that led me to believe that marriage is not purely a private issue, as I had previously thought.

I am very sympathetic to that. I think that the law should protect the wishes of members of homosexual couples to provide for each other in the event of death. But that does not require marriage and gay marriage also does not address the situation of two sisters who have lived together in one house since childhood - they have the same problem as gays. Are you campaigning for them?

So "gay marriage" doesn't actually solve the problem it claims to be addressing. But then, it isn't intended to, it is about trying to force people to view such relationships in a particular way.

I suspect it may have the very opposite effect.

7 November 2011 18:57  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0. The Inspector believes it’s damn near impossible to mount a lesbian. He has [AHEM} tried it...

7 November 2011 18:58  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Avi: "You still sure you want to start along that road?"

No. I prefer gay marriage, actually. It's socially just and better in the long run. That's actual point I'm making here by making more unnecessary segregations.

7 November 2011 18:59  
Blogger Albert said...

There's something distinctly peculiar about Dan's confidence that he doesn't benefit from the education and well-being of other people's children. It's expressed in his rather charmless use of the word "breeders". No wonder he supports abortion, when he has so little respect for the gift of life, and the good things that come from caring for it.

7 November 2011 19:02  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Avi. The Inspector recalls that this gay marriage nonsense is available in Canada. If our boys want to want to wear a white dress for a day, why can’t they fly out there to do it...

7 November 2011 19:03  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Albert: "There's something distinctly peculiar about Dan's confidence that he doesn't benefit from the education and well-being of other people's children. It's expressed in his rather charmless use of the word "breeders". No wonder he supports abortion, when he has so little respect for the gift of life, and the good things that come from caring for it."

Oh blimey, I'm relegated to the third person now. Things must be bad. :(

Albert thinks my use of the term 'breeders' is merely charmless rather than provocative to push the point. Albert is wrong.

There are other benefits to society for gay people, and straight people who do not wish to have children, to be joined in the social institution of marriage which might deserve tax breaks too.

7 November 2011 19:10  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Congratulations on being perhaps the first to grasp the obvious, DanJO. We are, ultimately, struggling over primacy of preferences opinions and beliefs. It cannot be otherwise, to borrow an expression from His Grace. With this in mind, I can safely assume then that your sense of justice would allow us to express and propagate our views on these matters and that if or when we emerge victorious, you will surrended the ground gracefully and in good spirit. Right.

7 November 2011 19:11  
Blogger The Gray Monk said...

I think the assumption that all Christians vote Tory is misleading. From my attendance at Synods and on various Ministry days, I would be surprised if as many as 57% ever voted Tory in the past, the vast majority always seemed to me to be either in the Liebor or LibDem camps, if they weren't outright raving communist or some other form of socialist ...

Funny that. I must add that with all the really major challenges facing Christians, such as the steady progress of Islamisation of many cities and the decided bias in government toward other faiths, this row is a distraction.

It is a matter of semantics when you come right down to it. In the biblical meaning a "marriage" is the union between a man and a woman with the purpose of procreation as it's purpose. Anything else is merely a form of partnership. As usualour lawmakers in the House of Clowns our parliament has become, can't make a clear distinction without making a pigs ear out of a silk purse in what could be a quite simple exercise.

7 November 2011 19:19  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Avi: "We are, ultimately, struggling over primacy of preferences opinions and beliefs."

Indeed. But no, I will not surrender. Women managed to get their votes by not surrendering in the past to people who tried to hold them back, you know. Here's a thing. I will happily contribute my tax pounds to give straight-married couples tax breaks, whether or not they have children, if they will do the same for me. I'll help pay for their kids' education and health care etc too if they choose to have them. We're all in this together, as someone in government said recently, right? Well, not you obviously since you're not in the UK but, hey, you get the idea I trust.

7 November 2011 19:19  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Inspector, please, the unimaginable trauma of trying to mount a lesbian must have understandably affected your judgement and place in time. We are no longer a colony, not even a dominion, and you cannot just willy-nilly ship planeloads of your blokes in white dresses and tiaras without at least a discussion on Ministerial levels. Refugee claims, on the other hand, seem to be decided by struggling, legal aid-dependent lawyers, bored and overpaid immigration officers and politically appointed apartchiks serving as quasi-judicial immigration adjudicators with instructions to issue apropriate boilerplate refugee determinations.

7 November 2011 19:20  
Blogger Albert said...

Dan,

provocative to push the point

Which point are you pushing?

7 November 2011 19:21  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Avi, dear chap –they would be coming back to the UK after the ‘honeymoon’, possibly with Canadian lumberjacks, if Monty Python is to be believed...

7 November 2011 19:26  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Yes, DanJO we are all in this together, I agree, and however we stumble into our common future, we must do so peacefully and in brotherhood, regardless of where we stand. Likewise, though, I will not, cannot, surrender core principles and definitions either. It is not the first time in history societies have made wrong decisions. The fortunate ones corrected course, the less fortunate ones we don't even remember.

Bbl

7 November 2011 19:28  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Albert: "Which point are you pushing?"

Hurrah, I'm out of the third person form again. Marriage is not all about children as far as the State, acting as our collective agent, is concerned. That's a religious agenda masquerading as secular reasoning, I think. One can see it in the language often used in these debates.

Homes are our basic social building block in the UK and that's couple-oriented now that we nominally have gender-equality and the reality of dual incomes. I think it's in society's interest to have long-term, stable homes whether or not children are involved.

7 November 2011 19:31  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Avi: "Likewise, though, I will not, cannot, surrender core principles and definitions either."

That's okay. If one of the definitions you cherish is that marriage is a religiously-sanctioned institution, despite it not being so in the UK, then feel free to have a religiously-sanctioned marriage. Despite my not agreeing with you, I will accept your religious marriage and the obligations the secular part of your marriage imposes on me. I'm a liberal afterall and I therefore tolerate your minority religious and cultural attributes. Feel free to reciprocate. Afterall, it imposes no more of an obligation in reality on you than yours does on me.

7 November 2011 19:39  
Blogger bluedog said...

Inspector @ 18.58, this communicant trusts the object of your desire was at least a lipstick lesbian.

7 November 2011 19:46  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Bluedog. Can’t remember old chap, it was 30 years ago, and she floored me with a right. May also have been kicked in crotch while unconscious...

7 November 2011 19:49  
Blogger Albert said...

Dan,

I think societies have always had people that have lived in couples of various sorts, without anyone thinking they were marriages, or could be marriages. Neither were such societies religious in the biblical or Qur'anic sense.

7 November 2011 19:57  
Blogger bluedog said...

Your Grace, your communicant recalls that when he was a mere pup and canvassing for votes in his stepfather's constituency there was a simple rule of thumb in British politics. Those areas of the country that found for the King in the Civil War were pre-disposed to vote Conservative and those that followed the Parliament were intrinsically on the Left, be it Labour or Liberal. Winning power was therefore an exercise in appealing to voters on the margins of these blocs.

The complete change in the British demographic since the mid-seventies has removed these ancient certainties and Mr OIG @ 18.34 makes a very astute and serious point when he says, 'It’s almost as if the moral majority were asked what do YOU want in a political party !'

The simple fact is that the population contains a very large Socially Conservative segment that a competent political entrepreneur can exploit and unite to win power. It goes without saying that Dave is not that person, and neither are Clegg or Miliband. All three are captive to the progressive political agenda of the largely metropolitan elite.

It does however seem that UKIP could be on the cusp of success, with a 7-8% share of voting intentions. If UKIP can now properly articulate a socially conservative political manifesto that takes them away from their single issue brand and widens their appeal, UKIP could do to the Conservatives what Labour did to the Liberals.

Wipe them out.

7 November 2011 20:04  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Albert, marriage is a social institution independent of religion and I think we probably agree that there are goals and purposes which society intends by institutionalising arrangements like marriage. That is, there are social benefits to marriage.

When gay marriage comes up, there are a relatively small number of overtly secular arguments against it put forward by the religious. What they obviously do is exclude gay people from marriage by various means. But by my observation, the exclusion does not follow on from the arguments; the arguments are intended to exclude and for covert religious reasons.

Roughly speaking, we have arguments by tradition, arguments by definition, and arguments over purpose. We're into the argument over purpose now. I reckon I need to show that the purposes of marriage are not necessarily immutable and that there are definite benefits to society to be expected by allowing gay people to marry. I think I can do that.

7 November 2011 20:20  
Blogger Roy said...

There have always been problems in choosing political parties on religious grounds. His Grace mentioned that Catholics have tended to vote labour. That was also true of the Non-conformists. It used to be said that the Labour Party owed more to Methodism than Marxism. Heaven knows (and I use that expression deliberately) what those stalwarts would make of the modern Labour Party. In contrast the Church of England was called "the Tory Party at prayer."

I think that if I had been a voter before the Second World War I would have tended to support the Labour Party, or possibly the Liberals, on moral grounds because they cared more about the poor, and most people really were poor in those days, than did the Conservatives.

Even so, however, it might have been more sensible to support the Conservatives. After all, if I need to have treatment from a dentist and had a choice between a competent atheist and an incompetent Christian I would choose the competent atheist dentist every time. The same argument would apply to problems such as sorting out the economy.

I would not try to pick a party to support on moral grounds today. They all seem to be equally bad. However some MPs, and would-be MPs, are better than others.

Although religious syncretism is a bad thing most of the main world religions do hold important values in common, e.g. the sanctity of marriage, and the value of children being brought up by a father and a mother. Therefore there is no reason why Christians should not make common cause with Moslems, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs etc. in opposing immoral and anti-religious laws.

7 November 2011 20:25  
Blogger Albert said...

Dan,

I think you are effectively saying that the arguments against you are dishonest. I think that's quite a hard position for you to defend: just because you think an argument is ineffective, doesn't mean you are right, and even if it is ineffective, it doesn't follow that your opponent can see his argument is faulty.

But I genuinely don't think your argument works:

There are other benefits to society for gay people, and straight people who do not wish to have children, to be joined in the social institution of marriage which might deserve tax breaks too

Well, if that's really the case, then I think, instead of rushing in for "gay marriage", we should look soberly and carefully at who all these people are (just gays or others, like family members), what their needs constitute (e.g. the need to protect property on the death of a partner) and what their contribution to society is.

Now if you can do all that, then I am quite prepared to support the outcome - as I have indicated, I do think persons in gay relationships should be given certain rights. I just think it is very unlikely that you will come out with gay marriage.

7 November 2011 20:30  
Blogger bluedog said...

Mr Roy @ 20.25, the surprising thing in British politics is that the Conservatives have not seriously pitched to the 'Reagan Democrats' to use a US metaphor, or the 'Howard Battlers' to use an Australian metaphor. The success of these political campaigns was entirely dependent on, as you say, 'important values in common, e.g. the sanctity of marriage, and the value of children being brought up by a father and a mother.' Religion per se was never an issue.

It continues to surprise this communicant that the Consveratives have absolutely zero traction amongst the Catholic working class in cities like Liverpool and Glasgow where the electorate is deeply socially conservative and regards the progressive agenda as anathema. A socially conservative political party should be able to win the support of these demographics. One can only put it down to a class thing, wherein the Home Counties image of the Conservatives is an effective jamming of the signal.

But there again, Dave is a progressive who sends a political message that repudiates what the working class stands for.

7 November 2011 20:52  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

The Inspector has read all the arguments for and against ‘gay marriage’. buts lets face it chaps – It’s a bloody ludicrous idea.

Lets get real and you types who fancy boys, do come back down to earth and rejoice that in this country, you don’t get whacked...

7 November 2011 21:13  
Blogger bluedog said...

Mr Inspector @ 19.49, commiserations on your defeat. There is clearly no limit to what these LGBT types will do to promote their agenda.

7 November 2011 21:44  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

It;s a queer (adjective) old world we live in.

Did this proposed legislation which will queer (verb) our ususl concept of marriage appear in any manifesto? If not there is no mandate from the public for such a radical shift in the foundation of our society.

Will there be a free vote with MP's allowed to vote according to conscience? Mind you, do many of them have one?

Inspector
Poor soul. Perhaps before attempting to 'mount' said lesbian you should have introduced yourself. It also helps if one is sober.

DanJO
Without us 'breeders' wouldn't you be out of a job? Besides, you've already conceeded you don't support homosexual 'marriage' and only do so to stir up debate and controversy. Bit dishonest of you. Why not say why you're not in favour of it and give the homosexual contingent something to think about?

7 November 2011 21:58  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

It is an interesting thought that UKIP might possibly reject political correctness and deliberately appeal to those who think that the stability of a society is greatly enhanced by a return to traditional family values. Unfortunately, I suspect that they might view the risk as being too great. In addition, it seems to be very difficult to get the Great British public to listen to candidates and vote accordingly rather than voting on party lines. It needs someone to stand up and take all the flack and character assassination that will accrue. Probably unlikely.

7 November 2011 22:35  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Bluedog / Dodo. The then understudy Inspector had been released from his all boys school and eager to meet these ‘girls’ he had heard about in sex education lessons. It was the time of house parties and bellies full of beer. Oh we were so young and didn’t have a clue. The lady concerned was a female grammar school girl; now, they had quite a reputation. The Inspector drew the short straw.
Might happen to you two one day ! {INSPECTOR SNORTS}

7 November 2011 22:42  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "Besides, you've already conceeded you don't support homosexual 'marriage'"

Dodo, that comment was tongue-in-cheek. The whole lot of it was. Of course I support it and His Grace doesn't actually pay me to argue about it. I've also no idea if he thinks having people willing to take opposing views is better than just a bunch of sycophantic people posting comments in Old English either. I was just joshing.

The 'breeder' thing is gay argot from a decade or two ago used, I think, to push back at people using kids as the primary giver of meaning to adult life. I thought it was well known and so my wry use of it would work but perhaps not. Now that more couples are choosing not to have kids at all or to have kids later in life it isn't as relevant I suppose.

7 November 2011 22:47  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Shacklefree. Historical note. Oswold Mosely spent his life waiting for this moment, but Father Time had him as surely as he will one day have us, gay or no.

7 November 2011 22:48  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Inspector

Given your sexual naivety at the time, the alcohol and your enthusiasm to taste the 'forbidden fruit', are you absolutely sure it was a girl you attempted to mount?

7 November 2011 23:25  
Blogger Jonathan said...

"Homophobia" is just a silly word used by liberals to hurl at the rest of us who actually have a moral opinion about queer behaviour. It is also a misuse of the word, as I'm sure I don't know anyone who is scared of gays, and even if one were, it would hardly be a crime would it?

"Bigot" is another word that should be removed from the dictionary. A "bigot", according to a useless liberal, is someone who holds a moral opinion that they find objectionable, because, as a sissy liberal well knows, only his or her version of morality is correct. LOL, give me a break!

I'll be voting UKIP next time round, even if the local Tory MP loses her seat as a result. David Cameron is just a pathetic, weak minded liberal in a blue suit.

7 November 2011 23:25  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo you wicked bird. The inspector can smell skirt from a distance....

7 November 2011 23:37  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Inspector
The Hannibal Lecter of sex!

Talking of the blood thirsty and insane, I see weatsop has gone to ground again. He pops up like an annoying mole and then scurries off down his hole leaving a pile of dirt behind.

My theory is that the hospital are rationing his use of the internet until his mood settles.

7 November 2011 23:45  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Apocalypse or Not Tomorrow/Today

Just a friendly service announcement from the Great White North that tomorrow for me, and today for you, Asteroid YU55 will whoosh by us by a hair's breadth in astronomical terms at a range of approximately 200,000 miles, which would be closer than our Moon's orbit. Funny, that no one's bothered to give our potential instrument of perdition a more catchy name than YU55. But then, we have been told not to worry...a win-win advice, in my opinion, since civil suits will be hard to file. The scientists claim, with avancular nods, that they are absolutely, cross-my-heart certain about a routine and harmless fly-by as opposed to the alternative, the what-the-f**k-o-shit-wham-splat-boom scenario.

Hmmm. Let us all figuratively join hands across the oceans, close our eyes and hope and pray that the trajectory was calculated by actual astronomers rather than undergraduate "climate scientists" and Greenpeace activists, all peer reviewed by Al Gore and the Hockeystick Mann.

Anyway, sorry I'm off topic with this bit of trivia, but thought I'd remind everyone. Carry on, now.

8 November 2011 01:23  
Blogger asdfsdfadf said...

Your Grace: The reason that fighting legal abortion is so important in the US is that it contributes to de-sanctifying every life. Just look at what's happening in the UK: no one's life is sacred. The actions of the NHS prove it. That's the issue in a nutshell. Legal abortion has ramifications way beyond the aborting of an infant and we must realize that our own lives are also at stake.

8 November 2011 01:58  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Back on topic. From my city, once known as "Toronto the Good," a disturbing homophobic event is about to unfold without either Amnesty International or our own Human Rights Tribunals even commenting on the travesty.

Briefly, two recent immigrants named Pedro and Buddy, have developed a rather strong liking for each other, same sexes notwithstanding, and have flaunted their right to choose by pointedly ignoring lewd advances from eligible local girls. But our officials are not amused and announced that they will exercise their authority to split up Pedro and Buddy and to forcibly pair-bond them to girls selected by alleged experts under undisclosed criteria. Bachelors considering immigration take note of our heavy-handed, but brutally efficient services to newcomers to Canada. However one feels about

Pedro and Buddy are African Penguins, I should mention as an aside, not that this should matter, given that much larger principles are at stake here. The star crossed lovers are confined at the Toronto Zoo, which is hoping to stave off inevitable extinction of their species in their habitat by breeding the dilly looking buggers in captivity and which insists on turning every Tom, Dick and Laura under their care into a "breeder."

Clearly, our zookepers...who undoubtedly sport multi-worded positions and a dangle of incomprehensible degrees...believe this forced sexual preference action will succeed. If it does, the far-reaching implications are either encouraging or chilling, depending on one's religious conviction and political podture.

Before this travesty slides down the public's inclined plane of indifference, contact our consulates or embassies and let your views be known. As for the paper which actually plonked this story above the fold, right near the top, I shall not renew my subscription.

8 November 2011 03:36  
Blogger Harry-ca-Nab said...

Given that the Tories, Labour and the LibDems will all support gay marriage my question is - just who CAN those who object vote for?

Perhaps that is what Cameron is betting on - they have nowhere to go.

8 November 2011 07:18  
Blogger bluedog said...

Mr Shacklefree at 22.35, UKIP’s rise in the voting tables would appear to be a direct consequence of taking a contrarian position on the EU.

In this regard UKIP’s judgement has been completely vindicated and they have gone from being outlying eccentrics to opinion leaders in the last six months.

Quite some shift.

Whether this performance can be repeated in terms of social issues like same-sex marriage and same sex adoption remains to be seen, and clearly the dynamics are completely different to the EU debacle. But at least UKIP can now leverage itself off it’s anti-EU credibility, so an incremental campaign on social issues could possibly succeed. UKIP certainly needs to widen its pitch into other areas of the political debate apart from the EU. Being a single-issue party is limiting and some diversification of risk would be prudent.

The easiest demographic to capture are the disaffected Tories of the Right, but this communicant sees that as an electoral dead-end for UKIP. Success will come by winning the right-wing of the middle class, and most importantly the old white working class vote that has been betrayed by Labour and struggles to think in terms of voting Tory. The tribalism of British class divisions cuts both ways and means that kindred spirits at opposite ends of the social spectrum go through life in total ignorance of each other. So it is with the Tories and the working-class, many of whom share identical social values.

Anyway, if this communicant had anything to do with UKIP, he would visit the boys at the Roman Catholic Arch-Diocese of Liverpool and find out what’s on their minds. This communicant knows from personal experience that the RC Arch-Diocese of Liverpool is extraordinarily influential over a very wide stretch of the West Coast of the UK, all the way to Glasgow and beyond, deep into the Gaeltach to use the Irish Gaelic term. You may have read that before the May 2010 general election, Labour parachuted a London based candidate into a Liverpool electorate, and it turned out she had never heard of Bill Shankly. Not a good start and it highlights Labour’s weakness.

The question is, can Nigel Farage connect with this community? Would he know what it is and what it means?

There’s huge opportunity for a new political force in north of Watford Gap, but Buckinghamshire, it ain’t.

8 November 2011 09:47  
Blogger Albert said...

Harry-ca-Nab,

I think it highly likely that the Tory vote will just collapse at the next election, for the reasons I gave on 7 November 2011 at 14:10.

Oddly the one thing that might save Cameron is something robust and patriotic as the Falklands did for Mrs Thatcher. But it's hard to see what that would be for Cameron, unless it involved leaving the EU, or gaining such a radical repatriation of powers that we would be signed up to nothing more than a trade agreement. But Cameron isn't even going to try the former, or likely to succeed at the latter. To me, he just comes across as weak and lacking in real vision.

8 November 2011 09:51  
Blogger Theo said...

I'm more interested in how many Christians will abandon Tesco at their adoption of "Gay Pride"

8 November 2011 10:37  
Blogger Oswin said...

Avi: dammit! I was considering booking passage tomorrow, until the penguin bit! Don't get near enough ''lewd advances'' here in the dismal, frozen wastes of Northumberland...sighs...

8 November 2011 16:59  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Theo: "I'm more interested in how many Christians will abandon Tesco at their adoption of "Gay Pride""

Not many if they think of Tescos Rewards rather than heavenly ones. Afterall, they're definitely there, they are available today, and for a limited period you can trade £5 of Clubcard vouchers for £20 of Reward vouchers in Cafe Rouge.

8 November 2011 17:10  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

p.s. I'm being flippant there, Dodo. :)

8 November 2011 17:11  
Blogger William said...

Avi said

"African Penguins"

Are they related to the Arctic Flamingos? No wonder they are a bit confused poor loves. :)

8 November 2011 17:21  
Blogger Jon said...

Avi, it's not the first time that Penguins have found love amongst their own gender.

See the children's book "And Tango makes three" for a rather nice story which I'm sure will moisten even the Dodo's eye. After all, if Dodo's had spent less time being fat and stupid maybe there would be more of them around!

8 November 2011 17:43  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Jon

The Dodo's problems first started with the arrival of rats in their midst. An unnatural change to the balance of their ecology followed.

Apocryphal?

8 November 2011 18:35  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Avi

Not only homophobic but possibly racist too. Keep us briefed on progress. I'm sure the poor fellows will get their peckers up eventually and do their duty! Just a bit traumatised at the moment.

8 November 2011 18:49  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Your Inspector used to keep a large colony of mice. What may seem like homosexual activity may be nothing more than the universal habit of grooming amongst furred and feathered creatures. And remember this, the groomer gets to eat the lice or ticks...

8 November 2011 19:23  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

Theo, I've already informed Tesco that I will not be shopping there any more and two of my friends are going to be returning their Tesco cards. Let's all spread the word and get more people involved. This could take off.

9 November 2011 00:30  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Why would anyone choose to shop at Tesco?

9 November 2011 00:53  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Jon said, "Avi, it's not the first time that Penguins have found love amongst their own gender. See the children's book 'And Tango makes three" for a rather nice story which I'm sure will moisten even the Dodo's eye."

I'm familiar with the book, Jon. I even took it out of the library to show my kids and to provide context from the perspective of our values. Call it immunization against the recent flood of aggressive social propaganda in our school systems, from JK right up to university.

Apart from other issues having to do with this little problem of administrative social engineering projects pushing unacceptable messages on horrified parents and communities, the book is cringingly insipid and fraudulent to boot. The idea of "gay penguins" is a silly anthropomorphism not even children should be subjected to. The notion that behavioural dysfunctions in stressed animals can somehow illustrate "normalcy" and even morally instruct us, is unsupportable to me. In real life, apparently, the two male penguins were artificially paired or left to pair-up by the zoo due to shortage of females. As soon as a surplus female was introduced to Tango's group, one of the supposedly gay penguins took off after the real thing, pecker at full mast presumably, and never looked back. No regrets, letters or flowers. Reality does get in the way of maudlin arguments or theories sometimes, doesn't it? And as to why Tango is still spoon-fed to kids without a mention of the real case and how it concluded is something you might try to tackle.

9 November 2011 03:13  
Blogger Gary said...

"I am a liberal, and an atheist in no particular order, and I would find it hard to vote for a pro-sodomite government, too.

One that treats it adult citizens even-handedly, on the other hand, is one that I would vote for, and one which discriminates against a small but significant section of the population I would not be happy to vote for.

David B"


Hmmm... Do you mean absolutely all adult citizens, regardless of their corrupted and corrupting sexual orientation? Homosexuals, paedophiles, those who practice incest or have a thing for barnyard animals...?

9 November 2011 09:40  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Gary.

Paedophilia, Incest and Bestiality practicing all have one thing in common. They are LIFESTYLE choices, resulting from a lack of moral fibre and integrity. We can’t put them all in prison as these nonces would outnumber the rest. We’d need another 100 000 prison places ! The way to deal with them is to fine them heavily – tailor made for each individual. Bring them down to a subsistence level for say 18 months, which will give them plenty of time to reassess their behaviour. As for those on benefits, stop the benefits for a similar time, and turf them out of their accommodation. Let them wander the streets. Harsh but fair, what !

9 November 2011 11:16  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Inspector, your optimism is touching. However, you forget the wonderful capacity of our species to rationalize andd normalize even the most abhorent of acts. Progress apparently marches on inspite of us and solutions are already in the works.

Note that there are emerging arguments in the psychiatric community that paedophilia, bestiality and incest need to be decriminalized and accepted as genuine disorders for which medical help, not crude punishment such as you recommend, must be provided. To wit, John De Cecco, editor of the Journal of Homosexuality and a board member of Paedika: Journal of Paedophilia wrote, back in 1990: "… we understand [paedophilia] to be consensual intergenerational sexual
relationships...Through publication of scholarly studies, thoroughly documented and carefully reasoned, we intend to demonstrate that paedophilia has been, and remains, a legitimate and productive part of the totality of human experience."
So, there.

With regards to loving our cuddly and furry friends, Wardell B. Pomeroy, co-author of the Kinsey Reports wrote that an amorous affairs with a male animal "... whether it is a dog, horse, bull or some other species, may provide considerable erotic excitement for the boy...Psychically, animal relations may become of considerable significance to the boy who is having regular experiences...[and is] in no point basically different from those that are involved in erotic responses to human situations." See?

As for incest, the same author opines for our elucidartion that, "We find many beautiful and mutually satisfying [sexual] relationships between fathers
and daughters. These may be transient or ongoing, but they have no harmful effects...Incest between adults and younger children can also prove to be a satisfying and enriching experience..."
Get it?

So, the path can be simplified with a simple formula I have concocted: rejection of "archaic" prohibitions > medicalization of the "syndrome" > decriminalization > de-medicalization > legislative acceptance and protection > celebration as a valid lifestyle > criminalization of any lingering objections > done. I'm afraid then that the folks who'll wind up "wandering the streets" won't be the ones you have in mind, what?

Nota bene: The above citations are from Dr Jeffrey B. Satinover's "The 'Trojan Couch':
How the Mental Health Associations Misrepresent Science."

9 November 2011 12:33  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Avi. Never fully appreciated the Old Testament concept of ‘mans fall’ until these pseudo scientists came on the scene. Have you noticed that as these disturbed people are now in the ascendant, the term ‘common sense’ is fast disappearing as an everyday expression. As a genuine psychiatrist once told me, it’s the insane who are the last to realise their condition, if they realise it all that is. Following from that, it appears that once you have at least two together, enrolling others into your way of thinking becomes easier each time someone else comes on board...

9 November 2011 12:50  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Ah, Inspector, I suspect you've found the buttoms that will launch me into rambles, so here I go again. "Common sense," Inspector, has also become a distastful, incorrect and laughable term, especially in the debate about sexuality. A quaint, folksy fallacy by the ones left behind or struggling against Science and Progress. So, with this little archaic and droll impediment we call "common sense" out from underfoot, we can now "move on!" Move onto, for example, to declaring that homophobia is now not only prohibited, but is a psychiatric malady (done already). This will sure put a damper on the opposition's ever-weakening squawks about not only about same sex marriage but into the next things in line. Now the we dealt with sexual orientation and gender bias in one stroke, we can go after this unjust and inequitable insistence on couples and pairs, for example. Welcome, long-lost sister, polygamy. After that, the slippery slope dips rather steeply, and in a fit of panic over violating someone's rights, we quickly strike ageism by redefing age of consent and limiting or removing parental authority to liberate "our" (how patriarchal!) children for the waiting marketplace and the predators.

And yet, this isn't a plot, as some think of it as. We waste time trying to unravel the nonexistent. This is a natural and logical conclusion we will inevitably arrive at. Once the memory of Judeo-Christian common sense weakens with the generations, and we totally secularize our society right back to the worst kind of superstitious and selfish paganism, we will again become meat for the powerful, meat to be traded, confined, raped, enslaved, used up and snuffed out whenever inconvenient. After all, this has been...and in many places still is...the norm for most of the world throught the ages. We've been there, done that and got the t-shirt too....what!

9 November 2011 16:02  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Avi, the Inspector is going to revive the phrase ‘common sense’ on this very site. Especially when that gay marriage outrage is mentioned !

9 November 2011 17:45  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Avi
What a wise summary of the moral descent of man. You have demonstrated an insight into the consequences of abandoning Judeo-Christian truths.

Sin does lead to 'illness' and addictive behaviour as the capacity to resist temptation weakens and people jusify their action. Add to this countless people saying it's okay to have homosexual sex and some now arguing it's okay to have sex with children, with animals and with family members and these sinful objective disorders become legitimate 'normal' life style choices.

Inspector
True 'common sense' comes from an informed and properly developed conscience. Unfortunately it is uncommon nowadays.

9 November 2011 19:03  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Thanks; glad to be useful from time to time.

10 November 2011 00:45  
Anonymous PH. Liverpool. said...

The Roman Catholic bishops have been conspicuous by their public silence on this question. Lord Carey is the only spokesman for Christianity so far. Rather than closing down the adoption agencies the bishops should have kept them open and defied the legislation and suffered the consequences. At least it would have highlighted the situation and could have caused considerable difficulties for the government especially if they were to continually having to fine or imprison Catholics, making them martyrs. Alas, Christians no longer consider martyrdom as a consequence of their Faith. Unlike their predecessors in ancient Rome who went to their deaths rather than compromise their expectation of salvation, very few of these sorts of Christian exists these days. The clergy, whether C of E RC or Free Church seem to be more concerned with their image in modern society than with preaching and defending the absolute, basic tenets of their Religion.

27 February 2012 21:29  

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