Monday, February 18, 2013

'Committed Christians' quit the Conservatives


This has been coming for a while. His Grace wrote over a year ago about the 57 per cent of UK Christians intending to abandon the Conservative Party over ‘gay marriage’. Some view it as David Cameron's 'Clause IV' moment: His Grace sees it rather as Cameron's Poll Tax, because however just and equitable the policy may be, it is catastrophically bad politics for both David Cameron personally and for the Conservative Party generally.

Of Christians surveyed :
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%).

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. And when you add to these the votes of those ethnic-minority faith groups which the Conservative Party needs to attract in order to win a majority - the Pakistani Muslim vote in Luton; the Indian Sikh vote in Southall, the African-Caribbean Pentecostal vote in Lewisham - it becomes clear that Cameron is leading his party into a gay-marriage wilderness that might just last rather longer than 40 years.

The curious thing is...

No news has reached His Grace of this mass Christian exodus, except for two councillors in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. And these 'committed Christians' are Mormons, who aren't Christians at all, though it's probably 'hate-speech' to say so.

Nick and Matt Grant (who - let's be honest - look uncannily like Mormons) have served as Conservative councillors since 2000 and 2006 respectively, and are also members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In a statement announcing their resignation, they said: "The Conservative Party leadership’s proposals for ‘same-sex marriage’ is at odds with our personal position (as committed Christians) and belief in what traditional marriage is."

They explained that marriage is 'not a political matter, but exclusively a religious matter', and so 'No mortal man has the right to redefine that which God has decreed'. It is simply that 'Same-sex marriage – as we, and many others see it – is an intrusion of politics into an area of sincerely held religious beliefs'.

Pre-empting the inevitable accusations, they continued: “Our position is not homophobic in any way. We did not oppose the introduction of ‘civil partnerships’ and the legal equality that this introduced for same-sex couples."

Could His Grace please just confirm that all those Pentecostals and Roman Catholics who 'strongly opposed' same-sex marriage are still, in fact, supporting the Conservative Party, and that the media is simply failing to report the mass resignation of these devout councillors and party workers? Could His Grace also please confirm that the hundreds of thousands of right-leaning Muslims and Sikhs who have abandoned the Tories over 'gay marriage' have simply been ignored by the Coventry Telegraph? But a couple of Mormons is newsworthy, right? Because they're weird, right?

82 Comments:

Blogger Simon Cooke said...

"Pakistani Muslim vote in Luton; the Indian Sikh vote in Southall, the African-Caribbean Pentecostal vote in Lewisham."

Since these groups overwhelmingly vote Labour - a Party that has, unless I've missed something, enthusiastically supported gay marriage - why do we suppose it is different for the Conservatives.

This is just a rather naff and tokenistic argument - we aren't going to get those votes by appealling to religion.

18 February 2013 at 09:23  
Blogger Galant said...

Yes, I think there is apathy over this issue of party support because no alternative is seen. People are just resigned to picking lesser of two weevils.

18 February 2013 at 09:39  
Blogger Brian West said...

Surely many Christians who are furious with Cameron's Conservatives for promoting SSM think that voting otherwise, or not voting at all, might make things worse, not better.

Brian West

18 February 2013 at 09:41  
Blogger Brian West said...

Galant 09:35

... or the least of many weevils.

Brian

18 February 2013 at 09:47  
Blogger David B said...

Is it not refreshing to see a politician proceeding with something he thinks right even if it may be at the cost of electoral support?

David

18 February 2013 at 09:59  
Blogger David B said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

18 February 2013 at 09:59  
Blogger Harry-ca-Nab said...

Cameron must be mad.

There will be no reports of people ceasing to support the Tories because they will do so quietly and without fuss.

He will never get anything other than a thin slice of the immigrant vote whereas he is losing a huge slice of the traditional British vote.

Add to that the fact that he is ignoring the white working class, as is Labour, and we see that there will be w huge proportion of British voters who are effectively disenfranchised by the three main parties.

If he just had the sense nay, bravery, to appeal to his traditional base of professionals, retirees and the self employed together with a strong message to the white working class on jobs, immigration, schooling, NHS etc he could romp home. If he were to "fumble" the Scottish vote we could be rid of a swathe of Labour MPs, sort out the boundaries and Britain would be tory for our lifetimes.

But he would rather pander to the people around him - North London luvvies, left wing media and pressure groups.

How can we be called a democracy when probably 60% of the electorate will not have their views represented at the next election?

And don't say UKIP, BNP or any other nonsense - they will be marginalised.

18 February 2013 at 10:04  
Blogger Jessica Hoff said...

Mr Cameron has done what he considers right; he may also consider it expedient. Others will do the same - and unfortunately for him the only people who feel strongly on this one that he is wrong tend to vote Conservative. It may be they will hold their nose and vote for their local candidate (as I shall, but he voted against). Either way, he has shown the party in the country what he thinks of it - and it seems to be keenly reciprocated.

18 February 2013 at 10:50  
Blogger Flossie said...

The mainstream media, generally speaking, just loves to portray Christians as swivel-eyed loonies, and will always pick out those who most nearly represent its collective viewpoint.

They need exciting headlines to sell newspapers (and to pander to the prejudices/worldviews of their readership). I do remember a well-known religious affairs correspondent being turned away by the newsdesk with 'just another Anglican split' story as it was no longer newsworthy as far as the editor was concerned.

18 February 2013 at 10:52  
Blogger John Thomas said...

The problem, David B., is whether Cameron really really thinks it's right, or if - as many suggest - he's just doing it to pre-emp "instructions" from Above (no, not God, the EU). Now if only a PM would indeed do something he thinks is right, but actually something that truly is right.

18 February 2013 at 10:57  
Blogger Ars Hendrik said...

I left the party over this issue, and wrote to my MP telling him so. I also know a number of other Tories who are thinking of 'punishing' Cameron next time around, as they blame him singly for this issue. There may not be any great public show of resignations, but it seems as if the effect could be considerable.

My MP did send me a lovely standard-form letter, setting out why changing marriage was the right thing to do, but it did not address any of the issues that I raised in advance of the vote, none of which were to do with homosexuality.

To summarise my objections:

1) Why should such a profound change be brought about now, with no clear mandate to do so?

2) Never mind religion, consider the legal and cultural ramifications – e.g. marriage has always required sexual intercourse (as defined in legislation). To create one marriage for all will therefore require the removal of sexual intercourse from the meaning and definition of the union. The effect will be to turn marriage into a civil partnership and the ending of marriage as it has been understood and practiced for centuries.

3) Not a gay issue – there are many groups that want marriage redefined. There are those in favour of polygamous marriage, removal of bigamy laws or an end to the prohibitions against close relative unions (and if anyone is stupid enough to think that this is a comparison between homosexuality and incest…). It is only in the face of homosexual rights campaigners that Cameron has caved in, we have a right to know why.

To my surprise the legislation as proposed is even more absurd than I imagined. As I understand it, there will effectively be three types of marriage if the bill becomes law: heterosexual marriage (sex still necessary), homosexual marriage (no sex required), civil partnerships (no sex required). So, one form of relationship for 98% and two for 2%. Doesn't require the wisdom of Hawking to realise that the reformers are not going to stop here.

I told my MP that in future I would vote and campaign for UKIP. Not because I particularly support them, but because on the gay marriage issue and many others they alone seem to put the ordinary British voter above the isms and ologies of the day.

18 February 2013 at 11:05  
Blogger Dave said...

"Nick and Matt Grant (who - let's be honest - look uncannily like Mormons)..."

I rather thought they looked like a nice gay couple...

18 February 2013 at 11:16  
Blogger raggedclown said...

Whither now, O committed Christians?

UKIP? The BNP? Is that what Jesus would have wanted?

Or maybe you will find time to go to church, which so few of you seem "committed" enough to do at the moment. Or to read The Bible -- you know, that book you wave when screaming at the gays. It's got some pretty good stuff in it about loving thy neighbour and forgiving thy enemies.

18 February 2013 at 11:25  
Blogger Ars Hendrik said...

Typical lurid crap from raggedclown (spade a spade) – I have never seen Christians screaming at gays; though have seen quite a few gays screaming at Christians (usually filmed doing so in the porches of or at the altars of churches).

It's not only Christians who have issues with this, raggedclown, so why not address some of the real and often stated objections instead of just indulging in witless fantasy.

18 February 2013 at 11:38  
Blogger john in cheshire said...

Mr Cameron is behaving like a communist. If it walks like a duck etc.

18 February 2013 at 11:50  
Blogger Preacher said...

In my opinion, before we vote in any by election or general election, we should know which of the candidates voted in favour of SSM & which didn't.
A knee jerk reaction against the Conservative party would be wrong when almost half of them voted against the proposal. It was Clegg, Milliband & their respective parties that pushed the bill through.
The Conservative party should get rid of the liability that is Cameron & rebuild, Quickly, if they want to avoid being shipwrecked with the discredited Liberal party. This is simply sound common sense.
By all means vote for the party that meets your own criteria for government but don't let one P.M's stupidity destroy the whole structure.

18 February 2013 at 11:55  
Blogger raggedclown said...

john in cheshire wrote:
"Mr Cameron is behaving like a communist. If it walks like a duck etc."

Yes, Stalin was often known for allowing free votes on legislation in the Supreme Soviet.

As for knowing which candidate voted for same-sex marriage (Preacher), try a little thing called Google.

My Tory MP voted for it. He has also been an excellent constituency MP.

18 February 2013 at 12:06  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

David B:

Conviction politicians are indeed an oasis in the wilderness. Of course, most of those who tell us they are conviction politicians possess convictions uncannily similar to the prevailing winds of principle that gust through Westminster.

It's still quite possible that they are convictions sincerely held - indeed, I'd say it's quite probable, given that the party machines have a good way of weeding out principled voices that don't fit in (as our Host well knows). But I don't think I'll describe it as specifically brave.

18 February 2013 at 12:30  
Blogger Nick said...

The media has generally been one-sided on the issue of gay marriage.

I am reminded of the sanctimonious jon (Whiter-than-White) Snow on channel 4 news. He might as well be wearing the stonewall T-short for all the impartiality in his reporting. The same goes for many BBC reporters too.

Can I just remind everyone that it is NOT JUST TORY SUPPORTERS who are opposed to this legislation. I voted LibDem at the last election (never again Mr Clegg) and was a party member for a while. Prior to that I was a Labour voter (come on, we all make mistakes when we're young).

This legislation is a political watershed for the Tory party who may never fully recover from it. I think many voters will switch to UKIP as the only party officially opposed to gay marriage.

18 February 2013 at 12:44  
Blogger Flossie said...

Preacher: Some 126 Conservatives voted for the bill, along with teller Desmond Swayne.

They were: Stuart Andrew (Pudsey), Greg Barker (Bexhill & Battle), John Baron (Basildon & Billericay), Gavin Barwell (Croydon Central), Richard Benyon (Newbury), Crispin Blunt (Reigate), Nick Boles (Grantham & Stamford), Peter Bottomley (Worthing West), Karen Bradley (Staffordshire Moorlands), James Brokenshire (Old Bexley & Sidcup), Aidan Burley (Cannock Chase), Conor Burns (Bournemouth West), Alistair Burt (Bedfordshire North East), Dan Byles (Warwickshire North), David Cameron (Witney), Neil Carmichael (Stroud), James Clappison (Hertsmere), Greg Clark (Tunbridge Wells), Kenneth Clarke (Rushcliffe), Damian Collins (Folkestone & Hythe), Oliver Colville (Plymouth Sutton & Devonport), Tracey Crouch (Chatham & Aylesford), Stephen Dorrell (Charnwood), James Duddridge (Rochford & Southend East), Alan Duncan (Rutland & Melton), Iain Duncan Smith (Chingford & Woodford Green), Michael Ellis (Northampton North), Jane Ellison (Battersea), Michael Fabricant (Lichfield), Mark Field (Cities of London & Westminster), Mike Freer (Finchley & Golders Green), Lorraine Fullbrook (South Ribble), David Gauke (Hertfordshire South West), Nick Gibb (Bognor Regis & Littlehampton), Zac Goldsmith (Richmond Park), Michael Gove (Surrey Heath), Richard Graham (Gloucester), Helen Grant (Maidstone & The Weald), Chris Grayling (Epsom & Ewell), Damian Green (Ashford), Justine Greening (Putney), Ben Gummer (Ipswich), Sam Gyimah (Surrey East), William Hague (Richmond (Yorks)), Stephen Hammond (Wimbledon), Matthew Hancock (Suffolk West), Greg Hands (Chelsea & Fulham), Mark Harper (Forest of Dean), Richard Harrington (Watford), Chris Heaton-Harris (Daventry), Charles Hendry (Wealden), Nick Herbert (Arundel & South Downs), Damian Hinds (Hampshire East), George Hollingbery (Meon Valley), Kris Hopkins (Keighley), John Howell (Henley), Jeremy Hunt (Surrey South West), Margot James (Stourbridge), Sajid Javid (Bromsgrove), Bernard Jenkin (Harwich & Essex North), Jo Johnson (Orpington), Andrew Jones (Harrogate & Knaresborough), Daniel Kawczynski (Shrewsbury & Atcham), Simon Kirby (Brighton Kemptown), Andrew Lansley (Cambridgeshire South), contd/...

18 February 2013 at 12:45  
Blogger Flossie said...

contd/ Jessica Lee (Erewash), Oliver Letwin (Dorset West), Brandon Lewis (Great Yarmouth), Peter Luff (Worcestershire Mid), Jason McCartney (Colne Valley), Mary Macleod (Brentford & Isleworth), Patrick McLoughlin (Derbyshire Dales), Francis Maude (Horsham), Theresa May (Maidenhead), Mark Menzies (Fylde), Maria Miller (Basingstoke), Nigel Mills (Amber Valley), Andrew Mitchell (Sutton Coldfield), Penny Mordaunt (Portsmouth North), Stephen Mosley (Chester, City of), David Mowat (Warrington South), David Mundell (Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale & Tweeddale), Dr Andrew Murrison (Wiltshire South West), Brooks Newmark (Braintree), Sarah Newton (Truro & Falmouth), Eric Ollerenshaw (Lancaster & Fleetwood), Guy Opperman (Hexham), George Osborne (Tatton), Richard Ottaway (Croydon South), John Penrose (Weston-Super-Mare), Andrew Percy (Brigg & Goole), Eric Pickles (Brentwood & Ongar), Chris Pincher (Tamworth), Daniel Poulter (Suffolk Central & Ipswich North), Dominic Raab (Esher & Walton), Mark Reckless (Rochester & Strood), Hugh Robertson (Faversham & Kent Mid), Amber Rudd (Hastings & Rye), Laura Sandys (Thanet South), Grant Shapps (Welwyn Hatfield), Alok Sharma (Reading West), Mark Simmonds (Boston & Skegness), Keith Simpson (Broadland), Chris Skidmore (Kingswood), Chloe Smith (Norwich North), Julian Smith (Skipton & Ripon), Nicholas Soames (Sussex Mid), Anna Soubry (Broxtowe), Caroline Spelman (Meriden), Andrew Stephenson (Pendle), Iain Stewart (Milton Keynes South), Rory Stewart (Penrith & The Border), Hugo Swire (Devon East), Justin Tomlinson (Swindon North), Elizabeth Truss (Norfolk South West), Ed Vaizey (Wantage), Theresa Villiers (Chipping Barnet), Charles Walker (Broxbourne), Robin Walker (Worcester), Dame Angela Watkinson (Hornchurch & Upminster), Mike Weatherley (Hove), Chris White (Warwick & Leamington), David Willetts (Havant), Dr Sarah Wollaston (Totnes), Tim Yeo (Suffolk South), Sir George Young (Hampshire North West).

18 February 2013 at 12:45  
Blogger Flossie said...

The votes of the whole boiling can be read here: (scroll down)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/blog/2013/feb/05/gay-marriage-debate-politics-live-blog

18 February 2013 at 12:47  
Blogger Preacher said...

Thank you Flossie. My point was that voters who are opposed to SSM & who would normally vote for the Conservative party should check to see what their local M.P voted for in the open vote, as a 'protest' vote could be a retrograde step as most of the support for the bill came from the opposition Labour & minority Liberal members of the house.
Your list of those in favour should help many voters in choosing their next candidate in an election.
Personally I've voted UKIP for many years & will continue to do so.

18 February 2013 at 13:40  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

David B said...
"Is it not refreshing to see a politician proceeding with something he thinks right even if it may be at the cost of electoral support?

Oh please, none of that guff.

Cameron has no democratic mandate from the public for this redefinition of marrriage. He introduced this not as a matter of principle but because he wants to 'modernise' and update the image of the Conservatives.

Get real!




18 February 2013 at 13:49  
Blogger David B said...

There does seem to be a lot of cynicism about Cameron's motives among the congregation.

But to another point from HG's OP, Mormons are indeed weird, with beliefs that are out of any sort of resemblance to reality, but there is more to it than that.

As one or two people here have picked up on I have something of an interest in, and dislike of, cults. As such - and google will help anyone who wants to verify this for themselves - I've looked at a number of websites for ex-Mormons, and read some very harrowing tales of how people came to believe that the only honourable course of action was to abandon the faith they had been indoctrinated into, along with tales about the personal consequences for them after taking the honourable course.

They are not alone of course - but it seems that some religions and some sects are harder to leave, and those who do leave have worse consequences, than others. The cult I was involved in was not, I think, nearly as bad as Mormonism in this regard. On the basis of my reading the Scientologists are perhaps the most difficult to leave, but Mormonism is up there with the JWs, and the Amish and Hutterites and sects like that. Perhaps even worse would be the Westboro Baptists - there have been recent reports of another couple of defections from them, and the defectors have been ostracised as per normal.

I have sometimes been criticised for claiming being indoctrinated into sects should be considered as child abuse - but is there anyone here who would claim that being indoctrinated into the Westboro Baptists isn't child abuse? I do hope not.

There are also harrowing stories from more mainstream Protestant and Catholic defectors, but the Mormons, JWs, and the others I mention above seem to be far worse.

The LDS - not only weird, not only out of touch with reality, but nasty to those who find they can no longer live with the weirdness etc.

David

18 February 2013 at 14:22  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

David B

I suspect some pretty damaged people are attracted to fringe cults and will be disturbed by leaving. Why do you seek to tar all Christian Churches with the same brush?

So why did you join a cult and which one was it?

18 February 2013 at 14:35  
Blogger DaveR said...

I don't really think reading random things on the internet either makes one an authority on what is weird, or allows one "to verify this for themselves".

Seriously, if that's the bar for evidence than it's easy to use google to verify for yourself that the world is ran by Lizard people.

18 February 2013 at 14:45  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

DaveR

But the world is run by Lizards! Alongside them are their collaborators - the secret cults of Judaism, Jesuitry and Masonry.

I know this. I have researched it and Google tells me so.

18 February 2013 at 14:54  
Blogger DaveR said...

Heh, well if it's on the internet it must be true!

18 February 2013 at 14:57  
Blogger David Lonsdale said...

The BBC and mainstream media have kept quiet about the EU angle but if you really want to know why Cameron introduced this Bill it was because of an initiative coming from the Council of Ministers whereby homosexuals married in, say, Portugal, would have to be recognised as married in any other EU country to which they travelled or moved.
Just in case you had'nt noticed the French were having similar debates. They were not doing so because they thought that Cameron was a good man to follow.
If you want to know the real story, Richard North on eureferendum.com can provide chapter and verse.
Only UKIP opposed homosexual marriage, so presumably, they can expect an influx of voters.

18 February 2013 at 14:59  
Blogger DaveR said...

I suspect Cameron was also influenced by Obama's position on the subject, and a rather simplistic reading of the events of the US election.

18 February 2013 at 15:06  
Blogger Nick said...

I heard Camneron was talked into it by Samantha (the "fist lady"). Or was it Lady Tatchell throwing one of his hissy fits?

18 February 2013 at 15:28  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

18 February 2013 at 16:09  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

I guess it depends upon your world view as to what a cult is or isn't; to some extreme atheists, all religions are cults.

I know one of the churches I went to once, was 'charismatic', in which they were all falling on the floor and 'speaking in tongues'. Was that a wacky cult, or people just practising their religion?

I couldn't comment about the LDS Church because I don't really know much about it. I don't know if there are any Mormon's in his grace's readership, but it would be helpful if there was for a response to David B's claims that it is a cult.

I can look things up on the internet, but if it is a critical viewpoint, rather than a pro- or neutral one you have to be careful.

I know that with the Jewish religion there a lot of sites out there that twist and make up stuff about it- even inventing or misquoting passages from the Talmud for example.

18 February 2013 at 16:10  
Blogger Et Expecto said...

Catholics lead the thinking again.

18 February 2013 at 16:12  
Blogger Ars Hendrik said...

As innumerable posts on this blog have attested, this is a huge issue for Cameron who, I suspect, has naively thought that this and similar 'social' issues would make him the Blair of the Conservatives.

Those of us who remember 1997 will know that Blair's victory came about from the creation of New Labour, a decisive (and internally unpopular) clean break with the 'beer and sandwiches' trade unionists of the past. It made Labour look stylish and forward facing (posher as well, as sharp suits and black brogues replaced corduroys and Hush Puppies). It worked, at least for Blair, though he himself is now 'poisonous to the brand' as the clever people say.

This is Cameron's ploy – to capture the New Labour middle ground from Labour and the Lib Dems by matching them on 'leftist' social issues such as gay marriage. It is superficial, to say the least, because he is still old-Tory on issues such as benefit reforms.

I suspect that nothing he does on the social side will convince anyone (and, of course, the Lib Dems will claim all of the credit for gay marriage and anything else that has a 'social' stamp on it). The paid up and voting members of his own party, outside of the Westminster coterie, are unlikely to forgive him either, for completely ignoring them on gay marriage and other issues.

For the Conservative Party, the only likely solution is to ditch Cameron before the next election and get someone in who can recapture the heart of the party and at least put a brave face on it. Either that or sack him immediately afterwards, when the Conservatives experience election melt-down.

The former option is the best one for the party, as a new leader could at least promise a phoenix from the ashes. Cameron, standing in the ruins of his own bunker, would be unhesitatingly destroyed by the very people who now support him.

18 February 2013 at 16:23  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

I guess we haven’t heard of hoards of councillors leaving the Conservative party because most probably don't go to church and those that do aren’t necessarily real Christians so don’t have a strong opinion either way.
BTW. I saw the commons committee hearing of witnesses where the Coalition for Marriage were questioned. Sorry, interrogated. The pro MP's were aggressively rude to them even demanding an apology over their supporter’s actions.
It was a bit like 'When did you last see your Father'.

18 February 2013 at 16:35  
Blogger Flossie said...

I too watched that, Mr Integrity. They were given a hard time, but put up a very brave fight, I thought, in the face of hostile and rather sneering questioning - quite a contrast to the gracious stroking of the pro-gay religionists. Talk about slanted.

The star if the show, in my opinion, was atheist journalist Brendan O'Neill on Thursday afternoon. Anglican Mainstream has posted a few clips from Hansard.

http://www.anglican-mainstream.net/2013/02/18/brendan-o%e2%80%99neill%e2%80%99s-contribution-to-the-house-of-commons-committe-on-the-same-sex-marriage-bill/

18 February 2013 at 16:46  
Blogger Flossie said...

C4M are distributing leaflets to every Eastleigh resident setting out ten reasons why gay marriage is a bad idea.

If anyone wants to watch the grilling of C4M, it is here on Parliament TV, about 02.47 in.

http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=12592

18 February 2013 at 16:50  
Blogger DaveR said...

Hannah

I'm a regular reader of the blog (if an extremely infrequent commentator) and I'm a Mormon, and I'm pretty sure there's others since the one time there was a major discussion about it I had them contact me privately about it.

You're right about the problem of sources, in some cases due to the willingness of some to make or believe assertions based purely on something they heard vaguely somewhere else. Then there's things like your example of fabricated Talmud verses (I'm thinking of several things Christopher Hitchens claimed were in 'Mormon' scripture, some of which were outright false).

The cult thing is slippery, however, because it doesn't have a real definition apart from the perjorative overtones. My academic background is in religious studies (I'm doing a PhD at the minute), and attempts to use it there and in Sociology have generally been abandoned. There's the historical use of cultus, but that applies to virtually every religion (and only refers to a specific aspect of religion). Then there's Protestant attempts to claim a 'theological' definition, although that's actually fairly recent and seems more of a stand in for the term heresy. Then there's the popular media term which has no real firm definition, but tends to be applied to groups like Heaven's Gate or the Jonestown bunch. And attempts to use the term in one sense generally invoke (sometimes deliberately). So generally the very concept is very unhelpful.

In terms of the leaving thing, any major life change is likely to be quite disruptive, especially if your friends and families are members. There's no ostracising policy though - I've known far more people ostracised for joining the church than for leaving it.

As to why they have been featured in their local paper and others haven't - well have any over Conservative councillors in Coventry quit the party over this? I'd be interested to know if any have elsewhere at all (voters is a different matter, and far less likely to show up until an actual election).

18 February 2013 at 16:54  
Blogger DaveR said...

Thought this from Flossie's link was interesting: "Now, you have a situation in which marriage is being thrown open to redefinition by the state, not simply brokering by the state, and I think that is a step too far for libertarians such as me."

I'm not a libertarian, but it does seem a substantial expansion of the state's powers to redefine a social institution that pre-existed it.

18 February 2013 at 17:01  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

Hannah said ...

" ... one of the churches I went to once, was 'charismatic', in which they were all falling on the floor and 'speaking in tongues'. Was that a wacky cult, or people just practising their religion?"

I'd say a bit of both. Were they the ones who wanted to conduct an exorcism on you too? All very strange .... Were there any lizards in sight?

18 February 2013 at 17:03  
Blogger Jon said...

DaveR - Isn't Mormonism just a redefinition of Christianity?

Who are Mormons to pretend like the Bible can't be changed when Joseph Smith added loads? (I can't even write his name without hearing the South Park episode song in my head...)

I think Tony Blair showed that you could alienate your core vote and still win elections outright. But if you all want to disappear to UKIP, please do. You will, of course, ensure perpetual coalition between Labour and the Lib Dems in so doing.

18 February 2013 at 17:13  
Blogger Jon said...

Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb.

Dammit.

18 February 2013 at 17:14  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

The Mormons who rock up at my door every so often, on secondment from America, don't look that those two up there. Oh no. ;)

18 February 2013 at 17:15  
Blogger John Knox's lovechild said...

The real problem is that many members of the public will view Parliament and politicians as wasting their time on a peripheral issue; or if opposed to gay marriage will feel Parliament has not accorded them a fair hearing because Cameron wants to appear liberal on a social issue, as Ars Hendrick suggests.

If people get the impression that a small but well resourced and vocal minority with sympathisers in positions of importance in the media can drive radical social change they will be even less inclined to participate in a political system in which they ( ordinary citizens) have little or no leverage.

This is deeper and more extensive as a consequence of "gay marriage" than disenchantment within the Tory party.

I am a social conservative and economic leftist. In the past Labour could have accommodated people like me. No longer, I am afraid.

18 February 2013 at 17:18  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Hannah: "I know one of the churches I went to once, was 'charismatic', in which they were all falling on the floor and 'speaking in tongues'. Was that a wacky cult, or people just practising their religion?

My local Elim church is like that. I used to work with one of the congregation. He wasn't very charismatic, it has to be said. He didn't speak in tongues at work either, which was a relief. My mate's parents were committee members there, and everything.

18 February 2013 at 17:20  
Blogger Old Blue Eyes said...

Having been involved in local politics for many years and knowing my district as I do I am certain that the vast majority of Roman Catholics hereabouts always vote Labour. I don't know if this tendency is replicated in the rest of the country but I suspect that it is. This being so and seeing that RCs are the greatest objectors to same sex marriage why is it thought that the Conservatives will be the party most damaged by this legislation when their MPs provided the only worthwhile vote against.

18 February 2013 at 17:20  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Dodo,

Yes it was the same Church, but I didn't realise I was being exorcised! How cool in one way. Didn't work though.

18 February 2013 at 17:28  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi David R,

Most interesting- I've learned to try and ask people of different faiths (or none) about what they actually belief and how they act upon that, before rushing to judgement on these things.

To my mind when I think of cult, I guess I go with the media 'definition' because I think of an organisation that thinks the end of the world is about the happen, have lots of guns, are led by a charismatic leader and are prepared for group suicide, live in some remote wilderness in a collective, and all hell breaks loose when the 'feds' turn up.

18 February 2013 at 17:31  
Blogger David B said...

@Dodo, who said

"I suspect some pretty damaged people are attracted to fringe cults and will be disturbed by leaving..."

I am sure you are right, I have met a few, but in my experience the most damaged don't leave. There are also though many very capable people who get sucked into cults, for reasons I'll address later in this post, and, not least, there are a lot of people who are damaged by being indoctrinated into cults by their parents, which was the prime focus of my earlier post in this thread.

"Why do you seek to tar all Christian Churches with the same brush?"

If you look at my earlier post you will notice that I specifically say that some sects and religions are more damaging than others.

I also differentiate Christian churches - that insist on biblical inerrancy in the face of all the evidence and those which accept that there was no special creation within a biblical chronology, and no Noah's flood, as opposed to those that don't. But then I prefer people not to be ignorant, wilfully or as a result of indoctrination.

"So why did you join a cult and which one was it?"

There was a time in my life when I was unhappy with my atheism, because I became (wrongly) convinced that it led inexorably to nihilism, which I found (and still find) distasteful. This led me to explore religions and spiritual practices once again, in the hope of finding a way out.

In turn this led me to being initiated into Transcendental Meditation, which led in turn to some very powerful unity experiences, and to a period of over 2 years living a monastic lifestyle working for the TM movement, believing at the time that that was the best thing I could do both for my own personal development, and for humanity as a whole. Bit like those monks who devote themselves to prayer, and no more nor less effective.

As I became more and more aware that these experiences, while deep and powerful, were not ways of becoming more in tune with reality, I looked again at spiritual experiences from and within many religions and traditions, and found much in common in them, from pilgrimages to Lourdes, Mecca or Rishikesh, to chanting and singing, to shamans (by which I include Christian priests) using voice intonation to aid disocciative experiences, to suggestion involved in convincing people that e-meters or homeopathic 'remedies' containing no active substances are good for making people better in mind and/or body. With often terrible results when the subjects of such tactics opt out of proper medicine.

Most people in mainstream religions don't seem to be seriously damaged, I have often conceded, but those who devote their lives to Opus Dei or Anglican Benedictine communities seem damaged cultists to me.

David

18 February 2013 at 17:40  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Danjo,

Well, looking back on it now, it was a bit like an Omid Djalili gag, but serious.

From a religious freedom viewpoint, I have to admit I am torn between wanting to say that they should be able to practice their faith, but also to say that they shouldn't go around trying to 'cure' people of their sexuality. Just a thought. Although I am not sure if that is a specific command of Christianity anyway.

I do actually work with a Charismatic or Pentocalst, (not sure how to write it) lady. It is early days let, but she seems to be very cheerful and happy, 'the good Lord this and the Lord that'. She asked me last week if I was going to Church at the weekend and if I had a boyfriend. That was a conversation killer* for a few days, now she's on the conversion attempts. Oh well.

*I don't really go on about my religion or sexuality at work, although people 'know' in a discreet way.

18 February 2013 at 17:42  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Dodo,

'Were the any lizards?' Sssh, as you said to me on another thread 'we do not exist'. LOL.

Anyway, got to dash as I'm about to go into a conference call with the bilderberg group, the vatican and the Jewish banking clans. Item one on the agenda is 'who are we going to appoint as the next Pope?', followed by discussing which countries are going to be subject of a Zionist Occupation Government in 2013...

ROFL!

18 February 2013 at 17:56  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

David B. The Anglican Benedictines at Caldey embraced Roman Catholicism in 1912. The Inspector stayed on retreat with them 23 years ago in Prinknash Abbey. Once you are feeling well enough to travel, you should try it. They will answer all your questions. And forget cult status, they recreate medieval monastic life.

18 February 2013 at 18:00  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Now to business...

It’s far worse than even the Archbishop puts it. You see, since he came to this site, the Inspector is convinced the only people who are truly happy in this land are Christians. It’s all rather simple - go with God and his way and don’t oppose him, and you breeze through life, in comparison to the adulterers, fornicators, drug users, and drunks, and others who live in a corruption of their own making who stagger from one crisis to the next. Yes it’s a generalisation, but there is definitely a trend.

Now, when Christians naturally align themselves to the Conservative party, they bring with them their soul. And what a great soul it is, it provides balance and stability, integrity and honesty. It’s also looking for a new home, for it is increasingly annoyed with it’s present one. They know it is no longer the greatest conservative who will rise to become leader, but the best among London types. Cameron is merely the first of a new metropolitan dynasty, and as we will soon see, the last to be Prime Minister. If Cameron is typical of the new pseudo centre-right leadership, and there is no reason to suggest he is not, how can it be any other way ?

Anyway, time to take the plunge. It’s UKIP for this man now. One has the feeling that party will NEVER take the Christian vote for granted, and you do that by NOT championing non Christian causes - and that is really rather assuring, what !

18 February 2013 at 18:01  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

If anyone thinks that Cameron made a great sacrifice to appease LGBT, think again. SSM is merely the latest step in the Gay Agenda. The next one is fairly obvious. Now that SSM is almost inevitable, there will be a concerted effort to rush to the schools and inculcate the young into the same sex world. ‘Homework’ will take on a horrific new meaning.

We see LGBT at work in the world of celebrity, where homosexuals are perceived as fantastic members of society, and bi-sexuality is deemed really cool. We see LGBT at work in politics, where straight politicians are routinely pilloried. We see LGBT at work on Christian blogs, where homosexuality and practices are so mentioned in a way by the devotee that it becomes almost normal and routine. It’s another part of the Agenda. Ram it down the throats of everyone, and do it so frequently, that the way of life is perceived as another part of normality. And so it is how we will see LGBT in the classroom. All the moves have already been worked out.

Now – here is the interesting part. Militant LGBT know they are in for a rough ride in that area, so they have devised a cunning plan - even more cunning than a fox with a PhD in cunning. Here it is. Make it compulsory for every teacher to attend a ‘LGBT awareness in the classroom’ course, once a year. Issue them with a certificate to say they passed. Here’s the good bit, change the law so that it is mandatory that each teacher hold a current valid certificate. The slightest LGBT critical comment or action, and the certificate is withdrawn. Ergo – you’ve lost your teaching job. Before you can say “unprotected casual anal sex with a stranger will give you HIV” you will have a compliant, and terrified, teaching staff.

You have been warned !



18 February 2013 at 18:02  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Flossie, in your list is Kenneth Clarke, erstwhile leadership candidate. One recalls him being interviewed around that time. He said that his intention was to merely go into politics. He just happened to choose the Conservatives. He freely admitted it could have easily have been Labour. One suspects you’ll find similar ‘deeply held convictions’ in an astonishingly large number of the present shower of 600+ if the truth be known.

THAT is what makes UKIP all the more special…





18 February 2013 at 18:03  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

18 February 2013 at 18:03  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

18 February 2013 at 18:17  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Inspector,

Oh, your outrageous polemics are so funny. I sometimes think you as being one of the Rabbis in the Talmud....

But one point and I try not to burst your bubble, but UKIP is a very libertarian party and only came round to opposing SSM as a way of attracting disaffected Tories such as yourself. Therefore UKIP are as principled as any other political party.

18 February 2013 at 18:18  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

"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%)."

Well, thank God for Roman Catholics. Incidentally, it was 86% who were strongly opposed - the strongest amongst Christian Churches. (Sadly, Catholic MPs appear to have followed their political ambition rather than the teachings of their professed Church.) Anglican results saw a shamefully low 52% strongly opposed. A lack of leadership from their Shepherds?

Looking again at the preface of the KJV, having boldly " ... shunned the obscuritie of the Papists", it has bethey have replaced it with what exactly?

18 February 2013 at 19:23  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

David B sai ...

"I looked again at spiritual experiences from and within many religions and traditions, and found much in common in them ..."

You do realise that Satan (yes, I believe he exists) uses counterfeit religions to obscure the Truth. To me, these similarities enforce the reality of man's need for spiritual meaning, placed there by God across cultures. The shared themes also suggest that before the revelation to the Jews and then Christ men were striving to understand God and make sense of Him.

I guess this is the difference to being open to faith and being closed to it.

18 February 2013 at 19:31  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

Inspector
I heard a feminist lesbian on radio recently saying the next priority is ending the institution of marriage and replacing it with short lived, transient civil partnerships.

18 February 2013 at 19:36  
Blogger Michael O'Leary said...

I'm traditionalist, anti liberal (The ideology not the party - then again...), but don't really care about the idea of gay marriage so long as it's a civil partnership. The government MUST NOT interfere with the churches - any of them, even the Mormons. Religion is the province of the churches not government. If the various religions that make up the patchwork quilt of faith in this country deem it wrong to perform a wedding service for same sex couples that is their prerogative, their religious right. Ever since the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829 people have been free to follow their conscience in this country without parliamentary intrusion. This must continue as the status quo or we risk becoming a totalitarian state, and we have all seen what happens when a nation goes down that road.

18 February 2013 at 19:47  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Good news Dodo. We need more of that kind of thing. Rather like the the woman on the radio reassuring residents plagued in a red light area of Bristol that they were not prostitutes, but honest to goodness ‘sex workers’. Let us know them by their wares, what !

18 February 2013 at 19:49  
Blogger uk Fred said...

The question that should be in the minds of voters is this: "Is there sufficient difference between the major party that I otherwise would support and its main rival that it would make any real difference to the outcome if the main rival were to be elected to form a government?" I would contend that in Britain the answer is "No!" and therefore vote for the candidate whose party most nearly fits with my personal beliefs and opinions.

18 February 2013 at 19:50  
Blogger bluedog said...

Mr David B @ 14.22 said, 'There are also harrowing stories from more mainstream Protestant and Catholic defectors, but the Mormons, JWs, and the others I mention above seem to be far worse.'

Be aware that Allah is merciful and there are few harrowing stories from departing Muslims.

Wonder why?

18 February 2013 at 20:24  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Well the Conservative Party lost this lifetime party supporter, and party member even in my youth, for Ukip. In fact my annoyance with Cameron's former conservative party energized me politically, so now I am an activist for Ukip ! I was never an activist for the Conservatives. It was the combination of childlike half truths and total ineffectual pretend " action " regarding the EU, and then the hammer blow, the redefinition of marriage that pushed me out. Presumably that's what Davie boy was seeking to achieve, because that is what, predictably, he's got ? Behind that bland exterior he must be a complex man, or maybe he is just totally lacking in common sense and experience of real people ? Who knows ? As a deeply committed orthodox Christian, who happened to be born into an Anglican family, most of my more thoughtful Christian friends are preparing for a rocky road ahead. I am old enough to cope but it's the younger Christians that I pray for, with careers and businesses to develop, and families to raise, decently. It can't be easy nowadays to be a Christian parent to children and young people. I suggest we all put that point in our intercessions, private and public.

18 February 2013 at 20:28  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

I say Bluedog, you have to be a bit of an arse to allow yourself to be swallowed up in a cult, what !

Apologies to any arses that frequent this site {AHEM}

18 February 2013 at 20:35  
Blogger bluedog said...

Your Grace, when the unauthorised biographry of David Cameron is published, the SSM debacle will be seen as the turning point that condemns his premiership to one-term oblivion.

In 2010, Dave had captured the Conservative franchise and was in a position to build support and a personal following across all parties and demographics with social conservative leanings. Dave lacked the insight to recognise the wide-open goal in front of him. The Euro-referendum back-flip was an initial disappointment, but the Tory faithful had not lost all hope. They have now, as have non-Tory eurosceptics and non-Tory SSM opponents, and Dave is in an irretrievable position. Cameron squandered an opportunity to destroy Labour because he didn't begin to understand the old white working class. In this regard, Cameron has at least proved himself to be a true toff.

But there is no viable alternative to Cameron on the horizon. No leadership challenge can be undertaken that will restore the Tory brand before the 2015 wipeout. Boris has blown it by coming out for SSM.

Following the inevitable defeat in 2015, the Conservatives face a blood-bath in which the party will need to re-establish its values around an electable leader. There is one problem. By that time the Conservatives may have a smaller share of the conservative vote than UKIP.

18 February 2013 at 20:45  
Blogger bluedog said...

Indeed, Inspector 20.35, a chap needs to be aware of a simple progression: original thinker - pleasantly eccentric - plain weird.

This communicant remembers a childhood holiday at Tenby, and an idyllic spot it was/is too. He and his brother dug a hole in the sand-dunes like a WW1 counter-mining project. Our mother was near-distraught at the prospect of its collapse and understanding locals filled it in before dusk. We took a principled stand and refused to undo our good work.

The monks from Caldy Island were an interesting side-show to the main event (above).

18 February 2013 at 21:01  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

Inspectorsaid...

"I say Bluedog, you have to be a bit of an arse to allow yourself to be swallowed up in a cult, what !"

Where's len this evening? I'm sure he'll have something to say about this.

18 February 2013 at 21:39  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

Is homosexuality a cult of sorts? Maybe he of the 'name that must not be mentioned', praises be heaped upon him, could help clarify this.

18 February 2013 at 21:43  
Blogger People, not buildings said...

Well, I resigned from the Conservative Party last week, citing the gay marriage issue. My wife and I will be voting UKIP at the next election - albeit unenthusiastically.

David

18 February 2013 at 22:34  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

BlueDog,

Cameron is what the Americans describe as a 'frat boy'*, not a proper true toff ,if by toff you mean a gentlemanly aristocratic presence.

The Peers of this land know the heartbeat of the country, for they employ many of the decent hard working and loyal patriotic subjects of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

As I understand it the people want at the very least an exit from foreign control of the EU, a significant rebuilding of our defence forces, a desire to be free to hunt, a restoration of the House of Lords, a return to the idea that the family is the core of society and a pragmatic approach to foreign affairs- but above all the message that this half-socialist government, led by an unprincipled and self serving rouge, has failed and deserves a thorough thrashing at the next election.

I sometimes muse that the conservative party must be utterly mashed to oblivion and that we must endure 20 years of socialist labour government, before a proper conservative party can emerge and rescue Britain from the cesspit that a fully fledged socialist- liberal polity would bring the country to.

* That is an un schooled gentleman, a young man who behaves in a boisterous or foolish manner

18 February 2013 at 22:48  
Blogger David B said...

Bluedog, you might consider checking out the website of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain.

It has stories of its own,and, though I am not a rich man, it is one of the few good causes that I pass a few quid to when I can.

It is not a charity - apparently religious privilege gives any religious group an easy ride into charitable status, while those that perform the admirable function of providing support to escapees aren't.

Deplorable, but there it is.

Maryam Namazie, the chair of the CEMB, has politics a little on the left for my taste, but for courage and feistiness I give her full marks.

David

18 February 2013 at 22:53  
Blogger Manfarang said...

"the Inspector is convinced the only people who are truly happy in this land are Christians. It’s all rather simple - go with God and his way and don’t oppose him, and you breeze through life, in comparison to the adulterers, fornicators, drug users, and drunks, and others who live in a corruption of their own making who stagger from one crisis to the next. Yes it’s a generalisation, but there is definitely a trend."

Long ago I came across a book on how a Christian could cope with depression.
Life was never meant to be easy.
Read the Book of Job.

19 February 2013 at 05:06  
Blogger bluedog said...

Mornin', Milord, and thank you for your post @ 22.48.

You are right in your description of Cameron, my use of the word toff was a lazy short-hand.

In any event, Cameron doesn't have sufficient knowledge of the human condition to be running an old and complex country like the UK. His exposure to British society in the broadest sense of the word is too narrow and his view too immature. The whole SSM caper reeks of juvenile posturing, for example.

Regrettably there seems to this communicant simply no chance of a restoration of the House of Lords in its hereditary form. Any government proposing such a measure would be duty bound to put it into a manifesto at the least, but preferably submit the measure to a referendum. Such a referendum would surely be defeated given the time that has now elapsed since the Lords were 'reformed'.

With regard to hunting with dogs, it is encouraging to read that the RSPCA is under renewed pressure following another of its political show trials, in which it was resoundingly defeated. The defendant had used a dog to force a fox to break cover before shooting the fox. With remarkable dishonesty the RSPCA claimed that the earth was in fact a badger's sett and prosecuted on that basis. No attempt was made to prosecute for the currently illegal act of hunting with a dog. Perhaps even the most entrenched RSPCA ideologue is beginning to understand the clear environmental benefits of hunting vermin with dogs. In the view of this communicant there would be far greater support for a restoration of fox-hunting than there would be for a return of the hereditaries to the HofL.

Your are undoubtedly correct in your prediction for the Conservative Party. The comprehensive rout of the party is the best way to destroy Cameron's power, utterly, and to allow a new contender to arise from the ruins.

19 February 2013 at 10:12  
Blogger NamronMit said...

I am tempted to join the Conservative Party simply because so many of its MPs voted against gay marriage.

If David Cameron resigns, which might happen when he loses the next election, then don't the members get a say on who the new leader is?

If Cameron was forced out, are people likely to rejoin the party in order to vote for one of the more traditional Tories who voted against gay marriage?

19 February 2013 at 10:51  
Blogger GordonHide said...

Those who withdraw from the party are left with a stark choice of voting for those more bigoted than themselves or not voting.

19 February 2013 at 18:26  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

A bigoted party Mr Hide, and which one would that be ?



19 February 2013 at 18:36  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

The Labour Party?

20 February 2013 at 22:46  

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