Tag Archives: Christian values

Prolife is about forcing women

Quotes from a man who teaches prolifers to argue with prochoicers using the language of human rights.

Josh Brahm: We’re asking pro-choice people if they agree that all human adults have an equal right to life.

A publicly claimed motivation for shutting down the US government for over a fortnight was to “stop Obamacare”. And a very public reason why many conservatives say they oppose the Affordable Care Act is that ACA / Obamacare requires that all health insurance policies must now cover all female contraception with no co-pay.

This is objectionable to religious conservatives who think it’s wrong women should be able to decide for themselves whether or not to use contraception: because to a conservative Christian, sex exists in two boxes, Good Sex, which is heterosexual intercourse in marriage, couple open to having children. Anything else is Bad Sex. Although nothing prevents abortions better than women having free access to contraception, to the religious conservative abortion and contraception are linked because both mean that a woman – even a married woman – is having Bad Sex according to their definition: she is a slut.
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What to expect from the anti-gay marriage brigade: Sentamu

In Scotland the consultation on equal marriage is closed and we can expect the report around April, which is just about when in England and Wales, the consultation on equal marriage is to be launched. In England and Wales, David Cameron has restricted the terms strictly to secular marriage: same-sex couples will still be banned from being legally wed in church.

This has not stopped the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, from speaking his mind on gay marriage (he’s against it).

On 4th December the Guardian published a kind of checklist I wrote on what we can expect from the anti-gay marriage brigade. Let’s see how Sentamu matches up against it.

“Marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman,” says Dr Sentamu. “I don’t think it is the role of the state to define what marriage is. It is set in tradition and history and you can’t just [change it] overnight, no matter how powerful you are.”
Check:

Allowing same-sex couples to marry redefines marriage. The ba’s on the slates, the penguins are out on parade, the definition of marriage is already changed. Scotland for Marriage means marriage as a privilege from which some groups are barred – just as Focus on the Family means some families aren’t included. It’s as if they think there isn’t enough marriage or family to go around.

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On Christian Values

When I first started this blog, I planned to make a post a day. And real life kind of got in the way, as it does, and I’ve been making posts whenever a news item catches my attention and I have the time to write it. It’s Sunday morning on a beautiful frosty day and I want to go out with my camera and take photos of it, but I do have time to make one blog post, and two news items that have caught my attention: gay marriage, and the latest stupid thing David Cameron said. On the face of it these have nothing to do with each other, so I’m going to do a blog post about both.

On Friday 15th December, David Cameron made a speech to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. I love books, and I’d be happy for Cameron to make many speeches celebrating their birthdays. It’s something we don’t do often enough.

What Cameron said, though:

“But what I am saying is that the Bible has helped to give Britain a set of values and morals which make Britain what it is today. Values and morals we should actively stand up and defend. The alternative of moral neutrality should not be an option. You can’t fight something with nothing. Because if we don’t stand for something, we can’t stand against anything.”

I have no idea if Cameron actually goes to church, but if he does, and if his minister has any conscience or sense of humour at all, here’s the text (2 Samuel 12) Cameron should be listening to today, from the King James Bible in all its rolling thunder of glory:

1 And the LORD sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor.
2 The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds:
3 But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.
4 And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him.
5 And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die:
6 And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.
7 And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man.

As Fred Clerk at Slacktivist says, this is an alien story from another world: “it illustrates just how vastly different our view of the world and of God has become from the view that Nathan and David shared. David was guilty of adultery and murder. He knew himself to be guilty of those things. And Nathan didn’t walk in and point his finger at the king and say, “You are an adulterer and a murderer!” Instead, Nathan told a story to help David understand that he was guilty of something even worse. He told a story to help the king understand that he had become a rich man who had stolen from a poor man.“.

David Cameron cast a vote against the EU treaty in order to protect City of London financial services, who are in plain fact robbing from poor people to give to the very richliterally stealing from widows and orphans:

Highly paid City traders are depriving pensioners and savers of thousands of pounds through high management fees that are often hidden, according to leaked advice provided by consultants to the Treasury. The charges are spreading and are so steep that savers may find they get less back in retirement than they invested in savings accounts and pensions over their lifetimes.

As Avedon Carol notes in The Sideshow:

Krugman, DeLong, and Atrios all seem baffled by Cameron’s destructive austerity policies and the LibDems’ continued failure to balk at wrecking the country. Things might clear up if they read Chris Floyd and realized that what we have in the LibDems is pretty much the same thing as what we have in the Democratic Party: “But here is the result of all this serious savviness on behalf of progressive ideals: the LibDems are now helping implement the most regressive policies that Britain has seen since the Victorian era. They are presiding — happily, even giddily — over the wanton ravaging of a society already brought low by the brutal, bipartisan religious extremists — blind, fanatic worshippers of Mammon — who have held sway in Britain, America and Europe for more than 30 years. The LibDems are Obama: socially liberal, fiscally conservative, willing to sacrifice the wellbeing of millions of innocent people to save a thuggish elite from facing the slightest consequence of their own criminal greed and stupidity.” Yes, they are Mammonists. They’re not liberal, they’re not democratic, and they are not your friends.

This morning in the Scotland on Sunday, an entire leader was devoted to something that the Catholic Church in Scotland appears to perceive as “Christian values” – banning all religious groups from performing same-sex marriages on the grounds that a few very powerful religious groups object. This ban on religious freedom is being described as a “compromise deal” which would lift the ban on same-sex couples getting married but “with the caveat that the ceremonies must be held in a civil setting”. David Cameron’s government has proposed exactly the same ban on religious freedom in England and Wales for a consultation to begin next year. The claim is that this would prevent religious groups and individuals from being sued if they refuse to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies, but this is something the anti-marriage brigade always say, and it’s absurd: there is no legal way that anyone in the UK can force any minister of religion to perform a marriage against their faith. Which all of the religious leaders know perfectly well. They’re just bearing false witness in the pursuit of their political goal.

Is the Scottish Government actually seriously thinking about enforcing a ban on multiple churches, faith groups, and the Humanist Society of Scotland, which seventeen faith groups and 24 religious leaders have already publicly told Alex Salmond they will oppose?

Well, yes, they probably are. In much the same way as, after World War I, the US government seriously considered invading Canada.

Over 50,000 responses were made to the Scottish Government’s consultation on equal marriage. 28,000 of those responses were simple postcards preprinted with a “No to same-sex marriage” message, distributed at Mass across 450 parishes as part of an anti-marriage campaign by the Catholic Church (which got a 14% return rate from Mass-going Catholics, rather demonstrating that their claims to speak for all Scottish Catholics in this were as bogus as the signatures on the Scotland for Marriage petition). Each of those cards will be recognised as a “no” vote, but they don’t constitute a detailed response.

But the Scottish Government do have to consider over 30,000 detailed responses to their consultation. Of those, about 24,000 were positive responses. Out of the 6,000 negative responses, undoubtedly more than one proposed the “compromise deal” of allowing same-sex couples civil marriage while banning all religious groups from providing a legally-valid religious ceremony for same-sex couples. As the SoS editorial admits at the very end, when they asked the Scottish Government for comment, they were told : “We have given an assurance that all opinions will be listened to, no final views have been reached and therefore no decisions have been taken.” (Which today they confirmed on Twitter: “Re story on same sex marriage in SoS: it is w/o foundation. No decision has been taken. Ministers still considering consultation responses.”)

The notion is current in American Christianity that you express being a Christian best by declaring yourself against homosexuality and especially against same-sex couples getting married. Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, has made clear he subscribes to that view of “Christian values”, and I suspect that insofar as David Cameron thinks about Christianity, he tends that way too: I doubt for all his praise of the King James Bible, that he’s actually read it.

1 Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! when the morning is light, they practise it, because it is in the power of their hand.
2 And they covet fields, and take them by violence; and houses, and take them away: so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage. Micah 2)*

19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Luke 16

The Occupy Edinburgh camp is just five minutes walk from St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh. The message of the Occupy movement is far closer to the Christian values of the King James Bible than any message of homophobia that Cardinal O’Brien may be preaching in his church today.

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*For those who haven’t made the connection: Youtube: Financial Crisis Explained: Subprime Mortgage / New Statesman: The next financial crisis

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Visiting the sick on Sunday less Christian than the profits

Brian Souter – sorry, Sir Brian Souter – is a multi-millionaire. He’s made his money all sorts of ways, including sweating it out of his passengers, but thanks to the excellent services of LRT, he’s never been able to get much of a foothold in Edinburgh. Wherever the Stagecoach transport network runs, the public who depend on his buses find themselves at the mercy of a profiteer millionaire’s drive to get the last drop of profit: Souter isn’t running a public service – he’s paying himself millions. (Sir Brian was knighted for “services to transport”, but as the Honours committee doesn’t respond to FOI requests, we have no notion what that might mean: it certainly has no connection to Stagecoach.)

Brian Souter makes some of his comfortable millions out of public subsidies to transport. Due to the cuts, Fife Council had to withdraw a public subsidy to bus services run by Brian Souter. Souter, having just awarded himself over £50M, was not minded to himself subsidise an unprofitable bus service, so Stagecoach promptly withdrew it. Grace Craigie, vice chair of Crossgates and Mossgreen Community Council, voices the objections of the community:

to the loss of a vital bus service, namely the Nos. 15 and 30, due to the recent re-scheduling of local transport in our area which took place without any local consultation. This we understand is because of the withdrawal by Fife Council of its transport subsidies.

This now leaves the residents, not only of Crossgates but also Halbeath, Hill of Beath as well as parts of Cowdenbeath, without any direct transport on a Sunday to both Queen Margaret and Victoria hospitals, which means at least two buses in each direction.

“Not very suitable for those who are elderly, disabled and others who have no car, especially in the coming winter months. This also incurs extra travelling costs for them.

So anyone who wants to visit a friend or a relative in hospital on Sunday, who’s dependent on buses to get there – no car, can’t afford a taxi – will just not be able to go.

That’s the “sort of society” Brian Souter wants to live in: where someone in hospital on Sunday won’t be able to see a friendly face.

Souter, of course, doesn’t regard I was sick, and ye visited me as one of the “Christian values” – apparently the Nazarene church in Perth he attends doesn’t do Matthew 25:36.

These are Brian Souter’s “Christian” values; this is the “sort of society” he wants to live in:

“We are arguing here about what kind of society we want to live in,” he said (The Courier, 19 September 2011). “Are we going to be in a Babylonian-Greek type of society, where sex is primarily a recreational activity, or are we going to stick with the Judeo-Christian tradition, where procreation is something that we want to put within a marriage context?”

Visiting the sick? Helping the poor? Phooey. Christian values, by Sir Brian Souter, knighted for services to transport, are epitomised by making sure same-sex couples can’t get married. Because hatred and wealth are what Christianity is all about.

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