Their testimonies are clear, powerful, hugely encouraging and most welcome at a time when many young evangelicals are genuinely confused about the issue.
These are men in pastoral ministry who admit to feelings of same sex attraction but who also see the Bible’s prohibitions on same-sex relationships as non-negotiable.
The core of this new group, recently interviewed by Christianity magazine, are Sam Alberry, a church leader in Maidenhead, Sean Doherty, a tutor at St Mellitus College, and Ed Shaw, who helps to lead Emmanuel Church in Bristol.
They are shortly to launch a website called ‘Living Out’, aimed at helping others think through the realities of being same-sex attracted while remaining committed to a biblical sexual morality.
by Vincent Twomey, Irish Times
The passing of the abortion Bill in the Dáil, it was said, marked the end of the old cosy church-State relations. But is this true? One of the main reasons, it seems, why many senior priests and bishops were personally silent on the Bill is the fact that many clerics and their families have long histories of being supporters of Fine Gael. Another reason for the lukewarm support of the bishops’ position was theological in nature.
The kind of fundamental moral theology taught in seminaries in recent decades is one that, contrary to church teaching, denies there are any moral actions, even abortion, that are intrinsically wrong. The moral evaluation of an action depends rather on motive and circumstance. Such a theology also distinguishes between the moral and legal/political spheres, allowing Catholic politicians to put politics above their “private” moral convictions. This theology, though widespread, is radically at variance with church teaching.
The apparent “neutral” stance on the Bill taken by the leadership of the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) illustrates the moral quagmire caused by this kind of fundamental moral theology. The ACP leadership refused to take a formal position. One member, Fr PJ Madden, stated his personal belief that “there is no need for legislation on abortion”. Two other leadership members, Fr Tony Flannery and Fr Brendan Hoban, when asked, would not state their positions. But the ACP website did publish an article by Margaret Lee in which she wrote: “I believe that a woman is entitled to choose termination when the foetus has no chance of surviving outside the womb.” In other words, abortion is in principle allowed in certain circumstances.
by Luiz Sérgio Solimeo, TFP
With morals and natural law under siege today, and the liberal agenda’s cross hairs targeting our right to voice our moral convictions, we must be prepared to defend our position’s legitimacy. Either we accept that the foundation of morals and law lies in God’s wisdom or we become mired in the quicksand of today’s relativism.
Without Objective Moral Law, Chaos Follows
For moral order to exist, there must be an objective moral law easily perceived, common to all men and obliging to all equally. Otherwise, everything would be subject to men’s fantasies or to the rulers’ whims, leading to social chaos and tyranny. Today we witness complete scorn for any moral rule that restrains individual behavior, especially in sexual matters, and a kind of legislative/judicial dictatorship imposing unnatural laws on society. On the one hand, liberal judges approve death by starvation, abortion “rights” and favor the homosexual agenda while on the other hand, they remove religious symbols from public places.
Moral Law Is Connatural to Man
Without an objective moral law, social order is impossible. Therefore, an objective moral law must exist to guide human behavior, and prevent that individual freedom and the good of society be endangered. Not only must moral law be objective but also be in accordance with man’s nature, that is, connatural with him. If what the law commands, forbids and allows did not resonate deep within man’s conscience, the only thing keeping man from breaking the law would be the fear of the police. In that case, morality would depend entirely on the number of policemen, and each man would need a policeman to watch him at all times. But then, as Juvenal, a pagan Roman satirist, put it, “Sed quis custodietipsos custodes?” “But who shall watch the watchmen?”
By Ann Widdecombe, Daily Express
She has competed successfully in business, making a fortune out of beauty products, looks stunning and has five children. So hers is exactly the sort of voice we need to hear when she says that she took her family away from London to live in the country because she was fed up with the sexual content of advertising and wanted to protect her then eight-year-old.
She says that every time we take a step into the gutter we fail to come out again and that we have lost all notion of what is acceptable.
Hear! Hear! Liz Earle for PM!
That well-turned phrase about the gutter sums up the problem. The deadening of the nation's sense of propriety has not come about overnight. It has crept up on us by degrees as have the death of shame and the erosion of free speech. The old clich© that the pendulum has swung too far is invoked only when too late. The cry "the pendulum is swinging too far" is rarely heard.
We did not go immediately from a view that for a woman to be drunk was unladylike to an acceptance of girls, scantily clad in all weathers, falling over on Friday and Saturday nights.
If some of today's "edgy" television had been shown to a Sixties audience (yes, I do mean the Sixties, not the Fifties) there would have been national outrage. Now there is scarcely a murmur because we are so far down in the gutter that we have forgotten what it looks like outside.
From London Evening Standard
Britain is in a "very parlous state" morally because of a lack of vision about what kind of society we want, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.
The Most Rev Justin Welby warned churches and other community groups that there was a "shift of responsibility" and they could not simply be the "recipients" of other people's actions.
He said a vision of society for families and communities, in particular young people, had been "absent" for up to 30 years.
"It is a time for action by us, for our communities, in a way that there is an opportunity to do that has not been there for very, very many years," he told Citizens UK, a coalition of community organisations.
"For that to work, for there to be a building of cohesion, there has to be vision as to what kind of society we want and that is one of the things for families and for communities, particularly for young people, that has been absent in many ways over the last 20 to 30 years and has brought us to the very parlous state that we are in morally in many ways today."
Mr Welby warned his audience, gathered at Queen Mary, University of London, in the East End, against exaggerating the recession by describing it as the toughest ever time for families and young people.
June 15th, 2013 Jill Posted in Morality Comments Off
By Julian Mann, Christian Today
The report by the chief executive of Newton Investment Management, Helena Morrissey, into the inadequacy of the Liberal Democrats' response to allegations of sexual harrassment unintentionally issues an indictment beyond its brief, for political parties inevitably reflect the wider moral culture. Regrettably ours, since the advent of the permissive society in the 1960s, has been marked by a diminution of sexual restraint.
Mrs Morrissey's report focuses on the lack of formal processes for dealing with allegations of unwanted sexual advances by men in senior positions on junior female staff and in one instance on a young man. Such behaviour is always unacceptable. But a junior staff member consenting to engage in extramarital sex with his or her boss can and does cause problems in work places particularly if a promotion ensues or if a marriage vow is violated.
The Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg carefully highlighted the fact that the failures identified in Mrs Morrissey's report predated his leadership. 'Stretching over a 20-year period a series of mistakes were made which left a number of women feeling seriously let down and for that there is absolutely no excuse whatsoever,' he said. But one wonders how many people within his party and others have achieved advancement through sexual liaisons with their superiors. It is of course impossible to calculate how many careers have been advanced by such means. But that particular form of patronage thrives in a permissive society.
Christian moral teaching that the expression of sexual love is to be reserved exclusively for the God-created institution of heterosexual marriage is rooted in the words of the Lord Jesus Christ. 'From the beginning of the creation,' he taught quoting from the Old Testament book of Genesis, 'God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder' (Mark 10v6-9 – King James Version).
It’s not a fashionable thing to say these days – let’s be blunt, you’ll probably be written off as ‘a religious nutter’ if you do in mixed company – but our God is a faithful God. And the Bible is His revealed word.
I say this, having just read the incredibly gory story of Jezebel and her long overdue come-uppance at the hands of Jehu, who was the new king and clearly a bit miffed at the way she’d ‘dissed’ (treated contemptuously, to those of us of a certain age) the beliefs and religious practices of Israel. Indeed, she’d provoked outrage by promoting some very dodgy practices relating to her own favoured cult of Baal, which included child sacrifice, pretty indiscriminate murder of anyone and everyone she viewed as belonging to the opposition, and all kinds of sexual immorality.
By all accounts, not a nice lady, and in those days this kind of thing – belief and practice – clearly mattered. How unlike today!
I’m not advocating chucking heretics out of windows and turning them into dog food, but until fairly recently it was accepted as one of the core beliefs of Christianity that Scripture was the direct and revealed Word of God; given for our blessing, and to be obeyed lest dire consequences result. Broadly speaking, its purpose was twofold. On the one hand, to help men and women grow in relationship with God (which was impossible without guidance), and on the other to provide a kind of instruction manual on how to live, with the cast-iron assurance that if the maker’s instructions were followed, all would be well and joyous fulfilment would result.
But somehow, along the way, we seem to have lost all that. Nowadays, in popular perception, the Bible is little more than a culturally irrelevant history book. It talks about God, certainly, and some of us still believe in Him, but the more general view is that its so-called moral teaching was the product of contemporary mores that are no longer applicable to our evolved understanding of what it is to be human. In fact, in our pick and mix belief system, articulated so powerfully by St John Lennon in the final years of the last century, ‘All you need is love…’ and anything suggestive of moral restraint or responsibility is irrelevant.
By Gillan Scott, God & Politics in the UK
[...] Much of modern politics has been influenced by the twin ideologies of social and economic liberalism. From the 1960s onward, the liberal left has won much of the the social and cultural argument and since the 1980s, the liberal right has been winning the political and economic argument. Both forms of liberalism champion unfettered personal choice and freedom from constraint. We can see that these beliefs have been accepted across the political spectrum by the way the main parties have been increasingly drawn towards the centre ground as they progressively embrace both of them. This liberalism has had its benefits , but there has been a cost; the financial markets through deregulation have badly overheated and a lack of self-control ultimately led to the financial crisis we are now having to deal with. Personal debt has also spiralled. Social liberalism has eroded communities and a communal sense of morality leaving many of us more concerned about our own happiness and material wealth at the expense of our relationship with others.
By Julian Mann, Virtueonline
[...] The spiritual and moral debt is even worse. I remember as a trade reporter in 1989 working for a small publishing company in Swanley, Kent, being told by the lady who ran the accounts' department that my monthly net pay cheque was going up due to the married man's tax allowance. It was not so much the financial boost that warmed the heart at the time but the sense that the institution I had just entered into was hallowed by wider society. Is there any sign that such practical political support for the institution of marriage will be resurrected under the politically-correct consensus that has gripped the governance of the UK?
Mrs Thatcher's hated Section 28 regulation, which forbid the promotion of homosexuality in schools and was later repealed under the new morality, was seen by many Conservatives at the time as an important protection against the proselytisation of children by the Jesuits of the permissive society.
The truth is that a person with Lady Thatcher's convictions would never be selected as a Conservative parliamentary candidate in the post-Blair world of politics. If they were by some mischance, then they would be rapidly de-selected by Central Office.
I did not know until I read her personal assistant's tribute in The Daily Mail that Mrs Thatcher had prayed at her hotel bedside for those bereaved by the IRA's Brighton bombing atrocity. Apparently, until her magnificent speech to the Church of Scotland in 1988, she was reluctant to give her Christian faith too high a public profile because of her support for some of the social measures introduced in the 1960s such as easier divorce and legalised abortion, which she knew were strongly opposed by many Christians.
by Peter Mullen
Margaret Thatcher’s judgement has been vindicated by the disgraceful celebrations of her death: the vile demonstrations in the streets by the spoilt and petulant underclass and the bile spoken in the mass media by people who ought to know better. Slogans such as “The Bitch is Dead” and the chant “Maggie, Maggie, Maggie; Dead, Dead, Dead.” are among the less offensive responses to the former prime minister’s passing. The gloating nastiness of George Galloway, Ken Livingstone and Gerry Adams could have been taken for granted. The mealy-mouthed self-justification of Neil Kinnock and Roy Hattersley is only to be expected of men who have put in a lifetime’s effort to perfecting mealy-mouthedness. But what words are left to describe – and don’t tempt me because I can’t afford the lawyers – the likes of Elton John and his Christmas musical excrescence: “We all celebrate today ‘cause it’s one day closer to your death”?
So how has Margaret Thatcher’s judgement been vindicated? “Judgement” means “crisis” and it comes from the old Greek word (…… krisis. You can check its etymology, if you like, with any member of the underclass – or even, I suppose, with Ken Livingstone.) And what a crisis does is to expose the truth. It does so, as the Americans in their colourful way, have it, “When the chips are down.” In her malevolently-misquoted speech about society, Margaret Thatcher expressed her judgement very clearly. She said “There is no such thing as society” and so suffered the hysterical wrath of Marxists, the left wing press, the BBC and the academic sociologists who make a fine living out of their worship of the abstracted concept “society.” But she went on to say that we are individuals in families and in all kinds of benign associations and groups and that we have a responsibility to one another. In other words, Margaret Thatcher paraphrased that most hated thing, Christian morality.
In the vain attempt to avoid being wilfully misunderstood, she went out of her way to give simple examples – one example in particular which continues to incense the underclass and its hypocritical apologists in the media. She said that if a person is trying to find work but can’t, then financial assistance will be provided. Similarly if someone is too ill or disabled to work. But she added that there are no rights in choosing a life of idleness on the dole: “…because it is not ultimately the state which provides the dole money, but your neighbours through their taxes.”
April 11th, 2013 Jill Posted in Morality Comments Off
by John Bingham, Telegraph
It could take another financial crisis to force the City to “wake up” to the scale of changes it needs to make, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales will warn today.
The Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, will liken profit-obsessed business chiefs to staff at the scandal-hit Mid Staffordshire hospitals trust who lost sight of basic morality because of an obsession with money.
He will tell an audience in the City that new regulations would not be enough to bring about real change in the wake of the banking crisis, and could itself become simply a “lazy proxy" for moral values.
But he will describe working in the City is a noble vocation, capable of doing real good for society.
And he will insist that, deep down, even the most bonus-driven bankers are “secretly tempted” to good – an instinct which could be encouraged.
His comments come in a debate at St Paul’s Cathedral in which he will argue that the pursuit of short term profit has been allowed to become the sole purpose of business, creating a moral vacuum.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to die…a time to lose…a time to mourn…a time to weep…
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, the Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven in the County of Lincolnshire, is dead.
She was the first woman leader of the Conservative Party (indeed, of any major political party) and the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, holding office from 1979 to 1990.
Some will doubtless rejoice at the news, but very many more will mourn. They may not have agreed with all that the Iron Lady said or did, but the vast majority respected her as a woman of conviction and of principle; a woman who said what she thought and did what she said. Surveying the modern political scene of sophistry, duplicity, inconsistency and spin, she clearly belonged to another era.
Thousands of obituaries will be written today the world over. They will speak eloquently of how she reversed Britain’s decline of the 1970s; of how she forged a distinct Conservative political philosophy; transformed economic thinking; survived an assassination attempt and won a glorious victory for liberty against tyranny in the Falkland Islands.
They will recall the Cold War era and her close friendship with President Ronald Reagan, which was based not merely on a shared distrust of Communism, but the genuine warmth of fraternity. Few obituaries are likely to mention her devout Christian faith, which was the foundation of her political programme and the bedrock of her conviction for less government, lower taxes, more freedom and greater personal responsibility.
By Melanie Phillips
Does the Labour Party really believe it was entirely right and proper that Mick Philpott, who has been jailed for life for the manslaughter of six children – five of them his own — should have been subsidised on welfare to the tune of upwards of £60,000 per year? It certainly looks as if it does.
Labour’s Treasury spokesman Ed Balls has been expressing his horror at the ‘divisive and cynical’ remarks made by the chancellor, George Osborne, who asked why taxpayers were subsidising lifestyles such as Philpott’s. It would surely have been rather more edifying had Balls expressed his horror instead at Philpott’s lifestyle.
For it was not just that Philpott had caused the deaths of six children in the house fire he had plotted with his wife and a friend to frame Philpott’s mistress for arson and gain a bigger house. It was that he used his women as milch cows, producing children so that he could live off the welfare benefits they accrued, raking in thousands of pounds per year in child benefit and working family tax credits as well as the money his wife and mistress brought in from their work as cleaners. The more children they produced for him, the more cash he trousered from them – while all the time treating them abominably.
In other words, he used his children’s very existence to gain money for his sexually depraved, drug-fuelled, abusive lifestyle. And while of course other benefit claimants do not deliberately torch their houses and kill their children, the fact remains that unconditional welfare payments, in particular child benefit which is paid on the birth of every child regardless of family circumstances, act as a direct incentive for the mass fatherlessness and the consequent instrumentalisation and gross neglect of children that now characterise welfare deserts up and down the country where depravity, cruelty, neglect, sexual abuse and violence are the norm.
Britain’s welfare system, in other words, is inescapably implicated in creating lifestyles of profound amorality and barbarism. It not only subsidises them, but actively creates an attitude of mind which is deeply self-centred, regarding the world as owing the claimant a living, sinking into patterns of indolence, hedonism and squalor, and treating those who should be recipients of love and duty instead as objects to be used for self-gratification and as whipping-boys when they dare make any demands of their own. Worse still, it then perpetuates itself down through the generations in inherited cycles of dysfunctionality, creating a class apart which is simply separated from civilised society.
Read also: Michael Philpott is a perfect parable for our age: His story shows the pervasiveness of evil born out of welfare dependency by A N Wilson, Mailonline
Labour has completely lost the plot on Philpott by Iain Martin, Telegraph
By Albert Mohler
“Somewhere along the way, standing up for gay marriage went from nervy to trendy.” This was the assessment offered by Frank Bruni, an influential openly-gay columnist for The New York Times. Bruni’s column, published just as the Supreme Court was poised to hear oral arguments in the two same-sex marriage cases now before it, is a celebration of the fact that, as he sees it, same-sex marriage is soon to be the law of the land, whatever the Court may decide. “The trajectory is undeniable. The trend line is clear. And the choice before the justices is whether to be handmaidens of history, or whether to sit it out.”
March 2nd, 2013 Jill Posted in Morality Comments Off
By Roger Scruton, Conservative Home
Our society has not come to terms with the sexual revolution, and one proof of this is the extent to which people seem now free to accuse each other of sexual misdemeanours and ‘inappropriate’ advances, without knowing or caring whether these constitute a crime. This matter is of great concern to conservatives who, for all their reticence in the matter, are well aware that sexual life ought not to be a free for all, and that conventions, manners and a certain distance between the sexes are fundamental to both individual happiness and social peace. Like other modern people, however, they stumble through this dangerous territory without the light of religious principle to guide them, and leaning, when it is necessary to lean, on an entirely makeshift philosophy. Indeed, it seems to me that the absence of a robust view of sex is one reason for the ideological weakness of the Conservative Party. The hesitation over family values, the sudden and unexplained enthusiasm for gay marriage, the easy toleration of ‘non-discrimination’ laws that marginalise the old morality – all these are ways of papering over an enormous hole in the conservative vision, and one that simply did not exist when the founding fathers of conservatism wrote in the 18th century.
[...] In most other areas of human life we are well aware of the distinction between crimes and misdemeanours. And, before the days of sexual liberation, we equipped our children with those habits of modesty, reticence and respect that prevented the worst abuses and gave them the means to protect themselves against them. Now, lacking any real understanding of what sex means, we have also lost all sense of proportion. Every offence is at once construed as a crime, with devastating consequences for those who are accused of it. And the worst of it is that conservatives, who should know better, are as confused as everybody else.
by Dale O'Leary
Today the discussion of almost any issue is distorted by the great lie of Relativism. Relativists claim that there is no truth, just opinions. This is logically impossible, since by definition truth is a statement which corresponds to reality. To say there is no truth is to say there is no reality. Not only that, the statement “there is no truth” cannot be true if there is no truth. Of course, the Relativists don’t really believe that all opinions are equal. They think they are right and those who disagree with them are wrong, and not only wrong, but mean-spirited, bigoted, hateful, discriminating, unscientific and stupid.
Relativists claim to be promoting tolerance, but they are not themselves the least bit tolerant. They use their positions in academia, in professional organizations, and in government to force their opinions on others and silence their opposition. They invent rights and then use these invented rights to impose the tyranny of relativism. They try and sometimes succeed in passing laws which will make disagreeing with them illegal.
The modern Relativists remind me of the ancient Romans. Most of them didn’t really believe that the emperor was actually a god and they didn’t really care what the Christians actually believed. All they wanted was for the Christians to make a sign of submission to the ideology of emperor worship – to throw a little incense on the altar. A simple act, no big deal. After all, what did it matter if there is no truth?
But those early Christians understood exactly what was at stake. It was a huge thing – a betrayal of everything they believed in. They refused. They were tortured and martyred and we remember their names to this day.
In all the talk about legal redefinition of marriage, no one seems to have given much thought to the Ten Commandments, so VfJUK herewith offers the revised version, as might appeal to our Prime Minister.
I am the Lord your Prime Minister, who brings you out of the land of bigotry and intolerance and into the 21st century. I do this not despite being a Conservative, but because I am a Conservative, and I would have all things relevant (and if you don’t like it, I shall use the Parliament Act).
1 You shall stop living by an outdated value system inappropriate for our times, and you shall not foist your unacceptable beliefs, by speaking of them, onto others, even where such beliefs are founded upon Scripture or otherwise historic definitions.
2You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in the Labour or Liberal Democrat parties, because this is unnecessary in reconstituted Britain. You shall not bow down or worship these parties, because despite being in coalition, I, the Lord your Prime Minister, am a jealous Prime Minister and will implement all such policies myself, punishing those who disagree, but showing love for a thousand days unto those who love me and keep my commandments.
3 You shall not misuse the politically correct definition of intolerance and bullying, for the Prime Minister and British judiciary will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses or casts aspersions upon the new ideology.
4 Remember the Sabbath day if you must, but you do not need to keep it holy, because the courts have now decided it is not a distinctive mark and requirement of the Christian faith. And besides which, we are today an inclusive society, which means that other religions are more holy than this outmoded relic of Western civilization.
5Honour parent one and parent two, but do not utter the blasphemous words of father and mother, for that is to imply unacceptable discrimination and hatred; and if you do so you will not live long in the land the Lord your Prime Minister is giving you, but will be fined and imprisoned for bigotry and intolerance and then cast into utter darkness.
Read the rest of this entry »
By Paul Burgess
This week’s debate in the Commons on the Government’s gay marriage bill was notable for a lack of engagement with the real issues at stake and thus missed the point of the argument for marriage. For there are many levels of engagement in this whole matter of whether marriage can be extended to include same sex couples.
On the surface is a debate about social justice: the issue of whether denying gay couples the benefits of an official marital status is essentially discriminatory. These days Western society is increasingly governed by a politically correct human rights notion of equality. It is at this level that the proponents of gay marriage argue.
On another level there is the question of theology, whether about the conclusions of a dogmatic theology based on the interpretation of the revelations of a Faith’s sacred scriptures (tradition), or about the findings of a natural theology based on the studies of nature itself (human experience and scientific discovery). It is at this theological level that the proponents of a traditional concept of marriage argue.
Attached to this theological level are two further areas of debate:
1. The philosophical discussion of the ontological (i.e. essential) nature of marriage. It concerns the issue of its category identification: is the essence of marriage about a heterosexual relationship or merely a sexual relationship?
2. The application of moral theology to the mores (relating to the moral attitudes and customs involved) of marriage. This concerns the morality of homosexual behaviour – to be sharply distinguished from orientation (same-sex attraction).
By Simon Heffer, Mailonline
A glance at today’s political class makes us see all too clearly that the concept of shame has almost disappeared from public life.
Men who have lied to the House of Commons still sit there, some in very senior positions. Peers imprisoned for fraud blithely return to the House of Lords after being released from jail.
Some MPs still draw parliamentary salaries despite having deceitfully fiddled their expenses. One such miscreant, Lib Dem David Laws, even attends Cabinet meetings.
If I was to identify the moment the rot set in, I would go back to an event that ‘celebrates’ — if that’s the word — its 50th anniversary this year.
I am referring to the Profumo scandal of 1963, which changed the nature of British public life for ever.
Rumours had circulated around Westminster about an affair between War Minister John Profumo and Christine Keeler, a call-girl who had also slept with a Soviet naval attaché.
The gossip was fed by a group of Labour MPs who had spotted a golden opportunity, at the height of the Cold War, to embarrass and weaken an already troubled government.
This rabble, though, showed the symptoms of decline, too. For example, Labour MP George Wigg, who helped bring down Profumo, was caught kerb-crawling.