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Harman should have given a proper apology

February 26th, 2014 Jill Posted in Paedophilia, Politics Comments Off

By Harry Phibbs, Conservative Home

Last year Ann Widdecombe’s memoirs Strictly Ann were published. In this she reflects on the child sex scandals involving celebrities that have been emerging from the 1970s and 1980s. Her view is that pillars of the liberal establishment were to blame for the failure to take it seriously at the time:
Miss Widdecombe said:
“Let us look at the state of our knowledge about paedophilia at the time and begin with the unlikely figures of Harriet Harman and Patricia Hewitt, now exemplary mothers and pillars of the establishment, then officers of the National Council for Civil Liberties, which allowed affiliation from the national Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE). It stayed affiliated from 1978 to 1983.
In 1977 the National Council for Civil Liberties stated that it had no policy on PIE’s aims but claimed the evidence showed that ‘children are harmed if, after a mutual relationship with an adult, they are exposed to the attentions of the police’.
Does anyone suppose from this that Harriet Harman and Patricia Hewitt back paedophilia and do not want the involvement of the police? No, it merely shows the state of understanding, or rather lack of it that then prevailed. The same appalling ignorance is evident in Harman‘s response on behalf of the NCCL to a bill that sought to ban indecent images of under-sixteens. The same body also wanted to decriminalise incest.”
The Daily Mail’s recent investigation has brought more details to light. But the extraordinary decision of the NCCL to accept affiliation from PIE is really the crux of the matter. Miss Harman should say that it was appalling and that she made a terrible mistake maintaining her involvement with the NCCL in view of it. Simply to shrug it off on the grounds that lots of organisations were affiliates, as she did in her Newsnight interview, is not good enough.
While we are at it, some more apologies would be in order from another dark episode in NCCL’s past. However, this time it concerns an episode before Miss Harman joined the staff, but when Patricia Hewitt was General Secretary of the NCCL.
Read here
Read also:  Ms Harman, let me help you – “Being human isn’t easy” by Brother Ivo
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Labour’s paedophile problem is more about press regulation

February 25th, 2014 Jill Posted in Children/Family, Paedophilia, Politics Comments Off

From Cranmer

If the Roman Catholic Church had forged links – even as far back as the 1970s – with something called the Paedophile Information Exchange, the political outrage and media onslaught would have been monumental. Certainly, there have been many thousands of appalling cases and a chronic culture of cover-up, but no one can pretend that this was countenanced by canon lawyers or advocated by the Magisterium. Similarly, if the BBC were found to have proven historic (= Savile-era) connections with a group which favoured easing restrictions on child pornography; advocated a more relaxed attitude to paedophilia; proposed the legalisation of incest; and wanted to lower the age of consent to 10, there would be urgent demands for a public inquiry, with immediate suspensions and assurances in Parliament that heads will role.

But when three current Labour politicians – former officers of National Council for Civil Liberties – are confronted with documented links to something that really was called the Paedophile Information Exchange, and when it is set down in black and white that this group really did agitate for all of the aforementioned 'progressive' policies, you have to wonder why Ed Miliband has not at least instigated an internal inquiry and done a few background checks on Harriet Harman, Jack Dromey and (former MP) Patricia Hewitt. Instead, he declared that his MPs do not "set any store by these allegations", and that Harriet Harman in particular is a person of "huge decency and integrity".

The evidence (if it be) has been set out in the Daily Mail, even alleging that "the Labour government of the time may have helped finance the organisation". Unsurprisingly, Ms Harman has dismissed this as a politically motivated campaign – a smear, indeed, of the most despicable Dacre sort, to which depths of journalism neither she nor Labour would ever stoop.

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Putti is in the eye of the beholder by Brother Ivo

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A Lefty Archbishop who’s generous with your money – but not his flock’s

February 17th, 2014 Jill Posted in Politics, Poverty Comments Off

By Dominic Lawson, Mailonline

Those in authority become weary of perpetual demands for cash from worthy causes. They include the Head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, Archbishop Vincent Nichols.

A couple of years ago my wife, a Catholic herself, went to see him with the suggestion that the Church should do more for those with learning disabilities and their families. Nichols’s immediate response was to say: ‘We’re constantly being asked for money.’

It was only when Rosa explained she wasn’t asking for an extra collection at Mass, just that one sermon a year should be devoted to this issue, that he relaxed and asked her to prepare a report on the idea.

So you would think Nichols might understand why the Coalition government, which is faced with a public sector net debt of over £1.2 trillion, has been pressing ahead with its plans to reform and if possible reduce the welfare bill.

Not a bit of it: in an interview over the weekend, marking the Vatican’s announcement that he was to be made a cardinal, Nichols, while accepting the need for savings, said it was ‘a disgrace’ that the Government had ‘destroyed the basic safety net’ of the welfare state, that it was being ‘punitive’ and that food banks were ‘scandalously’ on the increase.

It is right that our religious leaders stand up for the weakest; and given the popularity of the Government’s move to restrict welfare payments to any single home to no more than the income earned by the average working family, it takes courage to inveigh against it with such vigour.

Above all, Nichols is entitled to his opinion — even if he doesn’t see that this widespread public view is exactly the same sentiment that he himself expressed on behalf of his parishioners when he thought my wife was asking them to give to the families of children with learning disabilities: times are hard for many of us and our natural generosity is not limitless.

There is a further irony: the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, is himself a practising Catholic whose motive for welfare reforms is not to save the well-off from paying more tax but to break the iniquitous cycle of dependency that condemns families across generations to lives without possibility for self-improvement — something you would think the Churches would support.

Read here

Read also:  The moral outrage should be at the dependency culture left by Labour by Nick de Bois, Conservative Home


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Jews get better of moral argument over ‘Bethlehem Unwrapped’

February 17th, 2014 Jill Posted in Politics Comments Off

By Julian Mann, New Directions

It can be right for a local church to engage in controversy in the cause of Christ. But it would appear that Jewish objectors to the decision by St James's Piccadilly in London to erect a replica of Bethlehem's separation barrier around its building have got the better of the moral argument.

St James's ran its Bethlehem Unwrapped event, with its 8 metre-tall, 30 metre-long wall the main spectacular, from December 23rd to January 5th. It explained the rationale: 'At Christmas, we sing about the “little town of Bethlehem”. This Christmas, we are hosting a festival celebrating the people of Bethlehem today and drawing attention to the Barrier that affects every aspect of daily life.'

For the festival's finale, the church invited a representative of the Embassy of Israel, London, to take part in a debate entitled 'Both sides of the Barrier – Separation or Security?'. In an open letter to the congregation, the embassy explained its reason for not taking part, arguing that 'this is not an event which is intended to deepen understanding or promote reconciliation but rather is a transparent attempt to incite against Israel and Israelis'.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Why I, as a Christian, oppose the very idea of a Christian Party

February 3rd, 2014 Jill Posted in Christianity, Politics Comments Off

By Benedict Rogers, Conservative Home

Recently I was contacted by someone from The Christian Party, asking for suggestions for candidates to stand for Parliament. It got me thinking, not about potential candidates but about the existence of a “Christian party”. And I concluded that, as a Christian, I am very deeply and profoundly opposed to such a party, and somewhat disturbed by its existence.
I don’t wish to pick a political fight with my fellow Christians, nor do I intend to sink into the kind of partisan politics in which we engage normally with other mainstream parties, but I simply wish to set out five reasons why, as a Christian, I passionately oppose The Christian Party.
First, I would like to encourage more Christians to engage with politics through the mainstream political parties. If we do wish to see the values in which we believe advanced in government and public life, the way to do it is through the political parties that have a realistic chance of power. Christians should be involved where it matters, at the heart of our political system, not on the sidelines.
Second, what on earth is a “Christian party”? While there are clear values around which Christians of all denominations can unite, I find it hard to see a specific “Christian” policy on a wide range of aspects of government. What is a Christian transport policy? What is a Christian agriculture policy? Indeed, even in areas such as economics, education, health, the environment, foreign affairs, defence, international development, welfare and home affairs, what is a “Christian” manifesto? There are broad values which should guide our thinking on these matters, but there always has been, and always will be, plenty of room for debate and disagreement over how those values translate into detailed policy. To suggest that one party’s policies are any more “Christian” than another’s is dangerous.
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Does religion count at the ballot box?

January 27th, 2014 Jill Posted in Faith, Politics Comments Off


New research published by Theos examines the relationship between religious belief and voting behaviour. The Voters and Values report analysed surveys from 1959-2012 to show that how people identify their religious belief, as well as how frequently they attend services, is a significant factor in showing how they are likely to vote.
Anglicans are more likely to vote Conservative, and the more frequently they attend church, the more likely they are to vote that way. Catholic voters, however, favour the Labour party and in this case there is no discernible difference between those who attend and those who do not. Other Christian groups, the only further breakdown most of the statistics allowed, were more fluid in their voting habits, although they did show a noticeable association with support for the Liberal Democrats (and its predecessor parties).
Among other religious groups Muslims favoured Labour, Jewish voters preferred the Conservative, Hindus traditionally backed Labour but were more evenly split in 2010, as are Sikhs throughout the period investigated. The Buddhist vote was inclined to go to the Liberal Democrats.
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We have more to fear from religious state orthodoxy than a biblically-illiterate Ukip councillor

January 19th, 2014 Jill Posted in Faith, Politics Comments Off

From Cranmer

A Ukip councillor from Henley-on-Thames has written to his local newspaper claiming that the current deluge of tempest and floods aflicting the United Kingdom are "divine retribution for the government's decision to legalise gay marriage". The subsequent outpouring of incredulity, condemnation and scorn has been rather disproportionate to the man's political (or religious) significance, except to say that elections to the European Parliament are fast approaching, and Ukip are widely tipped push the Conservative Party into a humiliating third place, if not win outright. Ergo, the merest unorthodox utterance by the lowliest of Nigel Farage's rabble army will be tend to be whipped up into a storm of shame and embarrassment.

David Silvester had been a life-long Tory (he is still named on Henley Conservatives' website as a branch treasurer). He defected to Ukip when David Cameron changed the natural-law (and dictionary) definition of marriage to embrace homosexual partnerships, thereby riding roughshod over millennia of Judæo-Christian orthodoxy (not to mention, Islamic, Hindu and Sikh beliefs on the primacy of the procreative potential of sexual union). The consequence of this, according to Mr Silvester, are storms, floods and other climactic judgments, which are God's warning about national rebellion, idolatry and apostasy.

The full letter is worth reading, not least because Mr Silvester expounds his belief and sets it in some sociological context, including the Queen's Coronation Oath. It is theologically naive and evidences spiritual immaturity, but the Bible exhorts us to nurture milk-drinkers onto meat (1 Cor 3:2), notwithstanding that some are patently unable to digest it.

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Welby dismisses critics’ calls to stay out of politics and stick to talking about God

January 2nd, 2014 Jill Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury, Politics Comments Off

by John Bingham, Telegraph

Archbishop Justin Welby says that in many deprived areas the Church has become the 'glue' holding the whole of society together

The Archbishop of Canterbury shrugged off calls from critics to steer clear of politics and “just talk about God” insisting that the Church has increasingly become the “glue” holding society together.

The Most Rev Justin Welby used his first New Year address as leader of the Church of England to reaffirm tackling poverty as one of the biggest priorities.

Archbishop Welby, a former oil executive, has drawn from his knowledge of the City as a prominent critic of practices by bankers, payday lenders and others.

It was a theme he returned to in his first Christmas sermon last week when he spoke about combating “injustice” adding that politics and religion “cannot be separated”.

But it led to attacks from some commentators who claimed that the Archbishop was failing to talk about faith.

Read here

Watch the Archbishop of Canterbury's New Year Message on BBC iPlayer

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MSPs could ‘lose seats’ over support for gay marriage

December 17th, 2013 Jill Posted in Gay Marriage, Politics Comments Off

From The Christian Institute

Several prominent MSPs could lose their seats over their support for same-sex marriage, a campaign group has warned.

In ten constituencies, the number of people who are against gay marriage is greater than the MSPs’ respective majorities, according to a list produced by Scotland for Marriage.

Three senior MSPs from the Scottish National Party appear on the list – Gil Paterson, Sandra White and Marco Biagi – along with the former Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray. 

A spokesman from Scotland for Marriage said the analysis is “merely democracy in action” and is not a threat.

“MSPs need to pay heed to what we are saying and our supporters will not be frightened to demonstrate their feelings at the next election. And for some, their votes could be decisive”, he said.

“Our members are exercising their democratic rights and MSPs should have the decency to meet and listen to those who don’t share their views”, he added.

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Baroness Warsi’s ‘concern’ over effect of gay marriage laws on religious groups

December 12th, 2013 Jill Posted in Gay Marriage, Politics, Religious Liberty Comments Off

by John Bingham, Telegraph

Baroness Warsi has raised concerns over whether legal provisions to protect churches from being sued for opting out of gay marriage are strong enough

Baroness Warsi, the faith minister, has signalled that she is not satisfied that laws introducing same-sex marriage contain enough protections for religious groups.

The former Conservative Party chairman said she could not support the Government bill during votes in the Lords because of “reservations” about how clauses designed to prevent faith groups being sued for refusing to perform gay weddings would work in practice.
She raised the prospect of smaller churches, mosques and temples which are linked to local community centres, finding themselves in a legal grey area when same-sex marriage becomes possible from March next yearBut she also told an audience at an event in London in support of the Kaleidoscope Trust, a gay human rights charity, that her party had been “on the wrong side of history” of the issue of homosexuality in the past.
Lady Warsi, the UK’s first Muslim Cabinet minister, apologised for remarks she made as a Conservative election candidate in 2005 suggesting that lowering the age of consent would open the way for children to be "propositioned" for gay sex.
She said she was still “on a journey” on the issue but when asked whether she now supported same-sex marriage she replied that she was not willing to give an answer that would “keep the crowd happy”.
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Downing Street gets ready for a big gay wedding

December 5th, 2013 Jill Posted in Gay Marriage, Politics Comments Off

From London Evening Standard

Let the bells ring out! The Londoner is dusting off the old top hat, for wedding bells are set to ring out across Downing Street. Michael Salter, David Cameron’s close adviser and head of broadcasting, is to marry his long-term partner Rob Church, deputy director of Civil Service Reform at the Cabinet Office.
The wedding will be Downing Street’s first same-sex marriage. Salter, who met Church five years ago at the Stonewall Awards, has worked with Cameron for eight years and is a key adviser on LGBT issues, including the same-sex marriage bill that was legalised this summer.

The Prime Minister risked splitting his own party by daring to push through the legislation for gay marriage and has denied recent claims that he privately regretted the move because of the furore it has created.

“I don’t regret it,” Cameron told reporters. “Britain is a more equal and fairer country for having done it.”

Read here

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Nick Boles evidently needs your help

November 23rd, 2013 Jill Posted in Gay Marriage, Politics Comments Off

By Rod Liddle, Spectator

Another interesting contribution to the great debate from Nicholas Boles, the MP for Grantham and Stamford and someone who is considered ‘influential’.
Nick has explained away the Conservative Party’s unpopularity in the polls, and its likely defeat at the next General Election, on a failure to proclaim loudly enough on liberal issues. The party should be ‘shouting from the rooftops’ about such issues as gay marriage, he said. I assume he means being in favour of gay marriage.
I wonder if the rest of the country sees it that way. Have you ever heard, anywhere – outside North London – anyone express dissatisfaction with the Conservative Party because it is insufficiently liberal on the issue of, say, gay marriage? ‘Oh, I was thinking of voting Tory, but I think they’re too nasty to the gays.’?
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‘Tories must shout about gay marriage to win next election’

November 20th, 2013 Jill Posted in Gay Marriage, Politics Comments Off

By James Kirkup, Telegraph

The Conservative Party cannot win a majority unless it “shouts from the rooftops” about liberal policies like gay marriage, a Tory minister says

The Conservative Party cannot win a majority unless it wins around young people by “shouting from the rooftops” about liberal policies like gay marriage, a Tory minister has said.
Nick Boles, an ally of David Cameron, said that the Conservatives will struggle to win a Commons majority because “a significant number of people will not even contemplate voting Conservative”.
Because the Conservative Party image still repels many voters, the party should consider running candidates under a new National Liberal banner, Mr Boles said.
The minister was a strong supporter of Mr Cameron’s attempts to modernise the image of the Conservative Party and reach out to new voters. His comments reflect concern among senior Tories that the modernisation project has stalled in recent years.
Speaking to the Bright Blue Tory think tank, Mr Boles said that young voters will only back the Conservatives if they highlight their socially liberal policies including allowing gay marriage.

Read here

James Kirkup also blogs about this news item here

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HHS mandate, the other Obamacare problem

November 15th, 2013 Jill Posted in Politics, Religious Liberty Comments Off

By Sheila Liaugminas, MercatorNet

The general public and the media are finally dealing with the reality of Obamacare. Great numbers of Americans have a nearly two year jump on that process.

To recap what many people probably forgot, the infamous HHS mandate was announced in January 2012, a throwdown to faith based institutions and employers requiring them to either violate their consciences or pay a prohibitive penalty. It signaled the government’s disregard for Constitutional and federal law protecting religious freedom rights. And it triggered an almost immediate response of legal challenges to the administrations’ audacious breach of those rights.
To date, this unconstitutional mandate in Obamacare has racked up 77 court cases with over 200 plaintiffs bringing suit against the administration. Most of which has flown under radar while the press wasn’t paying attention and Americans were going about their business. Except for the Americans who couldn’t conduct their business any longer without violating their conscience and deeply held beliefs, or paying a punitive fine for refusing to do so.
In every case, the government’s attorneys have had to defend in court the indefensible, and they’re losing in some significant cases and getting admonished by some judges. Like last week’s decision by the 7th Circuit Court:
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Faith is back at the heart of government, says Baroness Warsi

November 13th, 2013 Jill Posted in Faith, Politics Comments Off

By Matthew Holehouse, Telegraph

Faith is being put back at the “heart of government,” as it was under Sir Winston Churchill and Baroness Thatcher, a minister will say today.

The Coalition is one of the “most pro-faith governments in the West,” Baroness Warsi, the Minister for Faith, will say. “More often than not, people who do God do good.”

Churchill and Thatcher would have welcomed the Coalition’s promise to protect the right of town halls to hold prayers and the creation of more faith schools under Michael Gove’s Free Schools programme, she will say.

Public policy was “secularised” under the previous, Labour government, Lady Warsi will tell an audience at the Churchill Archives at the University of Cambridge.

But Churchill saw totalitarian regimes as “godless” while Thatcher regarded politics as second to Christianity in defining society, she will say.

Read here

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Presidential Lies and Political Ownership

November 12th, 2013 Jill Posted in Politics Comments Off

by Christopher O. Tollefsen, Public Discourse

When President Obama lied about the Affordable Care Act, he substituted his own self-governance and self-constitution for that of the American people.

“If you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan. Period.”
We now know, I believe, with something approaching moral certainty, that this was a lie. Perhaps it was not the president’s lie; while one additional claim of ignorance on his part would seem to confound belief, stranger things have happened. But he was uncorrected, and no doubt encouraged by aides who certainly knew its falsity, and if he has no responsibility himself, then he was simply an agent for the false assertion of others. That there was a lie is something it seems impossible to doubt.
Moreover, it was a lie of a particular sort, a lie in service of what was considered to be a worthy political end. We could call it a lie for a politically good cause. Could it have been justified because its end was noble?
I have argued before in Public Discourse that the most fundamental wrong of a lie is not its injustice, but its deliberate violation of the goods of integrity and sociality. So even if the end were good, and even if there were no injustice, this lie would have been wrong, and wrong for the same reason that every lie is.
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ObamaCare’s marriage penalty: Cohabitating couples will pay less for healthcare than married couples

November 12th, 2013 Jill Posted in Cohabitation, Marriage, Politics Comments Off

by Kirsten Andersen, LifeSite News

Would you pay $10,000 a year to stay married to your spouse? Some American couples are being faced with exactly that decision as they consider their health insurance options under ObamaCare.

One of the most controversial provisions of ObamaCare is that it requires all Americans to purchase health insurance, whether they want it or not, or face hefty fines. To facilitate enrollment, the government has set up health care “exchanges” in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., where people can compare and purchase insurance plans. The government has promised subsidies to help those who cannot afford the higher premiums, but the way the subsidies are calculated mean they could pay up to $10,000 more per year.
The marriage penalty is a result of the way the government calculates poverty. While the poverty line for a single person’s income is $11,490 per year or less, a married couple is considered above the poverty line if their combined income exceeds $15,510. People are eligible for subsidies under ObamaCare if they make up to four times more than the federal poverty limit – $45,960 for a single person, or $62,040 for a married couple. But unmarried couples living together will have their incomes assessed separately – meaning that as long as each of them makes less than the individual cutoff, they can remain eligible for subsidies while bringing in a joint income of up to $91,920.
In 2010, the Heritage Foundation warned of this hidden marriage penalty in a report criticizing the ObamaCare bill for its “profound anti-marriage bias.” They also pointed out that focusing on the yearly penalty misses the bigger picture: the penalty is assessed over and over again throughout the couple’s life, meaning the real cost of marriage is much, much higher.
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Legalising same-sex marriage was ‘damaging’ for Tories, Philip Hammond says

November 8th, 2013 Jill Posted in Gay Marriage, Politics Comments Off

By Steven Swinford, Telegraph

Philip Hammond, the defence secretary, says he was 'shocked' by the legalisation of same-sex marriage and it was 'damaging' for the Conservative Party

Legalising same-sex marriage was "damaging" for the Conservative Party and was pushed through too quickly by David Cameron, a Cabinet minister has said.
Philip Hammond, the defence secretary, said he and other Conservatives were left "shocked" by the "tumultuous" pace of change and would have preferred for it to have "gradually taken root".
He said that it created the perception the party's leadership was in a "different place to the core of the active supporters" over the issue, but added that the Conservatives now have to "focus on the challenges ahead".

In an interview with Conservativehome, Mr Hammond said: "It was damaging because it created a perception that the leadership was in a different place to the core of the party's active supporters.
"I prefer my change to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary, and you know I got myself quite comfortable with the institution of civil partnership.

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Why David Cameron should regret gay marriage

November 7th, 2013 Jill Posted in Gay Marriage, Politics Comments Off

By Julian Mann, Christian Today

Whatever the truth of reports that Prime Minister David Cameron now sees gay marriage as 'the worst political decision of his premiership', he should regret it politically and morally.

Whilst the same-sex marriage bill is not the only reason the Conservative Party is losing both members and voters to Ukip, it is a factor, a piece in the jigsaw contributing to the picture of the party they once loyally supported now selling its soul to political correctness.

Ukip could well lose Mr Cameron the next General Election. Before the recent surge in support for Ukip, I recall being told by a Euro-sceptic Conservative MP friend of mine that a vote for Ukip was 'extremely foolish' because it would allow Labour in. His fears were well-grounded. If UKIP splinters the Tory vote in a similar way to the impact of the SDP on Labour in the 1980s, it is possible in our first-past-the-post electoral system for Labour to achieve a small working Parliamentary majority with around 35 per cent of the national vote in 2015.

But the reality is that many conservatively-minded voters are so cheesed off with the Cameronite Conservative Party that they do not see much difference between it and Labour. It would appear that a growing number of them would like to punish it for its infidelity to traditional Judaeo-Christian values even if that would risk putting Mr Miliband into Number 10.

I personally got a whiff of the politically-correct direction the Conservative Party was taking when I attended a meeting addressed by Mr Cameron in Sheffield during the 2010 election campaign. I asked Mr Cameron about the impact of the 2010 Equality Act on Christian churches and organisations that believed on biblical grounds that homosexual practice was wrong and that heterosexual marriage was the only right context for the expression of sexual love.

Mr Cameron's answer was very revealing.

Read here

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White House to hold first-ever bisexual issues roundtable: report

October 29th, 2013 Jill Posted in Bisexuality, Politics Comments Off

By Jessica Chasmar, Washington Times

The White House is set to hold a roundtable event next month exclusively dedicated to issues facing the bisexual community, the first of its kind for the Obama administration, the Washington Blade first reported.

White House LGBT liaison Gautam Raghavan told the Blade that the closed-door meeting will take place Sept. 23 at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House.

Participants and administration officials will discuss a range of topics including health, HIV/AIDS, domestic and intimate partner violence, mental health, and bullying,” Mr. Raghavan said.

The invitation was reportedly sent to LGBT supporters of the president and specifies the meeting will be closed to the press.

A White House official confirmed the event would take place, but didn’t comment further, the Blade reported.

 Read here
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