On two ocassions I have invited Nancy Platts the Labour candidate to visit Brighton Voices in Exile, the organisation which works out of my house for asylum seekers, torture victims, exiles, the last time she was standing within 20 yards of their of their office, she couldn't be bothered despite her promises.
Obviously there no votes in the homeless or in asylum seekers and torture victims any more than there are in the innocent victims of abortion. Our bishops are going to issue a pre-election document next week, I am sure it is going to tell us that the election is not about a single issue, but actually it should be. The single issue is actually about "Life". Now, it seems that with the CESs collusion, every school in the country is to become a portal for abortion access, there is little difference between any of the political parties, all are fundamentally anti-Life. That being so we need to look at the next level up and ask the question: how do those aspire to power treat the poor, the marginalised, the victims. Somewhere the great Athanasius said, "You can tell a heretic [actually, an Arian] by the way in which he treats the poor". So far both Platts and Lucas seem to treat them with contempt.
You won't find many poor people begging outside of the offices of the National Secular Society, unlike Westminster Cathedral, simply because secularists don't care - actually you don't find the poor outside Westminster Abbey, what does that say? In Brighton most of the care for those at the very bottom of society is supplied by the Churches, for the main part, I think, Catholics. Never has any local politician shown any interest in the work we do.
It is really quite outrageous how ignorant most politicians are about our faith despite, its contribution to western artistic culture and thinking,
It is very tempting in Brighton for political candidates to pander to the more vociferous elements of the hedonistic "Gay Lobby" and ignore the "Faith" communities and their concerns, if that happens in the next election that would be more than foolish. Those who can get themselves out to Church on a Sunday can normally get themselves along to vote. Those who reflect on the works of God also soberly reflect on the works of Gordon Brown, David Cameron et al.
I would like to get a small group of Catholics familiar with the Catechism of the Catholic Church to sit down with the mainstream candidates to decide for whom a Catholic can vote.
Here is my simplistic analysis:
My parents were rabid Tories, like most Catholic priests I always used to vote Labour, I think that is impossible now, so contrary have they become not only to Catholic teaching but to the very spirit of the Christian faith.
Labour: look at the record, they are pro-abortion, anti-family, coercive towards the Church, restrictive of religious freedoms, robbed us of our adoption agencies, are robbing us of our schools; under their watch the gap between rich and poor has grown, our children have become increasingly sexualised, the freedom of parents has been curtailed. Goodish on overseas aid but they start wars! Only seem to have one policy: Sexual Equalities, which for many of us will lead to sexualisation, inequality and oppression.
Consevatives: no radical change from Labour, they seem to be distancing themselves from their pro-family policies and "traditional" morality, at least they are, in theory, for smaller government, therefore they might respect personal rights. Not nice to the poor, tend to favour the middle-classes.
Liberal Democrat: extreme anti-Lifers and secularists, introduced abortion, radical but without real policies.
Green Party: I am not sure they have many policies, except to save the planet and regard mankind as a virus that is attacking it; their policies seem to take away human freedom.
It should actually be a two-issue election: (1) Inviolability of the body of the human person at all stages of life from conception and in perpetuity; (2) Inviolability of the bond of marriage, with no remarriage of either spouse legally possible during the life of the other.
No 2, for Muslims and Jews, for Orthodox, for Catholics who have rightly obtained an anullment? Really?
As you have identified yourself as a Lib Dem earlier, what are doing about it - both 1&2 are far from congruent with their policies.
The situation I noticed in the US is very different, when I was at St. Mary's Cathedral in Austin, Texas, there were homeless people always coming in to see the priests there to get help finding a place to sleep etc. and the priests always made time for them.
The nature of marriage is an objective reality which the civil authorities must recognise. There is from God no power in the civil authorities to dissolve the bond of a marriage so as to permit remarriage.
So far as Muslims are concerned, there is a question mark over whether their beliefs about marriage (divorce, polygamy) so determine their will that the presumption should be that they do not consent to marriage.
What am I as a Liberal Democrat doing about it? It doesn't matter what political party you belong to, there's no solution in the political parties, but only in converting the pre-political and cultural foundations to the Catholic vision of things.
Like so many voters I am at a loss this time when it comes to deciding where my vote will go.
Having been a life long Labour voter I realise that I can no longer give them my vote and recently informed their representative this when they came canvassing. Yesterday thanks to a comment on Damian Thompson's blog which linked to a site where you can find out how your MP voted on crucial moral issues, I learnt of the voting record of our local MP. I was horrified at all the bills he had voted for, which go against Christian teaching.
He voted for research using human cloning.
He voted for the Civil Partnership bill but AGAINST extending it to cover siblings.
He voted to allow homosexual couples to adopt children.
He voted against including protection for churches in the gender recognition bill.
He voted against reducing the abortion limit.
He voted against a ban on creating savour siblings
He voted against a ban on creating animal-human hybrid embryos
He voted against keeping a requirement to consider a child's need for a father before fertility treatment
etc etc etc
Until yesterday I did not even know you could find out this information.
I had a look at Ann Widdecombe's voting record in moral issues and that was impeccable. But she is only one of the Conservatives and I believe she will be standing down.
Fr Ray's idea of getting a group together to talk with the mainstream candidates is of course an excellent idea but would any of them agree to attend? Perhaps if they were informed of the statistics - how many Catholics there are in Brighton ie possible votes - they might feel it important enough.
I think it is disgraceful that Nancy Platts refused Fr Ray's invitation to visit Brighton Voices in Exile. From her website I see that 'she was swift to act ... regarding saving trees in Clyde Road.' For her obviously trees are more important than people. She says elsewhere that 'she wants to tackle poverty and the disadvantaged'. A vague expression used by the Miss World candidates but it obviously does not include Voices in Exile - as Fr Ray says there are no votes there.
I wish Laurence well for his chat today and hope he gets the opportunity of talking to other candidates too. Following my doorstep conversation I received a letter from Nancy Platts suggesting she 'pop round to introduce herself should you feel that would be helpful.' meaning I guess if this would change my mind!
Not having Laurence's talent I am still composing a letter to her but perhaps will wait until we hear what the Bishops say next week before sending it.
A Catholic in this country may as well not have a vote at this point in time.
The political oligarchy have seized control of the levers of power and now the average man is excluded from participating in the democratic process in any meaningful way.
We have been reduced to merely rubber-stamping one of the political oligarchy chosen from within the political elite by the political elite and for the political elite.
Though the title of elite in this case probably gives them to much credit. There is nothing excellent to be found among this bunch of degenerates other than their talent for tyranny.
If the Catholic schools really want to make an impact on this country they need to get away from the national curriculum which merely teaches children to be good obedient worker drones and start offering a more classical education which can prepare the child to be a fully active participant as a free man in the democratic process.
Things such as how the political process works in this country among with the art of public speaking or rhetoric should be compulsory, not how to have sex.
Such knowledge is necessary for a man who is meant to be a citizen in a free and democratic country.
There is a reason why politicians send their children to private schools, it is because the national curriculum does not educate a child how to lead only how to follow. For a short time the trade unions filled in this gap among the working classes, but they no longer do.
Father, I think our bishops behave as if it is more important to fit in with the political establishment and feel at ease with the civil institutions of our society than to stand for Christ in a country that increasingly needs such a witness. They have never taken any issue with the lefty dissenting CAFOD crew promoting contraception among the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world or bat an eye at wholehearted support of the Cabrini Childrens Society which stands diametrically opposed to what the Catholic Church teaches as family and the intrinsic rights of a child. In the Common Good back in the 19990's it was clear the bishops rejected the right to life as paramount but you could, accroding to them, view racism as a sutiable single issue to guide your vote. The single issue of salvation is ignored as when this is beleived in then every issue is important and that which denies life becomes paramount. It is a sad situation but one that the average Catholic couldn't care less about or indeed is under the false impression that everything done in the name of the Church accords with its teachings.
I interviewed for SPUC candidates in my constituency for the 1997 General Election. The Labour candidate was the only Catholic candidate and was also a Governor of a Catholic School. She also happened to be the one that was pro abortion, pro contraception and pro permissive sex education. The Lib Dem was on at least on a par and the Tory better. Nevertheless our Tory MP has voted for Civil Partnerships, against an opt out for Catholic adoption agencies etc. I will probably vote UKIP if the candidate is pro life.
"the vociferous, hedonistic gay community" ???? When l read unsubstantiated statements like that, it makes me ashamed to be a Catholic. Actually it just makes me feel terribly sad.
Karen...Father has in mind individuals like Peter Tatchell I think.
Thank you for pointing that out, it was not quite what I meant, I have changed it to
"It is very tempting in Brighton for political candidates to pander to the more vociferous elements of the hedonistic "Gay Lobby".."
not everybody who defines themselves as "Gay" is vociferous about the "Gay Lobby's political agenda, nor would everyone who is homosexual use the term "Gay" which has certain political connotations. Nor would everyone who is homosexual think that was something to define themselves by or want others to define them by their sexual attraction.
At the last election for the Scottish Parliament, the Green Party in Scotland included this gem in their manifesto: "We will move towards the integration of state-funded religious schools into nondenominational education". It might be worth checking them out on this point in England.
In hedonistic Brighton hedonistic lobbies tend to be heard more than those who live more soberly.
We all have different perspectives on life and our voting practice is often dictated by upbringing and family circumstances. Having said this, I cannot understand how any Catholic has voted for the Labour Party since 1967. Although it was the Liberal boy wonder, David Steele, who is the supposed author of the abortion bill he was just the willing dupe of the most evil politician in my lifetime - Roy Jenkins (I have always refused to accord him the title granted to him). Jenkins was the Home Secretary in the most evil government of my lifetime - that of Harold Wilson of the second half of the 1960s. In my opinion this government was responsible for unleashing all the problems this country is now suffering from.
Besides the abortion bill which has now accounted for millions of murdered children, this government, in 1968, abolished the responsibility of Lord Chamberlain to censor theatrical performances, and virtually within days the musical Hair performed in London with its full frontal nudity and perverted excesses. This led on to daily newspapers publishing photos of topless young women and other lurid pictures that became the springboard to the squalid situation we have today where women are merely seen as objects of pleasure. TV has followed suit and even the soaps nowadays are portraying young children in storylines that are completely unsuitable. This tide of pornography is made worse by the complete lack of censorship of videos and DVDs. It has become almost impossible for any decent woman or girl to walk down a street without being the subject of improper comment. Unfortunately, because of the sexualisation of women, many of them have now adopted the morals of men whereas they were once the moderating influence on their brothers, sons, and boyfriends.
The Sexual Offences Act in 1967 specifically allowed for sex between two men, aged 21 or above in ‘private’. While few would wish to criminalise homosexuality, this act opened the floodgates to what we now have whereby the catholic Church and others will be criminals if we do not teach that a perversion of nature is equal to natural behaviour.
I could go on but most people should now be aware of the evils of socialism. Sadly, the old Labour Party whose roots were lodged in Methodism, has now been overtaken by international socialism with the all the evils that Our Lady warned against at Fatima.
Unfortunately, the mainstream parties are now the same in most respects so I may end up voting for UKIP. If we could entangle ourselves from the socialist Euro nightmare in Brussels, from where most of these evil laws are being imposed, then we may just reclaim our parliament. In doing so the MPs could no longer blame Brussels for our laws and would have to vote in accordance with the wishes of the people of this country. They would become more accountable which would, at least, be a start.
Just to be fair to the Lib Dems, it was David Steel who introduced the Abortion Bill as a Private Members Bill rather than the Liberal Party as such. This was all before I joined the Liberal Party so I don't know what attitude was taken by other Liberal MPs but I think it would be fair to say that at that time moral issues were still left for individual MPs to decide for themselves. During the time I was a member of the Lib Dems I don't think they ever made abortion a party policy although you will probably find that the vast majority of Lib Dem MPs nowadays are pro-abortion and anti-Life.
I'm sure Catholics would be equally ashamed of you Karen if they knew you.
"For he that shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, in this adulterous and sinful generation: the Son of man also will be ashamed of him, when he shall come in the glory of his Father with the holy angels." Mark 8:38
"the vociferous, hedonistic gay community" ????
Seems a fair comment to me, hedonistic... well they do choose to classify themselves by their sexual preference (sexuality).
Vociferous... well they don't seem to be shy of telling us what they do and what they think.
Discreet Observer, every Government since 1979 has been more wicked than its predecessor, and always will be until further notice.
Margaret Thatcher will go down in history as the High Priestess of Mammon. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act went on the statute book on her watch, and she set about the mass destruction of the careers and wages of men who otherwise might have been able to support a family.
The destruction of unborn life having been entrenched, the ball was passed to New Labour to make homosexual activity all but compulsory.
All the major parties are wedded to secularist and homosexualist religion, because otherwise their vote would collapse.
It all goes back to Henry VIII of course. The Lord's command to the Church is "Go, make disciples of all nations."
Ever since the Reformation the Scriptures have been mangled thus:
"Honour the King and do whatever he tells you." (1 Peter 2:17; John 2:5).
If it cheers you up, any, Volpius, at least one Catholic (me) finds you rude, and either daft or nasty (or you have Asperger's, in which case I apologise, but perhaps get someone to read your comments before you post) in your comments, especially when writing to people with whom you disagree.
Some bishops are standing up to the Government (at last....).. Let's hope it is not too late and that pray for success:
Joint Pastoral Letter from the Bishops of
Hallam, Leeds & Middlesbrough
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
You will realize that during the course of the last few years Catholic Care has been making strenuous efforts to secure its rights as an adoption agency in order to continue to supply a beneficial service to the three Dioceses of Hallam, Leeds and Middlesbrough. Since 1963, this agency has assisted placing of some of the most vulnerable children to the care of loving families in our region.
However, in 2006 the passing of the Equality Act affected this good work. This new law asks us to operate our adoption agency with disregard to the Church’s teaching on marriage and family life. It has been designed to widen the pool of people who are able to legally adopt which includes same-sex couples. Despite the fact that Catholic Care has been able to find caring families for a vast number of needy children we are being invited either to stop our adoption work or stop being a Catholic charity altogether. This has had the effect that most Catholic adoption agencies, depending on their circumstances, have either closed or transferred their adoption activity to other charities. Neither of these options is acceptable to us or to the Trustees of Catholic Care. Indeed, our position has been widely supported not only within the Catholic Church but also from very many others outside.
Since 2007 Catholic Care has been involved in a legal battle to stay open as a Catholic adoption agency and to operate according to our beliefs in marriage and family life. Precisely because we wish to do everything possible to remain open the next stage in this legal process will take place in the High Court this week. Our position is that it is in the interests of children to continue our work. We are not judging other agencies that accept same sex couples for adoption, but feel strongly that we should not be forced to do so, nor is there a necessity for this to happen. We believe that this is a legally justifiable position to take and that it is a reasonable response to a legitimate end.
Our adoption service has been at the heart of the local community for over 100 years. It has been praised and widely appreciated by local authorities and social services, as well as the children who have benefited from this work and the couples who have sought to adopt them. Children have a right to a family life. There are too many children awaiting adoption and Catholic Care has a vital and a special role in helping very vulnerable children by finding loving families for them. If Catholic Care is forced to close its adoption service it is children who will lose an effective and well respected resource in the Yorkshire region.
As we write to you today, we wish to thank you for your generous support of Catholic Care and for your shared concern with us over this state of affairs. Above all, we seek your prayers especially as the High Court case begins on Wednesday. May Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, patroness of our three dioceses, intercede for us to the Lord that the good work Catholic Care has undertaken for so long may continue.
+ Rawsthorne +Roche +Drainey
I already knew that berenike, but I am very protective of my family and I am not going to stop now.
God bless the bishops of Hallam,Leeds and Middlesborough! All Catholics of England and Wales should pray for the success of their noble and courageous endeavour this week.
Copy of emails
Dear Caroline Lucas,
I have been approached by representatives of the Green Party asking me about my voting intentions and to be frank I am far from decided. There are several issues that I would regard as key.
1) What is your view on the equalities legislation currently being promoted by the government?
2) Would you support an easing or tightening of abortion legislation?
3) Would you support legislation to permit euthanasia?
4) Would you promote your party's policy of land value taxation, about which you have said nothing in your publicity so far?
Thank you for your email. The offices here are exceptionally busy, so this reply is simply to acknowledge receipt of your message and let you know that a full response will be sent as soon as possible.
All of the parties are running policies which will MAKE PEOPLE POOR. Those policies also make the country poor. It then becomes difficult to run humane and generous policies on refugees. When there is so-much home-grown poverty people feel, first, that charity should begin at home, and second, that the refugees will become a burden on society.
What is the connection with abortion policy? Abortion is an attempt to contravene natural law. But natural law always operates, regardless of legislation, meaning that if it is legal, the participants and the country will suffer from the natural consequences of the action.
If politicians do not acknowledge natural law they will get ALL their policies wrong, including those relating to economics. One of this is that it is a natural law that governments have a duty to ensure that everyone has access to the means of support for themselves and their family.
Which explains my first sentence.
The reply you got from Caroline Lucas is, I think, fairly standard practice. What matters is how long it takes to get a reply of substance. I am still waiting to get a substantive reply from my Lib Dem MP to the following question:
The Independent has reported that Nick Clegg said that,
“Faith schools should be legally obliged to teach that homosexuality is "normal and harmless".”
I would be interested in your reaction to that statement.
That was sent on January 14th and I am still waiting for a substantive reply.
Clearly my Lib Dem MP needs a long time to work out what her view of that statement is as she still seems to be thinking about it.
Perhaps she's waiting till after the election. (Wouldn't want her Catholic constituents to find out anything undesirable, perhaps.)
Father, I am sure you did not mean that your parents were "furious, violent,unreasoning, insensate, headstrong, affected by rabies" (OED)
Or maybe you did.
Anyway, could this rabid Tory suggest that an approach could be made to Charlotte Vere, the Conservative candidate for Brighton Pavilion. She has a fine record in community engagement.
Trouble with the Conservatives is the legacy of Thatcher (no such thing as community), they appear to be too close to the landowning and corporate interest groups and they have a track record of making people poor. They also come across as appealing too much to greed and too little recognition of the public realm and its value.
Sorry I could not bring myself to vote for anyone. Left and right are wrong.
Pity they did not use the last 13 years to develop fresh policies or find old ones that were neglected yet would have worked.
The exact quotation from the Margaret Thatcher speech is as follows:
"There's no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people and people must look after themselves first. It's our duty to look after ourselves, and then, also, to look after our neighbours." 1979
I cannot see anything wrong with any of that, and I claim to be as good a Catholic as the next man.
1569 - There is everything wrong with that statement by Thatcher and you see its evil consequences the instant you step into Britain. There is a such a thing as society and consequently a public realm.
In Britain, this public realm is not valued as it is in other countries, and it is noticeable, down to the minutest triviae. People don't generally drop litter in Scandinavia. The pavements are not spotted with chewing gum. If you travel in a train you will find a brush and paper towels in the toilet. That is only possible when everyone is recognises that there is such a thing as society.
There is the individual and there is the family on one side, and there is government on the other, and yes, government is made up of, but is more than the sum of, individuals. Individuals, families and government all have their particular duties.
Amongst the duties of government are:
* to defend the realm, to apply justice,
* to deal with emergencies,
* to ensure that everyone has the means to provide themselves and their families with a livelihood, and
* to collect the rent of land
This latter is because if government does not, all sorts of undesirable consequences follow. Not the least of them is that large numbers of families end up being unable to provide themselves with a livelihood. Then comes socialism. More and more become dependent on welfare, which eventually consumes ever-increasing public funds.
All of the political parties are running policies which MAKE PEOPLE POOR.
Now I would have thought that a recognition of those points described above as the minimum duties of government would form the basis of a genuine conservative programme, but sadly the Conservatives have just thrashed around for the past 13 years instead of getting a coherent policy together and gathering public support.
Thatcher's foolish statement seems to have its origins in US libertarianism, perhaps in the writings of the evil Ayn Rand. At a more general level, it has promoted the f*** you attitudes which have brought us to Broken Britain. She has a lot to answer for.
I think you misrepresent the Green Party hear.
The Greens have lots of policies on creating a fairer society as well. This all stems from Environmentalism as it is not fair that other should suffer from the greed of others pollution.
One example is the citizens wage, a basic wage paid to everyone in the country to replace tax allowances, JSA, and other benefits.
It would recognise the unpaid work that many people do, be that housework or voluntary work helping other people.
I'm sorry you couldn't meet with Caroline Lucas but she is still representing people in Brussels at the moment so she doesn't have a huge amount of time in Brighton.
Dear Fr Ray
As your local Green councillor, your post was brought to my attention. I've checked and I think there has been a misunderstanding. Laurence says in his own blog post that Caroline agreed to meet the homeless people you mention.
Caroline met Laurence on Friday, is going to the soup kitchen this Wednesday and is currently agreeing a date to meet the homeless people.
The Green Party has detailed policies on many key aspects of society, those inclined can have a browse here http://policy.greenparty.org.uk
All the best,
The Greens have lots of policies on creating a fairer society as well.
What is "fair" can be debated endlessly, as in Matthew 20:1-15. Fairness is not a sufficient basis for policy. As Benedict said, the first step in charity is justice. We need to understand what is just and what is unjust.
This all stems from Environmentalism as it is not fair that other should suffer from the greed of others pollution.
This is not just unfair, it is unjust, which is another matter altogether.
One example is the citizens wage, a basic wage paid to everyone in the country to replace tax allowances, JSA, and other benefits.
Who would and who would not be entitled to this wage, how much would people receive and how would it be paid for? If these questions cannot be answered, the proposal does not make sense.
It would recognise the unpaid work that many people do, be that housework or voluntary work helping other people.
Why do we need to be paid money in return? We do things for people, they do things for us.That is just natural.
I was quite keen on the Greens when they started off but now they are just peddling recycled socialism in a green wrapping.
The response I received from Caroline Lucas about some Green Party policies can be read here
Costs £500 to stand as an MP, and you need the support of ten constituency members - so £50 per person if the supporters stump up too. How about fielding Catholic candidates as a protest vote? There must be a lay blog out there that could organise it.
Delia, I have noticed that "Catholic" commentators generally seem to think that it is sufficient to be pro-life and anti-abortion. In the past, there have been candidates running on such a ticket.
Yet there is a whole body of Catholic social teaching that needs to be translated into practical policies before anyone can claim to be promoting "Catholic" policies.
Catholic Social Teaching has, in principle, the solutions to most of the problems of finance, the economy and "Broken Britain", but we keep silent. Most of us don't even know what is Catholic Social Teaching, let alone what sort of practical policies would follow from putting it into effect.
This is tragic because none of the other parties have policies that even begin to address the problems, leaving us in a position to achieve a radical breakthrough if we had the will.
Physiocrat: I meant the whole package!
I'm sad the election is regarded as a 'two-issue election'
I left the church several years ago, as I was often perplexed at the way it seemed to focus so much anger and resentment on subject predominantly related to sex. Be it homosexulaity, contraception, sex before marriage etc etc.
Why is so little attention paid to issues such as world poverty, local deprivation, arms sales, destruction of gods world through pollution etc? At least the Green Party has a good track record on these...
Steven, the "Green Party" is really the "Watermelon party" -- Green on the outside, RED on the inside.
These "the earth is our mother" hate people, particularly poor people.
And Pysiocrat -- I think you slander Margaret Thatcher -- she was merely pointing out that people FIRST need to look to themselves and their own resources, rather than automatically stick out their hands in hopes that someone ELSE will drop something into it. She didn't say "the hell with everyone else" she said don't look to government as your 1st choice to the answer to all your problems.
Socialism ends up killing people, jobs, and personal initiative.. Pipe dreamers at best, wicked, immoral people at worst.
Gem, the permissive sixties, plus Thatcher, together gave assent to the change in social attitudes that have brought us to broken, bankrupt Britain 2010.
Socialism is a spin off from the sort of libertarian policies that you appear to advocate, that leaves an unacceptably high number of casualties in its wake. One evil begets another.
Libertarian? Moi? Perish the thought, dear boy. CERSERVATIVE all the way.
Libs. hate Maggie because she wasn't someone who relied on THEM to get her the position she'd attained (I can't see HER whining "but I'm a woman I need special preference") -- they hated her because she was a "Grocer's daughter" who thought people should be allowed to rise on THEIR OWN merits and not be pinned into the social class they were born into.
HOME ownership went way up in the Thatcher years. You can look it up.
There comes a point when people are so raped in taxes there really isn't any point to working harder.
People who excell should be rewarded for their efforts, not made to feel like they are greedy for getting what they earned.
Governments need to stop punishing the producers.
Yes, by all means we have an obligation to help the truly needy who can't help themselves, but for healthy able bodied people who go out and commit crimes against people and then expect you do give them everything? No way.
Oh, and for the record, I despise that godless Ayn Rand. And so did Bill Buckley, my personal guide to the conservfative path from about age 11 onwards.
Gem, I am relieved to know that you despise Ayn Rand, one wonders at times.
Yes, home ownership went up during the Thatcher years. In the end it led to a house price bubble and bust (in reality land price bust) in 1992, followed by four years of serious depression. This recovered and then we had a re-run, only ten times, worse ending in the collapse of 2008.
And homes became unaffordable as the price of land spiralled up. We need, amongst other things, a different model of home ownership than Thatchers.
In our terminology, libertarian does not mean liberal, it means a belief in the free market and small government, whilst at the same time failing to acknowledge that there is no free market. Call it Conservative if you like, but the usual model is defective and the end product is discontentment and socialism. Conservatism breeds socialism.
As regards taxes, they are necessary. Some are harful and some are beneficial. The trick is to tax non-destructively.
"Simply because secularists don't care" is an altogether incorrect statement. Shame on you. Secularists care for this life and the welfare of all in it beyond any other consideration. We damn no-one and believe all to be equal. Retract that please.
Another of the evils of the Thatcher government was the way it squandered North Sea oil revenues to shut the coal mines, which were not uneconomic. They then used the money to pay for the high levels of unemployment, especially in the former mining areas, during much of the time it was in power.
The mines were abandoned and cannot be reopened and we are faced with an energy problem despite the fact that most of Britain is sitting on a layer of coal, sufficient to last 300 years.
Now we have vast tracts of the country with a dead economy, dead, drug-ridden societies, a mood of hopelessness and a burden on the taxpayer ie hard-working people. Conservative policies lead to exactly the same problems as socialist ones, which is why it is a good idea not to attach oneself to any political -ism but to look around for oneself and see what is happening on the ground.
And looking on the ground I see Norway which has used its oil revenues to build good infrastructure and for other investment. It is no accident that the Norwegian krona is one of the few currencies in the world which is not crashing down.
Then there was the ludicrous Poll Tax which finished off the silly woman. But her sour legacy, not least of which are the nonsensical cult of managerialism, the notion that everything must look good on the bottom line and that is all that counts, and that the Conservatives are not trusted in this country.
What a wonderful politician.
Can we just get one thing straight, so to speak. Being Homosexual or Lesbian is not a sexual preference, it is a sexual orientation, not a lifestyle choice. When will you people stop making this ridiculous and unfounded assumption. Yes, we know you don't look to science much, given that your pope preaches that the Aids virus goes straight through condoms, what happens to people wearing rubber gloves for nursing, do those nursing Aids victims get the disease? Where is the science in that?
With the continuing and justifiable outcry against your religion over paedophilia and child abuse worldwide which your spiritual leader and others have been shown to have done nothing about, except to move the villains around to avoid them being arrested, the last thing your religion should be doing is throwing the gauntlet down to others when your own hands are thick with sleaze, dishonesty and corruption. First take the beam out of your own eye before accusing others of sinning.
The reply to Physiocrat on behalf of Caroline Lucas includes the following statement;
“In Spring 2008, the Green Party adopted policy that expressed concern about the rising number of abortions in England and Wales.”
Now, why would they express concern about something that they think is just fine? What exactly is their concern? If they truly think that there is absolutely nothing wrong with abortion then why should they be concerned about the rising number?
Incidentally, I finally received a reply from my Lib Dem MP to my email of January 14th. (It only took 47 days!) Here is the reply:
Thank you very much for your email regarding Nick Clegg's interview with The Independent in which he discussed, amongst other things, gay rights.
What Nick was saying in that article was very simple. Sexuality should not be a basis for discrimination of any sort. You specifically mention his comments about homosexuality being "normal and harmless" and that this message should be taught in all schools, including faith schools.
In our schools' personal and social education curriculum, it should be taught that loving relationships are positive, normal and harmless things. It does not matter whether the relationship is homosexual or heterosexual. By challenging the assertion that homosexuality is normal and harmless, you are saying that it is abnormal and harmful. If public money is used to teach that homosexuality is abnormal or harmful then that will undermine efforts to tackle homophobic bullying, which is a real problem in our schools.
I do not know if this was directed at me but, of course, I made no such challenge. I merely asked a question.
By challenging the assertion that homosexuality is normal and harmless, you are saying that it is abnormal and harmful.
As this does not directly answer my question (although I think it is pretty clear what she thinks) I have emailed her for a straight “Yes” or “No”.
I notice that she talks about “loving relationships” and “homosexuality” and in so far as that is all that is involved then I imagine that Catholics might well agree with her. What she has studiously avoided is the word sex. That is the key issue.
I wonder if she would agree that a “loving relationship” between a married man and a woman to whom he was not married is “normal”? Is stealing normal? What about sexual harassment? To go by the amount of material published on the subject you might think that was “normal”, too. And what about “domestic abuse”? Which is more “normal”: domestic abuse or homosexuality? What does “normal” mean, anyway. In Nazi Germany it was “normal” to persecute Jews. Do the Lib Dems think that that made it OK?
I can't see anyone here suggesting homosexual attraction is lifestyle choice. Homosexual acts are a choice, the "gay lifestyle" is.
I don't think the Pope teaches condoms are permeable, Cdnl Trujillo did say that condoms in Africa often were, simply because many were dumped by the west in Africa, passed their sbd, left in hot warehouses and deteriorated. Another bit of colonialisation. I am Nigerian incidently, and honestly condoms are not the answer to HIV infection.
I think if you analyse the statistics as far as abuse is concerned you will find Catholic priests are less likely to abuse than most men. The figures for abuse by stepfathers in the UK is truly worrying, almost as worrying as that by stepbrothers. So maybe you might understand why the Church is actually for stable marriages.
Kudos to you Father for publishing Angie's post.
Francis Ng, apart from the seemingly unceasing torrent of non-truths made against the LGBT community, the lie that we choose this so-called lifestyle is raised over and over again, not just from Catholics but also the fundementalist groups. Poster Thomas Windsor on this page, "they do choose to classify themselves by their sexual preference". I noticed nobody on here correcting him. We do not choose. Because we insist on our civil and human rights we are forced to label ourselves as such because that is how the catholic church, amongst others defines us. Pelerin quotes Ann Widdecombe's voting record as impeccable. This arch homophobe who would deny us a Civil Partnership or Civil Marriage or even our basic human rights. This woman who is more concerned with speaking out loud than speaking with intelligence, who is more concerned with her appearance and what comes out of a bleach bottle than what comes out of her mouth. We should just lie down and let catholicism and the rest just steamroller us? All of you who speak out against the Gay "lifestyle" understand nothing about it. The history is there, it's up to you to read it, without your preconceived ideas of what we are and who we are. The way some religious people talk, you'd think we choose to put ourselves at risk on a daily basis just for a brief five minutes of sex with a sexual partner of the same gender. It isn't like that and never has been.
As for Cardinal Trujillo, This is what he said http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/oct/09/aids, he doesn't qualify it by claiming the condoms were old, dumped in hot warehouses, a left over from colonial days. Which to me is a spurious and nonsensical claim. By the way, despite an outpouring of scientific opinion against such ridiculous claims, I cannot find a repudiation from the Vatican. That in itself speaks volumes. The fact that the pope sees us as being a greater threat than climate change is both derisory and mortifying that such a person, wielding such power can and would say such things. That is a misuse of power just as much as it is when MPs fiddle their accounts. It is also a misuse of power that instead of tackling the issues of paedophilia and abuse, your present pope chose to hide the perpetrators from the lawful authorities of the land and threaten those priests with a conscience with excommunication if they spoke to a lawful authority on the matter. That is abuse of power.
I really cannot believe that you believe that step-fathers are a bigger threat to children than priests are. According to your pope, Gay men are. What's changed? Just where do you get these figures. Please, prove your statement by giving me some references.
Frances Ng, you claim that condoms are not the answer to aids. No, not on their own but there are simply too many voices saying they are a vital and major part of the battle. And they have proof to back up those assertions. I'm sorry to say that up till now, I haven't seen any proof of the opposite and never will.
I haven't time to reply to you, but I happily post your comment in the hope that others might do so.
Briefly, I don't think having an attraction to the same sex is a choice, often it is a cross, I think a "gay lifestyle" is a choice, just the same as a [hetero]sexual lifestyle is a choice. As Christians we actually believe brotherly love is a good thing, when it is sexual, yes, we have problems.
I think you misunderstand what the Pope was saying and therefore also misunderstand religion too.
What lies behind the major religions is asceticism, putting something before self, seeing the centre of our being as "Other" rather than self. Summed up Loving God and then our neighbour as or in place of self. Dawkins' Selfish Gene seems to be to me more or less what we are saying when we Catholics talk of Original Sin, it is the exultation of self! Love liberates us from self but lsexual activity, the expression of love, itself needs to be directed, constrained, because unconstrained sex tends to mere self satifaction, hence for most religions sexual activity, that fundamental human drive, is contained carefully within marriage and limited solely to marriage, even there it is constrained limited to one person and ultimately orientated to procreation. I think what the Pope was condemning was hedonism, self indugence
You are horrified by priests abusing children the Catholic community's horror is even greater because it is the ultimate betrayal.
May this has left you more confused and angry, I hope not.
Angie, I don't know where you are but if you do not know already, Brighton is the Gay Capital of Britain.
Now some gay people live celibate lives and some pair up and live quietly, and the sex probably goes off the boil after a year or two, as it will.
But there is a vociferous gay lobby and a lot of casual sex going on, which makes nobody happy and has resulted in the city becoming the AIDS capital of Britain too.
The Catholic church says that the deepest love one can experience is the love of God, and I can say we experience this through the sacraments of the church, which are available to all, straight or gay, married or single. The only condition is that one must not be in a state of sin, and that is why one of the sacraments is confession. All of this makes it easier to deal with life's inevitable difficulties.
And it does not mean that one can not love another person.
Well, thank you for the reply, Father Blake, but while I may be a bit confused about religion I'm not angry now or since I first commented on your blog. Disgusted with it sometimes, impatient and yes, angry I suppose, at the injustices I see that your church and others try and inflict on my community. You say that a Gay lifestyle is a choice but I think you are mistaken. You are a Roman Catholic priest by choice, that is your lifestyle choice. You weren't born a priest. At some point in your life you made the conscious decision to enter the priesthood, do the course and become a fully fledged priest. I and my community don't get that choice. What we are is what we are born with. We lead lifestyles according to our personality, our financial status and our upbringing. Just like everybody else. What we don't get is the opportunity to marry, have Partners without someone, usually a priest of whatever denomination deriding us with a ferocity and a cruelty that not even animals exhibit. What we are left with, especially in the case of men, is to go underground, to seek out that human touch which is, up until fairly recently, denied them. Called Paedophiles by the catholic church, with no proof, nothing to back it up except for suspect studies which have no empirical data to substantiate them. It wasn't too far back in time that Gay men were being electrocuted to stop them being Gay. I have a Gay friend who was subjected to that. It did nothing but leave him with a deep and abiding hate of quacks who foster the Gay cure snake poison.
I think I understand what you mean about sex within and without marriage. But your church won't even give us the choice. Civil Partnerships have, since their inception, shown themselves to be no worse and no better than those in recognised marriages. We are all capable of love. Just because that love is directed at a person of the same sex does not mean it is open to derision, bullying and violence.
Physiocrat, I live in Brighton, in Kemptown. There are some who would argue your claim that it is the Gay Capital of Britain, but whatever.
Yes, I quite agree that some Gay people live celibate lives, some pair up and live quietly. there are also some who like everyone else, likes to go out on a Friday and Saturday night and have a party. So far, I seem to be describing what millions of other Britons do.
As for this fabled vociferous Gay lobby, well, they are no more vociferous than the Widdecombes and Greens of this world. If, in order to make sure they keep what rights they have, they equal the output of the homophobes and organise themselves, well, why shouldn't they? It is only through protest that we hold the rights we have now. I'm not sure I'm happy that while objecting about the vociferous Gay rights lobby, in the same sentence you equate them as being responsible for what you claim to be a lot of casual sex. It's a bit disingenuous to conflate the two as if one doesn't go without the other. I would also dispute this city being the capital of AIDS as well. Do you have a reference for that please?
You say that the deepest love catholic's experience is the love of god and you experience that by the sacraments. Open to all, Straight, Gay, married or single. Perhaps you can tell me why then, the sacraments have been withheld from an openly Gay man in the Netherlands? In a catholic festival, he was voted as the Prince and went to the church to receive the sacraments and the priest denied him. Because he is a homosexual. In the face of that sort of bigotry, you have no argument, the answer lies there for all to see and it is shameful.
Angie again briefly, I must sleep.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches respect for people with a same sex attraction.
Our understanding of marriage is that it is about procreation, which stems from the natural law, a male homosexual relationship can never be that, a lesbian one only be procreative with outside intervention. We Catholics still have a notion all sexual relationship are actually orientated towards children. We could be seen as neurotic in trying to defend that. "Gay marriage" is certainly a denial of that, civil partnerships are slightly different, on the face of it they are precisely that a civil statement of "partnership" which may or may not be sexual, the problem is that they easily become cnfused with marriage. It is seeing marriage and therefore human existence as orientated towards and open to children that is crucial to us, hence our regarding birth control within marriage as wrong. It is the centrality of children to human relationships which is important, that human loving is creative and directed beyond the couple.
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