Daily Archives: September 19, 2014
After many months of discussion, debate, and careful thought, we now know the outcome of the Referendum, and it is a result that all of us throughout the United Kingdom will respect.
For many in Scotland and elsewhere today, there will be strong feelings and contrasting emotions ”“ among family, friends and neighbours. That, of course, is the nature of the robust democratic tradition we enjoy in this country. But I have no doubt that these emotions will be tempered by an understanding of the feelings of others.
Now, as we move forward, we should remember that despite the range of views that have been expressed, we have in common an enduring love of Scotland, which is one of the things that helps to unite us all. Knowing the people of Scotland as I do, I have no doubt that Scots, like others throughout the United Kingdom, are able to express strongly-held opinions before coming together again in a spirit of mutual respect and support, to work constructively for the future of Scotland and indeed all parts of this country.
My family and I will do all we can to help and support you in this important task.
More than half of Church of England primary schools are delivering poor quality religious education lessons that give pupils little more than a “superficial” grounding in the subject, according to official Anglican research.
A study by the Church’s education division found that under-11s were being fed a “narrow diet of Bible stories” rather than in-depth classes designed to boost their understanding of Christianity.
Researchers found that RE was “not good enough” in 60 per cent of primary schools and officially “inadequate” in one-in-six of those inspected.
In my lifetime I have been fortunate to see private associations within civil society promote astonishing social and political advancements in civil rights for African-Americans, women and gays. The voices of a like-minded minority, when allowed to associate and present a unified message, can be powerful. Yet we cannot pick and choose which groups have rights. Thus the current controversy surrounding evangelical Christian organizations on college campuses is a test of our commitment to liberal and constitutional ideals.
Earlier this month the California State University System “de-recognized” 23 campus chapters of the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF). This decision stems from a December 2011 chancellor’s executive order stating that “No campus shall recognize any . . . student organization unless its membership and leadership are open to all currently enrolled students.”
The new policy has insidious implications. Any student may attend IVCF meetings or participate in its activities regardless of belief. But because IVCF asks its leaders to affirm their adherence to evangelical Christian doctrine””a “belief” requirement””California state-university administrators have deemed the group discriminatory. IVCF chapters will no longer have use of certain campus facilities and benefits available to other groups. This policy guts the free association right that was enshrined in the First Amendment precisely to protect minority or unpopular views.
Both the abused young girls in Rotherham and the ”˜Trojan horse’ affair in Birmingham reveal defects in popular ideas of multiculturalism. Properly understood, multiculturalism means respect for different cultures and a recognition that we cannot treat people as isolated individuals but must see them as part of a wider community that gives meaning and purpose to their lives. It does not mean encouraging people to live entirely separate lives or giving complete autonomy to subgroups in society to order their affairs as they wish. Above all multiculturalism does not rule out commitment to an overarching set of values that can unite a wider community of diverse cultures and creeds. It aims at integration, avoiding both assimilation or alienation. Perhaps the phrase ”˜interactive pluralism’ suggested by Rowan Williams would be better than multiculturalism.
The United States has made the same mistake in evaluating fighters from the Islamic State that it did in Vietnam ”” underestimating the enemy’s will, according to James Clapper, the director of national intelligence.
Clapper’s comments came in a telephone interview Wednesday, in which he summarized the elements of a new National Intelligence Strategy released this week. Clapper also answered some broader questions about intelligence issues confronting the country.
That the majority of ISIL’s victims are Muslim does not exclude it from being a religiously motivated movement. For ISIL is part of the group within Islam whose motivation is religious – namely, the removal of apostasy.
We should take our opponents self-identity seriously. They are waging war in the name of Islam and in accordance with their Islamic beliefs. They wish to create the Caliphate. Their commitment is more than a power grab for land ”“ it is a religious zeal and if we ignore it, we will seriously underestimate them.
We must not try to conform Islam to Christian ideals of religion. Jesus and Mohammed were very different in their life as well as in their teaching. Jesus arrived in Jerusalem on a donkey to be executed, a week later, for our sins. Mohammed arrived at Mecca in front of an army of 10,000 soldiers to take the city by force. In countries where Christianity has dominated, mosques can be built, the Qur’an can be read and studied and preached in the streets, and citizens can change religion without fear of persecution, let alone execution. None of these corresponding freedoms are available for Christians in countries where Islam holds sway.
[Bishop of Manchester David Walker]…said, “[it is]…more important to get it right than get it quick. . . If we rush at this, we will simply end up repeating tired old failures to reach solutions.”
He was interviewed alongside the Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Revd Tim Dakin, by the Church of England’s director of communications, Arun Arora. Bishop Dakin appeared more ready to emphasise the extent of the division within the College.
“These are Gospel issues that we are talking about,” he said. “They go deep. They are very important to many of us, personally, or by conviction, or by a sense of deep commitment to a way of life.”
He went on: “Our different traditions of wisdom and our understanding of reason have actually probably brought us to the point where we have got some deep disagreements and we need to be able to speak the truth in love to one another in a Christian way and then work out what we’re going to do.”
“As Scots now consider what kind of nation will now emerge from this campaign, the church must lead ”“ and be allowed to lead ”“ the way to ensure the new Scotland is one that reflects God’s values in the economy, the family, our communities and our environment. As Christians we passionately believe that these values will shape our nation for good. There has been an exceptionally high level of engagement and this must not wane. The passion must continue.
“We recognise that while many are celebrating this morning there are also many in Scotland who are devastated at this result. It is now time to show grace and kindness to those on the other side and move quickly to bring reconciliation where it is needed in our land. I know it will be a difficult thing for some people to do but we must love our neighbour. We are all Scots and Scots at heart together. If we put God’s love at the heart of what we do, healing will be much faster, genuine and long-lasting.
The Church of Scotland’s most senior cleric has urged unionists and pro-independence campaigners to respect the outcome of the referendum and work together towards a stronger future.
In the hours after the result both sides must publicly declare that the matter has been democratically settled, the Moderator of the Kirk’s General Assembly said.
The Rt Rev John Chalmers also suggested replacing posters and badges from the Yes and No campaigns with a “One Scotland” image, while opposing voters should pose together for selfies and share them on social media.
“This is a moment for reconciliation and healing not rejoicing or recrimination. Some of the wounds opened up in recent months are likely to take time to heal on both sides of the border. The historically close relationships that have existed between the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Church of Scotland and the Church of England and our long involvement in mediation have a contribution to make as our societies not only reflect on the lessons of the referendum campaign but engage in delivering the radical restructuring of the relationship between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom for which commitments have been made.”
Almighty God, who didst call thy servant Theodore of Tarsus from Rome to the see of Canterbury, and didst give him gifts of grace and wisdom to establish unity where there had been division, and order where there had been chaos: Create in thy Church, we pray, by the operation of the Holy Spirit, such godly union and concord that it may proclaim, both by word and example, the Gospel of the Prince of Peace; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Almighty God, in whose presence is fullness of joy, and whose power is made perfect in our weakness: Grant us so to dwell in thy presence, that we may ever be glad of heart; and so to rest on thy strength, that we may have victory over evil; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehu”²man, Biztha, Harbo”²na, Bigtha and Abag”²tha, Zethar and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who served King Ahasu-e”²rus as chamberlains, to bring Queen Vashti before the king with her royal crown, in order to show the peoples and the princes her beauty; for she was fair to behold. But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command conveyed by the eunuchs. At this the king was enraged, and his anger burned within him.
Then the king said to the wise men who knew the times””for this was the king’s procedure toward all who were versed in law and judgment, the men next to him being Carshe”²na, Shethar, Adma”²tha, Tarshish, Meres, Marse”²na, and Memu”²can, the seven princes of Persia and Media, who saw the king’s face, and sat first in the kingdom””: “According to the law, what is to be done to Queen Vashti, because she has not performed the command of King Ahasu-e”²rus conveyed by the eunuchs?” Then Memu”²can said in presence of the king and the princes, “Not only to the king has Queen Vashti done wrong, but also to all the princes and all the peoples who are in all the provinces of King Ahasu-e”²rus. For this deed of the queen will be made known to all women, causing them to look with contempt upon their husbands, since they will say, ”˜King Ahasu-e”²rus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, and she did not come.’ This very day the ladies of Persia and Media who have heard of the queen’s behavior will be telling it to all the king’s princes, and there will be contempt and wrath in plenty. If it please the king, let a royal order go forth from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes so that it may not be altered, that Vashti is to come no more before King Ahasu-e”²rus; and let the king give her royal position to another who is better than she.
Scotland has overwhelmingly rejected independence after a record turnout of voters delivered a clear victory for the No campaign.
Alex Salmond’s separatist campaign was resoundingly defeated, with 55 per cent of Scotland voting to remain in the 307-year-old Union.
None of that makes the religious heritage of Europe sound very appealing. But it is essential to remember that in Europe, with the Reformation, Enlightenment, Emancipation, we’ve moved on. Those of us who still practise a faith ”“ Catholic, Protestant, Muslim or Jew ”“ preserve a sense of sanctity without killing each other over it. Crucially, we’re no longer theocrats: the C of E may tell me adultery is sinful, but the state won’t stone me to death over it. But in moving on too fast, we’ve also lost the religious literacy that tells us why people look to priests and saints for guidance in the first place. There will always be those for whom the post-modern world just seems a bit too fractured, a bit too liberal, frankly, in all its dazzling, confusing choices, a bit too frightening. If we want to keep young Muslims from religious violence, the answer is not secularism, but religious alternatives. The violent history of Christianity shouldn’t be a reason to discredit our religious impulse, but to demonstrate the impossibility of repressing it completely.
And to despite the State Department’s best efforts, we can’t build the moral case against Isil simply by pointing out the cruelties it inflicts upon its enemies. As Professor Ian Robertson points out, that’s not how out-group/in-group dynamics work. Religious fanatics have always slaughtered their enemies ”“ and for radical Sunnis, that includes the Shia. Instead, it is the mundane misery of Isil’s ideal state that should horrify the world. Amira Karroum isn’t scared of being beheaded, because she doesn’t think of herself as an infidel. But once the glamour of war is gone, does she really want to live in an eternal shroud, forbidden from leaving the house, denied an education? Do young British men ”“ one of whom notoriously asked “Do the mujahideen play footy and that?” ”“ understand that a state ruled by blasphemy laws is a state where a wise crack at the local cleric could cost you your life? Many states are forged in war ”“ not all of them then ban music, art and history in peace time.
Read it all (emphasis mine).