Category : Politics in General

PM Theresa May’s Statement this Morning on the Manchester Attack in Full

At terrible moments like these, it is customary for leaders, politicians and others to condemn the perpetrators and declare that the terrorists will not win. But the fact that we have been here before, and the fact that we need to say this again, does not make it any less true. For as so often while we experience the worst of humanity last night, we also saw the best. The cowardice of the attacker met the bravery of the emergency services and the people of Manchester. The attempt to divide us met countless acts of kindness that brought people closer together. And in the days ahead, those must be the things we remember. The images we hold in our minds should not be those of senseless slaughter, but of the ordinary men and women who put concerns about their own safety to one side and rushed to help, of the men and women of the emergency services, who worked tirelessly to bring comfort, to help and to save lives, of the messages of solidarity and hope of all those who opened their homes to the victims, for they are the images that embody the spirit of Manchester and the spirit of Britain. A spirit that through years of conflict and terrorism has never been broken and will never be broken.

There will be difficult days ahead. We offer our thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of those affected. We offer our full support to the authorities, the emergency and the security services as they go about their work. And we all, every single one of us, stand with the people of Manchester at this terrible time. And today let us remember those who died, and let us celebrate those who helped, safe in the knowledge that the terrorists will never win and our values, our country and our way of life, will always prevail.

Please take the time to read or watch it all.

Posted in Anthropology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(Spectator) Isabel Hardman–It’s not Tim Farron who is illiberal: it’s society

So why the squeamishness about certain beliefs? If it’s OK to say that Heaven exists, then why not answer a question on abortion or sex outside of heterosexual marriage? The answer is that even if Farron thinks it is perfectly possible to be a conservative Christian and an effective Liberal, he doesn’t believe it is possible to express certain Christian beliefs in today’s society. In other words, he suspects that our public debate isn’t particularly liberal.

And this is what the problem is. It’s not that Tim Farron is illiberal: his voting record suggests otherwise. It’s that he appears to fear that the reaction to his own religious beliefs would be so illiberal as to damage his party, and therefore he must obfuscate on those beliefs when asked. We live in a society of liberal intolerance, where only certain worldviews are deemed acceptable by people who often refuse to accept that they themselves have a worldview that also deserves interrogating. Such intolerance is often born of a sincere desire to make life better for those who have been persecuted in the past, including gay people, women who have abortions and those who divorce. But it becomes a form of persecution in itself, just focused on a newly unpopular group.

An election campaign is not the easiest time for a politician to take a principled stand against this liberal intolerance. But with every prominent figure who locks away the unpalatable parts of their worldview, society becomes a little less liberal. Which should worry many more people than just those who support Tim Farron’s party.

Read it all.

Posted in England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Uncategorized

Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Lagos West gives Government Poor Grades for Development

Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Lagos West, Dr. Olusola Odedeji, has joined forces with the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in coming down hard on the federal government for adopting anti-people and anti-Christian measures.

The Bishop said the change promised the electorate in 2015 is yet to be effected. He said: “what they are doing to bring about the desired change is yet to yield result.”

On security, he lamented that Fulani herdsmen have replaced Boko Haram insurgents. Odedeji, who is the second Bishop of the Diocese, told the almost 1,000 delegates and dignitaries that an international body came up with a survey on the top fifty countries where Christians are being persecuted and placed Nigeria in the 12th position.

Read it all.

Posted in Nigeria, Politics in General

(WSJ DS) Betting markets started pricing in a small but rising probability that Donald Trump could lose the presidency

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, President Donald Trump, Psychology

(FT) Sunni clerics in Sisi sights after Isis targets Christians

Days after twin suicide blasts at Christian churches rocked Egypt, the country’s media launched a wave of highly unusual attacks on al-Azhar, the institution that has for centuries provided religious guidance to Sunni Muslims around the world.

“If you are incapable, too tired or fed up, leave the job to someone else. Your passivity is killing us,” Amr Adib, a television presenter, yelled as he called on Azhar’s Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb to resign.

Such fiery criticism appears to reflect tensions between Egypt’s political and religious leaders, with pro-regime media alleging that Azhar’s leaders are failing to combat extremism and maybe even fuelling it. Pressure on Azhar — which Pope Francis visited last month — soared in the wake of April’s church bombings in Tanta and Alexandria, which were claimed by Isis and killed dozens of Christians.

Read it all.

Posted in Coptic Church, Egypt, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Politics in General, Terrorism

(NYT) A New Battleground Over Political Correctness: Duke Divinity School

The email read like one that could easily be circulating at any American college in 2017: a professor at Duke Divinity School urged her colleagues to attend a two-day session on how to recognize and combat racism.

The diversity program “provides foundational training in understanding historical and institutional racism,” said the Feb. 6 email by Anathea Portier-Young, an associate professor of the Old Testament, who called it “transformative, powerful and life-changing.”

But to Paul Griffiths, a professor of Catholic theology, the March course was something else: akin to the retraining of intellectuals by “bureaucrats and apparatchiks” in totalitarian societies, he wrote in an email to his fellow professors that afternoon.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Seminary / Theological Education

(AP) South Carolina Gas Tax Increase Becomes Law After Senate Overrides Vet

The South Carolina Senate has voted to override Gov. Henry McMaster’s veto of the gas tax that raises money to fix roads, meaning the measure will now become law.

The final vote was 32-12. It came nearly two hours after the House also overrode the veto by 95-18 vote.

The move means the measure is now finally approved, and will officially become law on July 1

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, State Government, Taxes

Alan Storkey: A Critique of the recent Anglican Archbishops’ Election Letter

The event which prompted this comment may have been Tim Farron’s failure to answer the question, obviously set to trap him, of whether homosexuality is a sin. Tim responded with Sunday School level answers in a failure, matched within the Church of England, to address gender and sexuality properly. Our failure should not be protected, and given the Gospels are full of Jesus responding to questions asked to trap him, Tim Farron needs to wise up a bit.

The letter then continues with general religious reflection and worry about “further secularisation in the public realm”. The problem is that talking about religions in general makes this contribution vague. There is a nod at “religiously motivated violence” and addressing it, and the refugee “conversation” is addressed by looking at the costs than some incur, and equally sharing them. But this highlights the mealy-mouthed responses. We are having a “conversation” about refugees while perhaps ten or twenty thousand come, while the German Christian Democrats, led by Angela Merkel, welcome a million, because they are suffering, homeless and obviously need help, and Christianity requires us not to pass by on the other side when people need help. That signals the depth of our actual British Christian failure.

National Values.
Then occurs a sentence which sums up the failure of this letter. “These deep virtues and practices – love, trust, and hope, cohesion, courage and stability – are not the preserve of any one political party or worldview, but go to the heart of who we are as a country in all its diversity.” It does not matter what your views are, in party terms, or in terms of worldview, we as a country in all its diversity practising these virtues can hang together. There are some problems with this. First, parties and people disagree about these and other virtues. Second, the rosy picture of national unity conveyed by the Conservative Party at this election, ignores the disunities within the UK, over Brexit and among many different groups who for good reasons do not have trust or hope. More deeply, this sentence conveys that national virtues are the basis of British society. This is not true for much of British politics. The UK pursued an illegal war on the basis of a lie in Iraq which has contributed to millions of lives being destabilised. The poor are being impoverished while the rich get richer. Health and care services are threatened. We are arming and selling arms on a large scale, and corruption is appearing in our banking and other sectors. This vague hope in national virtue will not do. More than this Britain’s Brexit exit raises the problem of British Nationalism, or more accurately English nationalism, the idea that we really do have to be separate from our European neighbours. The Archbishops’ letter mentions no other countries and seems to participate in this British fixation.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(BBC) Archbishop of Canterbury to meet Palestinian and Israeli leaders

The Archbishop of Canterbury is to meet Palestinian and Israeli political leaders as part of a 12-day tour of the Holy Land.
His visit comes two weeks before US President Donald Trump is due to arrive in Jerusalem to try to revive the moribund peace process.
However, the Most Reverend Justin Welby indicated there should not be too much significance read into the timing.
“I come to pray, to share, to listen, to encourage,” he told the BBC.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Middle East, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Violence

(NYT) Cambridge, Mass might place lockboxes on street corners 2 give the public easy access to Narcan

Across the country, someone dies of an opioid overdose every 24 minutes. In Massachusetts, the death toll is five people a day.

In the face of this epidemic, Cambridge could become the first city to take a step that until recently might have seemed unthinkable: It might place lockboxes on street corners to give the public easy access to Narcan, the brand name for naloxone, a medication that can rapidly revive people who have overdosed.

The idea is in its earliest stages, and any concrete plan for the city, and residents, to consider seems at least a year away. But several days ago, the city police and area doctors who support the boxes conducted an experiment here, asking people who walked by if they would help a stranger who had overdosed.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., City Government, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine, Politics in General

Rod Dreher has 3 very important posts and documentation about recent goings on at Duke Divinity School

The controversy centers around Paul Griffiths who wrote in part as follow to his colleagues:

Subject: intellectual freedom & institutional discipline at Duke Divinity School

Dear Faculty Colleagues,

Intellectual freedom – freedom to speak and write without fear of discipline and punishment – is under pressure at Duke Divinity these days. My own case illustrates this. Over the past year or so I’ve spoken and written in various public forums here, with as much clarity and energy as I can muster, about matters relevant to our life together. The matters I’ve addressed include: the vocation and purpose of our school; the importance of the intellectual virtues to our common life; the place that seeking diversity among our faculty should have in that common life; the nature of racial, ethnic, and gender identities, and whether there’s speech about certain topics forbidden to some among those identities; and the nature and purpose of theological education. I’ve reviewed these contributions, to the extent that I can (some of them are available only in memory), and I’m happy with them and stand behind them. They’re substantive; they’re trenchant; and they address matters of importance for our common life. So it seems to me. What I’ve argued in these contributions may of course be wrong; that’s a feature of the human condition.

My speech and writing about these topics has now led to two distinct (but probably causally related) disciplinary procedures against me, one instigated by Elaine Heath, our Dean, and the other instigated by Thea Portier-Young, our colleague. I give at the end of this message a bare-bones factual account of these disciplinary proceedings to date.

These disciplinary proceedings are designed not to engage and rebut the views I hold and have expressed about the matters mentioned, but rather to discipline me for having expressed them.

You need to start here and then go there and then go here.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Seminary / Theological Education

(NYT) Emmanuel Macron Wins Decisive Victory in France

Emmanuel Macron, a youthful former investment banker, handily won France’s presidential election on Sunday, defeating the staunch nationalist Marine Le Pen after voters firmly rejected her far-right message and backed his call for centrist change, according to partial returns.

Mr. Macron, 39, who has never held elected office, will become the youngest president in the 59-year history of France’s Fifth Republic after leading an improbable campaign that swept aside France’s establishment political parties.

The election was watched around the world for magnifying many of the broader tensions rippling through Western democracies, including the United States: populist anger at the political mainstream, economic insecurity among middle-class voters and rising resentment toward immigrants.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Europe, France, Politics in General

(BBC) Archbishops of Canterbury and York voice election concerns

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have raised concerns about housing, the NHS and poverty in a general election letter to Anglican churchgoers.

The three-page message urges voters to consider their Christian heritage and “obligations to future generations”.

It also calls on politicians to “renew and re-imagine” the UK’s shared values amid divisions of recent years.

There needs to be “serious solutions” to home-building and a “flourishing” health service, the letter says.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, England / UK, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(C of E) General Election 2017: Archbishops highlight the place of faith in British life

Faith has a central role to play in politics and this general election, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York say today.

In a pastoral letter to the parishes and chaplaincies of the Church of England, Archbishops Justin Welby and John Sentamu urge people to set aside “apathy and cynicism” and draw new inspiration from the ancient Christian virtues of “love, trust and hope”.

The three-page letter, intended to be shared in churches from this Sunday onward, encourages voters to remember Britain’s Christian history and heritage as well as a concern for future generations and God’s creation as they make their decisions.

Following divisions of recent years, it calls for reconciliation drawing on shared British values based on cohesion, courage and stability.

Read it all and make sure to read through the full letter which is linked at the end.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Church Times) C of E Bishops stand ready to advise electorate prior to the General Election

The House of Bishops is planning to issue guidance to voters in the run-up to the General Election.

In 2015, the House published a long pastoral letter to the people and parishes of England, giving advice on how to decide whom to vote for, with reflections on particular issues in politics….

The 126-paragraph letter did not endorse any party, but instead sketched out what values politicians should aspire to, and offered a lens through which Anglican voters could view each party’s policies.

It is understood that discussions in Church House on releasing another letter before next month’s snap General Election are well advanced, although it is not yet clear when the document might be published.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Politics in General, Religion & Culture