Text of my Letter to the Times 03.02.2010

Lord Hylton

It is good that Ruth Gledhill (Times February 2nd) thinks that Catholic Church social teachings are seminal and influence governments and political parties. These teachings include striving for world-wide peace, but also the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity. Solidarity means that, like Jesus Christ, we are on the side of the oppressed, poor, and marginalised. We campaign for the homeless, for fairness towards asylum applicants, and for rehabilitation of offenders and addicts. We try to be a voice for the voiceless.

Subsidiarity, which is also part of the theory of the European Union, means that decisions should be taken at the lowest practical level, provided they do not harm public order and the common good of society. It is most important for non-governmental, voluntary and charitable groups. If men or women want to organise single-sex clubs they should be allowed to do so. Youth groups should not be obliged to include more than the minimum of adults. Freedom of association, and the right of parents to choose appropriate schools for their children, mean that Britain has a wide range of faith schools, conforming to the national curriculum and standards.

Given that religious schools and youth groups exist to serve the faiths of their members and to commend their values to non members, it is wrong to compel them to appoint militant atheists, agnostics or others who repudiate the values and sexual mores of the faith in question.

Harriet Harman and Ruth Gledhill should not presume to know what constitutes a “religious job” and what is merely “secular work”, in a religious context.

Voluntary bodies, even where they receive state funding, should be free to organise their internal affairs and staffing, provided they do no harm – as some sects and some religions clearly have in the past. Ruth Gledhill is too dogmatic in putting all organisations on the same footing as regards discrimination over appointments. We should remember what Burke had to say about “little platoons” and their value to society as a whole, and to governments in particular by sustaining social morality.

 As a Catholic I urge our leaders to put subsidiarity more obviously into practice in our internal church arrangements; while I respectfully agree with the Chief Rabbi (Times February 3).

35 comments for “Text of my Letter to the Times 03.02.2010

  1. Twm O'r Nant
    04/02/2010 at 3:04 pm

    “Harriet Harman and Ruth Gledhill should not presume to know what constitutes a “religious job” and what is merely “secular work”, in a religious context.”

    I can’t see what the argument is Mi lord, except that a minister of state of a country with an established church may presume in favor of it.

    So many Brits say they are not religious (CofE I suppose)and yet when it gets to the one CofE holy day of obligation Dec25th, there they all are at the service, from John O’Groats to Land’s End.

    Although they have been schooled entirely by the state (free education, like anything else free, may be very expensive indeed)it may only be their attitude and their schooling which identifies them as religious or otherwise for the purposes of job appointment.

    They may say they are atheist, but still be CofE by upbringing, and that atheism might still be taken as good faith/Bona fide by employers.

    Mormons, of whom there are more and more in these islands, might well only employ people on the basis of tacit approval of polygamy, but it would be very hard to accuse them of
    wrong discrimination for the purpose.

    Religions have so much which is unwritten, but which still constitutes a very powerful bond between the members/communicants of it, that there can scarcely be an easy or effective answer to the noble lords dilemma.

  2. 04/02/2010 at 5:23 pm

    If Ms Harman and Ms Gledhill should not presume to know what constitutes a “religious job”, why should anyone presume to know what constitutes a religion? Why should a group, just because they have the label of a religious group be allowed to discriminate against certain groups of people, which if any other organisation did the same would result in prosecution?

    If such exemptions are allowed, perhaps the BNP should establish their own religion, which would allow Nick Griffin to keep ethnic minorities, “creepy” gays and anyone else he doesn’t like out of his organisation.

    Perhaps Lord Hylton might like one formerly exclusive religious organisation (now happily far more secular) to revert to its 19-century rules and not allow Catholics to be members. Of course, I’m talking about Parliament!

  3. Carl.H
    04/02/2010 at 9:52 pm

    Forgive me “Mother” for I have sinned has an entirely meaning and I don`t think a lorry driver transexual would sit well in habit, Jonathon.

    For 2000 years our laws, morals and ethics have been based on the Church without which I dare say the freedom to demand equality would not exist.Not that it`s been all good along the way but that is in the main due to certain indivuals interpretations of the good book.

    The equality laws being pushed through are not what most people want, yes they are used by the few mostly for gain but they will not last.

    We are all different and we all discriminate from the moment we clap eyes or hear someone, it`s nature we cannot help it. Legislating against nature will not work, legislating against Religions is asking for trouble, trouble that will not be won. There is nothing stronger in this World than faith, the Chinese tried to get rid of it so did the Russians they lost. What makes a woman strap a bomb to herself and go into a crowded place ? Legislation ?

    If I form a business partnership we will no doubt be doing different jobs, one maybe far more skilled so the other makes the tea. It makes sense doesn`t it, as long as it works and we both benefit in some way. Then comes along the stirrer, not of tea, you shouldn`t be making tea you should demand equality, he should make the tea as much as you….Which is fine if we`re both equally skilled. Generally we`re not.

    If I walk into my Doctors and ask for a female Doctor to do a prostate examination I`d be expected to be called a pervert. I`d certainly feel one, yet we`re all supposedly equal ? There are horses for courses.

    We`re talking specifically about the Church but what about sport ? Where are the females in professional sport…I mean the ones that are going to compete alongside men in say Manchester United ? We have some extremely good lady footballers in the UK but they`re not allowed to play in mens games, why not ? I don`t hear of Harriet and Ruth hounding the FA or Eufa ? And what of the Olympic teams, mixed racing, shot put and weight lifting ?

    I do not know of any woman, and I`ve known a few, who want equality in the terms of Harriet of Ruth.

    Religions are sacred institutions, not industries, you do not join the faith to make money. Like it or not they made society what it now is, leave well alone. Do not try to teach your Grandmother to suck eggs. Everyone is equal under God ask a religious person, but we`re different like in the partnership you stick to your job and I`ll do mine.

    • 07/02/2010 at 2:01 pm

      “For 2000 years our laws, morals and ethics have been based on the Church without which I dare say the freedom to demand equality would not exist”

      The Church itself hasn’t been consistent for 2000 years, let alone the various societies it has latched onto like a remora.

      It’s a frequent claim of the religious that their faith is a pre-requisite for freedom and morality, but there’s very little to justify such pompous self-regard. After all, it is not as if the Church, or any religion, has been necessary for people to treat each other well, nor sufficient to prevent them being horrible to each other.

      Perhaps a better way of saying it is that the Church has been a part of 1700 years of our most recent history, during which time some church members have behaved in a terribly retrograde manner and sought to undermine equality, and others have contributed to a trend described by Rev ML King as the arc of history bending towards justice.

      Still, that would kind of take away the Church’s self-regarding privilege in the matter, wouldn’t it, and you know they’re never fans of that.

      • Carl.H
        07/02/2010 at 9:59 pm

        The Church/Religion may not have been at all times what it should but in my opinion it was/is far superior to the sacrificial, superstitious ways of before it. These still exist in some societies where the Church has less effect.

        “It is not as if the Church, or any religion, has been necessary for people to treat each other well…..”

        I would disagree with this statement entirely.

        Since I feel that I am the prime target of your current attention and we will alway`s disagree on a lot of things, not all. I will withdraw from the blog, I know what this type of behaviour constitutes and you will not give up. Shame because you really had some intersting things to say, but I will not be your prime target.

      • 08/02/2010 at 2:11 am

        You disagree with the statement, so you think that religion is a necessary condition for treating others well? So does that mean that all well behaved are religious even if they are atheists, or that all atheists treat others badly?

        You’re a prolific commenter. Don’t confuse disagreement with persecution.

  4. Bedd Gelert
    04/02/2010 at 10:07 pm

    I’m so glad we have religion, sex and politics as it is likely to be an inexhaustible supply of debate fodder for at least my lifetime.

    I agree with Lord Hylton, but I’m afraid his views contain far too much common sense to be acceptable to mainstream political parties these days.

    Jonathan/Twm O’r Nant – we will have to make some allowances for differing views of the secular humanists and religious people for some time. The views of gay people and the religious faithful are not going to converge precisely over a matter of months just because of some laws.

    We cannot force people with equally strong views about the ideal society to agree on everything and like every aspect of another – but I agree we need, as far as is possible respect and tolerate those of differing views.

    Finally I would make the point that whilst I detest the BNP, and don’t think they should have a ‘blanket exemption’ from the law, the idea that one is going to make them suddenly see the error of their ways in a damascene conversion by use of legislation is living in dreamland. Indeed the whole idea is likely to be counter-productive by driving their nasty hate-filled membership underground, while they maximise the benefit to themselves by marketing it as persecution to gain new members.

    You see too much of New Labour has been about trying to pass lots of laws without any accompanying re-education, then a lack of enforcement of the legislation. Feeble compliance with the use of mobiles in cars is only one prosaic example of the failure of such an ill-considered approach.

  5. Gar Hywel
    04/02/2010 at 10:32 pm

    “Solidarity means that, like Jesus Christ, we are on the side of the oppressed, poor, and marginalised. We campaign for the homeless, ….. We try to be a voice for the voiceless.”

    I always admired the Franciscan order for being
    dedicated to poverty, chastity and obedience, and then discovered that the poverty refered to other people’s poverty and not their own.
    They would relieve other’s poverty and then go home, get fat, and be like Friar Tuck of the children’s stories.

    The above quoted principle is fine. If noble Lord Hylton took it as seriously as the Buddhist monks of India, then I would be confident of seeing him begging in the high street, and with a great increase of respect from me.

    I must say that I have campaigned for the homeless nearby and then discovered that they were having a good laugh at my supposing they were REALLY homeless at all, and that they all have housing association homes in nearby towns.

    Meanwhile, Jesus Christ was never a materially wealthy man, although he did die with the criminals whom L Hylton wishes to rehabilitate.

    In practice all these religions, which proselytize, and they all do, are keen to accept people who are prepared to accept their definitions of God “in to their lives”.

    Sometimes I think I am Unitarian.

  6. Senex
    05/02/2010 at 4:48 pm

    Like Cherie Blair:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/7154277/Cherie-Blair-spared-violent-criminal-from-prison-because-he-was-religious.html

    Why can’t these sites get organised so that they have shorter URL’s.

  7. 05/02/2010 at 5:00 pm

    This is an excellent posting by Lord Hylton, but in his overview of solidarity, subsidiarity, and the European Union, it may be useful to note that just as subsidiarity ‘means that decisions should be taken at the lowest practical level’, so does solidarity. John Paul II noted this inCentesimus Annus when he equated it with ‘friendship (§ 10)’, emphasising its humble beginnings when he stressed that ‘In order to overcome today’s widespread individualistic mentality, what is required is a concrete commitment to solidarity and charity, beginning in the family … and the care which the different generations give to one another. In this sense the family too can be called a community of work and solidarity( §49).’

    Denis O’Brien is explicit about this hierarchical nature in ‘Subsidiarity and Solidarity’ (a chapter in Catholic Social Teaching and the Market Economy):

    solidarity is a bottom-up concept, originating in voluntary action, not state intervention. It is rooted in recognition of a common humanity, not in the political equivalent of noblesse oblige. The initial expression of solidarity is the family. Next there are association for the promotion of particular objectives, and then the trade unions. Moreover, it is stated quite clearly that subsidiarity requires that, wherever possible, functions should be left with such low-level expressions of solidarity, and that the state should involve itself only where it is quite clear that these lower-level associations are not achieving desired aims (245).

    It is important to stress the priority of the person over the State in the exercise of solidarity, particularly (perhaps) when adding in the existence of the European Union, since this latter organisation is so-often identified—rightly or wrongly—with top-down bureaucratic edicts. For example, in Pius XI’s Divini Redemptoris it was only the human person who could reflect God’s love for his fellow beings (see §29), while Benedict XVI wrote in Deus Caritas Est

    The State which would provide everything, absorbing everything into itself, would ultimately become a mere bureaucracy incapable of guaranteeing the very thing which the suffering person—every person—needs: namely, loving personal concern. We do not need a State which regulates and controls everything, but a State which, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, generously acknowledges and supports initiatives arising from the different social forces and combines spontaneity with closeness to those in need (§28).

    This ‘closeness to those in need’ is the essence of solidarity.

  8. 05/02/2010 at 5:30 pm

    This is an excellent posting by Lord Hylton, but in his overview of solidarity, subsidiarity, and the European Union, it may be useful to note that just as subsidiarity ‘means that decisions should be taken at the lowest practical level’, so does solidarity. John Paul II noted this in Centesimus Annus when he equated it with ‘friendship (§ 10)’, emphasising its humble beginnings when he stressed that ‘In order to overcome today’s widespread individualistic mentality, what is required is a concrete commitment to solidarity and charity, beginning in the family … and the care which the different generations give to one another. In this sense the family too can be called a community of work and solidarity(§49).’

    Denis O’Brien is explicit about this hierarchical nature in ‘Subsidiarity and Solidarity’ (a chapter in Catholic Social Teaching and the Market Economy):

    solidarity is a bottom-up concept, originating in voluntary action, not state intervention. It is rooted in recognition of a common humanity, not in the political equivalent of noblesse oblige. The initial expression of solidarity is the family. Next there are association for the promotion of particular objectives, and then the trade unions. Moreover, it is stated quite clearly that subsidiarity requires that, wherever possible, functions should be left with such low-level expressions of solidarity, and that the state should involve itself only where it is quite clear that these lower-level associations are not achieving desired aims (245).

    It is important to stress the priority of the person over the State in the exercise of solidarity, particularly (perhaps) when adding in the existence of the European Union, since this latter organisation is so-often identified—rightly or wrongly—with top-down bureaucratic edicts. For example, in Pius XI’s Divini Redemptoris it was only the human person who could reflect God’s love for his fellow beings (see §29), while Benedict XVI wrote in Deus Caritas Est

    The State which would provide everything, absorbing everything into itself, would ultimately become a mere bureaucracy incapable of guaranteeing the very thing which the suffering person—every person—needs: namely, loving personal concern. We do not need a State which regulates and controls everything, but a State which, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, generously acknowledges and supports initiatives arising from the different social forces and combines spontaneity with closeness to those in need (§28).

    This ‘closeness to those in need’ is the essence of solidarity.

  9. 05/02/2010 at 10:01 pm

    @Carl.H: quite apart from fact the the Equality Bill exempts positions such as the clergy, I can assure you that no non-believer would want to take a job that involved preaching something they didn’t believe in. What’s more, selecting a candidate because they have the right skills is considered the correct method. Those skills could be making the tea, or if the job is to preach, then an intimate knowledge of the gospel. It’s all the irrelevant things, such as sexual orientation, that should not be taken into account when selecting a candidate.

    As for other jobs, I would personally not want to work for a religious organisation as a matter of principle, any more than I would want to work for a tobacco manufacturer or a alcoholic beverage producer. However, other people may not be so fortunate, and may need to take a job in order to feed themselves.

    Suppose a young man is working quite happily as a cleaner in the offices of a Christian charity. Then one day, the managers discover he is gay and sack him because being gay goes against their Christian beliefs. I think that’s wrong, and so would most people. And they shouldn’t be asking people if they are gay in the interview either.

    If you think they should have the right not to employ a gay person, then should I have the right not to employ a smoker? If I discovered someone smoked, I would not want to give them a job, but if I sacked someone for that reason, I’d be up against a tribunal.

    And finally, what if the proprietor of A.Hitler and Sons discovers that an employee is Jewish and sacks him on the grounds that the company is Christian in ethos, so does not wish to employ a Jewish person? If the Christian charity can sack a gay man, is it acceptable for a Christian company to sack a Jew?

    @Bedd Gelert: we are not talking about the necessity of making everyone believe the same thing, or hold the same views. The point is that it should not be legal to discriminate against someone on the grounds of something that is irrelevant to the job or position they hold. People can hold different views, but work quite happily alongside each other. What we need is tolerance of others’ views, not homogenisation.

    • Carl.H
      06/02/2010 at 1:31 pm

      “If you think they should have the right not to employ a gay person, then should I have the right not to employ a smoker? ”

      Absolutely ! It`s your Company your choice and that choice will not always be seen, a letter stating “I`m sorry you didn`t get the position” doesn`t tell all, nor should it.

      A Company should always do best for itself be that in image or morality. If you put everything you have into a business enterprise should it not be your choice ? Recently we have seen sackings for the wearing of a cross, for a teaching assistant telling the truth to parents and many more. You cannot have it all way`s.

      This equality bill, I believe, states we must put minorities (certain lists) in preference to others should they be equally qualified. This is institutionalised discrimination and there will be no way of policing it nor should there be.

      Freedom is about choice. Nothing about people is irrelevant unless you can state catagorically you do not in any way, shape or form act in a different manner to different types of people. Would Bernard Manning in a thong draped over a sports car in a thong encourage you to buy it?

      “What we need is tolerance of others’ views”

      Exactly ! Allowing them their choices.

  10. 06/02/2010 at 10:51 am

    This is an excellent posting by Lord Hylton, but in his overview of solidarity, subsidiarity, and the European Union, it may be useful to note that just as subsidiarity ‘means that decisions should be taken at the lowest practical level’, so does solidarity. John Paul II noted this in Centesimus Annus when he equated it with ‘friendship (§10)’, emphasising its humble beginnings when he stressed that ‘In order to overcome today’s widespread individualistic mentality, what is required is a concrete commitment to solidarity and charity, beginning in the family … and the care which the different generations give to one another. In this sense the family too can be called a community of work and solidarity (§49).’

    Denis O’Brien is explicit about this hierarchical nature in ‘Subsidiarity and Solidarity’ (a chapter in Catholic Social Teaching and the Market Economy):

    solidarity is a bottom-up concept, originating in voluntary action, not state intervention. It is rooted in recognition of a common humanity, not in the political equivalent of noblesse oblige. The initial expression of solidarity is the family. Next there are association for the promotion of particular objectives, and then the trade unions. Moreover, it is stated quite clearly that subsidiarity requires that, wherever possible, functions should be left with such low-level expressions of solidarity, and that the state should involve itself only where it is quite clear that these lower-level associations are not achieving desired aims (245).

    It is important to stress the priority of the person over the State in the exercise of solidarity, particularly (perhaps) when adding in the existence of the European Union, since this latter organisation is so-often identified—rightly or wrongly—with top-down bureaucratic edicts. For example, in Pius XI’s Divini Redemptoris it was only the human person who could reflect God’s love for his fellow beings (see §29), while Benedict XVI wrote in Deus Caritas Est

    The State which would provide everything, absorbing everything into itself, would ultimately become a mere bureaucracy incapable of guaranteeing the very thing which the suffering person—every person—needs: namely, loving personal concern. We do not need a State which regulates and controls everything, but a State which, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, generously acknowledges and supports initiatives arising from the different social forces and combines spontaneity with closeness to those in need (§28).

    This ‘closeness to those in need’ is the essence of solidarity.

  11. 06/02/2010 at 10:54 am

    This is an excellent posting by Lord Hylton, but in his overview of solidarity, subsidiarity, and the European Union, it may be useful to note that just as subsidiarity ‘means that decisions should be taken at the lowest practical level’, so does solidarity. John Paul II noted this in Centesimus Annus when he equated it with ‘friendship (§10)’, emphasising its humble beginnings when he stressed that ‘In order to overcome today’s widespread individualistic mentality, what is required is a concrete commitment to solidarity and charity, beginning in the family … and the care which the different generations give to one another. In this sense the family too can be called a community of work and solidarity (§49).’

    Denis O’Brien is explicit about this hierarchical nature in ‘Subsidiarity and Solidarity’ (a chapter in Catholic Social Teaching and the Market Economy):

    solidarity is a bottom-up concept, originating in voluntary action, not state intervention. It is rooted in recognition of a common humanity, not in the political equivalent of noblesse oblige. The initial expression of solidarity is the family. Next there are association for the promotion of particular objectives, and then the trade unions. Moreover, it is stated quite clearly that subsidiarity requires that, wherever possible, functions should be left with such low-level expressions of solidarity, and that the state should involve itself only where it is quite clear that these lower-level associations are not achieving desired aims (245).

    It is important to stress the priority of the person over the State in the exercise of solidarity, particularly (perhaps) when adding in the existence of the European Union, since this latter organisation is so-often identified—rightly or wrongly—with top-down bureaucratic edicts. For example, in Pius XI’s Divini Redemptoris it was only the human person who could reflect God’s love for his fellow beings (see especially §29), while Benedict XVI wrote in Deus Caritas Est

    The State which would provide everything, absorbing everything into itself, would ultimately become a mere bureaucracy incapable of guaranteeing the very thing which the suffering person—every person—needs: namely, loving personal concern. We do not need a State which regulates and controls everything, but a State which, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, generously acknowledges and supports initiatives arising from the different social forces and combines spontaneity with closeness to those in need (§28).

    This ‘closeness to those in need’ is the essence of solidarity.

  12. 07/02/2010 at 2:39 pm

    The important part, Lord Hylton, is not subsidiarity but solidarity. More specifically, the compassion that should be espoused by the Christian faiths at least, and the ideal of “not doing harm”.

    The broader social acceptance of other sexualities has accompanied a better understanding in the physiological and psychological aspects of gender and sexuality, meaning that our current medical understanding is not that homosexuals or transgender individuals have consciously rejected the teachings of the church, but more that the church has rejected some of God’s creation as being somehow unnatural. We’re all aware of the hoary old adage that God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve, but not so aware of whether theologians have ever grappled with the tricky question of who, therefore, made Steve.

    Assuming that the Steves of this world are, though, either part of God’s creation or full human beings with all the rights that entails, depending on how you choose to frame the subject, it’s worth noting that the historical tendency of religions to discriminate against them and to campaign against them being regarded as fully human and equal has not gone unnoticed. Mere decades ago the church was dead set against the notion that homosexuality shouldn’t be illegal – are we to believe that their influence has had nothing to do with the history of homophobic violence and discrimination over the years?

    There are those of us, therefore, who believe that the church’s stance violates the principle of not harming, as well as showing its supposed commitment to be on the side of the voiceless and the marginalised to be somewhat of an empty vessel. The harm done to society by discrimination against homosexuals is real, and the church really does have no leg to stand on when it comes to compassion in this regard.

    Freedom of religion is fine… to a point. We put restrictions on religious practice all the time – you can’t just say “God made me do it” and get away with anything. The question is, why do we privilege discrimination against sexual orientation as somehow more sacrosanct than discrimination on the basis of race or gender? And why, if the churches kick up a fuss over it, should we allow them to hide behind scriptures while still extolling their supposed obligation to compassion? The churches can’t eat their cake and have it too.

    • Lord Hylton
      12/02/2010 at 12:31 pm

      Thanks for your comment. The churches should certainly be compassionate and comprehensive in their care. They should also be free to decide what example is set by their leaders, teachers, etc.

      Hylton

      • 13/02/2010 at 11:50 am

        But if that freedom conflicts with our social values, should the state as representative of society not be free to limit the boons that religion gets? I think if the issue was one of fundamentalist Islamists wishing to set up a school and only employ those who fervently called for the destruction of the corrupt west and the establishment of a new Caliphate, or a school which wouldn’t employ either a Jew or any teacher who had a problem teaching the Protocols as fact, we would be rather more understanding of the government’s desire to see such things quashed to the full extent that freedom of expression would allow. Certainly any state funding and licensing to run a school could, I think, be challenged in this case.

        To repeat the questions, then, why should we privilege discrimination against sexual orientation over other kinds of discrimination? Is it simply demographics, that the Catholic Church has more members than the nutter Islamist sects? Or that the Church has been around longer and is harder to dislodge than the other religions? Or is there actually some genuine reason that discrimination against gays is different from discrimination against Jews?

        The ancilliary question is, of course, that if the Church uses its freedom of choice to preach intolerance of homosexuals — or indeed of late of anyone who doesn’t fit into rigidly defined gender roles — quite why we shouldn’t find their commitment to “compassion” to be suspiciously like a fig-leaf to hide the nastier sides of their character?

  13. ZAROVE
    10/02/2010 at 7:08 am

    Of course, for those who think Sexual Orientation should not be a factor in Ordaining Clergy, consider that Sexual Orientation, while certainly a commonly accepted idea, has not itself ever been proven to actually exist. Indeed, there are people who have left the Homosexual Lifestyle behind, and as much as you’d like to find those who fell back into it and mock the concept, many leave never to return and are far happier for it.

    So what if Sexual Orientation is really Sexual Preference?

    And what is my point?

    Well, if Preaching the Gospel is the key requirement and the applicant is going to become Clergy, and said Church teaches Homosexuality is a sin, how is it he can be effective Clergy?

    It’d be like a man who lives with a Woman without marriage deciding to be a Minister, only to preach the Gospel which says sex without benefit of marriage is sinful. The Morals of the Vicar are key here, and Homosexuality is still a Moral issue, not one of innate persona.

    All that said, I do tire of how we make a distinction between the Secular Humanists and Religious people. Secular Humanism is a Religion, and one that wants to dominate all of society. Its really rather tiring having to hear why we all must Comply to the tenets of Humanism just because the Humanists don’t always agree with us.

  14. ZAROVE
    10/02/2010 at 7:11 am

    One last thing, McDuff- How is it compassionate to accept “Sexual Preintation” if the thing you want them to accept is classed as sinful and viewed as hurtful?

    If I tell someone I opose Smoking and want them to quit, I doubt you’d see me as Intolerant or bigoted, and yet if I sincerely beleive Homosexuality is a sin and will lead to the Homosexual invovled in said sin to prolems in life and posble Damnation, somehow I am not Compassionate?

    Who gave you the right to be the supreme arbiter of what is compassionate? and why should Compassion be defines along acceptance of the things you personally accept?

    • 10/02/2010 at 1:52 pm

      The thing about “classed as sinful and viewed as hurtful” is that, of course, you can fix the problem by changing the classification. Unless you believe that “sinful” and “hurtful” are, in this case, objective measurements of something, simply altering the labels makes the problem go away.

      Nobody gave me the right to be a supreme arbiter of anything. But as in my last comment, I would caution you to remember that the expertise in rhetoric and theology you so richly display here does not necessarily imply that you are fully up to speed on the latest research about gender and sexuality done by biologists. Nobody can be an expert on everything, Zarove!

  15. ZAROVE
    10/02/2010 at 7:15 am

    Oh I forgot one last htimg. That evil Thing called Religion was dead set agaisnt Homosexuals, luckily Atheists have alwats stood up for htem, right?

    Alas, no.

    Atheists also supported retainign Homosexuality as a Criminal Offence in Britain. Homosexuality was a Criminal Offence in the Officially Atheistic Soviet Union, which was harldy a Friend to Christianity. Until about 2004 it was a Criminal Offence in Officially Atheistic CHina.

    Please dont pretend Relgiion causes Homophobia and act as if Atjeism somehow cures it. That sort of simplistic thinkign not only rejects just how Religious Atheists really are themselves (No I didnt say Atheism was a Relgion) but it also ignores that they have opposed Homosexuals as Subjhuman Filth, and Churches have often embraced Homosexuals. Look at the Metropolitain Community Church, or the Unitarians, or the EPiscopal Churhc USA.

    Your oversimplified view of Hisotry that see’s Religion as promotign Homosphobia, and acs as f the “Non-Religious” arent equelly to blame is itself shameful.

    • 10/02/2010 at 1:52 pm

      Are you commenting on an Android phone? I have the same problems with the touch keyboard myself.

  16. 10/02/2010 at 12:02 pm

    It is long past time that subsidiatity was recognised by this Govt.
    What is this insistance on all people thinking the same thoughts all about?
    Already adoption services are closing because the welfare of children is no longer the important thing but the spurious “rights” of some adults to own a child!
    Thank you for this letter.
    As a home educating mother I am sick of seeing my families Faith life and educational choices under attack.

  17. ZAROVE
    10/02/2010 at 7:01 pm

    I am dyslexic, and my afterwards thoughts weren’t spell checked. Thats my natural typing.

    That said…

    The thing about “classed as sinful and viewed as hurtful” is that, of course, you can fix the problem by changing the classification. Unless you believe that “sinful” and “hurtful” are, in this case, objective measurements of something, simply altering the labels makes the problem go away.

    The problem with this is, most people do think Sinful and Hurtful are objective measures. They aren’t seen as wrong simply because the Church says so, and it isn’t as simple as changing the labels. If, for instance, the Catholic Church teaches Homosexuality is a disorder that leads to very real harm to a very real group of very real people, then it should be understood that they are proposing it as both sinful and hurtful based upon objective standards of reality. This happens to be the case, and if you’d just visit the Vaticans official website, and read their actual position, ypu’d notice that they don’t declare Homosexuality a sin based upon some otherworldly explanation that lacks any real world evidence, but do employ the standar tools of reason in discourse that would reveal they actually do understand Homosexualiy as a very real harm to vert real people in a very objective sense.

    So why shoudl they not have a right to this beleif which has already been rationally defended? Because siome Atheists claim its not been rationally defended? The bulk of the Atheists who claim this, and who declar that no religious beleif is ever supporte dby reason, sneer at me when I ask them if they have ever actually read any official Documents fromt he Catholic Church, or the Orthodox, or the CofE. They act as if they need not read what their actual position is in order to reject it. Somehow I’m suppose ot tsee their position as innately more logical.

    Well, I don’t.

    Just as I dont see “The religiosu position” as somehow irrational and lackign in Sicnetific vitality because unlike them I have read these works.

    Nobody gave me the right to be a supreme arbiter of anything. But as in my last comment, I would caution you to remember that the expertise in rhetoric and theology you so richly display here does not necessarily imply that you are fully up to speed on the latest research about gender and sexuality done by biologists. Nobody can be an expert on everything, Zarove!

    My actual field of expertise is Psycology, and I happen to be up to speed on the latest Psycological rearch on Homosexuality which does overlap with Bilogy. I don’t claim to be an expert on all things, but I AM gettign a Psycological degree, and later a medical degree.

    The truth is, Medical research has thusfar failed to fund any evidence of Homosexuality being an inborn trait thay is utterly imutable, and their seems to be a growing amoutn of evidence suggestign hat at least some people have left Homosexuality.

    The truth is, Researhc is ongoign as to the cause of Homosexuality, but most researchers have abandoned the idea f a purely Genetic basis for the condition.

    SHoudl I ignore this, as I ignore the fact that Religiosu bodies who object ot Homosexuality often do make vlaid points usign Logic and existign resarch and pretend its all abotu just lablign it a sin arbitrarily? And if so, why shoudl I? SHoudl I do these thigns just to fit into a modern cultural ideal, that no doubt will change as do all others?

    I fidn that less viable.

  18. 11/02/2010 at 12:13 am

    Wait, are you getting a degree in psychology or doing a doctorate in religion? I should check with your university to find out, if I were you, because if they keep changing the courses on you like that you’ll get very confused.

    “If, for instance, the Catholic Church teaches Homosexuality is a disorder that leads to very real harm to a very real group of very real people, then it should be understood that they are proposing it as both sinful and hurtful based upon objective standards of reality.”

    To quote Inigo Montoya, I don’t think that word means what you think it means. The church can propose whatever they like. It doesn’t mean that their subjective standards suddenly become objective.

  19. ZAROVE
    11/02/2010 at 7:34 pm

    Mcduff, its comments liek this that make me really question the valididty of the Modern Atheists mental powers.

    “Wait, are you getting a degree in psychology or doing a doctorate in religion? I should check with your university to find out, if I were you, because if they keep changing the courses on you like that you’ll get very confused.”

    Do not question my education when you do not know hat it is. You didn’t address anything I’d said and merley desparaged it base don it beign “Religiious”. Do you not see how enormously arrogant and self agrandising your claim is?

    “If, for instance, the Catholic Church teaches Homosexuality is a disorder that leads to very real harm to a very real group of very real people, then it should be understood that they are proposing it as both sinful and hurtful based upon objective standards of reality.”

    “To quote Inigo Montoya, I don’t think that word means what you think it means. The church can propose whatever they like. It doesn’t mean that their subjective standards suddenly become objective.”

    Troika pulled htis on me too. The problem is that you still haven’t actually read what they base their conclusions on, and are simply operating on an assumption that because its the Catholic CHurhc it must be Religious and thus can’t be base don Science and Reason, which seems only to be the relam of Ahteiosm in the minds of such as you.

    Do you really think you can dismiss the basis for their claims as subjective when you haven’t even bothered ot find out what they have themselves said about the topic? Basicg your claims upon your own Sterotypes about what Religion is and how it works isn’t itself a Rational excersise and is itself entirely subjective.

    Meanwhile, Real Science done outside of the Catholic CHurch has largley confirmed their claims. For instance, the CDC has noted that Homosexuals tend to be at Greater Riusk of contracting diseases, and the APA has known for years that Homosexuals are at the highest risk of SUbstance abuse. Homosexuals also rank amongst the highest group to suffer Anxiety disorders or Neurosis, along with severe Chronic Depression. Before you accuse Homophonia of beign the real culprrit and wax longlignly for a tolerant society that doesnt caus them to feel liek outcasts and htus creatign thir mental distress, recent research indicates that even in a tolerant and loving environemtn Homosexuals remain high on the list fo ANxiety, Neurosis, and depression. You can’t Love and tolerate away these problems, and Hoophobia is not the cause.

    Indeed, its only because Homosexuality is so politicized these days that we can’t discuss openlythese findings or do proper researhcinto it because we all have to obey the pOliticlaly COrrect line that the real probelm cant be the Homosexuality itself, and if we dare suggest it it can end any of our careers.

    Meanwhile, the evidence still exists.

    When an orgiisation like the Catholic CHurhc does confront these issues, all you can do is claim its a Rleigiosu Orginisaiton, declare its findigns subjective and base odn relgiion and htusd not relevant, and declare hat its a simpe matter of them relabling Homosxuality as not a sin. DO you realise just how arrogant and supremely huberistic your attitude here is?

    And again, you haven’t even read what they beelive on the topic or why. You just know its all SUbjectie and not objective because its the Cahtolic Churhc and thus must be.

    Really.

    • 11/02/2010 at 9:25 pm

      Zarove

      My best advice, dear boy, would be for you to go find your supervisor and ask them to explain to you the difference between “causation” and “correlation” before you embark upon any significant research.

      How is your career going, by the way? Been discharged from your university course because of your non-politically correct views yet? Is your forced resignation in hand, or should I be calling the head of your local branch of the PC brigade to chivvy the matter along?

  20. ZAROVE
    13/02/2010 at 12:58 am

    Zarove

    My best advice, dear boy, would be for you to go find your supervisor and ask them to explain to you the difference between “causation” and “correlation” before you embark upon any significant research.

    My advice to you woudl be to stop being an arrogant and condescending Jerk, and stop assuming that a short post on a blog represents the totality of someones thogughts on a particular subject. You may also consider actually addressing what they said, rather than insulting them.

    But then, following my advice would require you to engage in dialog and I suppose its imenantly more fun, not to mention far easier, to simply insult someone and cast disparagements against them, rather than actually discuss the topic and points they have raised.


    How is your career going, by the way? Been discharged from your university course because of your non-politically correct views yet? Is your forced resignation in hand, or should I be calling the head of your local branch of the PC brigade to chivvy the matter along?

    Wll, it may behoove you to actually talk about the topic rather than attack me. Unless you mean this as a concession that you have no valid point.

    • 13/02/2010 at 12:50 pm

      I mean it as a comment that you have no valid point. A short blog comment may not be the totality of someone’s thought, but you have managed to fit so much hoary old nonsense into one post it’s really pointless me trying to engage it in any kind of substantive way. After all, it’s clear you haven’t, so why should I bother?

      Your complete and utter misunderstanding of basic statistics, your inability to grasp where your own cognitive biases come into play, the fact that you have made cherry picking into such an extreme that it more closely resembles straw-clutching, your incessant and baseless persecution complex, the fact that everything you write looks as if you have bashed it out in one fitful and angry go without feeling any need to edit for concision or clarity, let alone run the things through a spellchecker first, all combined simply and easily allow me to dismiss you as an internet crank. And that may be my bias but, seriously, if you do not wish to be labelled as a duck, perhaps a touch less waddling and quacking may be in order, you think?

      I simply cannot take you or your attempts to Gish Gallop your way through the various arguments that Teh Gheys Are Bad And Wrong And Unhealthy And Must BE STOPPED!!! seriously, at all, in any respect. They’re bull, but there’s a myriad of them, and in order to address them I’d first have to stop to educate you on basic facts and misapprehensions you seem to have about the world, so I’d rather poke fun at the most egregious of them rather than waste my time taking on every error of judgement and fact. I have seen your type on the internet before, and it is never worth it for me to put time into refuting every bad argument. You’re already making up arguments yourself in the absence of anyone saying anything about it, you’re like a one-man strawmanning machine.

      If we disagree on whether it’s valid to conflate a statistical correlation into evidence of causation, we can’t have a discussion about this, and it’s pointless me presenting any opposing evidence, because we disagree about how to interpret such evidence. But I only hope you never see any statistics about violent crime broken down by gender, because trying to fit all that cognitive dissonance in one head might well make your brain ooze out of your ears.

  21. ZAROVE
    13/02/2010 at 10:14 pm

    My ba spellign is because I am DYslexic. SPell chekcign a post takes a very logn time, and I really cant distinguish one word from another on the drop list on a pell chekcer wihtout raly, really lookign at it. Is it fair ot claim then that my spellign errors, cause dby somethign that is settled by Science to be a trait I have no power over, shoudl be inteprpreted as anger?

    I never typed any of these words in anger, and this sint about “Teh Geys” beign bad and evil and must be stopped. Rathr, it is about the right of people to oppose a lifestyle if they so choose.

    Consider this, McDuff. You have never read the Vaticans official teaching on Homosexuality. You have admited this. Despite havign never read their official position, you claim that they have no logical basis for their claim. You also think they can just declare Homosexuality not a sin and its really that easy.

    As much as you have “Seen y type” and want to, like Troika, pretend that you care about logic and reaosn and I’m just beign an irrational religiosu zealot who doesn’t care about tyhe truth, the fact remains that you have not actually botheed to get a look at what the oither party actually says.

    Running me down with base insults abotu how I just make up arguments or am frothign at the moyth in anger when typing and usign my disability to support that whilst sayign I am too irraitonal to deal with and declarign your side self evidently right is not a legitimate argument, either.

    It seems to me that you just want to force your Religion down everyone elses throats. Why shoudl that be tolerated?

    • 17/02/2010 at 12:45 pm

      I am sorry for your dyslexia, but the fact remains that you’re hitting post at the end of a first draft. There are maybe ten or twenty people in the world who I have any desire to read a first draft of their thoughts, and half of them are dead. I’d look past all the spelling errors if the entire thing didn’t read like someone going entirely off on an inappropriate rant about how the nasty atheists are out to get the poor put-upon religious folk and then hitting the big POST THIS ON THE INTERWEBS!!! button without doing even the most cursory of re-reads.

      If you can’t be bothered to read what you just wrote, why should I?

      Consider this, McDuff. You have never read the Vaticans official teaching on Homosexuality. You have admited this.

      I did? Would you mind pointing out where I did this?

      Despite havign never read their official position, you claim that they have no logical basis for their claim.

      Dyslexia can’t excuse bad writing. This would read far better as “claim they have no logical basis for their assertion.” Had I ever made such a claim, which I wouldn’t, because “gays cause diseases and therefore gayness is wrong” is an internally consistent and therefore logical statement, albeit one that relies on flawed a priori assumptions. Again, would you mind pointing out to me where I said this, rather than where you assumed I’d said it because I’m apparently an atheist and atheists say this sort of thing don’t they?

      (For that matter, where did I admit to atheism?)

      the fact remains that you have not actually botheed to get a look at what the oither party actually says.

      Are you adding mind-reading to your long list of talents now? Have you considered seeing someone about your delusions and your persecution complex?

      I wish I could be a fly on the wall when your supervisor gets the first draft of your dissertation. I am sure it will be a work of art.

  22. ZAROVE
    13/02/2010 at 10:17 pm

    Also, McDuff, I’ve already seen how VIolent Crime breaks down to Gender. It has no barign on what We have discussed.

    I’m not sayign Correlation means Causation, but in th cases I mentioned, arguments are made beyidn just Correlation and Causation. The CDC report for example goes into explainign HOW Homosexual practice can contribute to an increased risk in contracting disases, as have other medical reports, as just one example.

    Your being flagrantly dishonest by tryignt o belittle me and claimign I just DOsctor the Statistics.

    And I for one am tired of Ahtiests liek you pretendign to be all abotu reaosn and then sayign I am dishinest about my statistics when in fact you won’t even bother to read anything that contradicts ytour view on things.

    • 17/02/2010 at 1:38 pm

      Would that be the homosexual practice of being beaten up by their peers or rejected by their parents? Or the homosexual practice of having anal sex (which no straight people ever do)? What about the homosexual practice of petitioning for equal marriage rights? The homosexual practice of listening to show tunes, or mixing a damn fine cosmopolitan?

      I don’t know which CDC report you’re specifically referring to, since your dyslexia obviously prevents you looking things up and linking to citations. I do, however, know when to spot a cherry-picked approach to the evidence.

      These two homosexuals don’t have any diseases and aren’t at risk, and neither do these homosexuals. This homosexual makes a very good living advising a variety of heterosexual people (that’s a pretty good cross section of heterosexual practices in that article there, too) how to avoid heartbreak and disease. I mean, come on, nobody ever went to the Catholic Church and expected to get an answer to the question of whether to change condoms between girls in an FMF threesome, did they? Turns out that “homosexual practices” are really wide ranging! Now did the CDC happen to mention which practices were particularly disease-ridden, and why they were particularly gay? Who knows, Zarove? All we have from your claims are that posh scientists have totally proved somehow that gays are sad and ill and it’s totally 100% because they are gay, or at least a little bit because they are gay but it’s the gay bit that’s important. Did we mention gay? Like they totally have sex with people who are the same gender, which is absolutely worse for you than having sex with people who are of opposite genders? Gay gay gay gay gay gay!

      I wouldn’t accuse you of doctoring statistics because I sincerely doubt you’ve done any studies into this yourself. Doctoring can only be done by the researchers at point of publication, and I doubt I’d be making the wildest of guesses to suggest that the faculty at your university will probably gently try and keep you away from any research that involves first hand contact with dirty filthy homosexuals. Although I doubt that will stop you obsessing about them and their awful ways, will it?

      I can accuse you of misreading the data because of your frankly slightly creepy personal biases, though, and that’s exactly what I’m doing. Now, if you want to give me a link to the CDC report that apparently proves your point, I’ll happily read it, but I’m pretty confident you haven’t read the report either as much as some second-hand reporting about the report. You don’t strike me as the kind of person who spends a lot of time investigating the primary literature (not that the CDC is really “primary” anyway in most cases), however I would be quite literally ecstatic if you were to prove me wrong here.

  23. 20/02/2010 at 2:31 pm

    Lord Hylton

    Might I draw your attention to recent events in Washington, DC. Given the choice of the Catholic Church withdrawing from education and charity altogether, or compromising on this issue, which would you prefer?

    Those of us on the outside care little for who provides the charitable services, as long as they do so well, and equitably. The lessons of DC show that it’s not a choice for us between the Church’s way or the Highway. Rather it seems that the Church must decide between the principles of supporting the poor and needy and the principles of discriminating against homosexuals. Which is more important?

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