I assume they were all destroyed once sold then, yes?

England’s vicarages and parsonages are almost as iconic as its churches. But campaigners say they may be all but gone after a 70-year process of selling-off which began after the Second World War and has seen thousands of vicars ejected from the historic buildings and moved into private houses.

What’s more, they have raised concerns that many modern priests have no interest in living in the properties – leaving them vulnerable to being sold.

Campaign group Save Our Parsonages estimates that 8,000 such houses have been sold by dioceses since the Second World War, causing the Church of England financial loss because of the growing value of property.

For that’s the only way we should be worried about “saving them” isn’t it?

For non-Brits here, vicars and parsons were people of some substance in Ye Olde Englande, their housing reflecting this. Substantial buildings built for a largish brood plus a clutch of servants. Often the second or third largest house in a village for example.

This is not a requirement for a parish these days, given the size of today’s nuclear families, even among churchmen.

Err, yes, the confessional is sacrosanct

Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart has said he’ll risk going to jail rather than report what’s said to him in the sacrament of confession, even if what’s confessed relates to child sexual abuse.

His latest comments, made on ABC radio, were responding to a recommendation from the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse to make reporting child sexual abuse allegations mandatory in institutions including when an allegation is made in religious confession. Failure to report would be a criminal offence.

The recommendation is one of a suite of proposed reforms to improve transparency and reporting of sexual abuse and improve the law’s effectiveness to apprehend sexual abusers and protect children.

Archbishop Hart wouldn’t report something said in confession by a child who’s been abused or by an abuser. Non-Catholics don’t understand confession, he said. Confession is sacrosanct, above the law, which is what makes it different from other forms of telling. It’s communication with God of a higher order.

You can believe it or not, as you wish, but it is what they believe and they’ll be sticking to it.

There is an added piquancy to this particular tale:

When I was 16, I went to confession. I wish the priest had reported what I’d told him

Hmm.

When I was 16, I went to confession for real. I’d been sexually abused by a Catholic high school teacher and her husband. I went to see a priest on the suggestion of one of my abusers, because I was so upset.

The priest I saw gave me absolution which didn’t make me any less upset. I can’t remember what the penance was. He didn’t do anything about what I told him as far as I know. I guess he maintained the seal of confession, the higher order communication with God in Archbishop Hart’s terms. I wish he had done something, reported what I’d told him to my school, parents or the police, because I’d have been far less harmed. What happened to me after that time has had lifelong consequences. I was a child who had a child. The priest let me down badly.

Perhaps reporting it to the police, the headmaster, might have helped a bit?

The Catholic church is not above the law. It’s not above anything. It’s down here on Earth with the rest of us and ought to be more concerned about protecting children than protecting its practices.

No, you’ve really not grasped the internal driver of the Church, have you? Sure, you can believe it or not, as you wish, but they certainly think that they’re dealing with the next world, not this one.

Not just left footers then?

A Jehovah’s Witness charity has been attacked by the Charity Commission for covering up allegations of paedophilia against one of its former leaders.

In a damning report by the charities watchdog, Manchester New Moston Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses was criticised for failing to report its members claims of sex abuse to the police.

“The inquiry found that the trustees of the charity did not report the allegation of child sexual abuse to the police or to other authorities,” the report said. “Nor did it report the matter as a serious incident to the Commission.”

Well, y’know, there’re traditions and there’re traditions

Donald Trump has not hosted an iftar dinner during Ramadan, breaking a nearly 20-year tradition.

Is two decades a tradition?

And how many such religious festivities should the White House follow? Muslims are some 1% of Americans, Jews 2% (or so). Passover at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave? 0.7% Hindu and Buddhist each. By some estimates Eastern Orthodox outnumber Muslims. Jan 6 th celebrations, just where are they?

An interesting continuity

Russia’s Supreme Court has accepted the government’s request to designate Jehovah’s Witnesses as an outlawed religious group, deeming it to be an extremist organisation.

The Tsars rather hammered down on those who didn’t follow their flavour of Russian Orthodox. Old Believers buggered off into Siberia in order to be able to make the sign of the cross their way.

The Soviets rather hammered down on the non-Orthodox religious sects too. Baptists and Jehovah’s W and so on.

Putinism is hammering down on………

There’s more than a soupcon of a hint of truth to the idea of the Deep State, isn’t there? That whatever the political complexion on the top certain policies are going to be roughly the same?

Err, well, yes

However, the hijab doesn’t fit neatly under the bracket of being a “religious symbol”. It’s not the equivalent of a piece of jewellery that displays pride in your faith, and which can easily be concealed to stop people feeling uncomfortable. For its wearers the hijab is a core part of their way of life, linked to the way they choose to practise their faith. It is not up for debate.

By permitting a ban on the hijab, Europe is essentially permitting a ban on Muslim women in the workplace.

Well, oddly enough, the hijab itself isn’t a particularly Muslim thing.

The actual injunction is to dress modestly and different cultures have interpreted this differently. From, roughly speaking, the full burka to just not flashing one’s tits. Hijab refers not to the scarf nor even the head covering, in truth, but to the “modestly”.

I’m actually old enough to recall when it was considered very much not on for a woman to be bare armed in a Catholic Church…..

Now, it might be that the dominant Muslim culture of our times says that the head covering is that necessity for modesty but it’s still not universal. Just as Orthodox Jewish ladies wearing wigs so that only their husbands see their hair is a definitely minority pursuit.

Myself I’m all in favour of this ban upon religious symbols. Yes, this includes the air hostess wearing a crucifix, the Rasta insisting upon dreadlocks and so on, that’s the way the ECJ has written it. Employers are indeed allowed to discriminate among those they would employ. As we’re all allowed to discriminate against employers who do damn fool things. And as Gary Becker pointed out, employers who stupidly do so will lose money. This is a problem best left to the market to solve.

And think what happens if this really is discrimination against Muslim women? Their wages fall I make a fortune by specifically employing only Muslim women. And don’t say it doesn’t happen that way because Dame Stevie Shirley showed outright that it does work.

How Fanatabulously fabulosa

I had seen this story and not thought much of it. Now I understand it a bit better and think it’s great:

A Church of England theological college has apologised after trainee priests held a church service in the antiquated gay slang language Polari to commemorate LGBT History Month.

Couldn’t give a bugger about LGBT history month of course but a service in Polari? Why the hell not?

Well, actually, given that this is the CoE, the only reason I can think of for why not is that only the priests would understand it.

How is bacon racist?

Two men who threw rashers of bacon inside a north London mosque in a racially motivated attack have been jailed for eights months.

Mateusz Pawlikowski, 22, and Piotr Czak-Zukowski, 28, walked into Al-Rahman Mosque in north London as worshippers were getting ready for evening prayer.

Pawlikowski approached one of them, swore at him, and threw a rasher of bacon towards him, continuing to throw further rashers on the floor of the prayer room.

Behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace I can see, yes. But racism? How can we have race when talking about a religion?

There’s silly, there’s Ritchie and then there’s crazed

Various ones have been properly convinced that there is a plan for a European superstate. Forbes’ writer Tom Worstall wrote that the Brexit vote was about the United Kingdom “not joining the monster of the European Union to come.” The Bible tells of a Beast monster that will arise in the end times in Europe. Dr. Thiel cites news reports, as well as the Old and New Testaments, to show that the monster many fear will arise in Europe, despite the vote by the British to exit the European Union.

A written article of related interest is titled “Is a Brexit a step towards a monstrous militaristic superstate?”

Your guide to Ramadan fasting

Interestingly sensible, once one has absorbed the basic idea of daytime fasting through Ramadan:

Ruling for person unable to observe fast?

Dr. Ali Ahmed Mashael: If a person is unable to observe fast, he has to feed one poor person for each day that he didn’t fast. But, it is better to observe fast.

What is the ruling on fasting for those who are constantly travelling and not staying at a place for a long time.

Dr. Ali Ahmed Mashael: A traveller is permitted not to fast if he travels over a distance of 78kms per day.

However, a seasoned traveller who does not get travel weary can fast.

If a person stays in the country for four days or more, he should fast and perform prayers.

But if he stays for less than four days, he should perform Jama and Qasr prayers and fast.

Earlier, travelling was not easy. But now travelling has become smooth so fasting is not tough even for regular travellers. So, it is preferable for Muslims to observe fast.

A very sensible observation that the world has changed.

What is the Shariah ruling as regards eye drops and injections during the day?

Dr. Ali Ahmed Mashael: Eye drops, according to Shafai’i and Hanafi, do not break the fast even if the fasting person can taste it in the throat.

This is because the eye is not a normal place for receiving food or drink, even if something reaches the throat.

The fast is broken through anything entering through open ports like the ear, nose and mouth.

Injections do not invalidate the fast, whether it is intravenous or intramuscular, and whether there is a taste or not.

These do not reach the stomach via an open port, unless the injections are used to assist the body as food and drink like in the case of a nutrient injection. In such cases it breaks the fast.

I grew up in a pretty relaxed Catholicism but reading around what the Irish Church of the 50s was like, for example, one can imagine very similar questions and answers about Lent or no meat Fridays and the like. I actually recall one monk teaching us youngsters (and it was youngsters) of a Lenten rule. If we’d given up sweeties for Lent (no, didn’t happen for me but….) did that mean that if we were given some for our birthday, which happened to fall in Lent, we couldn’t eat them? No, your birthday, and for example that of St Patrick if you were of Irish background (and very grudgingly, the Irish influence in British Catholicism being rather strong, St George if you were English, David, Welsh and so on) is a celebratory day, a Feast Day, and thus Lenten restrictions do not apply. That might actually be exactly the same as Shariah works, the answer being dependent upon which authority you consult.

The actual injunctions are different but the method of logic in reaching them is almost exactly the same. I can imagine Rabbis chewing over the same points too, or at least in the same manner.

This would be a most unkind translation

Voice of America

LA Muslim Leaders Demand Gun Control in Response to Orlando Shooting
Voice of America – ‎1 hour ago‎
June 14, 2016 3:19 AM. LOS ANGELES—. At a multi-faith vigil at the front steps of the Islamic Center of Southern California, Muslim leaders said it is time to do something after the worst mass shooting in the history of the United States.

Don’t let our peeps have guns because one of them might do this again…..

Shock! Horror! Religious people believe their religion!

Half of British Muslims want gay sex to be made illegal, according to a new poll.

The survey for Channel 4 found there was a “chasm” between views among the British Muslim community and mainstream opinion in this country.

It found 52 per cent of Muslims said homosexuality should not be legal in Britain.

Of more than 1,000 British Muslims polled by ICM, 39 per cent agreed “wives should always obey their husbands”, and 31 per cent said it was acceptable for a man to have more than one wife.

I’m pretty sure that all flavours of Islam believe the following three things:

1) Homosexuality should be illegal.

2) Wives should obey their husbands.

3) A man may have more than one wife.

The finding is thus that people who believe in a religion believe in a religion.

As to what we do about it we ignore them. Just as we do the Jews about not mixing meat and dairy, the Jehovah’s Witnesses about not having a blood transfusion and so on.

How amazingly weird

Paris attacks made me ‘doubt’ presence of God, admits Archbishop of Canterbury

Despite my pure atheism it strikes me as very odd indeed to lose or doubt faith over that. Looks like pretty good evidence that the Devil and evil do exist: and if one then so the other, God and grace, no?

Our local SJW calls our attention to this

Hundreds of British Muslims have taken out an advert to highlight their “united condemnation” of terrorism after the attacks in Paris.

The advert, issued by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and endorsed by more than 300 of the body’s affiliates, features an image of the Eiffel Tower and the words: “With one voice, British Muslims condemn the Paris attacks unreservedly.

“The barbaric acts of Daesh [Isis] have no sanction in the religion of Islam, which forbids terrorism and the targeting of innocents.

“Muslims have held vigils and donated blood for the victims. It is not the terrorists who represent our faith but brave individuals like Stade de France security guard Zouheir, who risked his life to stop the attackers.”

I’m quite certain that that is how the vast majority of Muslims feel. Just as I’m certain that that tiny fraction that supports Deash reads the existence of the Caliphate differently. Which is rather the rub really.

In which Mehdi Hassan is wrong

“The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody has decided not to see,” wrote Ayn Rand in her novel The Fountainhead. That there is a link, a connection, between the west’s military interventions in the Middle East and terrorist attacks against the west, that violence begets violence, is “glaringly evident” to anyone with open eyes, if not open minds.

So, we’re causing it by our actions, they’re just reacting.

OK. Then in he same newspaper, on the same day:

Isis is reaching out to fill the void wherever a state of “chaos” or “savagery” (at-tawahoush) exists, as in central Asia and Africa. And where there is insufficient chaos in the lands of the infidel, called “The House of War”, it seeks to create it, as in Europe.

They’ve actually got a plan they’re working to. But then we’re not surprised that Mehdi is wrong, are we?

We’ve dealt with murderous Islamists before, haven’t we?

In 1898, in the context of the scramble for Africa, the British decided to reassert Egypt’s claim on Sudan. An expedition, commanded by Kitchener, was organised in Egypt. It was composed of 8,200 British soldiers and 17,600 Egyptian and Sudanese soldiers commanded by British officers. The Mahdist forces (sometimes called the Dervishes) were more numerous, numbering more than 60,000 warriors, but lacked modern weapons.

After defeating a Mahdist force in the Battle of Atbara in April 1898, the Anglo-Egyptians reached Omdurman, the Mahdist capital in September. The bulk of the Mahdist army attacked, but was cut down by British machine-guns and rifle fire.

The remnant, with the Khalifa Abdullah, fled to southern Sudan. During the pursuit, Kitchener’s forces met a French force under Major Jean-Baptiste Marchand at Fashoda, resulting in the Fashoda Incident. They finally caught up with Abdullah at Umm Diwaykarat, where he was killed, effectively ending the Mahdist regime.

The casualties for this campaign were:

Sudan: 30,000 dead, wounded, or captured
Britain: 700+ British, Egyptian and Sudanese dead, wounded, or captured.

Hmmm.

Looks like Mormonism is growing up as a religion

Members of the Church of Latter Day Saints are planning a “mass resignation” in Salt Lake City on Saturday in response to a leaked church policy that punishes the children of same-sex couples who don’t renounce their parents’ relationship.

The event, which is expected to draw close to 1,000 people, seems unprecedented in the church’s 185-year history, according to several experts.

Their first schism.

Wouldn’t any parent be proud at such a demonstration of maturity?

So here’s a question

It’s a general (although perhaps not canonical) idea in Islam that there should be no representations of the human form.

OK. Art, paintings, there’s some historical examples but it’s generally accepted in Muslim societies.

How far does that go? Are photographs OK? I would assume obviously so, given that Arab newspapers carry photos.

But where’s the dividing line? Is a picture from a camera OK while one manipulated with photoshop (or Instagram’s filters say) not OK? Where is the dividing line between the allowable and not allowable representation of that human figure?