What fun

The Catholic Church has a reputation for strict unbending theology, but it may have inadvertently triggered the non-conformist and individual culture of today’s western societies, researchers believe.

Academics now believe that rules enshrined in canon law in the 9th century, which limited the marriage of relatives to prevent incest, fundamentally changed the culture of Europe, breaking apart old clans and ushering in a new era of cooperation.

Western societies are generally viewed as quite odd by sociologists because they tend to view individuals as more important than the group, they conform less to a central ideal and they have a far greater trust of strangers.

In contrast, older more traditional societies tend to comprise tight-knit tribes where members show fierce loyalty, obedience, adherence to tradition and a general mistrust of outsiders.

Until now, academics had been puzzled as to what caused the transition, but they have now discovered that areas that were early adopters the Medieval Catholic Church marriage rules transitioned into modern western societies.

Insisting that people marry outside even the wider family grouping does rather break up clans. They’re really quite sure they’ve proven the correlation at least as well.

Which brings on the next question, Why was the early medieval church so insistent upon this?

Depends upon what you think religion is really

My husband and I rock up every Sunday to church. Sure, we are barred from preaching, we are excluded from all meaningful leadership positions, and I have lost count of the number of times we have been made to feel deeply ashamed of our very presence. But this week we, along with our strongest allies, have finally been asked to leave, and by none other than our own archbishop, Glenn Davies. Why? Because we are those who have found deep beauty in the blessing of gay and lesbian marriages and we long for others to share in this joy.

From his address, it’s hard to discern whether he is ousting individuals or those dioceses that have made moves to bless same-sex marriage, but ultimately there is no difference – if an entire region is blacklisted for pursuing something we hold dear, what message does that send me? Needless to say, his words have a deep impact, and I am, all things considered, exhausted.

If you think religion is something to make you feel good, perhaps to foster that community feeling, then sure you can be pissed that there’s no support for gay marriage. The answer is also obvious, go found your own community that fosters that inclusive feeling you desire.

If you think that religion is in fact the revealed word of God then you’re pretty much stuck. Because if God says “Nope” then you’re pretty stuck, aren’t you?

Which gives us the third possibility, you agree that it’s The Word but that it is being misinterpreted by those currently doing the preaching.

OK, that means off you go and preach the correct Word.

Err, yes, without the cathedrals and churches and all built by those who believe as you don’t. But then to be as the lilies of the field is to be rather religious, isn’t it?

And wouldn’t this be great radio?

This is the problem with Thought for the Day. It is three minutes of anodyne, flopsy-bunny drivel filtered through the sphincter of a spineless liberal BBC apparatchik. What we want is an evangelical railing against sodomites, a left-footer ranting about abortion and a Presbyterian raving about the Whore of Rome.

Just another split in Judaism

Rabbis will share duties with women for the first time as the Chief Rabbi says there is a “real need” within the Jewish community for females to be put in a position to offer others advice.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis launched his new scheme, known as the Ma’aynot Project for female Jewish leaders, in a bid to create roles for women within modern orthodox Judaism. Female rabbis are not permitted within orthodox Judaism, unlike in more liberal denomination such as Reform and Liberal Judaism.

There is in fact no central doctrinal body within Judaism. There are many interpretations.

So, some will accept this and others won’t. Just as there is now orthodox, reform, liberal, there will now be reform, liberal, orthodox accepting women rabbis and orthodox not accepting women rabbis.

Rabbis share duties with women for first time, in ‘turning point’ for Judaism

Thus it’s not for the first time and it’s not a turning point. It’s just another fraction.

A certain amount of trying it on here

The set up seems believable. And yet:

A Jewish businessman has criticised the Family Court for putting him in a Catch-22 situation over a divorce ruling which allegedly traps him between family law and religious law.

Alan Moher, 54, was ordered to hand over a £1.6million lump sum to his wife Caroline, 46, by the Family Court and told he must also pay her £1,850 per month in maintenance payments until he grants her a ‘get’ – a document that officially ends a marriage under Jewish law.

However Mr Moher, of Salford, Greater Manchester, claims that a get is only valid if it is granted ‘freely’, while he is being put under pressure to provide it by the continuing maintenance payments.

As an aside, is Moher a derivation of mohel? At which point we’re in cliche territory, no?

Anyway. Judaism does maintain its own courts and they do deal with exactly this sort of thing. Not sure, there might even be separate Sephardi and Ashkenazi such. Anyone know? But that would seem to be where to go get a ruling. Is such continuing maintenance until a get a bar to the get being granted freely?

Well Rabbi?

Which is where the hint of a suspicion arises that using the secular courts to fight this is trying it on a bit.

Anyone care for the Salman Rushdie bet?

As the old joke went, Rushdie’s next book was going to be “Bugger Off Buddha, Ya’ Fat Bastard”.

The joke being of course that there was no militant Buddhism slaughtering people.

And the bet? We care to insist upon that about Sri Lanka?

I think it unlikely but then that’s just opinion and uninformed at that…..

Weasel words

So far this year, the United States, which eliminated measles in 2000, has seen 465 measles cases across 19 states. The majority have occurred in ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighbourhoods in Brooklyn and Rockland county, New York, where parents have shunned the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, seemingly influenced by claims that the vaccine is not “kosher” because it contains “pig DNA”. In fact, the final product is highly purified and most rabbis accept that vaccines are not prohibited by religious laws.

Most rabbis is not all rabbis. And who are the most likely to be out of step with most? The ultra-Orthodox, that’s rather what it means.

Nope, not saying that they’re right, not saying that vaccine dodging is a good thing. Only that that argument, as given, is a particularly weasel one.

Well, how many should there be?

Stephen Poliakoff says it is ‘striking’ how few Jewish characters are portrayed in British TV dramas

Some 250,000 or so in the population. One in 200. Do we hit that sort of level of representation? In anything where the religion of the character is either im- or ex-plicit?

Actually, the real explanation is this:

Launching his new BBC drama Summer of Rockets,

Gotta say something to get the PR going….

Fair point

The magnificently woke actor George Clooney has demanded we all boycott luxury hotels with links to Brunei because the country has ruled homosexuals must be stoned to death. Happy to help, George — that’s Brunei off my Christmas card list.

There are nine other countries where gay people face the death penalty. They all have something in common. Much like the countries that will put you to death for apostasy. Shall we boycott those, too, as well as countries where gay people are simply imprisoned or lashed? They all have something in common, too.

I wish George would explain what that something was.

Um, what?

The painting is thought to represent the patron saint of lawyers and advocate of the poor. The figure appears to be holding what the gallery describes as “a legal document, which would be appropriate for Saint Ivo”.

Yes, I know, odd mixtures of things that saints are patrons of at times. But really, lawyers and the poor? Is it actually possible to be patron of two things quite as in opposition as that? SPUC and Planned Parenthood perhaps?

This is amusing

Dalia Fleming of KeshetUK, a charity that works with LGBT+ Jews, says people in the Orthodox community faced “an impossible choice” between their sexual or gender identity and their religion.

“There has been a shift,” she said. “There is much more information available now, but there definitely needs to be more support for people who are LGBT+ and want to stay in the Orthodox community.”

Umm, well.

Bit like insisting you want to remain a Catholic priest after getting married*. It’s an either or really. To have come out rather does mean coming out of the community which insists that coming out is an anathema and those who do must be shunned.

*No, you can’t, although you might be able to become a priest already being married.

Well, obviously not, no

Jason Isbell: ‘Jesus would not have voted for Donald Trump’

Well, obviously not, no.

Jesus wasn’t an American, wasn’t alive at the right time and didn’t have the vote anyway. You know, what with living in a Monarchy associated with an Empire and all that.

Very jealous these Christians

Yesterday, as he again returned to the cathedral to read aloud from the Bible, Mr Coote said: ‘I am not hurt or angry, but very surprised that St Paul’s would support the Occupy London people but not support the reading of the Bible.’

The Reverend Peter Simpson, a pastor at the Free Methodist Church in Penn, Buckinghamshire, said he endured a similar experience outside St Paul’s two years ago, when he and a colleague were ordered to leave. ‘We did not say anything inflammatory as far as I can recall,’ he said.

‘We were just preaching from the Bible but were told to move. We did not want to break the law so we moved to the edge of the grounds marked by bollards and preached from there.’

The Barnabas Fund, which campaigns against the persecution of Christians, has launched an online petition urging Parliament to intervene. Dr Martin Parsons, head of research at the charity, said: ‘This illustrates the slippery slope down which the UK is losing its heritage of religious freedom.

‘One of the first aspects of freedom of religion to be established in England was the freedom to read the Bible in public. A Royal decree specifically forbade clergy from stopping anyone reading the Bible in public. Now St Paul’s Cathedral is trying to stop someone reading the Sermon On The Mount in public.’

Well, you know, the Anglicans don’t want the Methodists – people who actually believe in the stuff – poaching their flock to be shorn, do they? As they have been for a few centuries now.