The horrific new anti-women legislation in Poland, a near-total ban on abortion, is already harming women. The country already had some of the strongest anti-abortion legislation in Europe, and it has now removed the exception for foetal abnormalities. According to the New York Times, 1,074 of the 1,100 abortions performed in Poland last year were for that reason.

Poland’s right-wing government is not the only evil here. Its bigotry and intolerance has been assisted legally and financially by the US Christian Right.

An overwhelmingly Catholic country elects a political party espousing Catholic values and then enacts policy based upon Catholic moral teaching.

Of course, everyone involved here might be entirely deluded, what ever, but to blame the Americans seems a little odd.


Bishop of Lewes orders churches to shut despite Government lockdown rules saying they can stay open

What bishops are for, taking care of their flock.

The objection is when government says the churches must close. Here, we might even think the bishop is wrong in his decision but this is his job……

Culture matters more than race, eh?

Among Hindus, Sikhs, Jews, Buddhists and people of no religion, the majority felt uncomfortable with the idea of a close relative marrying a Muslim. Among Christians, there was a significant minority.

A majority of Muslims were uncomfortable with the idea of a close relative marrying a Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish or Sikh person, or someone of no religion. Almost four in 10 Muslims were uncomfortable with a close relative marrying a Christian.

Not all that odd really. The colour of your skin is one of those genetic lottery things. What you believe about gender relations, civil liberty and all that is something more changeable. So, believe those things that clash as a result of the Sky Fairy and sure, people should be more interested.

Interesting. Dunno really

And she is still ruffling feathers from beyond the grave. Henry VIII’s second wife is the subject of a new Channel 5 series; she is to be played by the black British actor Jodie Turner-Smith. Predictably, racists are losing their heads over it. (I’d wager many of the same people who think a black woman shouldn’t play a white historical figure have zero issues with Jesus being routinely portrayed as a white guy.)

Do we generally regard Jews as white guys? There has certainly been discrimination against them but that’s not quite the same thing. Louis Farrakhan ain’t gonna accept that they’re black now, is he?

Sure, historical reality would have a Middle East resident of the time as tinted. But then any working or peasant class bloke near anywhere of the time would be tinted too.

And the point here is

Sixteen years ago, St Stephen’s church in Bradford was on the verge of closure. Its congregation had dwindled to half a dozen, and the building – a “big old barn of a place”, in a predominantly Muslim area – was in poor repair. “People thought it had had its day,” said the Rev Jimmy Hinton.

Now, St Stephen’s is a vital hub, providing support and activities in an area of acute deprivation. The nave has been cleared of its pews, and heating has been installed. On a typical day, you might find an exercise class, a support group for asylum seekers and refugees, community meals being cooked and served, singing and stories for infants, mosaic-making, and people hunting for jobs or claiming benefits online.

Yes, sure, community stuff is good. And yet the point here is that the CoE can only fill the barns by not being religious any more. Which is odd really, as the places that do pack them in to the rafters for religious reasons are the places that do the fire and brimstone version.

And so the demands move on

In a message of support to the conference, Elton John said: “The failure of many churches to welcome, accept and include LGBTQ+ people creates stigma, loneliness, fear and denial, causing lasting damage to their wellbeing and mental health.” Churches must be safe and affirming, he said.

Jayne Ozanne, a prominent figure in the Church of England and a speaker at the conference, said spiritual abuse of LGBT people was “the next big scandal” for the church following decades of disgrace over child sexual abuse.

“It’s a ticking timebomb. When I first spoke out, I felt I was the only voice. Now I’m one of thousands, and people are feeling more and more emboldened to tell their stories,” she said.

Campaigners say charismatic and evangelical churches that tell LGBT people they are an abomination or possessed by demonic forces are driving some towards self-harm and suicide.


There’s the obvious point that certain mosques are going to be less than welcoming of all of this. But more than that is the grasping ambition of the entire idea. You’ve got to change the Word of God – as believed, whether it’s true or not – because Woken SS.

I seem to recall that certain totalitarian movements of the last century made the same sort of demands….

Blimey, this is a stretch

The Christian community where Amy Coney Barrett has previously served as a female leader – or handmaid – expels members who engage in gay sex, according to a 2018 interview with Craig Lent, the group’s current head.

Lent told the South Bend Tribune that the People of Praise, a charismatic Christian community that has counted Barrett as a member, would end the membership of a person who discloses gay sex or any other “ongoing, deliberate, unrepentant wrongdoing”.

Barrett, an appellate court judge who has been nominated by Donald Trump to serve on the supreme court, said in a confirmation hearing on Tuesday that she had “never discriminated on the basis of sexual preference and would not ever discriminate on the basis of sexual preference”.

The Guardian’s getting very close to – or actually maybe – making the claim that a church expelling what it sees as a sinner is discrimination. Which, well, yes, it is, in one sense of making a discrimination. But probably not in the sense of the law or anything.

Barring David Starkey from Twitter for the “so many damn blacks” thing is discrimination and it’s also, in a wide-ish sense, the expulsion from a belief group for belief violation.

All that’s changed is which belief system.

Isn’t this horrifying?

Amy Coney Barrett, the supreme court nominee, was a member of a “right to life” organization in 2016 that promoted a local South Bend, Indiana, crisis pregnancy center, a clinic that has been criticised for misleading vulnerable women who were seeking abortions and pressuring them to keep their pregnancies.

Barrett, whose confirmation hearing before the Senate judiciary committee is set to begin on Monday, was a member of the University Faculty for Life at Notre Dame from 2010 to 2016. Online records show that the group began promoting South Bend’s Women’s Care Center in 2016 on its website, adding a link to the group under a section called “Pro-Life Links”.

The revelation adds to a growing body of evidence that Barrett, who has served as an appellate court judge since 2017, has advocated against abortion, abortion rights,

Catholic professor at Catholic university follows Catholic religious doctrine. Next you’ll be saying that the bloke in Rome in the white dress does the same…..

What an odd complaint

Thomas Csordas, an anthropology professor at the University of California San Diego who has studied the issues around communities like People of Praise, said it was wrong to focus attention on whether the group could be a considered a “cult” in the spirit of Jim Jones’s Peoples Temple. It was much more appropriate, he said, to examine what he called the “intentional community” of People of Praise and its nature of being “conservative, authoritarian, hierarchical, and patriarchal”.

“I think they’re potentially more dangerous and much more sophisticated [than a cult],” he said. “It is not the kind of group where submission of women to men means that they have to stay barefoot and pregnant. Instead, they have to be lawyers and judges and submissive to men at the same time. They have to be able to have a career and seven kids at the same time.”

An organisation which enables, nay insists, that women have it all is to be anathematised now?

Is he now

New mother stunned as Archbishop of Canterbury arrives at bedside to bless her son
Most Rev Justin Welby, spiritual leader of the Church of England, has been visiting patients at St Thomas’ Hospital in London

Umm, not sure here. Sure, Welby’s supposed to be the spiritual leader of the nation as head of eh established church. But he’s actually the temporal head of the church, isn’t he?

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.