Skip to content


Which way around?

From Matthew T:

In Kirklees borough, where Batley Grammar School is located, the syllabus says children should be “give[n] reasons why visual representation of God and the prophets is forbidden (haram) in Islam,” by the end of Key Stage 2.

Pupils should also understand “key religious values including democracy, human rights, rule of law, secularism, freedom of expression and tolerance” – this is taught in Key Stage 3.

It’s an odd argument

well researched and well argued response to the evidence-free scaremongering and barely laundered antisemitism of cisgender authors who claim to know more about trans people than trans people do. It details the links between UK anti-trans feminism and the US Christian Right,

Quite why antisemitism is in there is unknown. But connecting it with the famously philosemitic US Christian Right is absurd.

Good on Tammy Faye

I’d never heard the story beyond the mockery of the makeup and hair:

Her highly coiffed, heavily made-up persona was mocked and parodied on comedy shows such as Saturday Night Live. She died in 2007 at the age of 65, having remarried.

Pieters never met her in person but is a close friend of her son, Jay Bakker. “He was 10 at the time that I did the interview with her and he said that it changed his whole outlook on his mother and on on all of it. She began taking him and his sister to LGBT-affirming churches. pride parades, Aids hospices and hospitals and had them learn about people with Aids by interacting with them in the hospital.

“She saw that she had a ministry to the LGBTQ community and took great joy in it. She was the grand marshal of a pride parade at one point and she had all the drag queens and the gay people all singing, ‘Jesus loves me this I know / For the Bible tells me so’. She had them all singing along and I would have loved to have seen that.”

Good to find out that televangelist hucksterism does contain at least some Christians. It is, after all, love the sinner, hate the sin.

What fun!

So, the Bishop leaves his job for the erotic novelist. But that’s not the fun part:

His fundamentalist stances included defending gay conversion therapy and he once questioned whether “confusion about sexual orientation” could be linked to the absence of a father figure in the family. He also described abortion and euthanasia as “genocide”.

ultraconservative views

How the world has changed, eh? For such views to be described as ultraconservative, fundamentalist, among Catholic bishops?

So here’s a little historical question

The Last Abbot of Reading

OK, so it’s a play and all that.

But was Hugh Faringdon actually the last abbot of Reading?

It’s not uncommon for distinguished and elderly monks – I think particularly of Benedictines, which the Reading house was – in these days to be awarded an honorary abbacy (abbotcy?). Of one of the houses that was destroyed in the Reformation. I’m really pretty certain there was one at Downside in my time there. Abbot’s ring and all that, but not actually the Abbott at all. Instead, abbot of “somewhere destroyed around 1540” an an honorary title.

A quick look around doesn’t provide me with any listing of houses whose titles are used this way. So, does anyone know?

Is “Abbot of Reading” a title still floating around in the manner that King of Jerusalem still does (although how many claimants to that there are I’ve no idea, at least three royal houses did so in modern times).

There’s sound mind and then there’s sound mind

The film-maker’s murder was discovered in the early hours of Sunday morning. Police were called to the Tehran suburb of Ekbatan after someone spotted human body parts in a bin, local media reported, quoting the judge, Mohammad Shahriari, the head of the Tehran criminal court.

Police found human remains, including two hands, and used fingerprints to identify the victim. They then went to the house of Khorramdin’s parents.

Iran Khorramdin, 74, and Akbar Khorramdin, 81, told police they had used sleeping tablets to knock their son out before suffocating and stabbing him, and cutting up his body, the Hamshahri newspaper reported.


The parents claimed they killed the son-in-law because he was abusive, murdered their daughter because she became addicted to drugs, and targeted their son because he was single and having relationships with students, according to Hussein Rahimi, a Tehran police chief, quoted in newspapers.

Umm, why?

During the court hearing, Akbar told Hamshahri reporters he had no regrets. “I don’t regret what I did with the cooperation of my wife. They were corrupted and I thank God.”

Oh, OK.

Court officials said the parents seemed largely of sound mind but they needed to investigate further.

Well, yeeeees………

Yes, of course you were wrong

I thought I was over my Catholic guilt about being gay. Maybe I was wrong?
Antoun Issa

It’s the defining result of being Catholic – feeling guilty. Doesn’t matter what it’s about, it’s always possible to find something……


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?