Baroness Hale & Better Protection Of Religious Belief

Says barrister Peter Smith, “Baroness Hale, one of the UK’s most senior judges, and the first woman appointed to the highest court in the land, recently set out in a speech to Yale Law School criteria for accommodating religious beliefs when these appear to clash with the rights of particular groups in society. In the light of same-sex marriage becoming law, and the demands of groups for the ‘eradication’ of views unsympathetic to theirs, the speech is timely and could be the start of a long-overdue restoration of the law’s balancing act on discrimination and religious freedom.

“Her logic, subtle and incremental as it is, may help tip the scales back towards protecting Christians living and working in the secular world,” says Peter Smith in Catholic Voice.

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Crimea: Russia Draws A Line Under Crimea

So far and no further! That seems to be the message that President Putin has sent to the West in his annexing Crimea. Russia has been feeling vulnerable with the EU expanding its borders eastwards. The West has presumed too much on Russia. Ukraine now feels threatened by the Soviet military presence on its borders, but so does Russia feel threatened by the encroachment over territories sitting on its borders. What Russia has done in Crimea may mean an injustice to the West and it may mean another cold war, but Russia sees a need to protect its borders. We live in an easy world. David M. Herszenon gives a good overview and analysis for the New York Times of what has happened over Crimea in his article: “After Buildup of Grievances, Russia Drew Line in Crimea



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“Reality show snake-handling preacher dies — of snakebite” reports CNN.

Reality show snake-handling preacher dies — of snakebite” reported CNN.

Snake handling seems to have quite a long history in a small area of the US with death from snake bites not uncommon. Based on Mark 16:18-19, Bill Meuhlenberg says, “This passage is as much a misused passage as a difficult one. And its misuse can often be deadly.” It seems to me there is one sure antidote for a snake bite and that is, don’t handle venomous snakes!

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Innocent Man Freed After 30 Years On Death Row

Glen Ford was released from Death Row after 30 years because he was found to be innocent! Reports CNN, “New information corroborated what Ford had said all along:”

One comment on the report says, “The “system” took away a man’s life. What’s worse, executing someone, or depriving him of friends, family and the experiences of 30 years of a lifetime, which he can never reclaim? Why did it take 30 years to get this “new” information?”

A much fuller picture of Glen Ford’s Story is provided by Andrew Cohen, one of America’s leading legal journalists in, “Freedom After 30 Years On Death Row



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US Grants Asylum To German Home Schoolers

Earlier reports on the hopes of the Romeike family escaping the injustice of the German educational system began to flounder when the Obama administration rejected their application to stay in the USA. The refusal seemed so contrary to the idea of America being the ‘Land of the Free’.

But ABC News is now able to report, “A German family that was threatened with deportation after losing an appeal for asylum in the U.S. because they wanted to home school their children has been granted permission to stay in the country indefinitely, a family attorney said.” Click to read the whole article:


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Marriage: What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defence

On ‘the marriage issue’ that very much divides America, says the Amazon comment on the book: “What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A defence:

“Until yesterday, no society had seen marriage as anything other than a conjugal partnership: a male-female union. What Is Marriage? identifies and defends the reasons for this historic consensus and shows why redefining civil marriage is unnecessary, unreasonable, and contrary to the common good.

Originally published in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, this book’s core argument quickly became the year’s most widely read essay on the most prominent scholarly network in the social sciences. Since then, it has been cited and debated by scholars and activists throughout the world as the most formidable defense of the tradition ever written. Now revamped, expanded, and vastly enhanced, What Is Marriage? stands poised to meet its moment as few books of this generation have.

Rhodes Scholar Sherif Girgis, Heritage Foundation Fellow Ryan T. Anderson, and Princeton Professor Robert P. George offer a devastating critique of the idea that equality requires redefining marriage. They show why both sides must first answer the question of what marriage really is. They defend the principle that marriage, as a comprehensive union of mind and body ordered to family life, unites a man and a woman as husband and wife, and they document the social value of applying this principle in law.

Most compellingly, they show that those who embrace same-sex civil marriage leave no firm ground–none–for not recognizing every relationship describable in polite English, including polyamorous sexual unions, and that enshrining their view would further erode the norms of marriage, and hence the common good.

Finally, What Is Marriage? decisively answers common objections: that the historic view is rooted in bigotry, like laws forbidding interracial marriage; that it is callous to people’s needs; that it can’t show the harm of recognizing same-sex couplings, or the point of recognizing infertile ones; and that it treats a mere “social construct” as if it were natural, or an unreasoned religious view as if it were rational.

If the marriage debate in America is decided soon, it will be with this book’s help or despite its powerful arguments.”

The reviews on Amazon of “What is Marriage?: Man and Woman: A Defence: are the most restrained and respectful on the issue between the opposing views I have read. For a good insight into the content of the book the reviews begin here.

Says William Meuhlenberg in his review:

“This philosophical and sociological defence of marriage is an important contribution to the marriage wars debates, and provides a solid case for resisting the siren call of the revisionists, and maintaining the overwhelmingly important social good of conjugal marriage.”

Says Thomas Gilson in his Amazon review:

“Gay “marriage” versus man-woman marriage–it is as close as a social issue could come to “irresistible force meets immovable object.” No wonder there’s so much energy being released around it.”

Says ‘Melissa’ in her review,

“The same-sex marriage question is one of the most critical issues facing our society today.

If there is one thing that people on both sides of the issue agree on, it’s that how this question is answered will have a profound and lasting impact on our nation. It’s not just a superficial matter of tweaking an age-old institution to let a few more people take advantage of it. It’s a matter of redefining marriage and family as we know it. Nor is it a matter of letting same-sex couples have what they want in ways that will have no effect on anyone else. Instead, if advocates of same-sex marriage are right, then those who oppose it are bigots; and to the extent that same-sex marriage laws are passed, opposition to it will be treated like racism; the defense of traditional marriage will be shunned in the public square and disallowed in the classroom (as it already is in California and Massachusetts); those who speak in favor of preserving marriage as the union of one man and one woman will find themselves fired, demoted, or unable to get a license to practice their profession – as many already have been. (One can recognize the strong feelings of injustice presented here).

”If the advocates of same-sex marriage are right, then there’s no more reason to complain about such things than there is to complain about the public censure of overtly racist attitudes and behavior. But are they? Could it perhaps be true that marriage is essentially a male-female partnership, just as it is non-controversially understood to be essentially a consensual partnership, and one that involves sexual intimacy?”

The issue is not who should marry, but what is marriage? And should its definition be changed? As far as I have read the book is purely philosophical an academic presentation on marriage with no religious inference at all in the book. (See price of Kindle edition).

But will the book have any impact on the debate? Read Albert Mohler on the trend of Same Sex Marriage in the USA following Kentucky and how this impacts the Christian view of marriage

The book is not concerned with religious views but really asks the question not who should marry, but what is marriage? For an Anglican Christian and Biblical view on Marriage and Same Sex marriage read John Stott on “Homosexual Marriage”  With a greater density of Christians in America than in the UK one can appreciate the great divide in America over this issue.


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Richard Dawkins’ ‘The Greatest Show On Earth’

The Greatest Hoax on Earth’ is Jonathan Sarfati’s response to Richard Dawkins’ ‘The Greatest Show On Earth’. Sarfati comments briefly on Dawkins previous evolutionary works, such as:

“Climbing Mount Improbable (1996), one of Dawkins‘ own favourites among his books, aimed to defend slow and gradual evolution. The title is a parable: many structures in living organisms are so complex that there is a vanishingly small probability of producing them in a single step—this corresponds to leaping the high Mt Improbable in a single step. But, says Dawkins, this mountain has a gently upward-sloping terrain on the other side, where a climber can ascend gradually, constantly progressing to the top. This corresponds to the neo-Darwinian mechanism of evolution—mutations natural selection. Mutations produce gradual improvements, and natural selection means that organisms which have them are slightly more likely to leave offspring. So a later generation of organisms is slightly more complex, or higher up the slope of Mt Improbable. This process is repeated until the dizzy peaks are scaled by this ever-so-gradual process.5”

Says Sarfati,

“I have written a number of other books defending creation and rejecting evolution. But this book will presuppose no previous exposure to these. However, sometimes I will borrow from them, mainly to show that many of Dawkins‘ points had already been anticipated. I.e. while we try to address the strongest case for evolution, Dawkins has not always addressed the strongest creationist case. He frequently addresses arguments that no informed creationist makes, and attacks a number of “soft targets” who don’t even pretend to be scientists.

“Dawkins is not alone among evolutionists in his extensive use of dubious tactics. These include such rampant strawman arguments as this book exposes in detail, and equivocation (bait-and-switch). It is this element of deception (perhaps accompanied by not a little self-deception, common in those who strongly reject their accountability to the Creator God) that helps justify the word “hoax” in my book’s title.

“Of course, I believe the Bible (including Genesis) and the gospel of Christ to be the unalloyed truth . As such, those like Dawkins, who propagate belief in ‘goo-to-you’ evolution over millions of years, will indeed turn out to have engaged, no matter how unwittingly, in the “Greatest Hoax on Earth”—to the detriment of millions for eternity. This issue could scarcely be more important, which makes it doubly tragic when people are persuaded by “Greatest Show“ without hearing the other side properly put.”

Agreeing with reviews and disappointed in my purchase of The God Delusion I’ll read what Jonathan Sarfati has to say in my purchase of The Greatest Show On Earth. Chapter I can be downloaded free.


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Nelson Mandela: From Court To World Stage

Said the Guyana Times:

“The respect Mandela has gained internationally is in large measure due to his courage, clarity of vision, ability to adopt without being opportunist, uncompromising when necessary, concern for the poor, the promotion of a South Africa in which all people are treated as equal and enjoy equality of opportunity and his statesman like leadership when he progressed from political prisoner to president.

“It is these qualities that caused him to emerge as the moral compass of the world and the beacon of justice and fair play,”

Although I have previously posted on Nelson Mandela, one can’t help but be impressed by his defense at court – as you read him conducting his own defense this attorney was head and shoulders above his ‘superiors’ in integrity and dignity guided by a conscience passionate about justice and fair play for his people. No wonder this man held the respect of the civilised world when he emerged from his 27-year incarceration. Here are some excerpts, but it is worth reading all.

Nelson Mandela Before A White Court

“The issue that sharply divided white South Africans during the referendum for a republic did not interest us. It formed no part in our campaign. Continued association with the British monarchy on the one hand, or the establishment of a Boer republic on the other – this was the crucial issue in so far as the White population was concerned and as it was put to them in the referendum. We are neither monarchists nor admirers of a Voortrekker type of republic. We believe that we were inspired by aspirations more worthy than either of the groups who took part in the campaign on these. We were inspired by the idea of bringing into being a democratic republic where all South Africans will enjoy human rights without the slightest discrimination; where African and non-African would be able to live together in peace, sharing a common nationality and a common loyalty to this country, which is our homeland. For these reasons we were opposed to the type of republic proposed by the Nationalist Party government, just as we have been opposed previously to the constitutional basis of the Union of South Africa as a part of the British Empire.”

“I do not believe, Your Worship, that this court, in inflicting penalties on me for the crimes for which I am convicted, should be moved by the belief that penalties deter men from the course that they believe is right. History shows that penalties do not deter men when their conscience is aroused, nor will they deter my people or the colleagues with whom I have worked before.

I am prepared to pay the penalty even though I know how bitter and desperate is the situation of an African in the prisons of this country. I have been in these prisons and I know how gross is the discrimination, even behind the prison walls, against Africans, how much worse is the treatment meted out to African prisoners than that accorded to whites. Nevertheless, these considerations do not sway me from the path that I have taken, nor will they sway others like me. For to men, freedom in their own land is the pinnacle of their ambitions, from which nothing can turn men of conviction aside. More powerful than my fear of the dreadful conditions to which I might be subjected is my hatred for the dreadful conditions to which my people are subjected outside prison throughout this country.

I hate the practice of race discrimination, and in my hatred I am sustained by the fact that the overwhelming majority of mankind hate it equally. I hate the systematic inculcation of children with colour prejudice and I am sustained in that hatred by the fact that the overwhelming majority of mankind, here and abroad, are with me in that. I hate the racial arrogance which decrees that the good things of life shall be retained as the exclusive right of a minority of the population, and which reduces the majority of the population to a position of subservience and inferiority, and maintains them as voteless chattels to work where they are told and behave as they are told by the ruling minority. I am sustained in that hatred by the fact that the overwhelming majority of mankind both in this country and abroad are with me.

Nothing that this court can do to me will change in any way that hatred in me, which can only be removed by the removal of the injustice and the inhumanity which I have sought to remove from the political and social life of this country.

Whatever sentence Your Worship sees fit to impose upon me for the crime for which I have been convicted before this court, may it rest assured” . . . Click to read the whole court proceedings.

For those who value integrity and right against wrong Nelson Mandela will always be remembered as a ‘Giant of History.’


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If Martin Luther King Had Tweeted

Yesterday was Martin Luther King Day  in the USA. “Every year on the national holiday commemorating the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday on Jan. 15, my cousin Brenda pulls out her tattered copy of King’s classic “Letter From Birmingham Jail” — downloaded from the Internet — and reads it word for word. To her, the enduring message of the nearly 7,000-word essay is never outdated.”

This post goes back to 2011, but those who haven’t read it, the author makes the contrast between what Martin Luther King Junior might have tweeted and what he actually wrote in his “Letter From Birmingham Jail

Also worth reading: Would Martin Luther King be heard today?


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Moral Mayhem Multiplied—Now, It’s Polygamy’s Turn

“And now polygamy is enjoying its moment of legal liberation. Once marriage was redefined in function, it was easy to redefine it in terms of permanence. Once that was done, it was easy enough to redefine it in terms of gender. Now, with the logic of moral revolution transforming marriage in all respects, polygamy follows same-sex marriage. If marriage can be redefined in terms of gender, it can easily be redefined in terms of number.” Read Albert Mohler here.


Posted in Faith Issues, Marriage, Political Issues, Social Issues | Leave a comment
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