‘Another Gospel’?

Christian fighting with Apollyon

We are adjured to stick with the tradition we received by word and in writing – in short, we are told Christian belief cannot just be made up as you go along. Yes, when we encounter the Risen Lord we are excited – who would not be? But we need to find our feet after the giddiness. Do we really think we are free from the effects of original sin, and that we can, at a glance discern the depths, heights and infinity of God? That would be to think that having eaten of fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, we were qualified to know better than the billions of Christians who have lived before us.

Let me be clear. I don’t mean that all orthodox Christians have to take one view on all matters where we disagree. I do, however, maintain that most orthodox Christians agree on far more than they disagree. Some disagreements seem to me too serious for fellowship to be possible – if a fellow tells me Christ rose ‘spiritually’ and was not ‘God’, then I cannot fellowship with him. But if he tells me that he thinks in all good conscience that the Pope is the successor of St Peter, then fair enough – I may disagree, but it does not seem to me a belief outside the range of the normal for a Christian – after all, more Christians in the world believe that than believe what I believe.

For me, ‘another Gospel’ is what it says – someone not preaching that Christ is the Messiah, that he did not rise again, that He is not the second person of the Trinity, and that there is no afterlife. So, although I disagree with Catholics and Anglicans on many matters, I do not, I think, do so on essentials. I do not think that we have the power to ordain women as presbyters or elders, but if others do, for me that is not a deal-breaker; if others find it so, so be it, and be it on their conscience too. We are in a world where Satan is not hard to find, in fact one where he is hard to avoid, and I cannot find it in me to sow disruption in the ranks by arguing over an issue which I am sure Satan loves to use to divide us.

The modern era is antithetical to the Faith and to its cherished beliefs, and it seems to me essential at this juncture that we do not succumb to the temptation to fight each other. That does not mean syncretism, it means being able to distinguish what is essential from what is not, it is called using one’s judgment, and is the sort of thing adults used to do before they got told how to think by those who govern them. I have far more in common with an orthodox Catholic and Anglican than they have with some of their own co-religionists, and anyone who knows anything about the preachers of another gospel, knows they stick together – that might be the one thing to learn from them.

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Learning from our history

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So struck was I by Francis Phillip’s comments on the book about Catholicism in East Anglia that I went and bought a copy. Our own Chalcedon contributed a notable chapter, of which we had a precis the other day. I was much struck by this comment from Bishop Riddell:

“What is our duty? It is to be thorough Catholics, Catholics in name and in deed; practical Catholics, fulfilling all our duties to God and to our neighbour, praying, hearing Mass, frequenting the Sacraments, keeping the days of fasting and abstinence, avoiding sin, practising virtue, loving God; this is the way for us to assist in the conversion of England, and there is no other.”

I think if we all applied that maxim, substituting our own variation of Christianity for the word ‘Catholic’, or even better, substituted the name ‘Christian’, we should be doing better than we are in witnessing to the world. There are many reasons why the tide of faith has ebbed in the Western world, but I think high among them is the failure to witness in the way Riddell recommended to his flock.

I am most struck, reading C’s chapter, by the parlous state of Catholicism in the Northampton diocese – across a 7000 square mile ares there were scare 600 Catholics and scare 30 priests to serve them – and we think we are in poor shape. By the end of Riddell’s time the number of priests had risen and the number of Catholics doubled. This was done not by slick campaigns or evangelical rallies, it was done the old-fashioned way, with missioners going out from where there were Catholics to where there were no Catholics, setting up a house church, putting the word out and then, as people came, ministering to them. I daresay a modern committee would find this a distressingly old-fashioned way of proceeding, but when they enjoy the success this method delivered, they might become qualified to offer an opinion deserving of respect.

I recommend the book to anyone interested in Christianity, especially in its Catholic variety. It tells an interesting story of persecution, failure, discouragement and continuous struggle against our own weaknesses. But it carries an interesting and ever-relevant message – that if the Spirit is with us in our work, it will succeed, and if He isn’t, then our labour will be in vain. It was interesting to read an historian willing to put that on paper in a serious work of history. Too often historians writing about religion do so from a position of scepticism or unbelief, but our own C is willing to admit what so many others will not, namely that religious people in the past, like religious people now, actually believe what they say, and they act in faith that Father, Son and Holy Spirit will bless their enterprise.

The story he tells about East Anglia in the nineteenth century is one relevant for us all now, which is that the only sin is despair and lack of faith in the workings of the Spirit. If we will trust in God and work, then if our work is meant to prosper, it will, and it will do so despite our best efforts to mess thing up. As we look at our own plight in our own times, it is good to be reminded not only that some Christians have had it worse, but even more that they have thrived by the oldest method of all – bearing witness to the Christian message of love and hope in their own persons. So may we all be in Christ’s service.

To be a Christian?

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My favourite hymn is ‘To be a Pilgrim’ – well, being a Baptist, it would, wouldn’t it? It begins ‘He who would valiant be’ (or ‘who would true valour see’ if you use the wrong version), and increasingly we have to have ‘true valour’ to be a confessing Christian in this western world. I doubt I am the only one who has noticed that Christians who complain about unorthodox behaviour get pilloried, whilst those who go along with the way of the world, don’t – and that, alas, is not just by non-Christians. Our own Deacon Nick Donnelly has recently been campaigning because a well-known ‘Catholic theologian’, Tina Beattie, is still in an advisory capacity to the ‘Catholic’ charity CAFOD, despite backing early-term abortion. Naturally, the Bishops who are on CAFOD’s advisory board have not protested, or indeed even acknowledged that people like Nick have a legitimate cause for concern. But if she had argued against some trendy argument (yes, she wouldn’t be Tina) then I doubt the same reaction would have occurred. As a recent piece in Catholic Voice has pointed out in a recent piece seminarians who speak out against, for example, homosexuality have to do so anonymously, because if they didn’t they;d be marked men. Our own Deacon Nick Donnelly has recently asked ‘who guards the faith‘. The answer he gives is true for all churches.

History shows that you cannot rely on hierarchies, my own church would not exist if you could. Bishops are, too often, time-servers, not wanting to rock the boat, safe pairs of hands, etc, etc. They are the last men, usually, who would have appointed a Cefas to a See – Judas, with his winning ways and his plausible tongue would have been more up their street. It wasn’t the Bishops who stopped Arius – even after Nicaea they were quite happy to find a compromise position which would allow many Arians to feel ‘happy’ in the church. It was not even Athanasius (though his leadership was critical) it was the faithful, the laity, the you and the me in antiquity, who said ‘no’ – and meant it.

Now, it is easier for me to call in aid St Paul in Galatians 1:6-9, because it was the very fact my ancestors thought men called ‘bishops’ were preaching ‘another Gospel’ that made them leave the Church of England, and they were roundly persecuted for their insolence – how dare mere yeomen question men who had degrees from Oxford or Cambridge, and were, to boot, gentleman. And they said what their acestors had said to the Catholic Church – ‘when Adam delved and Eve span, who was then the gentleman?’ I come from a long line of bolshie Christians. That said, I give my full support to those in hierarchical churches who hold their bishops to account, and I wish them the best of luck. Slippery fellow bishops, living in palaces and having a staff is a wicked temptation to pride, and my admiration goes out to the many, many bishops, who do not succumb.

If what used to be called the consensus fidelis cannot keep bishops straight, it can call them out when they err. They won’t liked it, who are we to hold them to account, where are our degrees in theology? My qualifications aren’t even as good as St Peter’s (I did not walk this earth with my Lord, though I have known and confessed him these nearly 70 years), but he and I have the same theology degree – none. We do, however, know orthodoxy from heterodoxy and though, thankfully, I have not to deal with such characters as bishops, I stand with faithful Christians who show valour in calling out these hirerlings.

 

A Call to Arms?

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This site has been long dormant, but feeling it might one day be needed, never quite put away.

To renew its presence on the Internet, I want to start by stating something – namely that our Christian faith is facing a crisis. You might say what’s new? To that I’d return the answer that it is becoming plain that the hopes of those ‘ethicists’ who imagined that a ‘good society’ could be created in the absence of the ethical foundations laid by Christianity, were misplaced. That’s not to say that non Christians cannot be ‘good’ – that would be absurd, but it is to suggest that in the absence of a common moral framework, it gets more and more difficult to talk about ‘values’ in a way we can all sign up to. Even the simple ‘right to life’ is now a contentious issue.

As even the Guardian, not the greatest friend to Christianity, admitted the other week, without it, the idea of universal human rights would not exist. At its best Christianity has provided the moral content which infuses much of our value system, and as it declines in resonance with our peoples, that moral code gets hollowed out; we use the same words, but not with the same meanings. Christianity tells us people are valuable not for what they can produce or who they can become, but for who they are – a unique child of God – whether they are of any use to society is not the point. Society makes claims on us as political and social beings, but those demands are not total – which is why Totalitarian societies have to ban Christianity. For them, the citizen exists for the state; it is not so among us Christians. That also, for me and others, dictates a faith which argues that the full potential of every child of God should be able to be developed: these ‘human rights’ inhere because we are children of God. Without that foundation, I am not sure how one would defend the notion, except to say ‘it is the law’; but laws can be observed in the letter and not the spirit.

For me, education is foundational to opportunity. By ‘education’ I do not mean ‘training’. Surely, children need to read, write and do arithmetic, but they also need to learn how to think and how to direct their questioning. As I look at the newspapers and see cases where students are calling for ‘safe spaces’ I wonder what happened to the idea of education? If we are so frightened of ideas that we crave safety, we shall have it – governments like censorship, and prefer an electorate not able to interrogate them fully and critically. Archbishop William Temple said ‘Freedom is the goal of politics’ because only through it could men and women fully realise their God-given potential. Freedom means more than ‘leave me alone to enjoy the fruits of my labour’. Again, as Temple put it:

nothing is so futile as the unhampered satisfaction of sporadic impulses, that is the sort of existence which leads through boredom to suicide. Freedom so far as it is a treasure must be freedom for something as well as freedom from something.

That implies discipline – externally to protect from the consequences of sin – and internally, to direct ourselves to some wider objective than self-love. Man will, left to himself, abuse freedom, and it has been and continues to be, one of the great virtues of Christianity that it provides a bulwark against that tendency. We cannot, I think, reach perfect freedom except through a perfect faith in God, as it is only the love of God, working our own consciences, hearts and wills which sets us truly free from self-centredness. Without that, there is the danger that freedom becomes a synonym for licence, which, in the end, becomes the creed to the roue down the ages – the whole of the law is to do as I will.

As out society undermines the moral foundations on which it rests, we must expect collapses to occur.

Who would valiant be

Christian fighting with Apollyon

All that is needed for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing. I can understand the despair my Catholic friends feel. One of their bishops has had to resign because he has betrayed his vows, and thus far I see from him no repentance; quite the opposite. He says that he did not make a big thing about sexual morality in his preaching, leaving hanging there the implication that it is quite wrong therefore that he’s had to resign on a matter he didn’t feel very strongly about. From his fellow liberals goes up the cry ‘forgive him’ and ‘do not judge’. Forgiveness is God’s, but it presupposes a sense of contrition, and the Bishop has given the usual politician’s non-apology  – he’s sorry if people got upset. Let us forget his own unforgiving line to Catholics who followed more traditional ways, and let us, instead, at least according to the wretched Tablet’s editor, thing about the need for celibacy. Obviously, the failure of a senior member of the Church to keep his vows is a reason to question the rules, not a reason to censure the Bishop. We’re told that there were plenty of rumours about him – but no one did anything; now where have we heard that one before?

Those who want the Church to be about social work for the disadvantaged grasp only a part of Christ’s message. I’ve no problem with that – just don’t take a senior position in the Church, get a job as a social worker and go about helping the tens of thousands in this society who need help. But don’t just do a Marxisant critique of capitalism, be a Christian and offer something really counter-cultural. We are called to fight the spirit of this world and its ruler – not to collude in it. Bishops will always have a problem here. The temptations to go with the mores of this world are great. After all, few other middle managers they will meet will believe in the supernatural, and the temptation to emphasise the social Gospel at the expense of the real Gospel will be great.

As a Baptist, I don’t hold much with Bishops – they seem a great expense for very little gain. Our job in these evil times is to preach Christ, aye, and Him crucified and risen. If that is not true then, as Paul said, all our faith is vain. I’d give a great deal to see some of these bishops coming out and preaching the Gospel in an unashamed fashion. What are they afraid of, don’t they know that Christ is with them?

We are, as Christians, called out to witness to Christ. The bishop of Arundel has a great opportunity to repent and show us all the wonders of Christ’s forgiveness by devoting himself to good works. I’m reminded of a man I met a couple of times called John Profumo. A Minister in the Macmillan Government, he resigned over a sex scandal – and quietly devoted himself to working for the poor for the rest of his life. He did so unobtrusively and selflessly – and the couple of times I met him in London, he struck me as one of the most selfless men I ever met. Forgiven by Christ, he did what a good Christian should do – witnessed to the hope that was in him. Let us hope for such a fate for Bishop Conry.

As for the rest of us, we should rouse ourselves and in the words of the Psalmist pray:

Defend me, O God, and plead my cause

against a Godless nation

from deceitful and cunning men

rescue me O God

Let his light and truth be our guide – and be of good cheer – for God is with us.

Without morals

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If you want an example of what a world where morality is replaced by official forms, you only have to see what has happened in Rotherham. No one in officialdom seems to have been able to say the simple words: ‘This is wrong’. In fact it seems that policemen, on encountering a 12-year-old girl drunk and having sex with older men, arrested her and let the men off because there was no evidence that the sex was ‘not consensual’. A crime had been committed. In this country it is illegal to have sex with a 12-year-old. Yet a grown man, a trained police officer found this no reason to arrest the men. Similarly, when the fathers of some of these girls found where they were and tried to take them away, they were arrested by the police. It seems as though not a single person thought it ‘wrong’ that young girls were having sex with older men. We’re told this was partly because the police didn’t want to be accused of being ‘racist’; but was that the whole of it?

No, there’s something else going on here that we don’t want to talk about – attitudes towards sex and women. In a world where it is accepted that under age girls can ‘choose’ to have sex by ‘consent’, it makes sense for a policeman to say what they are reported to have said about consent. Utterly lacking is the moral sense that there is something wrong in this. If you have no working concept of right and wrong, then you can’t formulate that concept – or act on it. So saturated in carnality is our Western society that its mores have provided the perfect backdrop to exploitation of young girls by men whose own cultural norms hold women to be, at best, second-class human beings.

Yet many of these men were brought up in Great Britain, so whence do those attitudes derive? It would seem they are cultural, from the backgrounds of their parents and grandparents. So it is that, in a species of separate development, we have allowed the transplanting into this country of attitudes from the boondocks of Pakistan. These men have been allowed to grow up acculturated not to the best of our culture, but to the worst of it – its misogyny and obsession with sex – and to the worst of their own culture. Feeling, as they did, protected by the charge of ‘institutional racism’ deterring the police from action, these men have ruined the lives of more than a thousand young women; one wonders how they treat their wives and daughters and sisters?

Back in the late 60s and the 70s, those of us who campaigned against what we then called the ‘permissive society’ were mocked as prudes and kill-joys. Well, all I’ll say is we didn’t have predatory gangs piping out and raping thousands of young girls with the police and other authorities doing nothing. We said the road was being opened to Sodom and Gomorrah, and that the attempt to pretend that concepts of right and wrong were ‘social constructs’ would open the door to nameless perils. Well, we can surely name some of them now.

And still no one from children’s services in Rotherham has resigned; and still no policeman has been charged; and still the guilty men walk the streets bold as brass. ‘Lessons learned’ – don’t make me laugh – our society seems incapable of learning the real lesson of its Godlessness. When you go astray from the right path it is fruitless to complain about the nettles; it is never too late to turn back. But it will not happen. I wonder, now, what it would take to make this rotten and sick society repent?

No drama?

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So now we know what we knew – President Obama does not have a strategy for dealing with ISIS; one wonders if he has a clue at all. Is it not possible, for his sake and the sake of what is left of the free world to let him go early to work on his golf swing? With Tiger Woods not doing too good, the O man is the obvious successor; heck, he works harder on his golf than on his strategy after all. Over here in the UK, the Prime Minister now says it is all the fault of Islamist extremism; someone give him a cocoanut or cigar according to choice (or are neither allowed these days?). You don’t say, what next, rain makes folks wet?

We have here a set of politicos formed in an age when the grand issues of foreign policy seemed to be resolved, and when all the questions were about managing the economy. Now, from Putin and ISIS, the eternal verities emerge. The first job of any government is to keep its people safe; our lot haven’t a strategy and, by the look of it, not much of a clue. The difficulty seems to be that Putin and ISIS don’t play by the agreed liberal rules. This is clearly very unfair, perhaps someone should send them the Obama playbook? Problem is, they’d use it in the smallest room in the house. In the end power exists when you can project it. The US has more power and more ability to project it than any other nation of this earth; but its Chief Executive doesn’t believe in using it; better send for someone who does. Here our lot have been busy downsizing the armed forces, something they’ve done in Europe for years; I’m not sure we can project much power any more. But again, I am not sure our lot believe in it either. Putin and ISIS have far less power to project, but they have the will to do it, and they face clueless opponents; no wonder they are winning so far.

It may be true that Obama hasn’t a strategy, but how wise is it to go on prime time TV  and tell everyone? Does he think ISIS don’t have connectivity? Heck, their handling of social media is almost as good as his election team’s. Keep ’em guessing. They may have thought that Obama couldn’t be as clueless as he appeared; now they know – he is.

There’s still Yezidis on Mt Sinjar – though the MSM has lost interest. There’s Syrian being beheaded, but the MSM is getting used to that story. Putin has boots on the ground in the Ukraine, clearly playing, at the least, for a land corridor to the Crimea. In Nigeria and Libya, Islamic extremists make gains. The world, always dangerous, is now very dangerous indeed. And our governments haven’t a clue. They can tell us what to eat and drink, they can come up with new taxes and prohibitions, and they can talk like it dd anything; but what they appear to be unable to do is to think. I can’t believe the military has no idea or plans – let’s hope Obama was bluffing – but I’d not put a bent nickel on it.

 

Honour?

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Who has honour, Falstaff asked, ‘he who died a’Thursday’? The fat knight thought honour a ‘mere word’. This seems to be the case with those implicated in the child abuse scandal in Rotherham. Everyone is ‘sorry’, but no one takes responsibility, and with the exception of the council leader, everyone else is determined to hang on to their salaries. So, despite the horror of what has happened to so many young girls, the council issues a press release on its website saying:

article-2735919-20D8D5A700000578-457_634x137It beggars belief that any sentient being thought that this would convince anyone of anything save that the council is deep in denial. Although they go on to admit there were problems, you’d think that they were long in the past: 2013 is last year.

This takes us to the rotten heart of our democracies. I am old enough to know there was no golden age when politicians would resign if accused of wrong-doing, but there was a time when some of them did. There was a time when a sense of shame, and of honour, motivated some of our public servants; that time is not know.

The result is that most of us ordinary folk think that politicians are all in it for what they can get out of it. This is not true of the MPs whom I know, but I also know they are deeply fed up with being tarred with the same brush as their more venial colleagues. They are also aware, as I am, on how this hollows out our democratic process. At some by-elections in the UK as few as 22% of the electorate bothers to vote. At General Elections it is still in the low 70s, but you couldn’t say there was much passion for either side.

Doulgas Carswell, a good man who managed to increase his majority to more than 12000 at the last election, has, as a man of honour, resigned his seat at Clacton having joined UKIP. He could, as many others have, have stayed in his seat and collected his salary, but he has done the honourable thing and resigned his seat to seek once again the franchise of the electors. Leaving aside the politics, what I admire here is the man’s putting his career on the line. There’s many a Tory MP who sympathises, but I doubt they’ll come out. The prospect of losing their seat or the favour of the Party Whips will be enough to dissuade them. Carswell does not think the Tory leadership are serious about renegotiating the terms of Britain’s membership of the EU; I am not aware of anyone who thinks they are either. We hear them talk the talk – but of the walk we see naught.

Without some sense of honour, it is hard to know quite why we should regard our politicians as anything save mercenaries – it was, I think, Mark Twain who said that, Congress apart, America had no distinct criminal class. If public servants act as though what motivate them is their salary alone, then they will, indeed, seek to hang on in there even when they have palpably failed. If the electorate acts as though that is fine, inwardly it knows it isn’t, and faith in democracy is slowly snuffed out. We assume too easily that democracy is deep-rooted. In most places in it less than a century old. At this rate, I’d not bet on it for the long term.

Lessons from a scandal

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American readers will not, perhaps, have picked up on the item that is dominating news in the UK. In the town of Rotherham, not too far as it happens from where I live, a gigantic scandal has now been revealed – for many years, and despite repeated inquiries – more than a thousand children in the town have been abused; the majority of those abused are young white girls; the majority of the abusers were ‘of Pakistani heritage’. It is clear from the report that this is one of the reasons why, despite the previous inquiries, no action was taken. The editor of the report wrote:

“No one knows the true scale of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham over the years. Our conservative estimate is that approximately 1,400 children were sexually exploited over the full inquiry period, from 1997 to 2013.

“It is hard to describe the appalling nature of the abuse that child victims suffered. They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten, and intimidated”

She added:

“Some councillors seemed to think it was a one-off problem, which they hoped would go away. Several staff described their nervousness about identifying the ethnic origins of perpetrators for fear of being thought racist; others remembered clear direction from their managers not to do so.”

Yet this same council refused to alow a couple to in the town to foster children recently because they were members of the racist British National Party. One might be forgiven for thinking the world has gone mad.

The reaction has been utterly predictable. One person, the Council leader, has resigned, no one else has, despite the fact that the local police and crime commissioner was a councillor in charge of children’s services during this period; no one is currently under investigation; ‘lessons’ we are assure ‘have been learned’, and that, so the local council seems to think, is that. If that really is the case, then no lesson have been learned. We already know that social services in the UK, riddled as it is with guilt-complexes about white racism ignores black racist, and corrupted as it is by modern ways of thinking about sex, can’t even understand why a 13 year old girl can’t ‘consent’ to sex with someone twice her age. They just do not ‘get it’. In their mental universe, these things are all ‘contested’, unlike white racism, which is their equivalent to original sin.

The police are beyond belief complicit here. They did not treat these ‘girls’ seriously. White working class lasses for the most part, the product, often, of broken homes, or already (and weep) in ‘Council care’, these girls were treated with as much contempt by the police as they were by their abusers. I recall an incident not far from here where our church had some involvement with such a lass, and the officer concerned, in the end acted because of pressure, but he said, later, that he “couldn’t see the fuss about a little scrubber who couldn’t keep her pants on”. This mix of misogyny, snobbery and fear of being called ‘racist’ is the toxic mix at the root of this scandal.

This, it seems, is a world where the standards by which ordinary folk conduct their lives do not apply. What applies are rules and regulations designed, it would seem, to protect the middle class professionals making a nice living from the plight of the poor – £125k for the head of children’s service is a good salary. Did these folk really not think there was anything wrong in young lasses having sex with older men and being pimped out? Did they think that was how ‘folk like that’ lived? Was it really just ‘all relative’? Of course their relatives wouldn’t live like that, but the poor? Yet these folk earn a good living supposedly looking after the most vulnerable members of our society.

There’s hundreds of good social workers out there doing just that. If I were them I’d be brassed off with their leaders and the police. There should be a wholesale clear out in Rottingham. This is not about race, it is about morals and standards. If those who purport to lead us have none, then they should go, and not stand upon the order of their going. Nothing short of a moral Reformation will clean these Augean stables – and I see no sign of it in this sin-riddled Sodom and Gomorrah. These are sins which cry out to God for vengeance – and what we may get if we’re lucky is another expensive enqury which proves what we already know – there is something very rotten in the State.

The assult on tradition

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The existence of this blog is testimony to an assault on traditional ways of thinking. Those liberals who once argued for freedom of speech to protect minority opinions have, now they have had their way, abandoned the notion. When homosexuality was criminal (always in my view a daft thing to have done) then the argument was that the love that dared not speak its name should have protection and be decriminalised. For a secular law-maker, that was fine. Christians won’t agree, but we don’t make the law. Now, however, we’ve reached the stage where an American pastor is being sued by Ugandans for his part in advising their government on its laws. Should such a suit succeed, then those Americans relying of their First Amendment rights may need to look out. Unable to make headway in their own country against its laws, these Ugandans seek to take advantage of the tolerance extended by US law. This is a not uncommon phenomenon. Once seated in power, these so-called liberals show themselves as intolerant as those they used to denounce.

It is, of course, all part of the continuing assault in the family, which is, as those attacking it know, the basic building block of our society. Easier divorce has contributed enormously to the sum of human unhappiness – but no one can now suggest revising it because too many sinners want to keep it. The same is true with abortion, where nearly 200,000 babies n the womb were killed in the UK last year. It starts the same – a few cases of real unhappiness become the emotional lever to press for a change in the law which ends by causing far more unhappiness. Now we see an assault on the whole idea we are made man and women, again, because a few folk are born hermaphrodite. We’ve now reached the stage where, despite some psychiatrists saying it is a disorder akin to anorexia, health authorities are willing to give children hormones to arrest their natural development so that, because they ‘feel’ they are of another gender, they can ‘transition’. But the man who has the surgery and hormones can call himself a woman, and insist other women regard him as one, and those born women can find themselves pilloried for not taking these folk at their word. The whole thing’s a mad house. But mark my words, it will grow, and those concerned will use the law to enforce their views on others. Anyone saying this is the thin end of the wedge is actually right; it is, and experience shows it is used to lever more and more concessions.

My point here is that no one has any objection to free speech – save those who object to the right of those like myself to speak what, until recently, was a commonplace truth. If the Law will not uphold that right, then we are faced with being silent. Those of us who are Christians and believe what the Christian Churches have always taught about sexuality, cannot agree that fornication, adultery or homosexuality are not sinful. We can, should, and I hope do, not extend hatred toward any individual who feels those inclinations, but if we are asked to agree that any of them as willed by God, we cannot. Here we stand, we can do none other.