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Archbishop Cranmer
Canterbury
Examining religio-political agendas with politico-religious objectives
Interests: Politics, Religion
Recent Activity
"The Localism Bill reverses a century of centralisation" While the Conservative Party increasingly centralises and reverses a century of local association autonomy.
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It is somewhat superficial to laud a man who seeks to maintain freedom of speech, though His Grace has done so many times. Peter Tatchell also supports freedom of worship, not least because both liberties are inherent to any notion of liberal democracy. But what he does not support (which Ann Widdecombe manifestly does) is freedom of religion. In the Tatchell worldview, the Christian ought to be free to say with impunity that homosexuality is a sin, but ought not to be free to permit that articulated belief to lead to discrimination. Ergo, in the public square, the Christian's belief in sin may not affect behaviour: one is free to walk, but not in spirit or in truth. The Catholic adoption agency is free to believe whatever it likes about child rearing, but Tatchell would not tolerate a preference for heterosexual adoptive parents. He is, in essence, intolerant of the religious conscience, which runs rather deeper than the spoken word. That which has been orthodox Jewish, Christian and Islamic belief for centuries has to be set aside for his liberal-secular orthodoxy, which is every bit as intolerant as that which Tatchell ascribes to religion. You may well ask do we want to live in a world in which the B&B owner may hang on his wall 'no gays'. As unpleasant, intolerant or 'bigoted' as this might be, the alternative is that the state defines the limits of what it means to be Christian, among which group there is a plethora of differing and mutually exclusive beliefs. Should the Muslim printer be free to decline a job brought by Gay Pride to print 10,000 leaflets for their march? If not, the state decrees that the Muslim may no longer be a printer. It is a pity that this important discussion is often hijacked by those who seek to polarise. The issue, for just about all Christians, is that the gospel is public. If it cannot be public and lived, it is not the gospel. Tatchell tolerates the proclamation, but not the transformation in behaviour which comes as a consequence of the indwelling of the Holy Sprit. The day he speaks as loudly in defence of Roman Catholic adoption agencies - with whom many Christians may disagree - he will truly be defending what it means to be free.
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"To conclude – it is clear from his piece that Paul regards me as some kind of anti-Islamic bigot. In which case I suppose I should state that I regard Paul – in his campaign to prevent equal rights to gays – as an anti-gay bigot." Dear friends, we are bigots all by this manner of crass definition. His Grace notes the thoughts of Charles Moore on the matter: “Almost every time you read an article commenting on people who, for religious reasons, disapprove of homosexual marriage, practising homosexuals becoming priests and so on, you find the word ‘bigot’ used. Even intelligent commentators seem to think it unarguable that such attitudes are bigoted. Why? To this day, all the mainstream monotheistic religions of the world take the view that homosexual acts are wrong, and they have reasons of scripture and wider moral teaching to back this up. Believers who maintain that view in the face of modern social pressure are only following their faith, just as Christians would be if they opposed polygamy, suttee or euthanasia. The word ‘bigoted’ does have an accepted meaning. It does not mean ‘religious’, or even ‘fervently religious’. Bigotry is the obstinate and blind, often nasty and hypocritical, attachment to a particular creed. No doubt some people who oppose gay marriages are indeed like this — venting hatred towards homosexuals (which their religion forbids) — but many are decent, conscientious and thoughtful. Isn’t it rather bigoted, in fact, to assume that your opponents on certain subjects are bigots? It is like the way anyone who criticises Islamist extremism will find himself described as ‘Islamophobic’.”
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"It's lost it's homely feel." As a family expands, one must either extend the present house or move. Either option will result in a temporary loss of the 'homely feel' (especially when there are bare floorboards and plaster dust lies everywhere). When you've settled in, it's simply a case of finding your favourite room. His Grace prefers the study to the kitchen, but would never dream of denying the heat of the oven to those who prefer to boil broth.
Toggle Commented Sep 23, 2011 on Help me with my bug list at thetorydiary
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Could we please have Dr Andrew Lilico 'added' rather more frequently? His Grace perfectly understands that this is not quite a 'bug' matter which may be fixed by ConHome's web designer, but the increasing infrequency of Dr Lilico's insight and wisdom (with which His Grace does not infrequently disagree) is somewhat bugging.
Toggle Commented Sep 23, 2011 on Help me with my bug list at thetorydiary
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Aaarrgghhhh.
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Because adultery is defined as 'voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person (married or not) other than his or her spouse' (OED). The exclusion was deemed necessary for a number of reasons, not least of which is the extent to which same-sex partners may 'consummate' a relationship with 'intercourse' (unless the definitions be amended to include all sexual activity - with very obvious problems); and also noting that adultery implies a pre-existing complementary-gendered marriage, which civil partnership was never designed to usurp or equate to (though some saw it coming). Married people may legally divorce on the grounds of non-consummation: it became clear that this could not apply to same-sex couples (not least because of the ability to prove). These are now just some of the problematic and thorny issues which will face the Government as it steers this through Parliament, though it is clear that the intent to legislate will not founder on any 'consultation' hurdles. Mr Sewell, This article is among the best written on this subject: you are an immense asset both to this blog and to the wider Conservative family.
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While His Grace wishes the venture well, it is interesting - in a land still riddled with Rangers-Celtic sectarianism and expressions of hate - that they have dropped the religiously-neutral 'Conservative' tag and opted for the historically religiously-divisive (and deprecatory) 'Tory' label. Tory is derived from the Irish-Gaelic 'tóraidhe', meaning 'thief' or 'brigande'. It emerged during the Exclusion Crisis of 1679-81 and was applied to a group of politicians who favoured the accession to the throne of Roman Catholic James, Duke of York. The word was a Protestant term of abuse and implicitly meant 'Irish & Catholic'. Although such etymology is now largely forgotten in England, there'll be more than a few Scots (Protestant and Roman Catholic) with antennae for this. It is interesting (not to say ironic) that the blog now dedicated to exploring the future of Conservatism in Scotland has adopted, albeit humorously, an historic term of sectarian hatred and abuse.
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Oh, Ms Widdecombe, why in the name of all that is holy are you deemed unfit to be in the House of Lords? What has this modern Conservative Party become that it rewards defeat, capriciousness and disloyality, but rejects conservative conviction, political experience and philosopical knowledge?
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And further... What is the constitutional status of this 'new' Bill of Rights? Is it a mere Act of Parliament? If so, it may easily be amended or repealed by any future government. How can it be in any sense overarching when no parliament may bind its successors? Are we really abandoning all of our foundational and binding constitutional charters, bills and acts to adopt an ephemeral Bill of Rights which will be no more a guarantee of our rights and liberties than 'a copy of the Beano'?
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"The reality of the Conservative position is that we don't want to abolish the Human Rights Act but replace it with a British Bill of Rights." On the contrary: the reality of the true Conservative position is that we already have a Bill of Rights which has served us well for three centuries. What would be the implications of this 'new' Bill of Rights for the Charter of Liberties (1100), Magna Carta (1215), The Petition of Rights (1628), the English Bill of Rights (1689), Act of Settlement (1701) and the Acts of Union (1707)? Are they overridden or expressly repealed? Are they impliedly repealed? May constitutional statutes be impliedly repealed? These are not mere acts of Parliament: they are contracts between the Monarch and the people. They are not for here-today-gone-tomorrow politicians to do with as they please. And a new Bill of Rights is fraught with cross-border English-Scottish complexities which the present leadership appear not to understand. Indeed, it could accelerate the break-up of the Union. Would the new Bill of Rights override or repeal Scotland's Claim of Right (1689)? Would that requie the assent of the Scottish Parliament, even though constitutional issues are not devolved? True Conservatives who understand the Burkean foundations of Conservative philosophy would leave well alone. A 'new' Bill of Rights is an act of revolution; not of organic evolution.
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An outstanding article. No doubt it will attract an awful lot of unpleasant criticism - much of it ad hominem - which will only serve to confirm the moral imperative of the argument. It is abhorrent that the British Government is financing with taxpayers' money a 'favoured method of population control' and 'modern family planning methods' which permit abortion based on gender. If it is one of the Government's 'top priorities' to promote 'women's choice' to this extent, one wonders why such choice is denied the British taxpayer. Yet while we subsidise the wholesale slaughter of 12 million Indian girls, we abort our own disabled by the thousand. Indeed, since 2002, 26 babies have been aborted for no other reason than that they had a cleft palate. Seven of these were terminated just last year, suggesting an exponential increase. India and China propagate the preeminence of patriarchy and maleness to such an extent that one wonders how the womens'-rights feminists and social-engineering leftists can contain their abhorrence. Countries throughout Asia perpetuate the inferiority and expendability of the feminine. But we promote the inferiority and expendability of the disabled. The 'wrongful life' has to begin somewhere. And it won't be too long before the UK has caught up with India.
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His Grace won't say he told you so, but, well... he did.
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Then His Grace withdraws 'commission' and admires Dr Lilico all the more! By the way, saying that you are contributing to the 'drip-drip-drip' in the decline of respect for the CofE does not amount to "Blaming little ol' ConHome for the decline of Christianity". If you are going to criticise His Grace for 'getting on his high horse', please be accurate about the height of the horse :o)
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Not commissioned? Dr Lilico has referred a number of times to 'not being paid enough' for the articles he writes for ConHome. Whilst undoubtedly he makes such comments with a glint in his eye or writes a little tongue-in-cheek (or whatever the literary equivalent may be), surely if ConHome pays someone to write at their pleasure, it is still an act of commissioning? Unless, of course, by 'not paid enough' Dr Lilico means 'not paid at all'...
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Calling the Archbishop of Canterbury 'crude' and 'simplistic' risks inviting that very assessment of character or expression upon oneself. Naïve he may occasionally be, but there is scarcely a less crude or more complex man in public life than Dr Rowan Williams. It is disappointing to see this faux battle continuing upon ConservativeHome, conveying the impression that Dr Williams supports unlimited welfare for the workshy and indolent. He does not. You have previously commissioned and published an articlle which advocated replacing the Established Church with a 'Mosque of England'. As imperfect as the Church is, and as human as its bishops undoubtedly are, you are contributing to the drip-drip-drip of unrelenting erosion of the Christian Constitution by which the disestablishmentarians will succeed. The glory of the Church of England is that it hangs between religio-political extremeties, such that the extremes on both ends are bound to despise it. And its Archbishop is not infallible and does not pretend to be. Instead of propagating the 'crude' and 'simplistic' caricature, why not take a leaf out of Sir Peter Bottomley's more Christian approach, and read more widely and far deeper about what the Archbishop actually believes?
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Here, here. When His Grace posted yesterday in support of Dr Williams, Mr Montgomerie tweeted: "You are profoundly wrong my friend, @His_Grace: In getting on wrong side of welfare debate the ABC is badly serving the Church and the poor" While disagreeing with the Archbishop on some points of detail (like the distinction between 'deserving' and 'undeserving poor'), it is evident that the only 'side' he takes is that of pastoral concern for the victim. How is that 'profoundly wrong'? He has been positively effusive about the 'Big Society', lauding its conceptual foundations, and is simply as frustrated as many of us that it has become 'painfully stale', still without adequate definition and communication. By talking of the states of ‘fear’, ‘anxiety’ and ‘bafflement’ in which people find themselves (and he is very well-placed to do that, despite Nick Boles' rather arrogant assertion to the contrary), Dr Williams concerns himself with the pastoral dimensions of wholeness and healing. This actually links with Danny Kruger's understanding of 'fraternity', which goes a long way to understanding 'Compassionate Conservatism'. Dr Williams is persuaded that the mission of the Church accords with people’s quest for meaning and an assurance of identity which cannot be found without community, without fellowship. It is this which the Archbishop was addressing: he was not directly attacking the Prime Minister, and certianly wasn't advocating unlimited benefits for the indolent and workshy. It is the Church of England which ministers in every parish in the country, many of them impoverished, especially the tough post-industrial housing estates in the north east. Those who minister cannot but be intensely angry about the consequences of the recession on the people they serve. But they are there, 24/7, feeding the starving, housing the homeless and trying to heal the sick. They form job-seeking groups and educate some of the nation's most under-privileged children. The 'Big Society' is trying to make some theoretical political capital out of what the Church has always done practically. The Arcbishop is not on the 'wrong side' of the debate, he is, as the Rev'd Michael says, a critical friend of considerable exerience and wisdom. But it is typical that some Conservatives find no room for him or his views in the discussion of policy: there is no toleration of dissent, even of friendly CofE dissent. And this comes about, as Paul Goodman said yeserday, because the Prime Minister has no mediator (or mediatrix): as one bishop observes: he ‘has surrounded himself with religiously illiterate, secularist advisers’. In a country with an Established Church, that is not good politics.
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Lucid, nuanced and insightful, as ever. His Grace was simply informed by Mr Montgomerie that he was 'profoundly wrong'. In fact, there is probably nothing upon which we disagree. But on: "He isn't a Pope, though, and though I welcome his contribution, I feel no compunction about disagreeing with him." In the wake of an auto-da-fé, one should tread very carefully indeed.
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Yes, The Sun is right, though it would make a mockery of the term 'life peer' (- 'conditional life peer'?). If Lester Piggott can be stripped of his OBE for tax evasion, then a peer ought to be able to be stripped of his/her peerage when in receipt of a custodial sentence (and, yes, that includes Lord Archer). At the very least, it ought to entail a life-long ban from the House, and their lordships ought to be able to take a view on a member who brings their House into disrepute. Having surrendered parliamentary supremacy to IPSA (or is it 'pooled'?), it is an odd state of affairs when the body designed to uphold 'parliamentary standards' can make no recommendetation for expulsion from a chamber which is also beyond the reach of democratic accountability. But it is a curious castigation of The Sun to accuse it of getting 'on its high horse' over this, and then to say 'The Sun is right'. Unless, that is, ConHome also has an eleveted equine propensity ;o)
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sp. 'principal' should (of course) be 'principle', but the 10-minute self-correction option appears to have gone...
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Interesting. Five former candidates in three hours have written (none of those already identified), each describing him or herself as inclining to the 'right' (though this is self-certification and the label is relatively meaningless). All are 'EU-sceptic' and have made a public stand on a point of principal (so far: the EU; man-made global warming; religious liberty; homosexuality). Even more interesting, none was asked to provide any evidence of any sort to CCHQ in advance of their reassessment, beyond the completion of a new form.
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There is a certain irony insofar as David Cameron declared the 'age of centralisation' to be over. Writing in The Spectator in March 2009, he talked of a ‘massive transfer of power from central government and its agencies to individuals and local communities’. He decried ‘the arrogant belief that the political élite...really do know best’. He believes policy should be informed ‘by our instinctive Conservative optimism about people’, and says he has ‘faith that most people are good and will do the right thing if only you trust them’. He referred to those on the political Left as being 'essentially pessimists, believing that people will do the wrong thing unless told what to do...’ It is a curious hypocrisy which preaches decentralisation and localism for public consumption, but which then adopts and enforces the precise opposite in its own internal processes and procedures. The reality is that the Conservative Party under David Cameron's leadership has massively transferred powers from local associations and individual members to central control, because the Hobbesian political élite at Conservative Campaign Headquarters really do know best. There is only one way to establish the calibre or political-philosophical inclinations of those who have been removed from the list. If they would care to contact (in confidence) His Grace (email address in the top-right corner of his blog) he will research and examine the data.
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"Euroscepticism will triumph in the Conservative Party. It's just a matter of time." Fine. But it really needs to get a move on: http://archbishop-cranmer.blogspot.com/2011/05/obama-lauds-everything-uk-has.html
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