Saturday, 30 May 2009

BNP calls for national day of prayer

Ed: Not a spoof!

“The Church of England has consistently failed to live up to its sacred role as guardian of the soul of the British people. For this reason, it falls to us in the British National Party to call for a ‘National Day of Prayer’. We urge everyone who loves Britain to pray for our national deliverance from the difficulties in which we currently find ourselves.

“In 2nd Chronicles 7:14, the Bible says: ‘If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.’ It is time for Britain to pray. Archbishops may betray us, but God will not.

“The British National Party invites dialogue with church leaders. The massive support enjoyed by our party requires that the Church of England grow up, respect our mandate and engage us appropriately.” Read more
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Michael Nazir-Ali: Jesus wouldn't have voted BNP

[...] When we talk of a society built on Christian values, it is often misunderstood as a reference to intolerance, of exclusivity. The ultimate expression of this tendency comes in a campaign billboard, unveiled in March, which quoted scripture out of context, then posed the question: "What would Jesus do?" The answer given was simple: "Vote BNP."

This was a clear example of using Christian-sounding words to promote a profoundly anti-Christian agenda. No one should be taken in by it. The policies advocated by the BNP are contrary to our belief that all human beings, regardless of race or colour, have a common origin and are made in God's image. It is this belief which underlies those British values of human dignity and equality. There can be no compromise about such values. It is recognised that the number of people coming to live and work in Britain must be limited to what the social and economic fabric can sustain. Nevertheless, the Christian value of hospitality demands that those who come legally are welcomed. Providing refuge for the genuinely persecuted is also a long-standing British tradition, and must be upheld.

So when we ask "What would Jesus actually do?", the answer is clear. He would include all in the embrace of his Father's love, and so change them that they begin to live for others, to meet the needs of strangers and to work for a just and compassionate society.

Such work is badly needed. Not only have we witnessed the sometimes deliberate destruction of a moral framework for our social and economic life in Britain, but we have also seen the steady erosion in the formation of character. For example, if The Daily Telegraph has revealed anything fundamental about our political masters, it is the woeful lack of that character building, which leads us to behave with integrity and put service to the nation before self. But before we give in to scapegoating people, we have to admit that there has been a lack of emphasis on the formation of conscience and moral awareness in the nation. Once, responsibility, trust, truth-telling and hard work characterised what was best about us. These are virtues derived from Christian beliefs. Have our schools and universities been inculcating such virtues? If they have, how have we come to such a pretty pass in our national life? Read more
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Atheists: No God, just whining

I can't stand atheists – but it's not because they don't believe in God. It's because they're crashing bores.

Other people, most recently the British cultural critic Terry Eagleton in his new book, Faith, Reason and Revolution, take to task such superstar nonbelievers as Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion) and political journalist Christopher Hitchens (God Is Not Great) for indulging in a philosophically primitive opposition of faith and reason that assumes that if science can't prove something, it doesn't exist.

My problem with atheists is their tiresome – and way old – insistence that they are being oppressed and their fixation with the fine points of Christianity. What – did their Sunday school teachers flog their behinds with a Bible when they were kids? Read more
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Thursday, 28 May 2009

Labour MP accuses churches over rise of BNP

[...] It is here that the Church stands guilty of neglect. I have tried to engage them on this issue through the balanced migration cross party group Nicholas Soames and I have formed. Our aim is, over the longer term, to bring into balance the numbers entering and leaving this country.

Lord Carey, the previous Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Archbishop of York have been brave about the nation loosing its identity. What discussion there has been in Church circles has been to accuse the group of being racist, or anti-asylum. It is this infantile response from so much of the political class in this country that has given rise to the BNP's latest surge.

The Government has run an open door policy without ever asking voters if this is what they wanted. On this front the Church has aided and abetted the main parties. The scale of immigration is at an unprecedented scale in our history. When Idi Amin during the 70s started hacking to death those of his citizens with Asian roots, large numbers came to this country. The current rate of immigration is equivalent to that two-year movement from Uganda, every month. How is it possible for newcomers to integrate at this rate? Read more
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Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Where are all the nice, normal dads in children's books?

When it comes to bedtime stories, my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter Ava loves the US author Richard Scarry’s books, especially Cars and Trucks and Things That Go. Personally, I’m not so keen. I find Pa Pig — Scarry’s father character — profoundly irritating.

Cars and Trucks centres on the Pig family’s outing to the beach. Over the course of the day, Pa Pig repeatedly lets down the others. He falls asleep, having promised to drive. He fails to change a flat tyre, leaving his wife to do it. He gets sunburnt, despite her warnings. It’s an image of the lazy, feckless, unreliable paterfamilias echoed in various TV sitcoms. He is practically a porcine Homer Simpson.

I wouldn’t mind this so much were it not that Ava’s favourite TV programme (with accompanying books) is Peppa Pig, boasting a similarly comical caricature of fatherhood in the shape of the amiable Daddy Pig — fat, greedy and a DIY disaster zone.

Don’t get me wrong, Peppa Pig is wonderful. And I’m aware that there is plenty of good-natured humour to be had from lampooning fathers. But, faced with these negative images, I looked through Ava’s selection of bedtime reading in search of positive representations of dads.

The result was a shock. Not only did I find precious few role-model dads, I found hardly any dads at all. In all the picture books piled up around our house — more than 100 of them, in unsightly towers — mothers appeared in just under half and were invariably portrayed in a positive light. Fathers cropped up in nine, of which only five took a positive role in parenting. Read more
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