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Disclaimer: the following contains a fisk of an Daily Mail article written by Norman Tebbit. Please do not read if black, gay, female, or under the age of 65, or while eating or drinking. (via [livejournal.com profile] valkyriekaren)




LORD TEBBIT: If the head of our church can't uphold the standards that shaped us, what hope is there?


'In a muddle': Dr Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury

Who am I to criticise the Archbishop of Canterbury on the matters of theology, doctrine or what the scriptures mean? After all, I am not a fully paid-up member of the Church of England.

Ah, the classic weasel disclaimer of someone who is nevertheless sublimely confident that their opinion is Extremely Important. He might as well have begun with IMHO.

I am, however, a 'fellow traveller' and it is fellow travellers, whether of political parties or churches, whose opinions should be listened to most carefully by the powers that be. If the politicians or bishops offer confident, reasonable leadership, we follow them. If they look lost, confused and out of touch, we leave in droves.

The man writing this is, of course, a Tory politician - a member of a breed famed for stabbing their leaders in the back at the first sign of weakness. The assertion that actual committed members of an organization are less important than interested bystanders is an odd one. I think perhaps he's thinking in silent-majority, floating-voter, Middle-England terms - but this assumes implicitly that you're not going to lose the core vote no matter what you do.

Dr Rowan Williams is a decent, likeable and intelligent man. But over homosexuality, he seems to be in a terrible muddle, saying different things to different people. Just days after the Anglican Church agreed to call a halt to ordaining gay bishops, a debate in which he sided with the conservative majority, earlier private letters have emerged in which he equates gay sexual relationships to heterosexual marriage.

You'd think the idea that a prominent person could ever have slightly different public and private personas had never entered his head. Also, "he seems to be in a terrible muddle" translates to "Of course, all educated persons share my opinion, and I hold his attitude in contempt". To a very real extent, the Archbishop of Canterbury (as distinct from the delightful Dr Rowan Williams) is the epitome of the Church - to use an old Roman term, he holds Imperium. Which means that he has a duty not to champion his personal causes.

These letters show that his private views may be rather different and considerably more liberal. And as a result, many of his fellow travellers, I'd assume, are confused as to what their spiritual leader really believes.

May be... considerably more... many of... I'd assume... well, it looks like weasels won't be an endangered species any time soon.

There is, of course, nothing new about homosexuality or homosexual priests and I suspect that most people these days will say 'so what?'

I'm practically fainting here. A whole sentence I can approve of.

But the Church of England still has a role to play in upholding the standards and beliefs which have shaped the society in which we live. And for the leader of that institution to appear confused by his moral standpoint is surely disastrous.

Many standards and beliefs have shaped the society in which we live. Driving out Jews, for instance, and spitting on dark-skinned people in the street. Oh, and don't forget the wholesale slaughter of Spaniards, Frenchmen, and monkeys that look a bit as though they might be French spies. We're a grown-up country, with quite a lot of grown-up inhabitants, and we can look after our own standards and beliefs, reinforcing the ones we like and abandoning the ones which we now realise are Bloody Stupid. We don't need a church to do it for us - especially since historically, the Church of England was quite a major part of the state apparatus. In addition, notice how Tebbit slips in "appear confused" as though it were an established fact? More classic rhetorical weaselling.

The Archbishop might reflect that over the thousands of years since the books of Deuteronomy and Leviticus set out the code of ethics on which Christianity was founded, our Western society has been built on the basic, but vital, institution of family.

This is rather more problematic than he seems to think it is. Also, you try and tell most Christians that they have to abide by the instructions in Deuteronomy and Leviticus, and you'll probably get pointed at and laughed at. A lot.

Not just any old group of people shacked up together for a while, but the exclusive partnership of one man and one woman bearing and bringing up children. That way, the traditions, rules and customs of society have been passed from one generation to the next and children have been cared for in a safe, nurturing and responsible environment.

The small nuclear family (man, woman, their children) is a relatively recent invention. Historically, households tended to be quite a bit larger and more complex. Tell me, Tebbit old chap, does your world-view admit the existence of any events before 1910?

The Christian West is not alone in following this format. Every lasting civilisation has done so and, for that matter, so have most of the birds and mammals around us. It is, in short, a formula that works.

Ah ha ha ha ha ha...

So why meddle with it? In recent years, the family formula has begun to disintegrate - and with disastrous results. The downgrading of marriage and the shattering of the family unit that has inevitably followed the granting of equivalent status to other forms of partnership are already having an effect on the levels of crime, unhappiness and deprivation among children. And the damage they suffer will be passed on to the next generation.

Sorry, captain, the utterbollocksometer has gone off the scale. Needle's bent around the stop and it seems to be trying to sing "Waterloo".

We know that however well many single parents - and most are dedicated and loving mothers and fathers - bring up their children, youngsters from stable, conventional families are more likely to do well at school, well at work and to stay out of trouble with crime, drink and drugs than those from so-called broken homes.[citation needed]

For this reason, it is deeply sad that the Archbishop of Canterbury has given comfort to the liberal permissives who have long been attacking and undermining not just the institution of marriage but the very idea that children should be brought up in traditional families, with a father and a mother.

Personally, I prefer to think of it as attacking and undermining the odd idea that you get to tell people how to bring up their children, and that you get to judge who's good enough to bring up children and who isn't. Children, as most of my readers will know from personal or close-friend experience, can often manage to bring themselves up quite adequately in extremely unpromising environments, or make a total hash out of the whole 'turning into a human being' thing in the most traditionally promising of families. Also, for "it is deeply sad", read "I find it deeply sad".

Surely a man with the talents, and huge responsibilities, of Dr Williams should see that in his confused attitudes to homosexuality he is being dragged along on the insidious coat tails of the 'anything goes' moral relativists.

You want to try dragging Dr Rowan Williams anywhere? I don't fancy your chances, mate. And yes, we all know you believe that staying up after bedtime leads inexorably to sex outside marriage, which leads inexorably to homosexual activity, which leads inevitably to single parenthood, which leads inevitably to DANCING.

I fear that the leaking of Dr Williams' letters, even if they are from eight years ago, will give more comfort to those who see the church as a leftover from the past than to those who would like to see it stand up boldly for the values on which it was built. For a while, the traditionalists will rally around that charismatic conservative the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, but the fellow travellers will drift away leaderless, with neither a church nor a political party prepared to champion their views and beliefs.

Alright, own up, who borrowed the world's smallest violin and didn't put it back? And yes, I'll freely admit that I don't want to see the Church of England stand up boldly for the values on which it was built. Henry VIII already got a divorce, and got his hands on all that altar plate.

Of course the grubby British National Party will attempt to pose as a home for the moral majority, promising a return to the traditions and certainty of the past. Fortunately, its gruesome pedigree means that it has no credibility among the vast majority of people.

...grubby? That's what passes for a killing insult amongst Tories of a certain age, I believe. Because if you really, really, really hate someone and want to put them down, you imply that their family is too poor to afford soap.

So who is left? Watch out for the challenge from the mosques. An Islam with a modern face will soon begin to present itself as the natural home for those who long for moral certainty and a new sense of discipline within society. The calls for a caliphate, a religious state based on Sharia Law, will be toned down, the firebrand preachers will be done away with by the moderates, and there will be talk of the founding of a secular Muslim state, as in Turkey.

And with no other options on the table, they may soon find that they have an awful lot of fellow travellers with whom to bolster their ranks.

This one really is priceless. Utterly redolent of religion as social control, without any hint of valuing a living faith or a continuing tradition, and blithely assuming that many others will both feel the same way and will be willing to jump ship to a completely different tradition which echoes similar values.

Mind you... Tony Blair did attract quite a few ex-Conservatives.

The task for the imams will be to exploit the fatal weakness of the multicultural society and replace a Christian church that has lost its sense of history and direction with a Mosque that has a strong, ingrained sense of both. For Islam, that would be a justified


[Ed. note - the cutoff at the end is from the original text. I can't find the rest of it anywhere. It may have spontaneously self-destructed out of sheer embarrassment.]
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