Canon Dr Giles Fraser 104


Canon Dr Giles Fraser is being forced from his job for the dreadful sin of actually acting as a Christian.

I was sent this recently; different church, same shit.

I am some kind of confused deist myself. I was recently told what I am sure is an old joke, but it struck me as very true:

God looked down at the sufferings of man, turned to the Devil, and said: “The plight of man moves me to compassion. I will send them Religion for consolation.”
“Good idea,” said the Devil, “I’ll organise it.”


104 thoughts on “Canon Dr Giles Fraser

1 2 3 4
  • angrysoba

    Angrysoba, you may think the US is secular, and in no way a Christian country, and you might be able to point to something in the constitution about individuals having the right to practise non-Christian religions, but it does claim to be a Christian country and this is borne out by the religious affiliations of Presidents.

    .
    Yes, I can point to the constitution’s first ammendment in which it does express the right to freedom of worship and specifically states that Congress shall make no law establishing a national religion:
    .
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
    .
    Further the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the separation of Church and State in rulings:
    .
    http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/church-state/decisions.html
    .
    So how do you back up your statement that “it does claim to be a Christian country”?
    .
    The only evidence you have given is that most of the US presidents have been Christian. But that is like saying that because all the Presidents have been male the United States claims to be a male country.
    .
    It’s clearly not true.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Well, yes, that is true, angrysoba, and I agree that the USA is a secular state. Yet since around the time of Jimmy Carter, US Presidents seem to have felt the need to talk more about God, etc. than might have been the case before. This may be to pander to the religious constituency or to seem pious or whatever, or it may imply a reflection of religious revivalism in some parts of the society. Or perhaps it’s an effect of the dissemination in the public consciousness – and that of spechwriters – of the rhetorical style of people like Civil Rights leader, MLK and more recently TV/radio Right-wing preachers, all of whose pulpit symphonies aim at cathartic crescendo. I wonder too whether it might be refelctive of the dominance of soap opera narrative in both the mass dramatic and the public space. Think, for a moment, of the way even a childrens’ staple like ‘Dr Who’ has changed. Tony Blair attempted to introduce this kind of starry-eyed, sentimental fevered enunciation into British politics – and ended up simply seeming somewhat ‘unbalanced’.

  • sjb

    @Craig (Your reply to John Stack)

    “But I think the historic accumulation of wealth by religious leaders is unacceptable, and that photo [of the Pope in his ‘official’ robes and a malnourished child] nicely encapsulates it.”
    .
    John Paul II left no possessions and I would be surprised if the current pontiff’s personal wealth was a tenth of your’s. But I suspect your charge is directed at the Roman Catholic (“RC”) Church itself. If so, perhaps you could provide a reference to an authority that shows how much wealth the RC Church has accumulated in, say, the last fifty years?
    .
    The RC Church certainly spends money: it is the world’s second largest international development organisation and provides 30,000 different examples of social care in this country alone.
    .
    Source: Chris Patten interview on BBC News 24, 19 September 2010, about 19:14.

  • angrysoba

    Angrysoba, to clarify: I meant that what you wrote was true.

    .
    Hi Suhayl, I think you are right in seeing the election of Jimmy Carter as something of a turning point. From what I understand, Jimmy Carter was expected by some on the religious right to push their agenda because he was a Southern Baptist. That he did not was seen by them as something of a betrayal. In particular he supported legal abortion while Nixon had been publicly silent on the issue. So, the Republicans wheeled out the Southern strategy of trying to appeal to southern Christian voters. And with Republicans trying to eat into what had previously been a fairly safe constituency, the Democrats started pandering to the same. From then on, people like the Moral Majority became very vocal in US politics; until then they had largely stayed out (although of course the tussle between church and state had had some intense battles).
    .
    I think all the God talk in US politics should be a national embarrassment but no candidate wants to jeopardise their chances of being elected by saying so. I expect that Barack Obama is, in reality, an atheist but thought it necessary to go through the charade of looking a bit Christiany. It remains to be seen just how much of a handicap Romney’s Mormonism will be.
    .
    But I think it is not good enough to point to previous presidents and say that because they all (or nearly all – Jefferson and Lincoln seemed to be mostly derisive of organized religion) are some denomination of Christianity or another, then it follows that America won’t elect non-Christians or that it is a claim to being a Christian nation. Less than ten years ago, many people would have scoffed at the idea of a black president. If you said his name would be “Barack Hussein Obama” they would confidently assert that you don’t know much about America and how it operates.
    .
    The attempts by Tony Blair to get some religious traction seem altogether strange. I don’t think it was popular but he and his party probably calculated that the introduction of faith schools would be win some votes.

  • John Goss

    Angrysoba, I’ll meet you part way, but the Constitution is not the voice of America, and does not represent what a lot of influential spokespeople for America think. So often I have heard Americans and English suffix the US, and England, with the phrase “and in other Christian countries” it is beginning to stick. Will you argue that America follows its constitution? If that is the case the right to take up arms in defence has been stretched beyond belief with the wars of aggression in which the US has been involved. In major decisions the President stamps his mark on these acts of agression. But if it’s down to semantics I will moderate my earlier satement that “The US claims to be a Christian country and yet its government has committed the most heinous crimes I have seen in my life” to “Many presidents and senators claim the US to be a Christian country and yet its government has committed the most heinous crimes I have seen in my life.” Is that an acceptable improvement?

  • havantaclu

    From the Indie, this morning:

    ‘Friends of Rowan Williams say he is less than pleased with the way that St Paul’s has handled the Occupy London Stock Exchange protesters, particularly its decision to close the cathedral for the first time since the Blitz. His private sympathies lie more with the aspirations of those protesting against the economic status quo than the bureaucrats of St Paul’s.

    In the world of ecclesiastical politics, the Archbishop is between a rock and a hard place. He has always encouraged his bishops to be the leading authority in their dioceses, so any intervention or critical statement on the protest would risk undermining Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London.

    But equally the longer he remains silent, the more the Church hierarchy comes across as a robed elite, locked in its ivory towers, refusing to come down and talk to those on the street who are desperately unhappy about the way wealth is being distributed in our country.

    It is telling that not a single senior bishop has released even a generic, apolitical statement encouraging society to reform the way business is done in the City of London. Those who have spoken out have largely toed the St Paul’s line of “you’ve made your point, now move on and let us handle things”. Instead, it has been left to individual Christian groups and now two St Paul’s clergymen to lead the moral criticism.

    All of which threatens to undermine Rowan Williams.’

    He’s apparently in Italy, meeting the Pope.

    Why isn’t he here?

    Or would Cameron then have to say: ‘Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?’
    Somehow I doubt it.

    Here’s a link about the Church of England’s finances.

    http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/12234

    Would he bite the hand that feeds him – and his Church?

  • angrysoba

    Hi John Goss,

    I think it is true that many Americans think of the US as a Christian nation. And of course many British people think of the United Kingdom as a Church of England nation (they are constitutionally correct in the latter). But of course many Americans and British are simply not Christians and don’t claim to be.
    .
    Angrysoba, I’ll meet you part way, but the Constitution is not the voice of America, and does not represent what a lot of influential spokespeople for America think.
    .
    I’m afraid this is of little value to the fact that the US is constitutionally a secular nation and the Supreme Court has upheld its secular nature for the most part.
    .
    So often I have heard Americans and English suffix the US, and England, with the phrase “and in other Christian countries” it is beginning to stick.
    .
    I have heard many Americans and British say all sorts of things without those things being true. Just on this very blog we can’t say that the opinions of many of those people don’t count for the nation as a whole. So what does? As far as the US is concerned the constitution and the Supreme Court seems like the best yardstick.
    .
    Will you argue that America follows its constitution? If that is the case the right to take up arms in defence has been stretched beyond belief with the wars of aggression in which the US has been involved.
    .
    I think a lot of what is written in the constitution has been stretched at various times. In fact, Roe vs. Wade is a very good example as the “right to privacy” was invoked as a protection for women wanting abortions. Of course this has been seen as a bit flimsy and while I agree, in principle, to the right to abortion I have to agree that the ruling is flimsy. On the other hand, which rulings have overturned the rights of freedom of worship or the separation of Church and State?
    .
    But if it’s down to semantics I will moderate my earlier satement that “The US claims to be a Christian country and yet its government has committed the most heinous crimes I have seen in my life” to “Many presidents and senators claim the US to be a Christian country and yet its government has committed the most heinous crimes I have seen in my life.” Is that an acceptable improvement?

    .
    Well, it may be the case that some presidents and senators claim the US is a Christian country (although you haven’t said who) and I can’t vouch for the second part of your statement because I don’t know which crimes you have seen in your life.
    .
    If you are saying that, say, George W. Bush or John McCain have been party to terrible crimes while claiming to be Christian then I would say that they probably better pray the God they affect to believe in doesn’t exist because if he does then they’re all going to Hell.
    .
    But that is not a mere semantic difference from saying that the US is a Christian country.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    Angrysober,

    Not that insightful and in that respect quite dumb – these wealthy people lead and motivated by Trump and others are not really part of the silent, greedy and dangerous 1% that form a private corporate empire now in its end-game. More details in a follow-on post.

  • John Goss

    Angrysober, thank you so much for your contributions to this blog. I never thought a discussion on Christian values would get such a huge response in this secular world of ours. For me it is time to move on.

  • Jon

    @Sorry_For_You_All:
    .
    My strong response to you was based on two errors from you. Your first is to patronise (“sorry for you all”) and the second is to imply that, by claiming religious superiority, that you are in a unique position to see how all blinkered all non-Islamic peoples are. I would warmly recommend that you try to see the good in other people’s religions, and in good atheists and agnostics too – a much better approach.
    .
    > -Don’t behave like a 5 year old kindergarden silly boy.
    >
    > …
    >
    > So, don’t behave like a 5 year old child, do more reading and learn things
    > that are surrounding you.
    .
    Since you are intending to persuade people of your particular perspective, I should be interested in hearing whether, upon reflection, you think your approach is likely to make people warm to you. I think you are arrogant +and+ deluded, but perhaps I am being unfair to you. What do you think?

1 2 3 4

Comments are closed.