Surely This is the Wrong Way Round!

A schoolgirl is offended by a bus driver’s view of Pride marches so she complains and the driver is suspended.

An habitual criminal, offended by a judge’s kindly meant advice, which he interprets as abusive language complains, too. The Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice (no less) uphold the complaint and reprimand the Judge – twice. Once for making the remarks and secondly for refusing to apologise.

This seems to me to be completely topsy turvy, if not barking mad. Since when have middle aged bus drivers been told what they may and may not believe by school girls? And, even more bizarrely, when have judges been condemned for hurting the feelings of habitual criminals?

Let’s take the judge and the fat man first.

Recorder Julian Malins QC was the judge in a case that, in the end, was dismissed. The accused, who was so obese that he had had to be helped into the dock, said that the verdict was a weight off his shoulders. Mr Malins replied ‘You had better not worry about the weight off your shoulders, but should rather worry about the weight on your body’.  The defendant then asked the judge to repeat himself, which he did, along with sound advice about the benefits of losing weight and getting a job.

In the circumstances I think it was very kind of Mr Malins to take the trouble to bother with the defendant at all. Most people would have washed their hands of him.  He is now in his fifties, has appeared in court 40 times in 35 years, has accumulated 60 convictions and served several prison terms including a lengthy sentence for GBH with intent. 

Mr Malins, an eminent QC with an international reputation, on the other hand, took the trouble to tell him the truth. The obese gentleman in the dock, whoever he is, would definitely be better off if he lost some weight. In addition, if you are unemployed and have a propensity to commit crimes, it’s a very good idea to try and get a job. This shouldn’t be too difficult if you were a chef, as this chap was, given the way cafés and food outlets are replacing shops on every high street. These are common sense facts of life. If at all possible you are better off in work and healthier if you are slimmer rather than fatter. Mr Malins was telling the Truth. 

But in this mad world of 2019 the law was firmly in the side of the fat old lag.

Fortunately, Mr Julian Malins, QC is senior enough, eminent enough and sensible enough not to take his formal warning too seriously. Had he been much younger with a career still in front of him, make no mistake, the statement from the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office could have done a lot of harm.

The schoolgirl and the bus driver is less serious in some respects but just as worrying in other ways. To those of us who thought we knew the difference between right and wrong, truth and falsehood, feelings and facts this incident shows how offended feelings trump common sense every time, particularly young offended feelings. Have you noticed how often young students win hands down over older, experienced, wiser, cleverer teachers? What makes it worse, though this is becoming increasingly common, the complaint was made and the driver condemned on Twitter!

This story begins with a Norfolk bus driver. 

“I am not driving this bus because it promotes homosexuality,” the driver told passengers at Norwich Bus Station. It was promoting something which was against his religious principles. He said they would have to “wait a minute” for him to swap buses.

This appears to have been a red rag rather than a rainbow flag to sixth former Rebecca Sears. While the bigoted driver swapped buses she complained to the front desk of the bus station, then she took a photo of the driver, then she twittered.

“Today I was waiting for the 501 bus to Thickthorn and we were told by the driver we had to wait for him to swap buses as ‘this bus promotes homosexuality and I refuse to drive it’ due to the multicoloured ‘501’ sign. Norwich doesn’t appreciate homophobia,” she tweeted.

 “I’m aware everyone is entitled to their own views however, if you can’t do your job properly because of your bigotry, maybe you need rethink your choices,” she wrote.

Quick as a flash the bus company responded.

“As a company we do not condone any behaviour from our drivers that does not support this view. The driver involved in this incident has been suspended and a full investigation is underway.”

Well, we can hardly blame the bus company for reacting like that since they have the example of the Lord Treasurer (David Gauke MP at the time) and the Lord Chief Justice jumping straight in to support offended feelings.

I still have limited hope for Common Sense because, in the eyes of the Law of this Land, discrimination on the grounds of beliefs is just as bad as discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. Not in the eyes of all its minions, however. If we aren’t careful we will soon have Law by Twitter. Perhaps we should try and reach agreement over Brexit by Twitter.

Twisted Truth

I saw this on the blog of Rebel Priest, also known as the Revd Dr Jules Gomes. He is a wise man, full of common sense and to be trusted.

A 15-year-old Polish boy is being hailed as a Catholic “hero” after daring to block an LGBT pride march with a raised crucifix and rosary in his hand.

After reading the whole story I was reminded of these lines from Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If”. 

“If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools”

I expect it’s one of many poems that have been banned now, having been written by what must obviously be a “homophobic, racist, colonialist bigot.” Quoting Rudyard Kipling probably makes me an HRCB too.

This brave lad, Jakub Baryła, was inspired by “a similar gesture by Fr. Ignacy Skorupko during the Warsaw battle with the Bolsheviks in 1920. Father Skorupko was a Polish army chaplain who was killed on Aug. 14 1920, at the battle of Ossów during the Polish counter-attack. Standing with soldiers leading a charge on the front lines, the priest was holding a cross to encourage Polish soldiers.

Jakob was, of course, removed from the scene. He must have known that would happen and he says the police behaved “impeccably.” Since he describes himself as “Catholic, traditionalist, conservative and patriotic” on Twitter, the other side are out to get him. Here’s where the truth gets twisted. 

The Monitoring Center on Racist and Xenophobic Behaviour, Warsaw, has issued a statement calling Baryła’s action “another example of nationalists using children for political struggle.”“Irresponsible parents have jeopardised the life and health of their 15-year-old child by sending him to a riot to intentionally hinder the police. The lost boy stood in the middle of the road clutching the cross. The child was confused and completely deprived of care by adult caregivers,” the statement said, insisting that Baryła was a child and no one had the right to send him to fight the police. “It seems that the parents have been indoctrinating their child for a long time,” the statement added, accusing Baryła of being “seen at meetings with racists and homophobes.”

The Monitoring Center on Racist and Xenophobic Behaviour said it intends to notify the prosecutor’s office of a “crime committed by parents who sent a child against police officers,” and will provide the Family Court in Płock with information “about a boy who, unaccompanied, hindered police operations.”

I’ve looked at those two pictures again and again and I can see neither ‘a lost boy’ nor a ‘confused child’. On the contrary. There has been plenty of praise for him on social media where people have remarked on his courage and his quiet confidence in his faith.

Please don’t ignore this because it happened in Poland. Think about it and about why it couldn’t happen here in Britain.

Why couldn’t it happen here?
Because the Bishops have already gone over to the other side

An Antidote to Percy

It may have been pure chance or, given where I ended up, it may have been the Holy Spirit tapping the computer keys. I prefer the latter explanation, especially since this interview took place over a year ago. Why else would it pop up on my screen? Whatever happened, I found myself watching a Vodcast, put out by “Unbelievable” on Premier Christian Radio.

A bright, cheerful, personable young man in a casual shirt was interviewing the youngish, well known, popular historian, Tom Holland and an older, bearded gentleman called Tom Wright. (It turns out T. Wright is also known as N T Wright when he’s writing erudite, heavyweight theology.) Tom Wright is right up there with  Martyn Percy (see my last blog “No, No, No!”) being a retired Bishop of Durham and now a Professor at St Andrews University. But there is a difference.

The Right Reverend Tom Wright

The two Toms were discussing Tom Wright’s book, “Paul A Biography”, and what resulted from that discussion kept me riveted for a whole hour. Since then, and a second listen, I’ve tried to work out what made it so powerful. I came to the conclusion it was because it made sense. There was no pushing of a secret agenda, no twisting of simple facts to suit a particular ideology. Good, old-fashioned Common Sense. The words rang true.

Words don’t ring true anymore. Think of the beginning of John’s Gospel.

 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

That’s how important words are. They matter. We’ve got away from that awesome fact and we’re suffering because of it. Words are twisted and contorted or have become downright lies.

Take the word ‘Marriage.’ Fifty years ago everyone knew what marriage meant. A man and a woman joined together in holy, or at least, civil legal marriage. I’ve always thought marriage was one of those bedrock words that was included in any description of civilized society. Now it seems to mean any sort of sexual coupling that any individual, of any sex or none, feels is a marriage. How on earth can you build any sort of stable civilization on such a foundation. 

Bishop Gavin Ashenden

Another Bishop who talks a lot of sound common sense is Gavin Ashenden. He recently wrote an article for a Jersey newspaper – for which he has written for years. He happened to mention that children brought up in a family with a mother who is married to the father do better on the whole than any other coupling. That is a fact that has been proved in scientific studies over and over and over again. He got the sack.

It’s getting worse. I suppose it wouldn’t matter very much if one individual decides she/he is the father of the child she/he produced from his/her retained women’s bits. (To complicate things still further it involves denying the existence of a male sperm donor.) The true horror begins when the High Court is asked to endorse this individual as legally not only the ‘father’ but the only parent. That is heaping lie upon lie upon lie.

Historian Tom Holland

Tom Holland is not a Christian though he was heavily influenced by his Anglican mother. He also knows a lot about Islam. At one point there was an interesting discussion about how Islam is imposed from above, whereas Christianity grew up from the bottom. It struck me then that that is exactly what is happening in Anglicanism today. Bishops are imposing their modern, leftist, liberal, secular, sexual ideas on to their hapless congregations. It’s not difficult for them. They have the power and the money, to say nothing of the support and active intervention of the government and the media. The tiny congregations of most of the remaining churches are so busy struggling to keep the roof on or stop the damp that they never have time to put their heads above the parapet to notice what’s truly happening.

Jesus has become a soppy, social worker. “All you need is love.” Unless it’s tough, disciplined love, in which case forget it. Cathedrals, once sacred spaces for worship, prayer, rejoicing and contemplation, are now fun fairs with helter-skelters and crazy golf.

Crazy is the right word

If you take the time to listen to the two Toms and then listen to almost anything from either of the Archbishops, Welby or Sentanu, or almost any other bishop, you will be able to hear exactly what I mean.