The Aged P

…just toasting and ruminating….

Archive for the 'Religion' Category

“It is not the task of the criminal law to censor offensive utterances”….At last – a judge with common sense..


Evangelical Protestant preacher Pastor James McConnell from Belfast is, unlike many 21st century public figures, not a man given to nuance. Such a character, naturally, fits awkwardly with the modern state which increasingly seeks to discourage vigorous and robust debate. Hand in hand with the legions of the easily offended who patrol social media to hunt out and silence anyone who upsets their sensibilities our political and judicial masters are happy to enact and enforce laws to metaphorically cut out the tongues of those refuse to avoid giving “offence”

Thus Pastor McConnell, as a result of a sermon he preached to his congregation in May 2014 that was also streamed over the internet was charged with improper use of a public electronic communications network and causing a grossly offensive message to be sent by means of a public electronic communications network.

The state sought to punish him for making this statement.

‘Today we see powerful evidence that more and more Muslims are putting the Koran’s hatred of Christians and Jews alike into practice. ‘Now people say there are good Muslims in Britain, that may be so but I don’t trust them. Enoch Powell was right and he lost his career because of it. ‘Enoch Powell was a prophet and he told us that blood would flow in the streets and it has happened.

‘Fifteen years ago Britain was concerned of IRA cells, right throughout the nation they done a deal with the IRA because they were frightened of being bombed. Today a new evil has arisen. There are cells of Muslims right throughout Britain. Can I hear an Amen?

‘Right throughout Britain and this nation is going to enter a great tribulation and a great trial. To judge by some of what I have heard in the past few months you would think that Islam was a little more than a variation of Christianity and Judaism, not so. 

‘Islam’s ideas about God about humanity, about salvation are vastly different from the teaching of the Holy Scriptures. Islam is heathen, Islam is satanic, Islam is a doctrine spawned in hell.’ 

Words, claimed the prosecution, deliberately designed to offend Muslims.

Not so, said the Pastor.

no way I was out to hurt them – I wouldn’t hurt a hair on their head. But what I am against is their theology and what they believe in.

But, from the moment he was charged he remained defiant and said that he would not stop preaching the Christian gospel even if the price was finding himself behind bars.

Certainly there were expectations that the state’s aim of shutting him away in a cell would come to pass in this age of tender feelings. But a miracle happened – or rather an equally unexpected manifestation – a justice with common sense in the person of District Judge Liam McNally.

‘The courts need to be very careful not to criminalise speech which, however contemptible, is no more than offensive. ‘It is not the task of the criminal law to censor offensive utterances. ‘Accordingly I find Pastor McConnell not guilty of both charges.’

I rejoiced at that judgement. I might or might not agree with the Pastor on what he said. But I would be outside the courthouse clapping the verdict. Not because I supported his sermon – but because I supported his right to preach it. Just as I would be perfectly entitled to then stand up on a soapbox and rip into everything he said.

It is incredibly illiberal for the state to police hatred. Hatred might not be big or clever, but it’s only an emotion. And officialdom has no business telling us what we may feel — or think, or say, or write. Allowing the state to monitor belief represents a brutal reversal of the Enlightenment itself. John Locke, in his Letter Concerning Toleration (1689), set the tone for the Enlightenment as an attempt to ‘settle the bounds’ between the business of government and the business of morality. ‘The business of laws is not to provide for the truth of opinions, but for the safety and security of every particular man’s goods and person’, he wrote. That ideal is now turned on its head. Across Europe, governments ‘provide for the truth of opinions’, and in the process they silence those they don’t like and patronise the rest of us, reducing us to imbeciles incapable of working out what is right and wrong, and of speaking out against the wrong.

A small but significant victory in the fightback against a censorship being imposed by those who consider themselves morally superior to the rest of us. But we must resist the temptation to sheathe our swords.

There will be many more Pastor McConnells to defend…..

posted by david in Law,Liberty,Politics,Religion,UK,UK Politics and have Comments Off on “It is not the task of the criminal law to censor offensive utterances”….At last – a judge with common sense..

Spectator Readers Hurl Venom & Vitriol At C of E’s First Woman Bishop – Shame On Them


The fragrant Isabel Hardman interviewed Libby Lane, the Church of England’s first woman bishop. In classic hack fashion she tried the “gotcha” technique to get the lady to pigeon hole herself and thus generate a headline or two. Instead Libby skilfully steered clear of the traps and thus irritated Ms Hardman.

Good for her – in my book the more journalists we can irritate the better…

However what did initially shock me were the comments underneath the article. Then I realised that in fact this was no surprise. Nothing like a post about a woman bishop to generate a wave of misogynistic bile and venom  at the Speccie proving once again that the so-called Religion of Peace and Love is home to a vast regiment of bitter and twisted haters who yearn for the good old days when heretics could be burned at the stake and women waterboarded for withcraft.

Now I’m no fan of positive discrimination – in my view the job should go to the candidate best fitted for the task without reference to gender or race or age. But I do know this – when I was teaching in a tough comprehensive and had to ask a police officer to come in to discuss an incident or an individual pupil I found the female officers more aware, more flexible and more willing to work with us than the men who generally were plodlike in their lack of imagination.

Many of my female colleagues in the school were excellent teachers with good discipline and a willingness to get stuck in whereas some of the weakest teachers were men who had as much social awareness as a pilchard.

I’m not saying that all women police or teachers are wonderful – but they need to be judged on their ability to do the job – so give Libby Lane a break and judge her in five years time.

After all she can hardly be worse than quite a few of our male bishops….

posted by david in Religion and have Comments Off on Spectator Readers Hurl Venom & Vitriol At C of E’s First Woman Bishop – Shame On Them

Why Is The Church In Constant Retreat?

Wonga, benefit “cuts”, asylum seekers, same sex marriage, women bishops…..wherever you see “Church of England”, “Bishop” etc in the media it will almost certainly be a quote upon one of those subjects…it’s almost as if the Church of England has become one all embracing campaigning charity, obsessed with whatever is issue of the day at BBC/Guardian dinner parties.

The mythical Martian would have a hard time grasping the fact that the C of E was about God and matters spiritual. He/she/it would see it as an institution in retreat, almost too embarrassed to even mention the R word.

Churches are empty and congregations dwindling even though the clergy strive not to offend..

Near where I live is a huge private estate, mainly housing about 5,000 young couples with school age children on comfortable but relatively modest salaries.  – the sort of people who see the church as a major irrelevance. The development plan had a site earmarked for an Anglican church….it was never built because the C of E didn’t fancy the challenge.


In the past Christians went out of their way to go into areas where they were not welcomed. They flourished when they were being despised and hated – and eventually gained converts simply because of admiration engendered by fighting against long odds.

Isn’t it time the C of E stopped apologising and retreating  and went out into the streets proclaiming the gospel?

Isn’t it time for another John Wesley?

posted by david in Religion and have Comments Off on Why Is The Church In Constant Retreat?

21st Century Pakistan……Not Protesting = Blasphemy = Execution?

Pakistani police are probing a local businessman over alleged blasphemy. His refusal to close his shops in solidarity with demonstrators against an Islam-insulting film led to a standoff which could see him face execution or life imprisonment

As Kirsty Wark of BBC Newsnight would say – yet another of Muslims being OFFENDED and OUTRAGED, their ANGER being driven by religious fervour……(go to 22 minutes into this and watch how, when Ayaan Hirsi Ali starts wondering about the selectivity of Pakistani outrage Kirsty gets distinctly uncomfortable and quickly ends the interview)

….or maybe it’s not so much about religious fervour and more about something a tad less spiritual. The businessman owns a lot of shops in the city of Hyderabad

Police suspect that some of the complaints against Khan have been filed by other shop owners, whom the businessman threatened to evict for late payments.

That’s the advantage of a little bit of religious fervour. You can gain some celestial credit for the afterlife and settle a few old scores at the same time.

Job done…..

posted by david in Asia,Pakistan,Religion and have Comments Off on 21st Century Pakistan……Not Protesting = Blasphemy = Execution?

Is WaPo appointing a 194 yr old man as their Mormon “expert” for 2012 election?

Great news – with the publication of this it is clear that those rumours about the appointment of Thomas C Sharp as a Washington Post 2012 Election consultant appear to have a certain degree of substance. Just as Adolf Eichmann was regarded by the Nazis as an “expert” on Jews so Mr Sharp is an “expert” on Mormons.

War and extermination is inevitable! Citizens ARISE, ONE and ALL!!!—Can you stand by, and suffer such INFERNAL DEVILS! to ROB men of their property and RIGHTS, without avenging them. We have no time for comment, every man will make his own. LET IT BE MADE WITH POWDER AND BALL!!!

Like Eichmann Mr Sharp was also a man of action, playing a leading role in the raid on the Carthage Jailhouse in June 1844 when the Mormon leader Joseph Smith and his brother were murdered. He and others were charged with murder but were acquitted by a sympathetic jury.

Mr Sharp’s role will be to select historical references to Mormons which can be used to suggest that they are strange and a little sinister and therefore putting a Mormon like Mitt Romney in the White House might turn Washington into another Nauvoo.

Mr Sharp has apologised for his untoward behaviour in 1844. “I was a young man and hot tempered. Now I am 194 I have matured in my views…I no longer see Mormons as the devil’s spawn, just as a bunch of weirdoes who don’t like hope and change..”

Indeed at this very moment Mr Sharp has despatched scores of WaPo “investigative journalists” to Utah to track down Romney’s multiple wives currently undercover until January 2013….

posted by david in History,Religion,USA,USA Politics and have Comments Off on Is WaPo appointing a 194 yr old man as their Mormon “expert” for 2012 election?

Grandma Was So Pleased Other Drivers “Honked For Jesus” Even When She Missed A Green Light…

When you’re my age you get to go to quite a few 70th birthday celebrations. The other day we went to one where the lady in question is part of a large Scottish Catholic family so we had a ceilidh with lots of reels and jigs. The Lovely Mrs P is a keen dancer whereas I have two left feet but a ceilidh is designed for family fun so the dances were easy to follow.

The food was good and the beer and wine free flowing but eventually one of the lady’s sons presented the toast with a loving speech interlaced with wry humour. The lady herself responded with gracious thanks and then said she was going to read out “Grandma’s Letter of Love”

Now although she does have a sense of humour she is also a deeply religious lady so we were expecting something fairly anodyne. Imagine our surprise when she came out with this…

Dear Friend,

The other day I went up to a local Christian bookstore and saw a “Honk If You Love Jesus“ car sticker. I was feeling particularly excited that day because I had just come from a thrilling choir performance, followed by a thunderous prayer meeting, so I bought the sticker and put it in the corner of my rear window.

Am I glad I did! What an uplifting experience followed!

I was stopped at a red light at some road works, just lost in thought about the Lord and how good He is…and I didn’t notice that the light had changed. It is a good thing someone else loves Jesus because if he hadn’t honked, I’d never have noticed! I found that LOTS of people love Jesus! While I was sitting there, the guy behind started honking like crazy, and then he leaned out of his window and screamed, “For the love of GOD! GO! GO! Jesus Christ, GO!”

What an exuberant cheerleader he was for Jesus! Everyone started honking! I just leaned out of my window and started waving and smiling at all these loving people. I even honked my horn a few times to share in the love. One man obviously mistook me for a lady friend because he called me “Millie Rich”….

I saw another man waving in a funny way with two fingers stuck up in the air. When I asked my teenage grandson in the back seat what that meant, he said that it was a Hawaiian good luck sign or something. Well, I’ve never met anyone from Hawaii, so I leaned out the window and gave him the good luck sign back.

My grandson burst out laughing; why even he was enjoying this religious experience.

A couple of the people were so caught up in the joy of the moment that they got out of their cars and started walking towards me.
I bet they wanted to pray or ask what church I attended, but this is when I noticed the light had changed so I waved and smiled to all my sisters and brothers and drove on through the roadworks.

I noticed I was the only car that got through before the light changed again, and I felt kind of sad that I had to leave them after all the love we had shared, so I slowed the car down, leaned out of the window, and gave them all the Hawaiian good luck sign one last time as I drove away.

Praise the Lord for such wonderful folks!



No need to worry – it went down a storm and I immediately ordered another pint of Spitfire to continue the toast….

posted by david in Humour,Personal,Religion and have Comments Off on Grandma Was So Pleased Other Drivers “Honked For Jesus” Even When She Missed A Green Light…

UK Muslim Cabinet Minister Tells European Christians To Stop Apologising And Start Standing Up For Themselves

A Muslim UK Cabinet Minister, addressing a meeting in The Vatican, warned against an aggressive secularisation that was on the rise in Britain and Europe

“My theory is that… we have got to the stage where aggressive secularism is being imposed by stealth… denying people the right to a religious identity and failing to understand the relationship between religious loyalty and loyalty to the state,”

Warsi, born and bred in Yorkshire of Pakistani parents is a combative conservative who has fallen foul of both the gay rights lobby for opposing homosexual marriage and of jihadists who have threatened her for her support of Bitish troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

She has consistently and robustly defended the role of religion in modern society and poured scorn not just upon those militant atheists who seek to drive it out of public life but also upon so called religious “leaders” who seem to be in constant retreat in the face of those militants.

to create a more just society, people need to feel stronger in their religious identities and more confident in their creeds. In practice this means individuals not diluting their faiths and nations not denying their religious heritages

But what is most striking about this Muslim lady is not just her acceptance that Christianity is a key element of European culture and civilisation but her insistence that Europeans should make that fact a cause for celebration.

today I will be taking the argument one step further. I will be arguing for Europe to become more confident and more comfortable in its Christianity. The point is this: the societies we live in, the cultures we have created, the values we hold and the things we fight for all stem from centuries of discussion, dissent and belief in Christianity.

These values shine through our politics, our public life, our culture, our economics, our language and our architecture. And, as I will say today, you cannot and should not extract these Christian foundations from the evolution of our nations any more than you can or should erase the spires from our landscapes.

How sad that it falls to a Muslim politician to defend Christianity and Britain’s culture and history. Where are the bishops and archbishops who should be fighting the good fight?. Oh, I forgot….they are too busy APOLOGISING for the very thing Warsi was eulogising.

What a crazy world…..

posted by david in Europe,Politics,Religion and have Comments Off on UK Muslim Cabinet Minister Tells European Christians To Stop Apologising And Start Standing Up For Themselves

Et cetera, Et cetera…..Swordfish, Sarkozy, Sex etc.

Sarkozy & Merkel discuss plans for their new ship while the Titanic is sinking under them

Never upset a swordfish

After you have argued with someone it is never advisable to invite them to tattoo your back…

Misogynistic sadists with a medieval mindset doing rather well in some parts of the UK

Am I alone in not caring a fig about Sarah Jessica Parker’s insecurities?

Teachers in Ghana go on strike over students’ “Bowel Protest”

Austrians demand less theory and more practice when it comes to sex education in schools…

Whereas in France if you don’t regularly satisfy your wife in bed a judge will be very displeased…

posted by david in Africa,Criminals,Education,Law,Morality,Religion,Sexuality and have Comments Off on Et cetera, Et cetera…..Swordfish, Sarkozy, Sex etc.

The Last Supper – The Genius of Leonardo da Vinci

The Last Supper is one of the most famous of Leonardo’s pictures. Commissioned by da Vinci’s patron, Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, it was painted on a wall inside the convent of Santa Maria della Grazie in Milan in the 1490s. The Last Supper had always been a popular subject for devotional painting but Leonardo’s interpretation lifted the image to a higher plane in terms of art.

Firstly it was a snapshot fixed on a specific moment during the meal when Jesus shocked his comrades

Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.
When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in the spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.
The disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake.

Look at the expressions and postures of the disciples – Leonardo portrayed them as ordinary men suddenly charged with conflicting emotions, not (as had traditionally been done) as a gathering of “saints” with either pious or adoring faces.

See how he also forces the onlooker to focus on the picture through the figure of Jesus, calm and serene compared with all the others.

Bartholomew, James Minor and Andrew form a group of three. All are aghast, Andrew to the point of holding his hands up in a “stop!” gesture.
Judas, Peter and John form the next group of three. Judas, you will note, has his face in shadow and is clutching a small bag (of silver?). Peter is visibly angry and a feminine-looking John seems about to swoon.
Christ is the calm in the midst of the storm.
Thomas, James Major and Philip are next. Thomas is clearly agitated, James Major stunned and Philip seems to be seeking clarification.
Matthew, Thaddeus and Simon comprise the last group of three figures. It appears that, when a situation turns ugly, Simon is the “go to” guy for explanations.

The potency of this work of genius is immeasurable – it allows the observer into the painting itself through the strange interaction between the divine serenity of the eternal Jesus and the so recognisable ordinary everyday humanity of the disciples. In this way Leonardo’s achievement is to transform what is essentially a two dimensional wall decoration into a moment when the hand of God Himself appears to reach out to the unexpecting passer by.

For anyone in London between now and early February there is a once in a lifetime chance to see a unique collection of da Vinci’s paintings at the National Gallery. You will not see the original mural, of course – that remains forever upon the wall of the convent. But there will be an early copy.

One point to note…..looking at the mural it appears to suggest the back of a large empty chair opposite Jesus – it is, in fact, a door, built into the wall by some witless oaf a century after the painting had been finished…..

posted by david in Art,Religion and have Comment (1)

Pastor Says He Was Ordered To Rape Five Sisters By “Celestial Powers”…

Yaw Nkansah, a 30 year old pastor of a church in Ghana, showed great concern when a 15 year old girl was brought to him by her mother seeking spiritual deliverance from her troubles. He invited the girl to his Prayer Camp and prayed over her to try to identify the cause of her problem.

He discovered that the devil had “cast a prostititution spell” on her. It was a strong spell but he had the power to break it and he told her to put some money and a cloth under her pillow and sleep on it for a week, then to give the cloth and the money to him.
The grateful girl willingly followed his advice.

After receiving the cloth and money he took her outside to a bush, told her to strip naked and then took her back to his bedroom where he smeared her with holy oil.

For a while they just prayed quietly together.

Suddenly he cried out that he had a message from the “holy spirit”.

In order to be purified the girl would have to have sex with him.

Nervous at this revelation she began to have doubts. But the pastor sprinkled her with some “holy” powder and she fell into a “sleep”. When she awoke she realised he had raped her and protested. But the pastor told her that if she mentioned to anybody else she would die an agonising death.

So she remained silent.

But some weeks later another girl brought before the pastor for spiritual healing died during the process. Her relatives, worried about this, consulted an oracle. The oracle revealed that Pastor Nkansah could not heal the girl because he had raped five sisters. The mother of the five girls confronted them and they each told her how the pastor had raped them.

He had done the same cruel trick with the four sisters of his first victim…

In front of a tribal court Nkansah pleaded guilty but claimed he had been ordered to have sex with the girls by “celestial powers” The tribal court fined him a ram and two bottles of schnapps and the ram was slaughtered to reverse the curse.

He was then handed over to the civil court where a judge gave him twenty years in the slammer to reflect on those “celestial” powers….

Church leaders in Ghana are concerned but not entirely surprised by this and other cases where pastors are abusing their position. Rev. Gideon Titi-Offei, the general secretary of the National Association of Charismatic Christian Churches pointed out that the Bible, as usual, was not silent on this issue.

We are extremely worried that pastors of late are making the front pages of various newspapers for the wrong reasons…but it’s not surprising to us at all, because the Bible is not silent on wolves coming in sheep’s clothing. And the Bible also talks about Satan coming in the form of an agent of light.

Amen to that – and, I wager, not just in Ghana…

h/t Modern Ghana

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posted by david in Africa,Criminals,Religion and have Comments Off on Pastor Says He Was Ordered To Rape Five Sisters By “Celestial Powers”…

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