Midweek review

We’re halfway through the week. Let’s sit back and reflect on some of the issues of the moment.

  1. I must say, I’ve been enjoying this immensely. The US Episcopal Church has ‘stunned’ Christians around the world by electing something called a ‘woman’ as a primate in the Anglican Church. I have no idea what a ‘primate’ is in this context – I thought they were apes? Ironic, given the aversion of much of the American Christian movement to evolutionary theory (or any type of theory, save for that which involves shutting their eyes and talking to the sky), that the leaders of their church are named after our simian ancestry. Anyway, it’s caused a right rumpus because, err, um. Nope, I cannot get my head around it either. A woman? A representative of 50% of the planet? In the upper echelons of the church? Outrageous. They’ll be appointing homosexuals next! What’s that, you say? Oh. Let’s just sit back and watch them squabble over this pointless debate, perpetually reinforcing their own utter irrelevance to the rest of us.

  3. Speaking of utter irrelevance, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, has called on ministers to review the existing abortion law and to lower the upper threshold from 24 weeks. An emotive subject, for sure, and there are probably very good reasons for reviewing this in the light of medical and technological advances. Two important things to remember here though. Firstly, the number of terminations carried out at this late stage is statistically minimal and nearly always performed for a valid medical reason. Secondly, when the time for the debate is appropriate, it will be based on the reasoning and expertise of the medical authorities, not the wishes of the Vatican. The day that the good Cardinal himself can carry a baby to term is the day we should listen to his opinions on the subject.

  5. Watching England in the World Cup has so far been a painful experience. Last night’s game against Sweden was particularly frustrating. Sure, both of England’s goals were great, but what’s happened to the defence? That second Sweden goal couldn’t have been more comical if Harold Lloyd was in the six yard box on roller skates heading towards two men carrying a big sheet of glass. Against the likes of Argentina or Brazil, we are going to be humiliated. Oh, and England fans? Please stop singing the tune to The Great Escape. It’s just embarrassing.

  7. It’s June 21st, summer solstice, the longest day of the year. From now on the days are getting shorter, the nights are rolling in. Winter begins here, ladies and gentlemen. Christmas cards will be in the shops before you know it. Enjoy!

Centrist. Atlanticist. Dry liberal. Anti-totalitarian. Post-ideological pragmatist. Child of The Enlightenment. Toucan.

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20 comments on “Midweek review
  1. kurt says:

    re: “primates,” the Episcopal Church and evolution:

    you say “Ironic, given the aversion of much of the American Christian movement to evolutionary theory”.

    but i think you’d be painting the “american Christian movement” with too broad a brush if you lump the (relatively liberal) Episcopalians with the (paleolithic) Christian fundamentalists. the Episcopalians don’t have a problem with evolution.

    though, of course, it is a bit surprising that the idea of a female church leader is creating so much controversy in this day and age. but then, at the foundation of religion is so much cleaving to ancient habits of thought and behavior, only discarded when it becomes too horrifically out of sync with modern life, if then.

  2. Citizen Sane says:

    You clearly know much more than I about the intricacies of American churches. Thanks for the insight!

    In my defence, I did say much of the American Christian movement. Although the Christian Fundamentalists seem a bigger block to me from over here. They’re certainly the most vocal, which is unfortunate.

  3. Devil's Advocate says:

    I’m surprised your review didn’t include the government’s most shameful pandering to the Daily Mail mindset (and let’s face it, past stuff takes some beating) yet, the supposed introduction of ‘Sarah’s law’.

  4. Citizen Sane says:

    Indeed. Pandering to the News of the World, no less. (Is that better or worse? Beats me.) I have been thinking about it.

  5. ph says:

    Utter irrelevance ?
    There are some huge moral arguements about abortion that virtually all of the organisations that make up British society refuse (in many cases because they are scared) to have. The Catholic church at least has the guts to stand up against the moral norms of today. It got caught out by going with the flow in the 1930’s and 40’s, maybe it has learnt its lesson

  6. Citizen Sane says:

    Turning a blind eye to Nazism you mean? That was certainly fashionable in the 1930s and 40s.

    I don’t think the Catholic Church has learnt its lesson at all, which is why it is still grotesquely out of step with most of society. We don’t need guidance on morality from an institution that routinely covers up child abuse and fosters the spread of AIDS in Africa by its absurd position on contraception.

  7. Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) says:

    Secondly, when the time for the debate is appropriate, it will be based on the reasoning and expertise of the medical authorities, not the wishes of the Vatican. The day that the good Cardinal himself can carry a baby to term is the day we should listen to his opinions on the subject.

    You just said that only women can be medical authorities/experts, did you not?

  8. Citizen Sane says:

    No, I did not.

  9. Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) says:

    No, I did not.

    Well, you said that the expertise of medical authorities is what’s really important on the subject of abortion. You then say that there’s no need to listen to the cardinal unless he can carry a baby to term. That’s a simple syllogism with a fairly straightforward conclusion (the one I stated previously), is it not?

  10. H says:

    Except Justin for it to be a true syllogism, Sane would have needed to place a “therefore” in between his two sentences or somehow implied that the latter was dependent on the former. I think it was clear to all readers that Sane meant that an issue such as abortion should be dealt with by the medical authorities not some religious loon.

    As for your having a laugh at the Episcopalian church – you really did choose the wrong donkey. They are in fact miles away from the Christian fundamentalist movement and generally at the other end of the political spectrum. In fact its increasingly marginalised conservative wing is likely to be forced to break with the movement over this whole issue, as it now looks likely that the Episcopalians will be chucked out of the communion and the conservative wing will form a new church and asked to be admitted to the communion. While I recognise that you did mention that you were not necessarily lumping them in with the Falwell/Robertson idiot cult, the truth is that they are really the anti-thesis of them. Falwell and Robertson and their no-brainer followers support the idea of religious fundamentalism, biblical literalism, anti-progress, political extremism and small minded parochialism. They have more in common with secular right-wingers than religious liberals like the majority of the episcopalian church and the new leadership especially.

    As for england, spent the equador match watching with a scouser who couldn’t stop saying how crap beckham was and that he must be slipping erikson one to still have his place. Couldn’t help but laugh at the sad patheticness of England fans. For the sake of Football, hopefully England will be crushed by Portugal in the quarterfinals so that more people will not be put off the beautiful game by having to watch the excuse for a spectacle which England have provided during this World Cup. Every England fan should be ashamed, not just of the wholly predictable and usual hooliganism but because of the awful standard of the football that the “team” has played.

    Enjoyed this last post plenty.



  11. Citizen Sane says:

    Indeed. Never mind a syllogism, Justin. I think what you have done there is something slightly more prosaic: you have added 2+2 and come up with 5.

    As H rightly points out, I believe this is a subject where the medical authorities are the best sources of information, not religious leaders of any persuasion. My subsequent comment about the Cardinal carrying a baby to term is not conjoined to the previous point per se.

    So your conclusion is actually a non sequitur:

    1. The medical bodies are the best authority on this subject.
    2. The Cardinal cannot fall pregnant.
    3. Only women can be authorities on this matter.

    Point 3 is clearly not an outcome of points 1 and 2.

    It’s getting like my old philosophy lectures in here. . .

  12. ph says:

    Clearly medical authorities should have a strong input into the abortion debate, but the debate should not be left to them alone.
    The rights and wrongs about aborting pre-natal babies is something that all society should have an opinion about. I do not believe that medics occupy some special moral plane that mere mirtals like myself could never achieve

  13. Devil's Advocate says:

    Sure – but are England really going to win on Saturday?

  14. ph says:

    who cares. It seems sad that the English have been reduced to such a pathetic state that all their hopes, dreams, ambition, pride etc etc have to be almost soley focused on a bunch of spoilt, overpaid, dull, underacheivers.

  15. Devil's Advocate says:

    ph, are you Simon Heffer in disguise?

  16. Citizen Sane says:

    I’d always assumed ph was Peter Hitchens. . .

  17. Citizen Sane says:

    Speaking of which, I’ve just found out that Peter Hitchens has a blog! Holy hell in a handcart, Robin!

  18. ph says:

    Neither Heffer or Hitchens. Maybe having a surname that starts H with makes one a reactionary

  19. Devil's Advocate says:

    Melanie Phillips?

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