Just a load of jazzy odds and ends today. I really like the first track. It's like "Love Supreme" era Coltrane over a heavy beat. Mind you, for all I know it is Coltrane over a heavy beat. Sampling is the new plagiarism. I'm getting old.
5th Avenue - Perspectives Last Call - Steve Hudson A Smile - brotha.deep & Wayne Cobham Tennant A - Marty Schwartz Not Included - Brotha.Deep The Contessa - DC Fontana
Due to personal issues, Hillbilly Musings will be closing for a few months. Keep me in your prayers.
I've emailed Hillbilly.
SCG, at WAKE UP AND LIVE, asked us a while back to pray for her friend, Charlotte who was to undergo exploratory surgery for cancer. Things have been happening fast in this lady's life recently, but it seems to be a Thanks Be To God situation. For full detail's, go check out SCG's blog.
For the past twelve days I've been able to do very little except to think of Haiti, a country and people that I love. Added to that I've lost a good friend, Arnold, whose heart gave out after a long fight. I led the service for him today.
Friends and family of Myra Ical would like to invite the community to pay their last respects on Saturday, January 30, 2010 at the Santana Funeral Home located at 5352 Katy Freeway (corner of I-10 & T C Jester).
Myra Ical was a Houston transgender woman who was brutally murdered January 18th and whose memory was imediatly slandered by media. The community spoke out against the slander and organized the largest TG action in Houston's history.After the community spoke up, the media corrected their portrayal of Myra's life and death, the request for information leading to the arrest of Myra's killer was carried on practically all Houston media and we now know the name of a person of interest.
Myra's friends were moved beyond words by the response from the community. Many of them shared stories about Myra's life - especially her compassion - with me. Myra's family and friends asked me to extend this invitation to help them say goodbye to their loved one and our sister, Myra Ical between the hours of 1 and 9 PM this Saturday.
As I said before, I have a friend here who has chosen to undergo cancer treatment in China. I have been struggling with what my response should be. So far all I've done is listen and offer help. I have been asking everyone I know for advice and opinions. Many of my friends have lived in China for years and have experience with the medical system or know someone who has.
This morning a friend of a friend called me. She is an RN who has been in China for a long time and works for one of the "organizations". She told me all of the horror stories of people who have opted to stay in country for medical care. She did not mince words, "tell your friend to get back to the states, now". If my friend continues with the proposed plan of two weeks of chemo followed by surgery, she probably won't survive a week after the surgery. The Chinese routinely kill people with chemo, they give too much. If she survives that, her immune system will be depressed. They don't practice basic hygiene, even in the hospitals, so post op infection is normal. This is a disaster."
Now I need a plan. I know she won't listen to me, she's decided it's God's will.
“Enjoy your new eyes.”, said Dr. Bruce Cassidy on my left eye post-op visit on Wednesday. Both eyes feel quite good, minus their cataracts and plus their new lenses, for now. But last eve I got a little worried that my right eye may be faintly showing double images, and when I was out snow shoeing yesterday afternoon I noticed a cobweb-like floater in my right eye vision. Is the “macular pucker” that Dr. Cassidy pointed out to me in a test on my first visit rearing it’s puckered head? Macular pucker may or may not affect vision and I don’t really think the vision in my right eye is suffering much, but when I have my visit with Dr. Christine Newell on Feb. 10, I can find out if there is any loss or distortion of vision in my right eye. Otherwise, it’s fun having this new set of eyes and not having to wear glasses, except for reading and computer viewing.
Blogging Bishop David Chillingworth (the Piskies' Big Boss) has just come back from one of those fancy debates at the Cambridge Union. He spoke for the motion: "This House believes that religion is a force for good in society. "
I have no idea whether he won or not, but I've posted what he said on the OCICBW... FOOTNOTES section. It's good.
By the way, check out Bishop David's THINKING ALOUD blog. He's on the side of the angels and don't worry, he spent 40 years as a parish priest slap bang in the middle of the Irish Troubles - you lot won't phase him (not even JCF).
Something I've noticed recently is that I'm adding a few blogging, Anglican priests from England to THE NEIGHBOURHOOD list. This is great. For years there was only me, Saintly Ramblings and (only occasionally nowadays) Freedom Bound. I'm glad the Inclusive Church brigade are beginning to get a bit more vocal. It's not long before the Big Showdown when the National Synod votes on the Covenant (boo! hiss!) and the middle of the road is going to have to be persuaded of the dire consequences of giving up our independence. At the moment it looks like they'd all just follow The Grand Tufti like lemmings over a cliff (if lemmings did jump over cliffs which, of course, they don't - it's just a myth put about by Norwegians with nothing better to do during the long, cold winters stuck in their log cabins).
Anyway, that little rant is merely the precursor to the main business of this post which is to recommend that you pop over to the GLORIOUS THINGS blog, that I have just added to list of ne'erdowells and troublemakers that make up our neighbourhood. The young lady who puts it together has, obviously, been brought up properly and knows how to behave in public. So be nice to her! And none of your usual naughtiness in her comment boxes. We don't want to scare the English off so soon after they have arrived on the scene. (It's just like a world war - but in reverse).
A cat from Tyneside has become the biggest cat to ever take part in a pet slimming competition. Socrates, owned by Bull Duncan from North Shields, weighed 22.2lbs (10.1kg) at the start of the challenge - more than double his ideal bodyweight. He lost 3.3lbs (1.5kg). However, the champion was another cat, Amber, a 12-year-old from Edinburgh, who weighed 15.7lbs (7.1kgs) at the start of the challenge in September - more than 60 per cent over her ideal weight.
I'm not at all certain what the commander in chief of the Vatican Nation's, English fifth columnists is on about here. It's definitely spin but it could also, easily, be a threat. From passed experience I'm going for threat.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols said this week that the publication of the apostolic constitution allowing Anglicans the option of entering into full communion with the Catholic Church “will have important consequences” in England.
In an interview with Vatican Radio in Rome, Archbishop Nichols said, “The reaction to this document is, in a certain sense, measured. There was a strong reaction at first, which was inflated by the media. Now we are in a phase of evaluation, reflection and prayer. In order for there to be a “complete assessment of the Pope’s initiative one must consider the important announcement of the start of the third phase of the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission. In my opinion, the two are related. The response of the Holy Father has given a positive stimulus to ARCIC's debates. Anglicanorum coetibus is not a coincidence. In our joint declaration, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury and I have said that this move by the Holy See will end a period of uncertainty, and consider this to be a positive contribution to a wider dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion as a whole, which will have important consequences for the country.”
The NORWICH BOOKS AND MUSIC SPRING SALE 2010 is now on. This includes titles from the SCM, Epworth, DLT, Canterbury and CHP presses. There's some good stuff on offer but I would particularly draw your attention to "A Celtic Primer," compiled by Brendan O’Malley (including the full text on CDROM) which is down from £17.99 to £8.50.
The full list of books on sale can be viewed HERE.
The doctor comes in and says, "Ah, I see you've regained consciousness. Now, you probably won't remember, but you were in a pile-up a month ago on the M50. You're going to be okay, you'll walk again and everything, but...... something happened. I'm trying to break this gently, but the fact is, your penis was chopped off in the crash, and we were unable to find it."
The man groans, but the doctor goes on, "You've got £9000 in insurance compensation coming to you, and we have the technology now to build you a new penis that will work as well as your old one did - better in fact! But the thing is, it doesn't come cheap, it's £1000 an inch."
The man perks up at this.
"So," the doctor says, "it's for you to decide how many inches you want. But it's something you'd better discuss with your wife. I mean, if you had a five inch one before, and you decide to go for a nine incher, she might be a bit put out. But if you had a nine inch one before, and you decide only to invest in a five incher this time, she might be disappointed. So it's important that she plays a role in helping you make the decision."
The man agrees to talk with his wife. The doctor comes back the next day..
"So," says the doctor, "have you spoken with your wife?"
Yes, it's true! Due to your generosity before Christmas OCICBW... now possesses the technology to actually talk to you. Isn't it exciting?!
You can either stream the audio files or you can download them to your computer to be listened to later. Why not, transfer them to your iPod and curl up in bed with MadPriest?
Seriously, though, I am an old man getting used to new technology. I think on this first effort I have spoken far too slowly and I expect there will be some editing mistakes. Hopefully, I will get more proficient as time goes by.
At long last, something that the entire Northern Hemisphere can join together and feel mutually superior and smug about - and, of course, it's all true because it was on the BBC.
Australians top the list as the world's most envious people in a global tally of the seven deadly sins. They also score highly for the other six, making Australia the "most sinful nation" on earth, according to a BBC magazine show. The tally compared national statistics for plastic surgery (pride), theft (envy), violent crime (wrath), number of annual holidays (sloth), annual salary (greed), money spent on fast food (gluttony) and porn (lust). Australians gained the dubious prize of being named "the most sinful nation on earth" for scoring highly in every one of the seven categories, the report added.
Popular Melbourne priest Father Bob Maguire said Australians had their vices, but they were also very virtuous.
"Australians like to indulge and enjoy the good things in life - we are open about that. But people forget that the mirror image of the sins are the seven virtues and Australians also have a lot of virtues on balance. We're just too laconic to talk about the things we do right."
COMMENT: Too laconic? I think that what Father Bob (who's a good bloke) really means to say is that Australians are too pissed all the while to talk about "the things they do right." Either that, or they are too busy surfing the net for sheep porn. Good on yer, mates!
In a message for National Holocaust Memorial Day Dr Rowan Williams said mankind must remain alert to a repeat of the Nazis’ division of people into “us and them”, which led to the death of millions in concentration camps during the Second World War.
Personally, I've found from experience that there's no teaching canoes. They just sit there in the water and do nothing unles you poke them with a stick or give them a kick Even then they just float off a few yards and go back to sleep.
I fear this may prove all too much for our good friend, Tim Chesterton. He's had a lot of excitement lately. Firstly, he has given birth to his first grandchild. Then, I go and agree with him about something on one of the threads yesterday and now I'm posting a whole load of songs by a brilliant, rootsy band called The Deep dark Wood who are from, of all places, Canada. As you all know, Canadians are a quite boring people who normally avoid excitement at all costs. Hopefully, that little bit of an Englishman that hides deep inside of Tim, behind the face fungus, will be enough to stop him exploding messily all over the place when he reads this.
A detailed and startling analysis of how unequal Britain has become offers a snapshot of an increasingly divided nation where the richest 10% of the population are more than 100 times as wealthy as the poorest 10% of society. The report, "An Anatomy of Economic Inequality in the UK," scrutinises the degree to which the country has become more unequal over the past 30 years. Much of it will make uncomfortable reading for the Labour government, although the paper indicates that considerable responsibility lies with the Tories, who presided over the dramatic divisions of the 1980s and early 1990s. (THATCHER!)
The new findings show that the household wealth of the top 10% of the population stands at £853,000 and more – over 100 times higher than the wealth of the poorest 10%, which is £8,800 or below (a sum including cars and other possessions). When the highest-paid workers, such as bankers and chief executives, are put into the equation, the division in wealth is even more stark, with individuals in the top 1% of the population each possessing total household wealth of £2.6m or more.
COMMENT: I would be interested in seeing a similar report carried out on the comparative wealth of citizens living in Haiti and other extremely poor countries. I wouldn't be surprised to to find out that, although their people share in a life of crippling poverty, their societies are, in fact, more equal than ours.
In a Jan 6 statement given to Parliament, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Sir Stuart Bell, responded to a written question submitted by the member for the Vale of York, Anne McIntosh (Cons.) asking what “steps are being taken to ensure that the stipend for parish priests is sufficient for them to perform their duties?”
Sir Stuart stated the Central Stipends Authority (CSA) believed the “current stipend levels are adequate” for parish clergy. He noted that in addition to a cash stipend, the clergy remuneration package “includes the provision of housing, payment of council tax, water charges and maintenance costs, a non-contributory pension, removal grants and, in high risk areas, subsidised insurance.”
Additional grants of assistance were made by the Church Commissioners, via the Archbishops’ Council to provide “additional stipend support to the least well-resourced dioceses,” he added.
The CSA was guided by the “principles of adequacy, flexibility and equitability,” Sir Stuart said, noting that each year it set a National Minimum Stipend and “strongly encourages dioceses to ensure that no full-time stipendiary minister is paid below this level.”
Clergy stipends are set by dioceses and the Church Commissioners, the November 2008 annual report of the CSA said. It recommended that for 2009/10 a National Stipend Benchmark --- the stipend at which most full-time incumbent status clergy should be paid --- of £22,250 and a National Minimum Stipend of £20,230.
As of 2008 the national average stipend was 10 per cent below the increase in national average income.
COMMENT: This free housing excuse is a bit of a smokescreen. The trouble is we get paid so little money that we cannot afford to buy a house as an investment and as somewhere to live when we are forced to retire (even those who think the private renting out of property is ethical - which I don't). This means that people in secular employment on a wage commensurate to what a post graduate professional should earn, who have bought their own house which will have increased in value, are astronomically better off than a priest on retirement. Okay, many priests come into the priesthood, later in life , with plenty of the world's wealth already in the pockets, and many have wives earning a decent whack. But not all of them. Those of us from council housing and a blue collar background usually have no assets when we sign up.
Furthermore, the Church's reply to Parliament does not give details of the hours priests work - 6 days a week, 10 hours a day on average, often more. I worked out this means our basic wage on average is £3.50, well below the legal minimum wage which we are not entitled to by law because we are employed by God (God employs us but the Church decides how much to pay us - crafty God).
But, as I keep saying, this is the fault of the laity. The bigwigs are only trying to spread out an ever decreasing pot of money. If the English laity were, as a whole (there are of course many generous individuals) , to give to the church just half of what the American laity gives into the TEC coffers, the labourers in their fields could be given the wages they deserve. But this is not going to happen because the laity no longer have any respect for the office of priest. To most of them we are a commodity to be purchased as cheap as they can get away with. Our church cleaner gets a better hourly rate than I do and they wouldn't dare give her the sort of grief they give me. She'd have them in court before they can say "I don't agree with you, vicar."
The Church of England will this week make a decision about whether to retain its 2.5 million pound investment in the mining group Vedanta Resources (VED.L), which has been accused of building a mine that breaches the rights of a tribe of native people in India. The Church of England's Ethical Advisory Group will meet to discuss the issue now that the group's members have visited the mining operations in question. Three years ago the Norwegian state pension fund sold its shares in the mining company because it did not want to risk contributing to "severe environmental damage and serious or systematic violations of human rights".
Thirdly I refer you to this comment from our friend, ANDREW PLUS:
In the mean time, this week the Grand Tufti will speak at the Trinity Institute at a conference called "Building an Ethical Economy: Theology and the Marketplace" in New York City.
COMMENT: "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation."
England is a piddling little country. A heck of a lot of people are trying to live in it but geographically it is tiny. The distance between Penzance at the tip of Cornwall and Berwick Upon Tweed in the north of Northumberland is only 435 miles. You could drive between the two towns in less than 8 hours. This means that it is not unusual for me to bump into somebody I know when I'm on holiday, even when I am on the other side of the country to Newcastle.
The Church of England is even smaller and the members of the Church of England who are clergy, smaller still in numbers. Important English Anglicans should remember this when they make their pronouncements. You see, we all either know who they really are or we know someone who does.
I know it's not brilliant poetry but I think it meets the point.
Feel free to recycle it wherever you think useful.
We were in the Duck and Feathers, if I remember aright, some years before the Mitre, and some were virgins still. I bought a round, not lilies mind, and set it down ‘No worries,’ I said, ‘just be true to yourself,’ trite, I know, but it means more between the sheets, ‘for what pleases you will surely pleasure him.’ (Though I’m no longer convinced that will work the other way around.) ‘Shut up.’ you said, ‘No-one asked you.’ I did; now look where we’ve got to.
No-one asked me for my views now. But I reckon, Archbishop, that the first hundred ’n fifty years of any relationship is bound to have its troughs and squalls and some things said should not be said and may surely be best forgot. And you know it’s unwise, in the midst of a domestic, for one to decide that the thing to do is to re-write the marriage vows: for love hurries out the window when orders are issued in bed.
And deep in the Rose and Compass where they worry about such things I guess they’re a wee bit concerned at the vision they can see: an Archbishop dons a papal crown while Primates flock to Wippells to sit for their cardinal’s gown, and lawyers most costly consulting with mercurial bureaucrats, and Ancient and Modern revised so the choir sing a single tune: and family turns a business when all must dance to a contract.
So please Archbishop, dear Archbishop, for the sake of some angry words or a few foolish acts and a little blackmail, please don’t go signing this new covenant or throw away your well-worn wedding ring.
Lesley's article, "Are Men more adulterous?" posted at
of you for whom such things are of interest) it contains
a photo of Marilyn Monroe looking very squeezable.
Finally, check out RECTOR'S RAMBLINGS where Father Kenny has posted the "Worst Picture of Jesus Ever?" It possibly is. But if you know of worse you can always email them into me and I'll make it possible for everybody to be inspired by them.
Justice in general is undervalued by C of E leaders, which is why moves towards women bishops have been delayed. The feelings of those opposed (for reasons of theology, fear of change or prejudice) to greater inclusion should indeed be taken seriously. But bishops' highly publicised defence of discrimination damages the image of the church, undermining valuable work at parish level. Their political victory is a moral and spiritual defeat.
Savitri Hensman in THE GUARDIAN. Do go read the rest of her article - her understanding of the Church is the most perceptive I have ever come across in a religious commentator in the English media.
Our Lady of the Holy Cross Catholic Church got a new priest last summer, the Rev. Don Buhr. With him came Elija, a Labrador and border collie mix, who attends every Mass that Buhr celebrates.
“A dog in church — I know it doesn’t sound right and doesn’t seem right,” Buhr said. “But this dog is a gift from God.”
When Buhr came to the church, he asked the parishioners if it would be all right if Elijah attended Mass. He said he didn’t want anyone’s prayers to be disturbed. So far, he said, no one has complained.
Buhr’s last assignment was at a country parish where Elijah was allowed to roam the fields and woods. The dog has made a smooth transition to the inner city. He is the terror of squirrels and other animals that trespass on the parish grounds. Inside the church, however, Elijah is as gentle as a lamb. During Mass, he tends to quietly meander. He may stroll onto the altar to sit beside Buhr or server Brittany Pfaffenback, 16. Elijah occasionally wanders down the aisle and sticks his nose into the pews, seeking affection. In the summer, he prefers lounging on the cool terrazzo tiles of the high altar. On a recent cold Sunday, he favored a spot beside a radiator to the side of the altar. When the crowd lined up to receive Communion, he took up his regular post in front of the first pew on the left. From there, he watched as Buhr distributed the Holy Eucharist.
“He loves that little space and plants himself there every Communion,” said a parish deacon, Gerry Quinn, 63, of Affton. “We do worry sometimes that someone will trip over him, but we’ve all adjusted fine.”
At the end of Mass, Elijah trotted ahead of the servers, deacons and priest as they filed down the main aisle.
At Our Lady of the Holy Cross, the congregation has embraced Elijah, said a longtime member, Charlotte Flowers.
“We have a true church dog,” said Flowers, 68. “He’s a joy and so well-behaved. The children especially love him. And he never barks in church.”
COMMENT: For making church nicer and chasing them pesky, grey squizzels, Elijah is our:
BRICK OF THE DAY
And well done, the people of Our Lady of the Holy Cross for realising that Elijah is a blessing and not an inconvenience. I would not be surprised if their congregation grows because of this gentle (except when it comes to critters) dog of God.
Thanks to Ro for sending this story in to MadPriest Towers.
On January 11, two National Identification Authority officials were on duty registering people in a long queue at a point near the Gbese Mantse’s palace in Accra. They had to move into a section of the palace when one of the elders saw that the equipment they were using could be damaged through exposure to the sun. Even though the palace was not an official registration centre, the registration was done there to protect the equipment.
According to the victims, whilst registration was going on, a traditional priest, Nii Ogbarmey III, came in with his family to register. They were given preferential treatment because of his status.
However, five days after Nii Ogbarmey had registered, he came back to the centre with five “macho” men and demanded to know whether the registration officials were circumcised, because it was a taboo, under Ga custom for uncircumcised persons to enter the palace. When the two registration officers replied in the affirmative, the priest and his men insisted that they should show proof before they would be allowed to continue with the work.
Under pressure, one of the victims submitted to their demand and was examined, but the second officer questioned the legality of the demand and refused to submit himself for examination. The five “macho” men immediately surrounded him and prevented him from doing his work. He was harassed and intimidated subsequently. A fire officer who was in the queue intervened and the second victim had to submit himself for examination under pressure from the traditional priest and his men.
They later reported the matter to their supervisor who, seeing how traumatized they were, could not help but withdraw them from their duty point. In an interview the NIA Executive Secretary said based on police report and legal advice, the perpetrators would be dealt with according to the laws of the land.
The Church of England has lost £40m from a disastrous investment in a buyout of two vast Manhattan housing complexes, Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, that collapsed into default after struggling under huge debts incurred at the peak of the US property bubble.
Home to 25,000 people, the two redbrick housing estates comprise 56 buildings along New York's East River. Completed shortly after the second world war, they are known as one of the few remaining bastions of affordable living among the multimillion-dollar tower blocks of lower Manhattan.
They were bought for $5.4bn (£2.86bn then) in 2006 by a consortium led by a New York investment firm, Tishman Speyer, and the fund management group BlackRock, in the biggest US residential property deal on record. But after struggling for months to keep up repayments on loans attached to the buyout, Tishman today handed over the entire estates to its creditors, making the deal a landmark victim of the plunge in property values.
Financial backers of the deal will see their investments largely wiped out. The church commissioners put up for a 4% stake in Stuyvesant Town in June 2007.
Residents of the 11,000 flats in Stuyvesant Town were staunchly opposed to the Tishman buyout, which was highly leveraged by debt and predicated, in part, on cutting the number of tenants paying below-market rates under "rent controlled" deals. Over the past three years, Tishman has become deeply embroiled in litigation to get veteran residents to pay more rent .
COMMENT: So, not only are the, already meagre, pensions of Church of England priests under further threat (this coming on top of a recent loss of £1.3 billion sustained by the Commissioners) but we have to live with the shame inducing fact that this was because our church invested in company intent on making money by hiking rents and forcing people out of their homes. I wonder if the Church Commissioners will see a decrease in their pensions and wages because of this dodgy deal.
Actually, no I don't.
Big thanks to Cathy for sending this story in to MadPriest Towers.
A row on the use of condom that threatened to split Mt Kilimanjaro diocese of the Anglican Church in Arusha is now over. The long simmering conflict pitted the church followers in Arusha and Kilimanjaro regions and Bishop Simon Makundi. He had insisted on the use of condoms among believers to protect themselves against the killer HIV/Aids.
His stand did not appease most church followers and sparked a conflict between him and them since 2004. At times the church leaders were fighting each other to preside over Sunday prayers. At one time to the extent of threatening a breach of peace among the church followers. This forced some Sunday prayers to be conducted in the presence of the police. During all this time the bishop was prohibited to conduct services at St James church in the heart of Arusha. But on Sunday officials of the protestant church stated that the saga was now over, and it is business as usual at all parishes under the diocese. The row has been diffused after both sides realised that it was going to split the Anglican Church diocese down the middle.
COMMENT: To be honest, I can't see how these Tanzanian evangelicals can get so high and mighty about men wearing condoms when the following (from the end of the above article) is, obviously, perfectly acceptable to them:
The Sunday prayers was also a special occasion for receiving a donation from a politician. The church received a Coaster mini bus worth $35,000 from the Singida North legislator, Mr Lazaro Nyalandu.
Speaking at the hand over, the youthful MP said the donation followed a request from the church leaders to avail the vehicle for facilitating transport of the church choir to various places. He said he raised money for purchasing the vehicle with his friends living abroad.
Hopefully, the congregation, and all their friends, will show their appreciation of the politician's generosity by voting for him at the next election. Although I expect that was the last thing on his mind when he decided to help them.
The government has suffered three House of Lords defeats over moves churches said would prevent them denying jobs to gay people and transsexuals.
The current law allows religious organisations to rule out some applicants on conscientious grounds. The government tried to amend the bill so that exemptions to equality provisions applied only to those whose jobs "wholly or mainly" involved taking part in services or rituals, or explaining the doctrines of religion. But the churches argued that many clergy spend only some of their time in these roles and carry out administrative and other duties.
The Archbishop of York, the Most Reverend John Sentamu, told peers: "You may feel that many churches and other religious organisations are wrong on matters of sexual ethics. But, if religious freedom means anything it must mean that those are matters for the churches and other religious organisations to determine for themselves in accordance with their own convictions. Where are the examples of actual abuses that have caused difficulties? Where are the court rulings that have shown that the law is defective? If it ain't broke, why fix it?"
The turnout for the first division of 394 peers was the biggest for any vote since the Lords struck down plans to allow terrorist suspects to be detained for 42 days without charge in October 2008.
Lords leader Baroness Royall said the clarification would ensure that the church could turn down some candidates when explaining or promoting the religion was not "intrinsic to the role".
COMMENT: Sometimes I wonder if God is as helpful as we make him out to be. Quite honestly, it would have been a lot more useful for us, and a marvellous tool for evangelism, if, in stead of a couple of obscure and ambiguous remarks about gay sex he had got his son to state clearly and emphatically that we should pay unto Caesar absolutely nothing, that taxes are an abomination unto the Lord, our God. I mean, if we are going to use a "Get out of jail free" card that allows us to behave badly whilst everyone else is compelled to behave in a Christian manner, it would be more profitable to use it after robbing a bank than for getting off a minor speeding offence.
The Bishop of Yorkshire's argument in the House of Lords that the "conscience" of religious institutions overrides the conscience of society in general is illogical when applied to a law that is based on the ability of a person to do a job, and that alone.
The only way the archbishops of England and Yorkshire stand any chance of gaining an exemption based on logic is by proving that women and gay people are unable to do certain jobs. They are, of course, unwilling to try this line because to do so would show our church up to be the biggest institutional bigot left in the United Kingdom outside of Islam and Orthodox Judaism (and synchronised swimming, of course).
The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, previously of Uganda (relevant) will be trying to persuade the British Government, this evening or tomorrow, that conscience of people who believe in a god is different to the conscience of an atheist.
For example, if a politician, like Adolf Hitler thinks Jews are not truly human and should be treated worse than animals that is a very bad thing, in deed. But if religious people, because of their faith not their politics, think it is their god's will that women or gay men (again, for example) should be treated as inferior to their god's paradigm for perfection, the human male, then that is perfectly okay, because it's a religion thing like.
Evidently, stopping people from stopping black people getting a job in England is a righteous thing (and, PTL because our John is, coincidently, a black man). Whilst stopping people stopping women and gay men getting a job is (including, in all fairness, black women and black gay men) is a despicable attack upon the basic human rights that apply to religious people only. As Our John says:
"Start down that road and you will put law and conscience into inevitable collision. That way lies ruin. "
I have put the full transcript of the archbishop's illuminating speech up on FOOTNOTES.
For a start, most of its inhabitants have already lived long, affluent lives. I say, save Newcastle Upon Tyne first! I mean, a world without OCICBW... - would life be worth living for the survivors? I don't think so.
It would seem the bishops are in the dark as to what bonfires are being stoked up by the Pope and his aged Curia of administrators
As a foggy, January darkness falls in the early evening, the ground floor and upstairs lights are still shining in Columba House.
The decoratively renovated building once housed an infirmary for sick priests and seminarians of St Patrick's College, Maynooth.
Now, inside a basement room unobservable from the outside, 18 of Ireland's 33 Catholic bishops are in extraordinary session.
The bishops preparing for their Rome summit on clerical abuse with Pope Benedict XVI are huddled together out of sight in what is now known as the 'Maynooth Bunker'.
Read the whole of this interesting article at THE INDEPENDENT (Ireland). It shows just how much Ireland is changing. And it's hardly surprising. Even the Irish (who, as long as they have a pint of stout in one hand and a nice ass in the other, are normally an extremely easy going bunch of people) will not put up with having the "mick" taken out of them as much as the Vatican has been doing recently. Maybe they'll gain their independence yet.
Tokyo, Japan -- Outside the 400-year-old Kyoouji Temple, Kansho Tagai, dressed in his traditional monk robes, paused and began a sutra. He bobbed his head and then broke into a lyrical rap.
"This is an old, old story, a fantasy and longing cosmology. Hey, hey, what's the story about? It's about the Buddha, yo. Hey brother, listen carefully! You got it? No? You don't? Okay, baby, no problem."
Tagai, or Mr. Happiness, as he prefers to be called, is delivering an ancient message to a hip hop beat. The monk hosts hip hop shows at his temple, drawing young people to a place that is traditionally filled with the elderly. His hip hop message is so popular that twice as many people now visit his temple.
"Buddha's doctrine is a treasure for us. But we're not able to convey his wisdom to the people if we only stick with the old ways. So I try to use a new way to spread Buddha's doctrine. I want to spread Buddhism to the young by using the language they easily understand. Buddhism itself hasn't changed. It's just the way it's presented," Tagai said.
This is local hero Martin Stephenson and, although he is still performing and recording, all the tracks in this mix are from his first album, released way back in 1986 (which was when me and the missus first went to see him at a smelly, damp dive in Leicester called The Princess Charlotte).