Council bans Christmas


by Steve Platt    
4:57 pm - November 25th 2008

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Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without the familiar seasonal reports of local authority killjoys trying to ‘ban’ it. And like the Christmas displays in the shops, which the laws of commerce now require to be in place before the first leaves fall from the trees, the reports of the bans start earlier every year.

This year it was the city of Oxford that was first in the media firing line with the Oxford Mail’s ‘Council set to axe Christmas’ headline on 1 November setting the tone for a spot of ‘political correctness gone mad’-style bureaucrat bashing.

The Mail even managed to rope in Sabir Hussain Mirza, chairman of the Muslim Council of Oxford, to lead a chorus of non-Christian, pro-Christmas complaint.

“‘This is going to be a disaster. I’m angry and very, very disappointed,” Mirza moaned. “Christmas is special and we shouldn’t ignore it. Christian people should be offended and 99 per cent of people will be against this.”

Against what, exactly? A prohibition on plum puddings and carol singing, a la Oliver Cromwell circa 1649? Hardly. Instead, it seems the charity Oxford Inspires took the outrageous decision to call this year’s city centre festive lights switch-on a ‘Winter Light Festival’, with the idea of incorporating Hannukah, Diwali and maybe a midwinter solstice bonfire or two.

There are still going to be Christmas carols and a Christmas tree and people getting outrageously drunk and shagging each other at office parties and all the other things that make up a traditional Christmas, so it’s hard to see where the axe is falling.

Anyway, as Oxford Inspires spokesman Tei Williams commented, “The ceremony takes place on 28 November. It’s hardly Christmas if it’s November.”

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About the author
This is a guest article. Steve Platt is a former editor of New Statesman magazine and is now a contributor to various publications, including Red Pepper. He blogs at Plattitude.
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Reader comments


1. noughtpointzero

Er… what has switching lights on on the *28th November* got to do with Diwali? You do realise Diwali was several weeks ago, right?

For goodness sake, you know perfectly well that they are Christmas lights, why on earth can’t this Oxford idiot call them that?

Can lights only be for Christmas? Why not Hannukah?

4. the A&E Charge Nurse

Yes, the significance of plum pudding, carol singing and Oliver Cromwell certainly pales into insignificance when compared to Antiochus VI trashing a temple in Jerusalem in the 2nd centuary.

Fortunately we have the wiley counsellors on hand to weave these apophycral stories into a seamless chrimbo love in for ALL faiths……….ahhhh.

Political correctness gone crazy! Happy Christmas LC! (I’m proudly Muslim).

6. Different Duncan

If I was organising a Christmas light ceremony, I would call it “Winterval Lights” just to get the free publicity. And probably to annoy the authoritarian right. Oh yeah, and to try and be inclusive – why is this seen as such a bad thing?

Seriously, who are these people who object to trying to include the whole community in these council-funded events? These are the same people who bemoan multiculturalism, yet they also bemoan any attempts at integrating different faith communities. It’s the Christian right gone mad!

This is, by now, a story in search of any evidence – the media outlets that indulge in this are evidently finding the pickings pretty thin as regards any real evidence that Christmas is being banned (hence the constant reanimation of Winterval, which is so last Millennium, man), but still have a paper to fill. Therefore, in the spirit of giving, Duncan’s generous suggestion that anyone organising a Christmas bash should call it something deliberately annoying is spot on, I just wish I’d thought to mention it to the PTA ladies when were organising the school one this week. Next year, perhaps. One of the Mail’s editors apparently lives in the next street so the publicity should take care of itself.

A Winterval Celebration
All Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Hindus, Atheists, Pagans, Scientologists and followers of the Great Prophet Zarquon are welcome.

Is it just me or does the “War on Christmas” story come around earlier every year?

It’s the time of year when lazy hacks thank their lucky stars for well-meaning Council staff who care deeply about anti-discrimination but that have very little idea about what it means. If they didn’t exist the Mail would have invent them…

Relatedly, the poor sod who invented Winterval (i.e. “who decided that it’d be a good idea to refer to two months of council-sponsored events incorporating Diwali, Hannukah and pagan festivities, although the majority were Christmas-themed, under a single marketing name”) has posted his story on Chris Brooke’s blog.

“Seriously, who are these people who object to trying to include the whole community in these council-funded events? These are the same people who bemoan multiculturalism, yet they also bemoan any attempts at integrating different faith communities. It’s the Christian right gone mad!”

I think you’ll find most people in this country, while not of the Christian Right or Daily Mail readers, find this sort of thing silly at best and highly annoying at worst. You don’t hear people talking about how they look forward to Winterval or what presents they’re going to buy their friends for Winterval. The talk everywhere I hear is of Christmas. Only local councils seem to come up with this Winterval nonsense.

Yule be sorry you posted this…

Of course you fucking don’t hear that, because Winterval was a single marketing experiment tried once, ten years ago, by Birmingham City Council. The annoying thing is gibbering morons like yourself who think that this sort of thing is at all prevalent and continually complain about it, despite the fact that it very very obviously isn’t.

(see also: “you can’t say anything bad about Muslims”, the mantra of people who spend most of the rest of their time saying bad things about Muslims…)

Meh, bloody Jenny and her rapid pun action. Me @ 14 is to Richard @ 12.

“The annoying thing is gibbering morons like yourself who think that this sort of thing is at all prevalent and continually complain about it, despite the fact that it very very obviously isn’t.”

When did I say it was all prevalent? I think you’ll find I was responding to one particular comment which appeared supportive of the idea of merging Christmas with Winterval and seemed to suggest that only a minority of nutty right-wingers would have an issue with it.

By the way, I’m curious, what evidence do you have that I’m a gibbering moron? Have you seen my GCSE results? You do realise you’re playing right into the hands of those on the Right who like to paint leftists as out of touch elitists who look down on the “common people”?

Why don’t you ban the word Christmas from LC? Great way to boost your traffic.

Ben: not the Scientologists, purleeese… there are limits to ecumenicism surely? ;)

I’ve not bothered to research it again ut wasn’t this thing in Oxford a mistake anyway? I thought someone came up with idea of calling it Mid winter light festival, the idea was dropped and changed back to Christmas lights but a load of publicity got released anyway with the wrong name.

Or something like that anyway.

Although to be honest I still coulnd’t give a monkeys what they’re call and find the rehashing of the winterval story every year hilarious.

PS No intention of picking a row, but there are Christians (like me!) out there who are as left/liberal as they come. Where not all from the right!

I’m considering a 24-hr ban for Jennie in reference to comment #13.

Please sign the petition. ;o)

The whole “Winterval” thing is a complete crock. But I do think we should keep a tally of the number of faux-outrage stories published by the usual rags. Just for kicks, natch.

Anyhoo, when was the last time Christmas had anything to do with Christianity?

Jesus who?

I think someone missed a memo.

[troll]
The perpetrators of this outrage should be de-capitated on aesthetic grounds alone . ‘Winter Light festival . The very sound of it chips another shard from the soul and reduces me to a New Labour automaton “I have no past” ,”I have no culture “… ‘I am New Labour ‘Still it is nice to see that the old myths (That newspapers make it all up) are still doing good business.
Sadly its mostly true .Its true that Val Temple’s amusing confections named Robin Tarts and Miss Piggy cakes were banned . Councillors of Weymouth felt that the vendor was implying the presence of real Robin meat and Miss Piggy Cake was woefully lacking in Pork although it did sport an amusing sugar pig Its true that a women was ordered to remove her porcelain pigs on the grounds they would upset Muslims ( says Boris)
Torbay Councillor Colin Carwood really did require the removal of Torbay’s delightfully optimistic Palm trees because ..wait for it ..” What if one for those leaves caught a child in the eye” . Quite seriously he said “ it’s a bit like keeping tigers lovely to watch but you wouldn’t want them prowling the street “. . Thank to elf and , in llfracocmbe Devon , 3000 people turned up in 2006 to watch a big screen virtual bonfire. … yes it really happened .
Christmas is renamed winter party os something every year while sharia law ,forced marriage and honour killing are ignored because if misguided cultural relativism. Muslim extremists are given the same airtime as elected politicians in a free democracy And the Christmas message on Channel 4 was to be delivered from behind a Burqa. Poppy day is not yet banned but it is ignored in London and the bloody Conservative Party commissioned list of British great omitting Churchill
Newcastle City Coucil banned staff from saying pet and hinny , Blackpool taxi drivers were prevented from flaunting the cross of St. George . Boys clubs are closed for not allowing girls in and is the nadir the removal of a novelty picture of a monkey from a Barnsley Council Art Gallery on the grounds that it was “ Offensive and demeaning to animals “? Finally Kirklees Council staff were prevented from using the term “Politically Correct “.

This country did not start yesterday it was not written by a barbarian bureaucrat next to bullet points and the vandalism every day don to the soul of the nation is worth fighting in large ways and small .Keep Christmas …errrrm sort of pagan , well anyway the way we like it .Fight the year zero soulless zombies and their evil conspiracy to kill father Christmas

A few years ago, while working at the Basildon Echo, a colleague of mine got a press release from some agency who were going to send a bunch of Father Xmas’s to Lakeside to “promote Christmas when it’s being banned by political correctness gone mad” and also to promote a certain firm.

The press release quoted a number of instances across the UK where left wing loony councils had banned Christmas, banned lights, introduced “Winterval” etc. All had been reported in recent weeks – and years – by the right wing tabloids.

So, just as she was about to write up this guff, having done a bit of reading in the past, I suggested she take a few mintues to phone up each and every council to check the facts.

She did, bless her.

Guess what. Each and every story turned out to be absolute and utter cock. All lies. None of it was true. The tabs had taken a minor point and turned it to their own advantage.

The reporter went back to the agency, told them she’d spoken to each council and got the truth of the matter, that the agency were going to send all these blokes in outfits to the mall on a fallacy and what was their response to that.

Silence. Shock. Surprise – “you mean those newspaper reports weren’t true?”

Hmm.

They sent them anyway. We didn’t cover it at all.

So, I say this as a reporter on a local paper… I don’t think you should believe the stuff about councils destroying Chrimbo in the nationals – particulary the fucktard ones who employ cultural midgets like Jon Gaunt and Jackboot Malone – unless you’ve spoken to the council yourself.

While I try not to respond to Newmania – if we truly want to celebrate our history and culture, then celebrating our own, indigenous, many-thousand-year-old winter light festival in its own right would be far better way of doing so than pretending that it has any relevance to the fictionalised birth of a middle-eastern cult leader.

Get your facts straight. On 31st October, ie exactly one day earlier than you claim, and in Camdem, not Oxford, it was reported that the Tory group “… believes that attempts to airbrush out Christmas…” should be legislated against.

We have the National Secular Society to thank for this. For non-believers I post the link below:

http://www.secularism.org.uk/camdentoriestrytoimposechristian.html

[troll]
Keep Christmas …errrrm sort of pagan is what I said . What you have is a Christian tradition grafted onto a fire festival not a light festival which is a quite different thing . If you think about light deities (Apollo) and the inference of Apollonian which is a direct assault not only on the Christian but the Pagan elements of Christmas .

A philistine like you (John B ), will understand nothing of this but perhaps you notice how Festival of light sounds vaguely to do with the rational , somehow modern , clean and un encrusted with tradition . That is why. It is no coincidence that it faintly like a Nazi jamboree , they were similarly obsessed with the rational , the modern , why not go for a full on “festival of light and joy”.

Classy as ever, there.

I covered this story a while back. Oxford haven’t banned Christmas, or even renamed Christmas Lights. Oxford Inspires, the agency behind ‘Winter Light’ says this about the programme:

Look out for fire jugglers and fairground rides, Christmas markets and magical lantern processions, as Christmas lights are switched on across the county. [My bold]

Christmas lights.

Plus, there’s this statement on Oxford Council’s site, in which it points out that it hasn’t bloody banned Christmas or changed it’s name:

For Christmas 2008, Oxford Inspires agreed with the City Council to time the WinterLight event for November and to have it on the same evening as the switch on of the city centre Christmas Lights and the re-opening of Bonn Square. [My bold]

Christmas lights.

And Newmania – stop believing most of what you read in the Daily Mail, eh? It’s mostly exaggerated shite. Here’s a tip – read the quotes at the ends of those articles – that’s where the papers hide the good bit, otherwise known as what really happened.

Random example from the first of your stories – I can’t be arsed with the rest. From the Mail’s coverage of Val Temple’s cakes:

“There is nothing wrong with using other names but it must be accompanied by the true name of the food.”

Nobody banned anything. Trading Standards asked for a description of what’s in the cakes to be added. Nice advert for the bakery though.

Ah rats. Nwmn dsmvlld. Still – the good bit is almost always in the quotes toward the end of Mail articles. Like how the cigarette companies hide the herion in the tips of fags.

Its not just that these ‘War on Christmas’ stories aren’t true. The true peddler of “PC gone mad” is in fact the Christian church, which attempts to label our annual festival of fun and consumption with its own brand name. Its as bad as Coke co-opting Saint Nick…

It amuses me that this “chrismas banned by the PC gone mad brigade” annual hysteria has itself become a christmas tradition. How post modern is that ?

You won’t believe this but I wrote a piece on precisely this subject for Cif last night without knowing this one was happening. No wonder they haven’t run it yet!

Dave Hill: You’re flipping right I won’t believe it. You’re just trying to cover your tracks since you got the story from TfL press releases, or cut and pasted from press releases or referenced press releases. Or something to do with press releases. I dunno. I’ll decide what later, you press release bastard.

Whatever happens, it simply isn’t right to say that, “You won’t believe this, but I” first discovered the whole idea that Christmas might never have been banned and invented the press release “last night not knowing this one was happening”.

Can you imagine how normal people who vote and don’t look at press releases think of your obsession with Winterval? They probably think you’re some kind of nerd or something. From Nerdistan. And you love Lee Jasper and that, so we can’t trust you anyway. Can you uncover a single thing I’ve written about something or other that isn’t true? I think not. Therefore you’ve never written anything about Winterval before I did and anything you have written is not as good as mine. What I do has some real effect on Christmas, unlike you bloggers who only bother actually referencing your sources and rubbish nerdery like that.

I write for the Standard you know.

It amuses me that this “chrismas banned by the PC gone mad brigade” annual hysteria has itself become a christmas tradition. How post modern is that ?

It’s almost as though we have all jumped into a tardis and we are fighting off the commie cybermen. Brown is Davros, and the Daleks have microchips planted in their heads, so that they can be hunted down and killed (bear with me) …

5cc – newmania doesn’t get the hint unfortunately.

Can lights only be for Christmas? Why not Hannukah?

Because this is a Christian country.

Cicero

As I am a Christian (and I suspect one of the few that frequents these parts) I am going to make a specific point of taking issue with you.

It is true that Christianity, in its various different forms, is the most widely practiced religion in the UK. It is also true that we have an established church in the Church of England. It is also true that the majority of people in the UK do not actively practice any religion, even though many of them may decalre themselves nominally Christian.

The fact also remains though that this country is populated with many Jews, Hindus, Sikes, Muslims, Buddhists and whole host of other religions. They are here, they are not visiting, they are not here because Christians allow them to be, they are British subjects, the majority were born here as well. They should be perfectly entitled to have their religions not just respected but also celebrated by their local council in the same way that they celebrate Christian festivals.

If, as I assume, you are a Christian then perhaps you should try taking note of what it actually says in the bible, that bit that says “love thy neighbour”.

“There is nothing wrong with using other names but it must be accompanied by the true name of the food.”

You think there was danger that people might think a sugar Miss Piggy was made of Pig ? What do you think shepherd`s pie is made of ….We obviously need a notice saying “No diced shepherds “….I have my doubts about the mystery meat in Hot Dogs though

Toad in the hole is not made of toads ..erm …from holes . Thankyou

Newmania:

“You think there was danger that people might think a sugar Miss Piggy was made of Pig ?”

Are you being wilfully obtuse? Of course there’s no danger of that. Can you find any direct quotes anywhere from anyone in trading standards saying that’s the reason why the real ingredients need to be included?

Another hint about tabloids. Sometimes, they embellish things to make better stories.

Newmania:

I’ll do you a favour and stop you from going to the trouble of looking for quotes you’ll never find. Here’s a direct quote from the BBC’s coverage of the story:

“The advice wasn’t that you can’t call them pig or robin tarts because they haven’t got pig or robin in them.

“You are required when you give a name that doesn’t describe what it is…just to describe it.

“The reason is that some people want to know more about what they are eating than others, and this gives them a guide.

“It’s a good story, and gets a good laugh, but it isn’t the truth,” he said.

Of course it has no Robin in it , its made of purest young frog meat . Robin is Kermit’s nephew and Miss Piggy completed a Muppet themed confectionery series .You worry me , perhaps we do need a sign .What you say sounds like the sort of thing an embarrassed official might say when his wasteful pointless publicly funded meddling was exposed . There is a standard EU condom size as well.Books are forced on schools including such edifying titles as “ The sissy Duckling and Daddy’s new Roomate “.True .
John James, 37, obtained £15000 for being accused of selling drugs . It was a mistake , he was innocent but because he was black he claimed discrimination and pocketed a handy bonus for standing around in Mac Donalds.£ 250000 was spent on two underground workers /( Rozza and Cooney ) who allegedly made racist jokes with the black jelly baby in the jelly baby packet.

All true and I have not got started on the EU I could go on and on and on and by and large the truth as I know from my own dealings with Islingnton Coucil is ,even worse .

Whoops! Fed the troll. Sorry.

… fed the ‘troll’ and failed to properly identify the ingredients . I wonder if I should avoid the pigs in their blankets at Chistmas , its not the pig I `m worried about so much as the blanket .

I’m a veggie Newmania, and I laughed at that one. Keep up the good work.

If, as I assume, you are a Christian then perhaps you should try taking note of what it actually says in the bible, that bit that says “love thy neighbour”.

Firstly, you assume wrongly.

Secondly, all I said was: “this is a Christian country”. This is a pure statement of fact. I never insinuated, as you would like to think I did, that all other faiths should be ignored.

But the total refusal of many people to explicitly recognise that the freedom, liberty and independence (notwithstanding the EU) that we enjoy today in Britain stems from a Christian heritage, puts those very values at risk.

“This is a pure statement of fact.”

No it fucking isn’t.

“The freedom, liberty and independence (notwithstanding the EU) that we enjoy today in Britain stems from a Christian heritage”

No it fucking doesn’t. If you had to trace the antecedents of “freedom, liberty and independence”, then the Romans and the Greeks would be top of the list, with atheist thinkers like David Hume close behind.

Organised Christianity has fought against freedom, liberty and independence more or less non-stop for the 1800 years it’s been in existence.

As a Christian I hate to say it but I have to (mostly) agree with John B.

The attitude of the organised churches has, over many centuries, been utterly shocking. I wont rehash all the things they got up to but what underpins it is the fact that for many centuries they insisted that the bible was never translated into English so that people could read it for themselves. By retaining it in Latin it meant that only those rich and powerful enough (who had a vested interest in keeping everyone else under control) to have an education could read it. Hence the most important messages of the new testament (ie love thy neighbour) were easily brushed over in favour of selective passages justifying violence and repression.

I think it no coincidence at all that as English verisons (and versions in other languages in other countries of course) became widley available the worst excesses of religious violence and intollerance quickly disapeared as well.

With the excpetion of the still astonishing and appauling homophobic attitudes (which is a big reason why I do not subscribe to any particular denomination) we are lucky now to have a farely liberal minded church in this country, however this is a very recent development.

Democracy and freedom in thsi country has next to nothing to do with Christianity. It is more accurate to say that it was the early middle classes who wanted more of a say rather than letting the King get on with what ever he wanted to do!

But the total refusal of many people to explicitly recognise that the freedom, liberty and independence (notwithstanding the EU) that we enjoy today in Britain stems from a Christian heritage, puts those very values at risk.

HAHAHAHAHA!

Your tongue must have been firmly in your cheek when you wrote that.

That. Is. Hilarious.

Jesus wept. I’m literally ROFLing.

Is the term “fucking” a qualifier of truth, or an implied (but unvoiced) criticism of the messenger? I only ask, because if it was the case, you would expect to see the usage in academic journals.

I’m not doing Winterval wars, but:

>If you had to trace the antecedents of “freedom, liberty and independence”, then the Romans and the Greeks

Romans?

Care to explain how the slaves benefited from that?

Just asking.

True Matt, at least the Greeks had oily wrestling.

Jefferson also had slaves. Are you going to claim he wasn’t an important figure in the evolution of modern concepts of freedom and liberal government?

The Romans pioneered the concept of individual rights – it’s just that they didn’t identify women, foreigners or slaves as individuals, a trait they shared with almost everyone up until recently. A universal concept of humanity was something which only happened from the 18th century onwards.

john b

Your teenage use of obscenties to back up specious assertions signals that you probably don’t really understand history.

You may wish to consider that Britain (indeed England) is the birthplace of Parliamentary democracy. The curia regis, from which Parliament was born, had among its members senior ecclesiastics. Also, thanks largely to the Reformation, religious absolutism was never able to triumph in Britain, laying the ground for the Bill of Rights.

This is a Christian country. Bishops sit in the Lords and Her Majesty the Queen is Defender of the Faith. The law of the land is based on a broadly Christian worldview.

However, I don’t expect you to grasp any of this so feel free to come back with obscenities.

“Your teenage use of obscenties to back up specious assertions signals that you probably don’t really understand history.”

Well-targeted swear words aimed at idiotic assertions are indicators of comprehension and articulacy; patronising dismissals of your interlocutor’s points on the grounds that they’ve used swear words are indicators of pretension and a fear of debate.

“Also, thanks largely to the Reformation, religious absolutism was never able to triumph in Britain, laying the ground for the Bill of Rights.”

i.e. the not-especially devout upper classes successfully prevented religious lunatics from gaining power here. That would appear to support my narrative, not yours.

“Bishops sit in the Lords and Her Majesty the Queen is Defender of the Faith.”

The queen is also on Canadian and Australian banknotes. That doesn’t mean she’s in any way relevant to Canadian or Australian life. And yes, bishops sit in the Lords. They shouldn’t.

“The law of the land is based on a broadly Christian worldview.”

Do as you would be done by? Turn the other cheek? Give to Caesar that which is Caesar’s? Eye for an eye? Stone adulterers? Let those without sin cast the first stone?

Either you’re saying “because England has been nominally Christian for 1200+ years, the broadly-liberal tradition we have here is definitionally Christian, whereas Papal supremacy and Calvinist fundamentalism aren’t Christian at all”, or you’re making completely unsupportable assertions about how a “Christian worldview” encompassing all denominations across history is different from a classical-pagan worldview, an other-Semitic-religions worldview, or an atheist worldview.

“However, I don’t expect you to grasp any of this so feel free to come back with obscenities.”

Wank off, you cuntrag.

Jefferson also had slaves. Are you going to claim he wasn’t an important figure in the evolution of modern concepts of freedom and liberal government?

Jefferson had some interesting thing to say about debt John as well as this “”Religion, as well as reason, confirms the soundness of those principles on which our government has been founded and its rights asserted.” –

Yes people are paradoxical are they not which is not at all rational of them and it is perhaps this disconnect with people that accounts for the many cruelties inflicted in the name of rationalism ( Had a poor 20th century those rational philosophies ). Cicero S is quite right .The attempt to extract the Christian heritage of this country from the weave and ascribe to it what appear to be bad effects is risibly juvenile . The ideas of the soul , the prospect of a better world ( a stoic feature emphasised from the days of being the slave religion of the Romans ) , the primacy of love and the contemplation of the best a man could conceive a man to be ( as a humanist would interpret god ) . These are deep in the swell and surge of revolution and the rebellion against Christianity itself .

Read Blake
Read George Elliot

Not everything that is true is easy to say and I applaud Cicero`s attempt .
Why so angry anyway ? This is all a conspicuously secular country and the Classical heritage assiduously preserved and copied by medieval Monks and Christians is also very important .

Cicero,

Sorry. That’s just gibber jabber.

Just because Britain enjoyed flourishes of liberalism, doesn’t mean Protestantism or Catholicism fosters democracy. Our freedoms have got bugger all to do with organised religion. Indeed liberalism has always found an enemy in the dogma of religion (if not the teachings of Christ).

Your assertion is completely and fundamentally flawed, I’m surprised you made it.

While in the middle of a discussion about how Christmas should be celebrated a certain way because Britain is a Christian country and ‘the law of the land is based on a ‘broadly Christian worldview’ and all that good stuff, it’s worth pointing out that the only people to actually ban Christmas celebrations in Britain were – uh – Christians. For not being Christian enough.

Wikipedia entry
The Cromwell Association

It’s also worth pointing out – again – that nobody’s banning Christmas.

‘Human rights’ have been developing for thousands of years, and for some time prior to the birth of Christianity – indeed I would suggest they have been in development for about as long as law.

As for Hannukah, this year it’s toward the end of December, so late November lights seem a bit premature.

5cc , not ban but remove from public acceptance in deference to the presumed sensitivities of minorities , as if we were ashamed to be what we are in our own country .Its the public recognition that is the point . For people to whom a country is just a scrap of land of course its irrelevant to those who see it as nation it is an attack. Just another little no -go area of the mind

And your evidence that Oxford Council (or anyone else) is doing that is?

Either you’re saying “because England has been nominally Christian for 1200+ years, the broadly-liberal tradition we have here is definitionally Christian, whereas Papal supremacy and Calvinist fundamentalism aren’t Christian at all”, or you’re making completely unsupportable assertions about blah blah

Have a go at reading what I wrote. The Christian tradition of this land fostered the growth of Parliamentary democracy. Nothing to do with the liberal tradition (the Bill of Rights, of course, pre-dates the Enlightenment).

I know that you’d prefer to erase history and build your little leftist utopia, but sadly for you history is concrete. Institutions such as marriage, church, law and monarchy are expressly Christian in Britain, and they form some of the pillars of civilisation.

Wank off, you cuntrag.

You amuse me.

The Christian tradition of this land fostered the growth of Parliamentary democracy. ~ Cicero

*sighs*

You’re just making the same statement without evidence.

Our parliamentary system was born out of fiscal economics and the conflict between Saxon regionalism and absolute Norman centralism. Parliament was a compromise between the Crown and the landed gentry.

You can try and crowbar your thesis into history, but you’ll find religion is the garnish not the main course.

Our parliamentary system was born out of fiscal economics and the conflict between Saxon regionalism and absolute Norman centralism. Parliament was a compromise between the Crown and the landed gentry.

True, point well made.

History is not a simple narrative and I don’t claim it to be.

For Liberals especially those with an interest is selected parts of 19th century Liberalism the influence of Non Conformism is surely a concrete example of a specifically Christian response to the dislocation of the Industrial revolution . The same constituency were very influential in the ILP .

Interesting discussion this and some magisterial work from CS, I tend to agree that Parliament has a secular flavour but its original form, was as a court in which a law was not made but “discovered “.The assumption being that the right law was ready to be brought into being and only required the proper description. Its so easy to enter earlier times unawares and miss the very things they would take for granted . This was an essentially religious exercise then not a prescriptive one

I recommend Discarded Image CS Lewis for an insight into early modern thought and its vastly different world view

Similarly, non-conformist religion was a major force behind the Labour party – and for my money, the main root of Labour’s paternalist, illiberal, puritan side.

ILP stands for the Independent Labour Party JB….our survey says ….. .

Christianity was vital to the abolition of slavery by its belief in a soul and especially the individual salvation of the Protestant Churches. It is probably also fair to say that there is a consequent loathing for the body and this has lead to a certain problems ( cough cough)
The profoundly Christian rebel political revolutionary and artisan Londoner William Blake shows how Christian zeal drove men to look though appearance even whilst assumptions still current well into the 20th century ……… even whilst still in their grip.

‘MY mother bore me in the southern wild,
And I am black, but O, my soul is white!
White as an angel is the English child,
But I am black, as if bereaved of light.

My mother taught me underneath a tree,
And, sitting down before the heat of day,
She took me on her lap and kissèd me,
And, pointing to the East, began to say:

‘Look at the rising sun: there God does live,
And gives His light, and gives His heat away,
And flowers and trees and beasts and men receive
Comfort in morning, joy in the noonday. ‘

Makes you yearn for the “articulacy” (ugh ) of “Cunt rag” doesn’t it .

I’d never deny that Christianity, particularly the poetry and music associated with it, provide great comfort to people in appallingly shitty situations – it was originally popularised as a religion for slaves, after all…

John

>Jefferson also had slaves. Are you going to claim he wasn’t an important figure in the evolution of modern concepts of freedom and liberal government?

No. Just asking for clarification.

>The Romans pioneered the concept of individual rights – it’s just that they didn’t identify women, foreigners or slaves as individuals, a trait they shared with almost everyone up until recently.

And noting that you are happy to pick particular bits out of history, while making broad brush assertions about “organised religion” – whatever you mean by that phrase.

>A universal concept of humanity was something which only happened from the 18th century onwards.

A universal concept of humanity is in the New Testament, and is there in the Old Testament as well if you take the trouble to look.

>The freedom, liberty and independence (notwithstanding the EU) that we enjoy today in Britain stems from a Christian heritage”. If you had to trace the antecedents of freedom, liberty and independence, then the Romans and the Greeks would be top of the list, with atheist thinkers like David Hume close behind.

We can presumably agree that David Hume lived from 1711 to 1766. Have you not read “The Mystery of Iniquity” by Thomas Helwys, on freedom of conscience for all, published in 1612. Here’s a quote:

“For men’s religion to God is between God and themselves. The king shall not answer for it. Let them be heretics, Turks, Jews, or whatsoever, it appertains not to the earthly power to punish them in the least measure.”

He was the founder of the first Baptist Church in this country, and his argument is from the New Testament. In due course that movement brought us the Act of Toleration of 1689. Whether you like it or not, you owe a good deal of your freedom of conscience in this country directly to the Protestant Reformation. Sorry if you find it uncomfortable, but that’s history for you.

Note: I’m not claming that the tradition is exclusively Christian or anything else; I’m pointing out the bits of history that you seem to want to exclude from your narrative.

Wikipedia on Thomas Helwys:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Helwys

You can find a scan of the book here, which a PDF linked from the page:
http://baptistlibraryonline.com/blo//index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2&Itemid=25

If you don’t like reading Olde Englishe books, there is a brief Guardian article here:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2006/may/20/comment.religion

>No it fucking isn’t.
>No it fucking doesn’t.

Are you a member of the National Secular Society, by any chance ;-? That tone of argument is familiar.

Matt , I would not be so unkind to John his response to the sacred in Western art in all its pain yearning and grandeur is ” great comfort to people in appallingly shitty situations”…a bit like a cup of Horlicks .He is, you see, as yet a blinking child and will no doubt come to deeper question in due course.

The situations may be dire, or desperate, or hopeless, or horrible, but I’ve been to the slums of Calcutta and elsewhere, and they certainly weren’t shitty. The people I met always had great dignity, were welcoming and by far the most generous hosts you could hope to meet. I often wish I could repay the kindness that poorest in the world have shown me. I try to show every stranger I meet due deference, to be polite and welcoming too.

“Shitty” is an adjective used by people who feel the need to look down on others, and to describe lowly circumstances with horror. More rightly it is an epithet which applies to the one who voices it, unless we are talking say of the dirty protests which went on in the ’80′s in Northern Ireland. In this case surely it was a cry for help, saying “I have lost hope” my situation is so bad that walls covered with excreta are an improvement.

In short, John B is a potty mouth, who needs a bit of toilet training.


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