Learning From The Pit Of Hell

They told me it would be grim. In the event I was left numb, silenced by incomprehension and the inadequacy of words.

Early this month we had enjoyed an uplifting week in conference at the huge Hotel Golebiewski in the ski resort of Wisla, southern Poland, near the Czech border. Overlooking the Vistula River close to its source and with spectacular views across the tree-covered hills and valleys of the Silesian Beskids mountain range, the hotel offered 5-star luxury and an extraordinary range of facilities.

There 700 Christian leaders from across Eastern and Western Europe ate, slept, saunaed and swam, worshipped, prayed, fellowshipped and wrestled with issues such as church planting, understanding Roman Catholicism, the sexual revolution, apologetics and a Christian response to the ISIS crisis. It was inspirational.

KrakowOn the way to the conference, too, we had experienced a heavenly sunny afternoon in the historic city of Krakow, lazily consuming ice cream under huge parasols in the Old Town’s medieval and spacious Market Square. We sat in front of the 14th century St Mary’s Basilica facing the 16th century Cloth Hall and in view of the 10th century Church of St Adalbert, watching the elegant open horse-drawn carriages circle the Square. It was magical.

On the way back from the conference, though, we descended into hell.

At the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp 65 km from Krakow, over a million people, mainly European Jews, were gassed, shot, hanged, starved or burned to death by the Nazis during WWII. Accompanied by a fierce, perhaps emotionally-seared guide, we walked under the notorious “Arbeit macht frei” sign at the gates, stood where the camp orchestra played to accompany prisoners marching to and from work, stopped in the gas chamber in Crematorium 1 and viewed the reconstructed Death Wall where many prisoners were executed.

She took us too into the notorious Block 11, death block, with its unspeakable “standing cells” in the basement where the Catholic priest Maximillian Kolbe was starved and poisoned to martyrdom. We saw horrible mountains of children’s and adults’ shoes, human hair, spectacles and used Zyklon B gas cylinders and, at Birkenau, fragments of human bones from cremated victims still in the ground. AuschwitzDollI examined a broken doll in a glass case and, as the father of young daughters, I wondered about the little girl to whom this had belonged and feared for the anguish and pain she will have suffered.

I left the camp aware that I had read somewhere that many of the German officers, guards and staff attended church especially at Christian festivals such as Easter. How on earth could they – and we – reconcile the Christian belief in a Lord of love with such depravity and evil?

The answer is, of course, we can’t. But since returning home I’ve studied Edwin Lutzer’s analysis of the German church under the Nazis, Hitler’s Cross . Previously I had devoured Eric Metaxas’ superb biography  Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, the story of the anti-Nazi churchman Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

The rapid Nazification of the Protestant church in Germay had complex antecedents. These include the weakening of belief as a result of 19th century German biblical criticism, and the post-WWI poverty and despair of the German people as a result of military defeat and the imposition of massive financial reparation by the victorious Allies. Whatever the reasons, by 1930 an open-door opportunity for a national saviour had arisen.

AdolfHitlerWhen one came along the enfeebled church compromised on the Gospel and lost sight of her true Saviour who said he himself is the real Truth. Churchmen had no theological rock on which to stand out from the crowd and were easily swept along by Hitler’s oratory and untruth accompanied by Goebbels’ propaganda and Gestapo intimidation. Although the Nazi regime planned to destroy Christianity and replace it with a new paganism, gullible pastors and church leaders arrived at a 1933 General Synod in Berlin wearing Nazi uniforms and giving the Nazi salute.

Later, many congregations submitted to the prevailing zeitgeist and substituted the swastika of the Nazis for the cross of Christ and Hitler’s Mein Kampf for the Bible. This was the anti-Semitic church-going ‘Christianity’ of Auschwitz officers and guards.

But God always has His faithful remnant, and thousands of ordinary Christians resisted the regime and heroically rescued Jews from their fate. Albert Einstein, exiled from Germany because he was a Jew, wrote  that, unlike the academics in universities and editors of national newspapers who were silenced in a few short weeks, “only the church stood squarely across the path of Hitler’s campaign for suppressing the truth… The church alone had the moral courage and persistence to stand for intellectual and moral freedom”.

Dietrich BonhoefferAt great personal cost Dietrich Bonhoeffer and other members of the anti-Nazi ‘Confessing Church’ clung to Christian truth. Bonhoeffer argued in his Cost of Discipleship that the cross of Christ is above the world and that Christianity and National Socialism cannot be united. He plotted against Hitler and was executed on Hitler’s orders just three weeks before the end of the war.

Lutheran pastor Martin Niemoller, now famous for his poem “First they came for the Socialists and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist… then they came for me”, spent eight years in a concentration camp for his vehement opposition to Nazi control of the church, and only narrowly escaped execution.

David Cameron’s Britain is not Hitler’s Germany of course, but there are some disturbing parallels:

9911715-Elderly-Senior-Woman-Using-Walking-Frame-Stock-Photo-seniors-disabled-walkingThe UK too is rapidly saying goodbye to its Judeo-Christian roots and turning to a new secular paganism that aims to restrain, control and extinguish the church, promotes the wholesale slaughter of unborn children, and is on the way to approving euthanasia for the ill, the elderly, the frail and the medically hopeless.

The most media-friendly, youth-friendly and influential Baptist Church leader actively seeks State endorsement for his work while trashing Christian belief, dismissing the central Christian understanding of Christ’s self-sacrifice on the cross as  “cosmic child-abuse” – a profane misnomer akin to Richard Dawkins’ famously blasphemous depiction of God.

Anti-Semitism is rising rapidly and anti-Semitic attacks are at record levels.

And the Government plans to impose ‘British values’, introduce control orders, ban extreme speech and censor talks and sermons.

The Auschwitz visit gave me much to think about.

“Anjem Choudary’s Islam Is Based On A Fraud”

Last Wednesday the BBC TV’s flagship Ten O’Clock News  broadcast an extensive investigation into the disastrous influence across Europe of London-based Islamist Anjem Choudary. According to the BBC many believe it is Choudary who has prompted the Extremism Disruption Orders (EDOs) and other restrictions and bans that are contained in the Government’s upcoming anti-extremism bill.

AnjemChoudaryBut in a democracy you cannot simply ban an insidious ideology or religion any more than you can bomb it out of existence. Rather the foundational ideas need to be identified and undermined so that the whole ideological superstructure falls and thereby loses its power and attractiveness.

In this context, my friend and colleague Jay Smith is holding an important debate with Choudary tonight. It will be well worth watching live online, or on YouTube from tomorrow onwards.

This morning I published the following press release about the debate:

“Anjem Choudary’s Islam is based on a fraud” 

Extremist, ISIS supporter and prime target of UK Government’s counter-extremism bill Anjem Choudary is to be challenged in a public debate in London tonight 

In a face-to-face skype debate that takes place tonight in London, the high-profile Islamic extremist Anjem Choudary – who many commentators believe is the prime target of the Government’s counter-extremism bill that will be unveiled in the Queen’s Speech on 27 May – is to be publicly challenged about the fraudulent basis of his religion.

Choudary shares the same radical Qur’an-based Islam as ISIS, of which he is a strong supporter.

David Cameron said last week that such “poisonous” extremist ideology must be confronted, but suggests this can be done simply by banning orders and speech censorship.

Others believe there is a more effective way to undermine extremists, which is to confront the foundations of what they believe. One of them is Jay Smith, Choudary’s opponent at the event. He is a London-based debater, pacifist, and Christian polemicist, who in the past has disputed with other high-profile Muslims such as the academic Dr Shabir Ali, and the banned hate preachers Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad and Abu Hamza al-Masri.

Jay Smith“I detest the slaughter and slavery that is at the heart of the ISIS ideology,” said Jay Smith. “Anjem Choudary is ISIS’ prime apologist in London. For the sake of our vulnerable young people who may be tempted to follow Choudary, I intend drastically to up the ante in order to expose the false and fraudulent basis of his – and their – Qur’anic-based radicalism.

“Their theology is a dangerous ideology,” continued Jay.  “We must aggressively pull the Islamist rug from under their feet. Choudary publicly must be shown empty and with nowhere to go; I intend to unpack his religion to accomplish just that during our debate.”

“David Cameron seems to think that banning orders, extremist disruption orders and draconian laws are the way to tackle Choudary’s ideological venom,” said Jay Smith’s political advisor Alan Craig, the leader of the 8-year campaign against the proposed ‘London Olympic mega-mosque’ at West Ham.

“But such legislation simply endangers the UK’s democratic liberties and freedom of speech,” said Alan. “It is far better openly to expose – and mock – the fictitious fabricated roots of Choudary’s fundamentalist ideology. That’s what Jay will do surgically during the debate.

“It is this way that Choudary will slowly but surely lose his malign influence over so many impressionable young minds.”

-ENDS –

Notes for Editors:

  • 1. Queries: Jay Smith 07545 984765; Alan Craig 07939 547198
  • 2. Viewing: The debate takes place online at 01:30 a.m. (UK time), on Thursday morning, 21st May. It can be viewed live simply by clicking on Trinity Channel’s ‘live’ button at: www.trinitychannel.com/#!live-webcast/c1g0n. Although the debate takes place in London, it is intended primarily for online audiences in the US where it will be viewed live during the afternoon and evening hours of Wednesday 20th May.
  • 3. Viewing after the event: A recording of the debate will be posted on Thursday at: www.youtube.com/user/trinitychannel1/videos, and on Pfander Films channel at www.youtube.com/user/PfanderFilms
  • 4. Jay Smith introduction: An introduction by Jay Smith to his line of argument against Anjem Choudary, and a BBC investigation into Choudary’s influence across Europe, can both be seen at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=71mSbHHkpr8

My Journey Into UKIP

Out of the blue, less than 24 hours before nominations closed on 9th April, I received a call from UKIP London Region chairman asking me if I would be a candidate for the party in the General Election. He wanted me to stand in the Brent North constituency where the intended candidate apparently had gone AWOL.

Immediately I consented. Then, working with local activists, we managed to submit the required papers, signatures and deposit with just two hours to spare.

ukipIt was an unexpected and personally significant turn of events, so I thought I should email an explanation about my UKIP journey to people close to me. This, then, is what I wrote to them back on 11th April; the UKIP hierarchy requested that I shouldn’t publish it on my blog until today when the General Election campaign is over:

Dear family, friends and colleagues,

In October I joined UKIP, which surprised many, horrified some and delighted others.

Further, over the past month I have been campaigning at weekends for UKIP’s excellent candidate in the party’s most winnable London seat, Dagenham & Rainham. Then this week UKIP suddenly asked me to stand as their paper (that is, nominal or non-campaigning) candidate in the unwinnable Brent North constituency – which I readily accepted.

When I lost my seat on Newham Council in 2010 after eight satisfying years as Christian Peoples Alliance councillor, I decided that my period of electoral politics was over. I’d had my time and I’d done my bit. So I am, perhaps, as surprised as anyone to find myself back in the fray ahead of the general election on 7 May, this time on behalf of a different party.

I thought I’d try to explain why to those who know me and may be puzzled by my recent political conversion to UKIP. If however you are simply not interested or find it boring, please be free to ignore and delete this email.

the crossWhen I became a Christian in my late 20s, my worldview changed dramatically. While there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with the corporate success, high income and jet-set lifestyle that I enjoyed then, I realised immediately that the Christian God rejects egotism, arrogance, selfishness and untruth: Christ showed us that His compassion is for the weak, the voiceless, the marginalised, the deprived, the disabled and the despised.

As a result and following my faith, I left the prosperity of leafy Highgate in north London and moved to inner-city Canning Town in London’s east end, then the most deprived neighbourhood in the country according to the London Research Council. There I founded and became live-in warden of an after-care home for young offenders following their release from prison, and I ended up running a local church and community centre for the disadvantaged docklands population.

My heart was primarily with the outsider and the underdog, so when in 2001 and without consultation Newham Council highhandedly and Mugabe-like announced a brutal housing clearance scheme across Canning Town (“social cleansing” the appalled locals termed it) I moved into action. I door-knocked, leafletted and held mass meetings. I was then elected onto Newham Council as the sole Opposition member facing 59 Labour councillors and a Labour executive Mayor. I was the first non-Labour councillor in Canning Town for nearly a century and this small local earthquake helped kick-start my short political career…

The union of one man and one woman in marriage, faithful to each another “for the procreation of children” and “till death us do part”, is an almost uniquely Christian ordinance. Like Christianity itself, this monogamous ideal has for more than a millennium so influenced our society, culture and language that we hardly notice it; for instance it is a bit of a shaker to consider that if I had been born in, say, traditionalist Africa or Muslim Middle East, my beloved Sally could be merely the first of my three or four wives without anyone batting an eyelid or me breaking the law.

wedding handsThe social benefits of Christian-style faithful marriage have been so great, especially for the nurture and socialisation of the nation’s children, that I put the promotion of the marriage-based family via tax breaks and other incentives at the top of my agenda. For instance when I ran for Mayor of London against Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone in 2008, my prime election pledge was to “Promote marriage and stable family as a long-term solution to youth crime, educational underachievement and child poverty”.

I was stunned therefore when in 2011, without prior notice or indeed, initially, the support of gay campaigning groups like Stonewall, David Cameron commenced his crusade for same-sex marriage and, consequently, the debasing and degrading of traditional marriage. Under the government’s gay marriage legislation, loyalty and faithfulness were negated as a key defining characteristic of marriage (“Go on, be modern, play the field, everyone does”) and, necessarily, so was procreation and the nurture of the marital union’s offspring.

Yet same-sex marriage was not in any of the main parties’ manifestos at the previous general election; there was no Green or White Paper consultation over the issue; debate in Parliament was severely restricted and one-sided; opponents were excoriated as stone-age dinosaurs or homophobes – in this way the whole metropolitan liberal political bubble (led unitedly and enthusiastically by David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Boris Johnson) highhandedly rammed through the destruction of this foundational building-block of a healthy society. They betrayed our children and it’s the coming generations who will suffer the consequences.

For me it was the last straw. It was shades of highhanded Newham Council again, but at the national level. Until this betrayal I still had – just – some residual respect for our political elite and our existing party system. But no more. Their cavalier and flagrant abuse of the political process over this vital social issue was, for me, jaw-dropping. They shoved it down our throats, and it made me sick.

But not UKIP.

UKIP is an unsophisticated grass-roots party of mainly ordinary people, warts and all. The leaders make mistakes but deal swiftly with the jesters and worse that any new party attracts.

The leadership has common sense and very real courage: alone they stood against gay marriage; alone they want the UK to exit the corrupt and undemocratic EU; alone they campaign to end to the madness of uncontrolled mass immigration; alone they plan to protect childhood innocence by banning sex education from primary school pre-pubescents.

I don’t agree with some of UKIP’s stuff, but as despised outsiders and in spite of virulent opposition the party has single-handedly shifted the political agenda on both the EU and mass immigration. The party is currently doing the same over health tourism and wages depressed by cheap labour. Yet encouragingly a significant percentage of supporters come from ethnic minorities who too, of course, are outsiders.

So I’ve joined UKIP and am campaigning and nominally standing for the party on 7 May. I want our society to regain its identity and confidence, to come out of the cosy but crumbling rich men’s club that is the EU and to engage independently with the wider world (including Europe) so that we stand or fall by our wits.

friends-fingersI don’t expect all my friends to agree with me (that’s not what friends are for!) or to support UKIP. But it is important to me that you understand why I am actively campaigning for them.

If you want to know more about the moral fury that has driven me into UKIP, I urge you to read my post “Matthew Parris’ Poison” (especially the second half) at www.alansangle.com/?p=1531.

Also if you have any comments, favourable or otherwise, be free to email me. I’d love to hear from you.

Very warmly,

Alan

Sharia Rides Up The Agenda

Since 2011 I’ve been working with the outstanding crossbench peer Baroness Caroline Cox on her legislative initiative, the Mediation and Arbitration Services (Equality) Bill.

Sharia Council of BritainThis turgid title masks sensitive and combustible issues: The primary purpose of the Bill is to tackle gender-discrimination in the 85+ Sharia courts across the UK. The secondary purpose is to tackle the growth of a parallel legal system in the UK.

Two years ago I covered the background to this proposed legislation in a post about the Bill’s Second Reading debate in the House of Lords. Despite multiple testimonies and clear evidence of discrimination against women, and strong cross-party back-bench support, the government opposed the Bill on the head-in-the-sand grounds that adequate legislation is already in place to deal with the issue.

Memorably, this inflexibility earned the new and junior minister responsible, Lord Gardiner, a magisterial put-down from one of the country’s top lawyers: “(Lord Gardiner) has given an Olympian exegesis of the processes and laws and consultations that are available to deal with the intellectual problem,” Lord Alex Carlile QC thundered from the LibDem benches behind and above the minister. “However we are concerned here with real people and real cases.”

baroness cox giving the keswick lecture week 2 09We had sat with many real Muslim women and heard their real and distressing cases at the hands of Sharia courts. We greatly relished Lord Carlile’s broadside.

This was Parliament’s first ever debate about Sharia. It was an historic debate – but this still cut no ice with the government.

Since then we’ve continued to push the issue in Westminster and Whitehall. We held briefings for Peers and met with individual MPs; we set up an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on ‘Honour’ Based Abuse ; we met and listened to more Muslim women; we supported vital research by Muslim women’s group Aurat led by the inspirational Habiba Jaan; we worked with other women’s groups like IKWRO, Inspire and Karma Nirvana; and we met off-record with a junior government minister and on-record with a key senior one.

Theresa MayThe first sign that things were beginning to change came at the Conservative Party conference last September. For the first time Home Secretary Theresa May raised publicly the issue of Sharia law and women. “Across the country, there are concerns about the way Sharia law is being applied, the way women are told to live and the intolerant attitudes shown to people of different beliefs and ways of life,” she said. “We must not sleepwalk into separation, segregation and sectarianism.”

Encouraged that we may not be banging against a brick wall after all, we continued to work the corridors of Westminster and Baroness Cox grabbed every opportunity to speak out.

Then on Monday last week and in collaboration with the Bow Group, we were about to publish a report calling for a judge-led investigation into Sharia courts when Theresa May, now a Tory leadership contender thanks to David Cameron, announced the government’s new counter-extremism policy; unexpectedly this included an independent review of Sharia courts.

“There is evidence of women being “divorced” under Sharia law and left in penury, wives who are forced to return to abusive relationships because Sharia councils say a husband has a right to “chastise”, and Sharia councils giving the testimony of a woman only half the weight of the testimony of a man,” said  Mrs May. “We will commission an independent figure to complete an investigation into the application of Sharia law in England and Wales.”

This was fantastic as far as it went, but on Tuesday we published our report anyway. The Ministry of Justice has previously run scared and aborted an investigation into Sharia courts citing lack of co-operation by Islamic authorities; we reckoned a formal judge-led investigation with powers to subpoena witnesses is more likely to succeed.

Boris_Johnson

On Wednesday Boris Johnson, current favourite in the Tory leadership stakes, weighed in saying that Sharia law is “absolutely unacceptable” in the UK and should not be allowed to preside even over family disputes.

On Thursday journalist Leo McKinstry – who famously turned on his former boss, Labour’s anti-marriage deputy leader and Shadow Deputy Prime Minster Harriet Harman, and accused her of preaching a “dangerous gospel of feminist fascism” – praised “robust” Boris and spelled out his support on the issue. Harriet Harman on the other hand, like most feminists, remains culpably silent.

So the cat is out of the bag and the hare is running. There’s been a sea change and Sharia is open for proper political scrutiny at last.

Muslim women up and down the country will be grateful.

Professor Eric Anderson & Winchester University: Campaign Update

There has been welcome progress in our campaign against Winchester University and the dangerous depraved views of their American sociology lecturer, Professor Eric Anderson. BCMLogoDr Anderson is an influential commentator about sex and sexuality and appears in the media – such as on BBC TV  discussing gay marriage together with his ‘nanny’, and on ITV disputing why men cheat on their partners.

In a previous post I highlighted how Professor Anderson described in lectures how he likes sex with 16 to 18 year old boys – for which he is willing to pay if necessary – and wants sex with 1,000 more boys and men before he dies. He also claimed that the damage caused by child molestation is merely a “social construct”.

IMG_3461.JPGSuch foul views from a high-profile academic are threatening to the welfare of children and teenage boys, yet for three years a report on the lectures was available online without public comment from the Winchester University authorities. So our campaign group Because Children Matter started to protest.

In November the Sunday Times published (£) an article about the campaign and approached the university for a statement; the authorities responded merely that they have “reprimanded (Anderson) for his remarks”. Apparently they consider this private reprimand fulfils their public responsibility towards young people. There has been no public repudiation of Anderson’s views; no apology, statement of regret or insistence that he withdraws his lectures.

AlanTitchmarshIn December it was announced that celebrity gardener, broadcaster and media personality Alan Titchmarsh is to be appointed Chancellor of Winchester University in August 2015. I immediately wrote an open letter to inform him about Professor Anderson’s views and to ask him to reconsider his appointment. As Alan Titchmarsh’s views are of importance, I’m publishing here our correspondence exchange:

Dear Mr Titchmarsh,

We write on behalf of children and young people to ask you urgently to reconsider accepting your appointment as Chancellor of Winchester University.

Professor Eric Anderson is on the staff of the University’s Department of Sport & Exercise and in that capacity has visited other universities teaching unacceptable and amoral behaviour.

As an example, in a lecture at Trinity College Oxford he made the following appalling statements which were duly verified by the reporter:

“I’m going to cuss a lot and I’m going to break down all kinds of hegemonic structures. If you’re offended by discussions of anal sex, vaginal sex, rimming, cheating, having cum all over [your] face then you should probably leave.”

“[I have had sex with] easily over a thousand people.”

“I like sex with 16, 17, 18 year old boys particularly, it’s getting harder for me to get them but I’m still finding them… I hope between the age of 43 and the time I die I can have sex with another thousand, that would be awesome, even if I have to buy them, of course, not a problem, you pay for all kinds of entertainment and pleasure.”

When asked, Professor Anderson admitted with a laugh that he is a sexual predator and – worst of all in the current climate of concern about child abuse – he as Professor of Sport claimed that team sports are more damaging to adolescents than sex.

“The damage that’s caused by child molestation is socially constructed by the western world,” he said dismissively, and contrasted this to other cultures where children engage in sex with adults as a rite of passage.

Professor Anderson also gratuitously referred to the former Archbishop of Canterbury, now Master of Magdalene College Cambridge, Rowan Williams, as an “arsehole”, “a total bigot” and “a fucking liar”.

He bragged to his listeners that his previous employer, Bath University, had “practically ran me out of town because they couldn’t stand my research”.

A fuller report on Professor Anderson’s lecture may be found at the reference below*.

No doubt like most people you will consider these statements utterly reprehensible. Yet Winchester University has neither removed Professor Anderson from his post as apparently Bath University have done, nor publicly reprimanded him and repudiated his views. Rather the university authorities continue to shelter him and give him a platform from which to promote his views.

In the light of this we ask that you do not associate your good name with the University, and that you reconsider accepting your appointment as Chancellor.

Yours sincerely,

Alan Craig,

Director, Because Children Matter

 Correspondence

 

 

 

 

 

Alan Titchmarsh replied:

Dear Mr Craig, 

I was extremely dismayed by the contents of your letter and have explored matters thoroughly with the Vice Chancellor of Winchester University. 

Like you I totally deplore what Professor Anderson said in his talk and in no way share his views. The lecture you mention took place over three years ago, and at the time Professor Anderson was severely reprimanded by the senior management team of the University. He subsequently apologised for his remarks, realising that they were not only inappropriate but considerably ill-advised. There has not been – and most certainly should not be – any recurrence of such an event.  

You may argue that his views will not have changed and that it is these which you find reprehensible.  I would only say that we live in a society where free speech, opinions and social mores (even those with which many of us profoundly disagree) are allowed to be expressed and exercised, provided they remain within the law. Although most people do not share his extreme views and find them, at the very least, distasteful, Professor Anderson is a respected authority on the subject of sexuality. 

It is an uncomfortable subject for many, and there are countless differing views as to what sort of behaviour is acceptable among consenting adults. This is something which a great many of us find difficult to assimilate, and I am very sympathetic to your feelings. 

 While I realise that you may well regard this as a poor defence, I would argue that I can do far more good for the University of Winchester by accepting the post of Chancellor than I would by turning my back and declining any involvement with the broader sweep of the university’s activities which, with some 8,000 students, is of considerable importance, value and scope. The wide ranging abilities of the University of Winchester’s students, the breadth of their experience and backgrounds, coupled with their subsequent achievements, is testament to the dedication and skill of the university staff and their overriding sense of values. These values embrace tolerance as well as deeply held principles. 

I am a committed Christian who admires and respects the university’s inclusive Christian ethos and to this end I will always make my views clear and continue to stand up for legitimate human rights, as well as showing tolerance towards those of different faiths and beliefs. To remove a person from post because their sexual mores differ from one’s own, is not, in my view, either justifiable or defensible. 

However, there are boundaries which should not and must not be crossed; boundaries which are very clear in law, especially when it comes to the protection of children. This is something of which I am profoundly aware and an area in which I will have no hesitation in making my views known and in encouraging action which I think is both appropriate and justified. With a conscientious and dedicated approach I will execute the role of Chancellor to the best of my ability and in what I hope will be regarded as a responsible and vigilant fashion. 

I hope you will understand the reasoning behind my stance, even if you do not agree with it. 

Yours faithfully, 

Alan Titchmarsh 

Following our exchange of letters the Daily Mail ran an article in January under the headline: “Titchmarsh, a gay lecturer and a row over teenage sex”.

KELVINMACKENZIEThen over the horizon charged the heavy cavalry of The Sun’s Kelvin MacKenzie – the newspaper’s former editor of Gotcha! and Freddie Starr Ate My Hamster! fame.

In a series of hard-hitting pieces MacKenzie damned Anderson as the “perv prof” and a “predatory creep”. He also:

(a) urged his readers to write to Winchester’s “hapless” vice-chancellor Professor Joy Carter about Anderson;

(b) offered to pay whistle-blowers at the university to let him, MacKenzie, know what is going on there and explain why the vice-chancellor is so silent about Anderson;

(c) encouraged parents not to let their offspring, especially boys, apply to Winchester University until the authorities disclosed what action they had taken over Anderson’s remarks;

(d) dismissed Anderson’s assertion that children in some cultures engage in sexual activity as a rite of passage with the killer-comment that “that should please the people of Rotherham”; and

(e) identified Anderson’s links with the disingenuous pro-paedophile lobbying group B4U-ACT founded by the convicted paedophile Mike Melsheimer.

Winchester University and Dr Anderson were rattled by the onslaught. Someone promptly prevailed upon the Oxford Student website to take down the report on Anderson’s lecture, which was done on 4th February. In response MacKenzie, sensing yet more skulduggery and sleight-of-hand, announced he was putting back up the offending report for all to see, this time on his own website.

It was tabloid journalism at its most effective and professional.

(MacKenzie’s columns of 29 January and 2, 5, 9 and 12 February are available on The Sun (£) website.)

pseudoscienceBut Anderson continues in his post at Winchester University and continues to publish his propaganda, pseudo-science and untruth. The London Evening Standard’s David Sexton reckons that Anderson’s latest academic offering is an “outstanding imposture” and a “rant” that is unconcerned about the needs of women, provides information and links for those looking to hone their masturbation skills (!), disseminates shamelessly unrepresentative research and should not have been published by Oxford University Press. Catherine Hakim in The Guardian agrees it is “a proselytising text rather than social science” and is surprised too that the book has been published by OUP.

Anderson remains malignly influential thanks to his prestige platform at the university and the protective wall of academia surrounding him.

So our job is not over yet…

Minor Is Major

It’s a cast-iron undertaking written in just a couple of lines towards the end of the recent UKIP publication Policies for People, such that you might well miss it. It hasn’t been promoted like the party’s policies for leaving the EU or limiting immigration, and for many it is a minor matter. But it contains a major democratic principle:

“UKIP will amend the smoking ban to give pubs and clubs the choice to open smoking rooms properly ventilated and separated from non-smoking areas.”

scolding nannyThe 2007 blanket ban on smoking in all enclosed public places was a crass piece of infantilising nanny-state legislation and a denial of the right of freedom of association.

If law-abiding and adult citizens in their right minds and fully informed of the likely (medical) consequences choose voluntarily to come together to set up a peaceable smoking club, on what possible grounds can a supposedly mature democracy refuse them?

There are no grounds of course, except the instinctive desire of our masters – whenever they can get away with it – to close down our exasperating liberties, limit our frustrating choices and knock us into the shape they think is good for us.

The ban on smoking in public places where non-smokers are present, such as restaurants, offices and on public transport, is certainly to be welcomed. And there is a good case for the forthcoming ban on smoking in cars when children are passengers.

But the complete and total ban insisted on by our legislators in 2007 – and indeed the current contested proposal to ban smoking in city parks and outdoor areas – amply illustrate the bossy small-minded we-know-best attitude of the governing class that is the antithesis of an open and free participative democracy. They are managers not leaders; they act as political masters not public servants; they use coercion not persuasion; they are long on patronising paternalism and short on grass-roots common sense: and our freedoms of choice and association are suffering because it.

cigarUKIP’s track record is far from perfect, but consistently it shows that the party has the courage to do democracy, challenge established categories, confront the mainstream PC consensus and go where the LibLabCon elite refuses to go. Amending the smoking ban is a brilliant if unnoticed case in point.

So if all goes well on 7th May, next Christmas I’ll once again be free to enjoy a festive cigar alongside a pint and a game of pool in my favourite pub.

It’s yet another reason for joining and voting UKIP.

O Holy Night

Kings-College-Choir

On this silent sacred night, England’s best chapel choir sings Christendom’s best Christmas carol, here .

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices!

O night divine, the night when Christ was born. 

Even in the darkness of tragedy, brutality, weariness and despair, in Christ there is a thrill of hope and through Christ every day is a new and glorious morn; we can do all things in Him who strengthens us.

Happy Christmas!

The Pink News Definition Of Democracy

I received a call from BBC Radio Northampton on Tuesday: with effect from midnight Civil Partnerships (CP) could be converted legally into Same Sex Marriages (SSM), they said, so would I discuss the issue on Stuart Linnell at Breakfast in the morning? They had heard me on BBC Radio London and wanted me to make my case to their Northamptonshire audience.

benjamincohenIn the event and on behalf of our campaign group Because Children Matter, I followed Ben Cohen of Pink News  in the show (here, commencing at 1 hr 6 mins 53 secs into the programme). I’ve met Ben before in LBC studios and he’s a friendly articulate guy although this time inevitably he stumbled and struggled to identify any advantage of same-sex marriages over civil partnerships.

“(You make SSM) sound just symbolic really,” said Stuart Linnell (at 1:14:53). The presenter was trying to help his faltering interviewee, but also unwittingly he exposed the fact that while SSM may be an important issue for Pink News gay activists and their useful idiots in the LibLabCon political class, in reality and on the ground it is an empty – if destructive – charade.

Indeed Ben was forced to concede that the number of gay couples who have entered into SSMs since they became legal on 29th March “is not that high” (at 1:13:20). Thank-you-but-noOrdinary same-sex couples have seen through the pretence and said “No thanks”. Significantly, the in-touch leadership of Ukip like Nigel Farage and gay MEP David Coburn have seen through it too, to Ukip’s electoral advantage.

When it was my turn (this slot can be heard in full here) I pointed out that while CPs are what it says on the tin, SSMs are a fake and a counterfeit: while conventional marriage commits the participants to a faithful ‘til death us do part’ which brings stability and huge benefits for the nurture of children, SSMs were designed by the government  to accommodate what Brendon O’Neill calls the “flightiness and flexibility more commonly associated with gay relationships”.

So adultery is no ground for divorce with SSMs. High-profile gay couple Barrie and Tony Drewitt-Barlow play the field and openly advertise for sex partners – “preferably firemen, married men, muscle men and rugby players” – on Gaydar. And BBC-duping Eric Anderson reckons to have had sex with over a thousand people other than his marriage partner Grant Tyler Peterson. Faithful monogamy SSM is not.

rageMy approach clearly hit the target as Ben Cohen was incensed. He contacted the programme producer and demanded further airtime. Rebuffed, he took to his website and gave vent to his spleen. There he quoted me at length and I’m grateful for the further coverage of my views.

But he also let slip his guard and laid bare the underlying intolerance for which triumphalist gay leaders have become renowned. “Everyone understands the BBC, like all broadcasters, must ensure that news reporting is balanced and impartial,” he burbled, “however when it comes to reporting on gay rights issues the BBC seems to step well off the mark… As the law has already been enacted, this issue is no longer up for debate… So quite why BBC Northampton felt the need to allow Alan Craig on the air to regurgitate the same old anti-gay diatribe, and for that to go unchallenged is beyond me.”

No doubt Ben was disappointed at his own confused contribution to the programme, and in his subsequent anger at my arguments he illustrated an almost universal truth: gay activists, having stormed and plundered the ancient marriage stronghold, now want to lift the drawbridge and shut down all further discussion.

It’s the Pink News definition of democracy: “The issue is no longer up for debate”.

“Child Molestation Is A Social Construct”

Over the past couple of decades the scale of child sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests and members of Catholic religious orders has shocked the world. Although it is reckoned that the prevalence of abuse in the church has now significantly declined the abuse and subsequent cover-up has massively damaged the moral authority of the church – and, by association, of Christianity itself.

abused boyIn the UK concern over child abuse has moved on to other infected institutions like the BBC and the NHS, and left the former’s reputation in tatters. In 2012 the nation was stunned when it emerged that Jimmy Savile, one of the BBC’s favourite children’s entertainers, and others had systematically abused children on a massive scale over many years on BBC and NHS premises and the BBC too had done a cover-up. And within two years BBC celebrities Rolf Harris and Stuart Hall and celebrity publicist Max Clifford had been jailed for similar sexual offences against minors.

Since 2012 also, when MP Tom Watson first raised the issue in Parliament, the Elm Guest House child abuse scandal has rarely been out of the headlines. In the 1980s, it seems government ministers, top policemen, senior civil servants, diplomats, barristers and other establishment figures were part of a powerful paedophile network linked to the hostel in south London where male orgies with boys took place and up to 100 victims were groomed and abused for sexual purposes. depressed adolescentThe trail of depravity leads even to Downing Street and, more recently, there have been accusations of child abduction and murder linked to the house.

Add to this evil the other child abuse scandals and the epidemic of Asian/Muslim grooming gangs such as those at Rotherham, Rochdale (and, separately, its former MP Cyril Smith), Oxford, Birmingham and Bristol, and it seems that predatory paedophiles operate in every area and level of society. Further it is clear that the state has little idea how to protect the vulnerable victims who almost always come from public care and/or grow up outside the security of the traditional family.

So I was concerned when a colleague drew my attention to the words, works and wisdom of American-born sociologist Professor Eric Anderson who currently teaches at Winchester University. In a lecture at Trinity College Oxford, which followed a similar address at Glasgow University, Professor Anderson claimed to have had sex with “easily over a thousand people”. When asked, he admitted with a laugh that he is a sexual predator.

Professor Eric Anderson“I like sex with 16, 17, 18 year old boys particularly,” the gay Professor crowed, “it’s getting harder for me to get them but I’m still finding them… I hope between the age of 43 and the time I die I can have sex with another thousand, that would be awesome, even if I have to buy them…”

Why gay sex is better than straight sex’ was the proselytising title of his lecture and Professor Anderson opened his speech to the predominantly LGBT audience with a depraved flourish: “My intention is to offend you,” he said. “I’m going to cuss a lot and I’m going to break down all kinds of hegemonic structures. If you’re offended by discussions of anal sex, vaginal sex, rimming, cheating, having cum all over your face then you should probably leave.”

Incidentally, in addition to discussing these predominantly unhealthy harmful sex games as well as bestiality and incest, Winchester University’s eminent professor called the then Archbishop of Canterbury now Master of Magdalene College Cambridge, Rowan Williams, an “arsehole”, “a total bigot” and “a fucking liar”.

In the midst of this obscenity Professor Anderson turned his attention to child abuse. He teaches in the University’s department of sports studies and in the US was a successful sports coach, but he claimed that team sports are more damaging to adolescents than sex. “The damage that’s caused by child molestation is socially constructed by the western world,” he opined, and contrasted this to other cultures where children engage in sex with adults as a rite of passage.

Sambian child abuseBy classifying child molestation as an artificial social construct rather than an absolute and profound evil, the professor was using his academic credentials to undermine society’s healthy hostility towards child abuse. And he is not alone; this misleading cultural comparison has been utilised by others too. In another context gay campaigner Peter Tatchell, for instance, cites man/boy sexual relations, often during manhood initiation rites, amongst remote tribes such as the Siwan of Egypt, Batak of Sumatra, Anga of Melanesia and Sambia of Papua New Guinea.

In a direct parallel, tribes and cultures outside the West also engage in female genital mutilation. It would be just as repulsive as well as untrue to suggest that the damage to girls caused by FGM is socially constructed by the western world and that consequently it can be tolerated, affirmed or even celebrated in cultures outside the West. FGM like child abuse is an absolute evil that should be universally opposed and proscribed.

university-of-winchester-bannerWinchester University continues to give a platform and cloak of respectability to Professor Anderson’s dangerous depraved views. So colleagues and I decided to campaign for his removal. “My prior university, the University of Bath… practically ran me out of town because they couldn’t stand my research,” he bragged to his audience during the lecture. We argue that the University of Winchester should follow suit.

Earlier this month our group Because Children Matter wrote to the University Vice-Chancellor and the Board of Governors as well as to outside stakeholders such as principals of feeder sixth form colleges, and we held a leafleting campaign in Winchester city centre. Our activities were covered by the Sunday Times , the Southern Daily Echo and on YouTube .

Watch this space for further developments.

Sack Revd Giles Fraser – For Christ’s Sake

In my previous post  I told how I have applied to join UKIP. This simple democratic act seems to have caused some fluttering in some dovecotes.

I was contacted by a self-styled ‘business reporter’ from the HuffPost, left-liberals’ right-on answer to the Daily Express, who in his subsequent piece avoided business issues and instead attempted to generate a media puff by citing my three-year-old bullseye post about the gaystapo and claiming that my application had “sparked fury on Twitter”. ukip badgesFortunately UKIP would have none of it and dismissed this with the comment that the party is “very wary of joining in a witch-hunt against somebody who holds those views that the vast majority of the world would also hold” – which explains why UKIP is the popular and rising power in the land.

Another anti-UKIP political weblog, the gay-run PinkNews, also tried to climb on board but in its article it paid me the compliment of accurately quoting at length my views about gay marriage taken from two posts on this blog. I’m grateful for the further coverage.

And down amongst the minnows, here in east London a parochial blog called ForestGate.net ran the unimaginative headline ‘Alan Craig gets kippered’. It claimed that I have always been a bit mad and that I am not really that much of a Christian at all. “Just as Nigel Farage is a bigot who dresses his nasty prejudices up as ‘common sense’, Craig dresses his up in scripture and calls them religious convictions,” it snarled, desperately trying to create some local froth. But I don’t think Forest Gate was listening…

In the previous post ‘Matthew Parris’ Poison’, I highlighted a sniffy article by Times columnist Matthew Parris about Clacton and its residents (“Ten tattoo parlours, no Waterstones”) as a prime example of why UKIP is so popular, coming as it did right from the heart of the out-of-touch metropolitan political class where Matthew Parris resides. I now have another example, but this time from the Guardian:

Rev Giles FraserIn his day job The Revd Canon Giles Fraser was, until 2011, Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral. He is now parish priest at St Mary’s Newington just a few streets from Lambeth Palace, London home of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Revd Giles also has a regular Saturday column in the Guardian. Earlier this month he turned his attention to UKIP in a piece headlined “Jesus wasn’t much taken with biological kith and kin – he said we’re all one family”.

For three paragraphs he paraded his professional compassion for a struggling parishioner – whereby, as Christ said, he like the hypocrites has received his reward in full. Then Canon Giles turned his journalistic cannons onto UKIP and, grandstanding for his Guardian readers, pigeonholed UKIP-supporting fellow citizens with a loathing and poison that out-Parrised Parris.

“I despise them (my italics),” he sneered sanctimoniously. “I despise them for their Little England mentality (my italics). I despise them for their total absence (my italics) of fellow-feeling towards vulnerable people who look and sound different. I despise them for the way they scapegoat (my italics) immigrants and whip up (my italics) the resentment of white working class. IDespiseYouBut I especially despise them (my italics) for the way they dress all this up (my italics) as the protection of something they call Christian England.”

This is such inaccurate dishonest hate-fuelled stereotyping that it is a parody of itself. Indeed the article would be laughable if it didn’t come from an establishment figure of the national church. As it is, it is unbelievable and unfair. “Physician, heal thyself,” Jesus might chide him for his inflammatory bigotry. “Take the log out of your own eye.”

The Lord also might remind him that it is not an option for a Christian, especially a Christian minister, to despise anyone whatever their views. “Love your neighbour” and “Love your enemy” are foundational for all Christ’s followers.

Justin WelbyAnd if he doesn’t want to follow Jesus, the Revd Giles should at least listen to his boss just down the road at Lambeth Palace. “The language we use must reflect the value of the human being,” said  Archbishop Justin Welby, rightly, about the recent immigration debate.

By ramping up his language and displaying his bigotry across the columns of the Guardian, the former Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral works wonders for UKIP, just like Matthew Parris. But I’m not sure that’s what he intends. And I’m not sure heaven smiles on his article either.

If he continues to write such bile, for UKIP’s sake the Guardian should give him more frequent space and more column inches.

But for Christ’s sake the Archbishop should sack him from the church.