Couple of snapshots.

1. Veteran Catholic midwife left unemployed after refusing to participate in abortions.

Her efforts to distance herself professionally from abortions throughout her career — supervising staff when she had to but never taking an active role — had largely been successful and was accepted by colleagues and managers.

‘Other staff would volunteer to oversee them for me. They respected my feelings.

Then, in 2008, a restructuring in the hospital led to more abortions being carried out in the labour ward (previously they had been split between the gynaecology ward and the labour ward, depending on the stage of pregnancy), and Mary asked her managers for clarification on her position legally.

They told her she had to participate, or lose her job. Finally, in 2010, she refused to go on, sacrificing her career. Eventually she and another midwife filed a lawsuit. The legal process has now ended with their defeat. More:

The ruling overturned an earlier decision, in an Edinburgh court, which supported the women’s claim that they were ‘conscientious objectors’.

As the law now stood, they could be disciplined for refusing to take part. So, having delivered some 5,000 babies over three decades in a job she adored, Mary felt she had no choice but to take early retirement.

Now she is telling her story because the issue is back in the political frame, with campaigners pushing for a change in the law to protect health professionals who, as a matter of conscience, do not want to be involved in abortions.

Given the power of the pro-choice lobby, she and other supporters of the bill — including Lord Alton and Lord Mackay, the former Lord Chancellor — fear that it has a slim chance of success unless public support can be galvanised.

‘It’s not only about midwives,’ says Mary of her fight. ‘The issue of conscientious objection in the NHS will become even more important with things like end-of-life care. We need to tackle it now.’

Readers, this is coming here. Don’t you doubt it at all. A senior national medical figure I interview for The Benedict Option says this is why he doesn’t want his children going into medicine. He is too afraid for their future, because he can see coercive policies and laws coming. We had better gear up for this legal and legislative fight.

Britain has a Tory government. It could protect midwives like Mary. If it wanted to.

2. Pearson, one of Britain’s largest textbook companies, will update the nation’s its products to celebrate diversity. Excerpts:

Rod Bristow, Pearson’s president for core markets, said they will use the handbook to “help update our own products and resources to ensure they are LGBT inclusive”.

The handbook, titled “Creating an LGBT-Inclusive Curriculum” suggests ways in which teachers can tweak their lessons so LGBT students “see themselves represented in what they’re learning”.

Suggestions include setting questions which reference same-sex couples in maths and science, and introducing LGBT-specific vocabulary in language lessons.

The handbook says an example of this would be a question beginning : “Two women would like to have a baby together, and the doctor recommends they use In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)”.

Such are these times. More:

In December, new Government-backed guidance for head teachers said that primary schools should include books that feature transgender parents in the curriculum.

School leaders must “celebrate” transgender people, encourage their staff to teach children about trans issues, and “ensure the visibility” of trans perspectives in the classroom, it said.

The advice was part of new guidance issued by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and endorsed by the Department for Education.

“Celebrate.” Not “teach about,” but “celebrate.”

Britain has a Tory government. Did you realize that?

A friend of mine, a believing Catholic from England, emigrated to the US so she could raise her children in a culture that is not so hostile to the faith. She, her husband, and their children are active now in a fledgling Benedict Option school community. It breaks her heart in some ways to be away from her homeland, but the faith of her children must come first, in her view.

Most British Christians won’t have that opportunity, or wouldn’t necessarily choose it if they did. Question to my readers in the UK: what Benedict Option strategies are realistically open to you regarding the education of your children? For that matter, how do you regard the vocational field (that is, jobs) as believing Christians? Are there fields that you know are closed off to you as believers? Are there professions you would discourage your children from pursuing, as a matter of faith?

What counsel can you give us here in the US?

American readers, especially Christians, so many of us think it can’t happen here. It can, and it will. I am eager to be corrected by UK Christian readers if I’m wrong, but I doubt very much that there is a popular constituency in Britain for the traditional Christian view in either of these cases. That is what it means to live in a post-Christian country. Though we should fight politically and legally against these sorts of things happening to us, we are increasingly unlikely to prevail. Then what? The then what? conversations are what I’m trying to stimulate with my Ben Op work.

UPDATE: Since publishing this, I’ve just seen Sohrab Ahmari’s piece about what Theresa May’s Tory government is doing in Britain on education reform. Read it! Excerpts:

Brexit was supposed to liberate Britons from unaccountable government, PC orthodoxy, and high-handed bureaucracy. But who needs Brussels mandarins when supposed Conservatives in Westminster are beholden to the same orthodoxies?

That’s the question religious leaders in the U.K. are asking themselves as Prime Minister Theresa May’s government prepares to make it mandatory for all schools–including private, faith-based institutions–to teach an ultra-progressive sex education curriculum. Under the proposal, all schools would be required to teach children from age 4 and up “age-appropriate” content that includes information about same-sex marriage and transgenderism. Catholics, evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and others with traditional views on sex and gender would have to comply. No exceptions.

Former Education Secretary Justine Greening first floated the idea last March on the ground that the current law is “outdated,” since many religious schools are exempt from the sex-ed curriculum requirements. The prime minister sacked Greening last month, but her successor, Damian Hinds, told Parliament that he remains committed to the compulsory sex-education agenda.

Greening made no effort to disguise the ideology behind her policy push, telling Sky News in July that “it is important that the church, in a way, keeps up and is part of a modern country. We have allowed same-sex marriage, that’s a massive step forward for the better. And for me, I think people do want to see our major faiths keep up with modern attitudes.”

Dame Louise Casey, another senior government adviser, singled out Catholics in particular. It is “not OK for Catholic schools to be homophobic and anti-gay marriage,” she testified in the House of Commons. “I have a problem with the expression of religious conservatism because I think often it can be anti-equalities.”

Read the whole thing.  It blows my mind that this is happening under a Tory government. What kind of future can religious liberty have in Britain if the government takes it upon itself to compel religions to teach its own doctrines, particularly when those secular doctrines deny what those religions believe?

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97 Responses to Life In Post-Christian Britain

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  1. johnny reb says:

    ” That is what it means to live in a post-Christian country.”

    Wrong! This is what it means to live in a totalitarian country.

    The problem isn’t that they are post-Christian; the problem is that they are post-Classical-Liberalism. Any country with an all-powerful centralized government run by ideologues (even Christian ideologues) will burn witches; obviously the definition of who is a witch would be different, but the basic principle is the same. If you don’t believe me, ask Galileo.

    The situation with the midwife is an unavoidable consequence of the fact that the British government has a monopoly on health care: “Everything within the State; nothing outside the State …”

  2. Marie says:

    Jay, my feelings aren’t hurt, but calling people who stand outside abortion clinics “terrorist sympathizers” is dishonest and not even trying, just drawing conclusions from your impression of media reports.

    In a comment complaining anti-abortionists won’t compromise, you intentionally and inflammatorily conflate people who pray the rosary a legal distance from a clinic with arsonists and bombers. Way to fail at civil dialogue!

  3. Bob says:


    Sometimes, when in the protesting mood, I direct my protest towards furriers and vivisectors rather than abortionists.

    Am I a terrorist across the board, or only when protesting abortion?

    I eagerly await clarification!

  4. grumpy realist says:

    Mmm. At present the major split in the U.K. seems to be between Remainers and Brexiters. It’s only the D.U.P. who seems to make an issue of abortion (and are considered lunatics by everyone else.) And Jacob Rees-Mogg, who has already stated that although Catholic and opposing abortion personally, he will not be trying to make abortion illegal.

    Even Ireland looks like it will be making abortion legal the next vote around….surprising, no? Except the Irish Church seems to have totally destroyed its moral authority over the years and fewer and fewer Irish listen to it.

    That’s the thing about religious moral authority–you have to hold yourself to a high standard if you want to be at all believed. And waving away problems mumbling “all men are sinners” only satisfies the already-convinced.

  5. Devinicus says:

    In both the United States and the United Kingdom, “consumer sovereignty” combined with professional expertise has come to dominate health care. If [1] a customer demands good or service X and [2] professional experts have decided that good or service X is merited, then none may stand in the way. Individual medical providers are simply cogs in the Big Machine.

  6. kgasmart says:

    Meanwhile, at the BBC:

    My UK friend who sent this said, “And they laughed when we talked about slippery slopes.”

    Well, this is the next planned assault, after the transgender battle has been “won.” Hear me now and believe me later (as Dana Carvey used to say in his send-up of Arnold Schwartzenegger): Polyamory is the next leftist sexual “moral crusade.” It’s coming.

    Except, it’s having a hard time getting here.

    The transgender battle is, I think, proving more difficult than the left thought it would be. It’s like a pit in the throat that just won’t be swallowed; hence the attempt of the state, in Britain, to ensure that it’s “celebrated.”

    We can’t merely accept that there are people out there with gender dysphoria who have the same rights as others; we have to pat them on the back, we must cheer, celebrate their supposed courage to “be who they really are.”

    No thanks.

  7. Ken Zaretzke says:

    Steve Sailer nails it:

    “The future will be a liberaltarian dystopia where it’s legal for billionaires to throw people they don’t like out of helicopters, but only if the billionaires employ a staff of genderqueer of color PR professionals to explain why Intersectionality proves that the dead guys had it coming.”

  8. Stefan says:

    “It blows my mind that this is happening under a Tory government.”

    That’s because you have a warped understanding of what the operative values and policy goals of real-world conservatism are. Per political scientist Corey Robbins “The Reactionary Mind”, conservatism is about defending incumbent social hierarchies, all the rest is (sincere) confabulation, the stuff about deficits most of all. It should come as no surprise then that the left’s anti-culture, functioning as a shibboleth for the interrogated public’s willingness to submit to a strictly technocratic understanding of itself, is entirely compatible with the political project of conservatism. Same reason Respectable Conservatism in most countries is entirely on board with mandatory trash separation, low-flush toilets, low-emission zones etc. in the name of environmentalism. Because it empowers an army of credentialed busy-bodies whose real-world goal is to disempower individuals and families by telling them that they have no credentials and thus no right to live their lives as they see fit. Respectable Conservatism worships the Nietzschean last man, the culmination of mediocrity, weakness and hopelessness, just as much as the left does.

  9. RR says:

    I should have mentioned as well that I don’t mind Jay and other pro-choice folks calling pro-life protesters terrorists. I wouldn’t think very highly of pro-life protesters if I didn’t think abortion is murder. Since they are completely wrong, however, as is obvious for anyone with eyes to see and hears to hear, those who use who are pro-life shouldn’t hesitate to call abortion murder and abortionists mass murderers instead of “doctors.” They are doctors in the same way that Josef Mengele was a “doctor.” Incidentally, Mengle made a living as a abortionist after he escaped Europe for South America. That’s hardly a coincidence.

    Oh, and those who favor forcing medical personnel to perform abortions aren’t pro-choice. They are pro-abortion and illiberal.

  10. Mike Garrett says:

    Once the West fully embraced its democracy fetish the end became inevitable. According to religious tradition Moses, who had been educated by the Egyptians, a people who had been literate already for two thousand years, gave Israel its laws. He went up on the mountain and came down with the Ten Commandments as a starting point for law. In other words, the law was determined by literate old men who had long studied the written record of the past. They gave us laws determined by trial and error over thousands of years.

    Now the neo-Viking barbarians of Europe, who have been literate for a remarkably short time, want to throw out this basic principle of deriving conclusions from evidence. They believe that Moses was wrong in not letting the people carry on with rules based on their own opinions and desires. Had he not stopped the the people from dancing around the Golden Calf they would soon have started making much better laws for themselves. After all self-evident truth trumps historical precedent and experience of previous societies every time, for Americans.

  11. A lot of Tories were gay… they just used to have to drag their lower class sex slaves into the closet. Liberals thinking they invented homosexuality reminds me of Miss Manners comment on people who think sex was invented in Berkeley in the early 1960s. And don’t forget what C.S. Lewis wrote about some of the best boarding schools.

    Any country with an all-powerful centralized government run by ideologues (even Christian ideologues) will burn witches; obviously the definition of who is a witch would be different, but the basic principle is the same.

    Basically true. Now explain that to them.

  12. Ragged Clown says:

    If your mind is already made up about this case the following probably won’t change it but I found it useful to go and read the Daily Mail article that Rod quoted from.

    When I wrote my previous comment (before I read the article) I wished that my country would be sensible enough to establish an exclusion for conscientious objectors. It turns out there already is one!

    From the article:

    Lord Steel has told me that when he was framing the law, some of his colleagues had deep conscientious objections.

    To provide for their concerns, a clause was introduced — Clause Four — that established the absolute right of doctors to abstain from carrying out abortions.

    It went further than that, as David Steel told the Commons: ‘The Bill imposes no obligation on anyone to participate in an operation.’

    He added that the clause also ‘gives nurses and hospital employees a clear right to opt out.’

    Sure enough, midwives do not have to participate in abortions.

    What’s the deal with Ms Doogan then? It turns out that she was the ward supervisor.

    Again, from the article,

    In the course of her duties in an NHS hospital, Mary, a devout Catholic, supervised colleagues as they participated in abortions. Although never hands-on herself, she admits she always felt implicated.

    ‘It’s why I later took the stance I did,’ she says, referring to the court case that ultimately cost her job as a labour ward co-ordinator at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow.

    Ms Doogan did not have to participate in abortions but she worked on a ward where abortions were performed.

    ‘On the second day I was asked to help out in theatre on a gynaecology ward.

    ‘The last three procedures on the list were terminations.

    ‘I just went out of the room — they only had to have me on hand, I wasn’t directly required — but that’s an impossible situation to be in.’

    Ms Doogan wasn’t required to be involved with abortions—she went out of the room—but as a supervisor some of her charges were.

    Ms Doogan herself forced the issue.

    She had always understood that she was protected by a ‘conscience clause’ in the Abortion Act of 1967 which gave her the right not to be involved in a termination at any level.

    She wanted to be sure, she told managers, and to formalise her arrangement in everyone’s interest.

    Again, I don’t expect this to change anyone’s mind if it is already made up. If you think abortion is murder, this won’t change your mind. But, if you thought it horrific that midwives were forced to perform abortions against their conscience…rest assured, that isn’t happening.

    One difference between British jurisprudence versus American jurisprudence is that the British are far more willing to to fudge the law in the name of justice. In America, you either have to bake the cake or you don’t have to bake the cake. There is no room for nuance or circumstance or shades of grey.

    In this case, Ms Doogan wasn’t being forced to do anything that violated her conscience. The people around her were content to fudge things to accommodate Ms Doogan’s wishes but that wasn’t enough. Ms Doogan wanted things in black and white.

  13. Ragged Clown says:

    Researching a little more, I found this

    Describing the ruling as a landmark judgement, Ann Furedi, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, said: “Bpas supports the right to refuse to work in abortion care, not least because women deserve better than being treated by those who object to their choice. But the law as it stands already provides healthcare workers with these protections. Extending this protection to tasks not directly related to the abortion would be to the detriment of women needing to end a pregnancy and the healthcare staff committed to providing that care.”

    If you were misled (as I was) by Rod’s summary into thinking that Ms Doogan was being forced into performing abortions, you were mistaken.

    Here’s the original judge’s opinion:

    The Court of Session in Edinburgh initially ruled in 2012 that their human rights had not been violated as they were not directly involved in terminations.

    At the time, judge Lady Smith said: “Nothing they have to do as part of their duties terminates a woman’s pregnancy.

    “They are sufficiently removed from direct involvement as, it seems to me, to afford appropriate respect for and accommodation of their beliefs.”

    Lots more legal context here:

  14. Anne says:

    There have already been a few isolated cases of health care institutions making similar demands in the US, all settled in favor of the conscientious objector(s). I suspect the fact that the UK is a consitutional monarchy, and that Britain itself has an established church makes a difference in how this particular matter is viewed, at first glance at least. I remember how differently from their Catholic equivalents in the US the religious nuns on the popular BBC show “Call the Midwife” were shown responding when abortion was legalized in Britain following the thalidomide tragedy of the 60s. No moral qualms, just the calm assurance that “our tradition doesn’t prohibit it,” so let’s make sure our mothers know we’re here to support them. Before Brexit, an appeal might have been made to the European Court of2 Human Rights. As it is, I wonder if there is another avenue of appeal?

  15. Anne says:

    Religious nuns? Are there non-religious nuns? Never mind. I meant “religious sisters,” as they’re called in “Call the Midwife.” Sigh.

  16. Rossbach says:

    The major problem here is the assumption that the so-called Conservative Party is a real opposition party to the totalitarian Left. It isn’t and it hasn’t been for decades.

  17. Rombald says:

    I think a lot of the issue is that much of the West is explicitly anti-Christian, rather than merely non-Christian. A lot of these measures, with gays, abortion, etc., are not because the powers that be really care much about gays, or couldn’t find ways of letting conscientious objectors continue to work, but that they specifically aim to inflict harm on Christians.

    Here in Japan, only about 1% of the population is Christian, but there is very little animosity towards Christianity. In fact, Japanese people, if they think about it at all, tend to be positive, and to see it simplistically as being peace-and-love, the way that Westerners tend to view Buddhism.

    Admittedly, I don’t know any Japanese doctors to ask about the situation with respect to abortion. Homosexuality doesn’t seem to be a big political issue, although it has never been illegal. SSM isn’t even really on the horizon.

    In principle, I don’t really see the objection to same-sex civil marriage – why should civil marriage be of any religious importance? However, in practice, I think the popularity of the issue in the West is solely as a tool with which to persecute Christians.

  18. David J. White says:

    Rod thinks the pro-choice side is extreme (and he may be right)…but his side is also extreme (which I have never seen him admit). His side wants all abortions illegal

    Just like those doggone Abolitionists, who wanted all slavery illegal! What a bunch of extremists!

  19. TR says:

    There’s so much bad information about British laws and customs here that I wish you would just stick to the United States for your outrages. You can’t logically–and logic is the thing Christian conservatives seem to value most from the Greco-Roman past–lay great importance on your culture, and then comment on another’s without knowing or understanding it.

  20. grumpy realist says:

    Rombald–abortion is pretty typical in Japan, but since most people are vaguely Shinto rather than Christian there’s no real pushback against it. In fact, it took a lot of protesting and tub-thumping by women’s groups to get the Pill allowed (there were dark insinuations by the women’s groups that since abortions brought in more money for doctors that was why the JMA was so slow on moving on the matter.)

    Since traditional Japanese belief held that the soul only enters the body after birth, abortions have never been seen in the same way as they are in Christian countries.

  21. Philly guy says:

    As far as terrorists outside abortion clinics, was a clinic defender/escort for the Elizabeth Blackwell center in Philadelphia during Operation Rescue about 20 years ago.While I still support the center, have not been asked to reform the “ brute sqvad “.

  22. KevinS says:

    Rombald says, “However, in practice, I think the popularity of the issue [same sex marriage] in the West is solely as a tool with which to persecute Christians.”

    Yeah, it has nothing to do with my desire to marry my partner of 15 years…it’s just to persecute you. It has nothing to do with my desire to see my own government treat my relationship with the same respect it treats yours.

    I suggest you get over your self-centered victimization complex, please. It’s actually not about you.

  23. KevinS says:

    Siaryls Jenkins writes, “Liberals thinking they invented homosexuality.”

    Please identify a liberal that thinks they invented homosexuality (whatever that means). Where do you come up with this stuff?

  24. Myles says:

    The thing about the Tories, surely, is that they aren’t conservative in a way that Americans would understand. Jeff Sessions is not interchangeable with Amber Rudd. And this isn’t merely because Sessions is a very conservative Republican – Rudd is a pretty mainstream Tory, but if you transposed her into US politics she would be somewhere to the left of Bernie Sanders.

    And, I’m afraid to say this, any hope that social conservatism will be revived by professional eccentric Jacob Rees-Mogg is doomed to disappointment. The Justine Greening element is the ascendant one, and will be into the future.

    Conservative politicians in the UK (except for the DUP, who everyone else sees as provincial madmen) have got as much to do with social conservatism as… well, their counterparts in Holland or Sweden.

  25. Hildebrand says:

    Ragged Clown gives interesting details about the ruling and the legal context. Nevertheless, isn’t the question of “not directly (being) involved in terminations” a narrow legal trick?

    After all, she is required to indirectly help other performing what she thinks is a murder.

    A German court recently found guilty and condemned a 80 or 90 years old former accountant in a German concentration and extermination camp during WW2. Well, that guy also never directly killed anybody, but was helpful. And we could consider that given the SS ways, his life would be at risk if he refused to do his job.

  26. Hibernian says:

    @ Mr. Dreher in re Bob: So you’re not a partisan of the Stuart pretender?

  27. Phillip says:


    Both slavery and abortion are moral evils. Both reduce humans to property.

    Which world would you rather live in?

    One where the intrinsic value of every human life is respected and unassailable?

    Or one where the less powerful, once they become too inconvenient, may be disposed of by the more powerful?

  28. Rebecca Z. says:

    When my children were young, a neck injury I received as a teen flared up, and I could barely care for them. Treatment included many visits to a chiropractor, physical therapist, and occupational therapist, all with offices on Beacon St. in Brookline, MA, where there is also a Family Planning Clinic in the same block.

    So on the notion of terrorists, let’s get one thing straight: sometimes, I had to bring my children with me to those visits, and yes, we had to walk through a gauntlet of people who terrorized them with shouting and signs. At 2 and 4 yrs., this was difficult to explain to my children.

    And then there was the day that I left the doctor’s office, with my children, and got on the same train as the man who’d just killed several people in the clinic next door and was on his way to kill more down the street.

    Because you are prolife, if you tune out arguments that invoke the word ‘terrorist’, you are deceiving yourselves. There are terrorists at the clinic door, I still have nightmares about them. They never, not once, struck me as Godly, caring people, they were angry and frightening and intent on shaming women.

    I’ve talked to may women going for birth control, pap smears, and cancer treatments who’ve been terrorized in front of family planning clinics, and getting in and out for basic medical care is generally much more traumatic than the doctor’s visit inside.

  29. Thanks Ragged Clown. Facts are important when considering what really happened. (Is there anything original about this observation?)

    It sounds like with the best good will all around the hospital might have arranged so that Ms. Doogan wasn’t going to be “called in” as the supervisor to be “on hand” as a specific requirement of performing an abortion, even if not physically present or handling fetal remains. She wasn’t being entirely unreasonable.

    But, its also possible that people with conscientious objections really won’t be qualified to hold certain supervisory positions. On the other hand, it doesn’t sound like there is any reason she should not be licensed to perform live deliveries as a midwife.

  30. John Doez says:

    In the UK, hardly anyone goes to church. This isn’t a new state of affairs. People lost trust in the institution following the two world wars, plus Britain lost its empire, which was closely tied to Anglicanism.
    Britain is a very odd example and you shouldn’t draw lessons from it.
    Your Catholic friend is also in a different boat as the UK hasn’t been Catholic for a long time so the loss of the empire wasn’t such a big deal, whereas it knocked Protestant faith.
    Thatcher was ostensibly a Tory but she was constantly at war with the church; she closed down more grammars; sent women out to work, etc.
    The longer term reason is the ideas of the Frankfurt School really took a hold among the universities in the UK from the 1960s onwards, and they were never really challenged. The Tory backlash in the 1980s focused on economics, which the Frankfurt School wasn’t directly interested in, rather than ideas. In the USA, you still have some strong faith networks and universities which have challenged and resisted these ideas. In Europe, the Catholic church had shored up resistance to a certain extent too, although countries like Ireland are very peculiar – but the Irish have always oscillated between extremes.
    Finally, Frankfurt School ideas offered an opportunity for the ruling class to reinvent itself and retain domestic power after the collapse of empire; look at the going-ons at Oxford for example.

  31. KevinS says:

    David Whites writes, “Rod thinks the pro-choice side is extreme (and he may be right)…but his side is also extreme (which I have never seen him admit). His side wants all abortions illegal

    Just like those doggone Abolitionists, who wanted all slavery illegal! What a bunch of extremists!”

    And they were extreme, thank god! Sometimes extremism is justified. Just recognize it as such.

  32. Rombald says:

    grumpy realist:

    The situation in Japan is not that simple. Some Buddhist groups do criticise abortion, but one doesn’t hear much about them. There are also the mizuko – monuments to aborted foetuses (and stillbirths, etc.) – which tend to assuage women’s guilt – there have been some scandals about temples charging women exorbitant fees to protect them against the angry spirits of their aborted foetuses.

    I don’t really see Shinto as a serious religion, and I don’t think that what it “teaches” affects Japanese people much. Buddhism does a little.

    My point, though, was about how Japanese hospitals would deal with a doctor or midwife who refused to perform abortions. Frankly, I have no idea.

  33. Rombald says:

    I think John Doez is pretty much right.

    As in much of Europe, the First World War shattered British faith in Christianity, which had already been reduced among the working class by industrialisation, and among educated people by Darwin, etc. The C of E has always been closely allied to the state (although I don’t deny that there is much to commend Anglicanism), and the decline in patriotism has carried Anglicanism with it.

    Catholics in England get a particularly bad deal. Atheists and liberal bigots dislike them for being religious, and not being onboard with the sexual revolution. There is still a residual rump of Protestants who dislike them for religious reasons. Non-religious conservatives tend to see them as suspicious – sort of anti-patriotic, pro-Irish, and pro-Continental (at the fringes this trails off into paranoia about Philip of Spain, Napoleon, and Hitler – the three foreigners who threatened Britain – all working on the orders of the Pope). Unlike Muslims, who get a similar spectrum of criticism, they’re mostly white, so they don’t get to play the race card.

    I’m currently trying to decide which church to join, and one of the alternatives is obviously the Catholic Church. I do actually have genuine objections to Catholicism, but I also struggle to distinguish between those and a sort of ingrained hostility.

  34. tltdd says:

    Phillip said: “Both slavery and abortion are moral evils. Both reduce humans to property.”

    Almost anything can be categorized as a moral evil when making philosophically vague generalizations.

    I prefer being more specific – abortion is a potentially life-saving medical procedure, slavery is not.

    I have close friends, a married couple, who endured a heart-wrenching, problematic pregnancy that required a second trimester abortion of a malformed, nearly-dead fetus to save the wife’s health and life. If she hadn’t had the abortion, she would have endured great pain and internal damage from sepsis that at best would have left her infertile and at worst, dead. Fortunately, her doctor made the right call, she recovered from that terrible ordeal and went on to have 2 beautiful children.

    My friend not being able to get an abortion and dying from sepsis while waiting for a miscarriage, now THAT would have been a moral evil.

  35. There are terrorists at the clinic door, I still have nightmares about them. They never, not once, struck me as Godly, caring people, they were angry and frightening and intent on shaming women.

    Anyone remember the movie in which a visibly eight months pregnant Carol Burnett walked in the door of a clinic that offered abortions, for the purpose of holding hands with a younger family friend who was having a first trimester abortion, and the Operation Rescue mob was screaming in her face until she screamed back “I’m not here to have an abortion, I already had one.”

    The thing to tell a two year old and a four year old is “These people crazy.” And the fundamental principle to invoke is, nobody’s fervent and sincere convictions justify terrorism. (Although I did get a kick out of ETA setting off a bomb under an admiral’s car and blowing it to the top of a cathedral tower — when Franco was still in power.)

  36. Seven sleepers says:

    Disagree on this point. Public school is public. Public school must reflect all viewpoints. If you don’t like it, don’t put your kids in public school.

    Christian kids have no business in public school.

    Pius X reiterated that there was never any such fantasy as ‘public, objective’ education. It has ALWAYS had a liberal bias. You just didn’t realize it because…wait for it…you are the product of public schooling.

    Public education IS the source of all trouble for Christians. THE source. It’s time people woke up to this. If it takes an aggressive agenda to realize you should be schooling your kids outside a pluralistic and false worldview, then so be it.

  37. Matt W. says:

    A number of Christian charities and secular organisations are sponsoring a petition to Parliament to pass a new law to enshrine religious freedom in the UK. It is badly needed.

  38. Phillip says:

    Hi tltdd,

    I and others would not consider that an elective abortion, simply a horribly necessary medical procedure that with current medical technology regrettably results in the death of the child.

    Have you any sympathy for the women who want the child but are coerced into an abortion by family and sexual partners, if you prefer less vague ideas?

  39. mike says:

    The British Empire used to cover one quarter of the earth. It was visible and “official” – indicated on maps and globes with a pink colour. It brought Rule-of-Law and Civilisation to places which have mostly lived in darkness and misery before the arrival and since the departure of the Empire. (Not interested in the PC relativist-revisionist hysterics that this statement will provoke.)
    There is a new global empire. It is unofficial – not marked on maps and without a clearly defined governing body. This is the California Empire – of which Britain is now a fully assimilated part, along with most parts of America, the Western world and many places beyond. Its directives are implemented instantly through social media – no debates/discussions, no votes, no legislation. The sick, twisted hyper-destructive ideology of this empire used not long ago to be an inexhaustible source of mocking humour – a near-universal target of ridicule and derision.
    Not any more. Hollywood marxism has brought the most wide-spread descent into paganism and barbarity that our world has seen since ancient times. It exceeds even the infernal emanations of bolshevism (to which, of course, it is closely related).

  40. Durin says:

    KevinS says: “I am sympathetic to religious liberty claims. But I also want to know the limits of those claims.”

    A fair question. I will give the start of answer. First, I would distinguish between 1) “Hey I don’t serve your kind” and 2) “I don’t provide that service.” (Two droids and a whiney proto-Jedi walk into a disreputable bar. Bartender says to droids “We don’t serve your kind” – not allowed. Droid walks into a bar and orders a cup of oil. Bartender says “We don’t sell oil.” – allowed.)

    Back in our galaxy – in general I would want the hurdle to be pretty high in order to allow #1, and I would want the hurdle pretty low to let someone do #2. If I walk into a Starbucks wearing a big cross and they say “Hey, we don’t serve Xians” they should lose that one, even if the justification is “Xians oppress women” or some other claim that we are immoral. Same goes for a person that is gay that walks into a Chik fil A, or a person that is Jewish that walks into a Ben and Jerry’s shop (say if the store cited BDS), etc.

    If I walk in and say I want a latte and because of a host of allergies it needs to be made with human breast milk and they say “We don’t offer that” then they should win. Even if it is something less controversial, like demanding that my hot chocolate be made of carob, they should be able to say we don’t offer that. Even if I argue that “Everyone else provides this service”.

    If I walk into a bakery owned by a devout Muslim and say “Bake me some wafers for communion. We’re going to use it to worship the Triune God and it will have the Real Presence.” and the response is “That’s polytheism and idolatry, no way” then I’d prefer that they win that one. Even though I have a ton of sound arguments on why it is not polytheism or idolatry, they are the ones that would be forced.

    Further, I’d make it hard to force speech. Say I go into Starbucks around Xmas and they give me my drink in a cup that says “Happy Holidays”. I should not be able to force them to make the cup say “Merry Christmas”.

    There are a lot of harder cases that I haven’t worked thru (eg customers vs clients – they seem different so the hurdle might be different but I am not sure how) but that is my start.

  41. Gentillylace says:


    I believe that the Catholic Church does not consider an operation required to save the life of the mother an abortion, even if it has the side effect of killing her unborn child. The primary effect of the operation must be to save the mother’s life, however: if the unborn child can be saved even for a brief time after birth (I suppose in order to be baptized), that must be done.

  42. JonF says:

    Re: Public education IS the source of all trouble for Christians.

    Not even remotely true. There are a plethora of troubles that beset Christianity (which after all is very huge category itself), and those troubles have a multitude of sources, including some that are self-generated, e.g., the clerical sex abuse scandals to name a very infamous one.

  43. benedicto says:

    “Once the West fully embraced its democracy fetish the end became inevitable.”
    What end are you rambling about? The world is only 30-ish% Christian at best. How are all these other societies existing without the self-evident Laws of Moses? How has most of the world gotten on for thousands of years without so much as ever hearing of the Laws of Moses?

  44. benedicto says:

    If I walk into a bakery owned by a devout Muslim and say “Bake me some wafers for communion. We’re going to use it to worship the Triune God and it will have the Real Presence.” and the response is “That’s polytheism and idolatry, no way” then I’d prefer that they win that one.

    And how is this really different than, “We don’t serve your kind?”

    If I am a bartender, and become a devout Muslim, can I continue to work at the bar and collect a check while also refusing to touch alcohol in any way?

    If I am a Jehovah’s Witness and an emergency room doctor, can I refuse a patient a blood transfusion?

    If my pagan whatever belief does not believe in killing animals, and I work in a public office, can I refuse to grant hunting licenses?

    Muslims in UK stores have refused to handle any items that have alcohol in them. Is this ok? Can I get a job in a liquor store and refuse to handle alcohol?

  45. benedicto is creating some conundrums that are easy to resolve. One doesn’t even have to slice through the knots with a sword.

    First, the Muslim can refuse to bake wafers for communion because that would make them a direct participant in a religious devotion. Now if a Roman Catholic is willing to, say, walk into a store and buy a box of matzo crackers off the shelf, that’s a different story. And if the Muslim refused to sell a lamb and cous-cous dish because “we don’t serve Catholics,” that would be legally actionable.

    These distinctions are not hard to make, unless you are interested in kicking up clouds of dust to discredit everything in a sort of common ruin.

    A Muslim should not apply for work as a bartender, or in a liquor store, any more than a vegan should apply for work at a steak house and then complain about being forced to serve seared cow flesh to patrons. The very substance of the job is inconsistent with their sincere beliefs. A doctor who is a Jehovah’s Witness should simply not work in an emergency room, but might do well in a primary care practice. Likewise, a nurse who objects to abortion should not apply for work at a Planned Parenthood clinic that performs abortions, but s/he might well find a job in a hospital where she can be kept busy for an entire shift without being assigned to participate in an abortion.


  46. Chris Baker says:

    “it is important that the church, in a way, keeps up and is part of a modern country… And for me, I think people do want to see our major faiths keep up with modern attitudes.” Could’ve been said by “Reichsbishop” Ludwig Mueller in 1933.

  47. Durin says:

    Durin says: If I walk into a bakery owned by a devout Muslim and say “Bake me some wafers for communion. We’re going to use it to worship the Triune God and it will have the Real Presence.” and the response is “That’s polytheism and idolatry, no way” then I’d prefer that they win that one.
    benedicto says: And how is this really different than, “We don’t serve your kind?”

    Serving someone is different from changing the menu for them.

    Would you really force a person who was Muslim to make *communion wafers* if they had a religious objection?

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