Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

UK Supreme Court rules against Christian B&B couple’s conscience rights

Dina sent me this article from the UK Telegraph about a recent Supreme Court decision from the UK.

Excerpt:

The devoutly Christian owners of a Cornish hotel who refused to allow two gay men to take a double room have lost their final appeal to the Supreme Court. It ruled that Peter and Hazelmary Bull had discriminated against the couple, even though they had long operated a rule that unmarried guests had to sleep apart. One of the judges, Lady Hale, said such a case would have been unthinkable less than two decades ago, and it is a measure of how both the law and societal norms have changed that the Bulls should have found themselves in such a predicament.

It is also a pity this matter was not settled amicably when the Bulls made an offer of redress; but campaigners were intent on making an example of them. The aggrieved men, Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy, who were in a civil partnership, were supported by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). The Bulls were perplexed as to why the EHRC should act against them, since their right to exercise their religious beliefs was being set against that of the men not to be discriminated against on the grounds of their sexual orientation.

Dina also sent me this article from the pro-gay Spiked Online.

Excerpt:

[A]s the systematic unequal treatment of gays has ended, so another problem has grown. One pernicious social force has been replaced by another: the willingness of the state to outlaw minority or eccentric views and behaviours. State-backed oppression has yielded to state-backed intolerance.

The Bulls have been hauled before the courts and told they can no longer practise what they preach. To deny a couple the right to make a living in a manner consistent with their Christian values is draconian. The Bulls’ fate is similar to that of Lillian Ladele, an Islington marriage registrar, and Gary McFarlane, a Relate counsellor, who were both sacked after declining to provide their professional services to lesbians and gays. Equality laws did for them all.

The problem here is not, as it appears, merely a slap in the face to Christians. It is a slap in the face to the right of all individuals to act free of state control absent a compelling reason for intervention. As John Stuart Mill put it in On Liberty (1859): ‘The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.’

As if to satisfy Mill’s harm principle, the Supreme Court went in search of Preddy and Hall’s ‘harm’. What they found was that when the Bulls’ house rules were explained to Preddy and Hall, they found it ‘upsetting’ and ‘very hurtful’. Even in the touchy-feely twenty-first century, where self-esteem is seen as so important and so fragile, this is pretty lame.

The Supreme Court judge, Lady Hale, may have been aware that this ‘affront to their dignity’, as she put it, was not the sort of harm, in the Mill sense, that should justify the state’s coercive power. She bolstered her argument by linking Preddy and Hall’s hurt feelings to a bigger historical picture. ‘We should not underestimate’, she said, ‘the continuing legacy of those centuries of discrimination, persecution even, which is still going on in many parts of the world’.

Fascism happens when the normal desire for compassion is taken out of the family context and becomes the policy of a powerful feminist welfare state. And that’s when it becomes a threat to the right of individuals to make moral judgments and to exercise religious liberty.

The EHRC, you’ll remember, was a project of the Labour Party of the UK, which is the socialist party in the UK. There is also a communist party called the Liberal Democrats. The striking thing is that many church-attending Christians not only vote for the Labour Party, but they also vote for the Liberal Democrats, which are even more liberal. A lot of this is because British Christians are so far to the left on economic issues that they sort of go along with the assault on their own religious liberty out of ignorance. They vote for bigger and bigger government, and then they are surprised when they actually get it.

The same thing happened in Canada with the Liberal Party and their introduction of Human Rights Commissions and Human Rights Tribunals, which criminalize offending people with free speech. The very Christians that voted for expanding government to reduce poverty were the ones who were then persecuted by the same big government they voted to create. This goes to show why we need to have better economics knowledge among Christians, because many of us are voting for left-wing parties because we think that private, voluntary charity can be replaced with government-controlled redistribution of wealth. Not only does that not work to reduce poverty, but in the end, we lose our liberties, too.

In the UK, you’ll find a lot of Christians who think that rent control is a good thing, that price controls are a good thing, that raising minimum wage is a good thing, that tariffs on imported goods are a good thing – positions which are generally viewed as incorrect by academic economists across the ideological spectrum. That’s why churches need to teach the Christian worldview, including economics. The UK church should be training Christians to undo this ignorant, patriotic confidence that UK Christians have in their welfare state. We all have a lot of work to do to educate ourselves on how the Bible applies to the real world (e.g. – economics), or else we will end up undermining our own liberties.

Additionally, I find it very frustrating that so many churches are so focused on providing emotional comfort and a sense of community to the people in the pews that they neglect to talk about these religious liberty issues. Pastors don’t want to alert ordinary Christians about how dangerous it’s becoming to take unpopular stands on issues like gay rights in public – it’s scary and divisive and drives people away from church. You’re not going to hear them trying to apply the Bible to moral issues or economic issues, etc. from the pulpit, because that spoils the “experience” and “the show” – the comfort and entertainment that people expect from church. We need to do better at helping Christians to be aware of threats to our liberties. They need to be trained to connect their faith to specific laws and policies in the real world.

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Does science support mothers who leave their young children to go to work?

Dina is very concerned about the UK’s leftist coalition government’s attempt to punish women who stay at home with their young children. (H/T Dina)

Excerpt:

Under plans unveiled in the Budget on Wednesday, families will only benefit from the generous new deal, which will come into force in 2015, if ‘all parents’ have a job. If one parent works but the other stays at home looking after their young children, they will get nothing.

It is the second time in just a few months that the Government has triggered controversy with its changes to the tax and benefit systems, which appear to penalise stay-at-home mothers.

As a result of the recent child benefit changes, a couple can both earn £50,000 and keep their child benefit, worth £1,752 a year for two children.

But a couple where one parent earns £60,000 and the other earns nothing – but have a far lower joint income – do not get a penny.

Again, this week’s initiative favours those couples where both parents go out to work. It will even benefit parents who each earn a salary of £149,999.

Note that this plan is being put forward by socialist Liberal Democrat Party, as well as the “Conservative” Party.

Dina thinks that the science is pretty clear that children suffer if their mothers leave them at a young age. Take a look at the video above, and then the brain scan below.

Brain scans of 3-year old children: normal vs neglected

Brain scans of 3-year old children: normal vs neglected

Here’s the article that goes with the brain scan from the UK Daily Mail.

Excerpt:

Both of these images are brain scans of a two three-year-old children, but the brain on the left is considerably larger, has fewer spots and less dark areas, compared to the one on the right.

According to neurologists this sizeable difference has one primary cause – the way each child was treated by their mothers.

The child with the larger and more fully developed brain was looked after by its mother – she was constantly responsive to her baby, reported The Sunday Telegraph.

But the child with the shrunken brain was the victim of severe neglect and abuse.

According to research reported by the newspaper, the brain on the right worryingly lacks some of the most fundamental areas present in the image on the left.

The consequences of these deficits are pronounced – the child on the left with the larger brain will be more intelligent and more likely to develop the social ability to empathise with others.

But in contrast, the child with the shrunken brain will be more likely to become addicted to drugs and involved in violent crimes, much more likely to be unemployed and to be dependent on state benefits.

The child is also more likely to develop mental and other serious health problems.

Professor Allan Schore, of UCLA, told The Sunday Telegraph that if a baby is not treated properly in the first two years of life, it can have a fundamental impact on development.

He pointed out that the genes for several aspects of brain function, including intelligence, cannot function.

[...]The study correlates with research released earlier this year that found that children who are given love and affection from their mothers early in life are smarter with a better ability to learn.

The study by child psychiatrists and neuroscientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, found school-aged children whose mothers nurtured them early in life have brains with a larger hippocampus, a key structure important to learning, memory and response to stress.

The research was the first to show that changes in this critical region of children’s brain anatomy are linked to a mother’s nurturing, Neurosciencenews.com reports.

The research is published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

Lead author Joan L. Luby, MD, professor of child psychiatry, said the study reinforces how important nurturing parents are to a child’s development.

This is why I argue that feminism, which is the ideology that demands that women work outside the home in order to be “equal” to men, is harmful to children. If we really cared about children, then we need to not be subsidizing the child abuse schemes of Liberal Democrats like Nick Clegg. We need to be clear that gender feminism (third-wave feminism) is an anti-child ideology and it should be opposed. The science is settled on this issue. Feminism harms innocent young children. And feminism isn’t just opposed to the rights of born children. They oppose the right to life of unborn children, too.

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Melanie Phillips: the Left’s war on the family has left us with millions of lonely people

Dina has been really wonderful lately, calming me down after Tuesday’s election loss. I’m trying not to write about politics for a little while. For me the biggest impact of the election will be on the children. The children who will be aborted by their mothers, the children who will be raised without their fathers, the children who will be raised with no mother or no father in same-sex “marriages” and the children who will be saddled with over $200,000 of public debt the day they are born. Truly, leftism is a philosophy that makes war on children.

Dina sent me this related article from Melanie Phillips, a well-known Jewish conservative based in the UK. It’s a really good article.

Excerpt:

Britain appears to be turning into a disunited kingdom of solitary and lonely people.

Recent figures have shown that ever-increasing numbers of middle-aged men and women are living alone.

According to the Office of National Statistics, almost 2.5 million people aged between 45 and 64 have their own home but no spouse, partner or children to live with them. Since the mid-Nineties, their number has grown by more than 50 per cent.

[...]A devastating study published last week revealed that, by the time they are 15, little more than half of British children are still living with both their natural parents. That means nearly half of 15-year-olds are not.

First the broken links between parents and children:

[I]f a parent disappears from his or her children’s lives, those children are far less likely to want to look after that parent when he or she becomes old and frail.

Nor will children want to look after a step-parent who, even if not actively resented, will not command the same bonds of love and duty as someone’s natural father or mother.

And the broken links in romantic relationships:

[O]ur post-religious, post-modern, post-moral society prizes above all else independence, which is seen as essential to fulfilling one’s potential without any constraints or interference by anyone else.

This fact more than anything else helps explain the rise and rise of cohabitation, and the reason why so many now prefer it to marriage.

The key point about marriage is that it is not a partnership or a relationship but a union in which two people bind themselves to each other for ever in solemn obligation.

By contrast, those who choose to cohabit regard their relationship as a partnership of independent individuals — in which they reserve for themselves the right to opt out, with no binding obligation on either side.

[...]Nor is it surprising that a principal reason why cohabitations collapse is the arrival of a baby. For a child demands unconditional obligation to another human being. And that’s what cohabitants don’t want.

And children who grow up without both of their biological parents:

Of course, there are lone parents who do a heroic job in bringing up their children against all the odds, but in general children in fragmented families suffer in every aspect of their lives.

They do worse at school and are less likely to get a job, are more prone to drugs, teenage pregnancy and crime, suffer more from depression and other mental disorders and are more vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse.

Worse still, they go on disproportionately to replicate in their adult lives the very same disordered or broken family patterns that did them so much damage.

For in fractured families, where one spouse has betrayed or abandoned another and where partners may come and go, the children grow up without any understanding of what it takes to overcome difficulties in a relationship, or what things such as trust, loyalty — and yes, real love — actually mean.

[...]From easier divorce to the abolition of laws covering illegitimacy; from the promotion of unmarried motherhood to the feminist demonisation of men; from the doctrine of non-judgmentalism, which gave a free pass to the abandonment of children, to the loading of the tax and welfare dice against marriage and in favour of lone parenthood — the wrecking ball of the Left has succeeded in smashing the traditional family to bits.

I love Melanie Phillips! And, like Dina and I, she also likes Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith – the best MP in the UK.

Now everybody click here and go read the whole thing.

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British private schools that teach intelligent design as science will lose funding

Jonathan M. explains what happened at Evolution News.

Excerpt:

The British Guardian newspaper reports on recent developments in UK governmental policy on teaching evolution in free schools (which, though state funded, are normally not required to follow the national curriculum):

The Department for Education has revised its model funding agreement, allowing the education secretary [Michael Gove] to withdraw cash from schools that fail to meet strict criteria relating to what they teach. Under the new agreement, funding will be withdrawn for any free school that teaches what it claims are “evidence-based views or theories” that run “contrary to established scientific and/or historical evidence and explanations.”It appears that it is no longer merely religious notions that are being disallowed. It is nowall “evidence-based views or theories” that run contrary to the current consensus paradigm.

[...]When one side of a debate is insecure enough to need to stifle dissenting viewpoints from being expressed, this legitimately raises doubts about the scientific robustness of the view being shielded from criticism. Whether Richard Dawkins and his ilk at the BCSE (British equivalent of the National Center for Science Education) and BHA choose to acknowledge it or not, there is a growing contingent of scientists who recognize a mounting body of evidence that militates against neo-Darwinian evolution. It can’t be ignored forever.

I’m actually shocked by this, because I thought that Michael Gove was a Conservative Party MP. I guess he’s not really that conservative that he supports conservative policies like school choice. Or maybe British conservatives are more like liberals, except a bit less liberal.

The decision to cut funding for private schools is being hailed by the Guardian as a victory for Richard Dawkins and the British Humanist Association, headed by Polly Toynbee. You remember them, don’t you? They are the two parties who refused to debate William Lane Craig when he was touring the UK looking for atheists brave enough to face him. (See the links below). The British humanist A.C. Grayling also chickened out of debating William Lane Craig. I don’t think that atheists are interested in debates and evidence at all – they seem to be more interested in forcing people to accept their views.

Why did Christians in the UK elect secular leftists so many times?

I often get into discussions with Christian apologists about the importance of understanding how Christianity relates to economics, politics, law and many other areas. One area where there is an obvious conflict is education policy. Christian parents don’t want their children being influenced by a curriculum designed by secular leftists for the purpose of advancing secular leftists causes and ideals.  The way that conservatives work against that is by opposing federal control of schools, so that what children learn is pushed back to the states and the municipalities. Conservatives favor local control of schools, and school choice, so that parents can have more control over what their children learn – not bureaucrats in Washington, Ottawa, or London. The Bible tells Christians what we should want, but it’s up to us to vote for the policies that will achieve those goals. We have to know what those policies are – by reading and studying the issues.

Frankly, the British people have (by and large) been voting to have big government to drain the pockets of private citizens and businesses for decades so that left-wing bureaucrats in the Labor party and now the Liberal Democrats, are making all the policy decisions. The bigger a government becomes, the more likely they are to intrude into your family – including your decisions about education. When you talk to leftists like Harriet Harman, they are quite up front about their social agenda – feminism, moral relativism, the destruction of the family, changing the definition of marriage, etc. So why put these people in charge of your children’s education? How does that serve God? It doesn’t.

So why did so many British Christians elect these secular leftists over and over again? The answer is that British Christians were swayed by the rhetoric of “social justice” to think that big government was “nice”. However, Christianity is not in the business of being “nice” through government-controlled redistribution of wealth. Christians favor individual charity and liberty – not redistributing wealth so that everyone is equal no matter what they do. And it’s not government’s job to provide security either. Individuals have to take responsibility for their own actions and make plans for their own education costs, health care costs, and so on. Stop empowering government to make your decisions for you – they are just going to take your money and then use it against you! Good government is small government – government that empowers the individual and the private business. Good government lets you decide what you are going to do with your life, based on your values.

Here is a trustworthy saying:

Whether we like it or not, the American wage earner and the American housewife are a lot better economists than most economists care to admit. They know that a government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.
– Gerald Ford

If you are a UK Christian, I would really recommend that you read something about free market capitalism, marriage, abortion, foreign policy, just war and the many other issues where the Bible has something to say. A very good book to pick up is Wayne Grudem’s “Politics According to the Bible“. Or you can listen to some of his lectures here, like this one and this one. A good basic book on economics and foreign policy like Thomas Sowell’s “Intellectuals and Society” would also be helpful. If you want someone British, then try reading Theodore Dalrymple’s “Life at the Bottom“. I posted links to all the chapters in that book here, so you can read it for free.

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UK approves explicit sex education materials for five-year old children

From the UK Daily Mail. (H/T Creative Minority Report via Foxfier)

Excerpt:

Explicit cartoons, films and books have been cleared for use to teach sex education to schoolchildren as young as five.

A disturbing dossier exposes a wide range of graphic resources recommended for primary school lessons.

The shocking material – promoted by local councils and even the BBC – teaches youngsters about adult language and sexual intercourse.

Among the books singled out in the report is How Did I Begin? by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom which has a cartoon image of a couple in bed in an intimate embrace.

It is accompanied by an explanation – using frank and adult terminology – of the act of intercourse.

Another, called The Primary School Sex And Relationships Education Pack by HIT UK, includes material to allow children aged five to 11 to learn about different sexual positions and prostitution.

The BBC has been highlighted for an educational video featuring full frontal nudity, while its learning resources department, BBC Active, shows computer-generated images of male genitalia.

All the material has been recommended by councils for use at ages ‘seven-plus’.

[...]Before the election, the Liberal Democrats said they ‘unreservedly’ supported mandatory sex education in primary schools.

I wonder if they will be doing away with the right of parents to opt their students out of the sex education curriculum, like they do in Ontario, Canada. And in Germany, if your child doesn’t attend the sex education classes, then you are fined – and if you can’t pay the fine then you go to jail. Sweden also jails parents for homeschooling.

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