November 30, 2004

Immorality, ID Cards and Vermin

There's so much in the news, where would I even begin?

David Blunkett is helping Tony Blair re-write the rules on morality in government. Not only has he not covered up his affair with a married woman, he demanded DNA tests to prove he is the father of her children. She capitulated and admitted they are his. Now he is under investigation for helping the visa application of her nanny. I predict he will survive all of this, because he is such a close ally of the PM and powerful in his own right.

Blunkett finally officially revealed his ID card legislation in the Queen's Speech. This includes a £1000 fine for anyone who fails to tell the Government when they move to a new address. The Government is not even bothering to hide the fact that it wants to know where you are and what you are up to.

Now that 700 hours of legislative time has resulted in a ban on foxhunting, the Princess Royal was openly on a hunt yesterday. Admittedly the legislation does not come into effect until February, so so was not breaking the law. No one doubts that she will continue hunting after February.

Where exactly do they imprison royal princesses these days? The cells in the Tower of London aren't really that secure anymore, what with all the tourists. Though I have to admit, having a real live princess incarcerated and on display in the Tower would cause ticket sales to go through the roof. Every time I've been there, I have suffered through infinite queues.

I wonder if the heir to the heir to the Throne will continue to hunt as well. The Labour government has been looking for an excuse to overthrow the monarchy. What a good excuse for locking them all up and taking over as Head of State. With the crown and all the accutrements of royalty no longer valid symbols of authority, perhaps the little red fox could become the mascot of republicanism.

After all, it only seems appropriate for the the Blair administration to represented by a crafty little vermin.

Posted by david at 03:08 AM | Comments (0)

Eternity Knows No Time

My great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather Georg Wolf Gansshorn died this date 313 years ago. Perhaps those Orthodox scholars amongst us can advise me. How long should we commemorate the dead? We say "Memory Eternal", but is there a degree of descent/ancestry or passage of years/centuries after which we let bygones be bygones?

Not that I mind. As far as I'm concerned, Memory Eternal, 8-great-granpa Georg!

Posted by david at 02:16 AM | Comments (3)

November 29, 2004

The Game of Life

I work the biggest part of six days a week. Yesterday, I was spent most of the day marking GCSE course work and stayed up into the wee hours preparing lessons. The average secondary school teacher, without the added pressures of the NQT year, is reputed to work 56 hours a week. This seems a conservative estimate.

The average professional footballer trains a few hours per week to prepare for a game.

My preparation leads up to spending 20 hours per week controlling unruly teenagers and forcing them to do what they don't want to do.

Footballers' preparation leads up to 90 minutes on Saturday or Sunday playing a game. A game. Their audience wants to be there. Their audience is excited about being there. The crowd are doing exactly what they want to do and are paying a lot of money to do it.

I prepare the next generation to be adults, hoping my labour and sweat will result in some of them living productive lives. Especially in a society where so many parents can't be bothered to do their job, I have the responsibility to keep the wheels of civilisation turning.

Footballers run around on 5000 square yards of grass and try to kick a leather ball into a net.

I make less than £19,000 per year. Less than it costs to support a small frugal family in Rip-off Britain.

Some footballers less than half my age make more than £50,000 per week. For those of you keeping score at home, that's £2.6 million per year. For those of you keeping score in US Dollars, at today's exchange rate that's $4,918,940.00 for kicking a soccer ball for 90 minutes a week and splitting the work with 21 other men.

Something just ain't right about that.

Posted by david at 12:25 AM | Comments (2)

November 28, 2004

The Return of the Saints

I can't believe I'm the first Orthoblogger to mention this - at least amongst those on my links list.

After exactly 800 years, the relics of St John Chrysostom and St Gregory Nazianzen have been return have been returned to Constantinople. They were taken in a raid by Catholic crusaders in 1204.

This is a gesture that will no doubt be looked upon with suspicion by all the monks on Athos and others who see the Pope as the great enemy of Orthodoxy. For those who long to see the unification of the Church, this is certainly a gesture of symbolic value. I am probably far too ecumenical for my average Orthodox reader, and I generally have a lot of bad things to say about Patriarch Bartholomew, but I think this is marvellous, at least on a spiritual level.

On a practical level, I'm not so sure. The bones of these holy Fathers are being returned to Istanbul. Constantinople only exists in the legal fiction of the Church. The bones will by in tiny insecure enclave surrounded by Infidels. The Turks don't have the best track record when it comes to preserving or protecting things Christian. They might have been better off under the protection of the Vatican.

If Bart does the wise thing and abandons the Phanar for freedom, I hope he takes the bones of his holy predecessors with him.

Posted by david at 10:03 PM | Comments (0)

November 27, 2004

The Empire Strikes Back

The Russians keep forgetting that they no longer have an empire. After openly supporting one of the presidential candidates in the Ukrainian election, they are taking exception to any other countries becoming involved in the situation. In fact, they are getting downright pissy about it.

They claim that the West is trying to drag the country illegally into its orbit. According to Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, "In some European capitals there are some forces that are attempting to draw some new border lines across Europe. We are alarmed at attempts by certain governments to steer the situation in Ukraine away from a legal path. Especially when certain European capitals are declaring that they do not recognise the elections and that Ukraine has to be with the West."

Draw new borderlines across Europe? The only borderlines are international boundaries. Russia has no border surrounding the Ukraine. Gone are the days which led Winston Church to say, "From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent." What Russia doesn't realise is that free countries freely associate themselves as they please. If Ukraine wants to associate itself with countries to the west, then what is that to do with Moscow? Why would it see any future in continuing as a Russian satellite with a Soviet-style dictatorship like it's neighbour to the north, Belarus?

Europe, for all the legitmate criticism that may be levelled at it, is a free association. Not one single country has been forced to join the EU. At this point, not one sovereign state is force to stay (which is better than situation in the US after 1860). And is it Britain or France or Spain that have even attempted to mediate in the current crisis? No, it is the presidents of Poland and Lithuania, former Eastern bloc Soviet client states.

The news media in the UK, always looking for a way to criticise GWB, has latched onto the refusal of the American adminstration to recognise the results of the election. They conclude that this means the Americans are meddling in Ukranian affairs and want it to become an American client state. Hardly. It is the business of governments to recognise or not legitimate foreign powers. The US and every other country will have to do diplomatic business with someone in the Ukraine. The Bush administration has never said that western-leaning Yushchenko won the election.

The Ukrainian parliament voted today to annul the results of the election and have another under the auspices of a new Election Commission. The parliamentary vote is not binding. I'm sure the Russians will declare it illegal as well.

Posted by david at 07:27 PM | Comments (0)

Many Years

Today is Mrs H's birthday.

Posted by david at 01:13 PM | Comments (2)

November 23, 2004


When you hear all the Democrats complaining about whether everyone they bussed to the polls got to vote in either 2000 or 2004, just take a look at the elections in Ukraine.

All international observers have condemned the rigging of the vote in favour of the pro-Moscow Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich succeeding the current pro-Moscow President Leonid Kuchma. I don't think any Democrat has accused Republicans of pouring acid into the ballot boxes in heavily Democratic areas.

Already more than 100,000 protesters have taken over the centre of Kiev camping out in sub-zero temperatures. Viktor Yushchenko has symbolically taken the oath of office. The administrations in three other major cities, Lviv, Ternopil and Ivano-Frankivsk said that they recognised pro-western Yushchenko as the new President.

And unlike any situation in the US since the election of Abe Lincoln in 1860, this presidential election may very well result in bloodshed. Kuchma has promised there would be no revolutions in Ukraine and warned the Opposition that lawlessness would be put down "quickly and firmly". In other words, "I have chosen my successor and will kill anyone and everyone who stands in the way."

Soviet ways die hard.

Posted by david at 09:53 PM | Comments (0)

November 22, 2004

Memory Eternal

Not much time to blog tonight. Too many papers to mark. Only time to remember the 41st anniversary of the repose of Clive Staples Lewis. He may not have been big "O" Orthodox, but I know many have been surprised by joy when they embraced mere Christianity.

It's a shame that on this day, folks only remember where they were when they heard that a much lesser mortal, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, had been shot.

Posted by david at 10:29 PM | Comments (3)

November 21, 2004


The Diversion that should have filled this space went on for to long, so it has been replaced by a new Mental Meandering.

Posted by david at 11:35 PM | Comments (2)

November 20, 2004

Producing War Criminals

I would imagine that there is more coverage in this country than in the US about the indiscretions of US military personnel in Iraq. Anything that gets aired in the US is probably blamed on the liberal anti-war media. After all, we have to stand behind our troops, don't we?

I think the apparent shooting of the unarmed, wounded apparent militant in the unnamed Fallujah mosques, the problems with Abu Ghraib prison, and other stories published by reporters imbedded with troops do offer an important revelation about the state of the US military. This has nothing to do with the rightness or wrongness of prosecuting the war in Iraq. That is a matter for theoreticians and philosophers to contemplate and debate. I sometimes to pretend to be one or the other, but I wear neither hat at the moment.

There seems to be a perception amongst at least some conservatives of the military as an inherently good institution. I have often heard the presumption that military service builds character, if by no other means than discipline. This is patently not true. There have been disciplined military forces through out history and the 20th century in particular which have wrought great evil. The Wehrmacht springs to mind.

I am not comparing the US military to the Wehrmacht. What I am saying is that a military force is no more than a representative sample of the society from which it is drawn. During the Second World War, the US military was comprised of members of a society that was predominantly Christian and most came from two-parent families. Because the draft cut across society, there was a broad base of socio-economic background. And though most served quite honourably, war crimes were committed.

Today the entirely volunteer US forces are drawn from a society that is not as Christian. Enlistees are much more likely to come from single-parent households, having grown up without the proper influence of a father. They are heavily drawn from economically deprived backgrounds. Their first father figure may be a Marine drill sergeant who spends every waking moment teaching them how to kill, kill, kill. Kill or be killed.

American soldiers in WWII came from a society that inherently valued life. Killing was something you were forced to do because the actions of a couple of aggressive nations made it necessary. Freedom was at stake.

Is it any surprise that a society that murders thousands of it own infants each day produces soldiers that don't value the difference between combatant and and an unarmed child? Two generations ago, soldiers had been little boys who played cowboys and Indians. Now they have played Wolfenstein, Doom, and Halo. I'm not worried that they have seen violence in Saving Private Ryan or even Full Metal Jacket. Rather it is that they see it glorified in Natural Born Killers and Kill Bill.

Every small town has a good upstanding boy from a church youth group who is serving God and country in the Middle East. Thank God they are there to exert influence. I know there are Christian men in positions of authority and leadership. This is not a blanket condemnation of the military or its personnel.

I would be interested to see certain demographic comparisions between the prison population and infantry personnel. But do not be surprised that a society which has cheapened life and glorified violence produces fatherless young men who, in the pressure cooker of battle, exhibit excessive violence, enjoy torture, and shoot to thrill. And rather than ignoring this problem, it should be a wake-up call.

Posted by david at 10:59 PM | Comments (0)

November 17, 2004

Child Support Fiasco

Some of you may remember that I blogged about the problems with the Child Support Agency here in the UK. Now the Work and Pensions Select Committee of the House of Commons has finally seen the "chronic, systemic failures" of management at the agency.

The biggest problem was the compter system that never worked. EDS got paid half-a-billion pounds for it. However, the chairman of the committee noted, "This is not just about computers. It is a systemic, chronic failure of management right across the totality of the agency." It has been a failure to collect £0.75 billion and a write off of an additional £1 billion. 478,000 applications have been filed and only 61,000 non-custodial parents have made a payment.

The head of the agency resigned today, but I can't see that this is going to make any difference. The problems are much deeper than that.

A government that actively promotes single parenthood really has to get this right. If its ethos and social welfare policies are going to encourage and even reward those who go against the two-parent family model, the dependence upon child support payments is only going to increase. Single parents simply can't live off of the added government handouts.

Too many non-custodial parents are managing to avoid accomodation in a bedsit and are not really living hand-to-mouth. This is a clear failure of Government policy.

Posted by david at 10:00 PM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2004

More on Dyfrig

I suppose some of you may not be familiar St Dyfrig. He's not that well known in some parts.

I have created a separate page about him on this site. Eventually I hope to have a whole site about him, but this will do for now.

Posted by david at 10:14 AM | Comments (1)


Today is the feast of our family patron, St Dyfrig.

Thou art worthily honoured as the Father of Welsh Monasticism, O Hierarch Dyfrig,
Labouring to establish true asceticism with thy brother in the Faith, Samson of Dol,
Whom thou didst raise to the dignity of the episcopate.
In thy pastoral love, O Saint,
Pray for us that despite our unspiritual lives
Christ our God will grant us great mercy.

That last two lines of the troparion must have been written with me in mind. This will no doubt be evident in my usual inability to keep a fast, Nativity or otherwise.

Posted by david at 01:26 AM | Comments (4)

November 13, 2004


Our church community had our annual general meeting today. One of the ladies in our group is moving in a few weeks time to the Exeter area. She brought a box of books that aren't making the trip and offered them to to anyone who wanted to give them a home.

Trying not to greedy, I took just a couple of them a first, giving everyone a chance to glean what they wanted. At the end of the meeting there were still quite a few left, so I took a few more. They are all in perfect condition.

I've listed some of the titles in my "Recent Acquisitions" in the right column. There's nothing like a stack of new books for free. Now it's just finding the time to read them.

Posted by david at 11:34 PM | Comments (0)

Oldies and Eternity

During its daytime programming, BBC Radio 2 plays a mixture of oldies and chart hits. One oldy that gets played more often than you might imagine is Glen Campbell's 1968 hit, "Wichita Lineman". It happens to be the favourite song ever of one of the substitute presenters (either Stuart Maconie or Richard Allinson), but it gets played by Steve Wright and Johnnie Walker as well.

It is only as I have heard it several times over the last few weeks that I have realised what a powerful song it is. The lines of the chorus have not left my mind for a couple of days:

And I need you more than want you
And I want you for all time
And the Wichita Lineman
Is still on the line

On a human level this describes a deep love, not dissimilar to a song I wrote for Mrs H even before we met in person:

You're forever in my soul
You forever make me whole
And forever isn't long enough to really let you know

What makes these lyrics hyperbole is that express an eternal element. We know on a theological level that, contrary to Mormonism, our human relationships are confined to this side of the veil. However, they demonstrate that our human relationships should reflect a Divine one. Christ and the Church: the real marriage, as it were.

Either of these songs (as I elevate myself along side the legendary songwriter Jimmy Webb) reveal the inadequacy of our love for God and the value of spending eternity with Him. Since eternity exists outside of time, I don't know if has any progressive aspects, but as creatures it is hard to imagine that we could arrive on the other side with a perfected love. We may be full of His energies, but even in our glorified state we will not share in His essence, so surely it will take all of eternity to appreciate the depth of His love.

On a human level, it just makes good music.

Posted by david at 02:42 AM | Comments (0)

November 10, 2004

Getting Out the Vote Without Gimmicks

On the BBC website, I found a piece by New York Times correspondent Tim Egan which was broadcast on the Beeb. He travelled across the battleground states sampling public opinion and especially trying to understand the evangelical voters.

He stopped at New Life Church World Prayer Centre, the mega-church in Colorado Springs pastored by Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals. He was taken around by one of the associate pastors.

I asked the church leaders at New Life whether they planned to canvass door-to-door, or man a phone bank - this is what the Democrats had done after all and they were planning a massive get-out-the-vote effort.

Pastor Brendle laughed.

"Our people don't need to be bussed to the polls and given a sandwich to vote," he said.

"Well, then," I asked, "how do evangelicals get out the vote?"

"We speak," Pastor Brendle said. "And when we do there is a high response."

I wonder what the popular vote margin would have been if you weren't allowed to go out to the projects and lure them onto busses with free food?

Posted by david at 11:38 PM | Comments (1)

November 09, 2004

In the Details

It was 298 years ago today that my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents Gansshorn were married, presumably in Heidelberg, in what is now Germany.

This is just one of those tiny little facts that resulted in me being me. I have no idea how many great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren they have, and I'm probably not one of their favourites, but I may be one of the few who remember them after all these years.

So, Johann and Apollonia, memory eternal!

Posted by david at 02:50 AM | Comments (2)

November 08, 2004

Miracles Should Not Be Forgotten

Nineteen years ago today, I miraculously survived a serious automobile accident. I survived it so well that I didn't get a bump, bruise, or scratch. I could have driven away from the scene, except for the fender that was bent a little too close to the tire to allow it full movement.

I was sucked up against an 18-wheeler whilst we were both in the middle of our respective lanes on a dual carriageway northbound on US Highway 183 outside Austin, Texas. The right lugnuts chewed down the driver's side of my little Datsun B210. I was then flipped around in front of the truck and pushed sideways down the highway, long enough to look out my side window, see grill and headlamp, and say to myself "So this is what it's like to die in a car wreck". I was then flipped around to the left side of the cab and the lugnuts once again chewed down the driver's side of my car. I spun free and ended up facing north again in a left turn lane.

An examination of the truck cab confirmed my impressions at the time, as there was my red paint on all three sides.

After my car was towed to a body shop and the fender pulled out, I drove that car until I was in grad school. The damage to the body would have cost more to repair than the value of the car, so it served as a constant reminder of that day.

It's good to be alive.

Posted by david at 11:02 PM | Comments (1)

Pettiness and Intolerance

There is nothing so intolerant as a liberal. There is no place so liberal as San Francisco. 83.3 percent of voters in San Francisco County cast their ballots for John Kerry.

Just like the Philadephians mentioned below, they are big on the United States of Canada, with the maps drawn to include Californication and the Northeast. According to Reuters, some are taking their dissociation with the red states quite seriously:

"I have family in Idaho, but I told my wife we're not going to visit them now. It's all Republicans there," said Ron Schmidt, a public relations executive. "We have family in Indiana and I don't want to go there either."

How petty can you get? If I had the opportunity, I would gladly visit my cousins in California, even though some of them, not to mention 54.7% of voters in the Fruit Nut and Flake State, voted for Kerry. I'd even visit San Francisco, a city I've only ever seen on the way to and from an Orthodox conference in Forestville.

I've also never had the chance to visit New England in the autumn or any other season. I'd like to see foundations of the American freedom, even if they are located in Taxachusetts. I don't care that it chooses evildoers to represent it in Washington. For the most part, it lost the faith of its founders more than 150 years ago.

But hey, if some folks don't want to visit the Grand Canyon, Pike's Peak, Yellowstone, Mt Rushmore, the Alamo, the Ozarks, the Indy 500, the Kentucky Derby, the Smokies, the Blue Ridge, or Disneyworld because they might actually come into visual contact with one of the 60,000,000 Republican voters or their traditionally structured families, whose loss is it anyway?

Posted by david at 02:49 AM | Comments (5)

November 07, 2004

More Government Promotion of Underage Sex

Since pre-teen girls can't always be trusted with taking the morning after pill, the Government is now planning to give free condoms to 11-year-old boys. And they don't need to worry about embarrassment. They don't actually have to ask for them.

No, the Government has thought of a way to overcome that little stumbling block. Schools will hand out condom cards - to be popularly known as "C cards" - and all the boys need to do is hand it over the counter at a family planning clinic, youth drop-in centre, or chemist.

The hope is that this will be combined with girls of a similar age using their "U card". They present this without need for explanation to the receptionist at their doctor's surgery and they are taken through immediately to get the abortion pill.

Both cards are the size of credit cards so they will fit easily into a pencil case. They are printed with information about where the child can receive these services. They are being promoted heavily by the Department of Education's Teenage Pregnancy Unit in conferences hosted around the country. According to a Department spokesman, the scheme is already being taken up everywhere.

Posted by david at 01:42 AM | Comments (2)

November 06, 2004

Unhappy with the Election Result, Eh?

It seems like a perfect match. All those liberal whingers talk about moving to Canada and they want more immigrants north of the border.

The Canadian government's immigration website has seen a massive increase in hits. They were up 600% the day after the election and now maintain an average of over three times the previous rate of visits. I think this is a good thing.

Shouldn't the US give something back to the country that gave it William Shatner, Michael J. Fox, and Mike Myers? In fact, I think Canada deserves to sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. Half the Hollywood-produced movies are filmed up there anyway. They could move to Toronto and attend all the gay weddings they want.

Toronto Sun columnist Thane Burnett wrote a guide to becoming a Canadian, "As Canadians, you'll have to learn to embrace and use all the products and culture of Americans, while bad-mouthing their way of life." Hollywood won't have to learn anything. They've been doing this for years.

Burnett's column was written in response to Howard Gensler's Philadelphia Daily News column, "O Canada, we plead to cede to thee". (free reg required) Gensler's arguement is that everything great, good, and interesting about the US is found in those blue states.

You don't like our "values," red-staters, you've got your wish - we're outta here.

But remember, the next time you want to see a Broadway show, visit wine country, Hawaii or the birthplace of liberty, don't just bring your Visa card, bring your visa.

You're in Canada now. And we're tightening our borders.

So to get rid of God-hating liberals, the lower 30 plus Alaska have to give up claims to Gotham, the Gallo brothers, a few Pacific volcanos, and Philly? My only condition is that by taking the Quaker State, they have to take Arlen Specter as well. We'll give polical asylum to Rick Santorum. Sounds like a fair deal to me.

Posted by david at 09:25 AM | Comments (0)

Fornication Freedom

Okay, one last comment on the politics surrounding the presidential election. I have had it up to my nostrils with whiny feminists blathering on about "reproductive rights".

Neither GWB nor the Republican Party have ever suggested that anyone does not have the right to reproduce. If anything they encourage it. Nor have they ever suggested that anyone should be denied the right to not reproduce. Not one single (or married) woman has ever been forced by any sort of governmental coercion to get pregnant. There is no sort of state-sponsored insemination programme. In fact, anyone who forces a woman into a potentially reproductive act faces the full force of the law which can result in time spent in that place when non-reproductive acts are quite common.

So all of this talk of GWB taking away reproductive rights and forcing women into the back alley abortions (that are much more the product of legend than truth anyway) is just silliness.

No, what these women want is right to kill anyone who infringes on their freedom to fornicate or even makes it a bit inconvenient. The freedom is there. You can't find a serious Republican who is committed enough to sponsor legislation to unabolish fornication laws that were already unenforced when they slipped away for the most part in the 1970s.

The "right to choose" is the right to choose to have sex anytime, anywhere, with anyone, and without any consequences. It is asking for government to interfere in the bedroom, to use that oft repeated phrase in its legitimate context. Only government has been able to step in and say that those things which are de facto wrong are de jure right. Government has stepped in and attempted to take away the natural consequences of promiscuity.

Yes, there has been an expectation of state interference since 1973 in the US. Now the fear is that the state will walk away and leave individuals to the natural consequences of their actions. It has them shaking in their boots.

Posted by david at 02:19 AM | Comments (0)

People's Republic of Islington

This blog got off to an early boost when, on its fourth day of existence, I took on the London Borough of Tower Hamlets over the banning of hot cross buns in schools. Moving north and west and decidedly upmarket is the Borough of Islington, former home of the Blairs. When it comes to the religious aspects of political correctness, Islington is in a whole other league from Tower Hamlets.

Islington wants to force a school to change it's name. St Mary Magdelene Church of England Primary School has been around since 1710. For almost 300 years, there's been no problem. Now Islington council wants it to drop the "Saint" bit because it might cause offense to other religions. It would be better if it and she weren't so closely associated to the Christian God.

But just like the situation with the buns in east London, the only problem is that the other religions don't seems to care. In fact, they seem to think it is silly.

The real motivation is revealed by James Kempton, the children and young people spokesman for the council's ruling Liberal Democrat party. "We need to ensure this is a school which is appropriate for Islington in the 21st century. Church-going is now a much less significant part of people's lives." It is post-Christian secularists that are the ones most likely to be offended.

Rev Malcolm Rogers, vicar of St Mary Magdelene church noted, “There is a perception that Islington council have been running an anti-Christian agenda, consistently on ideological grounds rejecting Christianity.” They aren't opposed to having £2 million in church funds toward the building required to expand the school into a City Academy for ages 5-18. They just insist that it cannot have a religious name.

Posted by david at 12:00 AM | Comments (1)

November 05, 2004

President of the World

To the shock and awe of my work colleagues, I supported George Bush for President. They all assumed I was right-minded until I was outed by the election. Now they know I'm not in my right mind.

Some of them got quite animated at the mention of a second Bush administration. It is bad enough that he invaded Iraq. The really terrible thing is that he is a religious "fundamentalist". I put this in quotes because they have no idea what a fundamentalist actually is. But how could someone who is guided in any way by religious beliefs be trusted to lead the world?

The 60,000,000 Americans who voted for him had an obligation to give the secularist godless Europeans a President who shares their worldview. How could they dare do otherwise? How could they not realise that the endorsement of the Guardian was binding on them, one and all?

And speaking of Manchester's gift to the world of pinko quasi-journalism, even in today's edition, the pages were filled with disgust. Well, I should say the Guardian website is filled with articles from today's edition, because I the only time I ever read a paper copy is when I find it discarded on a train. If you want to read some of the more entertaining of this vitriole, I recommend historian Simon Schama's op-ed piece, "Onward Christian soldiers". It is amazing how much he gets it (and hates it) and the same time doesn't get it at all.

Former senior Democratic party strategist Philip James, also writing in the aforementioned rag, definitely gets it, whether he likes it or not. In his post mortem:

In a country with so many believers, (80% of this year's voters said they attended church) this is a huge problem. Kerry simply wasn't communicating to a massive slice of the electorate, the hard core of which gets its political information not from the TV news, but from the pulpit.

Not all Christian churchgoers are hardcore evangelicals, but it's clear that Kerry did not appeal to any of them. Just as Bush wore his religion on his sleeve, so Kerry wore his irreligiousness on his. Kerry thought that referring to his upbringing as a Catholic altar boy would be sufficient. It only made it clear that religion was a vestige of his upbringing without relevance to his current life.

The few times that Kerry attended Southern Baptist churches on the campaign trail, he looked like a tourist in Harlem. The services appeared to pique his interest as they would an anthropologist. He was never an actual participant.

That's why Brits and other Europeans warmed to Kerry. It had nothing to do with the fact that Kerry wasn't going to pull out of Iraq, but rather pressure the Europeans to give a greater share of the troops to the war zone. (They were so busy screaming their hatred at Bush that they missed this altogether.) No, it was that religion has no real relevance in his life.

Posted by david at 10:34 PM | Comments (0)

November 03, 2004

Lord Had Mercy

Everyone else is offering their election post mortem, so who am I to buck the trend?

Yes, the exit polls were wrong - and right. They did not predict the winner, but they did tell us why people voted the way they did. What was important to the 59,000,000 people who voted for Bush? Morality.

Even the BBC's Radio Five Live started to figure it out, and Brits have the hardest time getting their head around this. Presenter Peter Allen, reporting from Washington, noted:

"If you look at a map of America there's the west coast where Kerry scores and a kind of northeast corner, but the rest is a great swathe of Republican territory. It's not territory that we get out and visit a lot, but that's where they are. Whether it's because they're religious and God-fearing people who think that Bush is right for them, or whether it's because of what they think about Iraq - this is a nation divided and the majority quite clearly still believes that George Bush, despite all the problems in Iraq, is the man to solve it."

Yes, it was religious, God-fearing people that made the difference.

Posted by david at 10:30 PM | Comments (2)

November 01, 2004


I was watching coverage of Kerry's campaigning over the weekend and it included a stop at a black church in an unnamed state. John Kerry was just a little out of place in this environment. It wasn't exactly his liberal Boston quasi-Catholic parish.

How this church thought it had anything in common with John Kerry, I'll never know. Then during his sermon, Kerry actually had the audacity to tell the congregation to vote for him, because if he won they would be walking together "in the footsteps of the Lord".

Posted by david at 11:14 PM | Comments (0)