Tuesday, 30 June 2015

I Challenge Rev. Giles Fraser to Survive in the Rat Race

The Rev. Giles Fraser, MA. Ph.D. is the red-flag-waving priest who resigned from his post as Canon of St Paul's Cathedral in 2011 because he could not condone legal action in evicting Occupy protesters from the precincts of the cathedral.
He writes a column in the Guardian and gives the impression that Marxism is far more important to him than mere Christianity.

Image result for Rev Giles Fraser

He was a panellist on BBC Question Time last week and when the thorny problem of migrant trafficking into Europe was raised, he was the only member of the panel to respond with an unreserved positive attitude. Other panellists suggested trying to intervene in the trafficking business, which undoubtedly exploits people and has no regard for their safety or welfare. By contrast, Dr Fraser said, "I would say to them - welcome!"
But it is easy for him to say that. He has a job, as vicar of St Mary's Newington, that provides him with a house in London, big enough for his wife and three children. It may not be as gracious as the Wren mansion he occupied as Canon of St Paul's but it is a house, so he does not have to worry about putting a roof over his head. He will never feel the impact of unlimited, mass immigration on the housing market. He will never have to pay a mortgage and even when he retires, he can be assured that the Church of England will house him. That is part of the deal.
Moreover, the job he has is effectively a protected job, ring-fenced against any foreign competition. Being a vicar in the Church of England is a job only open to confirmed members of the Church of England. While other jobs get hundreds or even thousands of applicants, posts as vicars regularly attract no applications at all. We are desperately short of vicars, and even with women being ordained, many clergy have to serve two or three churches. Giles Fraser will never know what it is like to fear being undercut by someone from Albania, or wherever, who offers to give a cheaper sermon (More's the pity, some might say). In his job, it can't happen.
When he was setting out in his profession, it was open only to men, so the field was even narrower. He has never really had to compete. Even when he made his big gesture of resigning as Canon of St Paul's, he got a six-month term of notice. He could go on living in the house and drawing the salary for six months while looking for another job.
And he need not worry about his pension as there is no statutory retirement age for vicars. I know some who are  going on working at the age of 85 or more.
So what I would say to the Reverend Dr Fraser is this  - I challenge you to go and live and work for one year in the big, bad world outside the sheltering walls of the Church of England. Go and get a job that is open to everybody, with no secure contract, a job where you have to re-apply for your own position every year -  that is what teachers now have to do. Find a job where any day, somebody from Albania can turn up and do it for less. A job where what you earn depends on how well the company does and how well you are deemed to have done. With the money from that job, go and buy or rent a house in London and move into it with your wife and three children.  If you do that, you will know how ordinary people feel, living in today's economic rat-race.
After one year, come back on the Question Time panel and answer the same question again  - if you are still alive and the shock hasn't killed you.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Oxford Evangelicals call for the resignation of Bishop Alan Wilson - High Time

Many of us have long ago had more than enough of the Reverend Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham. When not speaking in derisory terms about the Church of England, his official employer, and Christianity in general, he is usually boasting about his doctorate or his other trendier credentials. Many people are shocked at the language he uses to disparage those of orthodox views. Now at last some leading evangelicals in the Oxford diocese that includes Buckingham have spoken out against him. I fully agree with them and back their call for his resignation.

Prominent Oxford Diocese Evangelicals call for the resignation of Bishop Alan Wilson.
Jun 21, 2015

By David Ould writing in Anglican Mainstream.
This morning not one but two prominent evangelical ministers in the Diocese of Oxford appeared on BBC radio to call for the resignation of Bishop Alan Wilson.

First, Vaughan Roberts of St Ebbes Oxford, one of the largest churches in the diocese, appeared on BBC Radio Oxford. You can hear a brief grab from him here on the Charles Nove Show (available for 30 days from the time of broadcast) at 1:10 into the programme followed by Alan Wilson. Roberts says, "In any line of work if you as a leader of that organisation find yourself in a fundamental disagreement with that organisation and then you publicly speak against it, the only sensible option is to resign. He must be in a very difficult position and if he finds that he doesn’t now support this view on a fundamental issue (of marriage) by the organisation he is called to serve and to lead – obviously he should resign."

An hour later Will Pearson-Gee, the Rector of Buckingham Parish Church appeared on the BBC Radio Berks Sunday morning show. The full audio of his interview and a response from Wilson is below.

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It’s worth noting… Wilson repeatedly seeks to portray the evangelical position of Pearson-Gee and Roberts as fringe and reactionary, rather than recognising that it is the majority historical and global position of the church…Wilson clearly charges Pearson-Gee of acting in a dishonourable way and particularly with refusing to meet with him and “not turning up” to a meeting, and then repeats the claim when asked for clarification. My understanding is that this is simply not true. Perhaps we’ll get some further clarity on that in the coming days. They are serious charges to make.

Pray for the clergy of the diocese of Oxford and for Bishop Wilson as he considers his position. I am told that he may very well get his bluff called, and it could end up being very expensive for the diocese. The evangelical churches now uniting to ask him to step down represent some of the major contributors to the diocesan budget.

Read here


Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Busking - Is It A Crime?

Ever since Oxfordshire County Council imposed its pedestrianisation scheme on central Oxford, Cornmarket has become a circus for buskers, beggars, street-artists and publicity-touters wearing sandwich boards. 

Some of the buskers are good, and I give them money if I'm in a good mood. Some of them are bad, and a lot of them are far too loud. The bloke with the bagpipes is a real pain. The one who brings his own piano is certainly in the way. 
There is no doubt that the pedestrianised Cornmarket is a bad place to shop and there is a severe problem with congestion. Personally I would like most of this "vibrant street culture" swept away into side streets so that the buses could go straight through up to North Oxford. But even so, I think that the new penalties being proposed by Oxford's Labour City Council - a fine of up to £2,500 and a criminal record -  are absolutely draconian. 
Come on, the bagpipes are bad, but not that bad. The maximum fine should be £100.  People sleeping rough are not criminals  - they are symptom of other, far larger, social and political problems that the Labour party refuses to address. The worst sights in the city centre are put there by the Council. The hacked-off tree stumps in Castle Street, the hideous mess they have made of Bonn Square, the huge piles of rubbish... because they give planning permission to endless fast-food chains.
Along with the vagrant-proof "benches" and the CCTV in all buses and taxis, this new anti-busker law is one more sign of a police state. Protest!

Oxford City Council: Stop Attacking Our Freedoms, Support a Vibrant Street Culture in Oxford

Keep the Streets Alive 
United Kingdom
Labour-led Oxford City Council are in the process of creating new powers to make street music, art and performance in Oxford a potential criminal offence and subject to strict, arbitrary controls. A new 'crime' of 'non-compliant' busking has been proposed, punishable by fines of up to £2500 and a life long criminal record.
Riding bicycles on restricted streets, feeding pigeons, pavement art and sleeping rough will also become criminal offences under Oxford's plans to implement a wide-ranging Public Space Protection Order (PSPO), which, according to Labour Councillor Dee Sinclair one of the architects of these proposals, are aimed at any behaviours which 'might make people feel uncomfortable'.
Oxford is already one of the most restrictive cities for busking in the UK and currently requires all buskers to provide passports, driving licenses and/or birth certificates as proof of identity, as well as an additional proof of address, before issuing them with photo ID 'Busking Cards' which they are required to carry in order to be 'allowed' to busk.They have a highly prescriptive code of conduct which places strict and arbitrary limits on where (There are only 8 places in the city where busking is allowed), when, and for how long buskers can play (no longer than 60 minutes), stipulates that they must not be heard plainly from 50 metres, and must stop performing for any reason if told to do so by a police or council officer (turning public officials into 'civic Simon Cowells' who can stop performances that they don't like). Under their plans it will be a criminal offence to be caught busking in the 'wrong' way, on the 'wrong' spot or for the 'wrong length' of time, and officials (including private contractors working for the council) will have the power to issue on the spot fines.
Oxford City Council spuriously claim that 'non-compliant' buskers cause 'unfair and unsafe' practices (which they don't specify) and that they need additional powers to use against those buskers who don't comply with their code of conduct. However they are one of the only cities in the entire UK to propose making busking a criminal offence. Most towns and cities in the UK (Including  Cambridge, Canterbury, Bath, Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, St Albans, Newcastle, Glasgow, Bournemouth and many others) do not require performers to obtain a 'Busking Card' or license before performing, and instead publish a best practise guide only taking action against the small minority of buskers who cause real issues. There are a wide range of existing powers that councils can use to deal with noise nuisance, obstruction or antisocial behaviour. Oxford's proposals represent an unnecessary misuse of legislation by criminalising a cultural activity which causes no harm.
The Keep Streets Live Campaign is a not for profit organisation which exists to protect and support informal and spontaneous performances of art and music in public spaces. We have successfully challenged unjust busking policies in Liverpool, York and Canterbury where we now work alongside the local authority in those cities to introduce Best Practise Guides for busking that promote good relationships between buskers and those they share the streets without the need for restrictive legislation. We have also advised the Mayor of London on his 'Busk in London' scheme designed to make London 'the most busker friendly city in the world'.
We urgently invite Oxford City Council to abandon their attempt to criminalise and marginalise street artists and musicians by using a PSPO to regulate busking, and instead to work alongside the Musican's Union, local buskers and the Keep Streets Live Campaign to build on the work done in other places to develop a best practise guide that protects spontaneity and promotes a vibrant street culture for all who live, work and visit Oxford.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Asia Bibi is Sick and Suffering in Prison - please sign petition for her release

ASIA BIBI, the Christian woman sentenced to death in Pakistan for supposedly "insulting Islam" is seriously ill in her prison, She is suffering from intestinal bleeding which could be a sign of terminal illness and she needs to be in hospital.

Please sign this petition to David Cameron and Philip Hammond, now they are re-elected. to call on the government of Pakistan to intervene and overturn the death sentence. This is only one of countless examples of the appalling persecution of Christians in Pakistan,