MIGHTY TOLERANCE

I came across a fascinating snippet of history in the letters page of a U3A magazine, (University Of The Third Age) which, led me to delving a bit deeper.

1685 is a significant date in English Parliamentary history. It was the beginning of manoeuvres to obtain monarchical change. Three years later, in 1688, change was consolidated with the Roman Catholic Stuart King, James II of England and Ireland, (James VII Scotland) being deposed by what is known as The Glorious Revolution. James was the last Roman Catholic monarch in England, Scotland and Ireland.

King James II of England and Ireland. James VII Scotland

James’ Protestant son-in law William Of Orange from the Netherlands and his wife Mary were invited by Parliament to replace him. History as taught, says that James was troublesome. History also states James’ replacement was welcomed, [by Parliament and other powerful interests]; but it was mainly welcomed because it ensured a protestant succession.

William Of Orange

In an area called Beaconsfield, in the county of Buckinghamshire, which is, today,  within easy reach of London UK, there is the original Quaker Meeting House, built in 1688, the year James II was deposed. Quakers had met in the locality since 1659 and risked having their meetings disrupted.

The year before he was deposed, 1687, James II managed to issue a Declaration Of Indulgence. He had been battling  over this with Parliament for much of his relatively short reign. The Declaration gave The Quakers the right to worship freely. Roman Catholics, Jews and Moslems were given the same rights. The Declaration extended tolerance to all to practice their faiths, not just to James’ particular religious preferences, and says the writer of the snippet, “It was the act of a tolerant king”.

It would be justified to say that a prime reason for the English Parliament’s removal of James Stuart, was because of their fears about Roman Catholic Monarchs linking once more to the determinations of the Papacy and its representatives. Therefore, deposing James ensured that the English Parliament, from then on, was established as the ruling power in England.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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POWERFUL WORDS

Some of you from BCUK may remember Guinevere Glasford-Brown. Since those blog days, she has become a published author and got a Best Book review from The Times Literary Reviews as well.  Last week I heard she was in Brussels.  Also, last week, I heard she was safe.  I breathed again.  Atrocities are painful to hear about, and heaven only knows, we have heard about so many; too many. When you know of someone who may be caught up in an atrocity you are seized by an indescribable, awful sensation, which, muscles you did not know you had, hold down.  Guin was fortunate in her travels, others were not.  Since arriving home, she has written about some of her post trauma feelings on her Facebook Page, to get her feelings out.  Her words talk of her irritation with  family, they indicate her anger and emotional pain at what has been done to people….to people by people. Her words are powerful.

What Guin says applies to all the atrocities we hear of, be they of large groups or individuals, such as the Moslem shop-keeper in Glasgow who was murdered because he wished his customers and Christian friends a happy festival.

It is so sad, so sad.

 

A BAPTISM WITH EXTRA FLOURISHES

A post by GillyK about a ‘riotous’ baptismal service got me thinking.

I was a mature student. In those days it meant I was twenty-five years old, or more. A relative youngster really. I was approached by a woman I had got to know, who asked if I would be a godparent to her baby daughter. Being very honest, she told me I was not a first choice because she thought I would not want to be involved in a Christian religious celebration. There were two sets of godparents and one couple had excused themselves. The baby was going to be Christened in the local cathedral, but only because the local church was closed for refurbishing. Of course, they were delighted with the upgrade. It did mean though, that the baptism was going to be incorporated into the main service; again, they were content.

These were the days before personal computers were even on the horizon, anyones horizon, and no ordinary mortal owned a mobile phone. I don’t think they had been invented then. …And no, I was not born in the 19th century!!

I wanted to speak to the local priest, or, a Cathedral priest, about the invitation to be a godparent given my heathen status. I was not and am not a member of the church. I needed to know if my position was acceptable; also, what would be expected of me? The conversations were very pleasant and centred on how I felt about making the commitment to stand in for the parents, if that need were to arise and to bring the child up in the Christian faith.

Because it was Easter time there were a few extra service ‘flourishes’. In total three babies were Christened sequentially during the service. The congregation looked on. I remember many smiling faces. We all exited the Cathedral with the throng to beautiful sunshine.

I am in contact with my god-daughter to this day. I have not seen her for years, but we have spoken, occasionally exchange emails and there’s always a little package at Christmas. She is an adult now with a family of her own. From what I glean, I am the only godparent of those given the role, who maintained contact.

SENSITIVITY AND RESPECT

A friend was in London recently, so, before leaving decided to go to The Tower of London to see the ceramic red poppy moat. It was crowded at all the different levels from Tower Bridge Station where she was, right to the moat. She said it worth the visit. What, I asked, made it so? She thought for a few moments then said,

The ceramic poppies were much like other pottery craft work. It was being there in what is usually a bustling and noisy place and seeing crowds of people of all nationalities, hushed and appearing to be deep in their own thoughts, or quietly sharing with others. Everyone there respecting the sensitivity of the occasion“.

A MOMENTOUS VOTE – THE SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM

There will be a momentous decision being made in Scotland on Thursday 18th April 2014, whether to become independent of England or stay within the union.

I received a phone call from an official referendum polling organisation last Saturday,(13th September) the first ever such call I have received.  Was I a random number being called- I shall never know. The caller did not get my salespersons treatment, he was too polite and did ask if it was a good time to call for answering a few questions. End of story…It was not a good time to call.

Votes will be placed, I believe, mainly with heart or head.  Some people will vote with both. We have had only one Member Of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) give our remote area the time of day, a socialist who supports the ongoing union of Scotland.   I note that The First Minister  Alec Salmond says he and his party have covered every area in Scotland. He should define what that means! Even the sitting Scottish Nationalist Party member, (SNP) has not ventured to arrange any local meetings.  Is that confidence because he was voted in as an MSP last time, or is there something else going on?

On the other hand, those who represent staying in the union, (‘No’  to independence)  have not tried to kid anyone that they have travelled far and wide in number to promote their cause. (One of their number has genuinely tried to).  How do you interpret this?

The ‘Yes’ campaign has been vigorous.  Its momentum has excited a lot of people. Throughout, the independence campaign has had the advantage of being blessed with a positive sounding ‘Yes’.  The ‘No’ campaign has been very slow to react and speed up, they have been  seen as lazy;  the pro-union campaign has been disadvantaged throughout with the negative sounding ‘No’. They have been struggling to find a way to make their message vibrant.

Scottish Police have begun patrolling armed, without any public debate or agreement to it. There has been an attempt to slip this through under the cover of the Independence Referendum.  The Minister For Justice tried to fob off public protest, saying it is solely a police matter: it is not.  The SNP Minister has responsibility for police and policing matters.  After local government and public protests, reports are being called for. The reporting organisations do not sound like bodies independent from the Police they will be reporting on.

Questions: why is the Scottish Government arming police? what are they intending?

All sides have indulged in disingenuity to suit their causes, some apparently more than others; the SNP were caught out very early on in this long campaign.  As a cynic, I have to sadly admit that is the way of politics. One of the prerequisites of being a politician anywhere, is being able to look someone in the eye, appear to be sincere while acting out the events of The Ides Of March. That said, it is fundamental to ongoing well-being in Scottish politics and in Scottish community life that there is respect on all sides whatever the outcome of the vote.

There are many unanswerable questions for which, political imagination has been required to field them. There are answerable questions which have been either glossed over, dismissed as scare-mongering, or side-stepped. Time scales for change, if it is a ‘yes’ vote, are, in my view over-optimistic. Is the Scottish government canny enough and strong enough to handle experienced, tough and clever negotiators in or from London, because there is no doubt,they will be wheeled out.  A similar question can be asked if there is a ‘No’ vote.  After the Edinburgh Tram contracts debacle, I wonder.

If it is a vote to keep the union, a great deal of trust will have been handed to Westminster, which on past form has been totally untrustworthy. Will this and future Westminster Governments honour what they have promised,  the equivalent of Devo Max which, if you remember, was not allowed to be an option to vote for? (Maximum Devolution for which there is no given definition).  Will they honour the tenets of the Edinburgh agreement which agreed the upcoming Referendum?  I believe, a great deal of redefining and fiddling of definitions, is likely to occur. I would like to be proved wrong.  A close vote should and ought to focus ruling classes both in London and Scotland.

WOMEN BISHOPS …SURELY NOT!

Yesterday, Sunday 13th July 2014, the current Archbishop Of Canterbury, Justin Welby, was very sanguine in a television interview that this time he was confident that the Church Of England, (C of E) would approve the creation of women Bishops in their Synod on the morrow, Monday 14th July 2014.  Oh, and he kind of hoped, (with a big wide actor’s soppy smile) that he would see a female Archbishop in his lifetime. With the ‘modern’ dynamics  of the male clergy,  (and a few women members)  relating to the  promotion of women to relatively senior management in the C Of E, I can understand why the Archbishop reacted as he did.  Who would openly admit in an important television programme, or, in any public forum  that the odds for that happening, were weak. It would be a totally undiplomatic admission, which could lead to all sorts of uncontrolled internecine developments.

Welby is a supporter of women’s progression in his church family. The man has inherited and is working with, what has been for others, a poisoned chalice.  Welby knows the subject is a potential minefield, which, to his credit, in the short time he has been top dog in the kennel, he has tackled and which, for now, he has managed to put under wraps.

Today, Monday 14th July 2014, it was announced, as Welby expected, that the C Of E has agreed to the ordination of women Bishops.  As I am not conversant with the C Of E politics in any depth, I am not sure how Archbishop Welby has  managed to reverse the narrow negative vote achieved two years ago in Synod on this same subject.  Is the achievement as historic for the C of E as it sounds?  There are bound to be terms and conditions – what might you call them…compromises -to placate the patriarchy.  It is tempting to get onto a feminine, (not feminist) soap box about glass ceilings, about the beneficial role of women in our society not being adequately represented in many areas of life and in general, in the echelons of faiths in the world.  To paraphrase… “One small step for women, that’s one giant leap forward for womankind…