Religion, State, and the New Christian Spirit

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Tiassa, Nov 1, 2023.

  1. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    The bishops don't get a seat in the Lords for "going along with shenanigans". What gave you that idea?

    The House of Lords is an appointed chamber, not an elected one and I, like many people, think that is exactly as it should be. It seems to me an excellent principle to have a revising chamber (i.e. one that can neither create nor veto legislation but can scrutinise and advise on it) drawn from people who have particular experience or expertise to contribute, or who represent important social communities that may not gain a voice through elected members of Parliament. Elected members of the House of Commons always have one eye on how they need to appear in order to get re-elected. This makes them short-term and often rather cynical in outlook, which is a bad recipe for good lawmaking. The appalling Rwanda bill, currently being strongly criticised by the Lords, is a recent case in point.

    The appointment process of the House of Lords however does badly need reform, because recent (elected) governments have corrupted the existing appointment process scandalously. There are proposals, which I would support, to deprive the Prime Minister of the power to nominate peers and to put nominations entirely in the hands of an independent committee. Before anyone complains about how that committee might be made up, I would remind them of the way judges are appointed in the UK. Unlike the terrible system in the US, they are not political appointments - and that is very much to the benefit of the justice system. So such things can be done.

    As for bishops, I see no reason why there should not be bishops in the House of Lords, though I would like to see more representatives of other faiths among the Lords Spiritual. Religion is important to many sectors of society and religious views should I think be recognised when it comes to giving advice to the government. The Chief Rabbi has sometimes been a Lord (e.g. Jonathan Sacks, a very erudite and cultured man who died a few years ago) , but this is not a permanent right, nor are there by right representatives of other important faith communities. I gather a couple of Catholic cardinal archbishops have been offered a seat in recent decades but declined, as the Catholic church discourages prelates from accepting appointments that are too close to secular power. I myself would very much like to see a senior, moderate Muslim imam appointed. It would give Muslims a voice, show them some respect and symbolically integrate them into the fabric of British life.

    So I'm all for a properly independently appointed House of Lords. What should stop, and stop entirely, is the disgusting practice of awarding peerages to financial donors to political parties, or political cronies with no apparent merit in terms of expertise or experience. Exhibit A here would be Baroness Owen , a 3o yr old political apparatchik of no consequence, appointed by Boris Johnson apparently for no better reason than she is a blonde (whom he may possibly have shagged). Johnson - an elected politician, remember - delighted in poking fun at, debasing and undermining every institution in the country. He probably just thought it would cock a snook at the system and would funny to do, with his entitled Old Etonian's contempt for everything around him.

    I think we need to hear less about how supposedly vital it is for every member of the legislature to be elected, or else it is "undemocratic". We have also had attacks on the judiciary from this government and its supporters in the press, on the grounds the judges are not "democratically" elected. This is highly disingenuous. A sound constitution rests on several pillars, one of which is an elected chamber responsible for proposing and passing into law new legislation. The other pillars should be a check on that, to avoid what Lord Hailsham used to call an "elective dictatorship".
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2024
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  3. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    ^ Couldn't agree more.
    I'd also add that I am somewhat against hereditary peerages as anything other than a title to put on a letter. Thankfully only 92 of them are allowed to sit in the House of Lords (unless they're also in the Lords through individual life-peerage), and those 92 are elected by the other hereditary peers. Personally I'd be in favour of reducing that to zero, but 92 is better than all of them!

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  5. foghorn Valued Senior Member

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    Faith organisations being human. Protecting an organisation’s image by covering up paedophiles within its walls and such like.
    Any faith organisation that won’t allow women to hold any ‘faith rank’ as equal to a man, shouldn’t be allowed in the lords. How long before a woman Pope?
     
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  7. foghorn Valued Senior Member

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    Sarkus, for clarity, does that mean there will always be 92 life peers in the lords? Something like, when one dies the the other life peers vote in a new life peer?
     
  8. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    There are life peers - who are appointed for the duration of their life only. When they die there is simply one less Lord. These are the the majority of Lords. They are appointed, usually, on the basis of having contributed something to society (or been a crony). The number of life peers therefore changes even on a day-to-day basis, as Lords die, and/or new ones are appointed. (Note I'm referring to Lords, but this includes Dames as well).

    Then there are hereditary peers - who inherited the title when their father died, and who will pass on the title to their eldest born (or maybe another) when they die. So these people are Lords simply because their father was, and their father's father before then. The current Lord may have contributed nothing to society.

    The 1999 House of Lords Act originally looked to remove the right of hereditary peers to sit in the House of Lords, but as a compromise they settled on their being only 92 allowed from the 750 or so hereditary Lords. The 750 elect the 92. If one is an hereditary peers but also been appointed a life-peer for services to society then they can sit in the House of Lords but would not count towards the 92.
     
  9. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    12,538
    The bishops that sit in the Lords are a fixed set, so nobody can reward covering up sexual abuse with a seat in the Lords.

    (Unless I suppose you are claiming that those bishoprics whose incumbents sit in the Lords are preferentially allocated to bishops or priests who covered up sexual abuse before being appointed to these positions. That seems to me to be straying into the realms of bizarre conspiracy theory.)

    As for the pope, this seems not to be relevant, as I have already explained that Catholic prelates have declined on principle the invitation to take a seat in the Lords.

    I disagree too with your assertion that any organisation which does not treat men and women as interchangeable must be ipso facto excluded. As I said, religions are important to the lives of many of our citizens, so what the Muslim or Christian or Jewish opinion is, on a matter considered by government, is worth hearing, regardless of how these religions organise themselves internally.
     
  10. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Regarding hereditary peers, I like the tradition they embody, dating back to medieval times. I think we should try to hang onto our traditions, where possible. The compromise I would propose is that they can continue to sit - and speak, if they wish - but cannot vote. In practice they would become basically ceremonial members.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2024
  11. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    I don't mind them being titled, or the tradition of hereditary titles themselves, only of them being in the House of Lords simply due to birth. Your compromise certainly seems reasonable.
     
  12. foghorn Valued Senior Member

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    1,477
    Thanks for that. So, it's 92 hereditary Lords sitting at anyone time.
    There's something about sexual inequality with these hereditary peers also...

    "Fewer than 90 peerages can be inherited by a female heir thereby limiting the number of women eligible to stand and be elected to the House of Lords as hereditary peers. This article examines proposals put forward by campaign groups, and some parliamentarians, to change the rules that prevent women inheriting peerages. "....

    "....
    Rules preventing women inheriting most hereditary peerages should be changed, campaign groups and some parliamentarians have argued. In April 2021, the hereditary peer Lord Lucas (Conservative) asked the government about its plans to amend the rules known as male primogeniture. He argued that changes in 2013 to how the royal succession is governed should encourage a “detailed consideration” of the issue. Government statements to date have suggested that it views reform as “complex” and not a government priority. "
    https://lordslibrary.parliament.uk/...-gender-inequality-in-the-line-of-succession/
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2024
  13. foghorn Valued Senior Member

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    1,477
    If the government is considering something about sexual inequality in the workplace and elsewhere, how can faith organisations, which have sexual inequality in faith ranks by design, be allowed a say on anything the government is considering on the subject of sexual inequality?

    Are women spiritually different when it comes to understanding ancient text teachings and considerations, and so not allowed to reach the same faith rank as men.
    Why are these faith organisations excused?
    Are women only good for sheep in some faith organisations?
     
  14. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

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    How many women have been president of the USA?

    How many have been PM of the UK?
     
  15. foghorn Valued Senior Member

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    There's nothing stopping them from being so in future.
    Unlike some faiths which have sexual inequality in faith ranks by design.

    What do you think about a woman pope, good idea yes or no?
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2024
  16. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

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    Good answer, now apply that to your question.

    Religion evolves. Just like politics.

    Women weren't allowed to vote until 1928 in the UK.
     
  17. foghorn Valued Senior Member

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    1,477
    That’s why you have to stop sexual inequality in some faiths organisations, and doing that, the faith will 'evolve.'
    I’m saying if any faith organisation wants a say on anything in the lords, they can only do so if they follow the law of the UK and have sexual equality in all their faith ranks.

    Btw. Did you no some UK women were given the vote in 1918 because they were land owners.
    In 1928 working class women got the vote.
    "In 1918 the Representation of the People Act was passed which allowed women over the age of 30 who met a property qualification to vote. Although 8.5 million women met this criteria, it was only about two-thirds of the total population of women in the UK."
    https://www.parliament.uk/about/liv...y/electionsvoting/womenvote/overview/thevote/
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2024
  18. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

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    All Abrahamic religions have/had women British MPs.

    I did know, in 1918 the vote wasn't for all women so it was still inequality. Money/Land based which is shocking. Many reasons why women have been fighting for equality. Now we have women competing in male dominated sports which is progress(they have for a while in the UK but now they are much more popular).
     
  19. foghorn Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,477
    And sexual equality now holds in the House of Commons.
    The House of Lords should not have faith organisations having a say on matters if they don't have sexual equality in their faith ranks.
    Keep those faith organisations out of the Lords until they do have equality in their organisations ranks.
    Just to repeat... In some faith organisations it is by design women don't get certain ranks.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2024
  20. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,330
    So we shouldn't have had male soccer teams before we had women soccer teams?
     
  21. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,538
    To repeat, the views of religious leaders reflect the views of significant groups in society. What I am arguing for is for religious and other significant groups to be able to have a say in the debates. It creates a spirit of respect and inclusiveness which is important and they just may, on some occasions, point out elephant traps on social or community issues that legislators might want to think about. That's all. It's what the advisory role of the Lords is for. But when it comes to amending legislation the House of Lords of course votes as a body. There is a mere handful of Lords Spiritual. This is never going to be decisive in a vote, unless the point they have raised commands widespread support.

    Furthermore, keep in mind the House of Lords is only a revising chamber. It neither brings forward legislation of its own, nor can it veto legislation. All it can do is propose amendments for the House of Commons to consider. But the Commons is not bound to act on those amendments. The Lords can send a bill back to the Commons with amendments for reconsideration twice only. On the 3rd time it comes to them from the Commons they have to let it go. So the elected chamber gets the last word and can ignore the Lords if it really wants to.

    On the specific issue of sexual inequality in religion, you might want to consider why it is that no democracy imposes its sexual equality legislation on religious hierarchies. We don't force them to elect women priests or imams, just because right-thinking people in Islington might think that is the morally correct thing to do. Why do you think that is?

    P.S. I've dug out the text of the relevant UK legislation:

    790.This specific exception applies to employment for the purposes of an organised religion, which is intended to cover a very narrow range of employment: ministers of religion and a small number of lay posts, including those that exist to promote and represent religion. Where employment is for the purposes of an organised religion, this paragraph allows the employer to apply a requirement to be of a particular sex or not to be a transsexual person, or to make a requirement related to the employee’s marriage or civil partnership status or sexual orientation, but only if –

    • appointing a person who meets the requirement in question is a proportionate way of complying with the doctrines of the religion; or,
    • because of the nature or context of the employment, employing a person who meets the requirement is a proportionate way of avoiding conflict with a significant number of the religion’s followers’ strongly held religious convictions.
    791.The requirement must be crucial to the post, and not merely one of several important factors. It also must not be a sham or pretext. Applying the requirement must be a proportionate way of meeting either of the two criteria described in paragraph 790 above.

    792.The requirement can also be applied by a qualifications body in relation to a relevant qualification (within the meaning of section 54), if the qualification is for employment for the purposes of an organised religion and either of the criteria described in paragraph 790 above is met.


    From: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/notes/division/3/16/26/1
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2024
  22. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

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    (e.g.)

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    Mike Luckovich, 2 April 2023.

    From the fundamentalist hardliners among Southern Baptists comes "Project 2025" frontman, Russ Vought, explaining "principled conservatism" in the House of Representatives; per Jenny Cohn↱, the plan from Center for Renewing America "seeks a consensus that although we have 'religious liberty,' a country still 'has to obey God' & 'there is only one true God, Jesus Christ, our Lord.'"

    Meanwhile, former U.S. Attorney Barb McQuade↱ responds:

    As a Christian, I find Christian Nationalism deeply offensive. Our founding documents guarantee religious liberty, not the superiority of any one religion. This political movement is distorting my faith into the Christian equivalent of an Islamic State.

    Comparisons of conservative Christianity and Islamic fundamentalism aren't new; Moulitsas published The American Taliban in 2010; and Riesebrodt's Pious Passions: The Emergence of Modern Fundamentalism in the United States and Iran emerged in 1993.

    But for someone like McQuade, sure, there is the fact of a punditry contract, but that isn't always enough to bring out such statements. To the other, it's also X (Twitter), so it's hardly the deepest-thought among such expressions. Still, it is more than a lot of people can manage.

    But if pub grub, a match on the teevee, and an exploration of the pints are the sort of day I might never have with the celeb attorney, neither is it really in her lane; she came up as a public attorney, and that is her specialty as a celeb analyst.

    Yet, this was worth saying.

    †​

    It's not so hard, is it?

    Consider a more local context: Even after accounting for seventy-seven posts↗ toward what turns out to be a different subject, what we're left with is sidebar↑ discussion↑ with a tendency to miss↑ the point↑. And, sure, while, no, this isn't the first time↑ a thread runs awry from its topic, honestly, it's striking that the TV pundit running out of her lane can manage a more sincere commitment of belief and principle than any of those who are supposed to be better than all of that.

     
  23. LaurieAG Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    589
    It's rather ironic that traditionally the women taught the children and the men fought the wars. It reminds me of that old cartoon where the robots are the only ones who rise to 'heaven' after Armageddon.
     

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