Tuesday, 21 May 2019

'A human being with potential'

Related imageIn the Daily Telegraph today (21 May) there was an article on abortion by the journalist Tim Stanley.  

He was writing in the context of the recent vote by the Alabama legislature to introduce a law prohibiting abortion, except in the situation where the mother's life is in danger.  It was an interesting article in which he made a number of good points and demolished some of the myths that have been peddled by the pro-abortionists.

Moreover I was particularly taken by his observation that the pre-born child is not a clump of cells but 'a human being with potential'.

Saturday, 18 May 2019

The Australian prime minister and the book of Jeremiah

Image result for scott morrisonSo the opinion polls were wrong in the Australian federal election and even the exit polls got it wrong.  

They predicted a win for Labour but with 70% of the votes counted the Liberal-National coalition has won or is ahead in 74 seats, looking for 76 to give it a majority.  Meanwhile Labour is on just 65.  

This should see the Liberal leader Scott Morrison back into office as prime minister.

Morrison is a Christian and in his maiden speech in February 2008 he said:
Australia is not a secular country - it is a free country.  This is a nation where you have the freedom to follow any belief system you choose.  Secularism is just one.  It has no greater claim than any other on our society.  As US Senator Joe Lieberman said, the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion not freedom from religion.  I believe the same is true in this country.

So what values do I derive from my faith?  My answer comes from Jeremiah chapter 9:24, 'I am the Lord who exercises loving-kindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things, declares the Lord.'

During the debate on 'same-sex marriage' in Australia he spoke out in favour of traditional marriage and voted against 'same-sex marriage'.

I was struck be his reference to the Word of God as shaping his world-view and setting his values.  We need more Christian politicians with the courage to express their faith in the 'public square', and we need our churches to be with them, alongside them, speaking the truth in love.

Monday, 13 May 2019

In April and May of 2016, articles were posted on the defendant's Facebook page and a blog maintained by him which were seriously defamatory of the plaintiff. These posts alleged that the plaintiff had been guilty of inappropriate conduct of both a personal and professional nature. Whilst the defendant did not post these articles, he did provide a link to one of them on his Facebook page. He accepts that there was no truth in any of the allegations and imputations contained in them and regrets that they were ever posted. Accordingly, the defendant apologies unreservedly to the plaintiff for the fact that such articles were posted on his Facebook page and blog and, as a mark of his regret, shall be making an agreed donation to a mutually agreed charity.’

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Phil Kelly - Labour's 'Marxist Irish Republican'

Phillip Kelly from the NI Labour Party said Mr Corbyn's re-election was 'positive news'.
Phil Kelly (Labour commentator)
On a couple of occasions I have been invited on to the Nolan Show on Radio Ulster and found myself debating some subject or other with Phil Kelly who is usually described as a 'commentator'.

He is a member of the Labour Party and was formerly chairman of the Labour Party in Northern Ireland.

I was interested therefore to read about him on the Open Democracy website and here is how he describes his personal and political background.  He was addressing a DiEM25 Festival for Debate event in Sheffield and introduced himself by saying:

I was born in Belfast.  My parents came from the red white and blue side of the divide.  But long before I was born they rejected their communal identities and embraced Marxism and became proud Irish Republicans.  My teenage rebellion was merely to be more Marxist, more republican than my parents.

So after a lifetime of activity on the fringe, intellectual eft, when I decided to join a political party, which would a Marxist, Irish Republican choose?  Well. I joined the UK Labour Party.  I joined to vote for Jeremy Corbyn, as I believe a movement built around the politics of Corbyn can be transformative not just for you here in the UK, but for the people of Ireland and all of Europe.

[DiEM25 is the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025, which was launched in 2015 by former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and Croation philosopher Srecko Horvat.]

Sunday, 17 March 2019

New York parade was on Saturday, not Sunday

Image result for new york st patrick's day parade
St Patrick's Day in New York
This year, with St Patrick's Day falling on a Sunday, the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council moved its St Patrick's Day parade in Armagh from Sunday 17 March to Saturday 16 March, so that those who attended church on Sunday could share in the parade, either as participants or spectators.

The decision drew some adverse criticism and some media reports claimed that the Armagh event would be a day before parades in the rest of the world.  The implication was that Armagh would be out of step with the rest of the world.  

It's an argument that I first encountered a few years ago when It was suggested that the St Patrick's Day parade in Belfast be held on a Saturday in those years when 17 March was a Sunday.  However it is an argument that simply untrue.

Of all the St Patrick's Day parades around the world, the largest and the oldest is the one in New York and this year it was held on Saturday 16 March, the same day as Armagh.  

They have been holding St Patrick's Day parades in New York since 1762 and that is what they do when St Patrick's Day falls on a Sunday.  They move the parade to the Saturday.

I'm not suggesting that we should copy every aspect of what happens in New York, because there is a very anti-British racism about some of what happens in New York.  

However if Irish-Americans in New York can cope with moving the parade to the Saturday, perhaps their 'friends' in Ulster might consider it as well.


Monday, 25 February 2019

Gerry McGeough and the Ancient Order of Hibernians


On Saturday 23 February the Irish News reported that the Ancient Order of Hibernians in America had backed the campaign of opposition to a planned goldmine in county Tyrone.

American members of the AOH visited the area recently with Tyrone AOH president Gerry McGeough and former Noraid leader Martin Galvin, who was described as a spokesman said, 'We support those who are defending this beautiful part of Tyrone from the threat Dalradian poses.'

McGeough joined the East Tyrone Brigade of the Provisional IRA in 1975 and was arrested in August 1988  while crossing the Dutch-German border with two AK47 rifles in his car.  He was charged with attacks on the British Army and held for four years in a German detention centre.  However his trial in Germany was interrupted by extradition to the USA where he was charged with attempting to purchase surface to air missiles in 1983.  He served three years of his sentence in US prisons until his release in 1996.  At that point he was deported to the Irish Republic.  McGeough was a member of the Sinn Fein national executive before leaving the party.

He was arrested in March 2007 and in February 2011 he was convicted of the  attempted murder of Sammy Brush in June 1981.  Sammy Brush was a member of the DUP, a postman and an off-duty UDR soldiers.  Gerry McGeough was sentenced to 20 years but under the terms of the Belfast Agreement he only served 2 years and was released on 29 January 2013.

The unusual aspect of the story is that, while he was on trial for attempted murder, Gerry McGeough was elected president of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in county Tyrone and still holds that senior office within the organisation, being elected year after year!

Yet this received almost no attention in the media.  I wonder what the reaction of the media would have been  if the Orange Order had elected someone as a County Grand Master, a post that is similar to that held by McGeough, when the person was standing trial for attempted murder!

I highlighted this back in 2011 and was reminded of it when I saw that McGeough is still the AOH president for Tyrone in 2019.

We are approaching one of the key dates in the AOH calendar, St Patrick's Day, so perhaps someone in the 'main stream media' might care to take it up!  





Monday, 7 January 2019

Harriet Beecher Stowe and Charlotte Elizabeth

Harriet Beecher Stowe
Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) was an American abolitionist and author and she is best remembered as the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin..

She was born in Connecticut, the daughter of Rev Lyman Beecher, a Presbyterian minister, and had a good education.  

After that she settled in Cincinnati, Ohio, where her father was president of Lane Theological Seminary, and in due course she married Calvin Ellis Stowe, a Biblical scholar and a professor in the seminary.
Image result for uncle tom's cabin
There had been racist riots in Cincinnati in 1829 when Irish-Americans attacked African-Americans.  Harriet met some of the African-Americans who had suffered in the attacks and when she heard their stories it confirmed her in her opposition to slavery.

Uncle Tom's Cabin was published in 1852 as an anti-slavery novel and it was the best-selling novel of the 19th century.  It was also the second best-selling book of the century, second only to the Bible.  Its first appearance in print was in 1851 as a 40-week serial in the National Era and then the following year it was published as a single volume.

In 1844 she wrote an introduction to The Works of Charlotte Elizabeth, which was published in three volumes.

Charlotte Elizabeth Tonna
These were the works of Charlotte Elizabeth Tonna (1790-1846), a British author who was born Charlotte Elizabeth Browne in Norfolk and was a daughter of a canon of Norwich Cathedral.  She married a British Army officer who had a small estate in Ireland but it was a very unhappy marriage and they separated about 1824.  After the death of her husband in Dublin in 1837, she married Lewis Tonna in 1841.

Charlotte Elizabeth Tonna was an evangelical Protestant and she wrote books, evangelistic tracts and poems on a variety of subjects but always from an evangelical perspective.  She also edited the Protestant Annual and The Christian Lady's Magazine and produced an abridged version of Foxe's Book of Martyrs.

Among her poems were hymns and also several written on Orange themes, including The Maiden City and No Surrender.  She was a fine poet and writing in 1899 the Irish Catholic editor D J O'Donoghue said: 'These are extremely vigorous and popular.  They are quite the best Orange songs that have ever been written.'

She also wrote a novel titled Derry: A Tale of the Revolution.

Sadly Charlotte Elizabeth Tonna is now largely forgotten but those who uphold the Protestant tradition in Ulster and who would share her evangelical Protestant faith could learn much from her fearless defence of truth. Harriet Beecher Stowe spoke well of her and so should we.