Saturday, April 28, 2007

It's This Kind of Knee-Jerk Reaction That's a Sin

The Conservative Welsh Assembly candidate for Clwyd West, Darren Millar, has found himself at the centreof a right old political storm. Addressing a public meeting he is supposed to have called homosexuality a sin and called for the teaching of creationism in schools. Except he did nothing of the sort. Mr Millar was asked if he thought homosexuality was a sin. Mr Millar replied that "he was against all forms of discrimination on the grounds of sexuality", however, "there are certain religious texts which think homosexuality is a sin." That, I would have thought, is a statement of fact. He went on to say that he thought teachers in faith schools should be given flexibility to include the teaching of creationism in science lessons alongside Darwinism.

I certainly don't agree with him on that but he's got every right to give such an opinion. His LibDem opponent who attended the same meeting hadn't felt Millar had said anything odd, yet one Labour official decided to overinterpret his comments and they were devoured with relish by a Welsh media which was positively foaming at the mouth to write an anti-Tory story.

All this story has done is show politics and the media at their very worst.

47 comments:

Jeremy Jacobs said...

And why are Labour doing this in Wales. They must be in trouble!

Anonymous said...

Pretty ironic if Labour are attacking someone for suggesting schools should be allowed to teach creationism in science lessons given Tony Blair's support for Emmanuel College in Gateshead.

Ed said...

Labour are desperate, Praise the Lord!

Anonymous said...

In respect of the Bible, Darren Miller might have noted that this is an out of date, ancient text,recorded by imperfect humans. It has undergone a number of imperfect transcriptions over the centuries and is, unsurprisingly, riddled with inconsistency. Over 300 contradictions have been found between the Gospels alone, never mind the rest. So the Bible records figurative, not absolute, truth.

Texts in the Bible which condemn homosexuality as a sin are vestiges of humanity's brutalised, sub-human stage and are crazy anachronisms in modern Christianity and modern life which no reasoned person would adhere to.

I am, however, totally opposed to legislation banning such dark age beliefs as this will only drive such irrationalism underground, thereby perpetuating it. Let there be free speech so that irrational beliefs can be subject to the light of reason.

Auntie Flo'

Anonymous said...

I would have thought that that Labour interpetation of the speech would have gone down well in 'chapel' country - probably gained the candidate a few votes!

Anonymous said...

As for the theory of creationism and Darwin's theory of evolution - yes, both are still unproven theories - I was taught both theories for 'O' level biology and applaud this balanced approach to the question of humanity's origins. I seem to remember that I got a grade 'A' for balanced appraisals of both theories as simply that - unproven theories. I wish all children had the benefit of such a balanced education instead of mind bending nulab mumbo jumbo.

Auntie Flo'

Laurence Boyce said...

Iain, I’m glad to hear that you don’t agree that schools should be given the flexibility to teach creationism, but that’s not quite what your leader thinks, according to the Indy:

Mr Cameron said: “Personally I don’t support the teaching of creationism. I’m a great believer that we need to trust schools and governors of schools to get these things right and I think that’s the right approach.”

Well then that means that we are going to have creationism in the classroom, whether we agree with it or not.

Ralph said...

You have to wonder how lazy and/or biased the media is to not be able to find out what was actually said at a public meeting.

Anonymous said...

Hmm.. but isn't it also alleged that he said that gossiping was in the same category of sinfulness ! ;-]

Iain Dale said...

Anonymous, thanks for pointing that out! Looks like I'me doomed to eternal damnation, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

laurence - I respect what you are saying, but I don't think children should be spoon-fed by saying, 'Well here is religion, in the 'fiction' box, and here is science in the 'fact' box'.

It is not as simple as that. Much of the Bible is a historical description of what occurred in the Holy Lands.

I was taught in school initially that atoms were 'billiard balls'.
This is a useful model, but not true when one begins to understand the 'planetary' model i.e. central nucleus with orbiting electrons.

But one has to throw away this 'model' as being rather 'fictional' when describing the 'quantum theory' model of how electrons behave. And that is before one starts to consider sub-atomic particles, quarks, leptons, neutrinos and the like.

No, school children need to have all things explained, and taught to make up their own mind.

Anonymous said...

Laurence Boyce said:

Iain, I’m glad to hear that you don’t agree that schools should be given the flexibility to teach creationism, but that’s not quite what your leader thinks, according to the Indy...

Laurence, I am not at all surprised that you support selective repression of free speech and would allow only those ideologies you favour - those dictated by nulab political correctness - to have it.

Nor am I surprised that your alleged tolerance is also selectively applied by you to only those people and organisations that you agree with.

If you are a prime example of muddled Lib Dem thinking, thank God I got out of the Lib Dems. Your postings seem to daily become more and more like the latest irrational edict of the thought police.

How can someone who's last line of rational argument against Christianity consists of conjuring fictional images of Jesus turning railway managers into frogs be taken seriously?

Auntie Flo'

David Anthony said...

Creationism should NOT be taught in science classes because it is NOT science ... it is theology.

What needs to be taught in schools is a proper theology subject to deal with the beliefs of different religions and cultures rather than the joke-of-a-subject Religious Education.

Laurence Boyce said...

I should think so, Iain. For one thing, you’ve been spotted consorting with the devil on a number of occasions.

Daily Referendum said...

The media hold themselves up as champions of the people. They say that their reporting keeps the government honest. How can this be true when they increasingly twist the truth to sensationalise a non story. I'm sick of wading through articles trying to find the truth. The MSM is killing itself off committing a slow suicide with lies.

Anonymous said...

Ian, be ashamed of yourself.

Your linquistic gymnastics employed to support Millar are not fooling anyone.

Attack Labour but dissasociate yourself from Millar's homophobic and creationist views shows you will do anything it takes to get any pig with a blue ribbon elected.

I would have thought you, as an intelligent gay man would have understood.

Replace the word 'gay' with 'black' or 'Jew' and Millar would have been forced to resign. Thanks to you, and people like you, he is still a contender.

Are you really confident that a young gay person in his constituency will be able to turn to him for help?

Millar is doing the Conservative Party no favours.

Iain Dale said...

Anonymous, you obviously decided to post your comment without reading what I said. Let me say it again...

"Mr Millar replied that "he was against all forms of discrimination on the grounds of sexuality", however, "there are certain religious texts which think homosexuality is a sin." That, I would have thought, is a statement of fact."

Isn't it a fact that the bible and the Koran both say it's a sin? You and I might disagree with that view, but so what?

Laurence Boyce said...

Laurence, I am not at all surprised that you support selective repression of free speech and would allow only those ideologies you favour – those dictated by nulab political correctness – to have it.

I’m not sure that you have quite got the measure of me, or the argument for that matter. It’s New Labour that has given us creationism in the classroom; I Blogged about it over here.

A literal interpretation of Genesis, or creationism, was debunked over 200 years ago. To teach it as one of two equal theories alongside Darwinism is simply to betray our children. Though I haven’t had a chance to study it in detail, this teaching booklet from the Wellcome Trust seems to strike the right balance.

C4' said...

If Darren Millar wants to be a homophobe and a creationist, then should be allowed to be so and say that he is, whether we agree with him or not. The thing I hate about this PC-scaremongreing is that it is attempting to legislate people's personal beliefs by creating 'thought crimes'. Such conduct belongs back in the 1520s, along with burning heretics and crusades against Muslims.

So long Mr. Millar does not incite murder, violence and discrimination against gays and geologists, we should care less about what he thinks.

Anonymous said...

Laurence Boyce said...

Well then that means that we are going to have creationism in the classroom, whether we agree with it or not...

Who is this 'we' you refer to Laurence? It does not include me nor the many millions of others who favour balanced and reasoned tutoring and subjecting irrationality to the full critical glow of reason rather than driving it underground. Nor does it apply to those who believe in free speech. It has to be said that it does not include those who irrationally embrace regressive and oppressive forms of religion either.

Would you silence us all? Send round political correctness inspectors? Have the prison system enforce our silence? Burn all the books?

Your use of the royal 'we', Laurence, is a covert, fascist attempt to negate the views of those who oppose your own, so often, hopelessly irrational, views. In negating our views, you effectively attempt to negate the existence of - wipe out - the opposition.

Now, where have I heard that before....?

Under the guise of tolerance and reason you are advocating a repressive hegemony of the most repressive and intolerant nature.

Auntie Flo'

Anonymous said...

Iain,

I did read your comment and you keep using linguistic gymnastics.

I was in the room in Clwyd West and heared Darren with my own ears. His views are not those you report here. He said, I quote:

''Christian teaching is clear on this topic, homosexuality is a sin. I am a chrisitian and my beliefs are guided by these texts.''

He also insisted creationism was a true science.

Darren works for Open Doors. Check out its website and judge for yourself.

Whats wrong in all this, is the excused being made for him from people who I thought would have understood how difficult it is to be gay in the Conservative Party.

How do you think I feel, as a gay man in his constituency, having to talk to him knowing he thinks I'm a sinner just because I happen to be gay? He does not know a thing about me, but has already made up his mind.

Surely we can do better than this man?

Laurence Boyce said...

The thing I hate about this PC-scaremongering is that it is attempting to legislate people’s personal beliefs by creating ‘thought crimes.’ Such conduct belongs back in the 1520s, along with burning heretics and crusades against Muslims.

That might be a good analogy if there was the slightest chance that Darren Millar was going to be burned at the stake for his views. But there isn’t.

So long Mr. Millar does not incite murder, violence and discrimination against gays and geologists, we should care less about what he thinks.

Sorry mate, this is an election. What he thinks could hardly be more pertinent.

Anonymous said...

Iain Dale said...

"Mr Millar replied that "he was against all forms of discrimination on the grounds of sexuality", however, "there are certain religious texts which think homosexuality is a sin." That, I would have thought, is a statement of fact."

Isn't it a fact that the bible and the Koran both say it's a sin? You and I might disagree with that view, but so what?

I think that Millar should have presented a more balanced view by noting that the views expressed in the Bible and the Koran are regarded by many people as inconsistent and flawed, Iain.

I recognise that this would have been a very brave stance to take, not least because in doing so Millar might have found a voting - or worse - fatwa issued against himself.

Auntie Flo'

Iain Dale said...

Anonymous, there seem to be very conflicting comments about what he said. What you say he said is certainly at odds with what is being reported elsewhere. I'd be more inclined to take note if you weren't posting anonymously.

But let's say you are 100% accurate in your quote. Is it really any different to what Ann Widdecombe might say on a public platform? I may not like it, I may not agree with it, but just because you may regard someone as a sinner does not mean that you cannot represent them or help them. Indeed, it is an MPs' or AM's duty to do just that.

There are many people I might regard as beyond the pale but if I am elected I have to help them in the same way as I might help people just like me.

You are, I'm afraid, exhibiting just the sort of intolerance for someone else's view that you are critising Darren Millar for.

I'm sure I have very little in common with Mr Millar and I doubt whether I'd go to the stake for him, but I think you have to look at the wider issues here too.

Laurence Boyce said...

Auntie Flo, you appear to be advocating a principle of liberty which simply cannot apply in the classroom. If it did, many children might choose not to attend school at all. Instead “we” – through our elected representatives (I only have one vote you’ll be pleased to hear) – decide what is to be taught, what is not to be taught, and what is merely optional. I have already recommended this this teaching booklet from the Wellcome Trust, which seems to me to hit all the right notes. It does not silence the religious controversies; indeed to do so would be to ignore the elephant in the room.

Some of you passionate free speech advocates are, one day, going to have to come to terms with the fact that there are only 24 hours in a day and seven days in a week. There simply isn’t the time to teach every last crazy viewpoint in our schools, in support of a “balanced” or “diverse” curriculum.

forthurst said...

Millar's job is to put across Conservative Party policy and not the views of religious groups whether he personally endorses them or not.

I dont agree with Lawrence Boyce either. Cameron made it quite clear that he does not endorse Creationism. However, he has also said we should trust the professionals; he knows he cant have it both ways.

I believe the Bible is quite clear on the origins of all life forms and clearly states they were brought into being over a comparatively short period of time about 2000 years after the beginning of the Neolithic Age.

Why should one be selective about the Word of God?

http://www.yuricareport.com/Parody%20and%20Humor/OpenLetterToDrLaura.html

Anonymous said...

The reason why Labour are whipping up hysteria on this is becasue their canvasser know ther are only 400 votes separating Labour and Conservative candidates.

The incumbent labour member is extremely fearful of loosing his seat.

They are using this as a smear tactic!

Hop

Laurence Boyce said...

Millar’s job is to put across Conservative Party policy and not the views of religious groups whether he personally endorses them or not.

Really? So we just want an army of party clones? Come on – the personal and religious views of our elected representatives has always been a matter of great interest, and that is how it should be.

Anonymous said...

I'd love not to post anonomously Iain but unlike you I do not live in a city with 8 million residents. Wales is a very small country and Clwyd West is even smaller.

To your point- we will differ on what he said but I believe what I've quoted is the truth.

However, to your wider point on defending free speech- I think you are giving Darren more freedom then he would give to you.

Unlike you, his starting point is to discriminating against people. To judge them and apportion blame. I do not want someone who discrimates in this manner as my elected representative.

Under Cameron we as party are supposed to be changing. Anne is the old guard and we expect no better. Darren is young and, if elected, he will be around for a long time. Such a position, in our small community, can be a powerful one.

Darren is a devisive figure-even before he has been elected- he will split the local party and alienate the more moderate amougst us, at a time when we need unity.


I can only hope that, behind the scenes, he has been given stern talking to.

I'm not sure where that leaves our rather academic argument about preserving free speech.

As a newly qualified Barrister, I've done my fair shair of phylosophical rhetoric but I've never pretended it actually changes minds.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

We are all sinners. But the media sin without repentance. They ask only two questions. "Is it a good story?" and "Will it sell?"

Were they to ask a third question, viz. "Is it accurate?" they might gain a little more respect.

C4' said...

That might be a good analogy if there was the slightest chance that Darren Millar was going to be burned at the stake for his views. But there isn’t.

Really? Tell that to the PC brigade, millitant secularists and Islamic fundamentalists.

Please don't be so bloody pedantic!

Sorry mate, this is an election. What he thinks could hardly be more pertinent.

Is Darren Millar advocating criminalising homosexuality or the teaching of evolution in school? I don't think so.

However, to your wider point on defending free speech- I think you are giving Darren more freedom then he would give to you.

What a disgrace, disgusting and libellous remark to make. You should be ashamed of yourself. Darren Millar is both a Christian and Conservative. That means that he believe in free-will and the right of individuals to make their own decisions about their private lives. Having free-will means giving someone the choice to do good or to do wrong and whatever we choose to do, we should always be prepared to be responsible for our own actions and face the consquences. Darren Millar knows this better than anyone, so don't you dare misrepresent him in such misleading terms.

I can only hope that, behind the scenes, he has been given stern talking to.

For what exactly? For being true to his princples? You may not like Darren Millar's alledged princples, but at least he was true to them even though he knows that he will be persecuted for them and that these princples are at least good in their intention to serve God's will. I rather have a 'homophobe' like Millar than unprincpled Nazis like Tony Blair and Nick Griffin.

Anonymous said...

// one Labour official decided to overinterpret his comments/one Labour official decided to overinterpret his comments //

I detect the palm print of David Taylor.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1.21 said "I'd love not to post anonomously Iain but unlike you I do not live in a city with 8 million residents. Wales is a very small country and Clwyd West is even smaller."

And how many newly-qualified barristers are there in Clwyd West?

Anonymous said...

Bottom line, whatever he said, he is an evangelical Christian who has a real problem with homosexualtiy. He is bound to get elected on Thursday.
Will the Nick Bourne appoint him to the Equalities Committee (he has form in this area with David TC Davies)? How will he look after young gay people suffering homophobic bullying in his constituency?

Laurence Boyce said...

C4, I’m not being pedantic. I just happen to believe that it’s high time the whole “political correctness” farrago was exposed for what it is.

Indeed I think that maybe it is you who are being a trifle pedantic when you suggest that the religious belief of our elected representatives is irrelevant unless it applies directly to policy. If that were the case then why, when David Cameron was asked by Jeremy Paxman whether he believed in God, did he not reply, “that’s a purely private matter which has no bearing on my ability to be the future Prime Minister.”

That is not a position that he could have reasonably held for any length of time. So instead, Cameron produced the carefully crafted line which he has now used on a number of occasions: “Yes, I believe in God, but I don’t have a ‘direct line’.” Translation: I’m religious, but please don’t confuse me with Blair or Bush.

no longer anonymous said...

"Auntie Flo, you appear to be advocating a principle of liberty which simply cannot apply in the classroom. If it did, many children might choose not to attend school at all."

Whether children attend school or not should be up to the parents. If they don't attend school they shouldn't be forced to pay for it either.

"Instead “we” – through our elected representatives (I only have one vote you’ll be pleased to hear) – decide what is to be taught, what is not to be taught, and what is merely optional."

How about leaving it up to schools, based on parental pressure, to decide?

Anonymous said...

david taylor is the labour official who has been stirring all this up, in a truly disgraceful way.

he is an odious charcter

Laurence Boyce said...

How about leaving it up to schools, based on parental pressure, to decide?

Sounds good to me, but there are limits. There have to be limits. Are we going to have schools devoted to the Jedi religion? I believe it’s very popular. Or how about a Harry Potter style school for alchemy and witchcraft? The kids would love it! By the same token, we should not be admitting creationism into the classroom. I repeat, we knew this was false over 200 years ago.

The political purists among you may not like this, but the state has a duty of care towards the most vulnerable members of society. There are none more vulnerable than children, and we could find no better way to betray them than to permit this pedalling of falsehood to creep into our educational system.

Anonymous said...

I find it bizarre that nobody contributing to this thread seems to have checked the main Welsh Media websites (IC Wales/IC North Wales and the BBC) to see what the Welsh media actually reported. A quick check shows well balanced restrained reports of Labour's claim and Mr Millers denial.
The hysterical over reaction has almost entirely been by Welsh bloggers. But of course that doesn't fit the "bloggers is good...media is bad" agenda.

DARREN MILLAR: THE TRUTH said...

Let's check the welsh media, shall we? It proves 101% that Millar IS a homophobe. The Daily Post's Chief Reporter, Tom Bodden, has reported it as it is.

The link below is from an article from the North Wales newspaper the The Daily Post.

Check it yourself at www.icnorthwales.co.uk

or click on this link:

http://bp0.blogger.com/_-cFL_l6IKZE/RjOomCZzUPI/AAAAAAAAAJg/UwdBhpUsYJI/s1600-h/post.jpg


Now Iain, what do you think of your Pal Darren Millar? Chummy, eh?

Anonymous said...

"All this story has done is show politics and the media at their very worst"
Look in the mirror Ian........

Nicholas Bennett said...

I don't know what was said at the meeting but contrary to all the posts on this discussion no Christian religion says that homosexuality is a sin. What they do say is that the homosexual act is sinful which is not the same thing as arguing that having a homosexual orientation is sinful.

With regard to the theory of Evolution, the Catholic Church holds the view that mankind was created by God as was the rest of the Universe. The nature of the cosmos, the organ of human beings and the meaning of life are all legitimate areas of enquiry for theologians and philosophers.

Pope Benedict XV1 the week before last said; "It is true that the theory of evolution is not a completely proven theory" and that "it was not finally provable (because) we cannot haul 10,000 generations into the laboratory".

Christian belief holds that we are part of a created order which expresses the supreme intelligence and providential care of God, spiritual beings created for a supernatural destiny.

Pope John Paul 11 said; "There is no conflict between evolution and the doctrine of the faith. In order to mark out the limits of their proper fields theologians and those working on the exegesis of the Scripture need to be well informed regarding the results of the latest scientific research".

Pope Benedict in a newly published work based on a summary of discussions last year has state; "The question is not to either make a decision for creationism that excludes science, or for an evolutionary theory that covers its own gaps and does not want to see the questions that reach beyond the methodological possibilities of natural science. The theory of evolution implies that questions must be assigned to philosophy and which themselves lead beyond the realms of science".

It has been argued by Philosophers that is necessary to distinguish between "evolution" and "evolutionary theory". The first is an empirical theory of the development and differentiation of animal species, while the second is a comprehensive and partly metaphysical theory of the organs and nature of all terrestrial life, including the emergence and character of homo sapiens.

Evolution holds that the range of species is the result of variation in reproduction and of natural selection on the basis of organisms suitability to their environments. Like any theory it is open to challenge but it is generally accepted that there has been species development with later forms emerging out of earlier ones.

Evolutionism goes further than Evolution and insists that life and consciousness emerged from inanimate objects and the appearance of thinking, deliberating human beings is the product of a purely physical process of chance variations. This is the argument of the neo-Darwinians. It not only goes beyond empirical evidence but includes claims that cannot be empirically proved since they are really philosophical theses presented under the guise of scientific ones.

Laurence Boyce said...

Contrary to all the posts on this discussion, no Christian religion says that homosexuality is a sin.

No Christian religion?

Evolutionism goes further than Evolution and insists that life and consciousness emerged from inanimate objects and the appearance of thinking, deliberating human beings is the product of a purely physical process of chance variations. This is the argument of the neo-Darwinians. It not only goes beyond empirical evidence but includes claims that cannot be empirically proved since they are really philosophical theses presented under the guise of scientific ones.

That is the biggest load of horseshit I have heard for quite some time, and is no doubt a perfect example of the weasel words that some would wish to introduce into the classroom. The so-called “modern synthesis” – the marriage of Darwinian evolution with a modern understanding of genetics – has been in place for decades. The development of “thinking, deliberating human beings” from primitive origins requires no special explanation. Indeed it is what happens every time an embryo develops into an adult – the embryological continuum being bound up part and parcel with the evolutionary continuum. And who are the non-neo-Darwinians exactly? Please do tell. I suspect that they will turn out to be creationists, or maybe proponents of “intelligent design theory” – also known as creationism 2.0.

Anonymous said...

Laurence if you can't understand something don't enter the debate. Neo-Darwinians are the opposite of 'creationists'. They argue for an even more encompassing evolutionary theory than that advanced by Darwin.

Laurence Boyce said...

I like that from someone who can’t even read. The question I asked was: who are the non-neo-Darwinians? Probably the biggest disagreement over evolutionary theory in recent times was that which took place between Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould, but they were both firmly situated in the neo-Darwinian camp. There is nothing unusual or sinister about the term – it simply means an understanding of evolution which incorporates a modern understanding of genetics, one which was unavailable to Darwin. That’s why it’s an “even more encompassing” theory, to use your pejorative phrase.

Anonymous said...

Darren Millar is a homophobic creationist who should not be Cameron's choice for Clwyd West.

C4' said...

Laurence Boyce - I find it odd that a 'liberal' calls from restrictions on a fascist's right to free speech when his own party habours not only fascists of it's own but also votes BNP members onto council committees in Burnley.

That's hypocrisy!