Sunday, 6 January 2008

some survey information

The Church of England Newspaper trumpeted a new survey on its front page last Friday (you can see this partially on their website front page this week only):

THE GOVERNMENT is failing to defend the place of religion in public life, the results of the inaugural Church of England Newspaper survey of General Synod members has shown.
More than half of Synod members who took part in the poll, 57 per cent, said the government was currently unsuccessful in upholding the place of Christianity in the UK today, with another 23 per cent of respondents saying it was ‘not particularly successful’.
The results come as another blow to Gordon Brown’s Government, already reeling from the lost data fiasco and questions over donations…

And so on and so on. And finally:

The survey, carried out by, canvassed a total of 102 members of General Synod between December 7-17, 2007, representing a response rate of 21 per cent, and included clergy, laity and bishops.

This was the same survey which The Times reported as follows:

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has been named “Anglican of the Year” by members of the Church of England…

…In the survey, 29 per cent of Synod members named Dr Sentamu in response to the question: “Which Anglican figure do you think has done most to help the Church in 2007?”

Dr Williams was nominated by 24 per cent, Archbishop Tutu by 12 per cent, Dr Nazir-Ali by 6 per cent and Dr Akinola by 3 per cent.

More than half those surveyed, 57 per cent, said the Government was unsuccessful in upholding the place of Christianity in Britain today, with a further 23 per cent saying the Government was “not particularly successful”.

For the exact wording of the survey, see below in the Comments.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 6 January 2008 at 10:22am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

It is not the role of Government to uphold Christianity. That is the role of the Church.

It is for Government to ensure that those of all religions and none are not unduly discriminated against, but Government is secular.

As a State with an established Church, there are ceremonial underpinnings of Christianity, but that clearly is separate from 'government', which is not theocratic.

And given that only 6-7% ever attend church and more of them are RC than CofE, why does the Churech assume its interests should dominate - it is really so arrogant and fails to appreciate the low level of importance given the the Church by the British people.

Posted by: Merseymike on Sunday, 6 January 2008 at 11:49am GMT

It is worth looking at "who" took part in the poll which claims (or is reported)as being representative of "the General Synod" or of " members of the Church of England" - was it (as was suggested) a poll was of 100 members of Synod who subscribe to the CEN of whom 82@ bothered to reply - if this rumour is correct then it would severely question the validity or balance of the poll? Can 82 CEN reading members of the General Synod really be representative of the Church of England?

Posted by: Tom Allen on Sunday, 6 January 2008 at 1:37pm GMT

In the U.S. campaigns engage in what is called "push polling." These are not real polls, but an effort to advance a partisan agenda in the guise of a poll.

This seems like a push poll to me. What exactly is the point of polling members of the Synod anyhow? They seem to meet and vote quite a bit. It does seemed aimed at pushing the Church to push the government to more aggressively place conservative Protestant Christianity as a state religion.

And I agree with Merseymike that this pretty arrogant when Roman Catholicism appears to be the dominant faith in a country which generally has little interest in religion anyhow.

Posted by: John Bassett on Sunday, 6 January 2008 at 1:53pm GMT

At risk of my being completely obvious:
Religions which wish to claim a public place in our public square conversations must be willing to abide by the common decencies of the rules of discourse.

At minimum, these might include:
(1) being willing to identify and spell out your positional best practices, including being explicit about how you apply these practices;
(2) being willing to listen carefully and accurately to others who will spell out their own best practices, leading to their views;
(3) being willing to presume a level playing field where conversations across publicly aired differences are hardly ever simple, or categorically dominating of the entire conversational possibilities;
(4)being willing to agree to disagree, even on matters or views or conclusions which some will find important enough to trump or end discussions;
(5) pledging ahead of time to support and protect a free public space for conversation across differences which is maintained by constant vigilance for non-partisan citizenship values of fairness and truth.

If one wishes to excel in this good citizenship, one might then add in:
(6) willingness to explore how one's own views look and sound from other best practices frameworks other than one's own;
(7) willingness to have all understandings hypothesis tested according to empirical best practices so far as possible, then available to all, published among all;
(8) willingness to seriously valorize public citizenship spaces and public citizenship conversations where religion or philosophy is welcome but not privileged above everybody else who joins the dialogues as speaker and/or listener.

Some empirical indicators do appear to suggest that three minimum roles are needed to maintain such fair and free public spaces: i.e., speakers, listeners, and process observors/meta-level facilitators to support our keeping to our commitments to fairness and freedom. (Just PsychINFO the available group psychology and family therapy literatures for plenty of discussions about how a meta-level role opens up small and large group interactions.)

Our vexed difficulties with religions occur when they claim a right to join the public conversation as uniquely privileged by their revelation bases, and then proceed to try to rewrite the public rules according to their own special religious understandings, up to and including tilts towards trash talking and forcing others who might not necessarily immediately share a closed commitment to their special religious revelation claims.

Posted by: drdanfee on Sunday, 6 January 2008 at 6:06pm GMT

"In the survey, in response to the question: “Which Anglican figure do you think has done most to help the Church in 2007?”

29 per cent of Synod members named Dr Sentamu,
Dr Williams was nominated by 24 per cent, Archbishop Tutu by 12 per cent,
Dr Nazir-Ali by 6 per cent
and Dr Akinola by 3 per cent."

And that should be about it ;=)

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Sunday, 6 January 2008 at 7:10pm GMT

I'm with Merseymike and John.

Governments are meant to provide justice for all citizens and visitors within their borders.

Churches are meant to represent themselves.

This so reminds me of the duck-shoving scene in the Garden of Eden. First, do the wrong thing, then hide, then when busted deny responsibility and then scapegoat someone else. Similar to how churches have handled pedophilia and misogyny over the centuries. They claim their reputations would be fine if no one had aired their complaints in a public forum.

This excellent Torah study went up overnight It is titled An "'Inspiration From Below' Can Trigger A 'Response From On High'" It is about how Moses and Levi could have remained apart from the suffering of their fellow Jews, but that neither so themselves as separate and in fact both went to lengths to take on their burdens as their own. Their empathy and compassion aroused God to come and participate in redemption.

So too some of us have done in recent times in the hope of arousing a similar response (God knows, we're not going to survive without God's intervention). We have seen the suffering of GLBTs, their friends and relatives. We have also seen how the cruelty and aggression that is directed at these souls is also directed at other "lesser" or more vulnerable members of our communities e.g. the young, the old, females, the disabled, ethnic minorities.

Our hope is biblical e.g Psalms 73 David warns against the arrogant "They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills. Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits. They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression."

Or Jesus at Luke 11:46-48 "“And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them... So you testify that you approve of what your forefathers did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs."

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Sunday, 6 January 2008 at 7:38pm GMT

I was emailed on 7 December with the questions in this survey, so perhaps those surveyed were General Synod members with an email address published in eg The Church of England Year Book. I am a lay member of General Synod, but not a reader of the CEN.

The email was from Michael Zera copied to Colin Blakely, and read as follows:

Dear Synod member,

We are writing to ask your opinions on a small range of issues facing the Church of England and society at the present time. Your participation is very much appreciated, and the survey should take only a few moments to complete. The survey is completely anonymous and no information (including your personal details), other than the summary results, will be disclosed to any other party. However, if you would be willing to be interviewed please state below. We would be most grateful if you could answer the questions below and e-mail your responses back to us as soon as possible.

With many thanks in anticipation,

Colin Blakely

Editor, The Church of England Newspaper

Jonathan Wynne-Jones

The Sunday Telegraph

1. Has Gordon Brown lost his moral authority to govern following police investigations into Labour party funding?

Yes | No | Don’t know

2. Should the blasphemy laws be abolished?

Yes | No | Don’t know

3. Should alternative theories about how the world was created, such as intelligent design, be taught alongside evolution in schools?

Yes | No | Don’t know

4. Should the Church of England be disestablished?

Yes | No | Don’t know

5. Do you think it will be disestablished before 2030?

Yes | No | Don’t know

6. Do reality TV programmes like the X-Factor cause emotional damage?

Yes | No | Don’t know

7. Should prostitution be legalised?

Yes | No | Don’t know

8. Should gay clergy be allowed to have sexual partners?

Yes | No | Don’t know

9. Are you concerned that the large-scale immigration of people of other faiths is diluting the Christian nature of Britain?

Yes | No | Don’t know

10. Has Britain been successful in integrating immigrants into society?

Yes | No | Don’t know

11. How successful are each of the following institutions in fulfilling their remit to defend or uphold the place of religion in public life?

The Queen (successful, not particularly successful, unsuccessful, no opinion)

The government (successful, not particularly successful, unsuccessful, no opinion)

The BBC, (successful, not particularly successful, unsuccessful, no opinion)

Schools? (successful, not particularly successful, unsuccessful, no opinion)

12. Which Anglican figure do you think has done most to help the Church in 2007?

13. What do you think is the most pressing issue facing the church /society for 2008?

14. I am willing to be contacted about this survey?

Yes | No

With many thanks…

Please note: If your e-mail set up does not include a copy of this message when you reply, it may be easiest to copy this message and paste it into the reply and then delete responses as appropriate

Posted by: Sue Slater on Sunday, 6 January 2008 at 9:39pm GMT

This was not a poll - it was a survey.

The questions are a trifle borad, but it isn't a "push poll" per se. A "push poll" would use a series of questions with extremely biased wordings in order to generate the desired answer(s) to subsequent questions.

A poll requires a random sample. The size of the random sample determines the margin of error.

Note that, in general, the size of the population is being sampled is irrelevant. A sample of 1,000 will have a margin of error of +/-3.2% regardless of whether it is 1,000 citizens of Saskatchewan - population 1,000,000 or 1,000 citizens of the world provided the 1,000 are randomly selected. This starts to come apart a bit if the population being sampled is very small - a sample of 1,000 of a population of 1,001 would have a margin of error of virtually zero.

A sample of 102 would have a margin of error of approximately +/- 10%. That means that the 29% choosing Dr. Sentamu may represent anywhere from 19% to 39% of GS members. Likewise, Dr. Williams is 14% to 34%, Dr. Tutu 2% to 22%, Dr, Nazir-Ali 0% to 22% and Dr. Akinola 0% to 13%.

Of course that assumes a random sample. There are problems with the randomness of the sample, since those sent the survey self-selected as to their response.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Monday, 7 January 2008 at 3:44am GMT

In other words, Malcolm, useless, rubbish and then useless.

Posted by: Pluralist on Monday, 7 January 2008 at 1:15pm GMT

Not being a General Synod member I didn't receive the survey, but I'm always very wary of surveys like this which tend to push big issues into simple yes/no answers.

Examine, for example, the controversial question "Should gay clergy be allowed to have sexual partners?" which looks straightforward. Yet it begs a number of questions which are submerged in the rhetoric of debate.

For example, some gay clergy are married (and this has certainly been the case in the past). "Partners" is ambiguous, because some would argue for permanent, stable and faithful relationships, and the plural here does not allow the distinction to be made. And there is an essay to be written on the moral and ecclesiological implications of 'be allowed'.

Some of the other questions suffer from similar flaws.

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Monday, 7 January 2008 at 1:23pm GMT

Its the sort of survey which would fail a research methods course!

Posted by: Merseymike on Monday, 7 January 2008 at 2:39pm GMT

As secularism is not value free but is itself a system of belief then why should it be given a privileged position in our society and used as a designation for the state? We should work towards a pluralist state which is much more tolerant than a secular one. The secular states which have existed have had rather a bad reputation.

Posted by: Realist on Monday, 7 January 2008 at 7:32pm GMT

A pluralist state has to be secular. In a secular state, religion can then be followed in one's personal life. When religion starts to direct the state then you have theocracy.

Posted by: Merseymike on Monday, 7 January 2008 at 10:12pm GMT


I agree with you.

Having said that - I am what I am as a whole person and that includes my beliefs, which inform my thinking and my actions.
I'm not saying that a secular humanist couldn't do and think what I do, but I know that what matters deeply to me is informed by how I understand the world to function and by God's role in it and in my life.

A pluralist state has to be secular.... but isn't that another word for having a tolerant "faith" that allows others their own expression?

If I became a politician (God forbid!), would I have to leave an important part of "me" behind in order to become acceptable to you? Or are only those acceptable who are from the outset agonostic?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 7 January 2008 at 11:30pm GMT


This is a constant argument here in the states.

No, you need not cease being a committed Christian to be a politician...but you DO have to realize that you cannot enact your beliefs into law, at least not in such a way that you force others to violate their own beliefs or consciences.

This is the crux of the abortion debate in the US. A legal decision that says "abortion may be performed" forces no one else to do or not do anything. But a law (or constitutional amendment) that says "abortion may not be performed" DOES force others to do or not do something.

And such a law or amendment that justifies itself with a phrase such as "human life begins at conception" makes a religious statement, one that others in the nation may not hold.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Tuesday, 8 January 2008 at 11:43am GMT

that makes it sound as though anti-abortion legislation was at all times unacceptable because it imposes restrictions on others, and that everyone who might wish to restrict others does it out of religious beliefs.

With that argument you can only ever allow extreme liberal positions on any subject.
Even as an extremely liberal person I find that quite an intolerant and undemocratic thought.

I must have misunderstood you!

Posted by: Erika Baker on Tuesday, 8 January 2008 at 1:36pm GMT

Hi Pat-

'Human life begins at conception' is not remotely 'a religious statement' - whatever a 'religious statement' is. It is a scientific assertion (whether true or false). For example: is the DNA template (nature's greatest, most intricate, and most utterly precious masterpiece) present at conception? Is the baby breathing at conception? When we use the word 'conception' that means 'beginning': the beginning of whom or of what? Is there any occasion of entrance of a foreign body into the mother at any time after conception that would be an alternative candidate for the designation 'initiation of human life'? These are questions that have clear scientific yes/no answers. In each case (correct me if I am wrong) the only watershed moments are conception and birth. Unless one agrees with killing babies up to birth, then....(you complete the sentence).

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Tuesday, 8 January 2008 at 2:02pm GMT

"In each case (correct me if I am wrong) the only watershed moments are conception and birth."

These are indeed the most logical places, I grant you, but not the only ones. The Christian debate about abortion has gone on for centuries, with the beginning of life being set at various points: conception, birth, quickening, recognizability as human, capacity for extrauterine survival, etc. These have been debated within Christianity, so it is obviously not clear cut. What's more, other religions come to different conclusions. In this discussion, the definition of "human life" is assumed. Without this definition, any statement that human life begins at such and such a time is not scientific. It also presupposes that human life can be defined by a particular thing, and that that thing has a beginning point. It can convincingly be argued that there is no POINT at which human life begins. Gestation takes nine months, and by the end of that period, life has certainly begun, but did it begin at any one point within that nine months, or did it come into being over time as organs, etc. developed? one thing is sure: our current medical definition is based loosely on capacity for extrauterine life. This will effectively define life as beginning at conception, since science will eventually reach a point where a fertilized ovum can be brought to term outside the uterus.

"Unless one agrees with killing babies up to birth, then....(you complete the sentence)."

One could say "Unless one agrees that what is aborted is actually a baby, then...(you complete the sentence)."

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 8 January 2008 at 5:08pm GMT

Erica: I actually agree with Pat. the thing is that liberal legislation still allows someone to be conservative. Allowing abortion still gives people the right to reject it for themselves. Banning abortion does not allow people to do what they believe to be right for them if that decision is termination.

So, it does suggest that liberal laws are best because they offer a genuine choice. They still allow conservative views and actions, though.

Posted by: Merseymike on Tuesday, 8 January 2008 at 8:33pm GMT


As merseymike says, I am firmly in favor of the greatest latitude in human behavior. As the old adage says, "Your rights end at the tip of my nose." I force no one to act (or not act) on my beliefs; I expect the same in return.


Yes, "life" begins at conception. (Arguably, it begins before that--are not the sperm and the egg both living things?) But whether that life is "human" is another matter entirely, and not a scientific judgment. It is a moral/religious one.

Further, there is the matter of determining who has the right to make that judgment. The state? Or the individual? If the state can step in to prevent a mother from aborting her fetus, it follows (at least to me) that it can step in to force a Christian Scientist parent to use medical means to treat an ailing child. Are you in favor of allowing the state to pre-empt parental rights in that way?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Wednesday, 9 January 2008 at 12:11am GMT

Isn't the rabbinic tradition that life begins at the first breath (as when the LORD breathed life into Adam)?

Insisting that a microscopic cluster of cells is & has all the rights and responsibilities of a human being is certainly an act of faith (although not necessarily "religious").

Generally speaking, statistics from various countries indicate that legalizing abortion does not make it more common, but simply reduces the numbers of women killed during the procedure. The suggestion that women should not be allowed to terminate unwanted pregnancies as a punishment for their having had sex is one that I find repellent.

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Wednesday, 9 January 2008 at 12:12am GMT


Taking this view to the extreme you end up with no laws at all, because every law imposes some kind of restrictions on others, and you have to rely on everyone to kindly respect everyone else and make their own moral choices without implicating those who might make other choices.

Clearly, that doesn't work, so some legal restrictions have to apply. In the case of abortion they do, too. You cannot, for example, abort up to the day before birth. You cannot have active euthanasia, you cannot have unrestricted working hours etc.

There always has to be a balance of protecting some people's rights vs not restricting other people's rights.

And I don't see why conservative voices should not have a say in the process of determining where those boundaries are.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 9 January 2008 at 7:38am GMT

The Venerable Prior wrote: "Insisting that a microscopic cluster of cells is & has all the rights and responsibilities of a human being is certainly an act of faith (although not necessarily "religious")."

I'm not so sure about that...

To me this seems a very clear example of the Parody of Faith; the Posings, people refer to when they put "religious" within inverted commas.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Wednesday, 9 January 2008 at 10:10am GMT


Yes, conservative voices should have a say--but not to the point where they cut off discussion entirely...which is the "pro-life" position in the US. There is no discussion of "boundaries" in their position, there is only a flat "no".

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Wednesday, 9 January 2008 at 11:23am GMT

"to do what they believe to be right for them"

But is this the arbiter of what's right? I believe it is right for me so I should be allowed to do it? Numerous belief systems have thought it mankind's duty to sacrifice other humans. In these societies, it was not considered in any way how we would consider it. Victims did not feel like victims, but honoured members of the society. They were blessed, above the common folk, and many went joyously to their deaths. Would it be right to sacrifice a willing human being to the Gods because I feel it right for me to do so?

Posted by: Ford elms on Wednesday, 9 January 2008 at 1:20pm GMT

I would refer you back to Pat's comments - I think the problem is that conservatives start from the position of wanting to restrict others who disagree with them.

I do believe in active euthanasia...and I can't really see the connection with working hours. Its a different type of issue.

Posted by: Merseymike on Wednesday, 9 January 2008 at 4:33pm GMT

"I do believe in active euthanasia"

Who decides who dies and what are the criteria? The individual? What if that person's decision making processes are interfered with by depression? How do you define what is depression that precludes making that decision? I have been in a position to at least think about this, and it is not nearly so easy as saying someone should have the right to terminate their own life if it has become intolerable for them. How do you justify trying to stop anybody from killing themselves? I'm not going on the attack here, just asking for clarification of the processes that lead you to this belief.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 9 January 2008 at 4:43pm GMT

I didn't say whether I believed in active euthanasia or not, all I said is that it is not possible at the moment because the majority of society has set a limit.

I gave the example of working hours to show that this is not just about life and death decisions, but that laws restricting the rights of individuals affect all aspects of life. Different it may be, but just as important when you look at global trade issues. And competing interests are just as strong.

I agree that I strongly dislike the conservative approach of just saying No.
But because we live in a democracy, this approach is not actually successful, because in the competition of views society was persuaded by a moderate solution (getting back to abortion).

That's exactly how it should be. I don't decide what's extreme, you don't decide it, society decides it together.

It may not be a good system but it's the best one I can think of.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 9 January 2008 at 5:00pm GMT

another question is whether a firm No, Never can't also be justified at times.
I would certainly say that with regards to the death penalty and I would be happy for my views to be imposed without fail in the whole world.

The only difference is that it's my firm No, not theirs.

The only solution is a consensus/majority decision from the whole of society.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 10 January 2008 at 8:27am GMT


Again, the question, for me, is who is harmed by the prohibition. No one is harmed by a prohibition against capital punishment. No physical damage is done to anyone if criminals are not killed by the state.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Thursday, 10 January 2008 at 1:27pm GMT

"No physical damage is done to anyone if criminals are not killed by the state."

I am opposed to capital punishment on religious grounds, but I would (sorry, Pat) argue that there are more kinds of damage than physical ones. In areas where CP is allowed, many, mind-bogglingly even Christians, take the attitude that they will get "closure" once they see "justice" (ie vicarious vengeance) done. I doubt if any one has gone back ten years later and studied these people's lives to see if they have had any healing at all. I doubt they would be shown to have been helped by the procedure. All the same, at the time, they feel a great deal of pain, multiplied by the length of time between conviction and execution needed for appeals, etc., that they come to define themselves in terms of their loss and desire for "closure". We cannot ignore this pain. One of the most powerful moments in Dead Man Walking was when the family of the victim confronts Sr. Helen with her avoidance of them, as though the man who brutally murdered their daughter were the victim, not them. He of course was a victim too, but in our opposition to the barbarity of the death penalty, we tend to sidestep (I don't think we forget) the genuine pain of the victims of the crime. It is, all the same, evil to hold out them the hope that they will feel better once the State takes vengeance on their behalf. Better to help them find a place of forgiveness, forgiveness being, after all, as much if not moreso about the forgiver than the forgivee.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 10 January 2008 at 6:41pm GMT

but that's exactly what pro-lifers would say about not allowing abortion.

I mean, I agree with you on both issues, I just don't think that in a pluralistic society you and I should have the right to make all the laws just because we think they're fairer and more moral.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 10 January 2008 at 6:47pm GMT


If a woman cannot have an abortion at any time for any reason (as the most adamant pro-lifers would insist), she is most definitely physically harmed. Pregnancy is not without risks, even to the most healthy of women (as I'm sure you know).

OTOH, permitting abortions for those who choose them does no harm to those who choose NOT to have them.

But--capital punishment very definitely harms someone every time it is carried out. But NOT having capital punishment harms no one. I understand Ford's point about psychological harm, but I'd argue that we cannot legislate based on such amorphous concepts.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Thursday, 10 January 2008 at 9:01pm GMT

yes, I know you can make a very good case for liberal laws. I make it too!
The point is that the others believe they have a very good case for their views too.
Of course you and I would say they haven't. But where is that getting us?

We cannot disenfranchise those we disagree with simply because we disagree with them and believe they're wrong.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 10 January 2008 at 9:27pm GMT

"permitting abortions for those who choose them does no harm to those who choose NOT to have them."

But it does do "harm" to the foetus.

We may agree that it may be persmissible to abort, but I hope we never get to the stage where we genuinely believe there is no massive ethical dilemma and that no-one gets harmed.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 10 January 2008 at 9:31pm GMT

"But it does do "harm" to the foetus.

We may agree that it may be persmissible to abort, but I hope we never get to the stage where we genuinely believe there is no massive ethical dilemma and that no-one gets harmed."

My position--and that of most pro-choice Americans I know--is that abortion should be legal, safe, and RARE. The best abortion preventative is honest sex education and contraception. Here in the US, at any rate, the same forces who fight legal abortion also fight honest sex education (insisting on "abstinence only" curricula) and contraception.

The contradiction is appalling.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Friday, 11 January 2008 at 11:31am GMT

"The contradiction is appalling."

Couldn't agree more!
What's more, it's well documented that it doesn't work, so it's really hard to understand why they keep insisting on this.

It's all bound up with this religious purity drive that wants to punish all sexual activity outside a supposedly god given framework. And I believe it's deeply unethical.
Morally it's on the same inexplicable level as Catholics banning contraception even in countries that are being destroyed by AIDS.

But that really goes beyond the topic of this thread now, sorry!

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 11 January 2008 at 1:02pm GMT
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