What does the future hold?

Jun 27, 2015 by

By Ryan T Anderson, Conjugality: As the four dissenting opinions make abundantly clear, yesterday’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges had nothing to do with the Constitution. This ruling is perhaps as clear of an example of judicial activism as any we have seen in recent years – or are likely (hopefully) to see in the future. The majority of the Court simply replaced the people’s opinion about what marriage is with its own. Nothing in the Constitution supplies an answer to the question What Is Marriage? And none of the purported rationales can justify the Court redefining marriage everywhere. This ruling will likely cause harm to the body politic: to constitutional democratic self-government, to marriage itself, to civil harmony, and to religious liberty. Because of space constraints, I highlight these four harms with quotations solely from Chief Justice John Roberts’s dissent. (Needless to say, they could be amplified with quotations from Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito.) First, the ruling will cause harm to constitutional democratic self-government. As Roberts notes, “this Court is not a legislature. Whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us. Under the Constitution, judges have power to say what the law is, not what it should be. The people who ratified the Constitution authorized courts to exercise ‘neither force nor will but merely judgment.’” Roberts continues: Although the policy arguments for extending marriage to same-sex couples may be compelling, the legal argu­ments for requiring such an extension are not. The fun­damental right to marry does not include a right to make a State change its definition of marriage. And a State’s decision to maintain the meaning of marriage that has persisted in every culture throughout human history can hardly be called irrational. In short, our Constitution does not enact any one theory of marriage. The people of a State are free to expand marriage to include same-sex couples, or to retain the historic definition. Indeed, Roberts repeatedly argues that in Obergefell the Court has simply Lochner-ized – “the majority’s ap­proach has no basis in principle or tradition, except for the unprincipled tradition of judicial policymaking that char­acterized discredited decisions such as Lochner v. New York.” Read here...

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Here’s how we can start improving human rights legislation

Jun 12, 2015 by

By Rupert Myers, Conservative Home: […] Having looked at why criticism of a proposed British Bill of Rights is misleading, and atthe appetite within the upper echelons of the legal profession for reform, what proposals should be on Michael Gove’s desk? Here are a few suggestions: […]  The qualification of the rights to freedom of expression and religious freedom have caused widespread discomfort as society has changed over the last half century. The margin afforded to religious freedom has diminished, and the qualification of both rights has led to bitter dispute. It must be time for the consideration of a right to freedom of expression which is restricted only to a prohibition on the imminent incitement of unlawful conduct and the exploitation of minors is concerned. Currently there are genuinely-held religious views which it may well be unlawful to promulgate. The American solution, prohibiting restriction of expression via the First Amendment, should be considered and debated in an age where mass communication is available to us all. The European Convention was not drafted for the internet age in which we are all publishers, all able to express our thoughts to the world, but in which diminishing freedom of expression is tolerated. It may well be that such an unrestricted freedom of expression would alone afford the scope religious freedom required in modern society. Read here...

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A British Bill of Rights is wholly contingent on the UK leaving the EU

May 27, 2015 by

By Archbishop Cranmer: Today’s Queen’s Speech is the first to be delivered on behalf of a majority Conservative government since 1996, when John Major was Prime Minister and ‘Europe’ was tearing his party asunder. The following year saw the rise of Sir James Goldsmith’s Referendum Party, which advocated that the UK’s continuing membership of the European Union could only be justified with the explicit democratic consent of the British people. The “game, set and match” Treaty of Maastricht – by which we all became citizens of the European Union without being consulted – was just one of the factors which contributed to the Conservative Party spending almost 20 years in the political wilderness. But it was the foundational constitutional and philosophical one: it simply is not possible for the Queen to be both sovereign in her realm and a citizen of a suzerain political entity, subject to the judgment of foreign courts and the duties and obligations thereby imposed. Two decades on, ‘Europe’ still skulks and division lurks, but Jimmy Goldsmith is vindicated. Today the Queen will announce that her subjects are, at long last, to be granted a referendum on the UK’s continuing membership of the EU, and all other proposed bills – on taxation, housing, counter-extremism, devolution, education – are shunted into the political penumbra when set against this crucial and historical matter of constitutional sovereignty. Whether you are an enlightened, progressive Europhile, a reasoned and moderate Eurosceptic or a swivel-eyed loon, xenophobic, crank, gadfly, fruitcake and closet-racist Brexit ‘Outer’, there is common ground that the democratic deficit in the UK-EU status quo has become unsustainable. Things have moved on since 1975: the ‘ever closer union’ enshrined by the Treaty of Rome has got ever closer, and is teleologically destined to get even closer still. To be a mere province on the outskirts of the United States of Europe is not any kind of future for the United Kingdom. There is some dismay that the Conservative pledge to ditch the Human Rights Act is being put out “for consultation”. The Times has the story: Read here Read also: Global liberal concensus will hit Eurosceptics with massive firepower, but it can be defeated by Gerald Warner, Breitbart ‘Stitch-Up’ Referendum fears realised as Cameron seeks to hand ‘Yes’ vote to Europhiles, from Breitbart...

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Why there should be no Koran reading at the Coronation

Dec 6, 2014 by

By Christopher Howse, Telegraph: The Koran should be read at the next Coronation, says Lord Harries of Pentregarth, the retired Bishop of Oxford. Or at least, he said in the House of Lords, such a reading had gone down very well in Bristol cathedral before a service last year for the mayor and high sheriff, who were both Muslims. The bishop thought, the next Coronation should reflect similar “hospitality”. This seems to me damagingly misconceived. For a start, look at it from the Muslims’ point of view. The Koran is not just another book, not even one that is holy, as the Bible is held to be by Christians. The Koran is the uncreated word of God. That is the universal belief. It wasn’t composed by Mohammed. It cannot be changed. Strictly speaking, the Koran cannot be translated from Arabic. Versions in other languages are to be regarded as expositions. So if the Koran were to be read formally in Westminster Abbey it should be in Arabic. Perhaps those unfamiliar with Arabic could follow a crib in the order of service. At the Coronation in 1953 there were Muslims. They were there for their standing in the world, mostly as foreign potentates. No doubt a larger proportion of British Muslims will be present whenever the Prince of Wales is crowned king. Read here...

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The Church has a unique role to play in healing Scotland’s wounds

Sep 21, 2014 by

By Gillan Scott, Cranmer: Yesterday morning we woke up to the news that nothing has changed – Scotland is still part of the United Kingdom and will remain so. Except of course there is the reality that things will never be the same again. The No vote may have won the day by a healthy margin, but in no way can we all walk away from the last two years of campaigning, whether we live in Scotland or not, and carry on regardless. The promises of the politicians from Westminster of increased powers for the Scottish parliament now have to be carried through and there is the question of how the outcome will affect the future governance of the other regions of the UK. As the build up to yesterday’s vote has drawn towards its fervent climax, so the divisions between those on each side have become more fractious. Given that the stakes have been so high and the polls so tight, we shouldn’t have expected anything else. The biggest democratic decision in British history has seen levels of time, energy and raw emotion invested like no other political battle we have seen or possibly will see in our lifetimes. One image that has stuck in my mind above any other over the last few weeks is that of a window of a house. On the left hand side was a large Yes poster and on the right a large No one. Under the Yes was another handwritten piece of paper, with the words ‘HE’S WRONG’ in large capitals and an arrow pointing to the No. This referendum has divided families, friends and communities. It has seen anger, harassment, threats and vandalism. It’s not often that Political leaders give up engaging with voters because they have been shouted down or that the BBC has protests held outside its Scottish headquarters because of its allegedly biased coverage. Read...

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Welby calls for reconciliation in referendum aftermath

Sep 19, 2014 by

by Tim Wyatt, Church Times: CHURCH leaders have been reacting to the news, announced early this morning, that Scotland has voted to stay in the UK. Fifty-five per cent of Scots voted no in yesterday’s referendum, with a record turnout of 84.5 per cent. The Archbishop of Canterbury said in a statement that Scotland’s decision “will be welcomed by all those who believe that this country can continue to be an example of how different nations can work together for the common good within one state”. He also said that this was a time for “reconciliation and healing, not rejoicing or recrimination.” He went on: “Some of the wounds opened up in recent months are likely to take time to heal on both sides of the border. The Church of England, the Church of Scotland, and the Scottish Episcopal Church should play a mediating part as the UK grapples with reshaping the relationships between its constituent nations, Archbishop Welby said. This call was echoed by the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Rt Revd John Chalmers. The discussion,he said, had to move from “us and them” to only “us”. “Today, I particularly care about those who feel as if they are on the wrong side of this outcome,” he said. “So I expect those on the winning side to go out of their way to avoid triumphalism, and to be inclusive in their plans for Scotland’s future, and to take the time to assure those who are anxious, disappointed, and down that they understand how they must feel.” Read here Read also:  Archbishop of Canterbury statement on Scotland referendum...

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