Featherstone’s law raises the spectre of Niemoeller

It’s well worth a look at the way in which the church in Russia was suppressed by the Soviets. Wiki:

The Soviet Union was the first state to have as an ideological objective the elimination of religion and its replacement with atheism. To that end, the communist regime confiscated religious property, ridiculed religion, harassed believers and propagated atheism in schools. The confiscation of religious assets was often based on accusations of illegal accumulation of wealth.

Such crackdowns related to many people’s dissatisfaction with the church in pre-revolutionary Russia. The close ties between the church and the state led to the perception of the church as corrupt and greedy by many members of the intelligentsia.


Many peasants, while highly religious, also viewed the church unfavorably.

I’ve seen this curious phenomenon at first hand in Russia, particularly in my gf’s mother [not a peasant but still believing in the efficacy of prayer] and I thought not in my gf herself  but later it appeared it was there too.

Respect for religion did not extend to the local priests. The church owned a significant portion of Russia’s land, and this was a bone of contention – land ownership was a big factor in the Russian Revolution of 1917.

As the result of the remoteness of the church itself from people’s lives, as distinct from the basic feeling inside each person about the faith, along with the perceived wealth of the church ay people’s expense, the State virtually had an open invitation to kill it off. Few would come to its aid:

Russian Orthodox bishops and priests were killed. Many more were persecuted. Believers were harassed and persecuted. Most seminaries were closed, and the publication of most religious material was prohibited. When the anti-religious drive inflamed the anger of the rural population, not to mention that of the Pope and other Western church spokesmen, the regime was able to back off from a policy that it had never publicly endorsed anyway.

Dishonest, gutless and just as fanatical as any religious zealots, the State did for the church and though it did not immediately kill off religious belief, making it once again a high-risk underground activity, it eventually destroyed any possible opposition to its policies intergenerationally and with the loss of this bulwark, this protection from the State, the people were ripe for exploitation and control.

Tomorrow, in the UK, a piece of legislation comes into force and I wonder how many either saw it or cared. The State, via Lynne Featherstone, is enforcing a false construct, part of the whole PC/elfansafetee/inequality/discrimination package, based on an erroneous concept and on pain of prosecution should anyone not comply.

It’s different to the burqa issue because the latter is a matter of practice, rather than scripture, whereas the former is expressly forbidden for any priest or minister to perform.

So there are two things going on here – with impunity, knowing that two generations of atheism in schools and universities has produced a favourable climate in which to attack, the State makes its first major move via the most vulnerable group in society, a group virtually noone will lift a finger to help, despite the undoubted succour that group has given people in need over the years, despite the origins of the hospices, despite the Salvos in time of crisis, despite all the things the under 50s have probably never heard of.

Nothing to do with us? Remember Niemoeller’s words, remember the U.S. First Amendment and that little bit about freedom of association and of worship.

Far worse is that Featherstone’s controllers are forcing priests and ministers to prostitute themselves. Far from acting from altruistic motives, the State is forcing, on pain of incarceration, ministers to commit mortal sin, that from which there is no redemption. Mortal sin is when you know something goes against scriptural precepts, deliberately and with malice aforethought.

The concept of the Sanctity of Marriage is not an esoteric fringe dogma in Christianity.  It is a central covenant and contract between G-d, the man and the woman. This is the whole point of a church wedding, even if most do it because it is the tradition and “it seems somehow right”. It’s in the litany, it’s in the order of service – it is messing with the Maker, in Christian terms, to defile marriage.

Therefore, any minister who performs an abomination inside the church is going straight to a fiery place, no questions asked. He knows it, everyone else au fait with Christianity knows it.

The minister has no choice but to refuse.

Killing off the priesthood is only one part of it, of course. Lynne Featherstone’s masters hope the church does temporarily develop some spine and refuse and suddenly, there is the State-Church struggle of old, almost as if the middle-ages had never passed, almost as if France had never occurred.  And with the church cast as the villain, just who hopes to be the valiant hero in people’s eyes?

It’s worth a look at the dissolution of the monasteries again too, in Henry’s day.

There is coming a time, starting with the Christians, when the persecution begins, it then moves to dissenters of all forms [have you seen the National Defense Authorization Act 2012 in the States, declaring the entirety of the U.S.A. a war zone?] and then it mops up the last of the resistance, planting informers in every organization and group and the rest of the story you know.


And in terms of the UK, this begins tomorrow morning.

And most people will remain silent.

And it is the most frightening thing which has happened to this nation in a long while.  In the words of Colonel Douglas Macgregor, in the clip above:

Whenever you suspend due process which in effect suspends the rule of law, you walk down a very dangerous path and you give authority to your government that it can then wield essentially without restraint.   What worries me is that we’ll end up creating categories of people who are then subject to arbitrary arrest.

It’s not a long way from that [with some obvious differences] in the Brave New Featherstoneland.

Do we honestly believe that we writers and readers at OoL are immune, when the State minions turn their focus on us?  The State always goes into these things via the path of least resistance and by steps, moves on to the more difficult obstacles by attrition.  You know this, I know this, we all know, Christian and non-Christian, even anti-Christian, that this is so, this is the way they do it.

We all know how it ends up.

5 comments for “Featherstone’s law raises the spectre of Niemoeller

  1. December 4, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Not to disagree with the general spirit of the post or to suddenly become a supporter of Lynne Featherstone, but I was under the impression that the law currently bans any civil services in church and the change is designed only to remove the prohibition. Not to say that churches have to do civil services, same sex or otherwise, but simply to do away with the bit of law that says the state won’t let them and leave it to the churches. If so isn’t this an improvement, a rare bit of (probably accidental) libertarianism from the illiberal dimocrats? When someone wants a civil service they can still say no for religious reasons and say they only do marriages, which are still legally defined as hetero, and the only format they do is Catholic, Anglican, whatever. As far as I can see the only real change here is that the Quakers, who are prepared to do services for gays but legally can’t, will now be able to.

    Of course if this is later followed up with legislation compelling other churches and faiths to do the same against their teaching that will be very different, and at least one atheist would be on your side. Realistically, though, that might be enough to push Mrs Queen into finally refusing Royal Assent on something. I could criticise her for various things but I think she’s deeply religious and takes the defender of the faith bit of her job rather more seriously than the Archbeardie of Canterbury. Maybe when the crown passes to Fruitloon the First or whatever title Charles is going to take, but until then probably not.

    • December 4, 2011 at 3:47 pm

      Yes, as I understand it, the law will enable people to marry in church, but the church is not (yet) forced to conduct the ceremony. I’ve got a piece in the queue about this, too.

  2. Mudplugger
    December 4, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    It’s almost as if Lynne Featherstone were not a dedicated follower of the established church……

  3. December 4, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    Why the Russian Orthodox faithful viewed their Church unfavourably:


    The Communists consider it wrong to believe in God. For this “crime,” many children were separated from their families and kept in special atheist boarding schools.

    Incredibly, the Communists even wanted to make Satan-worshipers of church leaders. A Russian Orthodox priest named Platonov, an anti-Jewish agitator, went over to the side of the Communists when they came to power in Russia. For this, he was made a bishop and became a Judas who denounced members of his flock to the Secret Police, well knowing they would be severely persecuted …

    Pravoslavnaia Rus writes:

    The Orthodox cathedral in Odessa, so much loved by the Odessites, became the meeting place of Satanists soon after the Communists came to power…. They gathered also in Slobodka-Romano and in Count Tolstoi’s former home.

    Then follows a detailed account of Satanist masses said by deacon Serghei Mihailov, of the treacherous Living Church, an Orthodox branch established in connivance with the Communists. An attendant describes the Satanist mass as a “parody of the Christian liturgy, in which human blood is used for communion.” These masses took place in the cathedral before its main altar …

    Enough said. This is a variant on what the C of E could become. I’m not saying it’s directly related to gay marriages, but a number of our clergy are apostate, which relates to James’s original premise of why his girlfriend’s mother was suspicious of her own Church. They were essentially ‘show churches’ — ‘Oh, see how faithful our people are’. There were a number of spies in these churches — clergy and congregants alike.

  4. December 5, 2011 at 10:54 am

    The government has not forced the Church to allow same sex marriages, it has “permitted” them to do so. They are relying on activists to go to the next stage using Human Rights legislation.

    It is the same as when they tried to force Powderham Castle to host same sex civil unions on the grounds of discrimination


    Bravely the estate chose to abandon civil unions altogether though it still hosts (hetero only) wedding receptions.

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