7 things @ 11 o’clock (7.5)

7 things @ 11 o’clock (7.5) July 5, 2013

1.Wisconsin Supreme Court Upholds Homicide Conviction for Faith-Healing Parents” says the headline at Christianity Today. That’s obviously inaccurate. If they were faith-healing parents, then their 11-year-old daughter wouldn’t have died from diabetes. Their little girl died because there was nothing healing about her parents’ faith. Their faith was deadly.

But this inaccurate headline was actually an improvement on the original posted there at Christianity Today, which is still preserved in the post’s URL: “Faith-Healing Parents Denied Free Exercise of Religion in Death of Child.”

Seriously? I’m glad saner heads prevailed and changed that, but good Lord. Was that “denied free exercise of religion” claim written sincerely, indicating a deep dive into the delusion of the privileged persecution complex? Or was that headline just a cynical exercise in reflexive partisan spin? I don’t see a third option.

2. My guess is that if a man — a male human, with a penis — were to stand in any state capitol and speak for 11 straight hours on a single topic, media reports and pundits would discuss what he said during those 11 hours. After all, 11 hours of talking means there’d be a lot of content, a lot of substance there to sift through and to evaluate. And with 11 hours of oratory to evaluate, 11 hours of factual claims to assess, 11 hours of argument to engage, qualify or rebut, if possible, there’d be plenty for everyone to talk about.

Too much to talk about for anyone to bother with what kind of shoes the guy was wearing.

I’ve seen a lot of pushback against Sen. Wendy Davis for her filibuster of Texas’ latest ratcheting up of abortion restrictions, but none of it has quoted a single sentence of her 11-hour speech. Not a single sentence.

She spoke for 11 hours. And her opponents still refuse to listen.

3. The U.S. Senate, last week, passed its version of a comprehensive immigration reform bill with a bipartisan, 68-32 majority. The evangelical immigration group G-92 is celebrating that vote, calling it “Victory — Part 1.” I hope they’re right and that the House allows a vote on the bill, and that enough Republicans go along with the Democrats to pass it. But if Speaker John Boehner and the House GOP kill the bill there, that wouldn’t just mean there’s no “Victory — Part 2,” but also that “Part 1” didn’t mean anything either. We’ll have to wait and see. And, while we’re waiting, we can also call, write and email.

4. Don Byrd of the Baptist Joint Committee writes about “Big Mountain Jesus” — a statue of Jesus erected 60 years ago on federal land in Montana by the Knights of Columbus. But this sectarian symbol erected by a sectarian group for sectarian reasons is, a court ruled, now a secular, profane, meaningless “curiosity.”

Byrd responds:

The idea is disturbing that a monument to Christ can lose its religious significance, and become an appropriate government monument in the process, due to years of “frivolity.” This line of thinking underscores why we should not allow government to co-opt religious monuments. In so doing, government doesn’t honor religion, it systematically secularizes its expression.

The statue can stay because years of “frivolity” have rendered it frivolous, a weird relic that has become just part of the landscape, something regarded with an odd mixture of fondness and mockery. That’s the fate of any established religion.

5. Sen. Lamar Alexander is doing this wrong.

When [Sen. Bernie] Sanders noted that there are “some conservatives who do not believe in the concept of the minimum wage,” Alexander jumped in to endorse that position. “So you do not believe in the concept of the minimum wage?” the Vermonter asked? “That’s correct,” Alexander responded. When Sanders followed up, asking if the Tennessee Republican would “abolish” the minimum wage, Alexander replied, “Correct.”

The GOP lawmaker said he preferred a “negative income tax” system and an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, though Alexander added he opposes these ideas, too — he just sees them as less offensive than a minimum wage.

No, no, no. You can’t just come right out and admit that you want to get rid of all of those things. You’re supposed to feign sorrow that the minimum wage isn’t as helpful to the poor as the negative income tax supposedly would be. You’re supposed to pretend that you favor those alternatives because they’d do more to help the poor, not just fess up to resenting anything of any kind that might allow the working poor to feed and house themselves with any kind of dignity.

You can’t be all, like, “I’m a rich guy, so I want to cut taxes for rich guys.” You have to pretend supply-side economics has some kind of academic credibility, and that you only support the idea because you sincerely believe it’s what would be best for “hard-working people” who earn wages instead of dividends.

6. In 20 years, the NFL team in Washington will have a new mascot and commissioner Roger Goodell’s attempt to defend the name “Redskins” as anything other than flagrantly racist will be a shameful footnote in history.

7.Why Does Everyone Love Costco So Much?

“I just think people need to make a living wage with health benefits,” Costco CEO Craig Jelinek told Businessweek. “It also puts more money back into the economy and creates a healthier country. It’s really that simple.” That shouldn’t sound so jarring, but anyone who knows anything about the retail industry realizes that’s a pretty unusual thing to hear a CEO say. Happiness is intangible, but Costco employees are definitely loyal. Earning an average of more than $20 per hour plus benefits (and occasional overtime) they have extremely low turnover once they’ve stayed on for a year.

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  • Baby_Raptor

    1) You’re right, I’ll edit my post to be clearer on that.

    2) I would think that a parent acting on behalf of the child to essentially choose their religion for them would violate the very right to freedom of religion from the word go.

    3) The US (where I’m speaking from) is not a Christian country. Yes, Christianity is prevalent in culture, but there are plenty of us who don’t subscribe to the religion out here existing. It’s not required for a person to have much more than a grasp of the basics to get what Christianity they’ll encounter in the larger culture. It’s definitely not necessary to take it to the lengths a lot of parents do just for the kid to get it, otherwise how would children raised by other religions, or by Agnostics/Atheists, function?

  • Kenneth Raymond

    1) X being used for a bad thing is not sufficient reason for X to not also be used for good things. What happened in Canada is horrible, no argument. But the fact that one group of people used the reasoning to do bad doesn’t mean that others can’t use it for Not Bad.

    What happened with the child whose parents believed in faith healing was horrible, no argument. But the fact that one group of people used religion to do bad doesn’t mean that others can’t use it for Not Bad.

    Look, time for the fighting words. You’re using the language of cultural genocide. You’re using it as if it’s a good thing. This is what I have a problem with. I normally would actually agree with you on a lot of details, but I cannot abide this overriding point. It poisons everything you say for me.

    This idea won’t just be used against home schoolers and faith-healers. You’re not going to just hurt over-privileged Christians. You are talking blithely about the death of people’s culture that some groups are living today even within the United States. About 30 miles from where I live, there’s a Mohawk reservation where you can see the struggle to preserve their culture. The main road through the reservation is dotted with billboards and yard signs, appealing to one another and anyone who passes through that their culture’s death need not be. Traditional religious imagery is part of it all, and telling them they should not be allowed to raise their children with their faith is telling them they should not be allowed to pass on their culture at all.

    Frankly, I find it actually kind of disgusting that you brought up a certain (paraphrased) line about intentions’ quality as paving material. The argument of yours I quoted above in this post is pretty much nothing but, “Oh, but we can do it with Good Intentions this time.”

    Nope. Not this time. You cannot prevent people from raising their children in their religion without forcing them, and that card has been played to abuse way too many times. It should be not just off the table but pulled out of the deck entirely and burned to ash.

  • “We will prevent you from teaching your children your culture, for their
    own good” is literally the justification behind measures like the Canadian Indian residential school system,
    which punished native children for practicing elements of their
    cultures like language and religious practices, under the excuse that
    they were “civilizing” the kids.

    This thing is the reason my wife’s French Canadian ancestors can’t prove that they’re actually Native Americans.

    Taking children away from their parents so you can prevent them from absorbing anything but the officially sanctioned preferred secular culture… You know… When you crib your political philosophy from The Marquis de Sade (Not even making that up. I can’t find a good cite at the moment, but a big section of that is “and we need to take all children away from their parents and make them wards of the state where they’ll be trained to not beleive in god and to be soldiers. Or prostitutes. These are basically the only professions we will have”), you have probably lost your moral compass.

  • But women weren’t allowed to own property until the late 19th century!

  • Freedom of religion means that the state may not institute laws abridging the right to religious practice. Instituting a law that says that parents may not raise their children in their particular religious tradition would in fact be a violation of that principle, and a super, super serious one. Children are not, and have never been, free from the cultural influence of their parents, and to imagine that they could or should be is absurd- it is reasonable for the government to protect access to the beliefs of other religions, but the thing you’re going on about is really specifically not ok.

  • barnestormer

    Ana Mardoll is now posting the entire transcript of Sen. Davis’ filibuster speech, in sections, at anamardoll.com.

  • Matri

    So, really. Learning from the past is for Satan-worshippers now? This is another one of those “This time it will work, definitely!’

  • Matri

    That’s not just sick, that’s downright worthy of being locked up.

    That’s just like all the human monsters in crime dramas. The ones who are always gleeful whenever their victims react negatively to whatever it is they are doing.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Ever hear the phrase “Your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins”? We limit peoples’ rights all the time when full usage of those rights would step on another’s rights.

    And, honestly…Not seeing it. You’ll need to explain to me how not being allowed to actively force your views on another person that is powerless to stop you and totally dependent on you is a “right.” We don’t allow this anywhere but with children. People have the right to practice the religion of their choice *in their own lives.* Your kid’s life is not your life, so why are your kids the only exception to this rule? (Using a general you here, not specifically pointing a finger at you.)

  • Baby_Raptor

    Note: Nowhere did I advocate removing kids from their parents. The accusations in this thread are getting a bit out of hands, guys…First genocide, now government kidnapping?

  • Baby_Raptor

    Okay, first off…Back the hell up. In no way, shape or form have I advocated for genocide, cultural or otherwise. There is a huge difference between “Teach kids about everything, not just what you personally believe is right” and wiping out entire cultures. Nowhere have I advocated for the complete death of Christianity, the complete stripping of Christians’ rights, or anything CLOSE to destroying an entire culture.

    The fact that somebody used the same reasoning to do bad things that I brought up to do something good? That in no way justifies freaking out on me like this. And I really don’t appreciate the accusations you have going on here.

    You’re putting a lot of words in my mouth, and then attacking me for saying bad stuff. All I said from the word go was “Parents should not be allowed to indoctrinate kids; kids have rights too.”

    I’m not saying you don’t have the right to be pissed off about what’s happened in the past. I’m saying don’t jump the freaking shark.

  • I’m reminded of an episode of the dubiously-canonical Animated Spin-Off of the Stargate franchise.

    There’s one episode where the moral is “If at first you don’t succeed, try something different.” (Because the highly trained elite military unit in the show somehow missed learning things like “how to share” or “Why you should be nice to the underprivileged” or “Look both ways before you cross the street” and needs their CO to teach them these lessons at a rate of one per episode). In order to really drive the point home, the Mayan Mythology Inspired Recurring Villains, of course, have to evidence the opposite of this moral lesson, so we get a great scene of these galaxy-conquering warriors declaring, “Learning from your failures is a sign of weakness! When a mighty Tl’kon warrior fails, the correct thing to do is to try exactly the same thing over and over again until you get different results!”

  • Lori

    The problem is that the 3rd Amendment doesn’t say that no one is allowed to stay in your house without your consent. I’m also very wary of using that kind of property right as the foundation for me being treated like a full human being. That may be just me though.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Fair enough.

  • tricksterson

    Well, yes, the idea isn’t to actually accomplish anything but to look like you care about the issue. It’s the essence of politics. The democrats enact legislation knowing the republicans will probably block it and vice versa all to keep the sheeple thinking they matter.

  • How would we even be able to prevent children from being exposed to their parents’/parent’s religion without gross violations of privacy or human rights? I can’t imagine how it could be done without having people constantly spying on any couple with a child, or kidnapping children and raising them apart from their parents.

  • A fairly large percentage of the Big Complicated Legal Debates of the
    last half-century or so (and for that matter, ever) are tangled up in
    the way we divide crimes into crimes-against-persons and
    crimes-against-property. It’s a division that works perfectly well for like 80% of stuff, and fails spectacularly for the rest. We just do not have a model that can capture the cases where something is a person but has certain commonalities with property, or is property but has certain commonalities with a person.

  • Or the internet trolls who assert that the fact that you’re angry at them proves there’s some truth to what they’re saying.

  • Which other things do you think should be signled out and parents should be forbidden from teaching their children?

    Or do you just think that religion is super-special-magic that unlike anything else in the world is SO seductive/powerful/evil that parents must be stopped from teaching their children about this ONE thing?

  • The_L1985

    My dad loves Sam’s, but that’s because it happened to be the 1st warehouse-type store he discovered (hence the only one he’d ever been a member of.)

  • The_L1985

    There’s a difference between teaching your kids ABOUT your religion, and isolating your kids from all other perspectives.

  • I don’t know if Sams is different these days, but when I was a kid and they were the only membership warehouse store in the area, they were a lot more interesting than the warehouse stores I’ve been to as an adult, because they actually real-for-real were catering primarily to businesses, so they weren’t just selling ordinary consumer goods in large packs; they were actually selling resale packages and things that weren’t normally marketed to consumers, like commercial-grade stuff and catering packs. Instead of just the normal stuff you’d buy in the supermarket but in a large multi-pack, you’d find stuff like a gallon-can of nacho cheese, or a six-pack of office chairs.

    What’s weird now is reading articles from 1991 about Leedmark, and how no one could comprehend how anyone could possibly think it was a good idea to have a single store that sold consumer electronics, clothing, and groceries. The press wasn’t just skeptical, it was downright mocking in its dismissal (“So when you pack the grocery bag, does it go Meat-VCR-Eggs or VCR-Eggs-Meat?”). Predictably, of course, Leedmark went under promptly. Possiby something to do with them charging a deposit for shopping carts. The store they had near here is a Wal-Mart now.

  • Michele Cox

    On the selling-to-businesses-for-real front, we have several CostCo stores in easy driving distance (easy for California, I mean), one of which is explicitly a Business CostCo. They do carry the for-resale stuff, and restaurant supplies, and like that — but they don’t carry some of the other things we typically buy. So they tend to be a “go get that particular thing” store for us, and the others tend to be a “take the shopping list and at least two people and two carts” store.

  • Marwen

    Precisely how did you intend to prevent adults from raising their children in their religion *without* resorting to removal from the major reoffenders?

  • Mark Z.

    “You can’t teach your religion to your children” is obviously ridiculous. Not that it doesn’t happen, with ethnic-religious minorities who are usually being oppressed in a bunch of other ways too, but it’s ridiculous. So let’s dispense with that now.

    Children growing up in their parents’ religion is…customary, not enforceable. It’s not a right, and can’t be asserted against anyone else’s rights, or against the obligations that parents have (for example, providing health care and a safe environment).

  • Target recently started opening stores in Ottawa, and on their “help wanted” signs, listed that their starting wage is $15. (The current minimum wage in Ontario is $10.25.) I heard that they were specifically hoping to poach Wal-Mart employees.

  • smrnda

    I would be surprised the shopping cart deposit would do it, as ALDI does that and has been fairly successful, and I can’t think of any other store that does that.

  • That won’t last. If they’re unionized, what will inevitably happen is a contract will eventually be “negotiated” which forces a two-tier hiring structure in which the grandfathered first-timers get their $15+ an hour plus COLA, and the newbies get $10 an hour, no COLA.

  • smrnda

    I’m a software developer so I’m in a similar situation, with the added bonus that I’m also working for a government research project so I get great government benefits.

    What I find the bonus is to being a person like myself (or yourself) isn’t just the money or the security, but whole quality of life issues. Doing my job is not difficult or painful to me. I’m not treated badly at work or subjected to numerous rules about when I can go to the bathroom or what I am allowed to wear, and I don’t need to worry about when I’ll be on the schedule or working on holidays. I do work on holidays, but it’s unstructured enough that it’s no real hardship. I’m not put in a position where for minimum wage I have to be worried about taking a bullet for the cash register or being screamed at over a company policy that I didn’t set. My job isn’t tearing apart my body or exposing me to hazards that will harm my health later.

    Your figure of 19 an hour is actually close to what minimum wage would be, adjusted for inflation.

    Perhaps we should start shaming the managers of poorly paying franchises in person, since bad publicity might improve things. I don’t know what’s the best strategy.

  • Well, that was in 1992. The next time I saw a shopping cart deposit was at a ShopRite in New Jersey in 2007

    But yeah. pretty much everyting about Leedmark got picked up by Big-Box stores later with no fuss, but in 1992 no one could cope with it

    (Though my recollection of Leedmark was that it was a bit nicer inside than a modern Big-Box store. Styled closer to a traditional Department Store instead of the “GIANT STERILE WAREHOUSE” thing that modern hypermarts use)

  • Baby_Raptor

    Nowhere in this discussion have I advocated for preventing parents from teaching kids their religion.

    I advocated not allowing indoctrination. There IS a difference.

    As I said a couple comments up, teach them everything. Don’t allow parents to completely isolate kids from the real world simply because they think Jesus said the world is evil.

    That doesn’t violate any right the parent has. As to how it could be done without spying; A good bit of it could be accomplished by regulating home schooling, and making non-adherence punishable. If we can require public school children to learn certain topic without violating any sort of privacy, why would home schooling be any different?

  • Baby_Raptor

    As I said to Sam, nowhere have I advocated for completely denying parents the ability to teach their kids their religion. I advocated for not allowing them to completely shut out everything *but* their chosen beliefs.

    This entire argument seems to come down to the fact that I used the word “indoctrination,” and not everyone going with the same definition. I don’t want to deny parents the right to teach their kids about their own beliefs; that would Fuck me too. I just don’t believe that they should be able to teach their kids *only* their personal view of what their chosen god approves of.

    Most of the regular posters here know me; I’ve been around under this name or the one I used at Typepad since 05. It’s probably common knowledge that I’m not Christianity’s biggest fan, but I’m not an extremist either. I’d really prefer a debate over a misunderstood definition not ruin my reputation around here.

  • Baby_Raptor

    I mentioned regulating home schooling with a punishment for non-adherence in my response to Sam. Removing the kids is clearly out of the question, but that doesn’t mean that there can’t still be some form of discipline for refusing to follow the hypothetical law. So…Continue hitting them with the already given punishments and hope for the best?

    Worst comes to worst, there may be no stopping some parents who are just dead-set on doing things only their way. Nothing is ever going to be 100% perfect. Things will be better overall even without everyone going along.

  • It’s a lot easier to monitor public schooling because it takes place on government grounds, but that doesn’t mean it actually gets done properly either. I just can’t see how you could guarantee that parents were doing what you told them to do when 99.99% of their time is going to be spent in total isolation with their kids unless you have a spy camera and a trained and unbiased official watching their every move.

  • dpolicar


    If I’ve understood Baby_Raptor correctly, what they are advocating is that certain material be taught to students.

    Traditionally, the way we confirm whether this is being done or not is through testing and certification. This is of course imperfect, but it seems a plausible approximation to me.

    I don’t see what the spy cameras & etc. are needed for.

    Of course, tests don’t force people to teach or learn that material, it merely provides an approximately reliable way for us to determine who has in fact learned it. We can then treat people accordingly… e.g., we can refuse to license drivers who don’t demonstrate certain knowledge, refuse to hire people for certain jobs who don’t, etc. etc. etc.

    At that point, the question becomes how we want to treat people who know the stuff Baby_Raptor is talking about differently from the people who don’t.

  • Mike

    A lot of Washington fans love the ‘Skins and their mascot, Chief Zee. I would hate to see that tradition ended, so I’ve long suggested changing the name officially to the currently-informal usage: Skins. And in the interest of diversity, they could add a number of mascots, such as a soldier, construction worker, cowboy. And sing “Y.M.C.A.” at every opportunity.

  • If you teach it in schools, parents who reject the idea will take their kids out of schools (and in the case of some of the less commonly followed religions will point out not incorrectly that there’s no way the school can give equal attention to their religion). Once they’re out of schools, you have only the parents’ word that their child is learning what they say they’re learning.

    Honestly, I would be afraid that trying to do this would only breed a generation of children being taught on the side that the government is trying to destroy their religion — and I’m not sure they’d be wrong.

  • Jamoche

    There’s also a message in “I can wear whatever shoes I want and you still have to listen to me.” Unless you’ve grown up being told that someday you’ll have to wear uncomfortable shoes or be dismissed, that’s an easy message to overlook.

  • dpolicar

    Once they’re out of schools, you have only the parents’ word that their child is learning what they say they’re learning.

    As above: yes, if I’m not subject to testing, then we don’t know that I’m learning what I claim to be learning, or what my parents claim I’m learning.

    You can trust, or you can test, or some combination of the two.

    You don’t need to put spy cameras on me, though.

    If you teach it in schools, parents who reject the idea will take their kids out of schools

    Yes, some parents will refuse to allow their kids to learn about Judaism, or Islam, or Buddhism, or Wicca, or sex, or evolution, or the formation of the Earth, or various other subjects.

    And we need to decide as a society how we make tradeoffs between our desire for children to guide their own educations, our desire for parents to guide their children’s education, and our desire for certain things to be learned by everyone.

    there’s no way the school can give equal attention to their religion

    That’s certainly true.

    We can teach about world religions, but we can’t give equal attention to every religion in the world. We probably could give equal attention to every religion represented by households in our classes, but it’s not at all clear that this achieves Baby_Raptor’s goals in teaching religion.

    OTOH, that’s not unique to religion.

    For example, we can’t teach U.S. history while giving equal attention to all events in the last few centuries. We could give equal attention to all parents’ attitudes towards the Civil War, for example, but we don’t actually do so, and it’s not clear that this achieves our goals in teaching U.S. history.

    Similarly, we teach foreign languages, but we don’t necessarily teach all the languages our students’ grandparents speak. There are many subjects like this represented in our existing core curriculum.

    trying to do this would only breed a generation
    of children being taught on the side that the government is trying to
    destroy their religion

    (nods) I doubt it would be even a fraction as universal as it sounds like you’re suggesting, but I can certainly see it happening.

    I’m not sure they’d be wrong.

    Can you expand on that?

  • hagsrus

    I’ve always worn comfortable/sensible shoes, but at one big office where I had a back room job a colleague was asked to help a customer in the reception area. She had to borrow a pair of heels – apparently it would have been disastrous to appear in flats. Never had any inkling of a shoe code!

  • Unless the tests take place in an outside location, the tests can be cheated upon. When I was home-schooled through American School [talk about a generic name!]), they just sent me packets I was to fill in and send back — there was nothing to stop someone from helping me, or even filling it out for me if they were so inclined. Really no way to guarantee that the results were genuine.

    And really, isn’t that the problem to begin with? If the reason we’re doing this is to stop parents from indoctrinating their children before they’re of age to independently select their religious beliefs, then we’re already in an adversarial position with parents and certainly can’t begin to trust that they won’t go to lengths to make sure their children get only the “right” religious education.

    (Incidentally, when one of the schools in Canada included a World Religions class, parents started doing exactly this, citing that teaching children about all the world’s religions was nothing but an attempt to confuse them and make them give up their “true” religion.)

    Putting aside the fantasy world we’d have to inhabit where enough secular Congressmen were elected at once to enact a law like this, I think there’s truth to the idea that its main function is to decrease the number of people who become religious by giving them a certain background before giving them the choice.

    I also have a hard time imagining, outside of that fantasy world, that this idea couldn’t be very badly abused regardless of who was in power when it was enacted. I’m remembering the Soviet Union, when families were broke up because of reports that the parents were indoctrinating their children…

  • dpolicar

    Agreed that tests can be cheated on.

    Agreed that if we collectively decide everyone should know X, we are in an adversarial position with people who don’t want to know X, and with parents who don’t want their children to know X, and with people who don’t want anyone to know X.

    If knowing about religions before being given a choice decreases the likelihood that someone will become religious, then I can see how a program of religious education can be a mechanism for destroying religion. I’m not sure the premise is true, but the logic is sound.

    I’m not sure requiring that everyone learn about world religions is a particularly worrisome flashpoint for the forcible government breakup of families, even relative to various other things we teach our children today (let alone to other laws we pass about other things), but I agree that the risk of legal abuse is important to pay attention to whenever we consider passing laws.

  • OriginalExtraCrispy

    I’ve been going to Costco for 13 years, and I have definitely seen the same faces over those years. Plus, their employees are generally helpful (to each other as much as to customers) and in an upbeat mood.

  • alfgifu

    It depends on the point you wish to make.

    To me, the Church of England is the vibrant faith community I grew up in, a strong centre of loving and learning. It’s also the home of some incredible thinkers and theologians – to take two current examples, how about NT Wright and Rowan Williams? (As an aside, I find it odd that Fred so often makes dismissive statements about the worthlessness of an established church when he is an admirer of NT Wright). It’s the small community I now belong to, made up of three or four handfuls of the loving, liberal, and wise. It’s a liturgy that speaks to me, a hymnody that often moves me, and a set of frustrating squabbles that irritates me no end.

    We’ve got our problems, some of them extremely serious. But I don’t think it’s right to describe the CofE as a secular, profane, meaningless ‘curiousity’. On the other hand, it’s completely fair to note that it is regarded with an odd mixture of fondness and mockery – but so are most things in the UK, so it’s not really alone in that.