Ad Fontes

Politics, Theology and Christian Humanism


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The White Rose: We will not keep silent

White Rose monument

Monument to the White Rose members in front of Munich University

On 22 February 1943, three students of Munich University were executed for their opposition to the Nazi government — Hans Scholl, his sister Sophie Scholl and Christoph Probst, prominent members of die Weiße Rose. They were all in their early twenties, and the material of their ‘treason’ consisted of small student debates, some graffiti and, most prominently, a series of hard-hitting pamphlets. Motivated by their Christian faith, these members of the little White Rose student group felt compelled to take a stand and make the voice of opposition heard.

In a period of eight months, these students wrote and distributed six pamphlets that tore into the words and actions of the Nazi state, and proclaimed that they spoke for those who, from fear or apathy, will not speak up.

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On Englishness and English nationalism

Essay warning: this is a long article in three parts.

All Hallows

The flag of St George flying from my church's tower.

Recently, I wrote an article here on POWER2010 and the People’s Charter. In passing I mentioned how I didn’t support the proposed policy for POWER2010 of ‘English votes on English laws’, something I now realise is a bit of a mantra among English nationalists, with its own camel-case acronym EVoEL (deliver us from…?)!

There were a lot of important ideas in that post, but was surprised by the complete focus on English nationalism in the comments. I was even more surprised by the poor quality of their argument, much of which was ad hominem (‘you are trash’ said one, another found me a traitor, another suggested that I was being anti-English and thus racist!). Then there was the misquoting and misrepresentation of my thoughts. For instance, I had written ‘In general, the promotion of English nationalism by a few fringe groups is very dodgy’. I should have been clearer about what I meant: that English identity and the nationalism based on it, promoted by a few fringe groups, is a minefield of problems that should be treated with care rather than emotional flag waving. However, the nationalists tweeted this as my saying ‘the English are dodgy’ (hmm, nice misquote there)! Aside from this there was demonstrable lack of understanding of our political constitution (I had to direct a commenter to read the 1911 Parliament Act). However, overall, I was shocked by the need to depict the English as persecuted, restricted and disempowered within a UK in which we make up around 83% of the population. If nationalism is about national liberation, nationalists feel the obvious need to conjure up an imagined captivity from which to liberate us.

I am English and proud to be English. I own an English football shirt (somewhere), but I’m not the flag waving type. Many of my friends are not English, and I find their perspective on Englishness very useful. I believe that it’s important to approach the issue dispassionately and practically, against the surging romanticism that can leave one delusional.

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Smudge Thursday

I decided to call today Smudge Thursday, the day after Ash Wednesday. Though, for many clergy, it will be Still-Got-Ash-Under-My-Fingernails Thursday.

Lent is well begun, and the candle-lit evening liturgy for Ash Wednesday was a beautiful start. Even fasting felt good today. Although, I fell spectacularly by having two glasses of champagne on the second day of Lent. In mitigation, it was in celebration of a friend’s leaving to take up a big, shiny new job. It’s far better to fall in style! Continue reading


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Remember you are dust

Cross of ash

Cross of ash

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. This morning we had communion and received crosses of ash on our foreheads, and we shall be doing the same this evening for those who cannot make the usual morning liturgy.

I am always deeply moved by the words that we say as we sign people with the ash

“Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

These words cut through the messages of individualism, self-image, success and prosperity that are all-pervasive in our society, with the unnerving message, ‘You’re going to die and then your body will decay to nothing’. I find it a difficult thing to say to the congregants I have come to love. It is like a sledgehammer to the soul. Continue reading


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Daily Mail calls immigrants animals

Daily Mail immigrants

The Daily Mail, more commonly known as the Daily Hate, published a cartoon based on a vulgarly twisted interpretation of an old government report on Britain’s need for migrant workers (via Liberal Conspiracy). The cartoon, as misunderstood by the hate-mongers of that obscene rag, is about multiculturalism going ‘too far’, but they didn’t notice that they just equated immigrants with animals. The cartoon is of a man marrying a sheep, and the caption reads, “I’ve voted Labour all my life, vicar; and fully support their quest for a multicultural society”. Can you believe these sick bastards?


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POWER2010 and the People’s Charter

POWER2010If you haven’t visited the POWER2010 website and voted for the political reforms you would like to see, please do so. Polls close on 22 February.

A number of political campaigning organisations of  which I am a part are supporting POWER2010. It is part of a desire to put political reform high on the agenda in post-New-Labour Britain. The idea is to choose five policies to put at the centre of the POWER2010 Pledge and campaign for their adoption by the government as a 21st-century Chartist movement. Continue reading


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Free fonts!

I have been using Linux for a good few years now, and being free of Microsoft and Apple has opened to me a world of free fonts. Like all Linux stuff these can be a little rough around the edges, but there is enough quality for that not matter, and also there is that Linux phenomenon of the creative enthusiast who gives away their software.

If you fancy breaking out of the Times–Helvetica (or Times–Arial) mold, you might want to take a look at this PDF that displays usable text fonts (not the decorative stuff) and links to the websites from which each is downloadable. All the fonts will work on Linux, Microsoft and the latest Apple machines and are offered gratis by their creators; many of them are also libre, but some are restricted by licence.

The PDF guide to free fonts is available from http://www.garzo.co.uk/documents/freefonts.pdf.