An insomniac Scots Calvinist looks at the Church and the world and wonders where it all went wrong

At last, after much enquiry, planning, and not a little work Grain has returned in an upgraded version. This includes video material. As you can see from this video it has been uphill work, especially from one who has never owned a camera before.

In this video we outline just why progressives are such a relentless bunch: never satisfied, as soon as one demand is met they move on to the next. This is why even what appear on the surface as sometimes meaningless fights are still worth the struggle if we are to slow or halt their inexorable march.

Hopefully there will be other innovations as we go along.


It passed almost unnoticed but a few days ago we saw the anniversary of the execution by beheading of some of the greatest heroes of WWII.

In 1942 Hans Scholl (24), a medical student at the University of Munich, his sister Sophie (21), Christoph Probst (22), Willi Graf (25), and Alexander Schmorell (25), founded the ‘White Rose’ movement, one of the few German groups that spoke out against Nazi genocidal policies.

Hans and Sophie Scholl with Christophe Probst, March 1942

Hans and Sophie Scholl with Christophe Probst, March 1942

As children Hans and Sophie had, like most German youngsters, been members of the Nazi youth organisations. Their father Robert, who was later imprisoned for anti-Nazi remarks, tried to teach them that Hitler was leading Germany to destruction. Gradually Hans and Sophie came to understand that their father was right.

With the outbreak of war the great majority of Germans rallied around their country believing that in time of war it is the duty of citizens to support their country. Hans and Sophie thought otherwise. They believed that it was the duty of the citizen to stand against evil.

At great risk, ‘White Rose’ members transported and mailed mimeographed leaflets denouncing the regime. These were distributed to wherever they thought they might be effective, especially the universities. ‘We will not be silent’, they wrote to their fellow students. ‘We are your bad conscience. The White Rose will not leave you in peace!’

After the German army’s defeat at Stalingrad in late January 1943, the Scholls distributed pamphlets urging students in Munich to rebel. But in the next month, a university janitor who saw them with the pamphlets betrayed them to the Gestapo.

After a show trial, headed by the notorious Roland Friesler, Hitler’s favourite judge, the regime executed Hans and Sophie Scholl and Christoph Probst on February 22, 1943. Before walking to the guillotine, Sophie observed: ‘How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause?’ She went on: ‘Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us, thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?’

Others members were also executed. Amongst them philosophy professor Kurt Huber, who had guided the movement. Huber’s widow was later sent a bill for 600 marks, twice his monthly salary, for ‘wear of the guillotine’. Alexander Schmorell was executed on the same day as Kurt Huber.

These young people saw evil, saw that the great majority of their fellow citizens either supported or acquiesced in it, or were cowed by it. They could not be silent. They would not excuse themselves by saying it was the fault of society, which was true; or that any action they took would have little effect, which was true; or that to stand against Hitler was a path to death, which was true. They accepted personal responsibility for their own actions despite the cost.

Momentous events or movements, actions beyond our control, shape the actions of individuals. What the members of the White Rose, practically all committed Christians, realised was that ultimately it is down to the character and choice of the individual as to how they react to those forces and what they personally choose to do.

The repellent Roland Freisler, rabid Nazi judge, would find few supporters today, few who would argue that he was a product of his upbringing or that he had been radicalised a Nazi by his experiences as a prisoner of the Russians after the Russian Revolution. Freisler was responsible for the man he became and the actions he committed, including the beheading of members of the White Rose.

And yet we find people attempting to ‘contextualise’ the murders committed by the serial killer Mohhammed Emwazi,otherwise known as Jihadi John. Spokesmen for CAGE, a Muslim human rights organisation in the same way that Vladimir Putin is a human rights activist, claimed that the blame for the radicalisation of Emwazi lay solely with the British security services. Seemingly they had the temerity to question this ‘kind’, ‘gentle’, and ‘beautiful young man’, concerning his intent to go to Africa and fight jihad.

This is in part because to claim otherwise would be to admit that he was taught by other Muslims to hate any non-Sunnis, that it was legitimate to enslave Yazidi women, and that beheading aid-workers was an act of piety.

Perhaps it is the doleful legacy of Marxist analysis which see the individual as a grain of sand washed about by the tides of history. Perhaps it is our culture of victimhood which ever seeks to absolve the individual of personal responsibility. Perhaps it is our therapeutic progressive culture which refuses to judge even the judgemental who behead people.

More likely it is the demise of Christianity in the West with the idea that eventually we all have to stand before God as individuals responsible for our own actions. Societal sin exists as does collective responsibility, but ultimately we are responsible as individual for the actions we commit, or allow to pass unopposed.

The White Rose shows us that it evil has to be confronted, named for what it is, and unrelentingly opposed.

Due to the range of his abilities Leonardo is known as Renaissance Man. We would be equally justified in calling Dutch theologian Abraham Kuyper, Reformed Man.

Pastor, church leader, professor, newspaper journalist and editor, founder of Holland’s first mass movement political party, a university and a denomination, he was an MP and Prime Minister, all the while he was a prolific writer on many subjects, the list of his activities goes on. A macro thinker he was concerned not only for the conversion and sanctification of his parishioners, he wanted to reform all of Dutch culture and society.

Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920)

Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920)

Kuyper is perhaps best known for the statement which encapsulates his world-view: ‘There is not a thumb’s breadth of all creation of which God does not say, “Mine”’. His astonishing drive was powered by a burning desire to explore and apply the implications of God’s revelation to all of society.

What is often forgotten is his deep concern for ‘de kleine luyden’ or ‘the little people’. The ordinary people of Holland who lived their lives, worked hard, attended their churches, and wanted to see their children get a decent education. The common people whose desires were ignored by the political and social elites who ran the country according to their own values, standards and interests.

Despite his upbringing and education Kuyper was a man of de kleine luyden. He spoke in a way they could understand, his newspaper columns have been described as ‘a night school for the common people’. Throughout his life he sought the spiritual, material and political welfare of the little people. Much of his church and political life was a struggle against the vested interests of the elites.

Today the Western elites have the same contempt for the common people as the Dutch elites of 150 years ago. The contempt shown for popular expressions of political and social concern evidenced in UKIP in Britain and the Tea Party in the USA knows no bounds. Occasionally it comes to glaring light.

Last week Channel 4 in the UK screened UKIP: The First Hundred Days a docudrama purporting to outline the events surrounding the first hundred days after a UKIP election win. Basically it outlined the fears of the elites of what would happen if ordinary people actually got hold of the levers of power. Britain, a once mighty, tolerant nation would become a hell-hole of bigotry and racism run according to the wishes of beer swilling, fat working class nobodies and their Little Englander bourgeois middle-class counterparts.

As Roger Scruton wrote: ‘The socialist ideal of equality has led to the idea that patriotism is racism, and that the attachment to an established way of life is merely discrimination against those who do not share it.‘ 

In attempting to expose the bigotry of the kleine luyden of the UK our elites and their acolytes exposed their own bigotry, prejudice and innermost fears. In their outlook society is divided into two groups: the educated, multicultural, pro-EU, deep thinking and sensitive people who wish to see society progress; and the knuckle dragging, homophobic, racist, incompetent, unhealthy masses who need enlightenment. The elite’s disdain for the little people is boundless and leads to a potentially dangerous split in society.

Supposed UKIP Map of the World

Supposed UKIP Map of the World

We find the same inherent prejudice amongst the elites of the USA and their camp followers in their attitude to the Tea Party. An orderly, thoughtful expression of the concerns of working and middle class people, mainly social conservatives and Christians, who think they have been ignored by the main political parties, was demonised by the mainstream media and subject to vile abuse. Through such attacks the progressive coterie can safely express their prejudices and bigotry in an acceptable, political manner.


Just as ‘fundamentalist’ is the favoured epithet to be thrown whenever someone expresses a theologically orthodox position so the favoured epithet tossed around whenever a policy or movement has an instinctive response amongst the little people is ‘populist’. In the eyes of the bien pensant liberals and aloof self-satisfied cultural elites if something is popular amongst the general population it is automatically suspect. The little people apparently lack the mental apparatus and common decency to do politics in a mature and civilised fashion.

Yet, as Abraham Lincoln said, ‘God must love ordinary people, he made so many of them’. The frightening thing in the UK, and increasingly in the USA, is that it is not only the political elites who are losing touch with the little people, it is also the church. It becomes ever more pronounced that the church too is losing touch with working class communities, whilst its automatic soft-left political stances and pronouncements are catering to the perceptions of a shrinking number of the middle classes.

Unless we recover the trenchant theological analysis and Christian drive of a Kuyper and his associates our society will pay a heavy price.

Moral equivalence is a fancy name for ‘Whatabouterry’, the playground debating tactic of countering any argument with ‘What about …?’ with the automatic assumption of an equivalence between the two propositions. Silly enough in primary school children, not so amusing in a supposedly educated person like Barack Obama.

Speaking of IS atrocities at a National Prayer Breakfast President Obama said:

Unless we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.

Obama makes the fatal errors of all addicted to Whatabouterry, the omission of historical context, the passage of time, and the comparison of the everyday with the rare.

Terrible deeds were committed by Christians during the Crusades, deeds roundly condemned by every Christian. But consider the context. The Crusades were not imperialistic wars launched by vicious Christians against pastoral Muslims interested only in leading peaceful lives cultivating their crops and living in harmony with the environment.

The Muslim history of religious war begins during Muhammed’s life time. Within 60 years of his death Islam had swept through the Christian lands of North Africa and had taken Jerusalem. In another twenty years they had conquered Spain. Was this the result of a particularly effective campaign of tract distribution, or a violent military campaign? The ‘religion of peace’ spread by the sword. Subjugated peoples were given three choices: convert, live and pay ‘jizya’ a tax for the privilege of living under Muslim domination, or die.

The Muslim invaders of Europe were finally stopped by the Franks under Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours in 732. Finding their northward drive halted imperialistic Islam consolidated its grip on Spain and then turned eastwards, as well as focussing turning the Mediterranean into a Muslim lake.

It was only in 1095, after nearly 400 years of violent Muslim imperialism that Pope Urban II preached the first Crusade and the religious war appears in Christianity.

The Crusades began almost a millenium ago, when Obama says ‘people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ’. He ignores that in the succeeding millennium some religions grew, others remained mired in the past.

If the detestable crime of slavery was defeated in the West it is largely due to the activities of one group, evangelical Christians. In Britain and the UK the driving force behind the movement to outlaw slavery was evangelical Christianity, embodied by the Clapham Sect in the UK and the abolitionists of the USA. Last century the Civil Rights movement amongst blacks in the USA was largely led by the evangelical black churches and their ministers.

In the meantime slavery remains an integral part of the social programme of IS, Boko Haram and their affiliates. It is moral cretinism to excuse or downgrade the crimes of today because of the crimes of 200 years ago.

It is not only in the USA that such self-loathing inanity is current. In the Guardian, where else, there appeared a column saying we shouldn’t consider the West superior to IS because of the Chad Evans case.

Evans is a footballer given a two year prison sentence for rape. Following his release and a Twitter storm denouncing his attempts to return to football some argued that having served his time Evans should be given a second chance and be allowed to play football. According to Guardian columnist Deborah Orr, Evans and his supporters ‘each and every one of them’ have a ‘good deal of common cause with the ideas of… the Islamic State’.

According to this argument those who believe that having served his time a man should be allowed a second chance in life are the equivalent of a vile pseudo state who have thrown out due process in favour of killing and maiming any it considers criminals. Only in the Guardian.

Such is the terror of making a moral judgement that some progressives claim that we in the West today are no different from IS who burned to death Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh because Thomas Moore had Protestants burned at the stake more than 450 years ago and Servetus was executed in Calvin’s Geneva.

Perhaps Obama and other progressives should ask: Why does barbaric violence persist amongst Islamic extremists today to an extent unknown in other religions? Why search the distant past for instances of moral equivalence, unless the present doesn’t offer suitable instances?

Parts of Central America are as poor as the Middle East, yet with the exception, nearly 50 years ago, of the Marxist-Christian priest Camillo Torres we do not find liberation theologians taking up the gun in the cause of redistribution. The Dalai Lama is not sending suicide bombers into China to avenge the takeover of Tibet. Jews are not machine gunning cartoonists in Paris. Hindus are not flying airliners into high rises in Britain as revenge for the exploitation of India by the Raj. Prussian Lutherans are not beheading Russians because of the mass rapes by the Red Army in 1945.

Our progressives should be asking why radical Islam is spreading terror all over the globe rather by denying it, employing euphemisms to cover it, or attempting to excuse it by citing supposedly morally equivalent examples from the distant past.

This is more than a trendy posturing by progressives congratulating themselves on their ‘sensitivity’ and ‘understanding’. It is destructive of the hard won advances toward freedom made in Western society over the centuries. If all is equivalence why should we urge Islam to reform? If all is equivalence why should we, how could we, defend Western freedoms?

As soon as someone starts praising multiculturalism it’s time to put your headphones back on and return to watching fluffy kittens on YouTube.

Too Intelligent For Mullticulturalism

Too Intelligent For Mullticulturalism

Multiculturalism is not about exotic restaurants and musical variety. It is code for moral relativism. It is built on the notion that all ideas and systems are equal, which results in precluding a willingness to think critically about what surrounds us. All cultures differ, but not all cultures are equal, just as all religions differ, but are not equal. Perhaps YouTube is full of videos of Buddhists beheading captives and Quaker suicide bombers, but it is doubtful.

Multiculturalism is a progressive affectation which means something entirely different from what it says on the tin. It is most assuredly not about the comparison and evaluation of a multitude of differing cultures. It is about proclaiming the risible idea of the equal value and validity of all cultures.

For the upholders of multiculturalism it is more of a shibboleth, a code word to separate themselves from the great unwashed, than a belief they actually practice. Just as leaders of soviet communism paid lip service to an equality they did not practice so the proponents of multiculturalism do not actually believe in multiculturalism enough to practice it. Going to a Thai restaurant and having a Filipina nanny is not multiculturalism, it is gourmet grazing and taking advantage of cheap labour, like any capitalist.

Most rational people want to live in an advanced, free Western society, that is why many Somalians risk their lives to get in to Sweden and few Swedes emigrate to Somalia. When it comes to reality few multiculturalists actually choose to abandon a society ruled by common law where they enjoy the fruits of Western scientific progress, to live in a backward failed state ruled by Sharia based tribal law. To assert the superiority of Western values is to state the obvious.

One of the most socially influential of Christian doctrines is that of the Image of God, which teaches that every individual, no matter their race, social standing or background, is of equal value to God. It is in those cultures most influenced by Christianity that individual freedom is most valued and where individual endeavour is most encouraged, to the benefit of all. When this is allied to the doctrine of Creation and our responsibility for its exploration it is clear why it is no accident that science and technology have advanced in the West in a way in which they have not elsewhere.

Western values are fundamental universal values. If we are reluctant to speak up for universal rights, if we fail to say that they should be enjoyed by others in cultures where they are trampled, then we consign those others to a life which we would unhesitatingly reject for ourselves or our children. This is racist, saying in effect, that these values are only for we in the West but it would be wrong to ‘impose’ them on others.

Immigrants to the West in particular should be suspicious of standards which imply that they are too simple minded or backward to become part of their new country and should remain in their Somali or Bangladeshi cocoon whilst living in Europe or North America. Multiculturalism is an open door to the racism of lowered expectations. Instead of giving us the best of all worlds multiculturalism all too often gives us the worst of all worlds; the worst attributes of Muslim culture, the subjugation of women, combined with the worst attributes of western culture, license and self-gratification.

Multiculturalism reinforces that which it purports to abolish, the isolation of people because of their race. By defining society as a conglomeration of groups with differing characteristics which must be equally celebrated society becomes ghettoised into special interest groups. Individuals with their own unique characteristics, abilities and talents are eclipsed, instead we are isolated and defined by our group, the colour of our skin, our country of origin or our religion.

Multiculturalism has the effect, not of bringing us together in mutual appreciation of our differences, but of assuring people that because of their colour, gender or sexual preferences they can never be truly understood or valued by others, and that any evaluation of their practices can never be legitimate.

The multiculturalist is unable to assess religions by any absolute standard, to do so would supposedly be judgemental and result in an expression of Western power and privilege. The intellectually bankrupt concept of moral relativism leads multiculturalists to see literal Muslims, those who practice what they read in the Koran and do what Muhammad did, as the Muslim equivalent of fundamentalists in any other religion. This leads to the insanity of proposed moral equivalence between the squalid ravings of Westboro Baptist Church and the plague of suicide bombings inflicted on the entire world by literal Muslims.

Repellent, But A Far Cry From Beheading

Repellent, But A Far Cry From Beheading

When the British in India banned the Hindu practice of suttee, or burning widows alive on the funeral pyre of their husbands, some Hindu priests complained to General Sir Charles Napier. His reply was succinct: ‘Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.’

General Sir Charles Napier

General Sir Charles Napier

Napier knew that not all cultural practices are of equal value. Female genital mutilation may be a cultural practice amongst many immigrant communities in the UK today. It is also a barbaric cultural practice and should be stamped out unhesitatingly. Although technically illegal in multicultural UK it is estimated that there are 66,000 women in Britain who have undergone this practice and 24,000 girls under 15 years old at risk. Someone always pays the price for progressive dogma.

The elites have flocked to Davos for their annual shindig. Billionaires, world leaders and pop stars clog up the skies with their private jets as they fly in to the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. There, in the lap of luxury, they liaise over important issues such as growing economic inequality, central banks, terrorism and other threats to humanity. High on the agenda of course is the worrying question of how we can reduce our dependency on fossil fuels.

Take Me To The Anti-Greenhouse Gas Conference

Take Me To The Anti-Greenhouse Gas Conference

Yet over the course of this week, approximately 1,700 private jets are expected to fly into the region. One result of this is that airport traffic will increase by 10% which means that landing spots are going to be in short supply. The Swiss Armed Forces, for the first time ever, have even had to open up one of their military air bases to try and accommodate the increase in traffic.

For private jet companies like PrivateFly, Netkets and VistaJet, this is bonanza time, by far their busiest and best paying time of year. Clearly our elites have never listened to their own advice, couldn’t they ‘private jet pool’ just as they constantly urge us to car pool?

Our elites are are not hypocrites, they are people who have a genuine and deep concern about the future of the earth; and hobnobbing with each other in five star luxury hotels and skiing. Clearly climate change is caused by the lower orders and not by tax payer subsidised politicians and washed up rock stars.

And yet our jet set, global warning, doom mongers wonder why fewer amongst the hoi polloi listen to their dire warnings about how the world will come to an end if we don’t all switch to sailing ships and rickshaws. Ordinary people will believe it is an emergency when they begin to behave as though it is an emergency.

Didn’t the Old Testament prophets make a few pointed remarks concerning the rich and powerful and how they would have to answer for their sense of entitlement?

For those furth of the UK Eric Pickles is Communities Minister in the present government. A rather rotund Yorkshireman he plays the part of common sense man of the people rather well, but behind the bluff exterior there lies a very canny political operator. But even the canniest, most Machiavellian of operators can come a cropper.

Eric Pickles MP

Eric Pickles MP

Following the Charlie Hebdo attack Mr Pickles sent a rather benign, supportive letter to 1,000 Muslim leaders in the UK asking them to help with their co-religionists who are on their way to embracing jihad. Clearly the great majority of Muslims want nothing to do with the violence, unfortunately there also exists a small minority planning or enacting violence. However, and almost as worrying, there are large numbers in the middle who will not condemn any other Muslim over any act, or who actively sympathise with the violent.

In the face of this Mr Pickles in his letter made the valid assessment that Muslim radicalism ‘cannot be solved from Whitehall alone’ and stressed the need for all to fight extremism. He stressed that he was ‘proud’ of the way Muslims in Britain had reacted to the Paris atrocity but added that there was ‘more work to do’. He asked the immams to explain how Islam ‘can be part of the British identity’ explicitly making the somewhat strange assertion that British values are Muslim values. Pickles even repeated that well worn cliche that Islam is ‘a religion of peace’.

He wrote: ‘We believe together we have an opportunity to demonstrate the true nature of British Islam today. There is a need to lay out more clearly than ever before what being a British Muslim means today: proud of your faith and proud of your country. We know that acts of extremism are not representative of Islam, but we need to show what is.’

‘We must show our young people, who may be targeted, that extremists have nothing to offer them. We must show them that there are other ways to express disagreement, that their right to do so is dependent on the very freedoms that extremists seek to destroy.

‘We must show them the multitude of statements of condemnation from British Muslims, show them these men of hate have no place in our mosques or any place of worship, and that they do not speak for Muslims in Britain or anywhere in the world.

‘Let us assure you that the government will do all we can to defeat the voices of division, but ultimately the challenges of integration and radicalisation cannot be solved from Whitehall alone. Strong community-based leadership at a local level is needed.’

One would assume that such an emollient letter would be received in the spirit in which it was written, however, this ‘Islamophobic’ missive was not well received by all.

Harun Khan, Deputy Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain said: ‘We will be writing to Mr Eric Pickles to ask that he clarifies his request to Muslims to ‘explain and demonstrate how faith in Islam can be part of British identity’. Khan continued, ‘Is Mr Pickles seriously suggesting, as do members of the far right, that Muslims and Islam are inherently apart from British society? He asked, as though it was not apparent, ‘Why is the Muslim community being singled out in such an approach?’

Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, said he was ‘dismayed’ by the letter, which was ‘typical of the government only looking at Muslims through the prism of terrorism and security’.

Pride of place in reaction to the letter goes, of course, to the Guardian. In today’s Comment is Free section there is an article by Areeb Ullah. In a classical example of ‘Whatabouterry’ he asks of Mr Pickles: ‘Serious question. Will you be sending a letter any time soon to members of the Roman Catholic church following the child-abuse scandals in Catholic institutions?’

There are some basic differences between the scandals which have hit the Roman Catholic church and the somewhat over enthusiastic interpretations of jihad amongst too many Muslims. Chief amongst them is that, depraved though many of them are, it is doubtful that those priests who raped children claimed they did so because Jesus told them to do it. The Muslims murdering those whom they think have slighted Muhammad do so because they have been taught, and sincerely believe, that Muhammad sanctions such action.

When it comes to child abuse no-one is asking Muslims to show their Britishness because of the horrendous grooming gangs who committed horrific widespread acts of child abuse in England. Everyone reckons that this was committed by Muslims who were bad people, not just because they were Muslims. These men were under no illusion that what they were doing was what Islam commanded.

I’m not sure if such creatures exist but I think I would feel more comfortable being around an extreme Methodist than I would being around an extreme Muslim.

Jesus is insulted constantly. If the Methodist Mujahadin take action the most they are likely to do is purse their lips, shake their heads and get on with organising the jumble sale. Offend the Church of England and the Anglican Al-Qaida may just have the Vicar invite you round for a sherry and a quiet chat after Evensong. As for the Baptist branch of Boko Haram they are the worst, offend them and they will pray for you.

There is a world of difference between a faith which teaches its followers that when attacked they should turn the other cheek and one which sanctions violent reprisal.




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