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Mar. 5th, 2012

Cardinal Keith O'Brien is the latest senior churchman recently to rail against the legalisation of gay marriage, calling the plans “madness” and accusing the government of trying to “redefine reality”. Leaving aside the reality or madness of the cardinal's own chosen beliefs (virgin birth, transubstantiation, mandatory celibacy has no adverse consequences etc), he and his fellow protestors such as the Archbishop of York are following in an ancient clerical tradition of admonishing and scorning their errant flock, and as they become shriller and more strident over the next few months it's worth placing them in their proper context:
Eminent Victorians ... backed the idea [of an underground railway], though there were also voices ranged against such godlessness. At an open-air meeting in Smithfield, a preacher called Dr Cuming warned, “The forthcoming end of the world would be hastened by the construction of underground railways burrowing into the internal regions and thereby disturbing the devil”.

Stephen Smith, Underground London
See also: this.

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