I know that I disappointed some when this blog took a turn in 2008. I saw tyrants taking (more) power and felt it my duty to sound the alarm and expose them and have done so since. Although this blog has always clearly put “worldly things” under its remit and although I’ve not taken my eye off “churchly” matters, I acknowledge the shift in focus was unpleasant. But needful tasks often are.
I changed my focus because I believe tyranny must be opposed as early and as clearly as possible. For tyrannical acts that succeed with little or ineffective opposition become precedents. See Roe v. Wade. And, yes, there are times when one should even refuse to submit to tyrannical so-called authority for that very reason.
I could go on about this, as you very well know, but better that I defer to an ashen archbishop who shows us all how to stand up to tyrants.
As many of you know, the UK Advertising Standards Authority has harassed and threatened Cranmer over his running a very upbeat ad in support of traditional marriage on his site. He has not only fought back very publicly, but also refused to acknowledge that the ASA has authority in this matter.
His latest missive to the ASA is masterful, particularly in picking apart ASA’s claim to have any authority over political advertising:
By choosing to investigate a promotional campaign which sought merely to uphold the traditional view of marriage, it is clear that you have expanded your remit to incorporate the promotion of political causes and ideas, which the CAP Code states specifically is excluded from the scope of your competence, except where they are ‘direct solicitations of donations for fund-raising’. That is manifestly not the case with the Coalition for Marriage advertisement: the only direct solicitation was for people’s signatures upon a petition. That the campaign is political is in no doubt, because HM Government have decreed it so by their decision to investigate those schools which advocate support of the marriage petition, which a minister has referred to as ‘political campaigning’. Your decision to investigate the complaint with threats and menaces, contra your own online remit, constitutes bullying, harassment and intimidation, which amounts to censorship of the cause for the retention of traditional marriage and the idea that marriage is a union of one man and one woman.
By sending out ‘complaint’ papers which demand responses with such phrases as ‘We require you to respond...’ and ‘we will need to see robust documentary evidence to back the claims and a clear explanation from you of its relevance’; and by doing so with demands to answer your questions by a certain deadline with threats of punitive action for non-compliance, you fraudulently convey an excess of power and claim an authority which you do not, in law, possess. You impress upon the recipient that you are the superior moral agent, and that submission and obeisance are the only appropriate response. Authority which is exerted without right is an illegitimate use of power; illegitimate authority is tyranny; and tyranny leads to injustice, which can have no authority at all. By abusing your self-certified power and self-authenticated authority for the perpetuation of an image of your self-integrity, you deny all authority. You ought to rename yourselves the Political Substandard Tyranny.
Further, he points out that the Chairman of the ASA, being Vice President of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality, is a player in the political fight over gay marriage and has a glaring conflict of interest. The said Chairman is abusing and exceeding his authority in order to harass political opposition.
And I think it important again to emphasize that Cranmer has been very public in standing up to the ASA. Citizens who take a stand and say NO loud and clear to tyrants are perhaps the best remedy to tyranny.
But do not take my word for it. Get thee hence and let His Grace show you how to deal with tyrants.