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Source: (consider it) Thread: Felbrigg Hall lanyards
Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Louise:
It's put in anti-marketing terms but they are refusing to incorporate new research on minority history into how the property is presented.

But I don't think "minority history" is relevant to the building, is it? It's not a notable building because it was owned by a gay man. Is Mr. Ketton-Cremer's sexuality relevant to the interior design? I've not seen the building, but somehow I doubt it.

Robert Ketton-Cremer's sexuality is relevant to the history of Robert Ketton-Cremer. I don't see how it's relevant to the building.

Now, if he had decorated the interior with secret gay symbols or something, then his sexuality is relevant to the building. I don't think he did, did he?

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Louise
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
quote:
Originally posted by Louise:
I'm sorry but that is an attack on the competence and professionalism of a scholar who states in his script quite clearly "The truth is, when researching Robert’s life, we find many accounts that openly acknowledge his homosexuality.”

I'm not denying his homosexuality. What I do find contentious is the extent to which his homosexuality in and of itself makes him a legitimate subject of a "Prejudice and Pride" event.

I said nothing at all about not mentioning his homosexuality and I'm not challenging the scholarship. My issue is not with the history but with the emphasis and its expression. All the more so in that so far as I can tell, there is no comparison with the case of Alan Turing, and as I said, if something similar were to happen at Bletchley Park I'd feel differently. I think an emphasis at a site with clear links to actual historic events of discrimination would be more effective and more appropriate.

There is a campaign in my city to dual name every single street in Breton as well as in French (activists recently removed all the offending signs and piled them up at the town hall front door). Much could be said about the Breton language and its wilful suppression, first by the Germans and later by De Gaulle, but the fact is that Breton was never a widely-spoken language where I live. The dialect that was spoken here has to all intents and purposes simply been willed out of existence by Breton language militants, in defiance of the historical facts.

Which is to say that I think that history is not infinitely pliable and that there's such a thing as overreach.

'In defiance of the historical facts'.. 'overreach' yet you've shown not one area in which this video contradicts historical facts and/or overreaches. It's not analogous to your Breton situation because it's not based on falsification of history.

But you're apparently happy to erase the history of all LGBT persons connected with historic buildings living in times of persecution except for Alan Turing. Bletchley Park doesn't even belong to the National Trust, so are they to never mention this area of history at all, despite the many LGBT people who have lived in or owned their houses?

Sorry Eutychus, but this is like saying that in a country where racist laws are an important part of their history that they should never be mentioned in public historical interpretation when discussing the life of a notable non-white person unless that person was Steve Biko or Martin Luther King and you're at a building which is associated with them.

And Ketton-Cremer is notable - he's important enough to have an 850 word Dictionary of National Biography entry as a biographer and county historian and he was the owner who left the estate to the National Trust. So talking about his life is an excellent way of doing public LGBT history and reminding people that it's not just Alan Turing - many hundreds of thousands of people were affected by those laws and the climate they engendered in many different ways.

People from institutions which still don't practice equality in same sex relationships (does your church carry out same sex marriages?) really should not be telling historians and curators 'this notable gay man isn't worthy of having his life under hostile anti-gay laws studied and talked about and publicised. A six minute video and a campaign with a fancy lanyard in his own house is too much attention for him.'

It smacks too much of not wanting the historical dirty linen being washed in public of people having to lead closeted lives, because of anti-gay attitudes which were promoted by, among others, churches.

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Louise
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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
quote:
Originally posted by Louise:
It's put in anti-marketing terms but they are refusing to incorporate new research on minority history into how the property is presented.

But I don't think "minority history" is relevant to the building, is it? It's not a notable building because it was owned by a gay man. Is Mr. Ketton-Cremer's sexuality relevant to the interior design? I've not seen the building, but somehow I doubt it.

Robert Ketton-Cremer's sexuality is relevant to the history of Robert Ketton-Cremer. I don't see how it's relevant to the building.

Now, if he had decorated the interior with secret gay symbols or something, then his sexuality is relevant to the building. I don't think he did, did he?

Lord Darnley didn't make any architectural alterations to Holyrood Palace but it would be a bit weird to demand that the guides stop telling the tourists about his connection to the property because only bricks and mortar and interior design count as important parts of Holyrood's heritage.

Historical properties carry social and political historical importance too, they're not just there for building history and art history. The National Trust explicitly does social history. To take an example off that page, I doubt Nancy Astor left the walls of her house covered in election posters and put up ballot boxes in the dining room but her history as the first female MP to take her seat is still worth mentioning when you have her portrait and a house she lived in.

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Baptist Trainfan
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Yes, but I think the balance of "this building is important because of who lived here" and "this building is important because of its architectural merit" varies from property to property. John Lennon's house in Liverpool is at one end of the spectrum, St. Paul's Cathedral at the other, Blenheim Palace probably at both!
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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Louise:
But you're apparently happy to erase the history of all LGBT persons connected with historic buildings

This is exaggeration and you know it. I could quote from my own posts above to disprove it.

The issue to my mind is whether Ketton-Cremer's sexuality is anything but tangential to the history of the place, and whether drawing attention to it in the way the lanyards - not the video - sought to do is an appropriate way of promoting issues of discrimination. It may be a fair assumption that Ketton-Cremer kept quiet about his sexuality for fear of persecution, but it is an assumption. Some people just keep quiet about their sexuality full stop.

To recognise K-C's sexuality is one thing. To attempt to make the NT volunteers at Felbrigg Hall literal standard-bearers for the contemporary LGBTQ movement by invoking his person is another entirely.

There's a difference between the NT having a broadly pro-diversity policy and espousing and highlighting a specific diversity concern and to my eyes at least, it is not what I expect the brand to do. I perceive the NT as custodians not as an advocacy group.

quote:
Bletchley Park doesn't even belong to the National Trust, so are they to never mention this area of history at all, despite the many LGBT people who have lived in or owned their houses?
You unfortunately make it sound as though failing to have Bletchley Park in their portfolio means the NT absolutely have to cast around for somewhere, anywhere to squeeze into the mould of an anti-discrimination narrative they've espoused rather than look more dispassionately at the heritage they actually have and the prima facie story it tells which, naively perhaps, is what I would expect of the brand.

quote:
this is like saying that in a country where racist laws are an important part of their history that they should never be mentioned in public historical interpretation when discussing the life of a notable non-white person unless that person was Steve Biko or Martin Luther King and you're at a building which is associated with them.
No it's not. It's saying that I don't expect to be greeted at every notable non-white person's residence by a greeter sporting a Black Lives Matter T-shirt.

quote:
And Ketton-Cremer is notable - he's important enough to have an 850 word Dictionary of National Biography entry as a biographer and county historian and he was the owner who left the estate to the National Trust.
He was not, so far as I can tell, a notable victim of discrimination, nor a notable activist. He wasn't a "notable gay man". He was a notable man who happened to be gay.

quote:
does your church carry out same sex marriages?
For the record, my church doesn't carry out any marriages at all, since in this country that is the preserve of the state; but at this point I think the main reason we haven't blessed a same-sex one is that nobody has asked us to yet. There is certainly nothing in any statement of faith or similar to prevent us from doing so.
quote:
really should not be telling historians and curators 'this notable gay man isn't worthy of having his life under hostile anti-gay laws studied and talked about and publicised. A six minute video and a campaign with a fancy lanyard in his own house is too much attention for him.'
Putting words like this into my mouth is the kind of tactic that tempts me to back-track on all the long years of patient discussion here that have led me to reversing my views on homosexuality. Doing so is not discussion; it's aggression.

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Jane R
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Leorning Cniht:
quote:
But I don't think "minority history" is relevant to the building, is it? It's not a notable building because it was owned by a gay man.
I've been to Felbrigg Hall. I would not describe it as a notable building at all. It's nice enough if you like poking round rich people's houses and admiring antique furniture; a typical English country house, owned by a relatively undistinguished family (compared to, for example, the Churchills or the Howards). "The last owner was gay" is probably the most exciting thing they could find to say about it.
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Baptist Trainfan
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It seems to me that seeking to focus on gay heritage at Felbrigg is very different to focussing on it at Charleston, where it is absolutely central to the place.
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Louise
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Refusing to promote the history of someone who's not in the category of being the 'Mary Queen of Scots at Holyrood' or 'Henry VIII at Hampton Court' of LGBT history (like Turing/Bletchley) is not looking 'dispassionately' at the heritage.

I've already explained a bit about how there is no such things as 'dispassionately looking at the heritage' - whoever you choose to put in or leave out is a choice. If you put such a high bar on LGBT history, that's not being dispassionate, that's saying that this area of previously suppressed history should not get the kind of promotion even a one off exhibition at a good museum gets - Videos! Promotions! Exhibition themed lanyard!

But have a rainbow lanyard instead of one with hieroglyphics or tartan or green white and violet for Give Women Votes and the knives are out.

Your posts do indicate that you think Ketton-Cremer doesn't deserve a six minute video and a fancy lanyard in his own house which he gave to the nation or for historians to talk about his life as a gay man in the days of persecution, because he's not an icon of the LGBT firmament of the status of Alan Turing and didn't suffer in the most extreme way (his connection to the house is as good as Turing's to Bletchley - and it's not like Turing was the only important person at Bletchley).

Trying to put these kinds of strictures on LGBT history promotion is not a good approach.

[ 06. August 2017, 22:48: Message edited by: Louise ]

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Louise
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There's more info about the film with quotes from Professor Sandell in this article and I would urge people to watch the film which is very good.

I remember a conversation with someone older who went to my school before I did in a very anti-gay era. She had thought she was alone in the world and the only thing she heard from a teacher about homosexuality was something along the lines of 'people like that can be cured nowadays'. She tried to kill herself and was lucky to survive. Coming across books about classical history which mentioned people with same sex relationships, both fiction and non fiction, was one of the few things that sustained her until she reached less anti-gay environments. History in which excluded people can see themselves is very powerful.

Remember the picture of the little boy who wanted to touch President Obama's hair to see if it was just like his? Not history but something similar. When people come up with quibbles as to why an LGBT story isn't good enough or important enough to be promoted, it's in a sense covering up the mirror of history for people who don't normally get much of a view in it of people like them. And taking away things like the lanyards that give people confidence to ask about history like this - history that is harder to find because so much of it had to be kept secret, so you're not going to find it in every stately house, even it was there - is also a way of helping to hide that history.

If you're going to Felbrigg because you love 17th century houses that's great - but there are lots of 17th century houses, new research which recovers gay lives from the era of criminalisation and links those lives with a building like Felbrigg is much rarer and people whose lives are informed and reflected by it deserve better than to be told to stick to Bletchley Park, if they want to know about people like them in history.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
Putting words like this into my mouth is the kind of tactic that tempts me to back-track on all the long years of patient discussion here that have led me to reversing my views on homosexuality. Doing so is not discussion; it's aggression.

And this statement isn't? It is a naked threat. "Be nice or I'll be a bigot again"
How is that embodying acceptance? Or even Christianity?

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If it's not here soon, I might be done
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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Jane R:
I've been to Felbrigg Hall. I would not describe it as a notable building at all.

Fair enough.

Did you go because you wanted to spend a day poking round a nice English country house and garden, or because you have a particular interest in R. W. Ketton-Cremer?

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Louise
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By the way I've been talking about erasing/erasure in history and it occurred to me that has a technical sense that might be misconstrued

quote:
‘Erasure’’ refers to the practice of collective indifference that renders certain people and groups invisible. The word migrated out of the academy, where it alluded to the tendency of ideologies to dismiss inconvenient facts, and is increasingly used to describe how inconvenient people are dismissed, their history, pain and achievements blotted out. Compared with words like ‘‘diversity’’ and ‘‘representation,’’ with their glib corporate gloss, ‘‘erasure’’ is a blunt word for a blunt process. It goes beyond simplistic discussions of quotas to ask: Whose stories are taught and told? Whose suffering is recognized? Whose dead are mourned?

The casualties of ‘‘erasure’’ constitute familiar castes: women, minorities, the queer and the poor.

Fighting ‘Erasure’

'Whose stories are taught and told? Whose suffering is recognized? Whose dead are mourned?' this is what I'm talking about and why I'm so uncomfortable with posters producing all kinds of quibbles and tests of relevance, 'centrality' and 'dispassion' about when and where they think LGBT history might be allowed to be made visible and promoted and exactly how visible they think it should be allowed to be.

It's really problematic stuff.

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Louise:
Your posts do indicate that you think Ketton-Cremer doesn't deserve a six minute video and a fancy lanyard in his own house which he gave to the nation or for historians to talk about his life as a gay man in the days of persecution, because he's not an icon of the LGBT firmament of the status of Alan Turing and didn't suffer in the most extreme way (his connection to the house is as good as Turing's to Bletchley - and it's not like Turing was the only important person at Bletchley).

My posts indicate nothing of the kind. My objection has been to the staff being required to wear a symbol of advocacy when I don't consider that to be part of their job description, and more specifically to your blanket insinuation that anyone not wearing a lanyard was "anti-gay" and a "homophobe".

I am far from sure this is actually the case, and I certainly don't find this attitude ("agree to adopt LGBTQ advocacy wholesale or be branded a homophobe") conducive to constructively progressing the cause of LGBTQ rights.

quote:
But have a rainbow lanyard instead of one with hieroglyphics or tartan or green white and violet for Give Women Votes and the knives are out.
On consideration, I think my feelings would be the same about any cause - I've already stated my objection to poppies - and all the more so in a working capacity.

I don't think it's right to enlist staff in a campaign that is not specifically that of the organisation in question and as someone who manages volunteers, I think it's terrible volunteer management to sanction those who wish to opt out.

We can agree, I think, that erasure is a complicated thing. I have been involved in museum displays for Fontevraud Abbey, at one point in its history a prison, where the last inmates were put to work removing all trace of its history as such. I once feared I was about to be physically removed from the Guernsey War Museum when I had the temerity to ask the bookstore if they stocked the then-recently-published The Model Occupation which I understand features excellent scholarship and which tells a rather different story of the German occupation of the Channel Islands to the one the Museum does. And I used to live near Oradour-sur-Glane and recall similar questions about just what happened there, why, and how the site should be dealt with - and allegedly, deliberate suppression by the authorities of some inconvenient facts.

I still don't think rainbow lanyards were a good move. Not least because the issues are indeed more complicated than the binary "lanyard-wearer = gay-friendly; 'uncomfortable' = homophobe" line you've taken.

quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
Putting words like this into my mouth is the kind of tactic that tempts me to back-track on all the long years of patient discussion here that have led me to reversing my views on homosexuality. Doing so is not discussion; it's aggression.

And this statement isn't? It is a naked threat. "Be nice or I'll be a bigot again"
How is that embodying acceptance? Or even Christianity?

[Roll Eyes] it's not a "naked threat". It's a frank admission of how I feel. And there is nothing non-Christian about pointing out misrepresentation, since we are supposed to "rejoice in the truth".

I abandoned the "hostility to traditional Christians..." thread at around the time it got sent to DH because I went on holiday, but your post is a perfect example of precisely that.

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Golden Key
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On a pragmatic* basis:

Why not just put rainbow streamers and bunting up? And maybe have little rainbow ribbons that *anyone* can take, for free?

IMHO, that would honor LGBT folks; allow the staff to choose; and bring visitors into the celebration, via the ribbons.

*I.e., a way to work through the situation relatively peacefully. But keeping all the original details might be more important for some people.

FWIW, YMMV.

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
My objection has been to the staff being required to wear a symbol of advocacy when I don't consider that to be part of their job description, and more specifically to your blanket insinuation that anyone not wearing a lanyard was "anti-gay" and a "homophobe".

I am far from sure this is actually the case.

...

I think my feelings would be the same about any cause - I've already stated my objection to poppies - and all the more so in a working capacity.

I don't think it's right to enlist staff in a campaign that is not specifically that of the organisation in question and as someone who manages volunteers, I think it's terrible volunteer management to sanction those who wish to opt out.

To me this lies at the heart of the debate. Those who know me will know that I have tried to push for gay rights - specifically SSM - in a denomination which has not been keen to embrace the idea. But I wasn't comfortable with the NT's position on this (and, as others know, I've also had stick in the past for swimming against the tide with the poppies).

To make a parallel. As a child, I used to attend a church that was proud to have been founded by William Wilberforce. Now I am absolutely appalled by the idea of slavery in any form; but I would not expect the welcomers on a Sunday morning to be compelled to wear "Stop the Traffik" badges - at least, not without a free and open discussion having first taken place within the congregation.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:

To make a parallel. As a child, I used to attend a church that was proud to have been founded by William Wilberforce. Now I am absolutely appalled by the idea of slavery in any form; but I would not expect the welcomers on a Sunday morning to be compelled to wear "Stop the Traffik" badges - at least, not without a free and open discussion having first taken place within the congregation.

I'm not clear why that is the same thing. If it was a baptist church, presumably members have a say over policy.

We're talking about volunteers of a charity not members of a church.

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Jane R
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Leorning Cniht:
quote:
Did you go because you wanted to spend a day poking round a nice English country house and garden, or because you have a particular interest in R. W. Ketton-Cremer?
I don't see why it is relevant to the discussion, but since you ask, I went as part of a group from the university Folk Dance Society to perform seventeenth-century dances on the lawn. My most enduring memory of Felbrigg is therefore of sheep-shit (we were only allowed to dance on the lawn the sheep grazed on). And this happened last century, long before this research project, so the sheep are probably dead now as well.

Oh, and what Louise said. Some of our ancestors were gay (even the rich ones). Some of the heroes of Dunkirk were not white. Some of the Romans were from North Africa (including at least one emperor). If we're going to remember the past at all we should remember it as it really was, not as the people in charge at the time would like us to think it was.

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Jane R:
If we're going to remember the past at all we should remember it as it really was, not as the people in charge at the time would like us to think it was.

On the face of it I have no quarrel with this statement.

However, unless it is applied equitably, not just in favour of the minority cause you or I hold dear, it is hypocritical - and I think it's a rare person who would not feel "uncomfortable" confronted with some aspect or other of their personal cultural heritage they would deep down prefer to remember selectively for all manner of reasons.

(Sometimes it seems that everyone's father or grandfather in France was a Resistance fighter. More rarely is it admitted that they were an eleventh-hour recruit to the cause, if that. Visit Normandy and you'll find resentment not against the occupying German forces but the Allies who flattened local towns and cities to oust them).

And so far as I'm concerned, the argument that any objection to the policy is an attempt to suppress the homosexual history attached to Felbrigg Hall is a ploy to divert from the issue I'm talking about, which is press-ganging people into advocacy they didn't sign up for and then branding them homophobes when they don't comply.

quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
We're talking about volunteers of a charity not members of a church.

You seem to think that "volunteer" means "should accept any dictates on the part of the organisation or face the consequences". There's a lot more to good volunteer management than that.

quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
I've also had stick in the past for swimming against the tide with the poppies.

Great! Glad to know I'm not alone. Wait - I have an idea. Perhaps those taking this view could all wear some sort of symbol...

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Jane R
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Eutychus:
quote:
However, unless it is applied equitably, not just in favour of the minority cause you or I hold dear, it is hypocritical - and I think it's a rare person who would not feel "uncomfortable" confronted with some aspect or other of their personal cultural heritage they would deep down prefer to remember selectively for all manner of reasons.
On the face of it I have no quarrel with this statement. However, I hope you are not accusing either myself or Louise (who happens to be a professional historian who knows whereof she speaks) of hypocrisy. I cannot speak for Louise, but I am deeply uncomfortable about certain aspects of British history (such as the extent to which our current prosperity depends on colonialism). It doesn't mean I am prepared to look away from it.
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Jane R
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[with apologies for the double post, time to edit message elapsed]

Also:
quote:
And so far as I'm concerned, the argument that any objection to the policy is an attempt to suppress the homosexual history attached to Felbrigg Hall is a ploy to divert from the issue I'm talking about, which is press-ganging people into advocacy they didn't sign up for and then branding them homophobes when they don't comply.
As I said earlier, I can see where you're coming from there, but I would respectfully suggest that it's hard for most people under the age of 40 to understand why someone would refuse to wear a rainbow lanyard if they were not opposed to LGBTQI rights, equal marriage, etc., etc.
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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:

quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
We're talking about volunteers of a charity not members of a church.

You seem to think that "volunteer" means "should accept any dictates on the part of the organisation or face the consequences". There's a lot more to good volunteer management than that.


I've done a lot of volunteering with large national charities and there are a lot of volunteers who think that the rules and directions from the charity don't apply to them.

To be fair, it is usually health and safety that volunteers object to in my experience, however I'm pretty tired of hearing about volunteers who think that they have some kind of right or say over how the charity is run.

They don't. Volunteering is a privilege not a right, if one doesn't like the rules then the door is there to use.

I'd agree that the management of the volunteers in this particular instance sounds bad, however I know from experience that there are a number of elderly volunteers with the National Trust who seem to think that they can flout policy directions from above and that there are a correspondingly large number of elderly middle-class people who think that having life membership actually gives them a moral and financial share a specific given stately home.

It is weird behaviour, that is not seen in buildings owned by English Heritage, Cadw or the National Trust for Scotland, in my experience.

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quote:
Originally posted by Jane R:
Eutychus:
quote:
However, unless it is applied equitably, not just in favour of the minority cause you or I hold dear, it is hypocritical - and I think it's a rare person who would not feel "uncomfortable" confronted with some aspect or other of their personal cultural heritage they would deep down prefer to remember selectively for all manner of reasons.
On the face of it I have no quarrel with this statement. However, I hope you are not accusing either myself or Louise (who happens to be a professional historian who knows whereof she speaks) of hypocrisy.
Absolutely not. I've said at least once that I'm not disputing the scholarship. To the extent that the owner of Feltrigg Hall was gay I have absolutely no problem with that fact and how it was lived out being incorporated into the presentation of the place.

I am somewhat more dubious that the facts support the argument for using the venue as a basis to portray "life as a gay man in the days of persecution" because I've seen no evidence he was actively persecuted, but I'm not going to die on a hill disputing that. My primary reason for joining the thread was the lanyards, as explained above.

The germane question here to my mind is whether it is legitimate or equitable for you to be entitled to feel "deeply uncomfortable" regarding an issue of your choice without further insinuations being made against you, whilst those opting out of lanyard-wearing because they were similarly "uncomfortable" are summarily branded homophobes and those questioning this are accused of trying to write homosexuality out of the local history books.

To put it another way, yes, if we're going to remember the past at all we should remember it as it really was, not as the people in charge at the time would like us to think it was - nor as any special-interest group with influence now might like to reinterpret it.

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I don't really care about lanyards. I suspect if it hadn't been the lanyards it would have been about a display room talking positively about the man or that the NT decided to have a rainbow or pride day or something.

That's the point: a small number of volunteers were spoiling for a fight when they can't get the charity management to do what they want.

The NT should have shut them up asap, but as it is they've allowed it to roll into the national media. There are obviously ways the NT can and should have managed this better, but it is likely that the media-connected volunteers would have made this an issue whatever happened.

The fact is that this kind of shit is happening all the time. Most charities can keep a lid on it, the problem is developed from volunteers with a personal grievance which can never be satisfied by the charity.

I know of a major unreported charity volunteer bungle which developed when a charity wanted to close a charity shop which was losing money* - vocal volunteers were trying to keep the thing open so they had something to do in the afternoon. Somehow the charity managed to keep a lid on it, I'm still not entirely sure how given the volunteer anger.

*which unfortunately happens more often than most people suspect

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Jane R
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Eutychus:
quote:
To put it another way, yes, if we're going to remember the past at all we should remember it as it really was, not as the people in charge at the time would like us to think it was - nor as any special-interest group with influence now might like to reinterpret it.
Very true; but the special-interest group with most influence now is (still) rich white people. Mostly rich white men. That is what this whole fuss is about.
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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Jane R:
I would respectfully suggest that it's hard for most people under the age of 40 to understand why someone would refuse to wear a rainbow lanyard if they were not opposed to LGBTQI rights, equal marriage, etc., etc.

So the dissenting old fogeys should just suck it up? Is that not ageism? Persecution? Minority oppression? If not, what is it?

I don't have a fish on my car and I am averse to wearing designer or branded clothes. I'm sitting here wearing a T-shirt I bought in Portsmouth Primark on Saturday precisely because it had no logo on it (of course I can fully expect to be blasted now for supporting child exploitation in Bangladesh).

But we're not talking about "someone". We're talking about people "acting in a capacity". What I opt to exhibit support for as a private individual is worlds apart from an organisation pressing its members into displaying support for a distinct cause.

quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I'd agree that the management of the volunteers in this particular instance sounds bad, however I know from experience that there are a number of elderly volunteers with the National Trust who seem to think that they can flout policy directions from above and that there are a correspondingly large number of elderly middle-class people who think that having life membership actually gives them a moral and financial share a specific given stately home.

Fair enough, but it is not unreasonable for life members, and even more so active volunteers, to feel they have a moral stake in something they have supported, and bad resource management to enact a decision which makes them feel disenfranchised and indeed imposes sanctions on them. If the NT wants to become an advocacy group it should say so and expect its support base to change accordingly.

[x-post]

[ 07. August 2017, 08:12: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
That's the point: a small number of volunteers were spoiling for a fight when they can't get the charity management to do what they want.

I'm out of time for the minute, but do you have evidence of which side took the story to the media?

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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
Fair enough, but it is not unreasonable for life members, and even more so active volunteers, to feel they have a moral stake in something they have supported, and bad resource management to enact a decision which makes them feel disenfranchised and indeed imposes sanctions on them. If the NT wants to become an advocacy group it should say so and expect its support base to change accordingly.

[x-post]

The National Trust has plenty of meetings and opportunities for members to discuss policy and it has had several recent occasions where the management has been berated and outvoted by members.

But that's not what it is happening here. Life members seem to think that they have special rights because they are life members outwith of their actual voting and speaking rights at meetings. In reality they have a one-member-one-vote right like everyone else.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
I'm out of time for the minute, but do you have evidence of which side took the story to the media?

It's a fairly obvious pattern of manufactured outrage aided and abetted by the Daily Moan - which recently rubbished the NT on this exact issue.

In that context of Daily Mail coverage, why would NT take the story to the media? What possible gain would there be from announcing that volunteers would be wearing lanyards?

I suspect that there was some kind of link between the Mail and the outraged volunteers before there was public knowledge about the lanyards.

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
The National Trust has plenty of meetings and opportunities for members to discuss policy and it has had several recent occasions where the management has been berated and outvoted by members.

Fair enough, but were there any local meetings between Felbrigg managers and volunteers before this specific policy was imposed?

quote:
Life members seem to think that they have special rights because they are life members outwith of their actual voting and speaking rights at meetings. In reality they have a one-member-one-vote right like everyone else.
I quite agree, and I've seen similar behaviour in churches. But this may not have too much bearing on his particular instance.
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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
Fair enough, but were there any local meetings between Felbrigg managers and volunteers before this specific policy was imposed?

I've no idea. I'm not sure that this is really very important - given that volunteering is a privilege and that the practice falls within NT policy.

Volunteers object to many things all the time, in the NT volunteers regularly object to things at a drop of a hat. It would be nice to think that managers discussed things with volunteers, but given that such a small number objected to this incidence, it seems likely that either they only voiced their objections to the Daily Mail rather than the management or that the NT attempted to offer them some other way to resolve the difference and they decided they'd rather blow it up in the media.

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Imagine we take the issue away from lanyards for the moment.

The NT regularly have specific uniforms for staff and volunteers for particular properties.

Let's imagine that there is a property which has a statue in the drive of a water nymph and has thus decided to put it on the uniform.

Out of 500 people who volunteer at the property, 10 say that they won't wear a uniform with a picture of a naked woman.

Well tough, says the NT property manager, I've ordered the uniform and that's what everyone is going to wear.

Well we won't say the rebel volunteers.

Fine says the NT property manager, don't volunteer at this property then. Nobody is forcing you to.

Ultimately this is the real question - why should 10 volunteers get to object to something decided corporately by the NT property manager for their site and why should they get special dibs on the uniform that nobody else is worried about?

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I can see what you're getting at, but:

1. All the volunteers will have already come to their own conclusions about the nymph, which they will have seen with their eyes many times. Images and maquettes of it are probably on sale in the gift shop anyway.

2. The statue is property-specific in a way which The Issue We Are Talking About isn't. The badge would say nothing more than, "I work here" and could never be regarded as having any link to the wearer's individual moral and social views.

3. I take the point about a small vocal minority not being allowed to call the tune (been there, got the T-shirt). But I'd still think it would be good practice for the manager to call a volunteer meeting and ask for opinions on the new uniforms before getting them ordered. The volunteers would then "own" the process - and they might have some helpful suggestions to offer, too!

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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
I can see what you're getting at, but:

1. All the volunteers will have already come to their own conclusions about the nymph, which they will have seen with their eyes many times. Images and maquettes of it are probably on sale in the gift shop anyway.

I'm not sure why that's relevant.

quote:
2. The statue is property-specific in a way which The Issue We Are Talking About isn't. The badge would say nothing more than, "I work here" and could never be regarded as having any link to the wearer's individual moral and social views.
I think that's exactly the same. The rainbow lanyard is just a lanyard. It isn't saying anything about the person wearing it other than that it was given to them to wear by the NT.

quote:
3. I take the point about a small vocal minority not being allowed to call the tune (been there, got the T-shirt). But I'd still think it would be good practice for the manager to call a volunteer meeting and ask for opinions on the new uniforms before getting them ordered. The volunteers would then "own" the process - and they might have some helpful suggestions to offer, too!
Possibly. I don't know. This might have happened and the complaints were seen as a small minority or they weren't even expressed during a volunteer meeting.

One can't please everyone all the time. As the management of a NT property, of course one has to consider volunteer welfare, but there are clearly more important things to be worrying about than whether a small number of volunteers feel that they can derail the uniform choosing process.

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Jane R
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Eutychus:
quote:
So the dissenting old fogeys should just suck it up? Is that not ageism? Persecution? Minority oppression? If not, what is it?
Social change? And it's not a new problem.

'Dost thou think because thou art virtuous there shall be no more cakes and ale?' - said by Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night to Malvolio, who despite being a pompous idiot was (a) doing his job and (b) had a point, that they were making an unseemly racket when everyone else was trying to sleep.

As older people outnumber young people in all the rich countries of the West and have a disproportionate amount of wealth and political power (in the UK) it is rather stretching things to characterize them all as an oppressed minority, although many old people also belong to minority groups.

Oh, and what mr cheesy said.

[ 07. August 2017, 10:21: Message edited by: Jane R ]

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Jane R:
Eutychus:
quote:
So the dissenting old fogeys should just suck it up? Is that not ageism? Persecution? Minority oppression? If not, what is it?
Social change? And it's not a new problem.
My tongue was somewhat in my cheek there, but you give a fair answer.

Social change? For sure. The debate to my mind is how it is to be best implemented. Making volunteers wear lanyards designed to send a clear advocacy message [which a local mermaid statue would not be, in and of itself] that is distinct from the organisation's main goals or face sanctions as a result is hamfisted. Branding those that fail to comply homophobes and/or anti-gay is not the best way of implementing social change with minimal conflict. It looks more like a zero-sum game to me.

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Curiosity killed ...

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It is a six week event.

Lanyards and ID badges are normal wear for work for many people - I have both, and my work lanyard has the name of the company woven through it. I don't tend to wear it around my neck because I also have keys on my lanyard and if I wear them around my neck, rather than tucked away in a pocket, some of the kids I work with will grab them so they can abscond or get through the door keeping them apart from their current sworn enemy.

There was a story that predated this one that suggested that there is a problem with the National Trust's volunteer policy - along with other organisations that rely on volunteers.

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quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
It is a six week event

From your link:
quote:
the rainbow is an internationally accepted symbol of welcome
Who are they trying to fool? That is disingenuous in the extreme. The word "welcome" does not even figure on this page let alone this one.

quote:
Lanyards and ID badges are normal wear for work for many people - I have both, and my work lanyard has the name of the company woven through it.
I have taken to wearing my prison ID on a lanyard despite the strangulation risk, because it kept falling off the clip, and because I kept getting into trouble for not displaying it at all (and thus frequently being taken by inmates for an inmate). The pros and cons of lanyard-wearing are, however, not relevant here. The issue is whether the message the lanyard conveys is distinct from that of the organisation.

In this case I would say it incontrovertibly does, and that - along with the epithets reserved for non-wearers - is the problem.

quote:
There was a story that predated this one that suggested that there is a problem with the National Trust's volunteer policy - along with other organisations that rely on volunteers.
There are plenty of problems with the volunteer system and its place in contemporary culture. The attempted use of these lanyards for advocacy is a distinct (though related) issue.

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One of the things we've had a discussion about at work is how can make sure that we make everyone feel welcome and what we can include in wall displays to make young people not feel that they have to keep quiet about their sexuality - and we are expected to include rainbow symbols. We also have LGBT+ weeks to encourage discussions about LGBT+. This followed a member of staff taking a rainbow badge off coming into work after an event because they felt it wasn't appropriate.

As an aside the problem with my lanyard is that it has a catch that pulls apart if yanked, so no strangulation risk, but one or two of our lovelies have found they can grab and take keys so we have been discouraging lanyard use for keys, although we should still wear them for ID badges.

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
I'm out of time for the minute, but do you have evidence of which side took the story to the media?

It's a fairly obvious pattern of manufactured outrage aided and abetted by the Daily Moan
According to the link in the OP the story broke first in the local paper. A brief scan of recent pieces by the journalist in question doesn't suggest she is a regular purveyor of manufactured outrage. In my experience local papers have some of the best journalism around.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
According to the link in the OP the story broke first in the local paper. A brief scan of recent pieces by the journalist in question doesn't suggest she is a regular purveyor of manufactured outrage. In my experience local papers have some of the best journalism around.

British local journalists these days rarely leave their desks and only ever write articles when someone phones them up and gives them a story.

Hence the very recent discussions about the number of times articles have been published in a local newspaper about a national chain of bakers. The paper claims that they're not getting paid for this free publicity, so the only explanation can be that the journalists are writing drivel based on press releases because they've got no other way to write articles that generates views.

TL;DR version: local news is shite. The chance that a local journalist would have written this without a nudge is non-existent.

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mr cheesy - true, but I can imagine a NT volunteer being more likely to contact someone on a local newspaper than a national one.

Eutychus - I often agree with your concerns about how we treat traditionalists et al, but I think the National Trust behaved reasonably here. The lanyards were only to be worn for six weeks, it would have been pretty clear they were part of a uniform, and the volunteers were given the option of alternative duties. I think that's a decent accommodation.
quote:
Originally posted by Jane R:
the special-interest group with most influence now is (still) rich white people. Mostly rich white men. That is what this whole fuss is about.

Sure, white people have a lot of influence in the UK. All the main figures in this, on both sides, are white: Professor Sandell, Dame Helen Ghosh and Annabel Smith (head of volunteering) are white. Mr Wyndham Ketton-Cremer was white, as are Paul Dacre (the Mail's editor) and Stephen Fry (who did the video). Given NT demographics, no doubt most of the 30 volunteers who protested about lanyards were white, as were the majority of the 320 who wore them.

But having a lot of influence isn't the same as being homophobic, and homophobia doesn't correlate with being white. You wouldn't avoid the problem if the Trust's volunteers were mostly black and Asian. Bringing race into this strikes me as unnecessary and divisive.

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The earliest story I can find was from 21 July, in the Daily Telegraph, slanted at outing Robert Ketton-Cremer with the publication of the film for starting to be shown in the house from 25 July 2017. The next stories were based around three of the godchildren, including a letter from Tristram Powell in the Torygraph in 26 July, which is behind a paywall, but mentioned in various stories - this was picked up in stories in the Daily Mail, Pink News and the Daily Telegraph.

The rainbow lanyard story seems to have come a local journalist looking for outrage. (And I'm with mr cheesy, I'm horrified by local coverage of something I'm involved in - real muck-scraping, unnecessary slime-throwing, outrage-building reporting.)

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mr cheesy
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I suspect that someone got cross reading the stories in the Mail and the Telegraph and decided to spread some muck via a local journalist with nothing much else to write about.

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Hiro's Leap:
Eutychus - I often agree with your concerns about how we treat traditionalists et al, but I think the National Trust behaved reasonably here. The lanyards were only to be worn for six weeks, it would have been pretty clear they were part of a uniform, and the volunteers were given the option of alternative duties. I think that's a decent accommodation.

Put that way it seems fairer. In view of the sources CK has dug up I can imagine the journalists may have slanted the way the decision was taken - in fact doing so would fuel the ire on both sides.

There's a big difference between whether "alternative duties" were presented as a compromise solution before the event or as a "punishment" after the fact.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
[Roll Eyes] it's not a "naked threat". It's a frank admission of how I feel.

There is naught, in the definition of either, that is mutually exclusive.[/QB][/QUOTE]

quote:

And there is nothing non-Christian about pointing out misrepresentation, since we are supposed to "rejoice in the truth".

The non-Christian bit is the "Be nice or I shall take my ball away." It is natural to feel resentment when confronted; but it shows no commitment to an ideal if such can change one's position, nor does it reflect Jesus.
quote:

I abandoned the "hostility to traditional Christians..." thread at around the time it got sent to DH because I went on holiday, but your post is a perfect example of precisely that.

No. It is an example of confronting a tactic. It is the same call I would make regardless of the topic.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
The non-Christian bit is the "Be nice or I shall take my ball away." It is natural to feel resentment when confronted; but it shows no commitment to an ideal if such can change one's position, nor does it reflect Jesus.

Perhaps Buddhists don't understand the meaning, or limits, of "tempted". And the resentment was not about being confronted. I love confrontation. What I don't like is misrepresentation or gratuitous escalation.
quote:
No. It is an example of confronting a tactic. It is the same call I would make regardless of the topic.
You essentially challenged my adherence to Christianity on the basis of what I wrote. When people on the "traditional" end call other people's faith into question, in my experience they would never get away with the excuse that they were merely "confronting a tactic".

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One has to take part. Scary as it is. - Martin60
Jerusalem is a city without walls

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Curiosity killed ...

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The other story that came up when I was looking that according to the Daily Telegraph, which has been publishing many of the stories, if not orchestrating this whole affair, that National Trust members are leaving in protest over the outing of Robert Ketton-Cremer and making volunteers the gay pride symbol.

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Baptist Trainfan
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On sources: the Eastern Daily Press (centre of all Norfolk news!) reported on the film about Ketton-Cremer on July 24th, and on the lanyard debate on August 2nd (presumably in print the following day).
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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
Perhaps Buddhists don't understand the meaning, or limits, of "tempted".

Buddhism was teaching this before Christianity existed. But don't worry about copyright infringement, that is not the Buddhist way.

quote:
What I don't like is misrepresentation or gratuitous escalation.

I think I represented what your post says accurately.

quote:
You essentially challenged my adherence to Christianity on the basis of what I wrote.
And I should read your mind instead? What you write is what I have to work with. To clarify, I am not doubting your devotion to Christianity. I am saying that what you wrote isn't in line with what Jesus taught.

quote:

When people on the "traditional" end call other people's faith into question, in my experience they would never get away with the excuse that they were merely "confronting a tactic".

Again, I did not call your faith into question. I called into question the face value of your statement.

If you had said that it hurt to be so represented after your journey, that would be a more sympathetic statement. Even so, whilst I will be glad of every person who has turned from intolerance to acceptance, don't expect a biscuit every time it is mentioned.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Eutychus
From the edge
# 3081

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
I am saying that what you wrote isn't in line with what Jesus taught.

Which bit of his teaching?

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One has to take part. Scary as it is. - Martin60
Jerusalem is a city without walls

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