Philippa Stroud: the disappearing Conservative candidate

This morning The Observer ran a piece detailing the less than savoury attitude towards homosexuality of Philippa Stroud, Conservative candidate for Sutton & Cheam and head of the influential Conservative think-tank Centre for Social Justice:

A high-flying prospective Conservative MP, credited with shaping many of the party’s social policies, founded a church that tried to “cure” homosexuals by driving out their “demons” through prayer…

Abi, a teenage girl with transsexual issues, was sent to the church by her parents, who were evangelical Christians. “Convinced I was demonically possessed, my parents made the decision to move to Bedford, because of this woman [Stroud] who had come back from Hong Kong and had the power to set me free,” Abi told the Observer.

“She wanted me to know all my thinking was wrong, I was wrong and the so-called demons inside me were wrong. The session ended with her and others praying over me, calling out the demons. She really believed things like homosexuality, transsexualism and addiction could be fixed just by prayer, all in the name of Jesus.”…

“This reinforces our long-held suspicions that those out of sight, but with their hands on the levers of power, have deeply reactionary ambitions,” said Keith Porteous Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society.

Ben Summerskill, chief executive of the Stonewall group, said: “If Mrs Stroud has been praying to rid Britain of its homosexuality, she clearly hasn’t been praying hard enough.”

Philippa Stroud’s response to all this? She seems to be trying to go to ground online though, rather like the person who rushes past a TV camera crew trying to hide their face, thereby looks all the worse for it.

Philippa Stroud’s Twitter account, @philippastroud was deleted earlier today. By deleting it rather than making it private (or continuing to use it and publicly arguing her corner), the opportunity was presented for someone else to create a new account with that name and start sending out negative messages. So can you guess what happened? Also gone is Philippa Stroud’s Facebook supporters group.

The result of all this? It means more people talking about her actions and – thinking back to the analogy of someone rushing past TV cameras with face hidden – when was the last time you saw someone behaving like that and thought the better of them for it?

Hat-tips: @sunny_hundal and @boudledidge.

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195 Comments

  • Anthony Aloysius St 2nd May '10 - 6:42pm

    Adrian

    I have already posted Philippa Stroud’s statement on another thread. Perhaps it would be as well to copy it here as well:
    “I make no apology for being a committed Christian. However, it is categorically untrue that I believe homosexuality to be an illness and I am deeply offended that The Observer has suggested otherwise. I have spent 20 years working with disturbed people who society have turned their back on and are not often supported by state agencies; drug addicts, alcoholics, the mentally ill and the homeless that I and my charitable friends in the public sector have tried to help over the years. The idea that I am prejudiced against gay people is both false and insulting.”

    As I said before, the remarkable thing about this statement is that it repudiates an allegation that no one had actually made against her – that she believed homosexuality was an illness – and failed to respond to the (even) more damaging suggestion that she believed homosexuality was a result of demonic possession, and that exorcism was an appropriate response.

  • Paul McKeown 2nd May '10 - 7:01pm

    Grim. Perhaps the Lib Dems should have Simon Hughes do some campaigning there, to show not only that Christians can be fair-minded, open and accepting towards sexual minorities, but also to help underline that the Conservative party does have a very nasty, prejudiced fringe that run counter to the popular mood and to any sense of fairness and decency.

  • Paul McKeown 2nd May '10 - 7:04pm

    Undoubtedly there are other high-profile Lib Dem Christians, although I can’t think of the top of my mind who they might be. They should be out there canvassing in Sutton and Cheam to highlight that Phillipa Stroud is a member of a very small narrow-minded minority.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 2nd May '10 - 7:06pm

    Adrian

    No, the word “cure” doesn’t imply illness. My dictionary lists among its definitions “to correct a habit or practice”.

    But even if Philippa Stroud did understand that as an implication that she believed homosexuality was an illness, why on earth did she not respond to the explicit – and more damaging – allegation that she attributed homosexuality to demonic possession, and that she herself participated in attempts to drive out the demons involved? Why would she not, in her own interests, deny that?

  • Anthony Aloysius St 2nd May '10 - 7:07pm

    “Undoubtedly there are other high-profile Lib Dem Christians, although I can’t think of the top of my mind who they might be.”

    I believe Paul Burstow is one.

  • Paul McKeown 2nd May '10 - 7:07pm

    Steve Webb, another high profile Lib Dem Christian. I hope they – and others – spend some time in Sutton & Cheam.

  • Paul McKeown 2nd May '10 - 7:09pm

    >>>I believe Paul Burstow is one.

    Thanks, Anthony. Bus em in there for a couple of hours!

  • Anthony Aloysius St 2nd May '10 - 7:11pm

    No need to bus Paul Burstow in!

  • Paul McKeown 2nd May '10 - 7:15pm

    >>>No need to bus Paul Burstow in!

    That’s true!

  • Good to see balanced reporting here. You quote allegations not formally
    placed and then are happy quote someone from the National Humanist
    Society (as if they are not another fringe group who gain some decree of
    Acceptance under an overtly moral free world) who is quite clearly going
    to take issue with anything to do with belief and faith!

    I do not agree with extreme views of being gay being an illness but the
    fact you happily quote this prove to me that the Lib Dems are no different
    from the other parties apart from the fact they are led by someone who is
    openly an athiest – just the moral leader this country needs!

    This article has made my mind up for me, at least thr Conservatives have
    some morals, so Nick loses my vote, DC gets it! Thanks all

  • Paul McKeown 2nd May '10 - 7:18pm

    Perhaps a piece signed by them in the Daily Mail?

    Active, believing Christians are now a minority, but nevertheless a large, important and influential one, and Phillippa Stroud’s type is a very small, if vocal, minority within that demographic.

  • Paul McKeown 2nd May '10 - 7:20pm

    >>>This article has made my mind up for me, at least thr Conservatives have
    some morals, so Nick loses my vote, DC gets it! Thanks all

    Goodbye Ken, we barely knew you.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 2nd May '10 - 7:37pm

    Adrian

    Of course Philippa Stroud is free to believe that homosexuality is caused by demonic possession – if that is what she believes – and she is even free to organise services of exorcism in order to try to “cure” homosexuality – if she so wishes.

    However, as she’s standing for election to parliament, I think we do have a right to expect that she should be honest about her beliefs. And I think as she has published a statement about the Observer article which fails even to mention these allegations, we are entitled to ask why.

    Rest assured that I shall try to contact with Philippa Stroud’s office tomorrow to ask for clarification – though from what I’ve read above I’m not sure how easy it will be to get through.

  • Paul McKeown 2nd May '10 - 7:54pm

    Adrian,

    Don’t take this the wrong way, please, but you are verging on intolerance against those of religious persuasion. If you would open your eyes and your mind or speak to the number of prominent Lib Dem Christians, who by way of example, have already been mentioned on this thread, you might find that prejudicial ideas against sexual and other minorities are not necessarily part of those faiths. I think tolerance should extend not only to persons of homosexual disposition but also to those of religious faith. This is not the Richard Dawkins party, although he should be welcome, too. What one should object to is prejudice in all its forms.

    Regards,
    Paul McKeown

  • Anthony Aloysius St 2nd May '10 - 8:01pm

    Adrian

    Do you really not understand why I’m concerned by a report that the director of a leading Conservative think-tank on social justice believes that homosexuality – along with drug and alcohol abuse – are caused by demonic possession, and has organised services of exorcism to try to “cure” homosexuals?

    Just think about it.

  • Paul McKeown 2nd May '10 - 8:21pm

    Adrian,

    Belief in demonic possession has lead throughout recorded history to abuses against countless vulnerable people, including burning witches and horrific mistreatment of the mentally ill. In the UK, within the last few years, it has lead to the deaths of several children at the hands of their parents and carers. It is clearly a dangerous belief. It is also quite typical of those “literal truth” Christians in the USA who would ban the teaching of Darwinism or foist the teaching of creationism or so-called “intelligent design” on schools.

    I think it is very reasonable to separate ordinary matters of faith from those that have very dangerous potential consequences. I don’t see what concern it is what people believe provided that their beliefs don’t interfere with the rights of others.

    I think you should also bear in mind that this blog is read by many, including enemies of the Lib Dems. You should not be happy to provide them with potentially damaging material.

    Best Regards,
    Paul McKeown

  • Anthony Aloysius St 2nd May '10 - 8:21pm

    Adrian

    I can see why an apologist for Philippa Stroud would find it convenient just now to argue that we shouldn’t judge politicians – or senior Conservative advisers on social policy – on their beliefs. But I don’t think it’s an argument many people will take seriously.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 2nd May '10 - 8:40pm

    Adrian

    This is a leg-pull, isn’t it?

    Surely you can understand why people would be concerned that a senior Conservative adviser on social policy is alleged to hold these views about homosexuality, drug-abuse and alcoholism.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 2nd May '10 - 8:53pm

    Adrian

    Well, if you can’t understand my concern, you can’t.

    I do wonder about one thing, though. You say you’re not a “a member of or habitual supporter of any political party”. Why is it that you’re so interested in this matter that you’ve posted ten comments on this thread tonight? Just curious.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 2nd May '10 - 9:25pm

    Thanks for explaining. I also live in the Sutton constituency – hence my own interest – and I am also not “a member of or habitual supporter of any political party”. (In fact I have lost count of the number of times I have been called a “Tory troll” on this site because I have been critical of the recent conduct of the party.)

    Do you feel you have got to the bottom of the story?

  • I have read the “Observer” article, and I have to say I am dumbfounded. Phillippa Stroud thinks that conditions like alcohol and drug addiction should be cured, not through accepted clinical interventions, but by bludgeoning victims/patients/sufferers with the Bible.

    (1) Why was Stroud given access to vulnerable people in the first place?
    (2) Why did Iain Duncan Smith and David Cameron allow someone with such outlandishly peculiar (and dangerous) opinions to write Tory Party policy?

    The young woman who choked to death on her own vomit might still be alive had proper clinical procedures been used. Maybe, maybe not. Who knows? But what does Stroud do? Admit she doesn’t know what she is playing at? Er, not a bit of it. She blames it on God. Yes, God decided to kill the young woman because she wasn’t strong enough to be a good Christian. I have heard of blame-shifting, but this is something else.

    Come on folks. Today we’ve had a revealing glimpse of the practical consequences of implementing Cameron’s “Big Society” scam. Bring in smooth-talking ideological screwballs and let them loose on the poor and the vulnerable. When they do this to rabbits they call it “culling”.

  • Has anyone noticed how Cameron, as depicted on the latest wave of Tory billboard posters, looks uncannily like a televangelist – complete with rictus smile?

    Adrian – I certainly don’t want to drive religious people out of politics, and I have no objection in principle to religious groups delivering social care on behalf of the state – provided it is open to all and there is no proselytising. What I object to most strongly is (1) homophobia and (2) religious zealots exploiting vulnerable people to convert them to their belief systems.

  • I think you’re all missing the point.

    This woman is neglecting her duty as a politician to tackle the very real issues which need addressing. Take child abuse and neglect for example. So many children are raised in poverty and subsequently resort to crime and a vicious cycle of non performance throughout life. By addressing this subject (one of many) so many of the focus points of all the parties (unemployment, benifits, crime, health) could be nipped in the bud so future generations won’t have these same problems.

    Do you think it’s viable and indeed what the publis want in an MP? someone ranting abour demonic possession? I’m Catholic and I’m infuriated that she would have the audacity to insult so many people rather than use her time broadcasting the real issues out there which need help. She really is a revolting human being.

    As for the faith argument (I really do believe religion and politics have no business being argued in the same debate)…..It’s not possible to debate rationality with religion. For a start how can you have a rational argument when the basis of the topic is faith? There is no proof. Ergo no outcome beyond resonable doubt. You cannot contest the existance of something without conclusive proof either way to show if it does or does not exist.

    That’s why Pauls example is rational in the eyes of so many believers in faith. Mainstream belief (with exception of radicals) does not harm anyone, whereas the actual demonic possession argument does. So many innocent people have died as a result of this tag. It’s not silly to suggest that a belief in one can be tolerated and not the other. What we’re saying is that there’s nothing wrong with people taking comfort in “God” or “Allah” or whatever, without conclusive proof, as theoretically it’s not hurting anyone however, labelling people as demonically possessed without scientific or conclusive proof is unacceptable.

    Also, some views here are a bit funny. Not all religious people are dead set on being created by a man in the sky, and virgin births. Religion evolves and many of the younger members of churches are open to other theories. As a Catholic I was taught to believe in God however, not being an idiot I look at scientific proof of evolution and draw a conclusion from there. Yet still being a Catholic I face questions like “How can you still believe” well simply put, until there’s conclusive proof of what created the big bang, or first organism…I choose to draw faith that something caused it. I believe that such an amazing thing as life just didn’t happen randomly.

    I really wish people like Philippa would crawl under a rock.

  • Demon possession beliefs are very dangerous. Apart from immediate questions about is she fit to be working with vulnerable people according to safeguarding procedures, don’t forget what happens elsewhere on this planet.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/dec/09/tracymcveigh.theobserver

    And why is this not being reported on the BBC?

  • Why is this not reported on the BBC?

    A facebook group calling for this woman to be sacked has just been set up and it already has over 1,000 members. There’s even comments from people that know her, defending her as a wonderful person, but confirming the allegations.

    She simply has to resign immediately to save embarrassment for David Cameron.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 2nd May '10 - 11:16pm

    “There is no evidence that she’s done any harm, either through malice or neglect, and if her beliefs are a bit outside the mainstream of Christianity it makes no difference to me because I don’t believe in any of it anyway.”

    Well, I do think it will make a difference to quite a few people in the constituency – particularly those constituents who are homosexual themselves. Surely before casting their votes they are entitled to be told whether Philippa Stroud really does believe they are possessed by demons!

    On a lighter note, what does the Conservative party have against Sutton? First Olga Maitland, now this …

  • I knew Philippa 20 years ago in Hong Kong. She was devoted to caring for troubled heroin addicted prostititutes in Macau. She is not the nut many people seem to think she is: yes she is a Christian and she believed that praying for people who have troubles could help, along with other social support. Probably a majority of the world’s people believe in the power of prayer, in one way shape or form, so that is not unusual. I don’t know whether she was involved in praying to “deliver” people from homosexuality or not – all I can say is that there was none of that in Hong Kong. Simply trying to help troubled people.
    If I still lived in the UK I would vote for her based on her compassion and her desire to help people, and I am not a Tory.

  • I don’t see Mrs Stroud “ranting about demonic possession”

    I think that’s kind of the problem, Adrian. The angle of the article was (rightly or wrongly) ‘demonic possession’, and while her statement made it categorically clear that she isn’t prejudiced towards homosexual people, it deftly avoided the demonic aspect altogether. She just said, “no, I don’t believe they’re ill, whatever gave you that idea?

    It’s like that nice fuzzy line between telling a lie, and not telling the truth?

    That, combined with the withdrawal from online media, smacks of suspicious behaviour. Believe me, I’d like nothing more than a politician to rebut one of these typical smear stories by telling the media to go screw themselves. And with online and social networking, they’ve got that very platform.

    I’ll be waiting.

  • This is what a former “patient” of Philippa Stroud told the “Observer”:

    “She wanted me to know all my thinking was wrong, I was wrong and the so-called demons inside me were wrong. The session ended with her and others praying over me, calling out the demons. She really believed things like homosexuality, transsexualism and addiction could be fixed just by prayer all in the name of Jesus.”

    Alarm bells ringing, anyone? When you join a religious cult you are told that everything you think is wrong. That makes you feel powerless and enables the cult to control you. She sounds manipulative and controlling, which is perhaps why the Tory Party talent-spotted her.

    And here we have it from Philippa herself:

    “One girl lived in the hostel for some time, became a Christian, then choked to death on her own vomit after a drinking bout. Her life had changed to some extent, but we wondered whether God knew that she hadn’t the will to stick with it and was calling her home.”

    So, the girl allowed the love of the Lord Jesus Christ into her heart (or some equally trite Evangelical formulation), but still she choked on her own vomit – something which, according to Philippa, shouldn’t happen. And how does Philippa get round this? She blames God!

    It is quite common for Evangelical Christians to reason in this way. I recall a lady tell us that God staged the fatal accident she witnessed in order to strengthen her faith. And a teenage girl explain that God killed her younger sister in order to bring the family closer together.

    Now, don’t get me wrong. I am quite happy for people to think in these muddled ways, if that’s how they like it. What does bother me is giving them access to vulnerable people who require the support of healthcare professionals, and worse still, letting them govern the country.

    We have to challenge Cameron to dump this candidate.

  • Simon Patterson 3rd May '10 - 12:04am

    I don’t like to see people get fired and would rarely call for it, but surely Cameron must without fail remove this woman?

    Her views are border line delusional and are certainly very misdirected. Surely, surely, in modern politics, there should be no place for such people who harbour these medieval views?

    First Cameron’s stuttering interview with Gay Times, then Grayling, then two other Tory members, now Stroud. This indicates that inequality and obscure beliefs on homosexuality go to the heart of the Tory party. Add to that the Tory allegiance with obscure, homophobic European parties.

    She has to go.

  • I think that point has been done to death above, at least by me. “Candidate holds religious views” is the substance of the story, isn’t it, in the absence of evidence that she’s harmed anyone or has discriminated against anyone.

    Absolutely. This should be a non-story. It’s not like she’s been caught by a SKY microphone, saying gay people are possessed by ye Devil, and then chosen to apologise to people directly and indirectly affected by it. It’s about an article that makes vague-yet-specific accusations, with statements from ‘anonymous’ witnesses, and essentially passes the football to her, waiting to see which goal she kicks it towards. Only she kind of fumbles with the football, drops it, and says she’s got nothing against rugby.

    I suspect the majority of discussion on the internet isn’t about the article itself, but about her reaction to it. I also suspect that we’re standing at more-or-less the same end of the stadium, Adrian.

    Still, unless she’s going to address the actual issue, the media will keep banging on about it until another MP says something slightly differently to the way they perhaps should have.

  • Yen, the “Observer” quoted from Stroud’s own book (the stuff about God “calling home” the girl who choked on her own vomit).

  • Anthony Aloysius St 3rd May '10 - 12:38am

    Adrian

    To be honest I do find your attitude very difficult to understand.

    You contacted Philippa Stroud for clarification because, you said, you wanted to get to the bottom of the matter, I don’t know exactly what you asked her, but self-evidently she did not address the allegation that she believed homosexuality was the result of demonic possession.

    Now, despite that, your curiosity seems to have evaporated, and you’ve decided that it doesn’t matter what she believes. Obviously what matters to you is your own affair. But I’m baffled by your zeal in posting comment after comment here to try to persuade other people it doesn’t matter.

    Regardless of your current efforts you must realise that a lot of people _are_ going to think it matters, and they are going to be in the same position you were yourself – they are going to want to get to the bottom of it, and find out whether she really does believe homosexuals are possessed by demons. Don’t they have the right to ask that question, and to be given a clear answer to it, if it’s important to them as voters?

  • Adrian, one particular Tory does have huge influence over the way the BBC reports news, and that is Nick Robinson, a former Tory party activist. It was Robinson who, following the Birmingham debate, spoke of Cameron’s unstoppable path to No 10 next week, or words to that effect. Robinson was capitalising on the post-debate polls, whose credibility is fast unravelling. I guess Robinson’s occasional partiality is tolerated because the BBC is desperate not to be sold to Rupert Murdoch or otherwise broken up under a Cameron government.

  • This woman has wealthy and poweful backers if the reports are to be believed. Stories are suppressable when you have this advantage. I notice that the BBC frontpage as a gushing article on Cameron, who believes he has ‘momentum’. If your momentum relies on having party members who believe in demons and fairy tales, then this country is stuffed if his bunch gets into power.

    I just hope someone in the mainstream press has the guts to go with this story. Should put a stop to the Tories once and for all.

  • Adrian,

    I know how religious people talk, and it is not for me to stop them – as I make clear in an earlier post.

    Stroud isn’t running a Bible study class here, she is purporting to administer drug and alcholol treatment (known by the acronym, DAAT), a task that is normally undertaken by trained clinicians, who might well have prevented the tragedy that eventuated.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 3rd May '10 - 12:58am

    Adrian

    It’s all very well saying over and over again that it doesn’t matter to you, but you must surely understand that it _will_ matter to a lot of people.

    There is a good reason why political canvassers rarely use the line “I believe you are homosexual because you are possessed by a demon” on the doorstep. It doesn’t go down too well. Even if accompanied by “But I bear you no ill will”, or even “I’ll be happy to organise an exorcism for you”!

  • Adrian Short
    Unless I’m very much mistaken, the events described in the Observer article occurred many years ago.
    These days Mrs Stroud runs a think tank and does nothing more dangerous than issue policy documents. Make of that what you will.
    You really have no idea what happened all those years ago, do you? And frankly, neither do I. Speculate all you must, but it’s worthless.

    she founded 2 ‘churches’ where “Anything – drugs, alcohol or homosexuality, they thought you had a demon in you”

    its not just some comments, which David Cameron has already supposedly suspended a candidate over, its actual actions

  • Adrian,

    The answer to your question is “not quite”. We have (1) Stroud’s own book (hopefully not as long and boring as Mein Kampf) and (2) her apparent lack of medical qualifications. Religious zealots should not be meddling in mental health.

    As for the speculation, Stroud herself can end that by telling us the truth.

    I’m not sure I swallow Stroud’s “hate the sin but love the sinner” line. The anti-sex campaigner, Mary Whitehouse, used to trot that out, but the “sinners” themselves (ie, gay people) didn’t feel touched by her love.

  • Adrian

    David Cameron suspended a candidate on the basis of remarks he had made on his website

    Philippa Stroud founded 2 organisations that were actively homophobic, & have likely caused psychological damage to people that they were trying to cure.
    Founding something is a ‘deed’

  • Adrian Short wrote:

    “The medical and mental health professions are full of people that believe in creator Gods, virgin births, miraculous cures and the resurrection of the dead. Do you want to purge them?”

    Of course I don’t. Provided they follow the methodologies of their chosen profession and do not allow their religious beliefs to interfere with their clinical judgment. If a clinician is unwilling to pursue a particular path on account of his religious beliefs, then he has to recuse himself.

    Similarly, civil servants and local government officers give impartial advice to their employers, regardless of their own personal opinions.

    BTW, none of the religious beliefs you list is at all relevant in Stroud’s case. She is accused of attempting to essay “cures” for homosexuality and substance addiction on vulnerable people that are of doubtful clinical value while holding herself out to have special expertise in these areas.

    If that doesn’t embarrass Cameron, then nothing will.

  • It is interesting how quick everyone is to judge her for what they see as being ‘judgemental’, without stopping to consider how the media manipulates the story for effect. I have met Philippa and have heard from so many people of the incredible work she has done for those who have been forgotten about and marginalised by society.
    I have attended the same type of church as her since I was young, and I have never heard of or seen anyone prayed for to be ‘delivered’ by a demon for homosexuality. I have never heard homosexuality or transsexualism be attributed to demonic possession and I have seen people caring for and supporting those who have been forgotten about by the rest of society, without having faith pushed on them. I am appalled to read some of the comments on this page, and cannot believe how nasty people can be about someone they have never met and clearly have never made an effort to find out the truth about.

    Philippa may not have responded in as much detail as some would have liked, but it seems that for once a politician doesn’t want to get involved in malicious gossip and just wants to campaign so she can do her job (and one which she seems more than qualified to do).
    I have heard Philippa and her husband David, speak numerous times on social issues, always with a deep compassion and genuine desire to fight injustice and help those who are in need; this has been shown in their work with the poor and vulnerable, both in this country and in Hong Kong.

    I would see myself as a Lib Dem and get frustrated with a lot of the Tory policies and views, however if I were fortunate enough to live in the same constituency as Philippa then she would get my vote, because in my view we need more people like her running the country, who genuinely want to do good, and less people who’s main focus of their campaign relies on undermining the other parties and participating in spreading gossip. Perhaps, rather than being so rude about the woman we should get off our judgement seats and start getting our own hands dirty.

  • r
    Posted 2nd May 2010 at 11:21 pm | Permalink
    I knew Philippa 20 years ago in Hong Kong. She was devoted to caring for troubled heroin addicted prostititutes in Macau. She is not the nut many people seem to think she is: yes she is a Christian and she believed that praying for people who have troubles could help, along with other social support. Probably a majority of the world’s people believe in the power of prayer, in one way shape or form, so that is not unusual. I don’t know whether she was involved in praying to “deliver” people from homosexuality or not – all I can say is that there was none of that in Hong Kong. Simply trying to help troubled people.
    If I still lived in the UK I would vote for her based on her compassion and her desire to help people, and I am not a Tory.

    See, the thing is. Does she have evidence for her praying effectiveness? How else can a member of parliament formulate policy and laws for our society if that person can not grasp what evidence is and why it is important?

    War, health, crime, climate etc

    All require our leaders to be able to grasp the value of evidence, to assess the evidence before them in order that they may make the best decisions, cast the best votes they can on behalf of their constituents. She really doesn’t striek me as somone I’d like sitting on a jury. And if I’m not convinced she would be capable of participating effectively on a jury then she certainly isn’t parliament material.

    There are countries in Africa where laws are being discussed such that homosexuality will be considered a crime and punishment may be as extreme as the death penalty. Ms Stroud, from the articles I’ve seen really does have some explaining to do in order that we can be sure she will defend human rights globally. She just doesn’t seem a credible candidate for a parliament so badly damaged by scandal and so badly needs to show it is worthy of our votes.

  • Following the articles in 2 May 2010 Observer (to which Philippa Stroud reportedly refused to comment and closed down all communication) you may wish to pass this on to Cheam or central office (given her significant influence on policy) http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/12037 It says:

    Who would voters be electing in Sutton and Cheam – Philippa Stroud or her husband?
    Submitted by Jonathan Bartley on 2 May 2010 – 5:13pm.
    The crucial question about Philippa Stroud, the prospective Tory MP featured on the front page of today’s Observer, has not yet been asked.
    The paper has focused on her views about homosexuality. But there is a far more important issue, and that is who would have influence and ‘authority’ over Mrs Stroud if she were elected?
    The New Frontiers Church that she attends, and of which her husband is one of the main leaders, teaches that a husband has ‘authority’ over his wife, and that a wife should submit to a husband’s will in all things. The husband is seen as the ‘servant leader’. I know this from close personal experience of the church, and that it runs incredibly deep in the church. Indeed, it is fundamental to their religious approach. See this excerpt from the church’s 17 values which suggests that there must be “joyful female submission” in a marriage (value no. 7):
    “A church where Biblical family life is highly valued, where husband and wife embrace male servant leadership and joyful female submission, where godly parenting is taught and practised and where the special value of singleness and its unique opportunities are affirmed”.
    This is a church which does not allow women to have “governmental leadership” (in the church structures). Marrried women are only allowed to teach others in the church, or hold positions of responsibility, if this doesn’t ‘undermine’ their husbands, and they are still under his ‘authority’.
    The question must be asked of Philippa Stroud whether, in the event she was elected to Parliament, she would on any occasion ‘submit’ to her husband’s will and vote in a way that he thought was right, even if it contradicted her own position, the promises she had made to voters, or the manifesto on which she was elected?
    On many issues, she probably has identical perspectives to her husband. But all marriages of course have their differences. Add to this the fact that the church leaders (including her husband), have some very definite and clear views on a whole ranges of issues from abortion to homosexuality, relationships between men and women, religious ‘liberty’ and the role of the family, and there could clearly be some circumstances in which the church, and her husband, feel that they need to make clear to her what they think. (The church seeks to take a ‘biblical’ approach to all matters be they spiritual, social or politicsl).
    If this happens, will she feel an obligation to take their line, even if it conflicts with her own? Her own religious beliefs, and that of her church, might suggest that she would. In political terms, we might call this a significant conflict of interest which needs to be declared. END

  • Anthony Aloysius St 3rd May '10 - 9:02am

    Adrian

    “What, specifically, is Mrs Stroud supposed to have *done* that you think should be a sackable offence in the Conservative Party? Note: Beliefs are not a deed.”

    Of course, that would be a matter for the Conservative party, not for (most) posters here. I don’t know how closely you’ve been observing the wider election outside Sutton, but less than a week ago another Tory candidate, Philip Lardner, was summarily suspended from the party simply for describing homosexuality as “not normal”.

    I can see that you are struggling valiantly to convince us that Philippa Stroud’s beliefs are “no more weird or objectionable than those of any other religious candidate”, but even you must concede that “caused by demonic possession” is a much stronger statement about homosexuality than “not normal”.

    I’d be willing to bet that the Conservative party is at this moment making urgent efforts to get Mrs Stroud to issue a clear rebuttal of the allegations about demonic possession and exorcism, and that if a satisfactory statement is not forthcoming she will be suspended as Philip Lardner was. And I’d be very surprised if the issue isn’t resolved one way or the other today.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 3rd May '10 - 10:05am

    Adrian

    What I actually wrote is that “caused by demonic possession” is a much stronger statement about homosexuality than “not normal”. Frankly I don’t think any reasonable person would dispute that. This is borne out by the fact that you chose to dispute something different, which I hadn’t said. (Shades of the lady herself!)

    And it’s more than a little strange that on the one hand you say people shouldn’t be criticised for their beliefs, but on the other you go far beyond that and make judgments about Philip Lardner based on your speculations about the motivations behind for his beliefs.

    I’m sorry, but I have to say that the more of these tendentious comments you make, the more I wonder about your own motivations in doing so.

  • “genuinely want to do good”

    It is impossible not to do harm by first of all assuming homosexuality is a problem and then carrying out a magical procedure of exorcism.

    Are you unaware that it is very easy to kill someone by cursing them? Our minds believe the curse and shuts down our systems.

    This is an incredibly serious matter – this woman has written most of the Tories social policies.

    Will the Police soon say I arrest you and in the name of Jesus I cast out the evil spirit in you? Will we close down prisons and replace them with cults?

    Look up the beliefs of her church.

  • http://barthsnotes.wordpress.com/2010/05/02/philippa-stroud-responds-to-observer-article-3/

    I am a former pentecostal, now atheist, who can still speak in tongues. This stuff is incredibly dangerous – it is explicitly allowing our emotions to lead our lives.

    The similarities between the Republicans and the Tories are fascinating. I would love to knpw how old Stroud thinks the planet is….

  • Thought I would check her experience.

    “Philippa Stroud, Executive Director
    Philippa Stroud spent seventeen years in poverty-fighting projects and published a book on social injustice before her involvement in the CSJ. ”

    Compare

    “ew would dispute that we live in an unequal and unjust world, but what causes this inequality to persist? Leading social commentator and academic Danny Dorling claims in this timely book that, as the five social evils identified by Beveridge are gradually being eradicated, they are being replaced by five new tenets of injustice, viz: elitism is efficient; exclusion is necessary; prejudice is natural; greed is good; and despair is inevitable. In an informal yet authoritative style, Dorling examines who is most harmed by these injustices and why, and what happens to those who most benefit. Hard-hitting and uncompromising in its call to action, this is essential reading for everyone concerned with social justice.”

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1847424260/?tag=libdemvoice-21

  • This “church” that you are so quick to condemn does NOT teach that homosexuality, addiction and transexuality are demon possession!!! I have attended a New Frontiers church for over 20 years and have never heard this taught.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 3rd May '10 - 1:05pm

    The interesting thing is that most of the back page of Philippa Stroud’s latest election leaflet (delivered on Saturday) is taken up with this cryptic item:

    THE BIG ISSUE

    Have you received leaflets that try to undermine the policies of other parties? Or letters throwing personal smears and attacks about other candidates in this election?

    If you have received leaflets like that, don’t reward them with your vote. I will never send out a negative leaflet or throw smears and personal attacks around. My positive campaign is about bringing people together to get things done.

    With confidence in politics at an all-time low, the first thing any candidate standing in this election can do to make things better is run an honest and positive campaign.

    It’s okay for people to disagree about the change we need to make Sutton and Britain an even better place to live, it’s not okay to try to smear your opponents to win votes.

    When a candidate knocks on your door or puts a leaflet through your letterbox, ask yourself, are they running a positive campaign or are they just undermining others?

    Politics doesn’t have to be like that, we can make a difference. To put a stop to negative leaflets or personal attacks, I’m asking you to lend me your vote to show that positive campaigns are what we all want.

    I thought this was rather strange when I first read it, especially considering I hadn’t noticed any references at all to Mrs Stroud in the Lib Dem literature. Of course, the Observer article explains it all.

  • I understand Stroud has made this comment::

    “I make no apology for being a committed Christian. However, it is categorically untrue that I believe homosexuality to be an illness and I am deeply offended that The Observer has suggested otherwise. I have spent 20 years working with disturbed people who society have turned their back on and are not often supported by state agencies; drug addicts, alcoholics, the mentally ill and the homeless that I and my charitable friends in the public sector have tried to help over the years. The idea that I am prejudiced against gay people is both false and insulting.”

    Far from letting Philippa Stroud off the hook, her going to ground and her carefully worded “love the sinner, hate the sin” statement (if it is authentic, above) dig her further in for what they do not say. The statement is at pains to avoid talking about her attitudes to homosexual practice and does nothing to deny the substance of these serious revelations. Many people will now be pondering her suitability to be influential over social policy making in any respectable political party.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 3rd May '10 - 4:15pm

    The Tories have launched a “contract for equalities” today, claiming they are ”committed to a fairer deal for gay people across Britain”:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/election-2010/7673249/General-Election-2010-Conservatives-may-reclassify-gay-civil-partnership-as-marriage.html

    How ironic.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 3rd May '10 - 5:02pm

    Philippa Stroud has just broken her silence, in a post on Conservative Home describing how her campaign is going:
    http://conservativehome.blogs.com/goldlist/2010/05/snapshots-of-the-fourth-week-of-the-campaign-from-conservativehomes-panel-of-candidates-part-two.html

    Unsurprisingly, there’s absolutely no mention of homosexuals, demonic possession or exorcism!

  • Paul McKeown 3rd May '10 - 5:48pm

    Conservatives circling the wagons, with some spouting it’s all the gays faults, a few do seem to get it though:

    http://conservativehome.blogs.com/goldlist/2010/05/the-observers-attack-on-philippa-stroud.html

  • Anthony Aloysius St 3rd May '10 - 6:00pm

    Well, the Telegraph blogs section has an article pointing out the inconsistency between Cameron’s treatment of Philip Lardner and Philippa Stroud, but – perhaps predictably – the author’s comment on Stroud’s reported beliefs is “that’s fine with me”:
    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/geraldwarner/100037711/why-is-philip-bad-but-philippa-ok-and-are-the-tories-accusing-our-troops-of-atrocities/

  • Anthony Aloysius St 3rd May '10 - 6:35pm

    The high-flying Conservative candidate Philippa Stroud is currently trending on Twitter, the subject of a campaign to bring wider media attention to the Observer’s story yesterday that she founded a church that tried to “cure” homosexuals by driving out their “demons” through prayer.
    The story has been put on Facebook more than 5,000 times and tweeted almost 7,000 (these are both huge figures). Judging by today’s Twitter activity, are lot of those people surprised it has so far escaped the attention of the BBC and Sky News …

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/blog/2010/may/03/philippa-stroud-twitter

  • Anthony Aloysius St 3rd May '10 - 10:41pm

    Perhaps it’s worth adding that I did contact Philippa Stroud’s constituency office for clarification this morning.

    Initially I was told that I would have to ring Conservative Central Office and speak to the press officer there. After I’d tried that, and heard a recorded message telling me to leave my contact details, followed by another recorded message telling me I couldn’t leave my contact details because the mailbox was full, I tried the constituency office again. Someone there helpfully took my details and a few minutes later phoned back to say they were sending me an email.

    Unfortunately the email turned out to contain the same statement that we have already seen. I replied to ask whether it was possible for them to provide a specific response to the allegation that Philippa Stroud believed that homosexuality was caused by demonic possession.

    That was twelve hours ago, and I have heard nothing further.

    In the circumstances, I can only assume that the reason the allegation has not been denied is that the allegation is true. And that the statement Philippa Stroud issue was a deliberate attempt to mislead people because she feared that an honest acknowledgment of her beliefs would cost her votes.

  • Paul McKeown 4th May '10 - 12:14am
  • Anthony Aloysius St 4th May '10 - 12:19am

    Dr Shibley Rahman

    From my holiday in France yesterday, I tried to speak to Mrs Stroud. I was able to speak to her spokesman who would not answer why in the statement she did not explicitly deal with the claims relating to demonic possession or the ability for spiritual prayer to overcome sexuality issues. He refused to elaborate on the statement, which does not address the fundamental claims made by the Observer.

    Evidently this is the stock response to attempts to get a straight answer from Philippa Stroud.

    Perhaps it’s the best response she can think of, but it does make it painfully clear that she is not in a position to deny the truth of the allegations.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 4th May '10 - 12:22am

    “I raised the issue on Andrew Neil’s blog on the BBC website”

    Good luck with that.

  • Paul McKeown 4th May '10 - 12:35am

    Is Cameron going to be in London tomorrow or Wednesday? I think that I would like to confront him with this, and demand a satisfactory answer regarding Phillippa Stroud’s suitability as a candidate.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 4th May '10 - 12:38am

    I think I would like to knock on Philippa Stroud’s door in Sutton and try to get a straight answer out of her. What are the chances?

  • Paul McKeown 4th May '10 - 12:40am

    Anthony Aloysius St.
    >>>I think I would like to knock on Philippa Stroud’s door in Sutton and try to get a straight answer out of her. What are the chances?

    None, which is why I think it better to ask the organ grinder, rather than the monkey…

  • Anthony Aloysius St 4th May '10 - 12:42pm

    There’s another little irony in this story.

    I believe I’m right in saying that the Conservative candidate in Sutton and Cheam at the last general election, Richard Willis, was himself possessed by a demon. Sorry – I mean homosexual.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 4th May '10 - 1:29pm

    The mainstream media may still be ignoring this story, but one piece of coverage that Philippa Stroud won’t be pleased by is an article in the Metro newspaper, which is distributed free at railway stations. Interestingly, the article seems to be a direct result of the Twitter campaign about Mrs Stroud:
    http://www.metro.co.uk/news/824481-twitter-community-enraged-by-philippa-stroud-gay-cure-article

    Of course, many people who live in Sutton and Cheam commute daily into central London, so this is bound to raise awareness of the issue within the constituency.

  • Paul McKeown 4th May '10 - 4:36pm

    The BBC finally reports something: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/election_2010/8660214.stm, but its headline is that Cameron is defending her…

  • A pretty good example of how most of the media are on “best behaviour” now it seems the tories are probably going to be running the show, in one form or another.

    SKY simply whitewashed it. Haven’t run a single story on the subject. Look at their similar treatment of Manish Sood, stating that he didn’t like Gordon Brown. It’s been front page, headline news, on their website for the last 10 hours, and counting.

    They won’t even let you post fair messages about Mrs Stroud on their message boards. They all get blocked out, and moderated.

    BBC are no better these days. They’ve been unusually harsh on both the Libs and Labour over this campaign. Expecting to Cameron to be calling the shots, and wanting to get in some Brownie Points before the inevitable.

    Any coverage of Labour has been condescending. The Libs, patronising.

    I quote the BBCs question, at Gordon Browns Q+A after his speech yesterday. A speech that many thought was excellent. This is all they could come up with:

    “We are currently trying to make a highlights package, of all leaders, to show during our election coverage. We can’t seem to find any for Labour. Any comment?”

    You can maybe imagine The Sun asking that. Not the BBC.

  • “This article has made my mind up for me, at least thr Conservatives have some morals, so Nick loses my vote, DC gets it! Thanks all”

    **says conservative web activist, with quivering bottom lip.

    Must have seen that “I used to vote A, but will now vote B, because of your nasty story about the party I actually support” message at least a million times this campaign

  • “Adrian, one particular Tory does have huge influence over the way the BBC reports news, and that is Nick Robinson, a former Tory party activist. It was Robinson who, following the Birmingham debate, spoke of Cameron’s unstoppable path to No 10 next week, or words to that effect. Robinson was capitalising on the post-debate polls, whose credibility is fast unravelling. I guess Robinson’s occasional partiality is tolerated because the BBC is desperate not to be sold to Rupert Murdoch or otherwise broken up under a Cameron government”

    Sorry to break this to you all, but the new-ish deputy political editor of the BBC (nick’s number 2), Andrew Lansley (?) is also an ex Conservative party member.

    And not just any old member. A high ranking one. He used to be one of Cameron’s advisors, and wrote most of his speeches, for his leadership campaign in 2005.

    I believe they were both in the same year at Eton, and are rather close friends.

  • Paul McKeown 4th May '10 - 5:15pm

    Yes, coverage by the Beeb has been Completely Redundant and Preposterous.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 4th May '10 - 5:48pm

    This story just gets more and more bizarre.

    On the one hand, Mr Cameron assures us that Philippa Stroud “believes in gay equality”.

    On the other, no matter how many times she is asked, she simply cannot bring herself to deny that she believes homosexuality is caused by demonic possession

    You couldn’t make it up.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 4th May '10 - 5:54pm

    A comment piece by Patrick Strudwick on the Guardian website asks three questions about the Stroud affair, including this one:

    Question two: Why won’t Stroud answer the allegations?
    Philippa Stroud “declined to comment” directly on the Observer’s story. Instead she issued a statement saying: “I make no apology for being a committed Christian. However it is categorically untrue that I believe homosexuality to be an illness and I am deeply offended that the Observer has suggested otherwise.”
    When Pink News, Europe’s largest gay news website, asked her to comment on the Observer’s actual allegation, which was that Stroud believes gay people have demons inside them, her spokesman replied: “We will not be adding to or subtracting to [sic] the statement.”
    Why not? Does Stroud think her statement is sufficient explanation of her position? Thousand of gay and transgender people in her constituency deserve a full and proper explanation, before 6 May. “Abi”, the brave woman who spoke out deserves an answer too.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2010/may/04/philippa-stroud-gay-prayer-cure

  • Anthony Aloysius St 4th May '10 - 6:02pm

    And here’s a typical bit of duplicity from William Hague on the subject, in an interview on Radio 5 this morning:
    http://www.leftfootforward.org/2010/05/hague-defends-tory-ppc-who-tried-to-cure-gay-people/

  • Crosbie Fitch
    Posted 4th May 2010 at 6:29 pm

    ‘so the BBC’s halo is still shiny isn’t it?’

    Eh, no. People are becoming more and more fed up. Each of us has a moment. Mine was around 1990. A bunch of us new graduates were having a late breakfast round my mum’s. There was a chorus of ‘didn’t that news woman just say that E.coli was a virus? How come with our science degrees, we can’t get bloody jobs while that muppet earning a small fortune hasn’t got a clue what she is talking about?’

    1. Family informed of the poor quality that can and does emerge from the BBC
    2. How many graduates do we now have? And in how many fields? And all web savvy .
    3. We’ve lots of different groups, each with their own interests – now more than ever before IMHO. How many unemployed people have been ignored in this election – many are not 24 or under are they? Just haow many graudates will be pleased to be offered an apprenticeship after all that study and debt?
    I’ve many many friends who are single and childless – and all of them utterly ignored not just by the politicians, but by the media. And then the science angle – how many scientists are happy that Cameron will have a demon-believing woman designing social policy? There is an endless list.

    The BBC is tarnished along with every other media. This is one story. How many others are causing similar storms, I wonder.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 4th May '10 - 10:28pm

    I see that a long comment purportedly by “Abi”, the transsexual quoted in the Observer report, has been removed.

    Of course there is no way of knowing whether or not the comment was really written by “Abi”, and I can understand that it probably had to be removed for legal reasons, as it contained further serious allegations against Philippa Stroud. Nevertheless, if the comment was genuine one has to feel for “Abi”.

    I can only hope that when the election is over the saner elements of the Conservative party will take some action to deal properly with the situation. Thankfully I think it is likely that they will be dealing with an unsuccessful parliamentary candidate, not an MP.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 4th May '10 - 10:31pm

    The story has now been picked up by the local Sutton paper, the Guardian:
    http://www.suttonguardian.co.uk/news/8135840.Under_fire_Sutton_Tory_candidate_says_is_not_prejudiced_against_gay_people/?ref=mr

    Before quoting her statement the report notes dryly that “Mrs Stroud did not respond to the key allegations”.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 5th May '10 - 12:09am

    I’ll link to a comment on the Pink News website made by “Abi1975″ last year. In all probability this comment was made by the same person interviewed by the Observer (and I think in all probability the person whose post has been deleted here tonight by the moderators):
    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/?comments_popup=13290%20post%2020#comment-63484

  • Anthony Aloysius St 5th May '10 - 9:17am

    According to a blog post by one of those who was interviewed for the Observer story, the BBC did interview two of the others making allegations against Stroud – Kacey Jones and A. J. Patterson – but did not broadcast the story because they were threatened with legal action by lawyers representing Stroud. The post also quotes Benjamin Cohen of Channel 4 News as saying that there were “complications” in trying to cover the story:
    http://www.pamshouseblend.com/diary/16033/top-tory-adviser-ran-prayer-group-to-heal-lgbts

  • Anthony Aloysius St 5th May '10 - 3:05pm

    Adrian

    Frankly, if you can make sense of it, you’re a better man than I.

    What kind of court action _can_ you take against someone for reporting allegations against you, if you are not in a position even to deny that they are true?

  • Anthony Aloysius St 5th May '10 - 3:08pm

    Oh – by the way – you wrote above:
    “I urge anyone that’s a voter in Sutton and Cheam that isn’t satisfied with Mrs Stroud’s statement to contact her for further details”

    If you look at my comment above (http://www.libdemvoice.org/philippa-stroud-sutton-cheam-19249.html#comment-117011) you’ll see how I got on with that. I’ve still received no response to my request for clarification.

    Any more suggestions?

  • Anthony Aloysius St 5th May '10 - 3:22pm

    Adrian

    Actually, I think you understand the point I am making perfectly well.

    In order to take someone to court, Philippa Stroud would have to be in a position to deny the truth of the allegations. But if she were in a position to deny the truth of the allegations, would on earth would she not have done so already?

    Can you suggest any conceivable reason?

  • Anthony Aloysius St 5th May '10 - 3:46pm

    Adrian

    I mean, specifically, the allegation that she believes homosexuality is caused by demonic possession.

    I don’t actually see any explanation in your last comment for that fact she has not denied that. I don’t believe anyone in their right mind would let an allegation like that pass and “hope it would blow over” – unless they were not in a position to deny it because it was true, of course.

  • It may simply be the story is both too problematic to report in the day before an election when no-one really wants to introduce religion to the final stage of the debate, and to inconsequential to the media circus that is the pundits and journo’s on the electoral leadership battle buses.

    The issue is an emotive one and the story foregrounds religion and beliefs in politics. This notion that one judges people by their actions not their beliefs is a bit naive. Mrs Stroud seems to be well meaning and her faith has clearly motivated her to engage in work that most of us would find hard to cope with. Thats all very laudible. However the issue here is to what extent her beliefs will influence her political judgements.

    That someone might believe in god and combine their faith with their politics is fine. But when that faith may determine the BASIS of their judgements it is important that this be made explicit. The electorate need to know that the prospective candidate possesses a set of values founded in scripture that they may or may not find attractive.

    As an evangelical Mrs Stroud belongs to a church, which her husband is Leader of (being female it appears she is not allowed to hold such a position), which seems to hold a number of core values that most people would find a little, well “strange” shall we say (speaking in tongues, miraculous healing through prayer, prophecy etc).

    Now that is not to deny the social activist message of that church – to do real practical things to “help thy neighbour” – results in nice people doing nice things for people in need of help. But when the belief that underpins the doing of “nice things” includes a belief that “bad things” are caused by demons and that a suitable treatment includes the driving out of those demons then the intervention (the “nice thing”) may be seriously harmful to the vulnerable people it is done to. Something reasonably well documented about the “ex-gay” agenda.

    *In my view, and I think this would be a fairly commonly held one, someone who believes literally in demons is probably a bit “odd” and not someone I would wish to have put in a position of authority*

    That Mrs Stroud has gone to ground really does give credence to the suspicion that she genuinely DOES believe in demons. Given the churches she and her husband have helped set up are part of the neocharismatic Newfrontiers family of churches her strong, but undiscussed, faith presumably includes a belief that the Holy Spirit heals the sick and afflicted (my faith is in doctors), that in marriage the relationship between husband and wife is as per biblical authority, that god really does issue instructions to people (like her husband), and holds a belief in prophecy and speaking in tongues.

    Now clearly we don’t know if even the first statement (demons) is true, let alone any of the others, as she is not answering questions. But honestly – this woman is ALREADY an influential figure in the Tory party, in part because of her laudible faith based community work, and she seems marked for a fast track in the government. In such circumstances does anyone really believe it is wrong for the public and the media to seek clarity on whether she believes in DEMONS or not?

    So far it appears only “the public” are doing so.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 5th May '10 - 4:11pm

    Adrian

    I think unless someone can suggest _some_ kind of plausible alternative explanation for the fact that she has not denied the truth of these allegations, it’s reasonable for people to draw the obvious conclusion.

    In what I’ve seen of the dozens and dozens – perhaps hundreds – of comments about this that you’ve posted on various websites over the past few days, I haven’t come across any such explanation.

  • marc welsh You’ve expressed my concern far better than I would. Thank you.

    This is, in my view a really serious issure regarding the kind of government we will have, the direction this country will take over the next few years. And it gives me cause for concern that an influential political party would select not only a candidate with these views, but that the candidate is obviously someone of influence within the party. Secondly, why would the LibDems consider working with such a party? Evidence-based drugs policy, health, science and finance will be threatened, surely?

    For me, it’s the police interview where the suspect repeats ‘No comment’ to every question. They are warned what conclusion will be drawn from such responses.

  • Martin McDonald 5th May '10 - 4:38pm

    I would love to see the issues of defamation tested in court. It seems, looking at Philippa’s statement, that the most controversial comment (that homosexuality is linked to demons) is something she has chosen not to deny.

    It’s controversial because ideas that invoke spiritual explanations for the behaviour of OTHER human beings are potentially dangerous. I repeat, in her own statement, Philippa did not distance herself from reports of demons.

    I’d have thought that she is entitled to stand for parliament or any public office and hold these views. However the voters in Sutton are entitled to fully understand, explore and consider their own assessment of her views. This is a necessary part of a democratic election, surely? It would be a tragedy if such open consideration had been hampered by legal threats to anyone, especially the press

  • Anthony Aloysius St 5th May '10 - 5:02pm

    Adrian

    First, I’d be grateful if you didn’t imply that I had stated as a fact something that is only my belief. I think I have been quite careful not to do that. If you think I have done that, please quote directly what you’re referring to.

    But I’m afraid your “believe what you will” line is rather missing the point.

    I’ll say it again. Philippa Stroud has refused to deny these allegations. Unless someone can suggest a _plausible_ reason why she should have refused to do so if they were untrue, then it’s reasonable for people to draw the obvious conclusion.

    It’s really not a question of there being several different explanations available, and everyone being free to choose which they prefer, because there is no plausible alternative on offer.

    And I’m sorry, but I don’t find the suggestion in your comment above remotely plausible, because what it amounts to is this. A parliamentary candidate is the subject of false allegations in a national newspaper four days before the election. She knows they will lose her votes if people believe they are true. And she decides the best thing to do is issue a statement about the newspaper article which does not deny the truth of the allegations, and then to refuse any further comment in the hope “it will all blow over”. It’s a bizarre notion.

  • I agree with AAS. It seems a no-brainer that she could just deny the demon idea.

    I imagine therefore that she really believes it

  • Anthony Aloysius St 5th May '10 - 7:38pm

    Confirmation from Pink News that Stroud’s lawyers are warning the media not to report false statements about her, and at the same time refusing to say whether the Observer’s allegations are true or false.

    “John Rubinstein, of law firm Rubinstein Phillips, is representing Mrs Stroud and confirmed that the company has contacted a number of media outlets reminding them of their duty under Section 106 of the Representation of the Peoples’ Act.
    This makes it illegal to publish any false statement of fact in relation to the candidate’s personal character or conduct, unless the publication can show that they had reasonable grounds for believing that statement to be true.
    When PinkNews.co.uk asked why it had not been contacted, as it was of the few media outlets that reported The Observer’s claims, her lawyer said it did not dispute PinkNews.co.uk’s right to cover the issue.
    He therefore would not send PinkNews.co.uk a copy of the letter, although he confirmed that Mrs Stroud’s response has not changed: that she says she is not homophobic nor believes that homosexuality is an illness.
    But he would not comment on whether she believed, as was claimed in The Observer, that homosexuality is caused by demonic possession, or that an organisation that she ran believed this doctrine.”

    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2010/05/05/exclusive-philippa-strouds-lawyers-warn-media-over-gay-cure-claims/

  • This looks like politics at its worst. The Guardian comes out pro Lib Dem on Saturday and the following day the Observer publishes an article defaming a Tory candidate making in-roads into a Lib Dem constituency, and sparks a hate campaign!

    Thankfully Philippa Stroud seems to have the grace not to join in the mud-fight in the gutter.

    How many Lib Dem politicians have given their lives to caring for the disadvantaged?! Lets have more people like this woman in politics, whatever their religious beliefs!

  • Anthony Aloysius St 5th May '10 - 10:21pm

    R1972

    Considering that Philippa Stroud’s own statement on the Observer article failed to contradict a single statement that had been made in it, what on earth can be your basis for describing it as defamatory?

    I note that the article did contain one striking inaccuracy, though – the statement that Stroud was “likely to win the Sutton and Cheam seat on Thursday”.

  • First of all, the support group on FB is still there, just to clarify.

    Everybody’s up in arms, wanting to know why the story isn’t reaching the news. Here’s why: Stroud is not homophobic. So to go ahead with a story which heavily implies or indeeds states that she is homophobic is slander (or libellous. The problem with this story is the whole ‘curing homosexuality’ issue. Rest assured, there is no van driving around with a big net hanging out of it, rounding up homosexuals and ‘converting’ or ‘curing’ them. People go to church for all kinds of prayer. They themselves make that decision. No one is EVER exposed or shamed into ‘changing their ways’. You either want a relationship with God, or you don’t. As simple as that. Understand the Father’s heart, how much God loves you and wants your best. All this talk of ‘dangerous practices’, ‘extremeist views’… its such twaddle. Yes, if you don’t believe in God or belong to a church and have a real relationship with God, then of course any talk of spirituality is lost on you. You probably don’t care and don’t want to know – and that’s fine, its your choice. God gives us all free will to make decisions for ourselves. Again, the issue here will never be clear, because you’re dealing with a subject not of this world – spirituality. What people are essentially asking Stroud to do is explain her beliefs, therefore explain Christianity, Satan, and how the demonic works. If people want these answers then go to church and ask the leaders. I’m not a Conservative and never will be (probably!), but I am a Christian and I would emplore people to find out the truth for themselves, not what misinformed journalists have to say on the matter.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 5th May '10 - 11:06pm

    “I am a Christian and I would emplore people to find out the truth for themselves, not what misinformed journalists have to say on the matter.”

    That’s why I contacted Philippa Stroud’s office first thing on Monday morning to try to get a clarification from her as to whether the allegations were true. Many other people have done the same thing.

    The problem is that she refuses to say whether they are true or not. If the story were really libellous, why should that be?

  • As far as I have read, Stroud has denied being homophobic – therefore answering any implication of ‘curing’ gay people (or indeed, damaging them in any way). If she has prayed with homosexuals in the past, as far as I’m aware, that’s not a crime. No one is ever forced into anything that they don’t want to do (in my church).

  • Anthony Aloysius St 6th May '10 - 12:11am

    Andy

    It sounds as though you haven’t even read the Observer article. It didn’t contain any allegation that she was “homophobic”. What it alleged was that she believed homosexuality was caused by demonic possession and that she herself had participated in exorcisms. That is what I specifically asked her office for clarification of, and that is what she has repeatedly refused to confirm or deny.

    I can only ask again, why would she refuse to deny it, if it isn’t true?

    Here’s a link to the article, so that you can see for yourself what it said:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/may/02/conservatives-philippa-stroud-gay-cure

  • Anthony,

    I have read it, thanks, and I’ve also read how people are stretching these comments to the point of accusing Stroud of being homophobic. Again, if you want to know the Christian viewpoint, pick up a bible. If you don’t believe the demonic exists, then of course you will have trouble understanding the concept.

    Stroud prayed for “Abi”, she wasn’t trying to ‘cure’ her.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 6th May '10 - 12:36am

    Andy

    If you have read the article, you will know that it is Philippa Stroud herself – not the Observer – who tried to turn it into a question of “homophobia”. I repeat, there was no allegation of “homophobia” in the article.

    And given her subsequent repeated refusals to address the allegations that actually _were_ made in the article, I can only assume that she did that with the deliberate intention of misleading people and avoiding the issue. For the umpteenth time – if the allegations were untrue, why would Philippa Stroud not have said so in the statement about the article which she issued?

  • @ Andy
    “Stroud prayed for “Abi”, she wasn’t trying to ‘cure’ her.”

    a) we don’t know that – Mrs Stroud is no providing any comment on the story so you are not in a position to confirm or deny that assertion.
    b) many of us don’t question that her motivation may be well meaning and genuine, the issue is rather different.

    A member of Parliament, an influential figure in the party that seeks to govern this country, that believes in demons, the healing power of the holy spirit, speaking in tongues, etc., who does not share the convictions that form a fundamental precept of her social life and personal and political judgement with those she seeks to represent is denying the electorate an informed choice.

    That you believe in the demonic or whatever other supernatural powers is fine for you. Most people, I humbly suggest, find such ideas bizarre in the extreme and would struggle to trust the judgement of someone who does unless they had formed a personal relationship with such a person and had developed trust in other ways.

    That confirmation of such information would harm Mrs Stroud’s election chances is evident, people don’t like to tick the “nutter” box on the ballot paper! But keeping silent on the issue of how “evangelical” and “charismatic” her belief system is and to what extent her decisions will be, if not determined then at least framed by that fundamentalist belief system is deceiving the electorate of Sutton and Cheam in terms of failing to provide full disclosure of how she will seek to represent those people in Parliament. That is the issue.

  • Anthony,

    What I am merely stating is that various groups have picked up on this story and yes, they are labelling Stroud as a homophobe. What Philippa has stated is something along the lines of “I’m not apologising for being a Christian” – so there’s your answer. How is that misleading people? Do your research on Christianity and you will understand.

    Marc – Being a Christian, I do have a very good idea of what goes on, thank you. My church is not made up of nutters searching to brainwash people, and I will oppose those suggestions to the very end. Just because Stroud is a Christian, it doesn’t mean that she doesn’t share or understand most worldly outlooks as you may have. Are you suggesting that Stroud shouldn’t stand as an MP because she’s a Christian? If so, how far do you want to run with that notion? Ban any person with any belief from being an MP?

    I understand your view on the demonic. I wasn’t a Christian all my life, and I can clearly remember my pre-Christian worldly outlook, which was similar to yours. What I can say is since becoming a Christian (and no, I wasn’t forced/brainwashed/coerced), my view has changed because I have experienced the reality of it.

    Evangelical is not a word to fear – but the press and those who lack clarity seem to use this as a buzz word for running the church down. As for New Frontiers churches – Abi has called them ‘a cult’, which is sooooo wrong I can’t even begin or be bothered to defend. Check it out yourself is all I can say. NF churches are not “stand up-sit down” churches, as was my previous idea of church (i.e. the “C of E” hymn-singing churches). They are vibrant and liveley, and populated by those with a passion for God. I wouldn’t normally bother coming onto forums such as this, but when I see people attacking the Christian belief (either through exaggeration, lies or simply not understanding), it does make me cross. Its certainly right to have questions – but with all the FB hate groups and such like, its becoming vindictive and spiteful.

    If you don’t think Stroud can do a good job, then don’t vote for her. She has never hidden the fact that she is a Christian, so there’s your disclosure of her belief. She is not on a mission to victimise ANYONE who lives a different life to her.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 6th May '10 - 8:37am

    Andy

    “What I am merely stating is that various groups have picked up on this story and yes, they are labelling Stroud as a homophobe. What Philippa has stated is something along the lines of “I’m not apologising for being a Christian” – so there’s your answer.”

    That is quite wrong. Philippa Stroud’s statement was not a response to “various groups”, but specifically to the article in the Observer. The statement begins: “Ms Stroud said in response to the Observer”.

    As I said, that statement denies allegations that the Observer had not made, and avoids addressing the allegations that it had made.

    And of course, no one is suggesting that Philippa Stroud has “hidden the fact that she is a Christian”, or needs to apologise for being a Christian, or anything of the sort. It is sheer duplicity to portray this as some kind of persecution of her for her faith. The question is whether she believes that homosexuality is caused by demonic possession, and whether she has participated in exorcisms to “drive out the demons”. That is the question she is still refusing to answer.

  • Sorry Anthony, I think we’re getting out wires crossed: I wasn’t saying that Stroud’s statement was in response to ‘various groups’: What I am saying is, ‘various groups’ have picked up on the story, and have fed each other paranoia and whipped it up into a frenzy.

    As regards to Stroud’s statement, by stating that she is a Christian, therefore discloses what she believes or doesn’t believe.

    The problem is, when people are touched by sensitive issues, they can run away with the truth of the situation. I have spoken to others on here that have stated that people with ‘religious beliefs’ should not stand for government, which is ridiculous. If I have sounded persecuted, it wasn’t my intention – but I am bringing a reality of what people have been saying on various forums. Make of that what you will.

    So my final comment on whether or not she is dodging a question: Read the bible. Its been around for a very long time, and I’m amazed that some people are behaving like its a fresh release to hit the book stands.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 6th May '10 - 9:19am

    Andy

    “As regards to Stroud’s statement, by stating that she is a Christian, therefore discloses what she believes or doesn’t believe. “

    Surely you can’t be quite so naive? Of course we know that people who describe themselves as Christians believe all manner of different things.

    The simple question remains – why can’t Philippa Stroud answer a simple question about _her_ beliefs?

    As you’re here, it would be interesting to know your answer to that question. Do _you_ think homosexuality is caused by demonic possession?

  • @ Andy

    …. “As regards to Stroud’s statement, by stating that she is a Christian, therefore discloses what she believes or doesn’t believe” ….

    The point has been clearly made. I don’t think anyone is suggesting Stroud has kept her Christianity secret, nor that as a christian she be banned from running for Parliament. However, it is the nature of her christianity (which as you know comes in many forms) that is at issue.

    It would only be true that she had disclosed what she believes in a manner that allows the electorate to make an informed choice IF one believed that the majority of christians in this country believe in demonic possession, prophecy, speaking in tongues, healing through laying on of hands, the principle of wifely “joyful submission” and that those who were not christians understood those things to be fundamental parts of the christian belief system and knowing that were happy to vote for someone who held such views anyway.

    I don’t believe that that form of evangelical neo-charistmatic christianity DOES reflect what people commonly understand christianity to be about and failing to fully articulate the extent to which Mrs Stroud is guided by such a strange belief system is giving voters the false impression she is a more “normal” christian – i.e. someone who goes to church, prays to god, hopes s/he listens, feels a bit better about the world, reads the bible sometimes for a bit of inspirational thought, does a bit for charity, and has a set of moral values that are informed by notions of doing good and loving thy neighbour derived from biblical teachings. Instead it seems as though she holds beliefs that some people are victims of DEMONIC influence – which is frankly just plain mental.

  • Anthony,

    Do you know everything that every MP believes, down to the tiniest detail? Probably not. And its not naive to refer you to the bible. For the last time, its clear what a Christian does or doesn’t believe. If you want to know more, go to your local church and ask, I’m sure they would love to talk.

    You seem to be boiling matters down to the demonic issue: So here’s my answer. I believe the bible is the word of God, and I would hope all Christians would accept this too. The bible is clear of matters of homosexuality. Does that mean I hate all gays? Of course not. I have known many good homosexual friends over they years, and I have never tried to convert/brainwash/bash them over the head with a bible. Just because I may not agree with someone’s lifestyle choice, that doesn’t mean I hate them, not care for them, or want to see their civil rights taken away. I don’t want to sound glib, but I don’t like football very much, but neither do I want to stop people from playing it. Everyone has choice and free will. So to try and boil things down to a tabloid black-and-white punchline is not dealing with the issue fairly.

    As for demonic possession: I wouldn’t choose those words, as it conjours up scenes from a horror film; as if something has lept into someone’s body a la Evil Dead. So possession? No, wrong choice of word. Do I believe demons can have strongholds in people’s lives? Yes. I’ve seen people healed in many ways, including myself, and again from a world perspective it does sound wacky. But that’s because you’re not dealing with a worldly subject. And if you have no interest in spirituality, then let’s leave it there because I’m not here to convince you otherwise, nor would I want to. So just as you have freedom not to believe any of this, I have the freedom to believe it too.

  • Paul McKeown 6th May '10 - 1:07pm

    Andy,

    >>>The bible is clear of matters of homosexuality.

    It is nothing of the sort. About half a dozen texts are regularly and blasphemously misrepresented to this effect. In my experience, most British Christians are tolerant of homosexuality. Except in Northern Ireland, and amongst Evangelicals.

    But at least you are finally nailing your colours to the mast. You support Phillipa Stroud, right or wrong, and you believe that what she has said is literally true. Happily, your views are in a very small, unrepresentative minority.

  • Marc,

    So its the “nature” of Stroud’s Christianity that bothers you? I think you’re not giving the voters enough credit to find out the “nature” of her beliefs. She is a Christian – just because it doesn’t fit your picture of what a Christian should be, doesn’t make it any less true.

    You call it a ‘strange belief system’ – strange to you, yes, because you aren’t a Christian! Define normal! There are plenty of MP’s, with a belief in God or not, that may have ‘strange’ ways. Same goes for the rest of mankind.

    Your idea of a Christian is one that potters along on a Sunday morning, doesn’t really engage or have a real relationship with God, and as long as it doesn’t upset you then that’s fine. Sorry Marc, but go check the bible. Jesus healed people of demons. But I guess these ‘normal’ Christians overlook that part, don’t they? I think you’ll find that Church of England (which I presume is the sort of church you are referring to as ‘normal’) does also believe in the devil, as well as demons.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 6th May '10 - 1:16pm

    Andy

    Thank you for giving a kind of answer, though I was afraid you might say something like “it depends what you mean by demonic possession”. But at least it’s something. All I am really asking is that Philippa Stroud should be honest and open about her beliefs. Then the electorate will have the information they need to make a meaningful choice. (Though it’s obviously too late for that now, so far as this election is concerned.)

    And you must understand that although you have a very specific understanding of what the word “Christian” means, as Marc points out it is an entirely different understanding from that of the population in general, and even – I would suggest – from that of the majority of people who would describe themselves as Christians. It is simply not true that the electorate in general would deduce from her statement “I am a Christian” that she believes homosexuality is caused by demonic possession. If she does believe that. Because, after all, she still won’t tell us…

  • Paul,

    Well my bible is – not sure which version you have. To say that evangelicals are intolerant against homosexuals is simply wrong. (Please read my previous comment, don’t want to repeat)

    No, not ‘finally’ nailing any colours to masts – there’s been no sudden exposure of deep hidden feelings, so please cool your boots. (Again, I refer you to my previous comment). As for being a “small unrepresentative minority”, if you’re implying that all Evangelicals are anti-homosexuals, then you’re wrong. I may not agree with you, but I don’t hate you or wish to see you come to harm. So please stop seeing everything with an all or nothing viewpoint.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 6th May '10 - 1:21pm

    I think this comment piece from Pink News gives an admirably clear and balanced discussion of the issue. It concludes:
    If she does indeed believe homosexuality is caused by demonic possession it should not bar her from office. Many Christians hold similar views; it is in the dogma of some Catholic and evangelical Anglican churches. Some Jews and Muslims hold similar views too. Former and current government ministers also hold similar beliefs. She has never been accused of homophobia nor of discriminating against gay people in her church or in her role in politics.
    What Mrs Stroud must do is come clean, set the record straight and either confirm or deny the allegations. Then the story can go away and she can be judged on her well-respected record of fighting for the poor and her positive influences on Conservative policy in this area.

    http://gaynews.pinknews.co.uk/2010/05/06/comment-why-has-philippa-stroud-not-denied-she-believes-homosexuality-is-caused-by-demonic-possession/#

  • You’re welcome, Anthony – I’m not on here as a Tory-lover, nor to bang the drum for Stroud, but the problem is that people (sometimes) leap to conclusions which simply aren’t true.

    We’ll have to agree to disagree on the ‘true meaning of what a Christian is’. All I can suggest is that if any voter has any uncertainty, then do your research.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 6th May '10 - 1:42pm

    Andy

    You’re still missing the point. You suggested that the electorate should be able to work out what Philippa Stroud’s beliefs were because she described herself as “a Christian”. Put simply, that argument is nonsensical, because all sorts of people _describe_ themselves as Christians, and hold all manner of different beliefs.

  • Paul McKeown 6th May '10 - 1:51pm

    Well, Andy, looking at my bookshelves, I see a NIV, and a Statenvertaling NT (Dutch language). In a box in the loft there is a AV (1769 edition), Luther NT (German), a Semeur NT (French) and a Tyndale NT. Despite being neither Catholic, nor Dutch, nor homosexual, I translated a book, for a small commission, a few years ago which was written for a friend of friend (both Christian homosexuals) about homosexuality from a Catholic perspective, from Dutch into English. I was brought up in an Anglican tradition (Church of Ireland) and, although no longer a churchgoer, am fully aware of traditional thoughts on the matter. However, I can say that, these views are generally a product of a prejudiced mind (i.e. closed and unwilling to consider the possibility of error), an over-reliance on perceived authority and an unwillingness to read certain texts for what they actually say. I tell you clearly that there is no scriptural authority for the condemnation of homosexuality. I know many practising Christians of various denominations, and, in experience is that their views on the subject are very much at odds with that of tradition.

    I fear that this is getting very far from having any connection with Liberal Democracy at all, or indeed Phillippa Stroud’s disordered thought processes, but this happens when dealing with trolls or those prepared to defend the indefensible. If you would give me your email address, I would be more than delighted to educate you further on the matter.

  • Paul McKeown 6th May '10 - 1:57pm

    And I would re-iterate that the problem with Phillippa Stroud’s suitability to represent us, is not her beliefs regarding homosexuality (which I what you seem to want to argue) but her belief in demonic possession, which is a particularly dangerous belief, which has, even in recent years, led to the deaths of a number of children and vulnerable adults in this country.

  • Andy,

    that Pink News excerpt pretty much sums up my views as regards Mrs Stroud and her right to seek and hold public office.

    There’s loads of “christians” in Parliament – though not so many evangelicals. I suspect very very few of them would say “Oh yeah – demons” if asked “do you know why some people are homosexual?”. THIS IS A GOOD THING IMHO!

    The reason why being clear about the extent to which a prospective candidate is tied into a belief system that sits at odds with the mainly secular (political) society we have created is because they have influence and a capacity to impose elements of that belief system on to others. For example, if a candidate was a fundamentalist, someone who believed in creationism, office may be given an ability to determine education policy in the biology classroom. Then their religious belief system is of direct relevance to the electorate as it has a direct bearing on the way they would conduct themselves in office.

    Similarly if you believe homosexuality is the result of demonic influence, or that healing can be brought about through the holy spirit, or that god tells people to do particular things or announces the future through prophecy, or worse still – that bad things happen to people because of “evil” or demonic influence and their inability to hear the word of god (rather than perhaps systemic failures in a society that perpetuates a widening of the gap between rich and poor and the ghetoisation of poverty), well that is of DIRECT relevance to how you will conduct yourself in office.

    And in this case the claim is that Mrs Stroud believes the former – demons. Something she has singularly failed to respond to. That she may have a nuanced understanding of what this means – maybe that demonic influence is at play when someone wrestles with homosexual feelings and seeks support in the form of intervention from the church, but that someone who is comfortable with their sexuality does not need that support but still deserves to share in gods love (or some other such sermonising stuff), for example – is likely. But her failure to explain herself is understandably playing to peoples suspicions she is part of the slightly mental wing of society, and she may come to wield influence over lots of peoples lives.

  • Anthony,

    No, I hear your point, and I understand it. You want clarity on what ‘type’ of Christian she is. But what I would say is that she doesn’t keep it a secret. The same could be said for others of different religions, but I don’t hear any calls for them to explain exactly where they’re at with their beliefs.

  • Paul,

    Good to hear you have such a range of bibles – and well done for writing a book. As you state, you wrote it from a Catholic perspective. Head knowledge is one thing when it comes to matters of God – you can read every book there is and still not click with it, if you don’t know God or have a relationship with Him.

    Again, I am not prejudiced, and for all the inferred accusations of such, I would ask you to consider your views. I may not agree with a Catholic or a Muslim, but does that mean I am against them? No, of course not. Just because I don’t agree with something, it doesn’t mean I blanket-hate everything associated with it. Again, its the all or nothing mentality which keeps us going in circles. If I hated or was intolerant of homosexuals, I wouldn’t have worked in a theatre! (The staff were 90% homosexual, friends of mine and I had no problem with them, and likewise with me).

    Yes, we are going off point with all of this, but deeming me as a ‘troll’, just because I happen to share a differing opinion to you is pretty childish of you. You may believe what you say is correct, and good for you – I’ve not told anyone what to think, so I’m certain that I can do without any ‘education’ from you, thanks.

  • Paul,

    “her belief in demonic possession, which is a particularly dangerous belief, which has, even in recent years, led to the deaths of a number of children and vulnerable adults in this country.”

    Erm, not sure where you’re getting this from – you don’t state what churches or denomination has been ‘responsible’ for these deaths. I’m certain that my church hasn’t killed anyone!

  • Anthony Aloysius St 6th May '10 - 3:45pm

    Andy

    “No, I hear your point, and I understand it. You want clarity on what ‘type’ of Christian she is. But what I would say is that she doesn’t keep it a secret.”

    Well, we really are going round in circles now, because the only reason we are having this discussion is that Philippa Stroud has repeatedly refused to say whether her beliefs are as reported by the Observer.

    That is the whole problem, and your response above was to tell me it should be obvious what her beliefs are because she is a Christian. But it is _not_ obvious what her beliefs are, and she is refusing to say.

  • Marc,

    Wouldn’t you say that everyone has an agenda of some sort? We all see the world in varying ways, and we all have our own idea of how things should be done. But that’s where balance and moderation comes into play. You seem to have this notion that (heaven forbid!) an evangelical Christian got into a position of power, we’re all doomed! If that’s what you think, then run with it. All I can say is that being an evangelical Christian does not mean that you want to enforce your will on another. If anything, its about the opposite. Its about giving people the right to choose what they want out of life. I would hate to think that someone would come to church under duress Everyone I know who goes to church is there because they want to be.

    Just because a Christian believes in demonic activity, it doesn’t mean that they go through the day blaming anything that goes wrong on demons. Likewise, if I believe in Creationism, it doesn’t mean I reject science. There are subtleties to these sorts of scenarios

    Again, I reiterate that ANYONE who comes to church for prayer is never forced, coerced or shamed into anything. We go to great lengths to state that if you don’t want prayer, that’s fine too.

    So, in a nutshell, because Stroud has not detailed the minute detail of her belief, something must be suspect? I’d check your paranoia first. As for the ‘slightly mental’ remark – is it okay to keep using terms like this to describe something you disagree with? I don’t think so.

  • Paul McKeown 6th May '10 - 3:48pm

    Andy,
    (a) I translated, rather than wrote, although admittedly there is a considerable overlap between the two activities.
    (b) I know the Dutch author is bringing out a second edition, in which he is being advised by an American protestant (of what variety I don’t recall). The conclusions are the same, as Catholic, whatever, all Christian faiths rely on scriptural authority and the grounds for a condemnation of homosexuality in the Bible is scant indeed.
    (c) I described a prejudiced mind as closed and unwilling to consider the possibility of error. I stand by that, regardless of whether that leads to inappropriate treatment of others.
    (d) “troll” seems apt, although I may be wrong, for someone who attempts to defend the indefensible by steadfastly attacking statements that were never made, such as those supposedly made regarding Phillipp Stroud’s views on homosexuality
    (e) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/6177001.stm for one source. If I can find the time I shall find specific references to cases that came before the law courts in the UK within the last few years.

  • Paul,

    Your link is regarding witchcraft – its not the same deal. I completely disagree with those practices myself, and I would state quite clearly that they are NOT the same practices that are carried out in any church I know. Tarring everything with the same brush is indefensible.

  • This is getting really boring now! Andy, you do seem to be rather troubled and insecure in your beliefs. May I politely suggest you talk to the priest at your church following a careful reading of some Russell or A C Grayling for example.
    This is a discussion about an important judgement to be made by the British public and not a forum for those who want to propogate their religious beliefs.

  • Mary, I’m fine thanks! How are you?

    I’m not troubled or insecure, thanks. I’m not propogating my beliefs, just providing some reality and balance.

    Sorry if its boring you – I’m getting bored too. I’m signing off now. Have a good day, everybody!

  • Paul McKeown 6th May '10 - 4:47pm

    Consider the case of Victoria Climbier, whose carers brutally mistreated and ultimately killed her, claiming in court that she was possessed: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Victoria_Climbié

    There have been many other recent cases; I may or may not have the time to cite them. They may, in any case, be only the tip of a horrific iceberg.

  • Paul,

    Again, completely unrelated to my belief, church, or family of churches. Child abuse and murder is not a part of any church I know, and of course I’m completely opposed and horrified by the Climbier as anybody else is. The African spiritualist/witchcraft movement is about as far away from Stroud’s church as you could possibly get – its actually insulting to imply that because some act in a horrific, ungodly manner, that everybody else must be the same. If anything, some UK evangelical churches heavily support organisations that try to protect these children from such mistreatment.

  • Paul McKeown 6th May '10 - 5:06pm

    Andy,

    What you say about your church may well be true – and Phillippa Stroud may share the same beliefs as you and your church. However, as she has made no effort whatsoever to deny the allegations that she believes in demonic possession, nor has she made any attempt to explain what her beliefs do actually compromise, nor what actions towards others develop logically from her beliefs, the public are quite entitled to fear the worst.

    The truth is that someone who believes in demonic possession is very unlikely to command public confidence, unless the extent and the confidence of those beliefs was spelled out in detail. That Stroud has seen fit to avoid answering the direct accusations has done her no favours whatsoever. Her strawman line of defence is simply a form of dishonesty that the public can readily see through.

  • You’ve made a good point – people do fear the worst when they are unable to be rational and calm, and actually do their own research on the subject.

  • Andy
    Posted 6th May 2010 at 5:13 pm | Permalink
    You’ve made a good point – people do fear the worst when they are unable to be rational and calm, and actually do their own research on the subject.

    That is the funniest thing I’ve seen this entire election campaign! Your a right good laugh Andy. Thanks

  • Anthony Aloysius St 6th May '10 - 5:34pm

    Andy

    The problem isn’t that people are “unable to be rational”, and it isn’t that people are unwilling to “do their own research” – I spent long enough on Monday morning trying to get a straight answer out of Philippa Stroud’s constituency office about this!

    The problem is entirely down to Stroud’s refusal to comment on the allegations – and the continual efforts of her apologists to put the blame on other people are extremely tiresome.

  • Mary, it was my pleasure!

  • Anthony,

    You could always pop along to a church on Sunday and ask some questions? Just a thought.

    I’m not an apologist – I just think its right to bring clarity to this situation. When people are posting links about witchcraft and Afrian Spiritualists, implying that this is what Mrs Stroud is possibly part of, it would be wrong to not let these matters go unchecked. Believe me, I’m not looking for an argument – in fact, I should be working now, and would very much like to draw matters to a close! If you find defence tiresome, then maybe its best to stop attacking?

  • Paul McKeown 6th May '10 - 5:49pm

    >>>You’ve made a good point – people do fear the worst when they are unable to be rational and calm, and actually do their own research on the subject.

    People are being rational and calm. They are using ration standards to judge someone whose beliefs are apparently fruit and nut and who refuses to deny that her beliefs are so.

  • Paul McKeown 6th May '10 - 5:49pm

    >>>You’ve made a good point – people do fear the worst when they are unable to be rational and calm, and actually do their own research on the subject.

    People are being rational and calm. They are using rational standards to judge someone whose beliefs are apparently fruit and nut and who refuses to deny that her beliefs are so.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 6th May '10 - 5:59pm

    Andy

    “You could always pop along to a church on Sunday and ask some questions? Just a thought.”

    If you could give me the address of Philippa Stroud’s church and let me know when she’ll be there, that might be a sensible suggestion. Otherwise – sorry to be blunt – it’s the most inane thing you’ve said so far.

  • Paul – I’ve never been involved in such a debate where people have been up in arms so much. “Die, Bitch, Die” was a quote from an FB group. Rational? And again, your derogatory “fruit and nut” remark reflects well on you.

    Anthony: Its either a good idea or not, isn’t it? You seemed quite keen to begin with. So if I gave you her address, its not inane, but if I didn’t… Sorry, don’t see how its inane mate.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 6th May '10 - 6:14pm

    Andy

    Because I’ve had plenty of involvement with churches and Christians in the past, and I already know about the views of Christians in general.

    What I want to know about is the views of Philippa Stroud in particular.

    But I’m afraid Paul was right in his characterisation of you as a troll. I think it’s time to do a good deed, and stop feeding you.

  • Is this how you close discussions, by name-calling? Each to their own, I guess….

  • Paul McKeown 8th May '10 - 1:59am

    Glad to see that woman failed: clearly a menace. Congratulations to Paul Burstow!

  • Clearly a menace? There was a huge difference between first and second place…

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/election2010/results/constituency/e59.stm

  • Paul McKeown 9th May '10 - 8:00pm

    @Andy
    >>>There was a huge difference between first and second place…

    Well as CCHQ went to a large degree of trouble with threatened lawsuits and the rest to suffocate the story and prevent it hitting the airwaves, it is hardly surprising. Just another Nutty Nadine.

  • Suffocate the story? when have you know the media to hold back on a good story – unless it was going to land them in big trouble. The reason its not been on the news at 10 is because its as thin as tissue paper.

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