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Tuesday, 16 August 2011


It was with a mixture of disbelief and amusement that I heard atheist historian David Starkey tell Newsnight's Emily Maitlis on 12th August that the main cause of the riots in England last week was the spread of black culture.  'The whites have become black', he said. 

He gave examples of Jamaican patois ('innit', 'dat', 'dem') 'which has intruded in England' to illustrate his point of 'profound cultural change'.

Starkey went on to voice a silly assertion that David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, whose parents are from Guyana, was 'an architypical successful black man' but if you heard him speak 'you would think he was white'.

Starkey was challenged by author Dreda Say Mitchell, who also has Caribbean parentage and also speaks with received pronunciation, and by the author of 'Chavs', Oxford educated, white, well-spoken Owen Jones.

Starkey has a mini-point, which probably did not warrant a full airing on Newsnight, but it was clumsily and ignorantly made.  And as a militant atheist he would be unable to provide an objective source of the very concepts of right and wrong on which his argument depended.

Perhaps Starkey doesn't mix with people enough, for his line of thinking, that a small minority of Jamaican gangsters define 'black culture', is as absurd as saying that the South and East London gangsters of the fifties and sixties or for that matter the punk rockers of the eighties defined 'white culture'.  There are and were different white cultures and different black cultures.

However, leaving aside the criminals who exist in every place, the most significant aspects of black culture as a whole, in Africa and in the Caribbean, are those of a Christian respect for God and for elders and a defense of Christian values in the family.  While it is true that some young men of Caribbean origin in the UK have embraced rather too enthusiastically the decadent sixties culture of Britain, their underlying culture, and overwhelmingly that of black Africans, is rooted in a strong defence of Christian morality, of sexual fidelity and modesty.

Because of their God-fearing base, Caribbean and African cultures are also strongly opposed to homosexuality, something which the homosexual Starkey, an 'Honorary Associate' (if there can be such a thing) of the National Secular Society, and a supporter of the late Tory Campaign for Homosexual Equality (they don't need one these days), who has described himself as an "excessively enthusiastic advocate of promiscuity", will also find less than appealing.

In fairness, Starkey has also warned of a tyrannous new morality based on aggressive promotion of gay rights in which Christians are persecuted.   But he is a fool in the Biblical sense, and if he were informed by Christian theology on the unity of the human race he would not have made such a fool of himself on Newsnight.

PRAY: Sometimes there are people who we think 'ought' to be saved and others who are so repulsive we find it hard to love them enough to want their salvation.

David Starkey may well fall into the latter category but he is still made in the image of God and he still needs the intrusion of the Holy Spirit and the saving grace of Jesus Christ to reveal to him his sin and his need of forgiveness and acceptance as an adopted son of the Father.  From that he will find that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom (Prov 1:7) and move from ever learning to the knowledge of the truth (2Tim 3:7). 

If you can find sufficient charity in your heart (and you should) please pray for him.


  1. I do not see the authors point of using inflammatory words against D Starkey - the Bible speaks against such fruitless debates, since Mr Starkey isnt saved and thus ruled by sin, demoms (as in 'doctrines of demons'.) & the world system with its false philosphies: a triune opposition to God. I cant help think the writer has a past grudge against D Starkey (who worldly views I don't of course hold)

    The article ends in a patronising judgemental manner: Paul said to judge those inside the church, not those without. David Steele, as did many bishops in the Lords advocated abortion: all were & are members of the church: I casn understand warnings against such these pharisees who have no saltiness, but not athiests! The fault of society being corrupted is due to the church losing its saltiness - thats where the criticism should be - eg against the Arch B. of Cnterbury & other liberals. The writer calls on us to show charity! That's rich, since his article is full of loveless condecending sarcasm. Can a bitter mouth also bring up sweet water in prayer? I dont think so! Remember we are called to pray for those in authority, not judge them or bear them grudges. Chritian's hearts are as black in sin as the unsaved ('man being evil') execept we are now saints by a free gift, given the inner power to change: all glory to God

  2. Paul actually said: 1Cor 5:12 'For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? 13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.' That is a statement that he and they must judge the conduct of those in the church. Nowhere does the Apostle say 'Don't pass comment on wicked unbelievers', because then he would be at odds with all the prophets and with the Lord Jesus himself who dismissed Herod as 'that fox.' (Luke 13:32) Are you going to slag off Jesus for being 'loveless' and 'condescending' Patrick?
    Look at the sarcasm in Isaiah and that of Micaiah in 1Kgs 22. I get the feeling that there are some Christians in whose eyes other Christians can do nothing right.
    And then they themselves fall into the trap of speaking evil of other believers, which the Apostles Paul (Rom 14:4) and James (Jas 4:11-12) said specifically not to do! (That is why there is little criticism of leading figures in the church on this blog.)