Tag Archives: England

At 93, I never thought we would have to debate the definition of marriage — Billy Graham

ThomasMoreCarolina

Religion and the definition of marriage remain intertwined in the present, just as in the past. Historically, disputes over the definition of marriage concerned marriage, divorce and remarriage. Dispute over these issues in the court of King Henry VIII of England in the 16th century caused upheaval in the Church and English society. Heads rolled, literally, in the process. In the present, there is an ongoing dispute over the definition of marriage or the redefinition of marriage to allow same sex couples to marry. As I view the movement for same sex marriage, defined as marriage equality, in the United States, North Carolina is a focal point. Amendment 1 to the state constitution, enacted in 2012 following a ballot measure, defined marriage as the union of one man to one woman. Amendment 1 was struck down on October 10, 2014 by U.S. District Court Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr.  It is now lawful for same sex couples to marry in North Carolina, much to the dismay of opponents of marriage equality, including Charles L. Worley and Billy Graham, who object on religious grounds. Heads are rolling, though not literally, in North Carolina now that Amendment 1 is no longer in force. Continue reading

We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done. — Alan Turing (1912-1954)

enhanced-buzz-15299-1379589344-0IMG_1283

While Mika and I were enjoying our two weeks holiday in England last month among the sites we toured was Bletchley Park. This was especially of interest to Mika as he has a degree in computer science and mathematics from Queen’s University. Bletchley Park was the seat of British Intelligence, Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS or GCCS, later renamed Government Communications Head Quarters GCHQ), during the Second World War where Axis radio transmissions were intercepted and decrypted. Those who worked there in the strictest secrecy and security made an invaluable contribution to the Allied war effort. Of those who worked at Bletchley Park during the Second World War was a mathematician and pioneering computer scientist named Alan Turing. It is held that “Turing’s brilliant ideas in solving codes, and developing computers to assist break them, may have saved more lives of military personnel in the course of the war than any other.” (Turing Biography) He is commemorated at Bletchley Park for his service to his King and country with a sculpture and a copy of the Letter of Apology from the British Government for the injustice he suffered following the war for having been identified as a “known homosexual,” an injustice that ruined his career, reputation, health and led to his suicide. Continue reading

Our trip to England

Nothing new has been published on the blog the past couple of weeks as Mika and I were on holiday in England from the 10th-25th of September. We stayed in London with our friends Des and Keith. This was Mika’s first trip to the British Isles. I lived there as a boy from 1968-1970 and went back for a holiday on my own in 2005. We had a really good time taking in various historic sites such as the Tower of London, the Monument, Westminster Abbey, Hampton Court, Handel House, the British Museum, the Museum of Natural History and the British Library. I will add I was a little disappointed with how commercialized London has become. The sense of British identity I remembered from my boyhood and wanted to see again really seems watered down in London in the present. There is a plethora of shops and kiosks where cheesy trinkets are hawked to tourists and some of the historic sites, notably the Tower of London, have the feel of a theme park to them. The next time we visit England we will take in more of the sites maintained by the National Heritage Trust as I understand these better represent British identity.

Posted by Geoffrey

I believe the fear of the rope, as it is generally called among certain classes, is a very great deterrent. — Rayner Goddard, Baron Goddard (10 April 1877 – 29 May 1971)

PierrepointWands3

Mika and I are celebrating our fifteenth year together this month, August 2013. In all these years as a couple, we have never gone away together for a holiday. At long last, we are taking a holiday next month, a trip to England for two weeks. This will be Mika’s first visit to England. I lived in England from 1968-1970. I remember upon learning I would be travelling to England with my family imagining England was a land with castles where kings and queens resided and frequently ordered that people’s heads be chopped off. While this was true in the past, it happily was no longer the case by the late 1960s. In fact, capital punishment was no longer in use when I arrived in England with my family. Still, this is one facet of English history and law I find fascinating: the application of capital punishment. Judicial hanging was by far the most common form of execution in English history, although the cruel punishments of hanging, drawing and quartering, burning at the stake and beheading were practiced for centuries also. By the 20th century judicial hanging was the only method of execution (outside of the military where one could be shot at dawn) employed and the English had perfected its practice applying it liberally in executing people convicted of murder and high treason. Continue reading