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← Armed forces bishop says sorry for praising Taliban

Armed forces bishop says sorry for praising Taliban - Comments

Rosbif's Avatar Comment 1 by Rosbif

At the moment what they are doing is evil

Yes Reverend. They are doing their spiritual leaders bidding to enforce their belief system on other people.

He also said in the interview "some of them are fighting because they are misinformed"
And he, as bishop to the armed forces, is making sure that our boys are informed "correctly" about the myths.


Mon, 14 Dec 2009 17:19:00 UTC | #423358

gcdavis's Avatar Comment 2 by gcdavis

This idiot was born in Cambridgeshire so we have some reason to be ashamed of him locally. If anyone fancies leaving a comment on our forum at the newly formed Cambridge Secular Society, please feel free

Mon, 14 Dec 2009 17:30:00 UTC | #423367

theolgit's Avatar Comment 3 by theolgit

Another f***wit bishop. They have to be admired for their strong faith he said. It is their strong faith that causes them to commit atrocities to anyone who does not adhere to their own world view.I expect the bishop hankers after the time when heritics and non believers could be torured then hanged or burned alive.

Mon, 14 Dec 2009 17:42:00 UTC | #423368

MAJORPAIN's Avatar Comment 4 by MAJORPAIN

I remember hearing a scant few people making comments such as that after 9/11. Other people understandably got upset so they shut up.

"We can at least admire their commitment to their faith" I remember hearing one moron say. "If 'us' christians would following our convictions more strongly like these people obviously do, then the world would be a better place."

People actually believe in their own BS so strongly that they think the world would be better if we all thought like them. Osama should be proud.

Mon, 14 Dec 2009 17:45:00 UTC | #423371

hungarianelephant's Avatar Comment 5 by hungarianelephant

The original article at is well worth the read.

Venner actually has a few sensible points. Where his reasoning goes tits-up is in thinking that "conviction to their faith" is a good thing. It is trotted out as if it were utterly obvious to everyone who cared to think about it. Surprise surprise, no challenge from the Torygraph on that one.

Mon, 14 Dec 2009 18:15:00 UTC | #423378

Sciros's Avatar Comment 6 by Sciros

What an asshat this bishop is! Though since he's a bishop, I am, like everyone else, not at all surprised.

Hitchens and others sometimes say things like (paraphrased) "at least the fundamentalists have some conviction in the nonsense they believe. And in a theological argument, they will win every time because they have the only source of authority in theology on their side." When I read the first statement the bishop made, I thought maybe he was trying to say something like that, but as he continued it became clear that no, he really did admire them to some extent. Hah.

Mon, 14 Dec 2009 18:22:00 UTC | #423380

Dr. Strangegod's Avatar Comment 7 by Dr. Strangegod

Okay, I know this is a cheap shot, but let's replace some key words in the Rev's quotes:

"[NAZI's] should perhaps be admired for their conviction to their faith and their sense of loyalty to each other".

"There's a large number of things that the [NAZI's] say and stand for which none of us in the [Allies] could approve, but simply to say therefore that everything they do is bad is not helping the situation."

"Some [German soldiers] are fighting because they are misinformed."

Would anyone have dared say such things during WWII (and expect to be popular or respected)?

Mon, 14 Dec 2009 18:35:00 UTC | #423382

TIKI AL's Avatar Comment 8 by TIKI AL

No surprise to me that he would salute a fellow misogynistic organization. He might even be jealous that the Taliban women are made to wear bee keeper suits and kept out of the schools.

Mon, 14 Dec 2009 18:36:00 UTC | #423383

agki's Avatar Comment 9 by agki

How is this different from Bill Maher's comment that the 9/11 hijackers were not cowards?

Mon, 14 Dec 2009 18:50:00 UTC | #423391

Logicel's Avatar Comment 10 by Logicel

There are no positive aspects to the Taliban. None at all. Zilch. Nada. Not a dickie bird. Zero. And this pathetic bishop is spluttering that there is? Is this the clear grasp on morality that his religious beliefs give him? Bigtime fail for that basis.

Now, there may be positive aspects to some of the members of the Taliban, who are humans after all and possess potential for change and learning from their mistakes. And this wonky, fuzzy, Bishop, groomed on de facto respect given to his religious office, pinpoints non-evidential faith with its innate dangers and loyalty based on an archaic and unethical tribal sense? And then he apologizes? But makes the same mistake again? There may be no positive aspects to this dipshit.

Mon, 14 Dec 2009 18:53:00 UTC | #423392

TIKI AL's Avatar Comment 11 by TIKI AL

Bill was wrong too.
The highjackers were brainwashed idiots looking for sky virgins.

The bishop is a brainwashed idiot looking for choir boys and a place in heaven.

Mon, 14 Dec 2009 18:57:00 UTC | #423393

jcob82's Avatar Comment 12 by jcob82

Whenever faith is held in higher regard than reason there is a huge problem. It is not god or religion I oppose but faith. Whenever a society or a group of people are willing to believe without evidence and to hold that unsupportable belief to be sacred and holy, two more words that leave an unpleasant taste in my mouth, there usually follows tragedy.

Mon, 14 Dec 2009 19:04:00 UTC | #423395

Philster61's Avatar Comment 13 by Philster61

Stupid senile idiot.

Mon, 14 Dec 2009 19:17:00 UTC | #423399

bitbutter's Avatar Comment 14 by bitbutter

Richard Dawkins has said

As long as we accept the principle that religious faith must be respected simply because it is religious faith, it is hard to withhold respect from the faith of Osama bin Laden and the suicide bombers.

Dr Stephen Venner seems to understand this. His critics seem not to. On what grounds are they deciding which varieties of faith are deserving of respect?

Mon, 14 Dec 2009 19:33:00 UTC | #423401

Sciros's Avatar Comment 15 by Sciros


How is this different from Bill Maher's comment that the 9/11 hijackers were not cowards?
Well, would you submit that they were cowardly?

In any case, that is beside the point. The thing is, even the most evil scum of the planet can possess traits that we would, in general, consider admirable. These can be devotion to one's children, it can be courage, it can be willpower, whatever.

The issue here, as I see it, is that the bishop considered the trait of conviction in blind faith, a violent one at that, to be admirable.

Mon, 14 Dec 2009 19:40:00 UTC | #423404

root2squared's Avatar Comment 16 by root2squared

Well, from his perspective, of course it makes sense. Because in his world, it's a competition. Who can deny reality the most? Who can fit the largest number of contradictions in their brain? Who can best suppress all curiosity? Who can ask the least number of questions? Who can suppress their sexual desires the most? Who can lie to themselves the most? And finally, who can act the most virtuous in all of the above?

Mon, 14 Dec 2009 19:51:00 UTC | #423407

ridelo's Avatar Comment 17 by ridelo

Religion not an oddity?

Mon, 14 Dec 2009 19:58:00 UTC | #423408

SeculR's Avatar Comment 18 by SeculR

How did this man get chosen for such a high profile position, when he doesn’t seem to have had any media training whatsoever. Still, the good news is that if the troops come under fire, this guy will be able to dig himself into a hole big enough for the entire regiment!

Mon, 14 Dec 2009 21:38:00 UTC | #423425

God fearing Atheist's Avatar Comment 19 by God fearing Atheist

14. Comment #441964 by bitbutter


"perhaps be admired for their conviction to their faith and their sense of loyalty to each other"

Faith has been dealt with above, but only a theist would think it was good As for loyalty, why would you not expect any effective body of fighting men to have loyalty to each other?
The day NATO forces shatter Taliban loyalty is the day they win.

9. Comment #441954 by agki

Same as Bill Maher's self evident comment on 9/11.

It reminds me of a story of a Royal Marine Commando who got a postumous medal in WWII - recommended by a German officer! It was a motor torpedo raid on a U-boat installation in France. The marine stayed at his post manning the boat's heavy machine gun, and was wounded multiple times before being killed. Not giving due credit to ones enemy is not only mean, it is also stupid - many a military cock-up has resulted from under estimating the enemy.

Mon, 14 Dec 2009 21:56:00 UTC | #423427

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 20 by Stafford Gordon

Despite slaughtering one another over the centuries whilst crying "my god is better than yours" fundamentally, all religious people support one other because they are all religious.

We secularist, agnostic, atheist, naturilist, rationalist, free thinking individuals have put up with this nonsense for far too long.

Now we are openly criticizing religion the believers are squeeling like stuck pigs; they can dish it out but they can't take it.

Press on, HARD, say I.

Mon, 14 Dec 2009 22:19:00 UTC | #423431

dochmbi's Avatar Comment 21 by dochmbi

I applaud the bishops intellectual honesty, I would love to see more people take their beliefs to their logical conclusions like this.

Mon, 14 Dec 2009 23:24:00 UTC | #423447

Crazycharlie's Avatar Comment 22 by Crazycharlie

On a list of the most vile, verminous, wicked, religious fundamentalists organizations, the Taliban would be close to, if not at the top. Yet the, "Right Reverend Dr. Stephen Venner", says, "...but simply to say therefore that everything they do is bad is not helping the situation."

What the hell do they do that's good?!

Of coarse he would speak such contemptible bullshit, he uses religious nonsense to invest himself with power in this world just like the Taliban does. He sympathises with their religious zeal.

The votaries of religion can always be counted on to show their true colours. All you have to do is to wait for them speak.

Mon, 14 Dec 2009 23:56:00 UTC | #423456

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 23 by Border Collie

Like the people who "admired" the murderers for their "courage, purpose and committment" who flew jets into the WTC on 9/11. Their "conviction to their faith" is like a schizophrenic's conviction to his delusions. What the hell is conviction to a faith that has proven destructive to human life and progress all over the Earth for a millennia and a half? There's conviction, then there's brain-dead addiction, obsession and compulsion.

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 00:50:00 UTC | #423466

Roland_F's Avatar Comment 24 by Roland_F

Bishop Venner told the paper the insurgents could "perhaps be admired for their conviction to their faith and their sense of loyalty to each other".

Well the religious from different cults make strange bedfellows. The pope emperor Ratzinger also praised the Muslims for their strong religious conviction, lifestyle and unwavering faith.
He said he would be "deeply grieved" if anyone had taken offence and hoped he had not jeopardised his job

And this is what this retraction is all about, as the Bishop of the armed forces of the UK likes his well paid job on the expense of British tax payers.
He will continue his role as Bishop for the Falkland Islands.

So British taxpayers are also funding a well paid job role as Bishop of the armed forces of the Falkland’s.

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 01:58:00 UTC | #423476

Roland_F's Avatar Comment 25 by Roland_F
Earlier this year, Peter Davies, the mayor of Doncaster, claimed that British society could learn from Taliban family values. He said that under the Taliban, Afghanistan had an “ordered system of family life”.

Yes these “family values” means woman have to stay at home, need to be completely covered and accompanied by a male relative when leaving the house, are not allowed to attend any school, have to be totally submissive to their husband, and the daughters are married at age 11 or even earlier to some middle aged bearded warlord.
Indeed this is a desirable family life which the British society should be fully adopting, maybe the best way to start as proposed from Rowan Williams ABofC by implementing Shariah law in the UK as guidance for family life.

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 02:19:00 UTC | #423480

Rodger T's Avatar Comment 26 by Rodger T

Perhaps we should admire the Bish because of his unshakeable conviction, that, he and his religious views are relevant to society and people give a fuck.

Taliban family values

Holy shit, I think I`m having an asthma attack.

Oh ,the insanity.

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 03:04:00 UTC | #423487

SaintStephen's Avatar Comment 27 by SaintStephen

The Righteous and Wronged Right Reverend Venner:

"At the moment what they [the Taliban] are doing is evil."
That's one long moment. Over 2000 years long, and counting.

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 03:53:00 UTC | #423493

Laurie Fraser's Avatar Comment 28 by Laurie Fraser

Clutching at straws. These religious lunatics will say anything that makes the observance of religion - any religion - appear valid. Border Collie, you said it all. Nothing further to add.

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 07:04:00 UTC | #423509

AfraidToDie's Avatar Comment 29 by AfraidToDie

9. Comment #441954 by agki: How is this different from Bill Maher's comment that the 9/11 hijackers were not cowards?

It is a lot different. Maher was reacting to those calling the 911 suicide attackers cowards because that trait was simply not relevant and didn’t address the real important trait of religious zealot. How can you call someone a coward who would have the balls (and what I call immoral conviction) to get behind the controls of a passenger jet and watch yourself plow into a building terminating your life? You could call them crazy, lunatic, suicidal, and many other names, but coward just doesn’t fit. Bill Maher was righton.

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 11:09:00 UTC | #423545

MarkOnTheRiver's Avatar Comment 30 by MarkOnTheRiver

The crass ineptitude of Stephen Venner's comments, makes one wonder if his appointment as armed forces bishop, was in some way a secularist plot within the MOD.

But probably not. Once a sky pilot, always a sky pilot.

Respecting your enemy's capabilities is one thing Bish, but don't give so much as the shit under your fingernails in terms of comfort.

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 12:25:00 UTC | #423555