Ang Lee at the UK premier of Life of Pi. Image: Getty

Life of Pi asks questions of man, not God

8 January 2013 10:00

I’m conducting an experiment: Life of Pi concerns a basic metaphor about faith, how is that metaphor rendered in print and on screen? I’ve re-read the book. I’ve deliberately (at this stage)… Continue reading

A stained glass window in St. Catherine's Church, Bethlehem. Image: Getty

Discovering poetry: George Herbert’s ‘Prayer’ and the beauty of holiness

7 January 2013 10:00

‘Prayer’ Prayer the Church’s banquet, angels’ age, God’s breath in man returning to his birth, The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage, The Christian plummet sounding heaven and earth; Engine… Continue reading

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Christians are free to practise their faith openly in this country, but many fear increasing persecution. Picture: Getty

Are Christians being persecuted in Britain?

2 January 2013 17:46

Douglas Murray makes a striking point on his Spectator blog about the violent persecution that many Christians face across the globe, while the Church of England fights over gay marriage… Continue reading


Sorry atheists, organised religion works

2 January 2013 16:13

‘I’m spiritual, not religious’ is something people say to make themselves sound interesting. It doesn’t work. What is intriguing, though, is that, according to this new survey, those who see… Continue reading

Gay Marriage Becomes Legal In The UK

A storm of nonsense: gay marriage opponents lose their wits - Spectator Blogs

10 December 2012 13:01

My word, the latest kerfuffle over gay marriage runs the gamut from dumb to dumber. Here, for instance, is Cristina Odone: He may get away with bullying a great many –… Continue reading

Dr Cosmo Lang, Archbishop of Canterbury, leaves Number 10 Downing Street on 6th December 1936 after meeting with Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin and other ministers to discuss the abdication crisis. Image: Getty.

Cosmo Lang, his part in Edward VIII’s downfall

10 December 2012 9:30

In December 1936, following the Abdication of Edward VIII, a rhyme circulated about the Archbishop of Canterbury, Cosmo Lang: ‘My Lord Archbishop, what a scold you are! And when your… Continue reading

History suggests that if you throw enough bones to this pack of partisan dogs, they'll agree. Image: Getty.

300 years of hating party politics

3 December 2012 9:37

‘Whig and Tory Scratch and Bite’, by Aaron Hill Whig and Tory scratch and bite, Just as hungry dogs we see: Toss a bone ‘twixt two, they fight, Throw a… Continue reading

Justin Welby has been profoundly influenced by the social teaching of a nineteenth century pope, Leo XIII. Image: Getty

Justin Welby’s social conscience

25 November 2012 14:32

One of the things we know about the next Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is that he doesn’t like bankers. Another is that he has given a good deal of… Continue reading

Justin Welby returns to his seat after addressing the General Synod of the Church of England, which includes the House of Laity. Image: Getty

In defence of the CofE’s House of Laity

22 November 2012 11:52

Even friends of an Established church like myself – though I’m a Catholic – should think twice about the wisdom of the idea after the naked political interference in the… Continue reading

Justin Welby returns to his seat after addressing the General Synod of the Church of England, which includes the House of Laity. Image: Getty

The Church of England is becoming a church in England

21 November 2012 9:22

This morning’s newspapers (and indeed the airwaves) are full of apocalyptic predictions about the future of the Church of England. The failure of the General Synod to ordain women bishops has… Continue reading

Wole Soyinka has told the Spectator that Boko Haram, the Islamist group in Nigeria, must be 'destroyed'. Image: Getty

Wole Soyinka: Boko Haram must be destroyed

18 November 2012 17:16

Born in 1934 in Nigeria, Wole Soyinka is the author of more than twenty plays, ten volumes of poetry, two novels, seven collections of essays and five autobiographical works. He… Continue reading

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Theocrats, plutocrats, bureaucrats and other enemies of human freedom

18 November 2012 14:32

This is a video of a speech to Oxford Brookes University on freedom and its enemies based on my book on censorship You Can’t Read This Book.

Actors rehearsing a scene from Dante's 'Inferno'. Sharon Olds' fear of hell as a child continues inform so much of her poetry. Image: Getty.

Sharon Olds’ fear and self-loathing

9 November 2012 12:36

Since the publication of her debut collection, Satan Says in 1980, which was awarded the inaugural San Francisco Poetry Center Award, Sharon Olds has become a prominent – and controversial… Continue reading

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New Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. Picture: PA

Why Old Etonian Justin Welby is good news for the CofE

8 November 2012 13:11

So, another Old Etonian at the apex of the British establishment: Justin Welby, the Bishop of Durham, will be the next Archbishop of Canterbury. It’s sweet, in a way. All we need… Continue reading

Prince Henry's death prompted an outpouring of public grief, similar to that of Winston Churchill. Image: Getty.

William Rowley and the death of Prince Henry – poetry

5 November 2012 10:26

‘To the Grave’ Unclasp thy womb, thou mortuary shrine, And take the worst part of the best we had. Thou hast no harbourage for things divine, That thou had’st any… Continue reading

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Way Of The Cross Led By Pope Benedict XVI

Thornton Wilder’s theatrics in The Cabala

29 October 2012 10:30

I was on a date once in Atlanta, Georgia. We decided on the theatre and there was only one show playing, The Skin of Our Teeth by Thornton Wilder. After… Continue reading

The Gospels have been translated into patois, the creole spoken as the primary language of most Jamaicans. Image: Getty.

Spreading the Word through patois

10 October 2012 12:35

The Jamaican High Commission in London held a party last night to launch a patois translation of the Gospels. The translation, published by the Bible Society, is the culmination of… Continue reading

You'll never look at a pineapple in the same way again. Image: Getty.

The Pineapple of Hate

5 October 2012 10:48

We have had the dreaded cartoons, films, teddy-bear and more. But I bet that until now nobody imagined we would ever see a (cue dreaded music) ‘Pineapple of Hate’.  Yet… Continue reading

'John Saturnall's Feast' would have been the ideal setting for Lawrence Norfolk's full descriptive talents. Image: Getty.

Review – John Saturnall’s Feast, by Lawrence Norfolk

25 September 2012 15:16

Lawrence Norfolk has always liked to centre his novels around a mixture of existing and constructed myth, and then let the action which happens centuries later be informed by or… Continue reading

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Demonstrators hold banners reading "Your

No surrender for Salman

20 September 2012 14:39

As the Middle East reels and Parisian satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo up their security, one man who knows more than most about the absurd over-reaction of vast swathes of the… Continue reading

Hassan Nasrallah has called for a enforceable international law banning insults to Islam and other religions. Photo: Getty Images

Britain should call for reform of existing blasphemy laws

17 September 2012 18:49

Around the time that speculation was mounting about Tony Blair’s possible return to British politics last month, I went to a public discussion about faith and public life by the… Continue reading

This week's Discovering Poetry column examines Thomas Jordan's anti-Republican polemics, written soon after the Restoration. Image: Getty.

The poetic lies against Old Ironsides

17 September 2012 15:19

‘How the War Began’ by Thomas Jordan, 1663. ‘I’ll tell you how the war began: The holy ones assembled (For so they called their party then Whose consciences so trembled).… Continue reading

Indian Muslims burn an effigy of Salman Rushdie. Image: Getty.

Salman Rushdie’s ‘The Satanic Verses’ revisited

17 September 2012 11:34

The publication of Joseph Anton (tomorrow), Salman Rushdie’s much anticipated memoir, has given newspapers cause to revisit The Satanic Verses. The commentary focuses on the bloodthirsty and backward response that the… Continue reading

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Channel 4 cancels Tom Holland’s history of Islam, but the extremists will not win

11 September 2012 18:30

In what may prove to be the most depressingly predictable story of the year, we learn that Channel 4 has chosen to cancel a screening of Tom Holland’s programme ‘Islam:… Continue reading

Zadie Smith's 'NW' seems to be winning plaudits, and rightly so. Image: Getty.

A tale of two Smiths: Zadie Smith and The Smiths

10 September 2012 15:00

It is lit-fiction season: that time of the year of when the premier novelists of the age dominate the market. Ian McEwan, Pat Barker, Zadie Smith, Sebastian Faulks and Rose… Continue reading

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