In this season of Advent, what's on the mind of the Church of Sweden?
As readers know, since the new century got going I've visited MalmÃ¶ fairly regularly: it was the first Christian city in what was then Denmark and it's now on course to be the first Muslim city in Sweden - although, what with all the nightly explosions and sex crimes, the transition isn't going as smoothly as the multiculti Swedes might have wished. When I was there in 2015, I visited St Paul's Church, mainly because I was hunting down a couple of graves of Commonwealth airmen in the Jewish cemetery - which occupies a somewhat fortified corner of the main St Paul's cemetery.
The church itself is a splendid and distinctive edifice designed by the same architect as the Norwegian Parliament - notwithstanding that once inside one feels these days mostly the absence of God. Alas, being a post-Christian church is trickier than it seems. St Paul's has just had to remove its gay altarpiece for being transphobic:
Pastor Svensson said that the gay couples in the painting were not a problem for the church at all, but the possible association of transgender people with the snake of the Garden of Eden, a symbol of temptation and evil, was not something he could stand for.
As you can see at top right, the altarpiece, by an acclaimed lesbian, shows Eden as a gay bacchanal, with Adam and Eve and their respective same-sex partners all having a grand old time. Despite these lively contemplations of the divine, Jessica Yaniv as a trans-serpent has prompted accusations of cis-supremacism, so the gay party-piece has gotta go.
If they need any new ideas, how about the Garden of Sweden, from which the Swedes are voluntarily expelling themselves?
~Within six minutes of polls closing in the United Kingdom, media leftie Paul Mason had moved on from losing last week's election to losing the next one:
A victory of the old over the young, racists over people of colour, selfishness over the planet.
If you're wondering why working-class northern England voted for an Etonian toff, it's because the "workers' party" fell into the hands of narcissistic tosspots. Tweet on, Macduff.
As I touched on during last week's Clubland Q&A, condescension toward the voters quickly curdles into contempt for the election itself. It would be helpful, for the electoral fortunes of both Labour in Britain and the Democrats in Washington, if the likes of Mr Mason could make that contempt just a tad less obvious.
~As Kate Smyth, doyenne of the Sydney branch of The Mark Steyn Club, put it the other day (scroll down):
Conservatives are those with positions supported by the left ten years ago, as they say.
Indeed. In 2000, when the Vermont Supreme Court mandated same-sex "civil unions", American conservatives were outraged. By 2010, when the left had moved on to gay marriage, conservatives were supportive of civil unions but insisted marriage was an ancient institution between a man and a woman. Now, the left having won that one and moved on to transgenderism, conservatives profess to be a bit queasy about transitioning grade-schoolers.
So you can take it to the bank that by 2030 rock-ribbed Republicans will be on board with penises in the girls' changing rooms, but determined to hold the line against whatever the left's next cause du jour is: human cloning, the state appropriation of parenthood, voting rights for animals.
There really isn't much point to conservatism that's just leftism ten years late, is there? It's like that ITV+1 satellite service they have in Britain that offers you the ITV schedule but an hour later, in case you were caught in traffic heading home. If you're considering on which side to bestow your tribal loyalty, the left is right quicker; the right is left behind - but only for a few years until they throw in the towel. If you're all headed to the same destination, why not ride first class on the TGV instead of the creaking, jerking stopping service? Justin Trudeau's vapid modishness was perfectly distilled by his campaign catchphrase of four years ago: "Because it's 2015." But that beats waiting till 2025 to say "Because it's 2015".
While we're on the subject of the northern Tories: Because the late unlamented Andrew Scheer finessed his views on same-sex nuptials as lethargically as did Barack Obama, he was flayed by the Canadian media as some fire-and-brimstone social conservative of televangical inflexibility. I wish. As I wrote the other day, he's as unmoored from principle as Boris Johnson, but without the countervailing strengths of being able to stick it to the other guy and to pass himself off as a human being. He was particularly contemptible in the hours before my appearance at the House of Commons Justice Committee, as I may discuss in detail one of these days. Yet the never-learn Conservatives are minded to replace an entirely hollow man with someone just like him, only more so.
It is surely telling that the only issues on which the right has made any progress at all in moving the ball in its direction - Brexit in the UK; illegal immigration and a belated honesty about the rise of China in the US - had to be injected into public discourse by two outsiders, Nigel Farage and Donald Trump. And indeed in the teeth of opposition by the establishment's catch-up conservatives.
Catch-up conservatism gives the game away: The right has lost the knack of persuasion, and increasingly doesn't even bother to try.
~We had a busy weekend at SteynOnline, starting with the first of this festive season's Yuletide Tales for Our Time, by L M Montgomery. After spending Christmas at Green Gables, we moved three thousand miles north-west to spend it at Red Butte - and rounded out the weekend with The End of the Young Family Feud. Kathy Shaidle's Saturday movie date was worth waiting for, and our Song of the Week audio special offered an eightieth birthday salute to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. If you were too busy this weekend joining in all the reindeer games, I hope you'll want to check out one or three of the foregoing as a new week commences.
The fourth of our Christmas tales will air right here this evening, just ahead of my appearance with Tucker on the telly. You can listen to each story individually before you lower your lamp - or have a good old binge-listen here. Tales for Our Time is made with the support of members of The Mark Steyn Club. For more information on the Steyn Club, see here.