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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Anglicans for eugenics

'Sir, The Dean of Southwark Cathedral, the Ven Colin Slee, summarises and endorses a report calling for allowing very sick children to die, with the couplet “Thou shalt not kill, but need’st not strive/ officiously to keep alive”.

'Mr Slee seems not to have noticed that this is not “King James Version language” (as he puts it), but a quotation from the Victorian poet Arthur Hugh Clough. In his poem The Latest Decalogue, Clough parodied attempts to update each of the Ten Commandments in turn, with such couplets as “Thou shalt not steal; an empty feat/ When it’s so lucrative to cheat”, or the one quoted above, and they are obviously deeply ironic.

'It is doubly ironic, therefore, that Mr Slee seems unaware that the lines he quotes were written to subvert and pillory the very liberalising tendency he represents.'

- a letter in the Times. The fact that the writer is a Rev gives one some faint hope that it is worth keeping the C of E on its life support machine.

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