Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

A few good links

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

A few links I found interesting for one reason or another:

Dr. Platypus - What Are All These Sinners Doing in the Bible?

Spiked - The iron fist in the velvet glove of gay marriage

Index on Censorship - UK “snooper’s charter” to be redrafted

Mind Hacks – Political genes

Gordon’s Blog – Are Christian Concern really concerned Christians?

Society for Christian Psychology - The Character of Time and Behavior

Left Foot Forward - NHS for all? Why universal health coverage is key to improving health worldwide

Quote of the Day

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

Likewise, the paucity of e-petitions demanding removal of bishops from the Upper House does not seem to reflect the reported antipathy towards the Church, ranking beneath the interest shown in ‘Drop the VAT hike on the sale of static caravans’.


A few good links

Monday, November 12th, 2012

A few links I found interesting for one reason or another:

Ekklesia - People’s Review of the Work Capability Assessment (#realWCA) published

Law and Religion UK - Religion and Law Weekly – 12th November

The Preachers’ Blog - On the offensive: Burning poppies and the threshold of offence

Borrowed Light - The Googlization of Bible Study

Bad Catholic - Infinite Love

Black, white and Gray - “I can’t believe I did that”: The Role of Shame in Happiness

A few good links

Friday, November 9th, 2012

A few links I found interesting for one reason or another:

Peter Ould - Appointing Justin – A Lesson in Communication

Believer’s Brain - #Headroom conference

The Void - IDS Think Tank Funded by Work Programme Contractor Accused of Fraud

The Biblical World - Living life while waiting for the end: 1 Thess 1:9-10

POPSCI – Humans Can’t Be Empathetic And Logical At The Same Time

Digital Nun - What Really Matters?

Listverse – 15 Bad Arguments We All Abuse

Premier Radio and the BNP Nick Griffin Interview Controversy

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Following the recent court judgement against B&B owner Susanne Wilkinson for turning away a gay couple, the BNP’s Nick Griffin took to Twitter to publish part of the address of the couple, and suggest a ‘British justice team’ might like to cause ‘a bit of drama’ outside their home.

This action was met by outrage, Griffin’s Twitter account suspended, the police were involved to investigate, Labour MEPs formally reported Griffin to the European Parliament, and his full address shared on Facebook.

In response to this, Premier Radio conducted a telephone interview with Griffin to discuss the Tweets.

Rather unhelpfully this interview was picked up by Christian Today with the headline: Nick Griffin says he is prepared to go to jail for Christians and was reported thus:

British National Party leader Nick Griffin has told Premier Christian Radio that he is prepared to go to prison to protect the rights of Christians and heterosexuals.


Speaking on Premier, Mr Griffin said he was “always” prepared to go to jail.

“I don’t want to, but the fact is that we are in, now, a totalitarian society where the indigenous majority of Christians and heterosexuals are the oppressed majority and I’m prepared to go to prison to protect their rights,” he said.

Quite rightly this article caused some anger and Christians demanded an explanation from Premier Radio as to why they gave Griffin an unchallenged platform.

Lester Holloway blogged:

The neo-Nazi used his radio platform to declare that he would “be prepared to go to jail for Christians.” The interview was reported uncritically on Christian Today.

It was some of the most positive media coverage the BNP has received for some time. Regrettably some Christians have allowed their anti-gay beliefs to get in the way of judgement and logic. By appearing to make common cause with the Far Right leader the radio journalists have junked a century of experience of Fascism and its’ bloody consequences, all because they share Griffin’s views on homosexuality.

It’s worth noting that the anger directed at Premier Radio occurred as a result of the poor Christian Today article and before Premier had posted the interview online.

Premier themselves took to Twitter and said:

Like the vast majority of Christians we consider some of Griffin’s views deeply offensive, but like other media outlets in the interest of news coverage we’re occasionally prepared to ask him to explain his actions and comments. He was robustly questioned by one of our journalists, and we also spoke to a spokesperson from the Christian Institute (who are representing the B&B owners in question) who was very critical of Griffin’s comments.

I decided to wait for the interview to be posted online before making a judgement, and it is now available on this link, and as you can hear Griffin’s actions were challenged and condemned by Mike Judge of the Christian Institute.

Although I have warned over and again that the far right are attempting to co-opt Christianity, I am not a ‘no platform’ advocate as I feel these strategies need to be openly exposed and challenged by Christians.

Caution must be exercised however, as giving such folk an uncritical platform serves to legitimise their views, which is precisely what happened during the Revelation TV Debate between Nick Griffin and George Hargreaves back in 2010.

As a result of the Tweets made by Griffin, Cambridgeshire police decided not to press charges, his Twitter account was reinstated, and he gained 3500 extra followers.

On the up side, the vast majority of his followers loathe his views.

Anyway, here’s the link to the interview again and you can decide if Premier blundered and were exploited by Griffin, or if they were right to air the interview in the way they did.

Organisation of Islamic Co-operation have abandoned plans to introduce global blasphemy law through the UN.

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

This is great news.

For years the Organisation of the Islamic Co-operation (OIC) – comprising 57 Islamic nations – had campaigned for  a ‘Defemation of Religion” UN resolution.

In other words a global blasphemy law.

Many observers noted how ‘blasphemy’ laws were used in Islamic nations to terrify, subjugate, and in some cases, murder religious minority groups and non-believers, and so they fought tooth and nail against this UN resolution for many years.

On the 25th March 2011, after 12-long years, the Islamic countries admitted defeat and set aside their campaign.

However, diplomats from Islamic countries warned at the time that the council could well return to campaigning for an international law against religious defamation in the future.

In the wake of the violent reactions to the Innocence of Muslims film, groups such as Hezbollah, the Arab League – and quite foolishly – some Catholics and even Anglicans made a call for a global defamation law. Concern was raised that this would provide fresh impetus for the OIC to push for a UN resolution on religious defamation.

Well, today the National Secular Society are reporting the following:

The Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation has revealed that it has abandoned plans to introduce a global blasphemy law through the United Nations.

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said his 57-nation body would not try again for United Nations support to ban insults to religion, saying that Western opposition — particularly from the USA and Europe — made the prospect of success very remote.

“We could not convince them,” said the Turkish head of the 57-member organisation which had tried from 1998 until 2011 to get a United Nations-backed ban on blasphemy. “The European countries don’t vote with us, the United States doesn’t vote with us.”

Western countries see the publication of such images and materials as a matter of free speech.

The campaign for a worldwide ban on “religious defamation” was revived after the posting of the Innocence of Muslims video on YouTube. Twenty-five people have been killed during protests over the video.

Ihsanoglu told a conference in Istanbul at the weekend that the OIC had failed to win a ban at the United Nations and would not revive its long diplomatic campaign for one.

Asked about recent media reports that the OIC wanted to resume the campaign for a blasphemy ban, he said: “I never said this and I know this will never happen.”

The OIC respects freedom of expression but sees anti-Islam videos and cartoons as an abuse of this freedom that Western countries should sanction through their own blasphemy or hate crime laws, he said.

Let’s hope this marks the end of this once and for all.

A few good links

Monday, October 15th, 2012

A few links I found interesting for one reason or another:

The Blog of Kevin – The sinister subtext behind the ‘hard-working family’

LLM Calling – Is this blog a Christian Blog?

Gordon’s Blog – Christians beheaded by 18year old here in the UK

British Centre for Science Education – Conspiracy Road Trip: Creationism

The New Oxonian – On Not Quite Believing in God

Fragmentz – Some thoughts on being a survivor, and Jimmy Savile.

DigitalHub – Toilet Technology- Two thirds take gadgets to the bathroom

Epiphenom – Thinking about your soul makes you want to eat junk food

The Spectator – Mr JS Mill and the Twitterati

#occupylondon go all Pussy Riot in St Paul’s Cathedral

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

So OccupyLondon Occupy London Stock Exchange Occupy St Paul’s Cathedral have struck another mighty blow against capitalism.

Four female Occupy activists chained themselves to the cathedral pulpit during Evensong.

This brave move came during a service which:

…planned to incorporate prayers by Occupy Faith and a sermon which spoke clearly of the need for partnership between Occupy, St Paul’s and others in addressing the need for financial and political change which Occupy highlighted.

So this happened during a Service incorporating the activists, sympathetic to their cause, and they were invited guests.

The Dean of St Paul’s, The Very Reverend Dr David Ison had this to say:

“After working constructively together with Occupy Faith on this act of worship, we regret the abuse of the Cathedral’s hospitality and its daily worship. We also disagree with the way in which some protesters are continuing to pursue the agenda of conflict with St Paul’s, rather than consulting with us about how together we might better achieve the reforms which many people including Occupy are looking for.”

The following is the text read out by one of the ‘Occupiers’ during the service:

We do not wish to distress you Only to appeal to you.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

We stand here as Occupiers, as women, Queers, disabled, grandmas, young, old, as women of all faiths and none in solidarity with all other groups who are marginalised by economic injustice.

Even when times are good women, along with our children, are usually those who suffer the most. In times of economic crisis our inequality is amplified but we refuse to be victims.

We will not be silent.

One year ago tomorrow, Occupy arrived on your doorstep and pitched our tents in the tradition of St Paul.

We offered you an opportunity to live out our shared truth: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.

In the fight for economic justice Jesus threw the money changers out of the temple, but you invited them in

And instead evicted us.

Your collusion with the City of London Corporation led to our violent eviction on your doorstep.

You testified against us which acted to uphold injustice and inequality that is growing by the day.

St Paul’s Cathedral  you must stand up and be counted at this great trial of history.

But you have denied us twice already.

Once when you closed your doors on us and watched on as praying Christians were dragged from the steps of St Paul’s and twice when you failed to act when we were gone.

Today we offer you a third chance. The resurrected Jesus spoke first to a woman.

He said, go to my brothers and tell them the truth. We come to you and we say, The truth is an urgent call for radical action in the Way of Christ.

There is no time left to procrastinate

This is what democracy looks like

Come and join us.

I was a little disappointed to note Christianity Uncut were also involved, especially given that I had recently secretly grown sympathetic towards them:

A group of Christians have this afternoon entered St Paul’s Cathedral and hung a banner down the front of the building. They are calling on the Church as a whole to resist government cuts and follow Jesus’ example of siding with the poor.

Their action follows the refusal of cathedral authorities to meet with Christians who were dragged from the steps of St Paul’s in February as they knelt in prayer during the eviction of the Occupy camp. Tomorrow (15 October) marks the first anniversary of Occupy London Stock Exchange.

The group, Christianity Uncut, have nonviolently unfurled a banner declaring ‘Throw the Money Changers out of the Temple’. It depicts Jesus’ protest against usurers and religious hypocrites in the Jerusalem Temple.

As I’ve noted in the past regarding the UK ‘Occupy’ movement, it seems to me they would be more aptly named “OccupyCathedrals”.

Although we know what they stand against – corporate greed, banking systems, markets, capitalism – we never really know what they propose as alternatives.

I think the reason for this, is they don’t really have any answers.

Overall I believe this move will be viewed unfavourably as it amounts to little more than an ambush and abuse of hospitality. Again.

UPDATE: Sound blog post on this over at God and Politics.

A few good links

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

A few links I found interesting for one reason or another:

Opinionated Vicar – Ed Miliband ‘I am…a person of faith’

God and Politics – Rowan Williams: A wise man who makes my brain ache

Faith and Theology – Devilish doodlings

FullFact – Is the Government taking more money from disabled people than from the banks?

Mind Hacks – BBC Column: Can glass shape really affect how fast you drink?

Big Circumstance – Live On TV! The Second Coming!

Law and Religion UK – Hiring Church Premises – Some further thoughts

The below image was taken after two Hula Hoops were dropped in to a cup of Latte:

You can view a larger version here.

Complementarianism, Pussy Riot, Core Issues & New Statesman, the EDL and Rev Alan Clifford

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Just a brief blogpost on a few things that caught my attention today.

Certain quarters of the Christian online world have been at war over the issue of Complementarianism. You can find the background info and latest salvo details here if you’re interested. Adrian Warnock recently took part in a Premier debate on this topic and says this is “one of the most controversial subjects facing the Church today”.

Personally I think this is more an issue facing the Western Protestant Church and amounts to narcissism of small differences.

News today that Pussy Riot have been nominated for the European Parliament’s annual Sakharov Peace Prize.

I don’t agree with their custodial sentences, but a peace prize…..

The New Statesman got itself into hot water by running a full-page advert for Core Issues. PME200 blogged on this from a gay vantage and details the outcome. Core Issues have provided a response to the New Statesman which can be read here.

The English Defence League are marching in Norwich this Saturday in support of Reverend Alan Clifford who was banned by the council from distributing anti-Islamic literature from a market stall. Revd Clifford has made it clear that he is in no way affiliated with the EDL, but goes on to say the EDL rightly endorse his view on Islam.

Not the wisest of comments.

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