onsdag 29 maj 2019

Place of worship, or arts venue?



Gothic cathedrals have been having a bad time lately, what with the Notre Dame fire, and now Salisbury Cathedral, which currently has a giant Gaia hanging in the nave. It dominates the view as you come in and is there for the annual festival. Its presence proclaims how the Church of England has forgotten what it exists for, and what the cathedral was built for in the first place. Christianity deals not with the earthly realm but with the heavenly one. The Gaia would have been perfectly in place in the Cathedral Close or even in the cloister, only not inside the cathedral itself. There is not even a scriptural text to set it in its context, such as, ‘Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven’, ‘My Kingdom is not of this world’, or ‘The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof’, or ‘Heaven and Earth are full of Thy glory’.

The Bishop, Dean and Chapter need to think more carefully about what is allowed to take place in their cathedral. Its primary purpose is not as an arts venue.

söndag 19 maj 2019

Islamophobia #1

“Islamophobia” is a dishonest neologism which has been used to shut down discussion of Islam and label critics as racist. There has been discussion of the subject recently, in an attempt to define it, perhaps as a prelude to making it a crime. A phobia is an irrational fear. Christians and Jews have had good reason to fear Islam for the past 1400 years. Mohammed himself was responsible for a notorious atrocity against Jews, Banu Qurayza, when 600 men were beheaded on his orders, and the women and children taken into slavery. Since Islam venerates him as the perfect man, fear of Islam is anything but irrational. Christians and Jews have rarely been well-treated under Muslim regimes. The recent experience of Christians under ISIS is not an exception to the general case; 3 million Greek and Armenian Christians were murdered in Islamic genocides in the 20th century alone.

This is not to deny that dislike of Muslims has a racist component, since most Muslims are foreigners with dark skins, and irrational dislike is indeed a phobia. There has been an epidemic of attacks and crude invective against Muslims in Britain. They are being made to suffer for the actions of those responsible for incidents such as the Manchester bombings, and for the utterances of the teenage supporter of ISIS who justified the action. It is understandable, if inexcusable.

This BBC Sunday programme has a balanced debate on the subject, 36 minutes from the start. One of the speakers, herself a Muslim, points out that Muslims are far from being the only victims of racism, and that there is a certain onus on those at the receiving end of public dislike, for whatever reason, to practice some self-reflection. Dislike of Muslims is not entirely unconnected with incidents such as the London and Manchester bombings, the truck attack on Westminster Bridge, the exodus of Jews from Malmö, and the fact that anyone travelling by plane now has to allow an extra hour to pass through security checks ‒ which is not to prevent attacks by radical Methodists.

EU election virtue signalling

The posters for the Swedish election to the European Parliament have produced the usual crop of platitudinous virtue signalling.
  • For democracy, against division and extremism. (Social Democrats)
  • Our grandchildren come first - every country should take responsibility for the climate (Social Democrats)
  • Take a stand for secure jobs, not pay cuts (Social Democrats)
  • Oil lobbyists versus climate activists (Vänster)
  • Our fight against right-wing populism is needed in Europe (Centre Party)
  • Hope instead of hate (Green Party)
  • Yes! Vote out extremists and nationalists (Liberals)
They give the impression that they have been generated by a computer programme.

lördag 4 maj 2019

Silence on Christian persecution due to “trade”

Apparently, the silence on Christian persecution is due to fear of offending trading partners like Saudi Arabia, not political correctness. So says the Guardian’s Religious correspondent, Andrew Brown.

That is an interesting angle. It does not explain why the persecution, which is systematic, is confined to certain countries. There is none in Japan, or Thailand, for example, and there was little in India until recently. Brown manages to avoid naming the principal persecutors and their motivations, which are grounded in their own religious, or stringently non-religious, ideologies.

It is amazing the lengths that some people will go to in order not to state the obvious.

fredag 3 maj 2019

Persecution of Christians by persons unknown

It is amazing how an article in the Guardian, reporting the publication of a study about the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, fails to mention the M-word.

Who do they think is responsible for this persecution?

Peterloo bicentenary - the irony of it

Today is the two-hundredth anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre, when a peaceful meeting at St Peter’s Fields, Manchester, was violently dis...