Billy Preston

Billy Preston isn’t a name you would have heard of and probably wouldn’t know what part he played in music history. 

I was mulling over some time today and listening to some Beatles songs and it got me thinking about their infamous roof top concert they played at the end of the 60s. I was reminding myself of how much I love the song their performed called ‘Don’t let me down’. It was during this performance I noticed a man playing keyboards and wanted to know who he was and what connecting he had to the band.

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My first reaction to him was that I loved the hair. But who was he and where did come from? His name was Billy Preston and he was born in Houston, Texas and his family eventually moved to Los Angeles where Billy was a renowned child prodigy as his keyboard skills had got him work with Little Richard as his keyboardist (their name not mine). It was while performing in Hamburg in the early 60s he met the Beatles.

Billy hooked up with the band again just as they were breaking up at the end of the decade and he played during the ‘Get Back sessions’ and kept the band together for what would be some of their final work.

He struggled all through his life with sexuality, knowing he was gay, which was in direct conflict with his strict evangelical Christianity. It must have been terrible of him knowing that who he was in a life which would have been fraught with guilt and self-loathing as homosexuality to those around him was a grave sin.

During the latter years of his life he struggled with drugs as it was a way of coping with the sexual abuse he suffered a child. It didn’t help his well-being that his mother did not believe him when he disclosed the abuse he had experienced.

Billy passed away in 2006 as a result of hypertension and pericarditis. He was 59.

In some ways the world has made great steps in LGBT inclusivity but still there remains pockets of hatred and ignorance when read of stories where people have been attack or worse killed because of their own sexuality.

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Christian Institute

I got a pathetic response but hey at least it was a response. 

This week parents of a pupil removed their child from a school because a boy wanted to wear a dress and be known as a girl. In 2017 it might seem laughable and trivial but to a Christian couple it meant disrupting a child’s education.

I remember being hauled into the head’s office at school to help deal with a pupil who had been bullied. He wasn’t getting support or receiving praise for being different but my boss at the time was berating him for bringing in a school back that was different.

“Why can you bring something in that’s like everyone else?” She asked.

“Because I want to be me and this is who I am…” he replied.

There wasn’t a ‘Glee moment’ where the head teacher congratulates the pupil for their individuality and praises them for being who they are but tries to solve the intolerance and bullying by denying one person’s freedom of expression. All in a school bag.

My thoughts are clear on my former boss. She was a morally corrupt and bereft of humanity and empathy. She didn’t give a shit about her charges but was terrified that the  whole system would come down crashing at her feet.

My letter to the Christian Institute asking to speak about why their news feed was unbalanced was finally met with a response.

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Their opinion was that they just wouldn’t engage.

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Despite my years of experience dealing with church matters and education in this area.

The parents action which no doubt will be backed by the Christian Institute to further their growing sense of victimisation. But this is just the very reason why so many people now say that they have no religion. They are turning away from established religions in many parts of the world. The church and their non-sensical illogical beliefs have isolated themselves from the world. They will soon be made of mainly fanatical fringe belief systems. Where once the Church of England was the back bone of English society and culture soon it will become nothing more than Westboro Baptist lite.

 

 

50 Years ago (Chika Amadi update)

My previous post was to get the Christian Institute to talk to me. In the mean time, even more hatred appears. 

What is it about Christians that believe in the literal translation of the Bible? I know loads of people, who I’m happy to call good friends, who are committed Christians. I happy to tell people that have friends who work within in the Church England or have done. Nothing wrong with that. As openly gay man I am happy to tell others of my experience of the Christian church and how it has had a profound affect on me.

Enter in Chika Amadi, who appeared on my twitter timeline this afternoon, and I am reminded again why we have Pride festivals in the UK. You can read all about her and her distasteful views. She is a person who is also a labour councillor for Harrow Borough. She is supposed to be a public servant. Someone who is there for everyone.

Not only does she express her abhorrent and vile views but she also gives warning to those who dare to cross her opinions and religious beliefs.

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If you are prepared to take her on, then you are prepared to provoke God’s wrath. This is a pretty huge claim to make so I look forward to my house being visited upon by locusts, boils, gnats and whatever her god can throw at me, when I call her an ignorant, selfish, naive, cretinous twat.

As she claims on her twitter bio she is ‘a legal advisor’ and ‘TV personality’. She must then be aware of the legal implications of making public accusations that are without wholly any basis or truth.

I am sure that it will be the ‘horrible liberals’ and their wicked ways that would have caused her to be suspended from her role as a councillor. Let’s see if justice will prevail.

Church of England Stories

Oh, it pains me … Sometimes I just despair at the Church of England and their commentators. Why is it that, nearly half of transgendered people under the age of 26, have attempted suicide? Is it because they are happy that we live in a country that’s welcome and caring? Nope. Still, the ingrained prejudice attitudes that pervade our society.

A post on the Christian Today website by Baptist minister @RevMarkWoods looks at the discussion that took place at the recent meeting of Church of England’s Synod. In the article, he talks about people and how their ‘stories’ were heard during these discussions and their ‘stories’ were taken into consideration when planning changes to the liturgy. He explains at best that being gay ‘ … it is a disorder, with the sin residing in the act rather than the inclination.’ 

Woods continues to explain that these ‘stories’, in some eyes, are a deliberate attempt ‘a Trojan horse’ he calls it to promote certain agendas. There is no theology, just stories to get people to change their minds, about transgendered people.

“However, those stories were powerful – and conservatives fear that they will simply out-compete the story of Scripture. The Church of England will make new doctrines based on what feels good. (The) truth will be reduced to what makes people happy.”

Woods is implying that soon the stories will replace scripture. An alarmist and blatant attempt to stop trans people having their voices heard. During the article Woods doesn’t actually say what he thinks, he quotes the ‘collective conservative voice’. He doesn’t nail his colours to the mast and in conclusion, he believes that the Church of England hasn’t crossed the line as an answer to his article’s title.

Well, I am going to nail mine. This sort of uncaring, unsympathetic and dismissive attitude to transgendered people is the reason why those who are confused about their body’s and their sex. Their thoughts are a mix of coming to terms with who they really are and an acceptance that they are transgendered. I don’t admit to knowing everything there is about body dysmorphia, but I wouldn’t ever tell someone ‘they are disordered’ because they are LGBT.

No wonder we (LGBT) in the community have the highest rates of mental health struggles. A separate article on the site even argues that the sidelining of religion is a route to mental health illness. I wish I was making this up I really do. Maybe people need a spiritual element to their lives, as others have found meditation and certain relaxation techniques extremely helpful.

Conservative Evangelicals are OBSESSED with sex. Particularly if you think taking it up the arse is something you might be interested. Franklin Graham condemned Teen Vogue magazine for talking about it. Ignoring the fact that there are millions of articles on the internet that ANY teenager could find let alone ann a over-priced glossy magazine. Education about sex obviously leads someone try sex. It’s a pitiful belief.

You want to know why schools don’t teach about transgendered and gay people? Why the education about HIV and STIs is wilfully piss-poor? Look at the Church. In a recent article it was announced that the government were going to make sex education compulsory but others thought it was ‘opening a door to teach primary school children about pornography’

Take away the Religion

I was watching a clip on YouTube last night of Pat Robinson who, if you aren’t sure who he is, is a transphobic, homophobic and downright ridiculous man who spouts crazy bile in the name of Christianity.

Thoughts then turned to the people who had been killed by the gunman in Orlando and his crazed ideology that killing a group of LGBT people would be pleasing to his god.

As you know I am a humanist. I don’t believe in god, I used to be a church-goer but the belief and faith I had died a long time ago.

I thought if you take away the religion and look at how people act it proves a lot about who the person is in the beginning.  How is the person with their friends and family? What are they doing for the good of everyone?

Someone that causes harm and distress to others under the name of their religion should be ridiculed for what they are. If it’s some old irrelevant man who has no idea what true life is like and doesn’t realise the damage he causes isn’t a true follower of faith.

People assume that those who don’t have a religion to follow are bereft of morality and principles. This couldn’t be further from the case. Humanism is about treating everyone fairly as they are all beings that share the same planet.

Blame

There is always someone who will want to proportion blame other than the person who pulled the trigger on the guns. So far I have heard that the police at the nightclub were to blame, the lack of guns in the club and even the gay people who murdered should share the responsibility for their own deaths.

The appalling politicians and right-wing groups that latch on to what has happened and use if for their own gain. They proportion the blame to an entire religion which is wrong. Within most belief systems that there are the radical parts that will use this as an excuse to create mayhem and murder innocent victims. Many political parties have murdered in the name of their cause and under-pinned it with the belief that what they are doing is from god. It’s not. True religion does not kill.

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The key to getting to grips with this sort of violence has to be education and understanding. The Islamic faith does and has to condemn these sorts of atrocities that are undertaken in its name. The Muslim Advocates which speaks on behalf of Muslims in American has rightly condemned the killings of innocent LGBT victims. Something that does not get reported in the wider press and beyond.

There has to be a working together of ordinary people who will speak for all sides to condemn this violence. ISIS and its ideology are evil and that message should be broadcast throughout the world. Allowing the lunatics of the far-right and the homophobic part of the Christian church to use it for their gain should be stopped right at the beginning.

Ordination

In 1991 I completed three years Theological training. It was a difficult time of lessons, exams, term papers and physical duties around the college. I look back on it with fond memories as I met some very good friends at this time and it shaped the person I was back then.

An article on a Christian website discusses the current crisis in the Church of England. It addresses the problem that there aren’t enough people of a certain age coming forward for ordination. It does not surprise me at all. In returning from training I was asked to become part of the church youth group as a volunteer leader it was a certain member of the clergy that was switched on to the needs of the church. They needed to invest time and money in the large youth group it was an opportunity for the church to look at the next generation.

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(This CartoonChurch.com cartoon by Dave Walker originally appeared in the Church Times)

There were some of my friends that did go for ordination. There were some that were unsuccessful in their application. The view of the church that I belonged to failed to embrace the new generation. The old guard of lay readers has barely changed in thirty years. This is unacceptable and should never have been allowed to happen. Now the Church of England as whole finds itself in crisis. The missed opportunities have passed and now they are left wondering if they will ever recover from this.

I am a different person that I was in the early 90s I have rejected the faith that I once had for a rational humanist view of the world. People expect me to be the same person championing the cause of Christianity and surprised when I tell them that it no longer holds any part of my life.