Vigil for the victims of New Zealand attack

Sometimes you feel helpless when bad things happen thousands of miles away. I felt I needed to show solidarity with those who are suffering.

In the days after the Christchurch killings I felt utterly helpless. In the past when I have seen such suffering I have been able to help by sending to money to those who need it. This time is different as how can you let people know that these people are not alone and we won’t sit silently allowing such hate and evil go unnoticed.

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I follow a north east group which protests against racism and those who chose to stir up hatred within the entire country. They felt it was necessary to hold a vigil for the people who have survived the massacre in New Zealand.

It was amazing to see so many gather in St Nicolas’s Cathedral, Newcastle. It isn’t surprising but very sad at the same time that we have witnesses the rise of hate-related incidents in this country and it parts of the world. People’s inability to leave in a harmonious way has led us into some terrible times.

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The rise in social media and people sharing unsavoury views about certain groups has led some in our society to have views which I think are plainly warped. Their views about the Muslim community has been distorted by those who have played a dangerous divisive game for years. Spreading lies and mistruths for their own agenda.

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Thank goodness now the social media companies have started to crack down on those who spread hate. The main ones have put the brakes on those who spread hatred. They have decried their so-called action as attempt to ‘silence’ and ‘censor’ them. This only plays into the hands of the supporters as it gets them angry even though there are thousands of other ways in which hatred can be spread throughout the world.

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The evening was a peaceful reflection where there were members representing a number of faiths, including those from the Jewish and Roma communities, came together as one. As someone with no faith I still strongly believe in standing shoulder to shoulder with those in a minority who had suffered in such a way.

Dipu Ahad is a Labour councillor in Newcastle and was the person who introduced some people to speak about the attack in New Zealand. It was heart-warming to hear of the generosity of those who had reached out to the community on the other side of the world. As I said at the beginning of this post I certainly felt helpless at being unable to share my sympathies with those who were hurting but after this evenings vigil I felt I was able to give my support to the victims of hate and violence.

Religious Hate Crime

Golding and Fransen jailed for what the judge said: “It was a campaign to draw attention to the race, religion and immigrant background of the defendants.”

I am no fan of the Christian Institute. I think their reporting is biased and targets the LGBT community unfairly. In a blog post, I wrote in July last year I explained to them that despite their claim that LGBT community is only 1.7% of the population nearly 50% of their youtube videos were about or mentioned LGBT people.

“I still believe despite the progress that this country as made we have a long way to go to be accepted in society. I did a short survey of the Christian Institute’s YouTube channel and tallied up the number of videos they had posted in 2017 to their site. It’s a total of 170 videos and out of that 69 videos mentioned LGBT issues; that’s nearly 41%. Even in their own videos, they quote that LGBT people only make up 1.7% of society; they devote nearly half of their content to LGBT issues.”

I know that I don’t like their views and I am certainly unhappy that they target people in the gay community with their own ideas about sexuality. I accept they hold those views as they are entitled to do so. That’s what is meant by free speech.

Let’s say for example got really angry with them and travelled to their offices and demanded to speak to someone in their organisation. If didn’t feel I had been heard and to make my views known again I could return to their premises and ask them why they held such views about LGBT community. I could follow their director after he left work and ask him questions.

Now, this is where the law comes in. At what point do the ideas of free speech end and religiously aggravated harassment start? There is a fine line between the two and laws were set up to protect people of faith from such harassment. This is what we are as a country whether we like it or not. When you read about those laws they are there to protect the people. This is what makes us a great country of respect for others religion.

But I have read comments about Fransen and Golding:

“18 WEEKS IN JAIL BUT MUSLIM RAPISTS AND KILLERS GET NOTHING FOR THEIR CRIMES AND THEIR CRIMES ARE REAL CRIMES…..SCREW EUROPE I’M STAYING RIGHT HERE…” – Lack of knowledge about the case. The perpetrators were jailed.

Other comments are either to foul to write or completely left-field and have nothing to do with the case.

I have said it before more education is needed in religion, not the lack of it or total removal as some have advocated. Just because you understand something does not mean that you have to agree with it.

Detective Inspector Bill Thornton of Kent Police said: ‘The crimes committed by Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen were abhorrent and motivated by religious insensitivities.

‘They claimed to be exposing the men who had been accused of rape when in reality they knew little about the case in question and could have put the trial at risk due to their reckless actions.

‘It was the bravery of the female who was attacked and the tireless work of Kent Police detectives who ensured the men responsible are now serving a significant period of time behind bars, not because of any misguided attempt by Golding and Fransen to claim credit for their conviction by bringing religion into the equation.

‘The fact that completely innocent members of the public were accused of being rapists, making them fear for their own safety, shows how little regard they have for the consequences of their actions.

‘Kent Police simply will not tolerate any offences that are motivated by prejudice and hate, and will investigate all such incidents thoroughly in order to bring those responsible in front of the courts.

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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’

Church and the Second World War

I have been reading again in the past few days peoples comments about how people responded to the terrorist attack in Manchester. It was again a stark reminder of the way that some people use this atrocious incident for their own political gain.

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“We didn’t light candles and put on pop concerts” is the summing up of some. But we DID back then. It was carried out with the same dignity and decency, as we have seen in our towns and cities, in the churches and cathedrals around the country. The difference is now is we have brought grief to the streets. Primarily because this is not a nation (whether we like it or not) that does not adhere to Christianity as it once did.

Church attendance in the UK at the moment stands around 750k each week. A huge decline since the Second World War. This decline isn’t unique to the Church of England but to all established Christian denominations.

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The above graph is taken from The Church Society’s website. Further information is available on it.

A decline in church attendance doesn’t mean though that some people aren’t spiritual. When harrowing life events take place, a majority will still hold onto the belief in an afterlife. Some won’t necessarily equate it to Christianity or any other religious belief but a spiritual understanding of the world. Lighting candles and laying flowers is part of this.

When mum died I sat and talked to her in the care home. I sat for at least an hour telling her how much I thought of her and loved her. I told her that despite ‘her leaving’ that she would forever be in my heart. This is for me a non-religious way of coping with her death. A way of me acknowledging her passing.

People naturally will want a way of coping with such a shock. It isn’t wrong for some to lay flowers or light candles for people that they have never known or met. It is a way of showing solidarity and love for a nation in mourning.

Easter as a Humanist

My religious past is there for all to see. Majority of the friends I have were met at church and youth events related to the church. I have known some for over thirty years and count them as closer than my actual family. But when it comes to religious events during the year it’s a different thing.

During the 80s and some of the 90s, I used to take part in a walk of a witness on Good Friday which was a silent walk from the Catholic Church in the town to the bottom of the front street to the marketplace. I took part in music and drama during this time as a witness to my Christian beliefs.

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As a humanist, I see these religious events in a different light. I don’t think someone should be ridiculed for any religious belief that they hold but I myself have no belief in them. I still like to listen to music of The Sixteen as it has beautiful, calming, relaxing feel and much like reading a book provides escapism.