Decent world

I don’t understand it. I cannot understand it. No matter how many times I have mentioned on Twitter that I want to live in a decent society where far-right extremists are not compatible with a civilised society. Then I am inundated with people with bile and hatred. People trying to justify right-wing policies.

These aren’t people who are in politics as a chosen career but they are repeating the beliefs and words of things that have been said to them by the groups such and EDL, Britain First and the BNP.

I believe in free-thinking and the ability to challenge anything someone says or does. What is their motive? I said in a previous post, take way the establishments and organisations that these people are linked to and what are they like as a person?

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These people are brain-washed. They have had lie after lie drummed into them for such a long time and they do not realise the harm that they are doing. It has now been stated that the accused has links to far-right organisations. They have had people commenting that the person who is accused of the murder is not the person they have seen in TV reports the claim he wouldn’t do that sort of thing. But really how well do we know those people we call friends?

I want to live in a decent world. That means everyone is equal. It shouldn’t mean that a certain group or religion should have first say on things. It doesn’t mean that we chose to feed and house just one race and forget the rest. We treat each other with respect and decency.

So I have decided I won’t comment and argue against these people as it’s futile it’s only when something terrible happens to them as a result of their hate and prejudice does it hit home. I am finding it is causing me to question my own sanity when I keep thinking what have we become as a nation when just being a normal human being in a good country is a struggle.

I really hope one day that they will see how hate and division cause so much pain to so many people.

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.

Feminist views 

I have a problem with some feminist views. I have been struggling with them for some time and wondering why I have a problem with moral issues associated with feminist belief.

The term “Rape culture” was first used in the USA in the 1970s by feminists who believed a society which normalised rape as a part of the society and sees it as pervasive due to certain values it held about women’s sexual identity and gender.

So what feminists are saying that somehow society doesn’t see it as being a bad thing or even a punishable crime in a society. They believe that making excuses of what a woman was wearing beforehand is part of this “rape culture”. It is prevalent and symptomatic throughout attitudes in the society and endemic to it.

I had some discussion with a female friend and thinking about high profile cases where men had been convicted of rape or had been acquitted. I found it interesting that some on social media platforms held the view that the man was guilty even if he had not be convicted in a court of law. That the woman must be believed and the circumstances of the case were that the jury must have been made to believe that the woman was making the whole thing up something again feminists believe is part of ‘rape culture’ that society sees women as unreliable liars.

Feminists believe in ‘rape society’ is that society is teaching women not to get raped rather than teaching men not to rape. This to me is where I find the stumbling block. Not that any sort of attack on a woman is abhorrent but that despite the calls of feminists to teach people not to rape there are ways that women should protect themselves but again I reiterate that feminist would say is part of rape culture and I am contributing to it by making sure a woman is keeping herself from harm.

I had to look further into this and see how ‘rape culture’ is viewed under various classifications of morality. The feminist view is an example of moral absolutism. The idea there shouldn’t be any way in which someone who has said that they have even raped could have contributed to it. Rape is if someone hasn’t given their consent. To me there are cases where the victim isn’t able to give consent such as age but what do we decide if a woman is so drunk she has sex but afterward saying that she wouldn’t have consented at the time.

Feminists argue that there shouldn’t be grey areas and that it is clear that all sex that hasn’t been consensual is rape. Is it really this clear-cut? We don’t hear of ‘murder culture’ or ‘robbery culture’ we look at the evidence to see if a crime has been committed and that is how the law and the courts deal with each case individually. As much as feminism would like to see perpetrators of rape be punished as they should it isn’t as clear as that. Sex is still sex and if you consent to it then it isn’t a crime. But how do you prove a crime has taken place when the evidence before a jury is that it is the word against another. There are no physical signs of trauma or force but the woman states she did not give consent.

A murder takes place and usually in most cases there is a body. Some cases have been prosecuted when there has been nobody found but this is rare. We have physical evidence in front of a jury if an autopsy has taken place and cause of death can be established. It is up to the prosecution to build the case for murder or if the death was unintentional manslaughter or culpable homicide as it is known in the USA.

A crime has a victim, a perpetrator, and evidence. Some will go to lengths to cover their crime and destroy evidence. A report of the crime of non-consensual sex or rape needs to have more evidence than saying I did not consent. If life wasn’t as clear-cut as this and crimes didn’t have to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt then things would be different. That isn’t how things work in the UK. There are some societies where rape has been normalised in countries that are in the middle of civil war and rape has been used as a weapon and as a form of terrorist barbarism.

We know are those men who go out on a weekend with the intention of having sex with women. It happens. Men do that and so do women. On the gay scene, it’s no different. Men and women do go out on the pretence of a hookup.

I don’t believe a woman or a man should ever have to modify their clothes to justify not being attacked but both sexes do dress to feel and look good. We have all go out in the best clothes but it’s never so we feel good we do it so we get others to notice this is what makeup is for.

If you were on a desert island you don’t get dressed up just for yourself intention is their attraction is a part of life and the natural process of humans and animals. There are ways in which everyone should protect themselves that’s why doors have locks and cars have immobilisers. We don’t live in a society of absolute morals.

Leave it

There ‘s a cool breeze blowing throughout my house as I sit at my computer near to the front window. Something I know that would be very welcome to a lot of people who are stuck in offices with windows that open less than a cm due to health and safety rules. The irony is that it’s not okay to fall out of the window but practically a given that you should slowly cook confined in the space behind them.

What we desire, want and permissible are not usually things that we think about when we are content in life. To some it is money. To others, it could be the happiness in seeing your children and grandchildren grow up safely in a world of worry and hazards that are all too familiar once you look at the news each day.

I have had a privileged life in the fact that I have been able to get a decent education and afford to live in my own home. Now that both my parents have gone I feel I should be sensible and grown up in making life choices. After some thought and careful consideration, it is time to move on.

This decision I made was twenty years ago and not today or yesterday. I made it through hindsight and experiences I had in the years before. I gave up religion for good. I wasn’t a backslider anymore. Someone that may go back to church after a few weeks of absenteeism. I hadn’t had the spiritual flu or suffered a minor problem with my faith. It wasn’t there at all.

Each day I am reminded that the decision was the right one. Reading the updates about how a bakery in Northern Ireland has appealed a decision handed down by the courts in the fact that they discriminated against someone on the basis of their sexuality makes me realise I am better away from such organisations. I want nothing of them anymore. I have met my closest friends through church youth groups and I have some fantastic friends who would call themselves Christians. But your religion ends where my non-belief begins.

I have no problem with teaching religion. I did it for years in crappy school. But I taught it knowing that I would be talking about someone else’s religion someone else’s belief. If only there was more teaching of decent religious education would we have a more tolerant society? Less gullible in believing that if a handful of crazed idiots were to represent an entire religion then it would seem that everyone in that religion held the same views. I know and have met many Muslims who don’t think that ISIS is right just in the same way that the Christians in Northern Ireland don’t hold the same views as my Christian friends. I can distinguish between the two.

The faith that once I held has died. This means it cannot be revived by any means. I believe that once something is dead it’s dead. No amount of prayer, drugs or electronic stimulation will it allow it to live again. The story of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to me is a story. Others might choose to believe it as a literal story. Others will see it as work of fiction.

I respect others and their faith. I have no problem in the talking about Islam or Taoism. I don’t see any problem in talking about it. I wouldn’t mind writing about or making a living discussing them it doesn’t break any rules. Even when I did have a faith I know that talking about others beliefs didn’t make a bad person.

Thank goodness I have left it behind. The petty arguments the church is having over two people of the same sex getting married is ridiculous. I do like talking and discussing religious and non-religious belief I have always been fascinated with belief systems. But to me they are stories. We will see more and more of these cases that I am sure. Where once the Church of England was a great moral bastion above reproach we will see more fundamentalist groups appear fighting their cause. The Church of England will become nothing more than a meeting group for the lonely. Something to wheel people into once a week and then wheel out again.

RE and Humanism

As I qualified secondary RE teacher I find it appalling that the government have taken out the teaching of those with no belief in Religious Education. It’s almost like people without any faith shouldn’t have an opinion about moral values and life choices. I see it as a backwards step in highlighting the importance of the vital role that Religious Education has in our schools in a modern world.

The terrible atrocities that happen each day in our world cause us to pause and ask the question why? It is no longer the case that our children and adults should be left with the answer that some people do bad things. This is a poor excuse for educating people about religious belief.

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I was watching a programme the other night where they were discussing the issue of child exploitation that happens on a regular basis in the UK and thought myself that certain established religions have a lot to blame when it comes to talking about and educating young people about the dangers of online grooming and sexual relationships for someone who us under the legal limit of consent.

The programme highlighted the numerous times that girls were coerced into performed sex acts on their boyfriends and the blatant manipulation coupled with emotional blackmail that they felt under these circumstances. It is no longer a choice to bury your head in the sand and say that my child wouldn’t do these things and they know better.

Education is fundamental. Talking about violence does not make someone violent. In the same way, educating people about the dangers of sex doesn’t allow young people to think they are entitled to go out and experiment on the basis of the facts they have been told.

Think back to the days of your RE and would you really want the next generation to look at the world without the rich knowledge that RE does bring? Or do you want it to be begrudgingly tagged on the lesson at the end of the week on Friday afternoon?

Peace and War

You wake up in the morning to see a plane being blown out of the sky. People speculating whether or not it is the work of terrorists. The appalling incidents that took place on 13th November in Paris reminded us again how the nature of a warped mind can cause such carnage and destruction. All in the name of a religion. Their distorted views have deadly consequences.

There are continuing events occurring as we speak about trying to trace those people who have been involved in organising such heinous of crimes. Trying to blame it on one religion is naive and stupid. Looking at the atrocities that occurred in the 70s and 80s where terrorists groups in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland were trying gain their own political agenda by using violence and in the name of religion.

What people need to understand that the true core of these religions is peace, love, acceptance and forgiveness. The people who practice these religions know that they are a million miles away from the terrorist ideology.

 

Benefits Street

Well it didn’t take us too long to forget good-will to all men and peace on earth. If you haven’t seen “Benefit Street” it is an eye-opener.

The responses to this programme has been in my opinion staggering. From those who have called for the “gassing” of those who appeared to blaming the programme on Tory propaganda.

As a human being I was saddened by the programme because I am fully aware that people live like this. It isn’t something that has happened in the past decade. It’s a spiral of neglect, abuse and addiction. I taught in a school that was an area of low economic wealth. People did have a sense of community. But there were always going to be ones to played the system and you as well I know that you don’t have to be poor to take advantages of monetary handouts.

There has certainly been a lack of compassion from people who I have read commenting on various forms of social media. Instead of condemning those who have appeared so far in the programme why hasn’t someone commented on what the solution might in fact be? It’s certainly not about giving more money to either those who have or have not.

Encouraging education. Increased help for those with addictions and mental health issues. Helping those who live in these areas take pride in where they live. This is a start. I am know that there are a lot of people out there who work day in and day out with people with such problems.

Merely dismissing the people in the street as scum or blaming it on some sort of Tory propaganda exercise is ludicrous.

the barefoot tree

Still grumpy

Gari Wellingham

UK-based musical theatre geek previously living with a brain tumour!