LGBT rights 

Sad that even in 2017 we are fighting for the rights to be accepted as human beings. If the past week has taught us anything we still have a long way to go. 

Stop the world 

What on earth is going on with our society and other countries?

  • Two unarmed black men shot and killed in the USA
  • Over three thousand incidents of hate crime reported to the police in the UK last month
  • Five police officers killed in a sniper shooting in the USA
  • Hundreds dead in Baghdad in a terrorist bombing
  • Two dead at a music festival before its even started in Scotland
  • New prime minister voted in who has a poor record on LGBT rights

These are just some of the stories I have been reading about this morning. What really is going on? Has the world turned in on itself?

Hate is the keyword in all of these. Hating on black people or gay and lesbian community. Lack of tolerance and education has caused this. Justification of religious freedom to deny decent equality laws.

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Let’s get rid of proper education on relationships in schools as we are terrified to teach children to be aware of dangers that lurk in all areas of life. Terrified of standing up to people who spout hatred and bile about muslims or other religious groups.

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I bet not many people know that the Mayor of London met with Archbishop of Canterbury and Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis to discuss the rise in race hate incidents that a occurred since the vote to leave the EU. Mr Khan broke his fast during his time in Ramadan for Iftar.

There are those who think that people of different faiths and nationalities cannot live side by side in harmony. There are those who are determined that their hatred will somehow win over the rest of the country. I have said it time and time again these people will NOT win. I prefer to live in a world where there isn’t fighting or death. Where people can share their differences and respect them.

There has to be reform of gun control. There has to be the continual stamping out of race hate and crime. Those who perpetrate these crimes should be punished. Those who use deadly force again another person without proper justification should be made to face the consequences.

 

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.

Orlando Terrorist Attack

The word ‘hate’ is often used in these circumstances. Sometimes we hear ‘ideology’ or ‘extremism.’ A lone gunman with ‘extremist tendencies’. Easy to hear but the actions are more difficult to understand. The actions of one man with a handgun and an assault rifle.

So far from what we have been told fifty people died in one place. Another 53 where injured caught up in the terrorist attack. Over a hundred lives affected and countless lives destroyed by the grief of losing someone in such a barbaric and senseless manner.

No religion teaches its followers to kill and destroy. Every established belief system would condemn and feel repulsed by the mass killing of any people.

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The fact that the murderer chose the people from my community cuts deeper. The hatred he showed in destroying life in this way makes in more personal and more heartbreaking.

I don’t ask people to like gay people. I never expect people to even think that being gay is right. I do expect that others show the respect that they deserve by allowing them to be citizens that can go about their day without the hatred shown by this man. It takes a lot of courage to stand up and tell others who you are because we still live in a world where religions teach their followers that being gay isn’t just a sin but abnormal and a distortion of a human being. Because I will fall in love with a man instead of a woman I am somehow subnormal or something that can be cured.

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Even now Christians still make a comment that it isn’t what god planned or what god intended and this same ignorance and hate permeates through into the minds of people like this terrorist. It is the same thread of hate that runs deep into the minds of people who want to destroy communities and make them hate each other. They want to see a divided country where people who are black, white, gay or straight are at war with each other. It will not happen.

The decent person sees beyond their differences and races and condemns all violence whether it is undertaken in the name of a warped belief or a political cause. I won’t pray but I will think before I sleep tonight the harm that hate causes and remember those people who have lost those that they hold dear. They should be comforting them not preparing for their funeral.

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.

Kenneth Williams

I had a look back at my blog and thought I must have written about him hundreds of times only to realise I think I mentioned him once when I had bought an autobiography for 1p on Amazon. That’s it. It is strange what you perceive in your own mind and what is the reality. Things couldn’t be any different once you delve into the past.

I feel an affinity towards Kenneth Williams not only did he appear in the 26 of the most successful British comedy films through his life but he was a consummate raconteur of the talk show circuit in the 1970s and 80s. He was a brilliant panelist on Just a Minute a BBC radio show from 1968 until his death in 1988. The premise of the show is talking and this was his craft and he honed it to perfection.

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Kenneth Williams led a reclusive and sad life. He wouldn’t allow people to visit a sparsely decorated flat that he lived in. He hated any kind of germs or untidiness. He was brought up in a strict Wesleyan Methodist household. It was certainly different from the Methodism we see today. High morals and certainly a disapproving of someone who was seen to be a homosexual. It would have been seen as a sin and a dark cloud that would have irritated and upset Williams’ father, Charlie.

It was only in 1967 that Britain decriminalised homosexual acts and by this time Kenneth was well into his forties. The deep spiritual belief that being gay was a sin was entrenched into Williams’ psyche something that he wouldn’t be able to accept or come to terms with throughout his life.

Even meeting the playwright Joe Orton with his liberal views wasn’t enough to shake off the British facade of wearing the collar and tie even on the beach. You had to look the man to be the man.

My mother was desperate for me to emulate older people within my family unit. “Why can’t you dress like your uncle so and so?” She used to ask me. Growing up with someone who believes that in the 1980s young teenagers should dress like someone in their late 60s caused a great amount of conflict in my house. Especially when it came for me to tell them I had become a Christian and would be regularly attending the local church. My mother was horrified that I was going to church each week dressed in jeans and t-shirt. I had become morally bankrupt in her eyes.

My life seems to have been almost a copy of Williams on paper. His father was Welsh. The religion was Methodist as was my mother’s. We both suffered from depression and conflicts due to being gay. Always the consummate clown from an early age. I was berated by my mother when they received the annual school report to say Philip is messy and a chatterbox. I can remember from the age of six thinking up my first joke. I explained to this to my mother many years later that in conversation with who it may be my brain is thinking of a funny line to say. If I do think it’s funny, I will say it. If it isn’t I won’t. Other times I will say things without thinking and some people do laugh but others seeing as being crude or rude.

Williams quoted someone in one of his television appears about being an atheist. The person in question had asked what if all of life was just a joke and there was no God. The person responded by saying if it is a joke let’s make it a good one.

BBC – Stephen Fry

The BBC have been highlighting the issue of mental health with week of programmes about the problems that people have faced with getting a diagnoses and treatment. The first programme retraces Stephen Fry’s life and how he has had to adjust things to cope. Ten years on from his award-winning programme about a secret life of a manic depressive.

I cannot believe that it is ten years since he made the programme and four years since he visited a country of Uganda with it’s hideous and rampant homophobic views of their politicians who have passed laws deliberately target those in the gay community. Seeing it as a ‘sin’ which must be crushed and eradicated. The established church have a lot of serious soul searching in fuelling that homophobic view of gay people seeing them as some sort of curse or deviant negative force in the world.

It was good to hear on the programme the different experiences that others had in having to cope with serious mental illness. It isn’t just a matter of snapping out of mood of feeling sorry for yourself or long-term sadness.

I know that looking at recent experiences and having to evaluate my own health and life that I need to make sure that I am doing everything in my own power to protect myself from being swamped by the over-whelming feeling of worthlessness and look introspectively.

Having cared for my mother for such a long time and that being my entire focus I may I have taken my eye off the ball and not realised that I too must take care of my own health. Allowing myself to grieve and taking time to get my love back for life and the things I appreciate and care about.

Church and LGBTI

The Dean of Newcastle has signed a letter asking the Church of England to repent for discrimination against gay and lesbian Christians.

The letter that that has been written by the two leading archbishops in the Church of England. It asked for repentance and acknowledgement that the church has for too long seen those in the LGBTI community as second-class sinners.

Having been a member of the Church of England for over a decade I didn’t feel right at all that I could be open with the people who surrounded me. It was bad enough growing up in the eighties with the stigma of HIV and AIDS that still exists to this day. I cannot remember in the early days the subject of human sexuality being discussed at all in the church I attended. It wasn’t something that they were ready to discuss.

It is right for both Archbishops to acknowledge where the church has failed people but it is also up to the church to recognise that there are still within it’s walls those people who outrightly condemn same-sex relationships. The Rev’d David Holloway is a good example of someone still preaching that the scriptures specify that homosexuality is a grave sin. He works with the diocese of Newcastle and I am sure would have something to say about the Dean’s signature on such letter.

It is only when such people acknowledge and apologise for the continuing harm he is directly causing the LGBTI community. Parts of the church of England stretch across many continents and especially those in developing countries that have appalling human rights issues regarding the gay communities that are supposed minister too.

My faith died decades ago. It is replaced by rational thought. This means that I treat all human beings with equality. Regardless of their gender, race, and sexuality. The horrible and trite phrase that is often used that the sinner is somehow separated from the sin and therefore we condemn only the action but not the person themselves is utter crap. I am proud of who I am and I am not going curtail this for anyone. It is an intrinsic part of who I am and I believe made me a better person for realising how easy it is to be judgemental on things of which we may not understand.

There are people who have remained within the CofE whilst still in LGBTI relationships. Many in the clergy are gay and lesbian but in fear of being truthful and losing one’s position within the community.

I have good friends who have no issue with my sexuality and regularly attend church. They have been good examples of what the archbishops have called upon to do and is love those who are in any community whether it be gay or straight.

I acknowledge that some do not hold the same caring attitude but until those people have changed/repented (which also means moving away from their sin to which they are repenting) the church will continue to decline and be replaced by a smaller community of believers.

Floods and the gays

It’s always a matter of time before someone pipes up and blames natural disasters on gay people and their wicked and dastardly ways. The UKIP councillor David Silvester is perfectly entitled to his opinions. I am also entitled to say that he is completely wrong.

One assumes that a god is ready to flood indiscriminately and even god-fearing people cannot escape because of a law that has been passed in parliament. Poor old Mrs Smith at number 32 had had her house flooded. She is a Christian who attends a weekly service; she gives to the poor and has a good heart. Surely god should have spared her in his pursuing of wrathful vengeance?

It is lunatics like Silvester that give Christianity and religion bad press in the eyes of the gay community. One assumes that places like Gran Canaria should have been wiped from the face of the earth by now.

Utter nonsensical garbage. It should be utterly condemned by all parties and politicians should remove themselves from speaking in such a way. It is for this very reason David Cameron was right in making sure that equality is for all.