Another Attack – London

When I woke this morning, I was filled with horror to realize that not only had there been another terrorist attack on our country, but my close friends were in London on holiday.

It was reassuring to know that they had posted on social media that they were safe. Then thoughts turn to the people who were killed and injured, someone’s family will be waiting again to hear from a loved one. Not knowing if they lie in a hospital somewhere or are in a place where they are supposed to be located.

Yet people I have seen will go to the uneducated and idiotic response. We have seen a world leader make statements about how all 1.6 billion of the Muslim religion should be banned from his country. How does this actually help the situation? How does that stop the terrorists carrying out such atrocious acts? It doesn’t. Simply it panders to the fear and ignorance.

Whether you like it or not these people are determined to carry out these acts and the majority of the time they are radicalized within their own country. This can be carried out on social media and the internet. Do we call for the banning of the net? No. Because we make the distinction that there is a very small minority carrying out terrorist attacks and not all people using information networks do so.

We understand these are a few people are fuckwits. Nothing else; they have no religion. They have an ideology, they don’t have religion. Greater education is needed of religion and it’s not enough to explain that this is a Christian country. It isn’t. But has been explored and understood.

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.

Muslim Ban 2

Years ago when I started this blog I said that I would always speak out for those who are not fortunate enough to live in a country where democracy exists. I will challenge racist and homophobic attitudes where I see them. My opinion on these matters has not changed.

I am saddened that some feel that participating in demos against Mr Trump policies is somehow misguided or worse hypocritical. What is so wrong with wanting to make your voice heard for those people who are desperate to leave a country ravaged by war? Why is it so bad show the compassion that any normal human being should show when people are on the brink of being killed?

Banning an entire country and their people from entering the USA on the basis that one of might be a terrorist is stupid, naive and dangerous. As I said in the previous post the actual facts point to the threat not from IS potentially travelling to the USA but the citizens already in it.

Critics of the protest have asked why didn’t you protest about other things that have happened in the world? Which is a ludicrous argument. I have protested, I have given to UNICEF and Save the Children but I choose not to publicise it and make a big deal. It is the same with problems in this country. Just because I don’t go on EVERY march or set up a petition for every wrong I see doesn’t mean I am not doing something to make my voice heard.

In the same way that if someone came to me with a problem or a need I would try my best to help. I do this because I want to and hold humanist values that everyone is equal. If that offends you in some way then I am sorry that you don’t see the world as I do.

Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.

              Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5

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.

RIP – Jo Cox MP

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These are the headlines as I write on this terrible day. I am upset that she has lost her life doing the thing she wanted to do and help her constituency lead a decent life in West Yorkshire.

As with the shooting in Orlando over the past weekend we have seen claim and counter-claim from various sides of the political debate. People appropriating blame where it certainly does not lie.

I made a simple statement on the Britain First Facebook site and said that if the person who has been detained made the comment ‘Britain First’ numerous times then their organisation would be proscribed as a terrorist organisation. After about fifteen minutes I expected that it would be deleted as they don’t like people criticising their vile beliefs. I was right and getting just over a hundred likes the comment disappeared.

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Britain First openly claimed that they will use “direct action” against Sadiq Khan to target where he “lives, works and prays”. The underlining racism that BF has and their hatred for Muslims and people who are seen to be colluding with them make them a dangerous organisation. I would rather have a Muslim living next-door to me than a member of Britain First. That is the level of distrust I have for this despicable organisation.

In all instances of any crime such as this, there has to be a full investigation and especially when there has been a murder it could take months. It is only a speculation at the moment that the alleged attacker has a disturbing motive for the crime but once it has been established the correct proscribing should take place.

Like others, I will continue to say that hate, division, and racist beliefs have no place in the UK or any civilised society. My thoughts are with Jo Cox and her family at this terrible time.

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.

the barefoot tree

Still grumpy

Gari Wellingham

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