Latest posts on Christian Aid

Why 'Christian Hate?'? An introduction to the blog

Places Christians shouldn't go A quick tour of Christian Hate?'s case against Christian Aid

Christians and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict Read all my posts on this topic

Saturday, November 25, 2006


If you've ever thought of getting into this blogging lark yourself, the Indie offers handy hints and tips. There are all sorts of aspects you may not have thought of, such as...

'"One of the secrets of being successful is injecting your own personality, because the worst thing a blog can be is ambivalent," he says. "You've got to have an opinion and encourage dialogue with readers."'

You may also not have realised that we're all making stacks of money out of it. Just slip in the occasional post that, like, advertises stuff, and you can put your feet up and watch the big bucks rolling in!

'You could be looking at £2,000 a month'

Reviewing our recent posts, me and Cyrus reckon we may, alas, have blown our chances of a cheque from BA. Whoever said 'careless talk costs major corporate clients' never spoke a truer word. But we remain buoyant, and look forward to an early communication from Howard Jacobson's literary agent.

No, seriously folks, we bloggers are by Dr Johnson's definition a community of blockheads. And anyone who imagines otherwise is an even bigger one.

Oh, before I sign off, can I just remind you to be sure to have a read of the Independent? It's really awfully good.

Independent and free at last!

There is, of course, no reason on earth why one should expect as a matter of principle to be able to read a newspaper without paying for it. So it's curious to note the strength of the irritation felt when the Indie's comment pages vanished behind a subscription wall. It wasn't so much the money - for a fiver you could have a day's access to the lot, archives and all. But somehow you just felt they shouldn't be encouraged. Well, I did, anyway.

So does the fall of the subscription wall feel like Christmas come early? Up to a point. The down side, of course, is that there is now a wider audience for pieces like this, in which the assassination of yet another Lebanese politician by Syrian spooks becomes a peg on which to hang an attack on... Israel and America, as if I needed to tell you. Pierre Gemayel: 'Another casualty of the Syrian-Israeli war'. Caught in the crossfire, you see, almost as if they got together and killed him jointly. Six of one and half a dozen of the other. The symmetry is perhaps slightly spoilt by the absence of attacks on Syria by Israeli-armed Lebanese forces committed to wiping the country off the map. But let's not nitpick.

And that's before we get started on the one and only accept-no-substitutes Fisk himself. I really haven't the heart to tackle him just now.

Let me instead remind you what the very best thing about free access to the Indie is: the magnificent, magisterial prose of Howard Jacobson. He doesn't just do Israel and anti-Semitism, naturally. He is the universal scourge of the fools, prigs, zealots, fashion victims and philistines of our age. Read him, for instance, on Richard Dawkins' rewrite of the Seventh Commandment.

But when he does turn to the contemporary Jew Question, a.k.a. Anti-Zionism... I don't think anyone else - notwithstanding honourable mentions for Melanie Phillips, David Aaronovitch and Jonathan Freedland - was more instrumental for me in crystallizing a vague unease into a conviction that the deafening silence of Gentile left/liberals must be broken. Hence this blog.

By way of a sample, here he is in July 2002, training his guns on Mona Baker after her remarks accusing Israel of 'some kind of Holocaust'. It would be nice to believe that the inanity of this sentiment had become more shockingly obvious over the last four years, but I fear that, at least for the average reader of the Independent, quite the opposite is true.

Whilst here he takes on fellow columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown:-

'The standard line all parties have tried to take is that it isn't anti-Semitic to criticise Israel. Nor is it. Nor should it be. Enough Jews criticise Israel, both within it and without. We look a little silly, though, we Jews of the new hard-skinned variety, being careful not to cry wolf Рof course it isn't anti-Semitism, of course it isn't! Рwhen substantial numbers of Muslims think otherwise. And not just in the mosques. In schools all over the Arab world anti-Semitic literature, some of it of Nazi origin, is required reading. Click on to the Radio Islam website and you will find that fraudulent exposé of Jewish world-domination, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which Egyptian television, too, has recently disinterred for the behoof of I do not know how many gullible viewers. But one would be too many.

'Thus have we adopted an ingenious quid pro quo of race relations: you don't like Jews, but we don't like saying you don't like Jews, therefore you do like Jews.'

- and again the passage of three and a half years has done nothing to diminish the urgent relevance of his words.

Finally here he is writing in August this year on the synergy between Western Islamists and Western media:-

'Myself, I think it is easy to show that they can get confirmation of their fantasies at far less expense from the front pages of our newspapers. If we are searching for a source of poisonous anti-western propaganda we need look no further than ourselves. It is we who peddle that "hegemonic single-narrative" which, for the politically naive and inflammable, explains history.

'There is hysteria abroad. That no experts on the psychology of extremism are putting their minds to this hysteria can only be explained by their not noticing it is there. And that is because it looks perfectly normal now to talk of Bush and Blair as though they are Stalin and Pol Pot. Iraq is no longer a tragic blunder, or even a cynical and selfish manipulation of truth; let any embryo terrorist see it as a wilful attempt to eviscerate Iraq of its Muslim population and there is nobody to tell him he is wrong. Afghanistan, as we narrate it, is going the same way.

'As for Israel and Lebanon, a new arrival from Mars would never guess that the conflict had causes which are at least open to conflicting interpretations. The front pages of our national newspapers depict sadism for the sake of it. Photographs show dead children. Reporters describe the slaughter of innocents as though their deaths were not only intentional but the sole purpose of the war. No context, no history, no intractable complexities. Just another story of obliteration to confirm the obliteration mindset of barely adult bombers who discern in us nothing but the same monster of solipsism that consumes them.'

(read it all)

Money talks

The solution turns out to be even simpler than the one I proposed. Who says the C of E is no longer a power in the land?

Couldn't have happened to a nicer bloke

News from Germany: one of the eight members of the neo-Nazi NPD in the regional parliament of Saxony has resigned his seat. 29-year-old Matthias Paul was facing an investigation into alleged possession of child pornography.

(German source here)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Problem solved

While on the subject of jewellery, here is part of British Airways' justification of its decision not to allow employee Nadia Eweida to wear a visible cross necklace:-

'The policy does not ban staff from wearing a cross. It lays down that personal items of jewellery, including crosses may be worn - but underneath the uniform. Other airlines have the same policy.

'The policy recognises that it is not practical for some religious symbols - such as turbans and hijabs - to be worn underneath the uniform. This is purely a question of practicality. There is no discrimination between faiths.'


Remorselessly logical, I think you'll agree. And so, accordingly, is the solution to Ms Eweida's problem. She must inform BA that her faith moves her to wear a headdress topped by a two-foot-high crucifix. Since BA do not discriminate between faiths they will, of course, have to agree to this. Then, having dressed as described for a week or two, she can open negotiations. Wouldn't they, if they're completely honest about it, really prefer that she wore something just a little more discreet? Like, for instance, a necklace?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Dialectical materialism today

Norm fills us in on the Chinese girl's best friend.

University Challenge

'There I was last Thursday night, addressing the Cambridge Union, going at it like a locomotive with a mouth, and telling them that, no, you couldn’t blame terrorism on US foreign policy. I mean, take the Istanbul bombings, two of which were exploded at Turkish synagogues, killing Turkish Jews, how could those . . . “Point of information!” came from my left, in the tones — I rather thought — of Berkshire. “Was it not the case, Mr Aaronovitch, that the successful murdering of Istanbul Jews was motivated by a revulsion to Israeli policy, a policy supported by the Americans?” And there was applause.

'Applause, readers, not just a nodding of heads at a true, if sad, analysis — but a clapping as of a rhetorical victory gained.'

- reports David Aaronovitch. And yes, readers, your eyes do not deceive you: the venue was not the Luton campus of the University of Bedfordshire, but the Cambridge Union. Some bad things are done by some Jews somewhere, therefore there is a rationale for any bad things that are done to any Jews anywhere. Because, clearly, it's not about Jews, it's about the Jews.

That, at any rate, is the view from the university ranked second in the world.

Friday, November 17, 2006

No but theoretically maybe

What's to be done about Rowan Williams?

An interviewer asks him if the C 0f E might have a rethink on women priests. The correct and comprehensive answer: 'No'. Interviewer has another try. The correct answer: a polite variation on 'Which part of "No" didn't you understand?' The hopelessly wrong answer: a rambling excursus on 'No' which cries out to be misunderstood by eventually veering off into 'No but theoretically maybe'.

This is, it seems to me, a man with some serious people-pleasing issues. The interview was for the Catholic Herald (you can read it all here if you're quick), and he is off to Rome next week. Did he imagine that, having read his copy of the CH, the Pope would be nicer to him? If so his hope was in vain, since Benedetto is well-briefed and knows perfectly well what the score is in the C of E. There will be some tough talking to be done on this question, and hinting at an ambivalence which he then promptly has to disown will not have altered that one jot.

Try to please everyone and you please nobody. Can you imagine how this has played with the by now thousands of women whose boss RW is? He is a long way from being Frau Grumpy's favourite prelate right now, I can tell you.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Anglicans for eugenics

'Sir, The Dean of Southwark Cathedral, the Ven Colin Slee, summarises and endorses a report calling for allowing very sick children to die, with the couplet “Thou shalt not kill, but need’st not strive/ officiously to keep alive”.

'Mr Slee seems not to have noticed that this is not “King James Version language” (as he puts it), but a quotation from the Victorian poet Arthur Hugh Clough. In his poem The Latest Decalogue, Clough parodied attempts to update each of the Ten Commandments in turn, with such couplets as “Thou shalt not steal; an empty feat/ When it’s so lucrative to cheat”, or the one quoted above, and they are obviously deeply ironic.

'It is doubly ironic, therefore, that Mr Slee seems unaware that the lines he quotes were written to subvert and pillory the very liberalising tendency he represents.'

- a letter in the Times. The fact that the writer is a Rev gives one some faint hope that it is worth keeping the C of E on its life support machine.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Wanted: tlc for politicians

Comedians and other media types promoting cynicism about elected politicians without actually having any alternatives of their own to offer: a profoundly dangerous game and a fairly definitive instance of power exercised without responsibility. All power corrupts and being a TV celeb corrupts absolutely... David Aaronovitch blows the whistle on behalf of a very unfashionable but vitally important cause.

Aaro sometimes overdoes the Nazi analogies, but here he would have been entirely justified in invoking the fourth-rate painter with the toothbrush moustache. For promoting the message that democratic politicians were, per se, morally contemptible was an essential ingredient in his rise to power. The Nazis and the Communists between them did a great job of making this view fashionable, ensuring that even those who voted for the democrats did so with less and less conviction.

Of course all politicians are crap some of the time and some are crap all of the time. Like comedians. Or journalists. Or bloggers. It's called being human. Which is why the 'why can't we get rid of them all?' mentality is lazy, self-indulgent wishful thinking, a recipe for replacing the good enough with the worst.

I dropped out of party political activism not least because I came to realize that I simply didn't have what it takes to make an effective politician. And I don't regard that as something to be proud of.

The Bible, the pool of blood and the PC Plods

Which reminds me of something I didn't get round to posting about a week or two ago. Namely, the Gay Police Association's 'Bible and pool of blood' advert. When Brett posted in support of the GPA, a certain irascible commenter challenged him to say how many of the 'incidents' referred to in the ad actually involved violence motivated by Christian faith. Answer came there none, nor, more significantly, did it from the GPA when they were hauled up before the Advertising Standards Authority:-

'While we appreciated that hard-hitting images such as splashes of blood were likely to be eye-catching, we understood that some of the incidents referred to might not involve violence. We considered that, by featuring spilled blood prominently, the ad suggested that all the reported incidents involved physical injury.'
Did any of the incidents involve physical injury? The GPA seem to have been quite exceptionally coy...

'Although we noted the GPA's assertion that they held evidence to support their claim, we considered that, to date, we had not seen it.'

Brett revisited the topic to relay the news that the Crown Prosecution Service had decided there was no case for the GPA to answer, but had evidently lost interest when the ASA delivered its adjudication a couple of weeks later.

Reflect for a moment, if you will, on what kind of model for the policing of a plural society we have here. Coppers belonging to a minority group form a pressure group. Fair enough in itself. They set up a phone line which can be used for reporting 'incidents'. Still fair enough. They then use the calls they get as a basis for producing their own home-made not-quite-crime statistics. Might be OK, might not. Then, finally, they grossly misrepresent their statistics in order to stereotype members of another minority group as violent criminals. Well out of order. And the sting in the tail: coppers belonging to minority group no. 2 decide they can play the PC Plod game too, and try to turn the tables on minority group no. 1 by having them nicked them for 'hate crime'.

One doesn't need to see the history of policing through Dixon of Dock Green glasses to think that none of this is leading anywhere very good. The logic of it is that we end up with a police force divided into a patchwork of warring minority interest groups, each upholding a version of the law suitably edited to conform to its private agenda. What, then, becomes of the principle of 'one law for everyone'? And what happens when, for instance, the BNP Supporters Police Association stake their claim to a slice of the action?

PS A final aside: the complainants to the ASA were all evangelical groups. Why am I not surprised that the GPA's association of the Christian gospel with violent intolerance provoked not so much as a whisper of protest from, say, the Archbishop of Canterbury? What a wonderful thing liberal guilt is! 'OK, it may not actually be true, but if it's their perception of us we must be to blame'.

Tolerance cuts both ways

Israel is, rather obviously, the only country in the Middle East where the holding of a Gay Pride march would be thinkable. I'm with Brett of Harry's Place in feeling that this is something to be celebrated.

Israel is also a country where you are free to be the kind of religious conservative who thinks that a Gay Pride march is a bad thing - on condition, of course, that you express this belief without violence. But I'm not so sure that Brett is with me in feeling that this is also something to be celebrated.

I'm getting rather fed up with gay campaigners' instant resort to the guilt by association tactic. Any suggestion that gay sex is, in any circumstances, not the best thing since sliced bread gets met with a kneejerk 'oh, so you'd like to send us all to the gas chambers, then' reaction. It's more or less a mirror image of the 'gay=paedophile' type of prejudice.

Thus if there's been some thuggery from (apparently) some members of Jerusalem's Muslim religious police, the Papal Nuntio must be an accomplice - he 'seemed to egg this sort of reaction on', says Brett. I can't find the full text of what he said, but there's nothing like quoting half a sentence out of context for making people 'seem' to confirm our prejudices about them, is there, Brett?

The touchiness is understandable in view of the weight of homophobic tradition which gays are up against and the violence which it too often generates, but it really is time for people like Brett to start setting an example of the tolerance they demand from others.

For instance, they are fully entitled to disagree with the statement released today by the US Catholic bishops' conference. But not to represent the bishops as advocates of homophobic violence. They aren't.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Anti-Israel bias: a challenge to the Episcopal Church

Anglicans for Israel link to letters which CAMERA (The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) has sent to leading figures in the Episcopal Church, pointing out manifestations of anti-Israel bias on the Church's website. This is entirely familiar territory for me, very much of a piece with my reactions to material from Christian Aid, the Church of England, the Church of Scotland etc.

I await the replies of Presiding Bishop-Elect Schori and Canon Grieves with interest, as they say. But I can already predict that they will reflect the assumption that, since CAMERA can be identified with the political Right (and therefore indirectly with the theological Right within TEC), it need not be taken seriously. I hope to be proved wrong by a response informed more by Christianity than by secular political side-taking.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Racist bigot - but legal

Headless chicken time. It's legal to say nasty, offensive things about other people's beliefs! Quick, let's change the law!

Then we can lock up A C Grayling, who evidently thinks that all religions are wicked and vicious and doesn't give two hoots whether anyone is offended by his saying so.

Are there any liberals left?

PS I've been debating the Grayling piece here.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Climate change: Grumpy's verdict

I haven't done climate change yet. It's high time I told you all what to think. Pay attention, please.

I was reading Melanie Phillips' latest on this, and I thought I'd check out some of the stuff that impresses her. Hmmm...

Item one: Christopher Monckton in the Sunday Torygraph. He assures us that, although he's advised Margaret Thatcher, he's had 'not a red cent from Exxon'. That's good to know. I'd be even more reassured to be told that he's had no red cents from any lobby organization, think tank or whatever funded by the oil industry. I mean, I never imagined that climate change sceptics get plain brown envelopes stuffed with notes handed over personally by oil company operatives. As it stands the disclaimer is just a little reminiscent of the Gorgeous One's protestations that he's 'never seen a barrel of oil'.

Some of his scientific case looks quite impressive. When I read an expert refutation I am sure that will also look impressive. So I'll stick to two little details that caught my eye. Firstly, Mr Monckton makes much of the 'medieval warm period', and cites a piece of evidence for this: 'There was little ice at the North Pole: a Chinese naval squadron sailed right round the Arctic in 1421 and found none.' The relevance of this is not quite clear given that it appears just after a graph which shows that by 1421 the warm period was well and truly over and the climate had plummeted to well below the 20th century average.

Then there's this:

'And the snows of Kilimanjaro are vanishing not because summit temperature is rising (it isn't) but because post-colonial deforestation has dried the air.'

- where I'm just interested in that throwaway 'post-colonial'. It may be that this is something Mr Monckton has researched thoroughly, and that he could demonstrate, if pressed, that the colonial administration in Kenya had a strictly enforced 'no felling trees around Kilimanjaro' policy, whereas the timber started falling as soon as the country gained its independence. Or it may be that this is just his ideological slip showing. And I'm not sure how much confidence I want to place in the views on climate change of a man who still hasn't got over the end of Empire.

Item two: Mel links to the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works. What is supposed to be so authoritative about this particular bunch of (until today) Republican politicos remains unclear. One of the gems of information they offer us is:

'On April 6, 2006, 60 scientists wrote a letter to the Canadian Prime Minister asserting that the science is deteriorating from underneath global warming alarmists.'

Well, I've got wise to these Round Robin letters. Go to the source and you'll find the signatories artfully arranged. If you were in a hurry you might look down the first few names and conclude that these are 60 Canadian climatologists. Pretty weighty. But if you scroll down a bit you find that the net has been cast a wee bit wider than that. By the time you reach the professor of social anthropology at Liverpool John Moores University it doesn't look quite so impressive. When I did a bit of social anthropology in my first year at uni I learned all kinds of fascinating stuff about kinship systems, but bugger all about climate change.

None of this is meant to suggest that dodginess is confined to the sceptics. Shuggy has a good post on the idiocies emanating from the other side. Possessed as he is of a neat turn of phrase (he's a teacher, you know), he characterizes George Monbiot as an 'annoying twat'. Ah, yes, I think that must be why I stopped reading him. The thing is, of course, that that doesn't necessarily mean the science he quotes is wrong.

There's an increasingly shrill and emotive debate being conducted by people who haven't a hope in hell of evaluating the science but have taken sides based on their ideological predispositions. It seems to me that as a layman all I can do is hold on to the apparently undisputed fact that a majority of the experts believe:

(a) global warming is happening

(b) its net effects will (notwithstanding the sunny prospects for English winemakers) be harmful

and (c) it is to a significant degree manmade.

The science is evolving and the consensus may change, but that seems to be where we are today. Pace Shuggy, the Galileo analogy is not really apposite. The consensus he was up against had precious little to do with science. Rather, it was based on theology at best and religious power politics at worst.

Unless, of course, that is precisely why the analogy is apposite. The challenge for Melanie Phillips, Christopher Monckton and their ilk is to convince me that:

(a) the majority are faking it to curry favour with left-wing ideologues

whereas (b) the dissentient minority can be trusted even though what they say is so congenial to both right-wing ideologues and big business.

I think that is a tall order, but I'm open to persuasion.

Three Glasgow men guilty of excessive vibrancy

How could it have happened in what 'should have been' a multicultural utopia? A BBC scribe is so completely at a loss for ways of processing the Kriss Donald murder in terms of the Corporation's hegemonic ideology that he's even prepared to contemplate blaming gangster rap. 'US gangster rap', be it noted - no longer an ingredient of the rich vibrant mix, but a sinister cultural imperialist import.

It would be funny if it wasn't tragic. It's precisely those who want to salvage a viable form of coexistence from the multicultural dream who need to start demanding a Beeb that understands a little less about what should be and a little more about what is. A programme for change might, for instance, include sending Stephen Stewart to live in Pollokshields for a year or two.

PS Elsewhere in the Beeb's coverage, we discover that it may not be such a clever idea after all to categorize crimes as racist on the basis of the victim's perception. Bet you can't guess why. The further you step outside the Beeb worldview, the more Pavlovian this kind of stuff looks.

PPS The more you read the more bizarre it gets. They've been canvassing the views of 'community figures'. Is the community, perhaps, feeling collectively victimized by the verdicts? No, the news is reassuring. Says Habib Malik, manager of Islamic Relief, 'Asian people [...] are happy justice has been done and they can move on.'

Monday, November 06, 2006

Melanie Phillips, Christianity and the defence of the west

Melanie Phillips has put the cat among the pigeons in a rather bigger than usual way with one of her recent posts. And specifically among a little flock waiting for trains to Glasgow, Manchester and other Eustonian destinations.

The cause of offence is this:

'[T]he collapse of Christianity in Britain and Europe and its steady replacement by secularisation is so catastrophic for the defence of the west. The useful idiots who believe that only a secular society can hold off the forces of irrational belief at the heart of the Islamic jihad have got this diametrically the wrong way round. Secularisation produces cultural enfeeblement, because the pursuit of personal happiness trumps absolutely everything else. The here and now is all that matters. Dying for a cause, however noble, becomes an absolute no-no. It's better to be dhimmi than dead - the view that has now effectively prevailed in Britain and Europe.
'And that is why I, a British Jew, argue that it is vital that Britain and Europe re-Christianise if they are to have any chance of defending western values.'

- as quoted by Shuggy, who comments a little tetchily:

'So if Melanie Phillips wants Europe to re-Christianize, her energies would be better spent trying to make converts by preaching the Gospel.'

Well, I'm never quite sure how religious Mel is (though in her normblog profile she refers to 'The Torah, which defines my moral outlook'). She's certainly enough of a realist not to expect mass conversions to Judaism. But in any case there's nothing inconsistent about seeing religious belief as producing benefits in purely secular terms. It's a much more intellectually serious stance than the Dawkinsite 'I don't believe, therefore everything about belief must stink' one. In a way Mel's in the position of a GP who can diagnose a heart condition but can't perform open heart surgery. She may or may not be right, but her position is not inherently absurd. And a non-believer who arrives at the same position can at least lay off knocking religion for the sake of it and start saying positive as well as negative things about the Christian cultural heritage which as Europeans we all share, whether believers or not.

One of the things I like about Norm is that he is consistently ready to see good in beliefs which he doesn't share. It's the mark of an authentic liberal. So although he endorses Shuggy's critique, he takes Mel seriously to this extent:

'There is, however, a serious question wrapped up in all this. Can there be a robust defence of liberal and secular values? Or are these, as Phillips thinks, too infected by the good life for their adherents to be willing to put up a fight for them? Anecdotal evidence from the Nazi death camps suggests that the prisoners most able to preserve some sort of moral direction in the hellish conditions of those places were people of fervent belief - Jehovah's Witnesses, rabbis, communists, etc - and that others educated in the virtues of rationality and sceptical enquiry found this much more difficult. I point that out not because I think it answers the questions just posed, but merely by way of reporting something I've come across that is obliquely relevant.'

'Liberalism and secularism need the strength also of a fighting self-belief', he concludes, having pretty much conceded that that, at present, is precisely what they don't have.

david t, however, evidently feels his manhood has been called into question:

'Liberals aren't wusses. They will stand and defend their values.'

David strikes me as a genuine, principled and courageous liberal. But is what he says here about liberals in general actually true, or is it wishful thinking? Is it, for a start, literally true? A question for Eustonian interventionist liberals: how many of you can honestly say that you ever seriously considered a career in the armed forces? (And, where applicable, would you encourage your children to do so?)

Here's my answer: as far as I can remember it last looked to me like a good idea when I was about eight years old, and the Army had a recruitment stand in Bentalls department store in Kingston with some really cool hardware on display. I'm a baby-boomer who grew up at a time when liberal values stood in great need of being defended against the totalitarian system on the other side of the Iron Curtain. One of my formative political experiences was watching the news on the day the tanks rolled into Prague. But when I was of an age to take the Queen's Shilling, I was more interested in overthrowing the bourgeois state (or at least sitting in meetings talking about overthrowing it) than in fighting for it. So if I talk tough on Iraq or Afghanistan or wherever, I'm making a brave principled stand with other peoples' lives.

That's how much of a non-wuss muscular liberal Mr Grumpy is. How about the folk waiting on Platform 11?

Bioethics for the Intellectually Challenged

“We can terminate for serious foetal abnormality up to term but cannot kill a newborn. What do people think has happened in the passage down the birth canal to make it okay to kill the foetus at one end of the birth canal but not at the other?”

- says John Harris, a member of the government’s Human Genetics Commission and professor of bioethics at Manchester University, quoted in the Sunday Times.

What do people think has happened between when a baby's just been born and when it's a day old? What do people think has happened between when it's a day old and when it's two days old? What do people think has happened between when it's two days old and when it's a week old? What do people think...

Friday, November 03, 2006

Motes and beams time

Sorry, I know it's terribly un-Christian, and I promise to do appropriate penance by reflecting intensively on my manifold sins and wickedness, but really it's one of those occasions when you would need a heart of stone not to laugh.

Tee hee.


Scenario: you're the parent of a young child. You've been callously dumped by your partner. You're depressed. So depressed that you decide to take your child's life.

Are you:

(a) a sad victim who has been punished more than enough by a couple of years on remand and now mainly needs help?


(b) an evil killer who should be locked up for at least fifteen years?

It all depends.