St Paul and Occupy

As St Paul’s Cathedral becomes the epicentre for people (being named Occupy) who want space to speak out about their powerlessness in the current “financial situation”, and the church is faced with ethical dilemmas which result in Giles Fraser, the Chancellor of the cathedral, resigning, here are three clippings that have caught my attention.

Paul VallelyNewsthumpBBC

It seems to me a wholly appropriate that the Church, and to St Paul’s Cathedral in particular sited as it is in the financial centre of London, is challenged to consider how it relates to unrest about financial leadership in society.

British religious persecution

Sometimes I find myself reading about how Christians have a hard time in Britain or elsewhere, or about how militant Islam is not always kind to other faiths.

Here’s some interesting balance to the arguments. A recent study shows that it’s not easy being religious in the UK – that the UK is not top of the list of those countries who allow freedom of religion.

Church Times article.

Link to full report.

Recent riots in London and elsewhere

My thoughts and prayers are with those who have been affected by the recent riots in the UK.

Here’s a couple of interesting videos as an alternative to those of the events themselves.

Hackney woman slams rioters.

24th April 2010 Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats, predicts further riots if the Conservatives get in to power.

And some analysis from the Daily Telegraph, and here.

‎(“We have no government armed with the power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a… net. Our constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.”
This quote comes from the reader comments under The Telegraph article, and is of John Adams commenting on the American constitution. It seems to me it applies just as well to our British situation just now. I’ve heard political scientists speak of how a people need to be mature enough for a mature political system such as democracy. I’ve often commented that as technology advances ethics need to advance alongside it – so as political systems advance, morality needs to advance alongside it.)
Banksy image showing "rioter" throwing a bunch of flowers
Banksy’s comment on the riots?

Pleased by review of decision to abolish cheques

This is an update of this article which I originally wrote on 11th May 2011, because the result of the review was to abandon the plan to abolish cheques. Hooray!

I don't know when the original publicity for this happened, and I've missed the 6th May deadline to join in with the enquiry, but I'm pleased to see that HM Treasury is reviewing the 2010 decision to abolish cheques in the UK in 2018.

Apparently there has been a deluge of correspondence from alarmed people, particularly from charities who are concerned less people will give to them. There also seems to be a move to abolish cash. A while ago I read of a journalist who had tried to live without cash for a day: a poignant issue for her was her inability to give to beggars. How will Big Issue sellers cope?

I think her point is a good one, and what about giving people gifts. “I've transferred some money to your account” does not seem as satisfying as saying “here you are” as you give a cheque or cash. When I mentioned this to someone the other day he said that there is a business opportunity to create bank-transfer-gift-cards!

So, I stand for not making changes that marginalise people who are not part of the mainstream “economy.” The current piece of paper that we call a cheque is just a standardised form of a written instruction to a bank from a customer to pay another customer. What excuse do banks have for refusing to pay “on the order of” their clients? Don't they exist to provide a service to their clients?

The decision to abolish cheques was subject to alternative methods being found. Maybe that has been forgotten about. I don't see effective movement in that direction, but then I wouldn't want to cooperate with it anyway!

More details here: http://www.albany.co.uk/blog/inquiry-into-abolition-of-cheques/

 

Archbishop stands up for Christian minorities in the Middle East

Good of Rowan to build awareness that the effect of political change in the Middle East (the Arab Spring) benefits some but often not the Christian minorities there.

“The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams says the unrest in the Middle East has made life “simply unsustainable” for many Christians who are leaving their homes.” – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-13766009

‘Grooming white teenage girls for sex’

It is interesting to set these two articles alongside one another, and wonder whether the behaviour that we decry in the UK is just lawlessness, incited, or to do with a clash of religious or other values.

“Gang of nine Asian men arrested for ‘grooming white teenage girls for sex’.
A gang of Asian men has been arrested over claims they plied more than a dozen underage white girls with drink and drugs before turning them into sex slaves. The vulnerable girls – some as young as 13 – say they were forced to work the streets as prostitutes and hand over money to the men. The nine men – eight of them Asian – were questioned by detectives after officers swooped on a number of addresses.” From the Daily Mail in the UK 11th January 2011.

‘Last week witnessed popular Muslim preacher Abu Ishaq al-Huwaini boast about how Islam allows Muslims to buy and sell conquered infidel women, so that “When I want a sex-slave, I go to the market and pick whichever female I desire and buy her.” ‘ From Middle East Forum June 6th 2011 quoting the Kuwait Times.