Thursday, 29 April 2010

Life on Mars and PC Tact

“My name is Sam Tyler. I had an accident and I woke up in 1973. Am I mad, or in a comma, or back in time?” So says the voice of Sam Tyler, a 21st Century police officer, over the opening credits of the hit BBC TV drama series Life on Mars, first broadcast in January 2006. It ran to two series and was such a phenomenon it was followed up by another series, Ashes to Ashes, featuring another character, Alex Drake, this time thrown back to 1983 as the result of being shot in the line of duty.

Both meet the same characters “back then” and both suffer culture shock as they have to adapt not just to the more primitive policing methods but the customs and idiom of those very different times. Both series are packed with politically incorrect dialogue and assumptions as we follow the very un-PC Detective Inspector Gene Hunt and his team  in their efforts to keep the streets safe.

You can sympathise with the main characters’ impatience with and attempts at correcting unreformed police officers who call a deaf boy a “spastic”, who regard WPCs as being there to make the tea and be leered at, who make gags at the expense of black people and homosexuals and who regard criminals as deserving of “a good kicking.” Thank goodness for most of us the world isn’t like that anymore. But is it any better?

If roles were reversed and DI Gene Hunt were to wake up in 2010 how would he faire? Of course, he wouldn’t last five minutes because in that time he would have broken just about every anti-discrimination law in the country, not to mention health and safety. But what would he think of a world where a question from a pensioner about immigration becomes an international news story?

Where we allow our society to be slowly colonised by Muslims at the same time as we are at war with Muslim countries and Muslims are becoming suicide bombers on our streets – and we are not even allowed to talk about it for fear of being labelled Islamophobic?

What would he think of the proliferation of mosques across the country when young Muslims are being radicalised in some of those same mosques? Of the rise in popularity of the BNP and the real and frankly frightening prospect of Nick Griffin getting a seat in the British parliament and all because no one else is prepared to talk about the problems of immigration and he cashes in on that fact?

What would Gene Hunt make of a Britain where our libel laws are so wacky that “libel tourism” has become a major problem and Eastern European as well as other criminals, businessmen and politicians are flocking to our shores to sue investigative journalists who are getting too close to the facts? Where a journalist is guilty until proven innocent? Where foreign criminals are enslaving girls and running them as sex slaves in our towns and streets?

What would he make of a country where broadcast news is no longer news but tittle-tattle and gossip. Where the cult of celebrity puts no-talent nobodies on the front pages of our newspapers? Where news broadcasters do pieces to camera while the main event goes on behind them because they believe their comment and opinion is more valuable than those of the people who actually run the country, its businesses and services?

What would Gene Hunt think of a country where we are policed at a distance by cameras and are now the most scrutinised society after China and Russia? Where teachers run the real risk of being physically attacked, maligned on social networking sites, accused of abuse and little or nothing to be done because we are currently in the grip of the cult of the child? Where having a baby is regarded by some as a career move and others as an occupational hazard? Where aborting a baby is considered so inconsequential that it is possible to do it in your lunch break, like going for a dump?

How would he faire in this brave new world where we are all so PC, not because it makes for a better world but because of some misplaced guilt over our patriarchal history of empire that makes us feel we have to be the world’s social worker and “understand” how hard it must be having been our victims? Where we are actually implicated in charges of torture along with our “special friends” and war allies? Where right and wrong are defined not by agreed standards of decency and morality but by who has the money to sue you if you don’t toe the line they draw and dare you to cross, those who cry, “its our world now so have a care how you walk in it or we will have you for dinner!”

There have always been problems and each generation must find its own way to deal with them but the one “solution” that must be avoided like the jaws of hell is the one that insists, like Basil Fawltey, “Don’t mention the war (or immigration, or abortion, or over-surveillance, or Islamification)!” If we can’t express our views, share our fears and hopes, declare our convictions and speak our minds without fear of retribution and the PC brigade then we are storing up problems that may explode in a reaction of violence that we neither want nor can fully realise until it is too late.

George Orwell said, “Liberty is the freedom to tell people what they don’t want to hear.” That liberty is in real danger in Britain and while we are all arguing terms on what terms we can use in public discourse and private conversation there are those with a very different agenda planning our future and that of our children. Maybe we need a Gene Hunt to share with us some well overdue home truths and perhaps it doesn’t matter too much in what terms as long as we face them.

Yes, it is a different world and in some ways the changes are welcome, but is it really a better world? I don’t think so.

Monday, 26 April 2010

French Catholic Church launches campaign to attract young believers - Telegraph

"France's Catholic Church has launched a vast poster campaign whose English slogan is "Jesus is my Boss" in a bid to convince young believers that becoming a priest can be hip.
The poster, featuring a cheery young man's face superimposed onto a wacky yellow and green collage, also bears the question in English: "Why Not?"
This at the same time as Catholic leaders in England and Wales issue an apology and express their “deep sorrow for decades of child abuse.” Read more here

“Decades?” More like centuries, a millennium! This scandal goes back a thousand years and involves some of the greatest names in Catholic history. One leading historian says that during the Middle Ages, “in some areas the mere fact of having taken Orders seems to have rendered one liable top the suspicion of being a sodomite.”  (John Boswell)

In 1651 in Florence an Apologia for schoolmasters falling for their children recommended boys between nine and eighteen, “although there is no fixed rule, since some retain their boyishness longer, and others fade early, just as some full round, little boys excite you from infancy.” (L’Alcibiade fanciullo a scuolo, in Michael Rocke, Forbidden Friendships p.95)

In her excellent book Fallen Order Karen Liebreich draws comparisons across the centuries with her account of paedophile priests in 17th-century Italy. Implicated is Fr. Jose’ de Calasanz, founder of the Piarist Order to house and educate the poor children of Rome. He was created patron saint of all Christian schools in 1948. His Order was so rife with abuse that in 1646 was abolished by the pope. Every aspect of abuse and how the church deals with it that so disturbs us today has a long and shameful history going back centuries.

The British Foreign Office has apologised for a leaked internal memo suggesting ways to make the Pope’s impending visit successful. These included having him blessing a gay marriage, opening an abortion clinic and launching his own brand of condoms. Richard Dawkins has put his name to a campaign to have the Pope arrested for crimes against humanity for the alleged cover-up of abuse in the Catholic Church.

Apologies have been issued for the leaked memo and, of course, Dawkins’ love of the limelight is well know so this latest stunt shouldn’t be taken seriously. However, after protests, crippling law suits and worldwide condemnation following the most damning publicity they still don’t seem to get it. It is not a local difficulty, neither is it one or two generations that have suffered the abuse.

They can’t stand outside of this and look on with disapproval alongside the rest of us. Abuse is historic and endemic in the Catholic Church and the church can no longer be a law to itself, hiding behind the conceit of being a state with its own legislative system. Their system doesn’t work, their laws protect the criminals, their tradition puts perpetrators before victims and brings shame and distress to honest Catholics, priesthood and laity, around the world. The church needs to offer what it demands of its members, full confession and heartfelt repentance.

French Catholic Church launches campaign to attract young believers - Telegraph

Sunday, 25 April 2010

e100 challenge - The Program

This is an initiative by Wycliffe to encourage Bible reading. The Bible reading habit has declined alarmingly among Christians and it is a cause of great concern. This looks like a great programme from the real experts in Bible translation and distribution.

The Essential 100 Challenge™ (The E100) is an effective Bible reading program built around 100 carefully selected short Bible passages — 50 from the Old Testament and 50 from the New Testament. It enables people in your church to get the big picture of God's Word and in the process develop a daily Bible reading habit.

e100 challenge - The Program

BBC News - Doctor Who fans angered by trailer for Over the Rainbow

That irritating little Irishman ruins things just by turning up. Please, can someone bring back my Saturday evening viewing? It used to be full of professional entertainers – actors, comedians, singers -  but now I turn on to watch people rehearsing, auditioning, and all commented on by an irritating little Irishman who thinks everyone is thrilled to see him. I might put out a contract.

“Thousands of Doctor Who fans have contacted the BBC to complain that the ending of Saturday night's episode was ruined by a trailer for the next show.

The on-screen caption featured an animated cartoon of presenter Graham Norton, host of Over the Rainbow.

It appeared as The Doctor, played by Matt Smith, was making an emotional speech during the story's cliffhanger ending for The Time of Angels.”

BBC News - Doctor Who fans angered by trailer for Over the Rainbow

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

BBC News - Iranian cleric blames quakes on promiscuous women

Next time the earth moves for you consider the possible consequences.

“Promiscuous women are responsible for earthquakes, a senior Iranian cleric has said.

Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi told worshippers in Tehran last Friday that they had to stick to strict codes of modesty to protect themselves.

"Many women who do not dress modestly lead young men astray and spread adultery in society which increases earthquakes," he said.”

BBC News - Iranian cleric blames quakes on promiscuous women

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Primark, Padded Bikinis and the Paedophile Pound.

A push up bra for very young girls from Asda, a pole dancing kit for children from Tesco, Playboy children’s stationary from W H Smith and now a padded bikini top for girls as young as seven from Primark. It seems our public morals are being determined purely by commercial interests and, as someone observed, this is a bid for the paedophile pound.

What astonishes me is that someone sat down and considered this a good idea.

‘Clothing chain Primark has withdrawn the sale of its range of padded bikini tops for girls as young as seven following criticism.

The company apologised to customers for "causing offence" and said it would donate profits to a children's charity.

The Children's Society criticised Primark for "premature sexualisation and unprincipled advertising".’

BBC News - Padded bikini for girls withdrawn

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Latest News - Gospel for Asia UK

Ignorance and superstition defeated by light and faith. God still works today, you just have to look.

The people in Rijul's village worshiped a plethora of gods and goddess, and Rijul's family was no different. But there was one god that captured most of their devotion.

Rijul and his family believed if they worshiped this god, it would give them power to have victory over their enemies. But Rijul received no strength as he battled his own inner weaknesses.

Latest News - Gospel for Asia UK