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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Quote of the day

“And so let me end as I began: if we can elevate religious values to the heart of the debate about global development and our global society, can we continue to consign religious values to only the fringes of the debate about the future of our national economies and societies?

My religion and reason tell me that we cannot for long be truly happy in any place when we see opportunities denied in every place; we cannot feel fully secure at any time when we know millions are feeling insecure just about all the time; and we cannot be wholly comfortable anywhere when the left out millions are found everywhere.

So I conclude; yes, for people of faith there is the risk of the sin of commission. So we must be humble enough to guard against theocratic error when faith enters the public square. But yes too, there is a greater risk, the sin of omission and we must never again allow the voices of faith to feel excluded from their rightful role. So let the trumpet sound. The voices of faith must and will be heard.”

Faith in Politics? Lecture by Gordon Brown, the former Prime Minister of GB

on Wednesday 16 February 2011 hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury

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This is a wonderful video by (the not yet very famous) Billy Bob Neck! Just to let you know he is for real a comedian. Have a look at his website. I think it is one of the best social critiques I have seen (on youtube)!

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In an open letter to the Guardian Richard Dawkins, Philip Pullman and others have declared openly their (political) colours. They come in support of Liberal Democrats in this general election.

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In 2007 Britain marked 200 years since the British Parliament passed the bill to abolish the Slave Trade, or what is otherwise known as the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act. As I was involved in marking this event, in particular throughout Scotland, I sought to inform myself about this issue. In addition to reading about the Slave Trade and the Scottish involvement with it (my friend Iain Whyte published his book just in time) I also sought to find out if there were any significant local links (where I live) with the slave trade. Well I did find that there were two buildings which were built with money from the salve trade, one of them is in Blackburn (Blackburn House) and the other one in Bathgate (Bathgate Academy).

I have also learned that Christians found themselves on both side of the argument in regards to slave trade and slavery: it is now clear that Christians played a very significant role in the abolition of the slave trade and slavery itself, but there were other Christians who sought to defend the slave trade and slavery (it took another 26 years before slavery was outlawed in the UK).

John Lampard a retired Methodist minister wrote an article in 2007 showing how Christians in particular in the American South argued for slavery on the basis of the bible. Lampard shows how Revd Thornton Stringfellow, a Baptist pastor born in 1788 and Ordained in 1814 argued that slavery was undoubtedly biblical. I recommend his article which can be downloaded from here (the Set all Free website).

More information about Slavery in Scotland can be found on Scotland and Slavery website which I helped create while working for ACTS, which is still hosted by them.

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Washington Post recently published a piece in which Richard Dawkins defends the Anglican Church against the Catholic initiative to accept Anglican Clergy. I would have never expected Richard to defend a church such as he does in this article. His  partisan views are so obvious as it is his vitriolic attack on the Catholic church.

What a surprise that even atheists take sides in inter church diplomatic disasters! He does however justify his intervention on political grounds: the Anglican church is part of the ‘establishment’ and has political influence (bishops in the upper house of the Parliament)!????

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We have just marked 20 years from the fall of Berlin Wall. the fall of  Berlin war started a domino effect and in 1989 people in country after country in the Eastern Europe raised against their own national communist regimes and forced changes. Those changes differed from country to country.

A friend of mine pointed out to me a youtube video of the 2009 winner of Ukraine’s Got Talent. You might ask what does this have to do with the collapse of the communist regimes. The winner of the show, Kseniya Simonova, a sand animation artist tells the story of her country, the struggle they went through. She has a great talent and the way she tells the story is moving. Even though I know very little of Ukraine history, I do recognise symbols and struggles that were common to many Eastern European countries.

What a wonderful talent and what a powerful story!

 

 

This is my first encounter with sand art, and I am very impressed!

 

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The Jewish scholar Shlomo Sand has written a book ‘The invention of the Jewish people‘ in which he challenges, what he calls, the historical myth of the formation of the Jewish people. He argues that there was no massive expulsion or migration of Jews from Palestine during the Roman Hellenistic period, contrary to the common held believes.  He argues that the Jewish diaspora came into being through conversions throughout the years (and he gives a few examples). As a result he suggests that  Jewishness is not a blood acquired identity. He even suggests that the Palestinian peasant population could well be more “Jewish” (in the sense of genetic identity) than the ‘returning Jews’.

His theory has a great political implication for the current situation in Israel. For more see his book and the video of a lecture he delivered at New York University.

What do people think?

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