Saturday, February 09, 2008

Religion: You Couldn't Make It Up

Should the Archbishop of Canterbury resign? No. The people calling for his resignation seek only to replace him with someone less tolerant and more fundamentalist than he is. That can only be a bad thing. Until the Anglican Church is disestablished we all have a reason to ensure we have the most liberal Archbishop of Canterbury possible.

He has the right to speak freely, even if his opinions are silly.

Tomorrow there will be protests around the world outside of Scientologist establishments. I'll be watching these with interest to see how they turn out. Whilst I sympathise with critics of Scientology, I can't help thinking they are missing the bigger picture. Believing in Thetans, Xenu and hating psychiatrists is not much ich are and will continue to be abused to further goals set outside of the normal Govdifferent to believing in a soul, Satan and hating homosexuals (etc., etc). Everyone has a right to these beliefs, no matter how weird some find them and I hope the protesters remember that it's the Church of Scientology that needs destroying and not the Scientologists themselves.



CCTV cameras, phone tapping, bugging of elected representatives etc. are not signs that Britain is on it's way to being a police state. They are the foundation stones of future problems laid down in good faith (if idiotically) by the current Government whernmental processes (such as by individual police officers). One day this will come back to bite us all in the arse when they are used for even more nefarious purposes.

3 comments:

  1. I certainly agree that Rowan Williams had the right to say what he did, just as any citizen has the right to express themselves - this applies also to people who are truly hateful and who express hateful views. Thoughts and speech should not be crimes, but certain of these followed through into action certainly are and need to be.

    However I don't really agree that certain actions of the current government, particularly the increasing numbers of CCTV surveillance cameras, the several increases in periods when persons may be held in custody without charge (and attempts to increase this further), the attempts to limit the right to trial by jury, the plans to introduce a sophisticated centralised database tabulating many details of all citizens (including fingerprints, retinal scans) and backed-up by personal 'interrogation' interviews (and interrogation is indeed the word used, I believe, in the legislation) for new applicants for a passport or the purportedly non-compulsory ID Cards, without which it will however be impossible to access many services provided for citizens out of taxes which they pay, etc, etc, are not signs that we are sliding into a 'police state'. I believe we are.

    I do not believe the present government, or those who run it, are of evil intent - simply that they have a fervent belief that they know what is best for citizens and intend to impose their will on the rest of us.

    However, the fact that the government is taking unto itself increasing powers over citizens leaves the possibility that a future government, equally intent on controlling every aspect of our lives, but without the seemingly benign intentions of the current lot, means that the citizen has in fact almost ceded already the right to choose. That is, for me, the very definition of what it means to live in a quasi-police state.

    I have lived in a few genuine police states, both of the autocratic monarchical kind (various middle eastern countries) and of the far left variety (Viet Nam) and I know from personal experience how these places operate. Foreigners like me were relatively immune, provided we kept our private views strictly to ourselves, but locals had to to toe the line or else.

    We are not yet at that stage in Britain. However, it is now illegal for someone simply to recite the names of war dead in Iraq at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, or to hold peaceful protests anywhere without prior police authority (and who elects them?) or at all within a one mile radius of Parliament.

    Frankly I think that far too many people in Britain are far too complacent about what is ostensibly being done in their names and where it could lead in the hands of a government not just merely incompetent as the present one is, but intent on using the powers the present one is acquiring for less innocent purposes. Police states work by fear and intimidation, not usually by brute force unless it becomes absolutely necessary. That's exactly what is being created in Britain right now in lots of ways. Citizens no longer have the right to defend themselves and it is only when something truly outrageous happens as a result that politicians make token noises about empowering the citizen, but in practise this is cosmetic and it is a one-way road toward more power for the state at the expense of the individual; most people would be afraid to defend themselves for what the state might (and probably would) do to sanction them afterward.

    Just sayin ...

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  2. I think we both can agree that what is happening is wrong and needs to be stopped, even if we don't agree on it's exact end role.

    Sadly I don't see it changing any time soon.

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