Tory Muslim cabinet peer to kiss Church of Rome’s ring ?

 

A cabinet minister without portfolio, the Baroness Warsi who is a Muslim and who has never actually been elected to office , will we hear, deliver a speech, claiming society is broken and needs to re-embrace Christian values to stop the alleged rot. She will make this speech during her publicly funded visit to the Vatican’s  Pontificia Ecclesiastica Academia, the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy ,one of the Roman Colleges of the Roman Catholic Church which  trains Catholic  priests to serve in the diplomatic corps and to become part of  the universal government of the Catholic church. This British government staged visit comes with the outline of what the peer is going to say and to this observer the immediate audience for this piece of misguided British government state dogma is the carefully chosen. It is quite  literally a futile example of  preaching to the converted. She is  guaranteed a friendly reception in what actually is the college set up to ensure that catholic fundamentalism is perpetuated.

You can't preach about moral decline until you have put your own house in order. People in glass houses should not throw stones. British society isn't broken at all despite government attempts to break all our hearts with self fulfilling austerity.

It is not immediately clear whether the sanctimonious twaddle she intends to deliver is her personal creed or simply Tory party propaganda. She is infamous for  being unable to separate religion from State  and previously , in what turned out to be a  failed campaign to get elected to parliament in 20o5 , her campaign literature including homophobic content.   She is quoted as declaring in exaggerated emotive “spin “language “Britain is under threat from a rising tide of “militant secularisation “ and yet presents no evidence whatsoever of what that threat actually is.  The folly of such an attention seeking declaration , a wild simplistic generalisation, is that it seeks to sensationalise and tries to perpetuate the myth of moral decline in Britain and that returning to “Christian” values, is the antidote when it is in fact the Roman and Anglican church that needs to put its own house in order to deserve any credibility in the twenty first century.  This is a convenient clarion call which deflects from the everyday reality of the paucity of current government policy and its direct negative impact on the well-being of citizens especially the poor and disadvantaged. It is blatant hypocrisy. Ordinary people have not lost their strong , decent social values but quite understandably they have lost faith both in government and the church, both of which , it is more than apparent, put their own interest and those of their peers above those of the people they are supposed to represent.

The son of God ,Jesus, did not, apparently, discriminate against women or marginalise those who were different so why does a church which professes His teachings do so?.

It is perfectly possible to have a society that is secular but which upholds decent values and these do not have to be based on the state religion (Christianity ) or any other organised religion.  Religion finds its own level of influence and number of genuine followers. Numbers of practicing Christians may well be in decline ( certainly the case in the traditional Anglican church)  but the established church does not  demonstrate Christian values, for example, it is homophobic, misogynistic and indeed the Church of Rome condones neither contraception or abortion which is abdication of its obligation to people and impacts on populations globally in terms of unwanted pregnancies and the  spread of Aids and STD’s.

This peer’s own declared religion, ( she is a liberal , westernised Muslim ) like Christianity ,  is underpinned with some great values  which very probably also contribute to social cohesion , and has a requirement that, above all, the adherent submits entirely to the will of Allah. Globally, Islam  does not have a great record in terms of its practical treatment of women and condones the subjugation of women.( “…Women shall with justice have rights similar to those exercised against them, although men have a status above women. God is mighty and wise.” Sura 2:228) In the Muslim state of Saudi Arabia, for example, women are forbidden to drive. You have fundamental gross inequalities embodied within Shari’a – Islamic law. It upholds  lack of parity for women in rights in divorce, parental rights, punishments for adultery, is used to justify the so called “honour” killings  – examples of what actually happens where religious values are imposed and actually are above local and international law. Murders are daily committed by people who cannot separate  politics  and religion – not by secular militants.   How can she call for a return to greater adherence to “Christian values” in   a multi-cultural , multi-faith society – that’s a call  to embrace Christian  fundamentalism.   We have seen a return to fundamentalism in some countries where Islam is the main religion and that has led to the greater subjugation of women rather than brought in greater equality. It defies belief therefore that in these misguided speech sound bites, a woman who is also a Muslim, is, effectively  calling for increased inequalities.

Love thy Neighbour as thyself - no mention of gays or women excluded from that directive in the Gospels.

The Christian church is itself in breach of earthly ( real ) laws on equality ( even though they are embedded in it’s own scriptures –Love thy Neighbour)  and is not an equal opportunity employer.  It discriminates still against non-hetro-sexuals and women. It is not the business of a peer and cabinet member , whether she is a Muslim or of any other established faith, to pontificate on public values or to impose her own religious view on citizens.  It is not enough to be full of wind and to make pointless conciliatory public funded visits to a self-contained totalitarian patriarchal state, the Vatican, with its palatial life style directly funded by the “faithful”  The Pope is mortal , the elected head of the Catholic church but also , curiously, a head of State , such a small inner city state but with immense global power. Here Christian fundamentalism guides all policy and yet it does not have a glorious human rights record itself .

It is ironic therefore , on Valentine’s Day, this unelected peer of he ream  is visiting a State where Christian values are actually embedded in its very fabric , and where moral decline isn’t immediately obvious but it is there in terms of policies it delivers to its believers and the gross abusive behaviour of many of its clergy which, until pressure was exerted from outside, it chose to ignore and tried to hide . The Vatican cannot ever be forward thinking or in anyway secular – it’s sole purpose is to perpetuate the traditional Roman Catholic  Christian fundamentalism – it is dominated  by men and ruled by radical conservatism with essentially  an apparently  benevolent despot in nominal charge.  Few women there are in positions of any real power whatsoever. The MP’s time, and in fact her government ,  would far better be spent devising and more importantly ,  implementing policies that make society fairer and less divided.  In my view it is amazing that the moral fabric of our society remains so strong and no church or party in power or in waiting is responsible in any way for that state of affairs. People are inherently good here. To say otherwise is a pompous , self-righteous slur.

None of us are angels but most of us are trying to live decent lives with shared values which are not necessarily the result of any religious conviction whatsover - Christianity does not hold a monopoly on virtue nor is it the only measure through which it is defined.

Subscription to any religion is simply a matter of personal choice and primarily should be about the individual’s relationship with whatever God they chose to have a relationship with.  It was absolutely right to end the imposition of Christian prayer at the beginning of council meetings in Devon. It is typically simplistic to blame the alleged deterioration in social values for decline in adherence to an organised faith and outrageous to suggest that one religion, Christianity, has the monopoly on virtue.  Within parliament itself we have seen examples of corruption and selfishness, say for example in the MP expenses scandal. This particular person  is a prominent member of a party  who, as with the church, has a dogma / self righteous rhetoric which professes to work in the public interest but which actually represents  self-interest and in reality its principal thinly hidden mandate is to  perpetuate , rather than narrow social and financial inequalities.

wheJesus was essentially crucified as a sacrifice to maintain the status quo where He was seen as a threat to the self interest of the then established church. Strange that such churches now seem unable to understand His actual teachings or their own hypocrisies.

I do not personally have an issue with people wearing trinkets through which  they openly show or profess their religion although I feel that faith should not need to be professed in any other way other than in your relationship with your God and the way you behave towards others (guided by that relationship .)  Such devices , for me, have value if only that they act as a personal reminder to the believer of the values they chose to embrace in their daily lives. There is absolutely no need whatsoever to advertise or profess your faith in public ; there is only  a need to demonstrate  it though your actions  and interactions with others.

I personally suspect that the majority of Christian crosses worn round necks are as cosmetic jewellery rather than actual public declarations of faith.  I have no problem with Muslim women covering their heads although personally I think the wearing of full face veils in our society presents issues in terms of concealing identity, concealing facial expressions which are an important part of social communication and interaction  and to me remains a powerful symbol of the oppression of  women, whether wearers do so “voluntarily” or not where  Islamic law in word merely requires people only to dress modestly.  The scriptures of both Islam and Christianity contain much that is good, collective folk wisdom and mythology but throughout the centuries and this century still, it is the subjective interpretations of those scriptures, exclusively by men , that  are at the root of so many evils and inequalities.

I see no reason incidentally why the state here should fund faith schools of any kind where fundamentally such schools re-enforce religious prejudice and are themselves not equal opportunity employers . Faith schools are exclusive not inclusive.  Much of the crime that dogs  our society is economic crime and people are being / feeling more and more squeezed , taxes continue to rise , unemployment rising and revenue is wasted on a range of showy projects that benefit the few and their shareholders.  The government’s focus should be to serve the people, and so should peers and cabinet ministers. This visit has no value in terms of changing the economics of our country, breaking down the social divides, or the disproportionate distribution of wealth. This is merely another propaganda stunt of an unrepresentative unelected coalition government with its head in the sand over what are the real issues and giving this peer a free holiday in the Italian capital is not the smartest move.

The establishment Christian Church has a creed and yet seems unable to live by it as does the government with is hollow rhetoric. Both should re-read the parable of the Good Samaritan and I am an atheist.

These are my personal views expressed here are in immediate response to a report originally published by the BBC previewing Baroness Warsi’s ( Cabinet Minister /conservative party co-chairman proposed visit to the Vatican here  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17021831

 

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