The Ablist Witches

Over the last two days, there have been some rumblings around the new adaptation of Roald Dahl’s famous and much loved children’s story The Witches. I have not seen this updated version, but I am aware that many people are saying that the depiction of the witches in this film adaptation is insensitive to disabled people with limbs that are different from the norm or deformities.

I have a different hand and my toes are different from the average. My feet are deformed but most people will not notice this. I notice it because some shoes make my feet sore. This is why I wear old lady summer shoes with extra padding because otherwise the shoes would hurt my feet and cause sores to appear on the bottom of my feet which are not conducive to walking. I also have facial scarring which has faded Yet I was a teenager with very apparent facial scarring and differences.

How do I feel about the new film adaptation of The Witches?

I am unaffected. If no one in the media had made a fuss, I would never have thought about the film. I have never before made any link between The Witches and ablism and stigmas against disabled people and people with deformities – which is how I refer to myself.

I was called names in the street when I was a teenager because of my facial scarring. It hardly affected me. My other deformities often go unnoticed. I do not have differences that are more noticeable like those of comedian Alex Brooker or Paralympians. However, I have worked alongside people with more noticeable facial and limb differences. I went to college with a young woman who had three digits on each hand.

I have recently moved to a city in the north of England. One of the first things I noticed was that here, in this city, people with different arms, legs or amputations have no problem having them out on show here. In my first week here, I saw a Chinese student with an arm missing wearing a T-shirt. Several weeks ago, I saw a young lady in booty shorts with a metal leg. The landlord of a local bar has three digits on each hand. He serves drinks to everyone who comes into the bar.

Attitudes towards disabilities and people with limb difference or deformities have changed. Part of the reason they have changed is because of the damage done to soldiers’ bodies in recent wars. Thanks to the amazing medical advances, more soldiers are surviving bombs and other horrendous incidents and so we see these brave people on our TV screens and in our communities. We have had the invictus Games led by Prince Harry. We have the Paralympics. We have comedians like Alex Brooker on TV. We have disabled people in TV dramas and soaps as well as presenting nature programmes and children’s TV programmes. There is a lot more visibility today.

Yes, some people are always going to make unkind comments. Today, I do not get comments in the street about my facial scarring because it has faded somewhat, but I do get comments about wearing glasses. Some people are shouted at in the street for being overweight. There are always going to be people who make unkind comments. However, they are not the majority. The majority of people are kind and the majority of people are more understanding than people were twenty years ago.

Things are not perfect, but we are moving in the right direction in the UK. I have been forced out of jobs for being disabled, but not for having a different hand, feet or facial scarring. Those issues have never arisen in the workplace, except for how difficult it was for me to wear gloves in some situations when I worked on hospital wards. The glove of my different hand used to fill up with water when I was assisting a patient to wash or shower.

I am not discounting other people’s experiences, but I doubt that children will make a connection between The Witches and disabled people. The Witches was originally made into a film starring Angelica Houston in 1990. There was no outcry then, nor when the book was written in 1983. Roald Dahl’s children’s stories are known for their grotesque depictions of people – and in no way am I calling people with different limbs or no limbs grotesque. I am using the classical meaning of the word. Other children’s books by Dahl such as James And The Giant Peach, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and The Twits all have grotesque characters. Films aimed at children over the last few years since Harry Potter have featured and even focussed on the grotesque.

I will not watch The Witches – both versions of the films – because people removing their faces to show another face underneath grosses me out. I get grossed out easily. It was the same with the second Bill and Ted film. There were robots disguised as Bill and Ted and they pulled off their faces. I stopped watching the film because I myself have a particular sensitivity. I would not tell other people to watch it.

We have to let writers write. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it or read it. Write something better. I am writing a trilogy around characters who all have two of the disabilities I have and they go out and save the world. Their disability is a part of their lives, just as is their racial backgrounds, religions and sexual orientations. Their immutable characteristics are simply immutable characteristics. The story is what they do.

My advice to other disabled, deformed people or people with limb difference is to build up your self esteem. Everyone is called names. It is not pleasant and it is not OK, but it happens to everyone. Build up your self esteem. Do sports, do drama, achieve in academia, achieve in the workplace. Build a life for yourself. Like me, you may have to consider the needs of your disability every day, but you can live a full and wonderful life.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Greenman Rising

Devils And Doxies is an amazing album by English band Greenman Rising.

I had the good fortune of seeing Greenman Rising live last year at the Ragged Bear festival. I was struck by the band’s line up as well as the range of instruments played, from the usual guitar and fiddle to a treble recorder, bodhran and a hurdy gurdy.

The majority of the vocals on Devils And Doxies come from Jen Waghorn. It is a real pleasure to hear Waghorn’s voice and vocals. The world of UK folk music is firmly in the left wing arena of life yet female vocalists are still expected to sing within a certain range and appear alluring or wistful. A voice that commands attention and is thrown around in a way I have not heard in many years is not expected from a female vocalist, especially in a band that is neither a novelty nor a comedy outfit.

Devils And Doxies covers well known songs that fans of bands such as Levellers and Steeleye Span are familiar with such as Lowlands of Holland and Bedlam Boys. Fans of Blackbeard’s Tea Party will be enamoured with the vocals of Steve Bentley on the track Vic Williams which was written by Robb Johnson in 1991. This track was written about the first Gulf War, which could, sadly, be about the second Gulf War with its mention of friendly fire, soldiers being commanded to do what goes against their conscience and the mess it leaves soldiers with after they come home.

The track Winter Winds is a pause, a break from the folk style of the album. Winter Winds stops us and slows everything down. Like Eliza Carthy And The Wayward Band and The Moulettes, the track Winter Wind uses folk instruments but delivers a non-folk song. Waghorn’s voice chills and warms at the same time, like a fur coat gliding over snow.

The rest of the album is very much a folk album, taking traditional tunes and repackaging them for a modern audience. If you are not sure what folk music is, think of Bilbo’s birthday party in Fellowship Of The Ring; dancing, romancing and fireworks, although the romancing on this album is minimal because all the male suitors are devils and all the female suitors are doxies. 

You can buy Devils And Doxies for £12.00 from http://www.greenmanrising.co.uk

Greenman Rising are also a ceilidh band and are available to play for weddings and other events. You can contact Greenman Rising via their website. Enjoy!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Further Proof Editing Services

I now offer editing services for people writing novels, essays or academic papers.

I offer high quality work for low prices. I can do this because I work as an English teacher. I give clients notes on corrections I have made in the work so that, eventually, the client will have less need of an editor in the future.

As a speaker of several languages and an English teacher for speakers of other languages, I can offer translation work and specialist assistance to speakers of other languages.

Please contact me at

artwork2_10@yahoo.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Is Being LGBT Important?

I have been watching the pretty fantastic Australian drama The Heights. There is so much to this drama set around a working class community, and is gilded with smart comedy and its addressing of social issues. There are several LGBT characters who are all main characters in the drama, two of whom are only just starting to deal with their sexual orientation.

Arash is an Iranian refugee in his 20s who lives with his younger brother, uncle, aunt and their daughters. Arash has tried blocking out his sexual orientation by partying and running away from his best friend Sully, who is in love with Arash. Arash has tried dating a high achieving Iranian woman, and he wanted it to work, but he was not able to develop feelings for her.

Leonie is a half-Aboriginal mother who walked out of the law firm that wanted her to work longer hours than was good for her family, so she set up her own office dealing with local people’s issues. She has developed feelings for a gay female colleague, and Leonie talks about how she has repressed her feelings for women as a coping strategy.

Australia is a different culture. Also a drama will raise issues that might not be how situations play out in real life.

B5848150-ACE5-4C6D-922F-285C5167E3A8

Being LGBT does matter more when we are younger. When we are younger, we are realising we are LGBT, we are figuring out what it means for us and like everyone else, we are also figuring out our place in the world.

When we are teenagers, we confide in our friends but they are also teenagers. They, too, are inexperienced and finding their way in the world. If they are LGBT, too, they have the same questions and challenges.

As we get older, our sexual or gender orientation becomes less important. We study for a degree or we take an apprenticeship or a job. We are looking to build a future, we learn things that we are interested in and many of us want to change the world for the better and we focus on how to do this.

We get our own home – even if we are sharing with others. We have to pay bills and rent, register to vote and develop a social life. We meet more people, including more LGBT people. We meet people who have different ideas, we meet people from other countries and other cultures.

Some people will care that you are LGBT. Some people will not. Some people will mistreat you for being LGBT. Some people won’t even think about you being LGBT.

My advice is to concentrate on the person you want to become. Build your kingdom. Train, study, work hard. Read, listen, travel, and be you.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Terrible Choice

Politics is broken.

Trump or Biden?

In the UK, Conservative or Labour?

In the USA, if you don’t want to vote for someone who has been accused of rape, who has behaved as a sex pest in public, stirs up racial trouble, lies, has dodgy financial links, then you will be stuck for who to vote for.

Trump was doing well on the economy, and fostering a financial environment where more small businesses have sprung up and Black Americans have increased levels of employment. Things were going in a positive direction, and then Covid-19 happened. And riots happened and several American cities are now conflict zones where police are injured each night and federal buildings and local businesses are set on fire nightly.

Biden may be mentally dependent, and his running partner Kamala Harris has no experience in running an organisation nor has a background that showcases abilities and reliability.

I spoke with several Christians four years ago when Trump was elected. They said they did not want to vote for Trump, but the alternative was Hilary. If I was a US citizen, I could not vote because I take the Bible seriously, and the Bible is clear about God ruining anyone who turns a blind eye to rape.

755AB534-B6E2-4AA7-A02E-6F799AA02E81

This brings me to the political situation in the UK. I have no idea who I will vote for in our next general election. The Conservatives are destroying the country and people’s lives, Labour don’t want you as a member if you do not sign a document saying you agree with all sorts of identity politics oddities, including labelling women’s groups and the LGB Alliance as bigots. The Lib Dems cannot tell you if a woman really exists, and the Greens are in bed with Extinction Rebellion whose aims include ending capitalism and ending our democracy and replace it instead with identity politics bingo.

One of my friends voted UKIP last time we had a general election. He is gay, pro trans rights, he is not racist or anti immigration, yet he voted for a party that has since become openly racist and homophobic in its policies. Why did my friend vote UKIP?

Under the Labour government, he fought in the second Gulf War. He was stationed in Afghanistan, where he learned the local culture, history and geography. He did his best in a terrible situation. He cannot vote Labour because Labour sent him to war. He cannot vote Conservative because the Conservatives are ruining the country. In his opinion the Lib Dems were a joke, and he never thought about the Greens. So the only party he felt he could vote for was UKIP.

What I am seeing is the focus on identity politics on the Left. Labour’s whole thrust at the last election was minority issues such as self-ID for people identifying as having other genders rather than addressing the housing crisis, zero hours contracts and the need for foodbanks. This drove voters to the Conservatives. What was known as The Red Wall (the area across the north of England that had voted Labour for decades) mostly voted Conservative.

The same is happening in the media. The main stream media refuses to tackle many issues such as the men who have gang raped teenage girls not only being released from prison early but also not being deported as the sentencing judges stated should happen upon their release. The survivors are bumping into the men they thought were in prison on a Saturday in the town centre, in the supermarket or other locations near their homes. The issue of migration across the English Channel from France has only been brought to the public’s attention by former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, and now the main stream media is focussing on the issue. The Sun newspaper’s youtube page interviews interesting guests who speak plain, common sense about the issues we face in the UK today. The Sun “newspaper” is known as “The Scum” due to its lies about the Hillsborough Disaster victims, murder victims and its general lewd and crass articles and imagery. It is not a quality read but its youtube page has interviews with some amazing guests.

When the main stream media refuses to show life as it is in the UK and instead shows a biased, unrealistic, identitarian view of the UK, people go elsewhere for their news. Some people go to reputable sources such as Talk Radio and Triggernometry and to people like Mayhar Tousi, and some people go to unreputable sources such as UKIP councillors’ youtube pages.

When the “nice” political parties alienate voters and don’t address the issues that have a daily affect on people’s lives, people stop voting for them and instead vote for parties such as UKIP who promise to help, through harming minorities, but they promise to help and address the majority of people’s real concerns and real issues.

I have no idea who I will vote for at the next UK general election. I believe firmly in democracy and in the duty to vote, but for whom?

This is the struggle the American people face right now. Who to vote for?

Our democracies are broken and we need brave people to step forward and give us real choices of candidates and parties to vote for. We need the main stream media – especially the BBC- to rediscover its raison d’être and return to informing the public and educating us while it entertains us. We need politicians to be people who have principles and ethics, not people who will say anything for votes. We need political parties to have firm policies that are different from each other and set out to raise the bar for everyone in the UK.

The Labour Party began life as a party for workers. Labour MPs were coal miners and nurses and people who occupied other such jobs. Now, Labour MPs are indistinguishable from their opposition, the Conservatives. Labour MPs are mainly people who are from wealthy backgrounds, went to fee paying schools, completed university courses in political science, did unpaid internships and became an MP. They are nothing like the Labour Party of old, the party of the workers.

We need balance to be restored so that we are not presented with another terrible choice. I would really like to vote for nice people again.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Two Ways To Lessen UK Racism

Over the last few weeks and, indeed, months, I have tackled issues around the rise of the far left and the problem this causes for everyone in society. What I would like to do today is look at the rise in the far right in England, UK.

There is a rise in the far right in terms of belief and organisation. There has been some outbreaks of violence, mostly against police officers over the last three years. In towns like Hartlepool, schools are referring children to the Prevent Programme (the national anti terrorism programme) for far right beliefs and radicalisation. When the EDL marched through Middlesbrough eight years ago, boys were part of their crowd. When the North East Infidels marched – more like walked from one pub (bar) to another – women and people aged 16-25 were in their group.

It is important to understand why people are falling for the old lies of the far right, even in areas that famously told Moseley’s brown shirts to bugger off in the 1930s.

The working class of many English towns know they have been left behind. Most of the UK is poor. Most people struggle or only just get by each month. The images we see on our TVs of central London and Manchester are a far cry from the reality most people live in with food banks, baby banks, high rates of violent crime, addictions, rubbish schools and few decent jobs. Now that most people live in separate areas from people from different backgrounds, few people realise that we are all suffering and they believe their group alone is suffering or is suffering the  worst.

Add into that the national scandal of the grooming gangs, or speaking plainly, rape gangs. Over the last two decades, over   500 000 girls aged 11-16 have been sold to groups of men to be abused. Most of these girls were sold every weekend, almost all were white. Almost all the men who raped the girls were from Pakistani backgrounds. The gangs operated – and still do – in every town and city in the UK. There have been several high profile court cases. The men were all given long prison sentences. The men who were born in Pakistan (or other Asian countries such as Bangladesh) were to be deported on release from prison.

Yet many girls have told the female police officers who have helped them through the ordeal of going to court to give evidence that they have met the men who raped them in the supermarket, in their town centre in less than two years since the men were sentenced. The men have been let out of prison extremely early and they have not been deported. They are walking around free, and free to harm the girls who had testified against them.

These girls, who had been gang raped every single weekend for months or years, had put their trust in the UK’s criminal justice system, in the police and in the concept of law, order and fairness. They thought they had been rescued. Their trust has been torn up. How this ripping up of everything they had hoped for will play out for these girls in the future, I dread to think. They now know that no one cares. They now know they don’t matter to the UK. They know the UK has spat them out. They know they are not important. This is going to harm these girls for the rest of their lives, compounding the abuse.

The mainstream media is silent. Yes, the BBC ran a drama called Three Girls which was based on three survivors’ testimonies. The news channels carried stories of the trials two years ago, but I would say the news channels paid lip service rather than undertook a serious journalistic approach. No one wants to hear about these girls. No one wants to talk about the men being released from prison far too early and no one wants to talk about the men not being deported. It is not seen as the right thing to talk about by the mainstream media. Talk Radio has spoken to one of the high ranking female police officers who tries to look after the girls and be there for them, and Triggernometry has interviewed one of the survivors. These interviews are both available on youtube.

The only other outlet that is talking about these horrific crimes and the early release of the rapists and the lack of deportations is the far right media. Tommy Robinson – who was jailed after almost causing one of the trials to collapse – has made a lot of money from talking about this issue and stirring up racial hatred. Tommy, who had little money before, now lives in a house worth £900 000. He has supporters on the internet across the world who see him as a free speech champion instead of a convicted fraudster who also has a police record for violence.

If the police, social services and the courts as well as the mainstream media had acted on the girls’ complaints – remember we are talking about hundreds of thousands of 11-16 year olds saying they have been raped on a weekly basis – there would be no Tommy Robinson.

Why did the police and social services not act? Investigations have shown that both the police and social services did not want to appear racist. And so racism has flourished because the police and social services allowed – and still are allowing – the mass rape of mostly white UK girls. Racism has flourished.

It is worth saying many victims have gone on record to try to quell racism by saying they are not racist, they know most Pakistani and Muslim people are good people and they don’t want others to be racist and anti-Muslim on their behalf.

EAE4077B-0043-464F-A7E0-DC256B036EB8

Another issue that has sown division in the UK is the mess the asylum system is in. Asylum is supposed to be for people fleeing war or other persecution in their home country. Giving asylum to people fleeing war or persecution is an act of love, and the UK and its people are, in general, loving, caring and very generous.

However, the majority of people in our asylum system today are not people in genuine need of asylum. Only 24% (figure given by the Refugee Council) of people in the asylum system are genuinely fleeing war or persecution. From my work with asylum seekers, my voluntary work and being friends with asylum seekers, I can tell you most have been here for up to ten years, working illegally – meaning they have not paid tax; they have not financially contributed to the UK. Most came here on student or work visas and deliberately overstayed, or came here on holiday and magically found their relative’s takeaway or restaurant and never went home. When people working illegally get caught out, they usually choose to claim asylum rather than go back to their home country.

Thus, the accommodation set aside for asylum seekers is full. This is why detention centres are now being used to house people on a long term basis. And now hotels are being used to house asylum seekers. The cost to the tax payer per year is huge and is going up and up.

We now have people arriving in small dinghies. Several boats per day, carrying 8-12 people each are making it across the Channel. Almost all are Sub-Saharan African, not people from Syria or Iraq. The people coming in boats – as per most people in the asylum system – are coming here purely for economic reasons. They are not prepared to go through the legal route to come here as immigrants. They are using the asylum system as a back door to immigration.

As soon as the migrants arrive on the English shore, they are given a medical check and then bussed to a hotel, where they get a room – normally with an ensuite bathroom, no bills to pay, and £40 per person per week. They also get free legal help in the form of a solicitor and no court costs, plus free medical care including free medication.

This is at a time when the UK is in the middle of a housing crisis. We have around 120 000 homeless children in the UK. Due to covid-19, many more families and single adults face losing their homes. We have families living in one bedroom; they cook, eat and sleep in one room and share a bathroom with other families on the same floor as them in their hostel. Many of the parents whose families are living in one room, or who are using foodbanks, are in work. Some are in “good jobs”. We have people in London living in homeless shelters and working as college lecturers, waiters in upmarket brasseries and care workers.

The migrants arriving by boat get more than the UK people who are contributing to the UK by working and paying tax.

Who is covering this scandal? Not the mainstream media and well paid journalists, but people like Nigel Farage – an ex banker who was head of the UK Independence Party (a right wing party that had several openly racist and homophobic MPs, which has since adopted policies that if they get into power in the UK, would outlaw same sex marriage and make life hard for law abiding immigrants). Also, other right wing town councillors from UKIP are raising the issue of the hotels used for putting up people who have come here through illegal routes, and in their youtube videos, they are clearly trying to stir up racial hatred.

If the mainstream media focussed on this scandal, the far right’s grip on the issue would weaken considerably. If the government, instead of talking tough, actually acted, the far right would lose their grip on this issue.

Unfortunately, the mainstream media and government are not acting, and so some of the people who have been side lined, ignored and berated by the wokenistas and the middle classes have shifted to the right. To the far right.

What can be done to unite the UK and snuff out the flames of racism?

1) Uphold the law. The UK has beautiful laws. Most of us know they mean nothing in reality and this is why so many of us in the UK are jaded. If our laws were upheld, we would have a nation to be proud of. Keep the rapists in prison for their full sentence. Then deport the rapists who were sentenced to be deported. This is really simple. It would show respect for the survivors of the abuse and it would restore faith in our nation.

2) Put the immigrants to work. Enact the same laws as Belgium, Netherlands, Norway and many other nations in their treatment and expectations of immigrants. You must get a job within three months of arriving or leave. You must also go to school to learn the nation’s language. You must pay for the schooling and your text books yourself. If the migrants can afford to pay £6000 to cross the Channel, they can pay their school fees. You get no money from the state.

I went to Belgium, I went to school every day, I paid for my schooling and I paid for my text books, the police and immigration kept tabs on me, and I was given three months to get a job – I got three jobs.

Another positive move could be to give a small grant to immigrants for them to start their own business. There are thousands of empty shop premises across the UK, waiting for businesses to move into.

People are coming here because they want to work and earn money. Let’s set them to work instead of giving them money, free accommodation and all the free stuff that UK citizens cannot get. Get migrants working and paying tax. We have an ageing population. We need more people to pay into the tax system.

Most migrants who come to the UK illegally destroy their ID to delay their asylum case. As per Belgium and other European countries, have tight control on migrants. However, these countries only accept people who have ID. We can either deport migrants who have destroyed their ID or get their family members in their home country to email copies of their birth certificates or other ID. For the safety of everyone, we need to know who is living in the UK.

More joined up thinking is needed. Other European countries manage immigration far better than the UK does. Yes, other European countries still have a problem with racism – far more than in the UK in many cases – but I am looking at the specific problems in the UK and the specific needs of people in the UK.

Most of all, we need openess and fairness in our mainstream media. We need journalism to return to uncovering problems and holding the government to account. We need the media to reflect the needs of all the UK’s citizens. We need to take all power, leverage and audience from the far right.

We need to open opportunities for all citizens in the UK. The working class in the UK have little to look forward to and little to thank the UK for. People need secure jobs, minimum wage pay, decent housing and good education.

We do have an amazing union of nations, we have beautiful laws and great aspirations. However, we have a society that only works for certain people, and that needs to change.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What Is An Ally?

Allies. They are everywhere! Celebrities proclaim their allyship to Black people, to trans people, to women. What do minorities think of allies?

Ayishat Akanbi recently said that a friend said to her that Akanbi waking up in the morning is a revolutionary act. Akanbi said that some people who have few troubles in life see themselves as being waged in a constant battle for survival. “Ally” is a word from war. Therefore people who see themselves are being locked in a daily struggle for survival will want allies, whereas Akanbi wants friends or acquaintances.

Akanbi also says allies think minorities are weak and fragile and so need the help of allies. Dr Debra Soh tweeted, “Allies pride themselves on treating minorities like we’d be incompetent without them.”

I have watched some youtubes on what it is to be an ally. They push the view that there is one way to be Black or gay etc and all Black people have the same thoughts, life experiences and way of living, the same for gay. It seems to be an ally is to swallow a stereotype of Black or gay people. It also seems to be a virtue signal or what used to be called “shining your halo”.

8D045AD2-34B3-4429-AE8C-142F643F9E6E

I have come across the idea that all LGBT people are the same. The last incident was in February when a new friend said I don’t come across as gay. I said, “Because I’m not shouting ‘You’re denying my existence!'” And he said “Yes.”

Quite a big example of allyship, patronising behaviour and stereotyping came from a heterosexual friend at a music festival. I clearly was crazy for a woman and she appeared to be crazy for me. I think everyone in a 2 mile radius knew about it. I met my friend later that night, and he started telling me I should have a relationship with the woman. He also assumed I was in the closet simply because I had never mentioned being bi to him before. I was 30 years old. He started telling me I should get with her, to not hold back, to put on my facebook profile that I am LGBT.

I know he was coming from a good place. His sister is gay and in a long term relationship and she and her girlfriend have a child. He was coming from a good place but made assumptions about me, he put his sister’s experience of being gay on me instead of respecting me as an individual, he forgot anything else he knew about me from our previous two years of friendship, and he thought he needed to teach me how to be gay.

He was the good guy, trying to help me be liberated. He didn’t stop to let me speak, he didn’t ask me any questions about how I see the world, he just made assumptions that I must be in the closet and he was going to help me throw open the doors and come out.

The truth is I have never been in the closet. Being bi is as natural to me and as interesting as having dark hair. I was fully a part of a religious group for LGBT Christians, yet my friend assumed that my religion hindered my gayness.

I really did not need to hear the story of his toe dipping into the pool of gay. “It’s Ok, I’ve blown a guy.” Me and my other friend went, “Arrrrghhhhh!” and covered our ears. The ally then went on to say, “It’s OK, it was at an orgy!” Again, me and the other guy shouted, “Aarrrrghhhh!” Mind bleach was in order.

I do differ a lot from the mainstream view of LGBT people. I am Orthodox religious, meaning I am OK with same sex marriage for legal reasons, but not spiritually. I am not a leftist. I’m politically and socially a centrist. I worked for 20 years in hospitals and homeless people’s accommodations. I have done street patrols alongside the police, giving emergency first aid and saving lives. Like many LGBT people of my age, I have actually helped people and saved lives, unlike the social justice warriors who claim to help people and save lives by waving a placard and harassing people on twitter. I do believe in the need for LGBT spaces. I believe in the need to be real about the reasons why LGBT people have sky high levels of mental illness and emotional fragility and I am honest about the need for LGBT people to make themselves anti-fragile.

I do believe there is a need for LGBT spaces. Yes, there is a lot of acceptance in society now, but I was lucky to have had counselling by a gay woman at a gay centre. The counsellor totally respected my religion and my different choices, but she specialised in counselling LGBT people, so she was far more able to help me at that point in my life than a heterosexual counsellor because of the issues I faced at the time. The LGBT centres had homework rooms for any school pupil or college student who lived in a noisy environment at home, they had therapy sessions and groups for issues that are prevalent among LGBT people, activities groups and a library. There was always a member of staff who was a trained counsellor on shift if anyone walked in off the street and needed a chat. LGBT centres can be great places, and they have been important places when I have needed mental health or emotional health help and support, and legal advice when facing yet more homophobia in the workplace.

However, LGBT centres have disappeared and LGBT bars and clubs have reduced in numbers. Going to a supposed LGBT venue on Teesside three times over a period of ten years was a negative experience every time. Heterosexuals who were bullies and homophobic came into the venue and made fun of the LGBT people there, behaved aggressively, one couple were on the floor doing BDSM things which really freaked me out and another time I was there, I was the only gay person there. Everyone else was heterosexual. I was upset because at the time I had no contact with other LGBT people, so I had gone out to have a gay night, I had looked forward to it, only to find myself surrounded by people who were not gay.

Another thing about allies is that we don’t vote them in. Anyone can declare themselves an ally and we just have to suck it up. In a previous post, I have said how shocked I was to hear about one famous UK TV personalitywas now my ally. I was shocked that a person who behaved in ways I certainly do not support was my spokesperson to the world. I did not want her to be! But I have no choice.

During Pride month, we have a barrage of corporations and companies backing Pride but giving zero help to LGBT people. One recruitment agency was celebrating Pride month by offering discounts on work related courses. Great! LGBT people in the UK, despite our nice sounding laws, face open discrimination in the workplace. Cut price courses for LGBT people to help us is a great way to celebrate Pride month. Only the cut price courses were for everyone, not just LGBT people. So a company was capitalising on LGBT people and our struggles without actually going any extra mile to help us. But this company can declare themselves an ally.

As Akanbi said, I don’t want allies. I want friends. I want genuine compassion, not pity. I want genuine connections with other people. I do not want to be patronised or stereotyped. I want to be seen as the unique human being I am; flawed, imperfect and special, different and equal.

I stretch out the hand of friendship.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Robin Di Angelo’s Fragility

Robin Di Angelo states she is a racist. She says so throughout her book. She proclaims herself as a racist from the time she was in her mother’s womb to the present day. Therefore, the best thing to do with White Fragility and anything Di Angelo has to say on race is to ignore.

I have not bought the book, the tax man wants all my money, so what I have done is go one better; I have listened to Di Angelo talk about her book. She strikes me as someone obsessed, in the way that Professor Alfred Kinsey was obsessed about sexual experiences. Yes, Kinsey brought about several books that brought more tolerance to lgb people in society – goooood – but his methods were unscientific – he used paedophiles and men in prison as his test subjects, and he watched and filmed people masturbating. I’m sure there’s words for these actions. Kinsey’s own staff walked out on him, his family was torn apart and Kinsey himself became ill with exhaustion. This all culminated in Kinsey cutting his own penis when he read a letter from an abuse survivor who said that Kinsey had made what had happened to her “normal”. Kinsey saw the error of his ways and went back to studying gnats. So Di Angelo reminds me of Kinsey; she is obsessed, in her case with race.

Something else Di Angelo reminds me of when I watch her talking to a room full of women is an evangelical women’s conference leader. Nothing of substance in what she says, everything she says is based on her own personal experience which she then projects onto the lives of all white women. She leans on a lectern, she makes disparaging jokes about white women, she laughs at white women, she imagines the worst of white women. She is clearly playing to an audience of women who seem to be as obsessed with hating white women as she is. Like evangelical women speakers who say things like, “I hate it when my husband leaves wet towels on the bed, don’t we ladies?” Di Angelo race baits her audience and they laugh and agree with everything she says about the sins of white women. Like evangelical women’s leaders, Di Angelo is not clever. She shows no intellect and no ability to reason. She is driven purely by emotion.

409E34DC-C9D4-45E5-8BEC-408BFF0C4F33

Everything Di Angelo thinks of white women is bad. She may well be depressed, hating herself and then projecting that self hatred onto others.

There is no data at all to back up any of Di Angelo’s claims. I watched Di Angelo interviewed by a Black woman. Di Angelo made several comments aimed at the interviewer, assuming racism the woman has experienced, and Di Angelo did not wait for the interviewer to say yes or no. The interviewer did ask Di Angelo to quote the data for the theories she is putting forward, and Di Angelo ignores this question and instead talks about another of her theories. In sum, Di Angelo treats a Black person as a prop and ignores their intellect.

Ben Shapiro, who graduated Harvard Law school, has done a youtube where he goes through every law Di Angelo quotes and he states that the laws Di Angelo quotes were not enacted as she says they were, there were other laws that ran beside them to ensure equity and Di Angelo’s knowledge of USA law is lacking.

It is interesting how Di Angelo constantly talks about the evils of white women, but not white men. Again, is she simply depressed and projecting?

Di Angelo says many things that reveal her belief that Black Americans are weak and feeble. For example, “I control Black people in my orbit”. Really? Or the assertion that white people think they have the right to touch Black bodies. I’m sure my friends would have something to say if I started touching their bodies.

The really telling part of the conference with an audience is when Di Angelo puts up a picture of men in a board meeting. She says how she would feel sexism and a “life time of entitlement exuding out of these men’s pores” if she were in that room, and how those men do not want women or Black people in that room because they do not value women or POC. She says, “I don’t know them, but I think they would feel contempt because they don’t see the perspectives of women or people of colour as valuable. I believe that to my core. I don’t know them, but I’m pretty damn sure.”

She then says, “What version of that is coming from my pores to people of colour?”

She hates herself. Let’s get this lady some help and stop reading the ramblings of what appears to be an emotionally unstable person as a blue print for society.

Personally, I doubt Di Angelo is a racist. Listening to her, I think she’s just not a nice person. She is unprofessional in the workplace, making fun of a Black colleague’s hair. Di Angelo goes on to say how this was a big learning curve for her and she was able to regain her colleague’s trust after Di Angelo had talked with a white friend and then the colleague she had made fun of. Just don’t make fun of colleagues. That is an easy thing to not do.

Another incident Di Angelo describes as her own racism surfacing was when she stepped over a homeless person on her way into a shop, and it was only after she had stepped over him that she realised he was Black. Maybe don’t step over anyone. Di Angelo may not be racist. She comes across as simply an entitled, unpleasant person.

Di Angelo expects that the rest of us are like her. What sort of people is Di Angelo surrounding herself with if she has such a low opinion of other human beings?

Di Angelo said, “I’m not interested in your intentions.” This is where she differs from evangelical women speakers. In Christianity, as well as Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism, intentions are hugely important. God sees the person’s heart. All our interactions with our friends and family and spouse or partner assumes the best intentions, and if our friend has not messaged us for a week but has been thinking about us, that is fine because we know everyone is busy and our friend has the best of intentions. We don’t throw the friendship away because intentions are not good enough.

Ten years ago, I worked in the NHS. In training, we were told about a nurse who called everyone “cheeky monkey”. “Cheeky monkey” is a normal phrase to use in England, especially with people you have a good relationship with. It means you think the person is nice and fun to be around. She called a male patient who was Black “cheeky monkey” and he reported her for racism. There was no racist intent on the part of the nurse, but the NHS decided her intentions did not matter, but the victim saw the comment as racist, and so the nurse was suspended from work.

As Jonathan Pie shouted over two years ago, “Who is this helping?” A nurse losing her job over an innocent comment helps no one. It took her three years to train, she invested a lot of money in training. Now she cannot work as a nurse and has “racist” hanging over her head for any future employer to see and prejudge her on. The world is one nurse short now. Did the man’s complaint cure his condition? No, but he lost a qualified nurse who liked him as a person. Everyone lost out.

Yes, complain about racism, sexism, homophobia or basic bad behaviour when it is real. The intent of the person is highly important.

White Fragility the book has been in schools and colleges in the USA for several years and it is coming to UK schools next. It is totally unsuitable for all the reasons I have quoted above. Teaching children to hate themselves runs counter to everything we know about good child development and mental wellbeing.

In the UK, there are even more problems with Di Angelo’s claims that white women have inherent privilege and power. Most of the UK is poor. White students are the group second least likely to go to university. Council housing areas are poor and are mainly inhabited by white families, especially in the north and midlands of England. Around the world, most people do not know about the rape gangs that are based in every town and city in the UK. They are mostly made up of men from Pakistani origin and they mainly target white girls to traffik and abuse. Some girls who have been gang raped on a weekly basis by older men were as young as 11. Many went to the police and social services. Most were told they were prostitutes and wanted the sex and the drugs and the alcohol. In the UK, it is illegal to have sex under the age of 16, a child is not deemed to be able to consent therefore all sexual activity below the age of 16 is statutory rape. Yet these girls were told they had chosen a lifestyle of prostitution and the police even arrested the girls, not the rapists. Some victims who were arrested had bruising and cuts to their bodies.

The former Home Secretary Jack Straw said some white girls “are seen as easy meat”. He was shouted down as racist against non-white people. He stopped trying to speak out about these horrendous crimes. However, everyone in the UK knows that working class white girls, especially girls from council estates, are seen as “slags”. Boys are seen as criminals and girls are seen as sexually promiscuous from a young age.

The police and social services did not want to be seen as racist, and the racial dynamic of this horrendous crime was so obvious – brown (often Muslim background) men raping white girls that they turned a blind eye. Tens of thousands of girls have been gang raped on a weekly basis, and this is still continuing because the police refuse to arrest the men the girls accuse. There have been several high profile court cases, but in many towns and cities across the UK, white girls are still targeted to be traffiked and raped every single weekend.

On top of this, there are few good jobs, the education offered in schools is rubbish and agendas are pushed and real issues are ignored. Jasvinder Sanghera runs a charity called Karma Nirvana. Sanghera is a Sikh, raised in England, and was married to a man in Asia she did not know and against her wishes. She managed to run away and now runs her charity for Asian girls who face being married against their will. She wrote to 150 schools in her area. Only one school let her in to speak to the students about forced marriage. The other schools refused her, most blanking her completely, but some answered her emails and said they couldn’t let her into their school to speak about child marriage and rape because they did not want to appear to be racist.

Who is this helping?

Children in the UK are rated as the most unhappy in Europe. Like American children, UK children have soaring rates of depression and anxiety. Bringing a book into schools that tells some children to hate themselves even more than they already do based on skin colour is not a recipe for healthy children or a healthy nation.

Who is this helping?

We need to stop buying copies of White Fragility. Like the work of Professor Kinsey, Di Angelo hopes to help. Like Professor Kinsey, her work is not based in reality, but unlike some of Professor Kinsey’s work, Di Angelo’s work will only harm people and nations and make us more fragile as individuals, and more fragile as nations. Professor Kinsey’s work set out to lift up a minority. That is the key difference. Di Angelo seeks to tear down one group. She does not seek to lift up anyone. She sees African Americans as weak and she ignores all other racial groups such as Chinese Americans and Indian Americans, and most strikingly of all, Native Americans. I cannot see any good coming from this book nor its philosophy of tearing down. It will only serve to make more people fragile.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Blame Churches: Violence and Despair

In the year 2000, I attended a well known “Christian arts festival”. I have contacted the man in charge of the festival numerous times in the last few months and he has not responded. He was the acting festival co-ordinator in 2004 when I first contacted him.

I went to this “Christian” festival having heard many good things about it. In the three days of the festival, attending seminars and workshops throughout, I heard the Bible quoted once. Everything else that was offered to us, the audience, by the speakers was based purely on their feelings. For example, I went to the workshop on disability because I am disabled. The workshop concluded that because God does not have arms and legs that “God must be disabled”. A man of Afro-Caribbean descent said he grew up seeing Jesus depicted as “Swedish” – he meant with long blond hair and white skin – and so did not know how he was Jesus’ brother as per the Scriptures. He did not say anything about everyone depicting God as they themselves are. Chinese people have a Chinese Jesus. Coptic Christians have amazing art depicting a brown Jesus with big eyes and a high forehead wearing a crown and royal robes and sitting on his majestic throne.

This was the same festival and weekend when John Bell – the speaker who came out as gay two years ago after he has had a long, successful career making money from God – made fun of the Bible, referred to LGB people as “greys, thespians and bifocals”, gave a nervous giggle every time he mentioned us and seemed embarrassed to be talking about us. He made fun of the Bible several times during his talk, and we were all thankful – all 2000 of us – for the young man who stood up at the end and said he was gay, he was celibate because of his faith and God is worth so much more than the festival seemed to think. He got a standing ovation.

I went to a talk on sexuality in the “safe space”, the outside of which was enshrouded in a rainbow. The talk was led by a woman who calls herself Larry, and in her talk she said that getting drunk, sleeping around and taking illegal substances was totally fine for Christians to do. I asked why a Christian festival was teaching things that go against the Bible. The entire room erupted with people shouting at me, screaming about how their opposite sex marriage at the age of 16 didn’t work out, shouting at me about what a terrible person I am etcetera, etcetera. I was surrounded and threatened with physical violence. Remember, this room was called “Safe Space”.

For the two remaining days of the festival, people approached me to say they agreed with everything I had said and they wished they had spoken out, too, but they were “too scared”. People were scared for their physical safety at a “Christian festival”. One of these people was a Spring Harvest speaker.

It was only 4 years later that I even thought to contact the man who runs this festival because the festival kept sending me their promotional flyers and money off my next booking. So I emailed the festival co-ordinator and told him of my experience. His response was “of course” I had been threatened with violence because I am “evangelical”. He also said he could not guarantee my safety if I returned to the festival.

First, I am not evangelical. I am orthodox Celtic Christian. Second, I work at various non religious festivals and events and none would ever be OK with violence or threats of violence. They employ security guards and have 50-150 volunteers to ensure the well being of everyone. Third, a Christian festival says it cannot guarantee the physical safety of an attendee if they quote the Bible. There is a legal issue here. There is also the moral issue of a man is running an event in a remote location where he supports groups threatening a small disabled woman.

Of course I have not returned to this festival and I have spoken to bands who have been on the festival line ups about my experience. A Christian charity that works primarily with LGBT people and is run by LGBT Christians say their phone doesn’t stop ringing for days every single year after this festival has been on. The festival’s really unsound teaching has a negative affect on especially LGBT people. One year, this festival had speakers who taught that wives of bisexual men should bless their husbands having extra marital affairs. As a bisexual, I find this highly insulting. I have also been told that my experience of threats of violence for quoting the Bible “is not unique”.

4C9461BD-52D6-41F9-A460-5F1CDEE8C937

Fast forward 20 years, and Christianity in the UK is an utter mess. Some churches have lurched to the left, and like the festival, they base their church on next to no Bible teaching but base their church on feelings and whatever is fashionable to say and think. And other churches have lurched to the right, using the Bible as a weapon to control people and gain wealth and fame. Christian bookshops mirror these agendas. Either the books are completely unsound with crazy theories and even crazier language (including swear words in headings on pages and derogatory, sexualised language) or they stereotype men and women – women as mothers and sexual abuse victims and men as leaders, world builders who are saving us all. Very few books in Christian bookshops focus on the Scriptures but instead are based in modern life issues. Many are based on emotion with very few facts.

Like with people on the political left, people on the religious left are motivated by compassion. However, like with the political left, people on the religious left tend to not back up their beliefs with data or the Bible. They often hold beliefs that go in direct opposition to the Bible.

People on the religious right are motivated by keeping to the Scriptures and their original meaning. However, in many churches, Scriptures are used as a text to back up agendas and there is a distinct lack in genuine compassion and understanding of people. Data is skewed to back up arguments.

However, one important difference between the religious right and the political right is I am seeing much more compassion and love for people in the political right. It is the political right at the moment who are talking about freedom and also forgiveness.

I’m in the political centre and in the religious centre. I can see good in both the left and right, and I can see their failings.

What I can see is the mess of the UK church with both right and left wing churches following the fads of society (climate fear, intersectionality, metoo, statues being pulled down) instead of leading. Neither right nor left centres Jesus. They say they do but one glance at both right and left shows that they are desperate to be seen by people as good and virtuous. They are more concerned with virtue signalling than upholding their origins and raison d’être.

How can we expect people rioting in London or Portland to stop and talk sense when the churches spout the same nonsense and support the same aggressive or even violent behaviour? How can we expect people to find solace in religion when religion reflects the same attitudes and behaviour of the outside world?

When churches move away from Jesus, there is no reason for their existence. The church, according to the Bible, is supposed to be a beacon, a place of safety, a place where all are welcome and can find the help they need both from God and from other humans. Churches are supposed to be about uniting people into a family with the understanding that all are sacred and all are loved dearly by God. The church is supposed to lead and be the Kingdom of God and building the Kingdom of God here on Earth.

We need to get our heart back, and that is the heart of Christ. We need our hearts to beat in time with His.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Blame Churches: The Rise of Control

Today, I am going to look at controlling behaviour. I believe we are seeing a lot of controlling behaviour in the movements around us today – especially when people get involved in protests on issues they know little about. I also believe churches and Evangelical Christianity has done a lot to make controlling behaviour acceptable.

Ten years ago, I emailed the Evangelical Alliance about a church I had just left that was more like a cult, and I listed the malevolent behaviours demonstrated towards me by the “leadership”. I got a reply that was a bitch fest between two workers saying things like, “What do we do with a rant like this?” followed by laughter signs. I forwarded my email and theirs back to them and said I was going to copy their response to all the church leaders I know across the UK. They responded with a more considerate email but still took no responsibility at all, nor any action against a church that bore the name of the Evangelical Alliance.

Church leaders and Christians across the UK call the church and the denomination I left a “cult”. Or “cultic”. It certainly operates as a cult and has key features of a cult.

From the moment you enter any organisation that wants to control you, you are “love bombed”. You are paid individual attention, which could seem to be a normal welcome into a church. You are then told of the big social programme the church has. The church had a socialising event on almost every night of the week. You get instant friends and a friendship group. You also get taken away from all other friendship groups, including other Christian friendship groups. The denomination I left deliberately sets up churches in university towns. Young adults are away from home for the first time. They are ripe for the picking.

Young adults/teenagers are very trusting. They have been brought up to trust adults. They think everyone who says they want to help them means it. They do not suspect that a person who seems very nice and says very nice things is actually out to control them and get money from them.

The main feature of a cult is the “leadership” – usually one or two or several men – and they are always right. They cannot be wrong. I got “into trouble” (hence left) for telling people to read the Bible themselves, or when I asked a question and I was told “ask leadership”, I asked the person why they could not tell me. This was always in response to the beliefs the church and members had that were not mainstream Christian beliefs. Despite church members constantly saying they were “Biblical”, they could not point to where in the Bible backed up their odd beliefs. So I was constantly told, “Ask leadership”.

In the protests of the last two years around issues of the environment and racial justice, if anyone says, “Some of the claims are not backed up by the data”, people go nuts at you. I have lost two “friendships” because I do not believe some of the claims of the organisation Black Lives Matter apply to the UK. Black Lives Matter was set up in the USA to deal with issues specific to the USA such as police brutality which is a very real issue in the USA. In the UK in 2019, 4 people were murdered by UK police. Two were white and two were BAME and they were killed while they were carrying out a terrorist attack in London. We do not face the same issues of police brutality in the UK. However, just saying that and quoting the data is enough for people to lose it with you. There is no logical explanation for this.

The leaders of the cultic “church” I went to kept talking about the “authority” they had in preaching and over the lives of everyone in the church. The church members talked often about authority and their leaders’ authority over them. In the Bible, “authority” is mentioned in three ways:

1) God’s awesomeness and kingliness.

2) Oppression from an evil source.

3) There is one verse in the Letters in the New Testament that mentions church leaders’ authority but there is no explanation of what this means.

So we can conclude from the Bible that church leaders should not be constantly talking about their “authority” in any way. The leaders of the church I went to interpreted “authority” to be “boss, and not a nice boss”. “Bully” would be a better description. The Bible does say we are to respect our leaders, but these guys did not want respect, they wanted full, unquestioning obedience. And money.

The two major protest movements of the last two years – Extinction Rebellion and Black Lives Matter – have fund raising pages that have raised millions of pounds sterling. No local community has received any money from these fund raising pages. No Black person has been given better housing from this fund. No nature reserve has been better equipped. The British people are very generous. We are very kind and generous people. People give money in good faith, but there is no information of how the money given is spent. Both Black Lives Matter and Extinction Rebellion raise serious issues. The problem is how we go about addressing those issues and how to do something that actually makes a difference.

Cults and many churches develop a “Them v Us” strategy to keep the church folk together, fighting against a common enemy. I have heard ridiculous things said about the people of Denmark being so liberal that children cannot be taught that taking illegal substances is wrong and there is no discussion allowed around same sex relationships. More recently, I heard church folk say there are evil forces out to get students drunk, when the reality is many students today look at the cost of their course and choose to study more and do extra curricula activities that look good on a CV such as film club or the debating society. Many students do get drunk, yes, but there is a nationwide movement among students to not get drunk now.

The polarisation of Left and Right, Republican and Democrates, Conservatives and Labour has divided the UK and the USA. Friendships and even families have been torn apart by this “Them v Us” attitude. People are so angry, and people seem like they want to be angry. This is not good for any of us and it keeps people apart, not unified.

Churches often have “missions”. The last church I was in picked a council estate in which to have their “mission”. There was no consultation with anyone who lived on the estate, but the church went into the school on the estate to lead lessons and worship, and set up numerous activities on the estate that were not well attended and the whole thing fell apart within months.

Pulling down statues and blocking off major roads in London may sound or feel good at the time, but who does it actually help? Has any BAME person felt their life improve dramatically since Edward Colston’s statue was felled? Has any tree been saved or ocean dredged of all its plastic since London Bridge was closed off by middle class people doing yoga and dancing? We have to ask what our actions really achieve. Are we really helping people or saving the Earth, or are we just back patting and getting caught up with emotion?

I have to say a church I went to in the past had successful ongoing work in the community around the church that I and several qualified people were involved with and that the people of the local area trusted. We provided cheap, nutritious meals, surplus from the Allotment Association, and a listening ear and any help needed with things like gas bills or debts.

DAF15B33-A6D2-4834-8138-86C0587F383C

Cultic church leaders will speak from the front of church and say how evil the world is, how evil anyone not in their particular church building are, and they will even slate members of their own church behind their backs. When someone leaves a cultic church, the congregation are told that that person is evil and following the devil, and it is often suggested that people avoid them and break off all friendship ties with them. I have seen this happen to others and I pulled the church leader up on it – which didn’t win me brownie points – and it has happened to me. As soon as you leave a church, you lose most of your “friends”, meaning they were not really your friends. Most of the time, when people leave churches, it is not because they have suddenly become satanists, but they have been treated badly by the church.

Cultic church members are taught to think the worst of other humans, and even other church members. Behaviour and even thoughts are controlled. I remember a friend who worked for a church telling me his church mentor had said to him, “Next week, we are going to talk about your thought life.”

Most cultic churches are full of people with money or students whose career path will render them a lot of money. I remember looking around the cultic church and thinking, “There’s no smelly people here.” I was noticing the complete lack of homeless people or people with addiction issues in the church. One of the Black members of the church said to me that all the BAME church members were from wealthy backgrounds and were highly paid professionals. He said, “They’re not exactly asylum seekers.” Some cultic churches will have homeless people and asylum seekers and even a token disabled person who appear on all the church promotional information but in reality most of these people are ignored by most people in the church.

Why do these cultic churches and other current movements do so well? Because humans feel there is something bigger than us. Humans want to be involved in something that is bigger than themselves. Humans want to do good, and humans want to feel good. Humans want to be around other humans and have friends. Whether it’s cultic churches, a protest, a local group, people have a natural urge to do something and to belong to something.

I am ashamed of the UK Church. Some churches are good places, led by good people who delegate and expect their members to be self-sufficient in their faith and take responsibility for their life. Some church leaders are the best people to know. However, many are not. The Church in the UK could have led the nation in emotional, mental and spiritual health during lockdown. This opportunity was missed.

I am under the impression many church leaders do not believe the Christian message at all because they are too busy with being led by political movements than being led by a movement of the Holy Spirit. They seem to care little about Jesus and care very much about looking “good” in front of the “right” people – people with money and influence. In general, churches have taken part in controlling people rather than fight against control.

Religion is a relationship between the individual and God. The individual is free to read their holy book and seek to understand it themselves. Bible studies and online lectures and groups can help, but if that group or lecture seeks to control the person or gain money from them, it is probably a good idea to leave. A person is designed to relate to others but also be free. Free to think and feel and believe what they want, even if is something I do not agree with or others do not agree with. Our minds are our own, and our faith is our own.

We need to choose our friends well, as Amadou and Mariam advise us in Je Te Kiffe “Choisissez bien vos amis” Choose your friends well.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment