July 12th, 2005


(no subject)

Accordung to the Today programme, the US Air Force has decided that London is too dangerous for its servicemen and has ordered them to stay outside the M25.

Well, poot!

In other news, various evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics are threatening to leave over the possibility of women bishops in the C of E, having stayed after equivalent threats over women priests. As a non-believer, I really want women bishops to happen simply because it makes the relationship between the C of E and the Catholic and Orthodox churches stickier. Also, the arguments used by the anti-women brigade are so inherently misogynist that I find myself shouting at the radio.

Paul denounced women leaders in the church, so did Jerome two centuries later. Which means no-one listened to Paul on this subject. Which means that the practice of early Christians was complex on this subject.

It is also worth remarking that the prevalence of female martyrs during the persecutions means that the church was not above persuading stroppy and difficult women to go out and die for the faith. Which meant that they were not around to pose competition to the leadership.

Damn and blast it

There is always a worse place.

Knowing that bombs went off on tube lines I used to use a lot before my sweetie forbad me to, knowing that a bus I do ride on went bang on a street I know - that's pretty bad.

Knowing that the people who did it are from streets I used to know - near where I lived in Leeds and where I went to school - is somehow worse. The poor stupid evil bastards spoke with Leeds accents and probably liked big floppy chips with mushy peas as their occasional non-halal indulgence.

There is something about suicide bombings which I have always found peculiarly upsetting and it is this.

The spiritual advisers who tell their living weapons that they are martyrs who will go to Paradise probably don't believe it. After all, the orthodoxy, inasmuch as Islam has such a thing, is that suicide bombers are suicides and murderers who will go to Hell and recapitulate their crimes for Eternity. What exactly is the sin involved in using spiritual authority to trick someone into their own damnation?

Luckily, I don't believe in eternal judgement, so I don't have to worry about this too deeply - but these are people who are believers, and how do they justify themselves in their prayers to the God in whom they believe?

I was talking to katemonkey and she pointed out that, at this point, people in the US would be going crazy, whereas here we will be feeling sorry for the poor bloody parents whom the dead killers deceived. Which won't stop a few mosques burning, I suppose. I have one at the end of my street and I look up if I hear sirens.

The far right will do well in places where they already do.

As I said earlier, the standard anti-war line that this is just about the war and is an understandable response does not entirely work, and the likes of Tariq Ali and Edward Pearce need to think very carefully about what they are saying. After all, local boys know how many people opposed the war on the streets.

As a protest against the war this is both stupid and counter-productive. They killed a fair number of fellow Muslims in the process, apart from the fact that it enables Blair to do a whole no surrender thing for the rest of time.

I fear that, as with the IRA, it is all about killing as many people as possible and at least partly for the sake of it.

Karen Armstrong had quite a good article in the Guardian yesterday about the origins of Islamism in the thought of Qutb and she attributed his attitude to his maltreatment in Nasser's prison camps. Which would be fair enough, except that Qutb was especially exercised not about torture or capital punishment, both of which he was OK about, when not done to him, so much as the fact that American teenagers, of both sexes, danced with each other, at Church socials. Armstrong really needed to mention that as well as his status as victim and martyr and founding father of crazy thuggery.
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