Saturday, 28 March 2009

Do as we say; not do as we do!


At today's city council Transport Summit in Birmingham Council House, Cllr Len Gregory, urged delegates to switch off when idling to cut exhaust gases, to cut carbon dioxide emissions and to save fuel.

Environmentalist, Tim Weller, in the first question after Cllr Mike Whitby sat down from his speech said,

"I fully support Cllr Gregory in his appeal to switch off when idling. However, he might start with his own leader on his left. Cllr Mike drives a 3 litre Jaguar, when he is the Leader of the Council who claims to lead all other councils in the UK in doing the most to cut very harmful carbon emissions. Three weeks ago I found his large limo idling uselessly in the Council House Courtyard when I returned for my cycle. When will he follow Cllr Len's example and, better, when will he lead from the front, gain the respect of of us all and either cut his hefty carbon emissions by driving a smaller car; or, car share with the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor's two Jags; or, even better, follow Prof Julia King's work to replace high carbon cars with electric vehicles and drive an electric or hybrid car."

Cllr Whitby was not at all embarrassed by his gas guzzler and explained that he did not drive it so had no control over the idling engine.

Tim Weller commented that "Former London Mayor Ken was a regular bus and train user, Mayor Boris rides a cycle but our two Mayors and Leader Mike all drive their own, personal, chauffeur driven, carbon spewing Jags. This is totally unacceptable. It is business as usual for our three leaders; but they tell us to drive less and use public transport more. There is no leadership, no action and even they don't change one iota!"

Prof Julia King of Aston University, Cllr Mike Whitby and Cllr Len Gregory were the lead speakers this morning.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Islam and War

I listened to an address from Karen Armstrong at Carrs Lane Church Centre
in October 2007. It was the first in the series, 'Dialogues in Faith' that
were recorded and put on CD.

"Islam means surrender", commented Karen Armstong. The war cry from the
fundamentalist, evangelical Christians of N Ireland is 'No surrender'. I
heard it with my own ears, shouted at us, in 2007 on an open top bus tour
of Belfast when we drove through a Loyalist area! And, it is the
evangelicals and Loyalists of N Ireland who support the War of Terrorism
and not the Republicans, from the panelists speaking on Question Time a
year or two ago.

Karen said,

"We talk about Islam today as though it is inherently violent. This is
nonsense of course. We should never equate a few extremists with the vast
majority of billions of Muslims who have lived throughout history far more
peaceably with peoples of other faiths than the people in western
Christendom, for example.

"You may hear in the Koran, in an English translation, talk about infidels
- a very bad translation. The word translated infidel does not mean an
unbeliever. ... The word for infidel means ingratitude to Allah; hurling
God's bounty back at him and, not being generous and peaceable. Another
word translated as infidel means aggressive, irascible, a pre-emptive
strike. ... It has nothing to do with unbelief.

"The Koran permits only war in self-defence in order to maintain decent
values. Mohamed was creating primitive just war theology, as we in the
West call it. So religion is not violent."

Non-violence and non-occupation are unheard of!

On Wed eve 11 March, the Archbishop of Birmingham did not comment directly on the points in my comment summarised as, "Would he be prepared to teach and preach non-violence in his sermons and homilies? Would he urge Protestants not to retaliate against this week's Catholics with their killing of three Protestants, with tit for tat killings of Catholics?" The media reported it as Republicans killing Loyalists, to take into account Christian sensitivities and to avoid pointing up Christian violence. They prefer to highlight Muslim violence, of course.

When will we have faith leaders urging non-violent direct action (NVDA), restraint and conflict resolution by Churchill's jaw jaw, rather than war war; all this, instead of a career in the military and the years of military attacks and occupations in foreign lands that that then entails? Our schools, colleges and universities also shy away from teaching non-violence and avoid highlighting our invasions, attacks and occupations.

When will we have them applying, in their sermons and homilies, the
teaching of the non-violent Christ in the Gospels to everyday living today?