the Parable of the Persistent Widow, Luke:18

As a Christian I do draw comfort from the teachings of the bible and indeed often enough that is the only comfort left to me to turn to. I was brought up as a Lutheran but resided next to a large Catholic Cathedral, so my life was firmly wedged into Christianity of one sort or another. I am quite non-sectarian too and enjoy attending inter-faith services whenever I can. I shall write about the development of religion around the world at another time though.

Today I am mainly talking about the New Testament and the Parable of the Persistent Widow, to be found in Luke 18 and there are several versions of it. I use now the English version but there is a new worldwide version that is less upsetting to judges. The current English standard version is like this:

The Parable of the Persistent Widow

1And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” 6And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

In some older translations the judges were called unjust or even corrupt. But it really doesn’t matter whether the judge was corrupt or unjust, it does matter that the judge is described as neither feared god nor respected man, that implies he was only interested in himself, which includes corruption or even worked for the Devil.

That is not the main point either but the main point is the persistent widow who wanted justice and that her persistency led the judges to believe that it is more appropriate to give her justice at the earliest opportunity rather than let her struggle for justice as long as possible.

I draw a lot of strength from that bible passage because I feel it is very appropriate for me. I am a widow and I am seeking justice and I feel that the court is not sensible to allow the proceedings to develop in the best interest of the tax payer and of justice but in a way that needlessly draws proceedings out and costs more money and time to conclude.

We do have CPR 1, the OverridinObjective, which must not be interpreted to just throw cases out as quickly as possible but which asks us to find justice as quickly as possible. Concealing the truth under CPR 1 would be a sin against God and against Man.

I think a great injustice has been done to me and the court must not behave like the judge that neither fears God nor respects man.

The bible is as true today as they were when it was written. If we, as a Christian Nation cannot act according to our own religion, then I do not know if God can help us at all.

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Can we drive Muslims to extremism?

I think that is not so easy to answer as set question because it opens up a can of worms. What is important is the attitude of Muslims themselves, whether they want to integrate or keep themselves as special group away from the mainstream society and whether we can achieve that parts of the Muslim society want to be westernised and mix.

This report says that Muslims in jails are likely to be driven into extremism the way they are treated in jail and often what works for jail also works for the outside world in a social context but less concentrated. I got fascinated to this report because it contains the most excellent quote I have read all week which is from the Chief Inspector of prisons and he said: “there was a risk of a “self-fulfilling prophecy” by fostering alienation.

Living in an area with an almost 50% Muslim population I think that it takes 2 to tangle and there must be a 2-way process of people showing tolerance towards each other. I recently spoke to a Muslim who told me that he is happy as long as he can follow his religion, a religion that is in many ways alien to many of us westerners and all emancipated women by default. The only reasons why I do not want to embrace Islam myself for my personal choice is the treatment of women, Shariah law and cultural differences, and I think it’s mainly western woman who would be the driving force against Islam in the western world. Western woman have fought hard for their emancipation, the suffragette movement made sure of our liberation.

Just on the weekend I saw a Muslim woman that looked exactly like Catholic nuns used to dress in the 60s. White veil and black dress, just completely the same. We have developed away from that primitive sex discrimination and the sole admiration of a god as basis of our society. especially also as our leadership is based on family driven politics, e.g. monarchs, that have developed into secular democracies, we cannot possibly be asked to step back in time and change our society to a Muslim model.

Yet as long as Muslims dream the dream, which makes them think they can change modern Europe or Britain into a Muslim state, we will have that conflict and that conflict is not just driven by us seeking to protect ourselves but by Muslims not wanting to communicate but regressing into prayers, Christians and others cannot participate in.

In our local community I have made a lot of effort to include Muslims into community schemes but often find no interest. Our council runs speciality group services, e.g. for Muslim women, Somalis and other ethnic groups, which does not further the tearing down of ethnic walls. The only progress would be a further reduction in translation of public documents but our local council provides lots of translated literature that doesn’t force people to learn English. I personally dispute that it is possible not to learn the English language when living in this country, one just picks it up unless one is totally incapable and has an IQ of about 55, have other mental barriers or deliberate refuse to learn it.

Vince Cable’s remarks about his mother put it all into context when he describes that his mother was falling apart mentally  and that education opportunities gave her an aim in life and helped her along. If we see that radical Islamists want to stop women from having an education, we can appreciate the difference in attitude. Islam wants to enslave women into servitude as sex object to a husband alone.  Even in more moderate Islam nations we see sexist separations, strict dress codes and governments based on Shariah law.  I do agree that there is a very small minority of women who enjoy being housewives and dependant on a man but that cannot go to such extremes that a whole society has to be formed around that. And always the option of becoming educationally independent must be open to all.

Don’t understand me wrong I do not advocate loose morals because I do not believe in sexist separations or draping dresses.

Catholic church leads by example

Taking into consideration that the amount of sexual abuse that went on in the Catholic church is reflected percentage wise in other churches, (according to a statistic I read in Wikipedia) I think that the Catholic church now leads by good example. Obviously the shortcomings of the Catholic church in respect of children is more widely reported than that of other churches and I sincerely hope that other churches follow the examples of the Catholic church and take equally drastic steps to root out child abuse of any type within their religious institutions.

Celibacy v Homosexuality

this was a quite interesting debate on the BBC website today about what a Catholic Church member said that he had a psychologists report that blames Homosexuality and not Celibacy for sex abuse on children in the Catholic Church. The response from the gay community was of course utter disgust with it and a cry of no proof and how can anybody blame the gay people who are trying to overcome that bad image. I know how hard it is to overcome a bad image, so I can sympathise on that points alone. That made me think and I would like to know the statistics, how many boys and how many girls have been abused in the course of church business. I have not heard of a girl yet, but please put me right and wouldn’t it put a real argument in the corner of the church because girls usually do not get abused but it is mostly boys? And who abuses those boys, its not the nuns, its not the celibate priests who is it?  Just looking this up on Wikipedia and there was a Ivan Cucek in Zagreb, who in 2000 got sentenced for the abuse of 37 young girls, so that puts the slammer into the gay theory. This Wikipedia article breaks the abuse down by country, I need to look for other statistics on this and shall do so when I got a moment of spare time, which is probably never.

It is always difficult to generalise anything and what should be done is an examination of the facts, statistics compiled. It is surely up to the church to ensure they keep their house clean, whatever sexuality the priests (have there been any nuns founds to be abusive?. They should set standards and monitor they are kept.

In this article on Wikipedia we learn that the same percentage that applies to child sex abuse from Catholics clergy applies likewise to clergy from other religions.  We read however that 81% of the abused minors in the US were males.  Most victims were aged 16-17 and only 6% werwe 7 years or younger and 51% between 11 and 14 and 16% between 8-10 years of age.  19% of the priests in the US were abusing substances.  I reckon the Catholic church should read some statistics first before delving into another controversy.

I do agree that over sexed individuals that do not feel good being celibate should simply not try to be priests. The church would probably reduce in size but be much cleaner after that.  I seem to remember that prior to Catholic priests being made to live in celibacy they were really wild and laid on quite extraordinary sex lives, but that was a long, long time ago, no woman was safe, lol.

Altogether its good that the subject is now in open discussion and the church participates in it instead of brushing it all under the carpet. Times are getting better for us all and its a good beginning that the church now says sorry. Long gone are the days of the Inquisition I hope.

To gay or not to be

Chris Grayling has my full support for his attempt to speak up for the rights of private householders. See source

Yet this is a very interesting matter because it clashes the right of conscientiousness and religious freedom also the right for a private and family life, whilst we cannot discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation.

Where does the sexual tolerance start and where does it end? I was once accused of being right-wing “because” non of my children are gay. I think that shows the other side of the coin, that people are now expected to give in to gay sexual advances to show that they do not discriminate against gays? It’s taking it too far.

I think this is a matter for a proper legal process to determine this conflict. We must have a right to a religious conscience and religious conscience often is closely coupled with sexual behaviour as religion also includes basic things like morals.

Personally I think discrimination against homosexuals of all colours and genders is wrong but one must have a choice to say no on a private level either in the purely sexual context and also on a privacy contest.  Because if we have no personal and private rights, our lives will not be led individualistic any longer but we can be prescribed how we have to live.

Abuse of children in churches

That is one of the saddest thing to happen in our society today but previously we only thought that Catholics do it because they were in the press most often about this. But this report on the BBC website shows that such things also go on in the Muslim religion. Good of people to come forward, that is the most important point, never allow anybody to mess with your child, no priest, no Iman, nobody ever.

It is false allegiance to allow priests to abuse their positions and I thoroughly welcome it that now even Muslims decide to come forward and report such crimes.

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