Are you comfortably numb?

Friday, October 28, 2005

Latest article for Redbrick, published today

For those of you who don't have access to a copy of Redbrick (you're not missing out, don't worry):

The case of five students and one graduate of Lancaster University who were found guilty on Friday 30th September this year of ‘aggravated trespass’ for protesting at a business conference at the University last year is to go to appeal, following strong reaction at the verdict.

On Monday 10th September 2004, the protesters went into the George Fox building in the University in order to address the Corporate Venture conference about the ethics of multi-national companies and the privatisation of university research, the subject matter of the conference. The group has become known as ‘The George Fox Six’.

The pivotal point of the case was whether the protesters caused ‘disruption, obstruction or intimidation’. Witnesses, predictably, disagreed on this point. Although the protest, lasting around five minutes, was reportedly very noisy, the defence claimed delegates were ‘heckling and laughing’, with one stating, “I cannot understand why the university is pursuing action against its own students”.

This view appears popular, given support for the six. The verdict has sparked indignant debate amongst the academic community, including the NUS, who described the University’s reaction was ‘ridiculously heavy-handed’. Others supporting the protesters include The Council for Academic Freedom and Academic Standards, Lancaster’s Association of University Teachers and Noam Chomsky. Reaction has been particularly strong considering the history of universities as facilitators and cultivators of freedom of speech.

The fact that Quaker George Fox, after whom the building was named, supported fair trade added to the protesters’ cause. Local Quakers have previously requested that the building not be used for certain events because of his beliefs.

Human rights watchdog Liberty expressed concern that this is symptomatic of a shift in Britain towards suppression of freedom of speech, exemplified also in the Labour conference this year.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Quick thought for the day

Just occurred to me today. I was thinking about people who put those 'Baby on Board' signs in cars. As Ben Elton comments in 'Inconceivable', do they expect us to deliberately ram into the back of them until we see the little yellow diamond? Nevertheless, it led me to thinking that children are seen as almost more valuable than adults in some ways. It is true that if a baby was in a car that crashed it would be seen as more tragic. There would be a slightly more heart-breaking tinge to the agony. The same goes for violence that affects children. Even though it is horrific to hear of women being raped or assaulted, I think it's fair to say that when paedophilia is involved, it turns our stomachs just that bit more. Or if not more, in a different, more revolting way.

Then it occurred to me: it's the exact opposite for children who exist within the womb. Before a child is born he is seen, by many, as a 'blood clot', 'lump of cells', or even, by some extreme feminists, as a 'parasite', feeding off the mother's body. The fact that abortion is legal up to full term for 'severely disabled' babies (not that severely is in any way satisfactorily explained in law) is telling of our willingness to postpone a being's status as human until after they've been born.

Until a child has actually exited the mother's body, he is given no rights whatsoever in our genocidal society. Yet as soon as the labour is over, as soon as the cord is cut, as soon as the first cry is heard - he gains status as precious and more valuable than most other members of society.

What a schizophrenic culture we live in.

God

God is amazing. This is only going to be a short post but I just wanted to say that. There have been so many answered prayers over the last month I can't even count them all. It has really shown me that he delights in doing good and delights in revealing himself. It's incredible to think how often we doubt him, considering. One bad day, one mood swing, one doubt and we're thinking how maybe he's not all he's cracked up to be. But actually it's us who are always in the wrong, who are incapable of living a life not dominated by feelings. Looking back on my life, and times when I've really seen God's hand at work, I want to always remember the times when I've known his grace so tangibly - and think of it even when it seems like God might not even exist.

If you're reading this and going through a time of doubting God's goodness and his love for you, I just want to say - don't listen to yourself! Listen to Him, and His word. It is the truth and the light - what our minds tell us that contradicts that is darkness and lies. And if you're going through a time of ticking over and just ambling along in your Christian life - get excited about God! We shouldn't ever get used to what he's done for us. And if you're thinking God doesn't even exist and what I'm saying is naive, misguided rubbish - then I challenge you to really search what you're discarding, and come up with a good reason for why you don't believe it... you might be surprised.

On that note I'm going to bed.

Night night.

xxx

Monday, October 17, 2005

Okay, okay...

...here is a new post, due to popular demand. I have nothing to say at this juncture apart from sorry for not posting for ages...I've been busy, and stuff. And I'm just posting this because I know you will all stop checking for new posts if I don't actually do one soon.

Everything is fine, apart from missing someone you love is horrible and I hate it.

Great.

Bed... sounds like a good idea.

Night night.

P.S. Will write a proper post soon.