Tuesday, January 04, 2011
A nasty British bureaucracy again
Suppressing normal human activity gets them off: Owner faces £1,000 fine over 'lost cat' poster. But louts running wild in the streets and intimidating people is beneath their notice
Desperate to find his missing cat Wookie, Mike Harding put up posters throughout the neighbourhood offering a reward for its safe return.
And it was not long before he received a phone call. Not from someone who had found the pet, however, but from the council saying he was breaking the law.
An official letter the following day accused him of causing ‘urban decay’ with his ‘fly-posting’ and ordered him to remove the signs immediately or face a £1,000 fine. He rushed around the streets in sub-zero temperatures to tear down the posters and finally finished at 3am on Christmas Eve – six hours before the deadline he had been given.
Mr Harding, 44, a driving instructor from Bedford, said the woman caller told him he should not have put up posters. ‘I said I was really sorry. I didn’t know I was breaking any laws and I would take them down. She asked me for my address and it was all very affable – I thought they were sending me some guidance in the post.
‘But when I got home from work on December 23 at 8.30pm I found the letter warning I would be prosecuted if the posters weren’t removed by 9am on December 24 at the latest. I had to walk around town in the snow and ice when it was minus nine degrees. ‘I’m a law-abiding citizen yet I’m being threatened with a £1,000 fine for looking for my cat. You would think the council would have some compassion.’
Mr Harding, who lives with his partner Rachael Claridge, 32, has had the seven-year-old cat since it was a kitten. Wookie went missing in late November and his owner immediately set about printing 35 posters which he attached to lampposts, trees and parking meters. Most were held in place with cable ties but when they ran out he used tacks on four trees.
The letter from Bedford Borough Council warned: ‘Fly-posting is unsightly and now considered to be a contributory factor to urban decay. Contravention of the Act may lead to a fine of up to £1,000. This warning will be kept on record and should any further offences be committed the council will prosecute.’
The authority defended its actions yesterday, saying: ‘Our environmental enforcement team discovered more than 20 posters. Some were nailed to trees. Mr Harding has removed the posters and we are satisfied that this matter has been resolved.’
Sadly for Wookie’s owner, however, the matter remains far from resolved. His cat is still missing.
The Gospel of Nice is selling out Christians
In John 21:15-17, the post-resurrection Jesus three times repeats to his disciple Peter "Feed my sheep", thus emphasizing a duty for Christian leaders to look after the wellbeing of Christian believers
If you ask a Christian leader why he does not speak out on Islam, you get some version of this: My duty is to tend to my flock, to help them become better Christians. My job is not to oppose Islam.
What if a Christian leader actually took the advice to tend to his flock? Start with the image of tending the flock. This is a Christian image of Christ tending to the flock, the church -- a warm pastoral image of lambs and no violence. Jesus is the Good Shepherd.
There is a common acronym: WWJD (what would Jesus do)? This should be a living question in a Christian's mind. An even more important question is, What did Jesus do? It turns out that we have detailed accounting of Jesus debating and criticizing religious leaders. Even a causal observation of the gospel accountings shows two things. Jesus knew more about the subject under debate than anyone in the room. He also stood up in public and private and confronted error, even against leadership.
What would it mean if a Christian leader tried to follow Christ's example of knowing the subject? It would mean that the leader would know the Koran and the Sunna of Mohammed. He would be able to comment on the great themes of the Koran and know it as a story. He would know the Sira, the life of Mohammed, and have detailed knowledge of the Hadith. He would know the history of the Christian dhimmi. He would know what happened to the Seven Churches of Asia mentioned in Revelation. He would know how Egypt, Turkey, North Africa, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon all went from being Christian to Islamic. This is not difficult work for a scholar. It can be done in six months with present books. Just reading Mark Durie's The Third Choice, would give them a running start. He would know more than 90% of all Christian leaders.
Once you get your knowledge, you need one more quality: courage. A leader would stand in public and discuss the truth of the facts of Islam. According to political correctness and multiculturalism, that would not be nice, since someone might disapprove or become upset. Nice people do not confront others; that is not nice. The modern Christian prefers the Gospel of Nice to the Gospel of Christ. As a result of the Gospel of Nice, the Christian leader does not need courage.
Does tending the flock include a pastor being able to give fact-based advice to the Christian woman who comes to him and asks if it all right to marry a Muslim? Tending the flock would mean knowing the doctrine of wife-beating found in the Sharia, Koran, and Hadith. The nice thing to do is to say, "Sure, marry the Muslim. We worship the same god." That is nice, but it is a lie. That nice lie is the one that many shepherds have given their flocks.
Tending the flock would mean being able to teach a Christian flirting with Islam the truth about Islamic doctrine. But if the leader is ignorant, how can he refute Islamic arguments for the Christian to convert?
What if the flock extended beyond the limits of the boundaries of the church building? Tending the flock would include the suffering of Christians in Africa and the Middle East. A good shepherd would tell of the murder, rape, and abuse perpetrated by Islam on Christians on a daily basis.
Would the idea of a larger flock mean inviting persecuted Christians to speak to the congregation? Should the persecuted be recognized and prayed for at church? The current nice policy is to never mention the martyrs or the oppression of the Christians in Muslim countries.
The black church is hemorrhaging young males to Islam. If tending the flock meant seeing that the flock is large enough to include the black church, then a true shepherd would be able to give guidance to the black leaders and educate them about the cruel Islamic doctrine of slavery still in existence. Tending the flock would include the story of Mohammed as a retail and wholesale slave trader, a man who owned white slaves, Arab slaves, black slaves, and sex slaves. The wise shepherd would tell the story of how Islam enslaved a million white Christians and murdered 120 million Africans in the process of running the Islamic slave trade on the Mediterranean coast and the east and west coasts of Africa. Of course, talking about Islam and slavery is not nice. And besides, it would marginalize all that white guilt about slavery in America. The Christian leader can bemoan that history and wallow in guilt, since that is considered nice. But to talk about the 1,400-year-old Islamic slave trade active in Africa today would require both knowledge and courage, and that is not nice.
A Christian leader would be able to see that the Great Commission of preaching the gospel would include converting Muslims to Christianity, thus increasing the flock. Preaching the gospel to Muslims may be in the Gospel of Christ, but it is excluded from the Gospel of Nice. As a result, Christian leaders avoid the Great Commission when it comes to Islam in the West.
We will never defeat political Islam as long as our Christian leaders see their job as being nice. Some of Islam's biggest supporters are our ignorant religious leaders. Although this article has focused on Christian leaders, let it be a public record that Christian leaders are ahead of Jewish leadership. If Christian leadership is tragic, then Jewish leadership is pathetic.
A piece of advice to Christian leaders: be a real shepherd. Don't just be nurturing and caring, but be a defender of the flock as well. Stop being nice. Be like the Good Shepherd: be wise, and be courageous.
Hate-preaching behind most recent Muslim attacks
Comment from Australia
The bombing of a Coptic church in Alexandria, Egypt, at the weekend, apparently by a radical Islamist, was widely reported as a suicide attack. This is a serious misnomer.
The intention of a person who commits suicide is to kill himself or herself. The aim of the perpetrator of the crime in Alexandria was to kill as many Christians as possible. This is murder. The act is perhaps best described as suicide/homicide.
Egypt's President, Hosni Mubarak, has said that the attack was the work of "foreign hands". He seems to believe that the suicide/homicide attack was organised by a person loyal to al-Qaeda who entered Egypt to commit crime - following threats by Osama bin Laden's followers directed at Egypt's Copts. This analysis is probably correct.
Recent evidence from Britain, Denmark, Sweden and the US indicates that attacks on Western targets have been thwarted by a combination of good intelligence and good luck. Danish and Swedish police say they prevented an attempt to massacre staff at the newspaper Jyllands-Posten in protest at its decision in 2005 to publish cartoons of the prophet Muhammad.
In Britain, authorities say they stopped an attack on the US embassy in London and the London Stock Exchange. In Stockholm in mid-December the Swedish-born and British-educated Taimur Abdulwahab al-Abdaly killed himself while attempting, unsuccessfully, to murder as many Christmas shoppers as possible. And then there was the attempted terrorist attack in Times Square, New York, last May.
What all these activities have in common is that they were apparently the work of a "lone wolf" or, rather, a number of lone wolves. The term has been used by Dr Sajjan Gohel, of the Asia-Pacific Foundation.
According to his research, the number of attacks that have been controlled by what he terms "al-Qaeda central" has diminished since 2006. He attributes this to several factors. First, the original al-Qaeda central organisation "has been severely disrupted by allied operations in north and south Waziristan along the Afghan-Pakistan border region". Second, al-Qaeda is finding it harder to raise and receive finance.
This leads Gohel to conclude that the growing concern in the West is to individuals who are not connected to any particular cell or network but who became "radicalised as a result of jihadist literature online".
Roshonara Choudhry is a case in point. A gifted student at King's College London who is fluent in four languages, she was influenced by the American-born and Yemen-based Islamist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. Last May, inspired by al-Awlaki's teachings on the internet, she tried to stab to death a Labour MP, Stephen Timms. Choudhry was a lone-wolf attacker who decided to be a martyr. It is all but impossible for intelligence organisations to thwart such attacks.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is another case. The son of a successful and wealthy Nigerian family, he allegedly tried to bring down an aircraft bound for Detroit on Christmas Day 2009 by igniting chemicals strapped to his inner leg.
Many members of the civil liberties lobby in Australia opposed the Howard government's Anti-Terrorism Act in 2005, which was supported by the Labor opposition. However, a number of jury trials in Australia have supported the view that there are people in Australia who have planned terrorist attacks.
First, there were convictions in the Operation Pendennis trials - the first in Sydney, the second in Melbourne. Juries were convinced, after lengthy trials and long deliberations, that Abdul Nacer Benbrika and some Islamist associates had conspired to undertake terrorist attacks on targets in Australia. In both cases the defendants were provided with able defence teams, courtesy of the Australian taxpayer.
Second, last month, a jury in Melbourne convicted three Islamists for taking part in a conspiracy (termed by police Operation Neath) to wage an attack on Holsworthy army base in Sydney. Two of the accused were acquitted after another long trial and lengthy jury deliberation.
What was particularly disturbing about Operation Neath turned on the evident contempt of the Somalia-born Saney Aweys for his fellow Australians. Yet Aweys's intercepted phone conversations indicate that he was more than willing to accept welfare payments in support of his wife and children and saw no contradiction in residing in public housing while condemning what he termed the "filthy people" who make up contemporary Australia.
The convictions in the Operation Pendennis and Operation Neath cases support Gohel's thesis. There is no evidence that those convicted were operating in accordance with directives from al-Qaeda central - unlike those Islamists who took part in the attacks in the US in 2001 or the attacks in Britain in 2005. Rather, the current danger in Australia appears to turn on individuals who have been radicalised at home or after brief visits overseas.
It is difficult to obtain guilty verdicts in conspiracy cases where no physical attack has taken place.
The success of counter-terrorism operations in Australia so far suggests that police and intelligence services are doing well in a difficult environment.
As the mainstream British Muslim Mohammed Bashir said recently of Islamists groups in Luton: "They enjoy living in this country and then spend all their time speaking out against it; they are fools but they are also very dangerous."
The sad fact is that some of these dangerous fools commit, or conspire to commit, suicide/homicide.
Australia's Cardinal Pell challenges hate speech emanating from homosexual marriage campaigners
AUSTRALIA'S most senior Catholic cleric, Cardinal George Pell, has tentatively agreed to a meeting with gay marriage campaigners. That is if they first declare that not all opposition to same-sex marriage is homophobic and discriminatory.
As both sides of the debate continue their public campaigns, Cardinal Pell has written a letter in response to a request from gay marriage campaigners for a formal meeting to discuss the issues polarising the community.
The official gay marriage campaign, Australian Marriage Equality, wrote to the Archbishop of Sydney on December 20 to discuss their concerns about a campaign by the Australian Catholic Church against same-sex marriage.
Cardinal Pell surprised gay marriage supporters with a reply on December 22 saying a meeting might be possible. But he wanted a guarantee first that the church's position would not be depicted as hateful. "It would help me in considering your request for a meeting to receive an assurance that you . . . do not regard opposition to same-sex marriage in itself as a form of prejudice and discrimination, and that you are prepared to say this publicly.
"I am grateful for your request for a meeting to discuss these matters and am open to considering such a meeting," he wrote. "I can offer you no assistance on the second reason you have asked for this meeting (to prevent Catholic clergy from actively campaigning against same-sex marriage), and on most of the substantive matters I expect we will have to agree to disagree. "But it is always good to talk whenever this might be helpful."
Cardinal Pell said he was prepared to meet a same-sex couple who have been civilly married in another jurisdiction if a Catholic married couple could also be present "so that they can explain their concerns about same-sex marriage and what it might mean for the sort of commitment they have made".
In his letter in reply, Peter Furness, acting national convenor of the gay marriage campaign, said he would be happy for Cardinal Pell to be accompanied by a Catholic married couple.
A spokesman for the gay marriage campaign, Rodney Croome, told The Australian he was willing to concede that the Catholic Church did not intend to discriminate, meeting part of Cardinal Pell's demand for a meeting.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.