It’s a sign of growing older (and grumpier), but I despair of people’s lack of common sense sometimes. For weeks, the media has been full of stories about the economic situation. Now the retail trade is in a state, anticipating that most people will spend less this Christmas. Meanwhile, the Consumer Credit Counselling Service reports a high number of callers with worries about the strain of Christmas on family budgets. It’s as well it’s not me answering the phones. I’d tell them that Christmas isn’t compulsory, nor is spending money you can’t afford, so get a grip! You can still have a good time with your family, without getting into debt. Read what some Humanists have done. And if your kids expect lots of very expensive presents, maybe you haven’t trained them well? My advice to parents of very young children? Start as you mean to go on, and don’t assume that you’ll always be able to put everything on a credit card. Get them used to a modest midwinter celebration, where family activities, games and good food can be enjoyed, without worrying about how you’re going to clear your debts in time for next Christmas.
The November edition of International Humanist News is now available on the IHEU website. It includes features on Barack Obama; Humanism and Islam; and Caste and Untouchability. Both text and PDF versions are available.
The Bishop tells us: ‘When the boys come back
They will not be the same; for they’ll have fought
In a just cause: they lead the last attack
On Anti-Christ; their comrades’ blood has bought
New right to breed an honourable race,
They have challenged Death and dared him face to face.’
‘We’re none of us the same!’ the boys reply.
‘For George lost both his legs; and Bill’s stone blind;
Poor Jim’s shot through the lungs and like to die;
And Bert’s gone syphilitic: you’ll not find
A chap who’s served that hasn’t found some change.’
And the Bishop said: ‘The ways of God are strange!’
Siegfried Sassoon, 1916
Obama will be President of the US. Although he’s a Christian (an essential qualification, as things stand – no chance of an atheist President, yet), he’s a liberal Christian. Maybe his attitude might be more like that of former President Jimmy Carter, who said, “I was very meticulous in completely separating my religious faith from any element of politics or governance in the White House. I believed in what Thomas Jefferson, one of our founding fathers, said that we should build a wall between Church and state. I worship a prince of peace, not a prince of pre-emptive war.”
Religion plays a huge role in US politics. If you didn’t watch Channel 4’s ‘True Stories: Jesus Politics’ on 28 October, you have 22 days left to view it online on the Channel 4 website (you’ll need broadband and Windows Media Player). The Republican Right has the strongest links to evangelical Christianity – you’d be forgiven for thinking that, as far as George Bush is concerned, God is an American and votes Republican.
The kids started a new (non-denominational) school today. And my first fight with the school is this afternoon. The school is supporting the Samaritan’s Purse shoebox operation, where children fill shoeboxes with toys etc for children in eastern Europe and Africa…and then the evangelical literature is added before they’re distributed.
Am very cross indeed. I’ve sourced an alternative – another Christian organisation but one which doesn’t put anything into the boxes and doesn’t send out propaganda. I’m currently compiling a dossier for the Headteacher, with whom I expect to have an interesting discussion real soon.
Tomorrow (4 November 2008), the voters of the United States of America will help to steer the direction of their country for the next four, probably eight years. It’s their choice but it is a choice that will affect us all.
In the rest of the world, polls have shown quite clearly that Barack Obama is the overwhelming choice to be the next US President.
Most Humanists would agree, especially as the Republican Party of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, and now John McCain and Sarah Palin, represents what we would describe as an entirely illogical philosophy of religious fundamentalism. It rejects scientific evidence on the nature of our physical and living earth in favour of a literal belief in the Old Testament of the Bible, especially the Book of Genesis.
The worrying thing is that polls show that at least half of Americans believe that God created the world and populated it with us and all living creatures as described in Genesis, that the world is less than 10,000 years old and that evolution is a myth.
DAYTON, TN—A steady stream of devoted evolutionists continued to gather in this small Tennessee town today to witness what many believe is an image of Charles Darwin—author of The Origin Of Species and founder of the modern evolutionary movement—made manifest on a concrete wall in downtown Dayton.
This is exciting news. We will naturally be organising a pilgrimage to see the stain. Stay tuned.
This has been cancelled due to ill health.