Archive for the ‘ Promotions ’ Category

Freedom of religious practice….respecting the rights of others

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

I once gave a talk on ‘the permissive society’ at a Day Centre for the elderly, having completed my unusually erudite and intermittently witty spiel,  I was at a total loss to respond to a woman who – without a hint of irony – complained about permissiveness on television: ‘I think it’s terrible,’ she said ‘the way young girls have sex stuffed down their throats!’

With the polarisation of society, it might have been more apt if she’d expressed concern about religion being stuffed down throats. Of course, that was not the topic, but it might have been – and there is a connection to permissiveness – or more properly, greater openness and tolerance in society. There has been a backlash from some with strong religious views – and others who have suddenly developed such views.

Whether this entails wearing a burka or niquab, a sheitel or headscarf, there has been greater polarisation between those with strong religious beliefs – and those without. Sometimes, I feel religion is used as a crutch to seduce the vulnerable and those at a low ebb; in the 1970’s in the USA I saw young people befriended on the streets of New York by followers of Sun Myung Moon and Scientologists, later, at a ‘Christ is the Answer’ presentation in a huge marquee in Washington DC, we were emotionally blackmailed by adherents, who asked us to stand up and give ourselves to Christ, whilst dramatic music was played over loudspeakers, anyone not standing at the end was made to feel like the devil incarnate.

Recent problems in the UK relate to Ofsted inspections of Muslim and Orthodox Jewish schools, where inspectors complained of historical texts being redacted and a failure to include in lessons details of gay and transsexual lives. Concerns were also expressed about safeguarding issues. Secular inspectors versus religious schools, an inevitable recipe for conflict. As with all things, common sense should prevail, schools should be allowed to follow their religious beliefs whilst ensuring pupils are safe and receive an excellent general education, with sensitive issues taught in a sensitive way.

A clearer example of religious intolerance arose recently, an El Al plane was delayed for an hour when two Orthodox Jewish men refused to sit next to women. Maybe they needed a lesson in the overriding requirement for mutual respect and good manners.

Many religious communities and groupings reject the liberal values of the West; yet they enjoy the lifestyle, healthcare, ability to travel and comforts of 21st Century living.

We must protect religious freedom and the right to worship – but we also have a duty to regulate society in order for all groups and individuals to live freely, as long as they obey the law and respect the rights of others. Freedom of religious practice should not be at the expense of others, it should be a role model for a pious, respectful life, not a recipe for conflict with non-believers.

The great patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob made a unique contribution to civilisation – the 10 Commandments, received by Moses – still form the backbone of the Judeo-Christian hegemony of Western society. But, let’s be honest, if any of those great prophets were able to return and see our world, they would have a great deal more to learn from us, than we, from them. That’s not to denigrate the vast contribution made by them – just imagine the very first thing that Moses would google: The Exodus? A hundred tasty recipes for manner from Heaven? Maybe, he would get hooked on Facebook or other social media, one of the things that binds us with our forebears is communication.

Religion is a roadmap that can point us in the direction of happiness and fulfilment, but reaching the destination is the objective, not obsessing with the way to get there.

Those unduly concerned with the minutiae of religious dogma, may smell the sweet aroma of what’s cooking, but are unlikely to actually get to taste it.

Michael Desmond

Thursday, June 14th, 2018

This is the verbal equivalent of a quick selfie; in a society where fame feeds on itself – and not necessarily talent – it’s sometimes useful to be anonymous. But we need to stand up to be counted, where necessary, which, quite frankly, is most of the time.

I live in Clapton, North East London, represent Hackney Downs on Hackney Council and was Labour candidate for Faversham and Mid Kent in 2015 and 2017.

I’m not a fan of Brexit and put together Society Syndrome’s little anti-Brexit ditty ‘Little Englanders’, which can be found on You Tube. My general views are left of centre, but fairly moderate – apart from when it comes to Arsenal supporters – but we won’t go into that, we can be a little tribal in North London. I believe in the greatest good for the greatest many, as long as it is not at the expense of the few.

In any pluralistic democracy, everyone should seek to play a part, each grain of sand, together, comprises a beach.

Feel free to join us in building a useful sandcastle, seeking to protect the vulnerable and creating a more peaceful, tolerant society. Each year, we arrange a Have Your Say event for 16-19 year olds, whatever your age, if you want to help us achieve our goals, please contact me.

Donald Trump need not apply.

 

Have Your Say!

Monday, October 17th, 2016

On Thursday, 20th October 2016 we are holding another HAVE YOUR SAY event in the Lecture Theatre of BSix College, Kenninghall Road, Clapton, E5 8BP: 12.30pm – 1.30pm.

Amongst those on the panel will be Hackney Council’s Speaker (civic Mayor), Ken Warman, Principal of the College, Lee Sterry, an Environmental Health Officer and a senior police representative.

A lot has been happening recently: Brexit, Donald Trump (sic), England’s football team defeated by Iceland, the Marmite shortage….there are lots of serious (and not so serious) things to talk about. We’ll also be launching our Song for London competition.  Come along and make your voice heard.

Aspiration and Cynicism post-Brexit. How do Londoners compare with those who voted Out in Sunderland?

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

We’re carrying out a Post-Brexit survey on Alienation, Cynicism and Idealism to see how views of Londoners – who voted In – compare with those from Sunderland, most of whom, voted Out.

In our (humble), aspirational opinion, you should want to make the world a better place to live in; do people?

Question to be asked: Do you want to make the world a better place to live in?

We also want to know if people think they can make the world a better place?  Question: Do you think you can make the world a better place?

Finally, do people think they have made the world a better place? Question: Do you think you’ve made the world a better place to live in, in any way, large or small?

Asking similar questions to young people in Kiev before the Maidan Square revolution, there was such cynicism about corruption, dishonest politicians and the all-pervasive untrustworthiness, it’s a miracle anyone got out of bed in the morning! It should be very different here.

Shouldn’t it?

We’ll see.

Follow us on Twitter & Like us on Facebook to Win

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Competition Alert

To Win a copy of Sonic Free Riders for Xbox 360 Kinect just like us on facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Society-Syndrome/259745200722801?sk=wall and follow us on Twitter @SocietySyndrome before the 4th October 2011. A winner will be drawn after midnight on 04/10/11