Monday, July 26, 2010

The Free Taliban (continuing) of Scotland

Further to the earlier piece marking one year since the 'Sabbath busting' ferry on the Ullapool to Stornabad route, my enquiries have lead me to the enlightenment (?) that is the official website of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland. I did plan to write this yesterday, a Sunday, but guess what? The FPC site only carried the following message!

(Actually, the bit in bold is my own contribution to their message)

There also exists the Kirk, Free Kirk, the Associated Presbyterian Churches (APC) and the Free Church (Continuing). Of course, the usual others can be found too - the Roman Catholic international behemoth, the Baptists and Episcopalians. Perhaps the existence of so many subsects of this one branch of Abrahamic belief are proof enough that the 'word of God' has about the same legitimacy as a blueprint for modern and moral living as Donnie Dotaman's songbook - though the latter is the only one that is without a doubt the work of a grey-bearded man.

All hail the grey-bearded man.
The enmity that exists between these ever-diminishing sects should be not underestimated. While to the rest of us, there may be a bawhair of difference between the FC and FC(C) or even the APC - these cultists band about accusations of sinning or being the  'Antichrist!' with the ferocity and similar lack of logic that's usually seen in exchanges between tribal fitba fans. A Hearach from my student days told of the day his family visited their local FC manse. Suddenly in mid conversation, the FC minister lept to his feet and exclaimed that Satan's people were at that moment passing the house. The passers-by turned out not to be Black Sabbath fans (Prince Charles too?) or even Calanais-bound hippies but the sodomy-tolerant congregation of the Church of Scotland.

Whatever, a look at the website of the FPC will show you that their world is a world of fear. The logic is difficult to grasp as they kick off by saying that we are ALL sinners who deserve to roast, for ever. What then is their mission? And why then is the 'sodomite' worthy of more column inches of ire than the kindly auld cailleach on her croft? Whatever, the FPC cannot be accused of hiding behind a Nu-Labour-esque airbrushed facade. These guys mean business and from the off, they go for the scrote:

  • Everyone is guilty of sin and deserves to be punished in hell for ever.
  • God in his mercy has sent his Son, Jesus Christ, who is both God and man, to be the Saviour of sinners.
Comparisons with Islamic fundamentalists may be somewhat jocular but the underlying philosophy is the same. Compare Iran's 'Morality Police' with the FPC's sinister sounding 'Religion and Morals Committee'. The intention is the same, indeed the source is ultimately the same, its just the various splinters of Scots Presbyterianism thankfully lack the manpower and public support. One need only look to Scotland of the 17th century to see hardline Calvinism in full effect. 

Their page of reports has not been updated since 2007. But looking back to 2002, we can see the pattern being set with a list of bugbears being set out. I detect a certain jealousy present when they discuss, with no irony, Islamic fundamentalists and their support for the state of Israel:

When false religion poses such a threat to life and property the civil powers must take action in defence of their people. Atrocities are also being perpetrated against the people and State of Israel.

Palestinian suicide bombers are indiscriminately attacking Israeli men, women and children.

The enemy across the Sruth na Maoile in Ireland gets a mention too:
It is solemn to think that Sinn Fein/IRA, who pursued their own ends by
terrorism, used to meet on the 106th floor of the north tower of the WorldTrade Centre.

Incredible as it seems, the document reads like a collection of the more militant cuttings from the Daily Mail. Multiculturalism too is a source of angst - ironic from a group of people who cling to a Middle-Eastern creed, who evangelise in Africa and whose core heartland consists of a people who have Gaelic as their first tongue and blood from Celtic, Norse, Pictish and even Hispanic peoples.

Over the last thirty years the Muslim community in Britain has doubled and within it a very extreme element has been permitted to develop. Enclaves of extremism and hatred have been created. Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists are afraid to change their false gods
but we, like the Jews of Jeremiah’s day, have changed our glory for that which
doth not profit (Jeremiah 2:11).

Those dreaded Papists are targeted too. The designs of the Antichrist on the British throne in particular are a source of discomfort. Though the complicity of the Roman Catholic Church in the Third Reich comes in for righteous opprobrium, is the source of their anger human rights or the fact that the Papists practise idolatry? They quote the, probably godless, philosopher Adam Smith again with no sense of irony. I particularly like the bit about 'reason':

Whatever we may say of Islam, the famous 18th century Scottish economist, Adam Smith, was clear that Rome stood at the head of the hierarchy of evil when he wrote in his
Wealth of Nations that: “The constitution of the Church of Rome may be
considered the most formidable combination that was ever formed against the
authority and security of civil government as well as against the liberty, reason,
and happiness of mankind.” Such statements are not made without reason.

A section entitled 'Roman Catholics in high places' does not deal with nuns climbing Stac Pollaidh but with various eminent Catholics who may use their power to foist 'superstition' on the populace:
It is reported that Tony Blair usually worships in a Roman Catholic Church. Mrs. Blair is a Roman Catholic and a republican. Iain Duncan Smith, Charles Kennedy, Michael Ancram, Bill Cash, General Sir Charles Guthrie, Chris Patten, Anne Widdecombe, the present
Northern Ireland secretary, and a large percentage of the Scottish Parliament
are Roman Catholics. Mr. Michael Martin is the first Roman Catholic Speaker
of the Commons to be elected for 442 years.

I'm not sure if the Daily Mail would tolerate criticism of Widdecombe as some kind of godless immoral slut. One wonders if the writer had been listening to Green Day's 'American Idiot' whilst penning the following?:
It is sad to read of the President of the United States of America, George W.
Bush, lauding the Man of Sin last year at the dedication of the Pope John Paul
II Cultural Centre.

Then, it is with trembling fingers that I scroll down to 'Morals' and 'Sodomy'. Bad news for vegetarians though. Why oppose fox hunting when people are butt-fucking behind closed doors?

There is a hue and cry against people hunting foxes with hounds and horses, and the Scottish
Executive supports their cause with legislation... but teachers may yet be disciplined if they do not teach children that a homosexual relationship is as normal as marriage between one man and one woman.

The FPC moans the modern sexual education taught in schools. Would they rather it was replaced with the equally explicit Bible that teaches the menstrual fluid is poison, incest is desirable and that boys' foreskins should join the tattie peelings on the compost heap? Further on, we find... the Daily Mail! Hurrah for the Fascists! Now here we have moral backbone...
The Daily Mail reported (5th March 2002) that “Homosexual couples and
unmarried partners have been granted a raft of new rights in a stealth operation
by the Scottish Executive”. The paper says that next of kin status has been given
to those who have been living together for six months. “Bills have been quietly
amended to ensure that cohabitees and [homosexual] partners are treated in the
same way as spouses.”

The Word of God speaks of homosexuality as an evidence of a reprobate
mind, the degrading practice of those who have been given over to vile
affections, by God.

Warning though. If your kids don't fall prey to carpet-munching or bottom-sex then the drugs might get them.

Home Secretary, Mr. David Blunkett, announced that cannabis is to be reclassified from ClassB to Class C; it has been effectively decriminalised, resulting, no doubt in its
increased use and a legalised gateway to harder drugs

If however, wee Angus comes home with a spliff in his mouth and the Pet Shop Boys pumping from his headphones, feel free to use your 'rod' to show him the moral path:

The Word of God forbids using violence against our children, but it does not forbid using physical chastisement. “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far fromhim” (Proverbs 22:15)

After all this, we find a section on Intolerance of Christian Principles:
One of the functions of the minister of Christ is to act as a watchman. His duty
as such, is to identify and expose the movements of the enemies of Jesus
Christ, and of true religion, such as the papal antichrist, and the followers of
the false prophet Mohammed.

Legislation was pushed through the House of Commons, ostensibly to
counter terrorism but containing far-reaching measures which could
criminalise the minister’s duty to be a watchman

Shit! Do they mean us?

That Mr. Gorrie failed to draw a line between religious hooligans and the
historic biblical Christianity which we as a Church seek to uphold is, quite
frankly, sinister. We fear that there is such ignorance of true religion in
Scotland that strongly held biblical views, and the behaviour of drunkards and
others who perpetrate violence in the name of the Christian religion, are
viewed as different manifestations of the same principles

After the shame of being lumped together with the violently sectarian hordes of Rangers' fans they come to the final glum conclusion:

We have scratched the surface of Britain’s moral degeneracy.

From there we fast forward to the 2007 report. Surely God hasn't allowed the situation to deteriorate? However, the first paragraph spells it out...

IT is probably fair to say that, while within living memory there has been little
in the sphere of the religion and morals of our nation to cheer our hearts, this
is especially so over the past number of months.

It continues in a similar vein with rants against, Rome, Rome and Islam, Rome and the Anglican Church, Ecumenism, the RCC in Britain, the Papacy and politics, the RCC and the Bible (do I detect a trend here?), the Church of Rome and child abuse, the Papacy and the Crown, religious hatred ("John Knox is airbrushed out of history books"), political correctness (this time the Daily Telegraph gets the brownie points and the great horned one is mentioned... The Devil has tried this before. The State has become the parent, and political correctness impinges on deeds, words and thoughts.), homosexuality (God's punishment of AIDS hasn't worked so far...) and then, we have a new entry into the Immoral Top 40.... Atheism!

Belief in the paranormal has increased 10% since 1954. Last year the Summer solstice drew 21,000 to Stonehenge. We are sinking back into heathendom as the true preaching of the Gospel, and Christian witness, wanes. Atheism too is very militant among us and we are attacked by intolerant evolutionists. An ambitious campaign to spread this Gospel of darkness was launched by the Christian-hating writer Richard Dawkins, with his latest book entitled The God Delusion.

Though somehow I can't see Dawkins sitting cross legged at a Calanais solstice getting his Tarot read. Worse still, he's lumped in with Muslims too. Also incredible is the lamenting of the fall of Soviet Communism, godless as it was...

It is time our nation was realistic about false religions, for there is but one way of
salvation, and that is through Christ. There is no doubt that this is one of God’s
rods upon our country, and the terrible thing is that we do not know that it is
such. Mohammed seemed conciliatory to Jews and Christians to begin with,
but when rejected by them he became confrontational.The break-up of the Russian empire has released many Muslim groupings...

If I were Dawkins, I would sue them.

Fortunately, the congregations of all these sects seems to be on the wane. The APC may have as few as several dozen serious adherents. The Free Church probably no more than ten thousand and the FPC even less. The Kirk itself, 'moderate' but as recently as the 1930s it was enthusiastically spreading hatred of Irish immigrants on the grounds that most were followers of yon Antichrist, is in decline.

There are some in the Highlands and Islands who take offence to the mocking of these extremists and fanatics as if this were a mirror on rural Gaelic society. It isn't. I'm old enough to remember dour Sundays in Midlothian though to be honest, we didn't have to be as secretive about watching Scotsport on the Sabbath as some islanders. A little further back in the 1950s and this mania gripped even the cities. Much of the above would have seemed familiar to my mother, born within a stone's throw of the Hearts ground in inner-city Gorgie. Similarly a friend tells of an Irish grandparent in 50s small-town Scotland whose house was the only one to have a Xmas tree.

To be blunt, its time to leave these Knox and Calvin obsessed maniacs in the past. If we want such a theocracy we can go and live in Iran or Saudi Arabia - hardline Presbyterianism with a different label. A different image on the packet but when the reality is that gays are hung, rape victims are stoned to death and attitudes to sex are dictated by fantastical ancient texts, everyday life will be much the same. This is what happens when zealots of any religion - fascists - garner enough 'souls for Christ' to take power. We saw it in the Scotland of the past and we see it in modern day nations from Iran to the United States.

Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism - its all Dotaman, just different tunes.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Good cop, bad cop... free to kill cop

Ian Tomlinson was assaulted by a uniformed policeman whose ID number was obscured and who was wearing a balaclava. Tomlinson had NO part in whatever protest was taking place around him.

The offender is alleged to be PC Simon Harwood. Perhaps those courageous law abiding citizens at the Daily Mail or some similar organ that usually crusades on behalf of 'law and order' can find it in themselves to bring a private prosecution based on the evidence shown in The Guardian's video above.

Lastly, in recent years we have seen ample evidence of the nature of some cops - yon guy fantasising about being a Klu Klux Klansman and executing Asians comes to mind - and there have been many 'suspicious' deaths in police custody or in the course of their work on the streets. Even if you disregard the conspiracy theories surrounding the state and its police force, one should accept that human nature in whatever role it adopts is fallible, and ask, 'When was the last time a policeman/woman was charged with murder? '

Info on, or donations to:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Not the Tartan Taliban?

Its been one hell of a godless week. A smattering of press articles on the under-scrutinized subject of religious mania in Scotland appeared and Bill Maher's religious-bating comedy-documentary Religulous arrived on the doorstep courtesy of the entertainment spirit known as Lovefilm and all to a soundtrack of melodic intellectual punks Bad Religion with hymns to non-belief such as American Jesus and Don't Pray on Me.

It is one year since the first Sabbath breaking ferry gave those on Lewis who are not affiliated with one of Abrahamic splinter groups, sects and outright heidcase cults the 'Satanic choice' of travel on a Sunday. It is roughly 5000 years since pre-Celtic inhabitants erected the first Calanais stones, probably because of some vague religious stimulus, ironically in the rough shape of a Celtic cross - predating the suicide mission of the son of God (or was it just God himself in a convenient flesh and bone package?) by some 3000 years. Surely the best scuppering of Roman glory until Italy's recent embarrassing exit in the World Cup.

A recent BBC report brought a smile to my face in which a spokes-mortal from the Free Church Continuing denied that his band of Old Testament obsessed zealots were bullies or 'Taliban'. Some may point out that were the various churches that exist in the Isle of Lewis that extreme then they would have wasted no time in removing yon monument to paganism that is the idolatrous complex of stones at Calanais as did the Taliban with ancient Buddhist statues.

I cannot claim here to offer documented proof of the following as there are so many sub-sects of hardline Presbyterianism active. Further to that, even island congregations of the more 'moderate' Church of Scotland tend to be more extreme, like some kind of St Kildan mouse - more rugged and robust than its effete mainland cousins. To my knowledge though the 'Wee Frees' demand rigid adherence to the Old Testament of the King James' Bible. This results in opposition to:
  • the theatre - I've never really seen the theatre as a kind of petri-dish of Satanism but I guess King James' grasp of ancient Hebrew was better than mine
  • Sabbath breaking - only 'work of necessity' should be carried out on the 'Day of the Lord'. However, if you are gonna be anal about it, then the Sabbath means Saturday. End of.
  • pleasures of the flesh - the classic bogey man. Gay sex, women's rights, masturbation, adultery, sex outside marriage, abortion, scud mags, contraception etc... The usual bugbears of virtually every religious heidcase from Stornabad to Islamaway. But why cherry pick these fruits? Do they also demand that every boy is circumcised? After all, the guid book tells us that God almost killed Moses, of all people, for refusing to mutilate his son's genitals. Or how about women's 'monthly uncleanliness'? While Biblical enthusiasts may shout about the above on a regular basis, they seem less forthright about their chosen punishment for those of us who fall by their spiritual wayside - death. Maybe its this one point more than the others that sees equation with the Taliban as a given. Traditionally, such sinners were put to death by stoning or burning. Do they uphold this? I look forward to learning more.
  • music - as per the theatre, another test tube in which Satanic microbes breed uncontrollably. Unfortunately, according to Professor Willie Ruff of Yale University, gospel music has its origins in the Presbyterian psalm singing of black slaves. Join the dots from gospel to RnB to blues and the irony of it is that the unaccompanied psalms of Gaelic-speaking puritans may have given birth to the very rock 'n' roll that sees young girls seduced by ageing Rolling Stones and Oi Polloi singing 'When Two Men Kiss'.
  • vanity - myself and the Wee Frees may find some common ground if we were discussing the forthcoming Tom Cruise family reality show but of course, the Wee Freaks take it all too far. I was told by an islander of a native Niseach who went on Radio nan Gaidheal to talk of his wartime experiences only to be later castigated by his local kirk for 'vanity'. He may have survived being torpedoed by both the Nazis and the Japs but the guided missile of Calvin didn't miss.
  • dancing... Auld joke time: "Why are Presbyterians against sex standing up? It may lead to dancing."
  • black magic - or an sgoil dhubh in Gaelic. One reverend who recently called for Calvinists to 'lighten up' and see the likes of Harry Potter for the classic kids' literature that it is was criticised for "endorsing witchcraft".
The fact is that these maniacs are an embarrassment for most islanders. Religion in one form or other has always existed in Scotland, however this dour and extreme Calvinist doctrine is itself a relatively recent import as observed by Gaelic historian and Sabbath-breaking enthusiast Dr. Finlay MacLeod,

"A posse of Calvinists came to Lewis three or four generations ago. They were very effective. They turned Lewis effectively into a theocracy."(Click here for the full article from the Herald)

Though the Leodhasaich may now travel to the mainland by ferry or plane on a Sunday some normal aspects of everyday life are still banned by the cowardly Comhairle nan Eilean Siar such as keeping sports centres closed. Is this out of respect for a dwindling number of mostly aged Christians? Or do they really fear the wrath of god as some proclaimed was witnessed when a whirlwind hit Stornoway last year?! Whatever, some islanders are campaigning for the right to swim in Lewis like you can in Catholic Barra.

Religion remains a poison. Good morals come from common sense and not from ancient middle-eastern texts that encourage us to see women as second class, foreskins as evil, literature as Satanic and whatever other people do with their bodies in their own bedrooms as our fucking business.

You can read an islander's perspective on Iain MacIver's blog here.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Stirling Albion bought by fans

Congratulations to the community of Stirling fans who have bought their football club. Stirling Albion are the first in the British isles to do so though such a concept in not unusual on the continent. Two of the biggest names in the sport - Barcelona and Real Madrid - are owned by their communities as are clubs in the Netherlands and Germany. The Scots' cringe may say, 'we canny do it', but many Scots are doing it already.

The coming of the Scots' Parliament gave crofting communities the right to buy their own land. The crofters of Asainte in Sutherland were the first to mount a hostile takeover bid. They were soon followed by the islanders of Eigg - see above - who had been fucked about by a succession of rich and 'eccentric' landowners for decades to the point that islanders were forbidden to develop or maintain their own homes without permission from some wealthy and foreign fruitcake.

There has since been many takeovers of crofting communities - the latest being a hostile takeover of the Pàirc estate in Lewis. The hard work and dedication involved in these matters should not be underestimated but the flipside is that private ownership does not always work either. And, if it does work, does it work for everyone's benefit?

If communities can do it, why can't football clubs? In both cases we have livelihoods at stake as well as a lot of tradition and history involved. We've seen various clubs go under - Clydebank and Gretna come to mind from recent years - while many more are in deep trouble. Hearts are up to their necks in debt and should their mad owner withdraw many think it would be the end. However, if Stirling can do it, surely a large club like Hearts with a potential support of many tens of thousands could do it too.

Support Stirling Albion and lets leave the nay saying Scots' cringe in dark old days of the London empire.

Meal a naidheachd air Albion Shruighlea is gach deagh dhùrachd is soirbheachas leibh.