Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Lies, more lies and moral cowardice

Since the row broke out a few weeks back because local Muslims want to meet in a ‘proper’ building instead of someone’s garage I've followed developments in the local press with interest.
It didn’t surprise me when the only Manx BNP member willing to identify himself joined in, or that my good mate Jim Hawkins made an honest and articulate case in opposition to a mosque – though I don’t share his opinion or fears.
It doesn’t surprise me that another letter was written by someone to timid to give his proper name or any of his address, yet claimed to speak for ‘others’. And I found it absolutely hilarious when, in a desperate attempt to boost numbers, there was even a letter (presumably dictated at a seance) from an objector who has been dead for years!
On a more serious note I was intrigued that no-one took up the gauntlet thrown down by veteran journalist Val Cottle, who asked, ‘Where is the moral leadership from the Lord Bishop, or other church or humanist groups, where is the rejection of such racist views from other politicians?’
Good question, Val. Wonder why nobody has answered it yet?
I knew some minority faiths had got together and penned a letter to the papers, then let the moment pass without agreeing the final wording. That’s a shame.
Churches Together in Mann? Forget it! What can you expect from a body where two ‘faith leaders’ both ring to check the other won’t be there before turning up to meetings where a maximum of four elderly blokes decide major statements on public morality representing ‘thousands’…. without daring to consult them?
And you can’t expect moral leadership anyway from a political squatter foisted on us by another country’s spook merchants, though this is usually the cue for a senior Anglican to try potting us secular types for small minded bigots, so the silence of Sentamu’s Apprentice was also curious.
Well, read http://www.iomtoday.co.im/news/Unholy-row-erupts-over-St.5321571.jp, and in particular the two additional pages, and all becomes clear. The Anglicans were about to sting the public for cash, so couldn’t have that spoiled by a public debate over religious buildings, privilege and the role religion plays, if any, in 21st century life.
On the strength of page 1, where it’s explained they’re ripping some pews out of the local cathedral to make a more flexible space, it seems fair enough. Yeah…. whatever. Do what you want with your playhouse, just don’t ask me to pay for it.
But then Canon Godfrey says, 'These maintenance costs can only be justified if the building is made to work for its living.'That means making it available to more than just the Anglican worshipping community’.
It’s when you get to page 2 and they refer to concerts, exhibitions and school visits before going down the rosy heritage and public facility path you realise this means a drain on the public purse, not just begging from local companies with a crap public image. When you think it through you realise there will be bids for cash from the heritage, conservation and education public pots, and that's just for starters.
In fact, given that at the last budget we were told no government departments are being allowed new projects, it looks like the future ‘public consultation’ referred to on the Cathedral changes is a sham exercise to rubber stamp plans already privately made between the churches, education and heritage bodies. No wonder the government is closing down public scrutiny of or participation in Manx heritage and public education (see http://www.gov.im/lib/news/registries/educationcouncil.xml and http://www.gov.im/lib/news/cso/reviewoftheconst.xml).
Ah well, bent business as usual with the Manx government and churches then. No wonder they dare not comment on real religious affairs for fear of us laughing.

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