Saturday, 13 March 2010

Growing fears over Muslim prison 'gangs'

The Muslim prison population in England and Wales has sharply increased in recent years. The BBC's Ushma Mistry hears from former inmates and prison officers who claim gangs of Muslim prisoners are an increasingly powerful force.

"Muslims run it. Muslims run the prisons and there's nothing the screws can do about it. For a Muslim you'd say it's good but for a non-Muslim, it's very, very bad," a former inmate called Jay says.

'Jay' has spent many years inside various prisons in the South of England

It is a claim which is backed by former prison officers and other inmates.

Jay, 24, is a Muslim and has been in and out of prison for most of his life. He openly admits to helping to convert non-Muslim inmates to Islam and has meted out violence against anyone who dares to "disrespect" his religion.

He first went to prison when he was 15 and said there were hardly any Muslims inmates back then.

"At the beginning not many knew about Islam. There weren't many converts. The mosque was empty, but nowadays jails are run mostly by the Muslims," he said. Read more
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Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Rethinking rehab: can 'evil' children be made good?

In my opinion, nobody is born evil (although nobody knows for sure) Everyone is born human, and human nature contains both aggressive urges and altruistic urges. We have a deep need to affiliate, to be around people, and no creature spends as much of its life depending on others as we do. Emotion and reason are the twin engines of motivation for children and adults; and emotion is ten times more powerful. Children are fuelled by emotion and learn to be reasonable, whereas adults try to be reasonable and are flooded with emotion.

If no child is born evil, we must account for terrible acts of aggression by a combination of factors: personality, which includes genetics; environmental circumstances, particularly the role models a child had between birth and the age of 7 or 8, which is a crucial time, and whether a child has been harmed or hurt by others; and whatever the opposite of luck is. The fact is, you can have the environmental cocktails but you need an opportunity too. Read more
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Monday, 8 March 2010

Accepting Ethical Diversity?: A Critical Appraisal of the Bishop of Liverpool’s Presidential Address

The Presidential Address of the Bishop of Liverpool is a significant development in the evangelical and wider Anglican debates about sexuality. It draws attention to key questions and is driven by a passionate concern for unity and more Christ-like patterns of discussion. It is, however, seriously flawed in its response to these concerns, unconvincing in its arguments and offers a way forward that in reality threatens to create greater incoherence and division.
This response sketches Bishop James Jones’ journey over the last decade before demonstrating the flaws in his central argument that Anglicans should “accept a diversity of ethical convictions about human sexuality”. Both in what it says and in what it fails to say the address apparently marks a significant step away from the traditional biblical, evangelical and catholic understanding of sexuality and the church’s teaching and discipline in this area. The heart of his case is an appeal to differences between Christians over just war and pacifism. This argument is shown to be inadequate in various ways but most basically because an appeal to diversity on one ethical issue cannot justify diversity on a quite different ethical issue. Read more
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Sunday, 7 March 2010

Bishop James Jones: Liverpool’s Muddy Waters flow towards Africa

[...] what is particularly arresting about the Bishop of Liverpool’s address is its scope. It presents a vision which does not stop at the boundaries of his own diocese. His plea is ‘that the Church of England and the Anglican Communion must allow a variety of ethical views on the subject as in this Diocese we do’ and he adds ‘This is I believe the next chapter to be written in the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. It is the chapter that is already being written in our Partnership in Mission with the Diocese of Virginia and with the Diocese of Akure in Nigeria.’

A partnership with this aim constitutes a serious challenge to the Church of Nigeria in particular and the GAFCON Primates as a whole who have as a matter of principle withdrawn from sharing ‘the same cup of salvation’ at Primate’s Meetings with those Primates who are sponsoring sexual immorality. It illustrates the subtle reality of the way that false teaching spreads; an evangelical bishop who has learned to accommodate himself to the secular pressures of England nonetheless retains a certain credibility with fellow evangelicals in Africa and then seeks to present partnership as collusion with his compromise.

In this light we see the wisdom of clause 13 of the GAFCON Jerusalem Declaration which affirmed the need to break communion with those who deny the orthodox faith in word or deed. The commentary on this clause (Being Faithful, p64) calls for action which is precisely the opposite of James Jones’ strategy for the Communion when it states ’there is a moral obligation to reject any teaching that denies or undermines the authority of God as revealed in the Scriptures, to expose its falsity and to break fellowship with those who promote it (Ephesians 5:11, Titus 3:10).’ Read more
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Bishop Jones's "Pre-emptive Surrender"

[...] Here’s the difference, Jim. I can opt out of killing foreigners. But I don’t get to choose my own Anglican bishop.

If I think that homosexual sex is a sin and my Episcopal Diocese is saddled with a practicing homosexual bishop, there’s no mechanism for someone like me to say, “I don’t want an unrepentant sinner confirming my kids. Bring in someone else.”

I can either let an unrepentant sinner confirm my kids or my kids don’t get confirmed.

It’s been pointed out here more than once that the church that did nothing about John Shelby Spong has no business complaining about Gene Robinson. Which is true(tolerate it and you might as well advocate it) although some of us pointed out that TEO merely let Spongy rave while in Robbie’s case, it acted officially and corporately.

That’s the key. When a church gives a pointy hat and hooked stick to a practicing, unrepentant homosexual, it has taken an official stand on the issue of homosexuality whether it thinks it has or not. And if no one is allowed to meaningfully dissent from that homosexual’s “episcopal” standing, then merely being allowed to hold a contrary opinion is worthless. Read more
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