Thursday, August 24, 2006

Onward Christian soldiers

The Patherfinders (Adventist Scouts) in Northern Europe held an international camp in Denmark recently. My brother-in-law's father was a volunteer and did the dirty work of cleaning the toilets after the camp. There he met and talked with the woman in charge of maintaining the camp site, who asked some poignant questions.

When the Adventist Pathfinders booked the camp site this woman did some research into Adventism and was therefore very surprised by the 'square-bashing' and marching by the English Pathfinders. This militarism combined with songs using war rhetoric and symbolism was contravy to what she thought was Adventists opposition to war and violence.

Having served in the military and now being committed to pacifism, I am deeply uncomfortable with the use of military symbols and rhetoric in the Church. Most of all, however, I wish we would think long and hard about what message we send to others when we do things, whether its Pathfinders, singing or whatever it is we do.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Comment on Israel

One of my lecturers at the University of Southampton, Oren Ben-Dor has published this article on the Israel-Lebanon/Hezbollah in The Independent the 26th of July.

I've had Ben-Dor for the Legal Method course and I hope to take his Jurisprudence class in my third year.

Although I would be hesitant to state, as Ben-Dor does, that the removal of Palestinians from Israel in 1948 was a carefully planned expulsion, I do agree that Israel uses its well established status as victim to act violently and aggressively.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


My wife and I are moving from our flat at Newbold to a house we have rented in Southampton. Most of our things are now in boxes and we are almost ready for the movers to come on Thursday.

The house we are moving into is newly built semidetached house which we have rented it through some personal acquaintances.

Hopefully we will stay in Southampton for two years until I am finished studying. We don't know if the church will hire Becky when she has completed her MA, so we really don't know what is going to happen to us in the future.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Court of Appeal judgment.

On the day when Tony Blair said:
"We will not win the battle... Global extremism unless we win it at the level of values as much as force and unless we show we are even-handed, fair and just in our application of those values to the world." (See this Guardian article)
... the Court of Appeal called his own governments anti-terrorist control orders 'draconian'.

The court found that control orders, which confined 6 terrorist suspects to their flats 18 hours a day imposed under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005, were contrary to the article 5 of European Convention of Human Rights. Article 5 guarantees the right to liberty of the person. Fore more on the judgment these article from the Times and Guardian.

I support of the Court of Appeal's judgment as control orders deprieve individuals of their liberty without trial.

The European Convention of Human Rights is not a strongly worded document and is actually a very weak a protection of liberties. Yet, the British government finds it increasingly difficult stay within its limited boundaries.

Tony Blair is right when he argues that the West most win its struggle with extremism at the level of values and not force. It is, however, hard trust him when his own government attacks fundamental liberal values such as no indefinate detention without trial.