WERE PETER AND THE PASTOR RIGHT? by Harry McAvinchey

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Right !! Now that Peter Robinson has bounded forth and with one mighty leap has apologised and escaped his accusers one more time….was the seemingly non compos mentis pastor really right all along?

Have we all made a misjudgement based wholly on his cack- handed delivery and because of this did we miss his message?Did we, in fact, aim all our arrows at the messenger and in doing so, allow the real target of ire to slip past ghostlike in the shadows.

We are so used to hate speech and noisy, overheated politicians  in Northern Ireland, that the moment  that “bell” is rung , we tend to slaver Pavlov-like and fight back at what we  fear most. In retrospect, with the pastor ,I think what we witnessed was his  own real fear on display. It is a fear he probably knows very well, based on literal readings of dense Stone Age tracts that have coiled around his psyche for a lifetime, leading him to preach that same fear of gods and  devil- demons that his Stone Age ancestors were equally in thrall to until the Age of Enlightenment.

Is the Muslim community carrying that very same fear , parcelled up in a different coloured , more exotic wrapper , but the same old fear just the same? Cultures are beginning to clash worldwide.Immigration in Britain has found a population ill-prepared for these new  voices , but also an immigrant population  poorly prepared by their background upbringing to be assimilated and live in the secular world most of us inhabit.Someone growing up in a village in rural Pakistan may not be best prepared to live in a modern Western city whose mores are radically at odds with anything he or she previously knew. It could be asked , would a devout Muslim ever feel truly comfortable  living a Western -style 21st century life.? Has anyone ever advised them on what kind of new commitment would be required to live this new type of life in the West….I mean , before they ever set foot on a Western shore.

I ask the question simply because  the pastor represents the other side of that similarly minted  other- worldly  coin. Both he and the  radicalised muslims who are attempting to take over  and balefully influence the schools in Birmingham have a very similar agenda in this modern secular world. They each  want their own nebulous  version of “reality” to hold sway. Obviously the laws of the land have to be applied , but not all of our citizens of any faith  or none stick to those civic guidelines.I have no problem with anyone practising their religion behind  closed doors where it should cause no one offence, should it be devil- worship  or the Gaia principle, so long as it is not encroaching on the secular mores of society in general or becoming confrontational on the city streets.

 The rest of us seem to only have roles as the increasingly  “halal” meat in this   uncompromising sandwich.

16 Responses to WERE PETER AND THE PASTOR RIGHT? by Harry McAvinchey

  1. Brian Patterson June 17, 2014 at 11:25 am #

    Think you may be residing too much Daily Mail, Jude. The Birmingham OFSTED inspection was a witch hunt based on tittle tattle. Seems that over here Muslims are the new Catholics.

    • Jude Collins June 17, 2014 at 12:10 pm #

      Brian – check again. Address all remarks to Harry,the sole author and progenitor…

      • paddykool June 17, 2014 at 12:52 pm #

        Yes Brian….As Jude implies, measure twice and cut just once , like the best craftsmen. It’s hadrly conceivable that Jude would hand over his column into the hands of the Daily Mail or its associates …even for one day.. It’s not always about our wee parochial conflict either . Themmuns and ussuns. Sometimes there’s a much bigger agenda and a wider picture to consider too…..To ask questions about….

  2. Eleanor June 17, 2014 at 4:16 pm #

    Would a devout Muslim ever feel comfortable living a Western style 21st century life? Yes they would.I have relatives living in UK and France who can .. And one is a young professional footballer.
    Do you actually know any Muslims?

    • paddykool June 17, 2014 at 5:33 pm #

      Elanor and Brian :

      This is a conversation about the “extremes” of two fundamentalist mindscapes at variance with each other .I have no doubt that many Muslims , Christians ,Jains, Buddhists and so on can quite easily co-exist but there are those that so obviously find problems with that shared space. Some of them even share forms of christianity that they have problems of compatibility with .They even build “Peace Walls” to keep themselves apart.
      Like i say , i have no personal religious belief but I know many people right across the strata of religious belief.s It still leaves me with no doubt that many pay lip-service to their faith at best and others at the more virulent end , want to shove it down the throats of the disinterested ..I draw the line at that.

  3. Brian Patterson June 17, 2014 at 4:58 pm #

    Excuse me Jude seeing as this is the Jude Collins blog and the same Jude has chosen to print it in full and (atypically) without comment I just thought you might be prepared to accept some responsibility for disseminating it. I certainly would not have had occasion to read it otherwise. As for ‘Paddy’ (aka Harry?) Believe it or not I don’t see everything in terms of “themmuns and us” so please don’t patronise me. Michael Grove is playing politics in Birmingham and running scared of UKIP.Sad that his claims should receive uncritical acceptance by some who should know better.

    • paddykool June 17, 2014 at 6:29 pm #

      Brian:
      I would dearly like to know how you thought that this was a right -wing attack on the muslim community in the Uk .That is the impression i get from your bruised reply.That is the implication of the “Daily Mail” reference..{an insult already!}… I believe that you ran in booting without properly reading…

      “We are so used to hate speech and noisy, overheated politicians in Northern Ireland, that the moment that “bell” is rung , we tend to slaver Pavlov-like and fight back at what we fear most.”…
      …..as Jude knows and you probably know yourself, the right -wing allusion is way off the mark in any case.There is no intention to patronise but i think you got the wrong end of the stick in your haste.

      What is being said in light of the fear on both sides is that this fundamentalism can be common to both Christianity and the Muslim belief systems. There is a curious common bond there , if you like , where the extremes on each “side” are having an equally hard time existing with the secular mores of a western 21st century culture which in cities especially , is more secular than they would be used to .A poorly educated person from a small backwater in another country would be doubly culture -shocked at being transplanted into a new world where cultural adjustments would have to be made or laws would be broken.

      We are gradually hearing of witchcraft practices being imported from parts of Africa. There is much debate about Female Genital Mutilation and arranged marriages and honour killings in immigrant communities….All these are part of a culture-shock/ divide that is having to be confronted in the here and now.

      Not all immigrants arriving are professional , educated , forward thinking.. Many will find difficulties leaving behind traditions that will appear bizarre to Western secular eyes.
      It’s not enough for us to sit on our hands and squabble about flags and marching when we’ll soon have a lot more colourful traditions to get our teeth into .If you feel somehow insulted or patronised by reference to … that,….. okay! , I would rather prefer to hear some fresh ideas on how all of this will be dealt with in the future. That is what we need to talk about…

    • Jude Collins June 17, 2014 at 6:43 pm #

      “Excuse me Jude seeing as this is the Jude Collins blog and the same Jude has chosen to print it in full and (atypically) without comment I just thought you might be prepared to accept some responsibility for disseminating it. I certainly would not have had occasion to read it otherwise.” What are you talking about, Brian? It says in big letters up there ‘by Harry McAvinchey’. I’m certainly not going to let something that’ll land me in the dock appear on my blogsite but short of that, I’m happy to give Harry freedom of expression. And no, I do NOT accept responsibility for his views – they’re his, after all.

      • paddykool June 18, 2014 at 8:26 am #

        Jude : Irony was always a tough call. That went well!

  4. Brian Patterson June 18, 2014 at 4:39 pm #

    First let me acknowledge that Jude is generous with his right of reply. I don’t wish to abuse this so this will be my last “bruised” comment on this subject.
    Jude I always read small print and the small print under HMcA’s article reads ‘By Jude Collins.’ In my book that gives you part ownership. This foal is ‘by Harry out of Jude’.
    Harry for someone who accuses others of going in with boots flying you are a bit of a ‘bruiser’. I never at any stage used the expression ‘right-wing.’ (Qui sent sent morveux se mouche?). and my remark about the Daily Mail was not meant to be taken that seriously. I am an avid reader of Jude’s column and usually agree with him. Neither do I believe that you are right wing or anti-muslim. But I do feel that the article and in particular the headline were ill_-judged and inappropriate at a time when Muslims are under physical attack by gobs and collective attack by a government running scared of UKIP. In your last comment you spoke of “irony” but I detected no irony in the piece. You spoke of “radicalized Muslim” attempting to exert “baleful influence” on Birmingham schools, intimating that you accepted the government’s line in Toto. The reality is more complex. You then concluded the article with a reference to the ‘increasingly halal meat’ in the sandwich. This to me smacks of Islamophobia. Your follow up remarks referred to honor killings and witch doctors. Well we have both of those phenomena here, we just have different names for them. We also have people who buried children in a septic tank and as for female genital mutilation a certain doctor on our east coast could have taught you thing or two about a few years ago. Not a Muslim hospital either. The difficulties you refer to can be addressed by the common law and by dialogue. You could have baanced your article and referred to the contribution of Muslims to the arts, to business and to the NHS. You did not. You cut your cloth but once and with very blunt scissors. Slan tamall. (PS I prefer to address you as Harry. I find ‘Paddy’ as a generic term for Irish people totally ‘uncool’.

    • Jude Collins June 18, 2014 at 6:10 pm #

      Brian – thanks for your detailed thoughts. I just want to respond to the bit about the extent to which this is my article. The answer is, it ain’t. Owing to the way this blog is set up, it automatically thinks I’m going to be the author of the piece. So people aren’t deceived, I put up in big letters who it’s by. You know perfectly well, Brian, that I had no hand, act or part in constructing this piece, other than providing a platform for it. In law, yes, I’ve no doubt a tight-buttocked lawyer could hold me responsible, but normal people would see it for what it is – Harry’s thoughts on Jude’s stage. And for the record, I think the Daily Mail is a force for…I nearly said ‘evil’ – let’s say soggy thinking/propaganda. It certainly exerts a baleful influence on the ‘thinking’ of Britain’s middle classes. But hey – don’t go away, Brian. I like people who can put an argument together. But maybe less of the French next time? Irish – that’s OK…

  5. Eleanor June 18, 2014 at 5:14 pm #

    Harry
    You say that you have no personal religious beliefs yet you feel qualified to comment on others whom you claim pay lip service to their religions.

  6. paddykool June 18, 2014 at 6:10 pm #

    I’m really glad I got you talking.The point of the piece is really that so much is left unsaid and never talked about.The fears I talked about cut right across the board obviously. People…even here in Ireland are suddenly having to get used to new cultures within a very short space of time. The pastor referred to was wholly out of his comfort zone and reacted with his poorly composed diatribe. The whistleblower in Birmingham obviously felt under similar pressure from radical Muslims in the community.These are only voices from the western Christian ethos reacting to the newness of a culture that has “suddenly” appeared in their communities and has frightened them every bit as much as wild animal loose in the community might.

    For someone like myself who has no belief in either Christianity, Mohammed or god, I have no problem saying that I feel like the man in the middle being squeezed by these opposing beliefs. It may have been flippant to describe the meat as increasingly halal.So be it. I do not have to apologise for believing in none of it. I am not telling anyone they can’t believe in anything they want to believe in. In fact the world is full of religions and cults.So what? I ‘ m all fr freedom of choice. I live in a society that allows me the freedom to be an unbeliever.

    Believe me, I have a very sceptical view of religious beliefs. I have lived for over sixty years and although I have encountered many people of all faiths who were true to thir beliefs, here in Ireland I have encountered much hypocrisy especially from those donned the righteous dog collar. I make n apologies for judging that hypocrisy for what it is and if the belief is full of holes , I have no problem looking through them.
    All these social problems which cultures and religions are bringing to the fore will have to be discussed openly.There is no point pretending that a lot of people out there who are not racists…who are not Islamaphobes are still frightened that their fears of these changes are not being addressed by their community leaders or their governments.We are in the same situation here with our two cultures and the sad lack of clear thinking by our own representatives.

    just for the sake of clarity, My wider family group contains a Philapino brother in law who is a Roman Catholic ,an Indian Hindu married to my wife’s sister, a Jehovah’s Witness (who was Church of Ireland) , married to another of my wife’s sisters, one Irish/Indian gay nephew, one Irish gay nephew ,who may or may not be Roman Catholic….and so on…There is myself one of whose Great grandfather’s was a Dublin Presbyterian of Hugenot origin… And so on to my own family where my children are all grown up atheists as is myself and my wife…..having been raised as Catholics originally.

    i do have a fair idea about a span of beliefs and lifestyles as you can imagine ,and I feel I can talk openly about these things. I do believe that a human being is capable of believing anything, given the right circumstances.All I ask is that nobody shoves any of it down my throat.

  7. paddykool June 18, 2014 at 6:40 pm #

    Brian:
    Just another thought .I typed that last piece quickly pn the IPad so there are a few dropouts and glitches for which …apologies! The other thing is that, like Jude himself , some things can be written “in character” , carrying an argument in another persona whose views may sometimes be radically different from my own . It’s not always black and white but it usually falls short of outright defamation .As Jude says , it’s his show , but he vets the performers before he lets them loose on stage….. it’s Jude’s world which he has kindly invited me into now and again to hopefully frighten, or at least stimulate ,the horses!
    The other thing about Paddykool . He’s actually a cartoon strip character I invented some forty tears ago as my alter -ego {Yes, really!} He was originally conceived as something like a Zen Buddhist….saying little but thinking plenty….sometimes I’ll let him out to talk……even yet….

  8. paddykool June 18, 2014 at 8:21 pm #

    Oh …yes “Paddykool” has no particular problem with his allotted nomenclature. it was initially foisted on him by a stoned, laughing Irishman who thought it was aptly descriptive of a Zen Irish dog who chose to dress like Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca , who wore shades, ate peanut butter copiously and smoked very non- (pre) PC Cuban cigars. he didn’t much care either that he was way cooler than anyone else….It was simply a fact of life .As Mutt said to Jeff….you can do anything you like in the comics!

  9. paddykool June 18, 2014 at 8:45 pm #

    S o… To answer the question that was asked at the top of the page…..are we agreeing that Peter and the Pastor are still wrong…..but a bit scared too?