Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Enlightenment values, secular and/or sacred?

A lengthy interval twixt posts is explained by work commitments, my mother's birthday (a surprisingly pleasant day out in Liverpool with mother, brother, sister, nephews & neice), an addiction to the BBC TV series "Life On Mars" (I hadn't realised how good an actor John Simm was) & sundry football matches involving my beloved Liverpool F.C.
Last week saw the latest media mauling of Sir Iain Blair, the Met commissioner after he spelt out the ugly reality of racism & how the usual suspects in the media (take an ignominious bow, Rebekah, Dacre et al) fan the flames on the burning corpus of crime (http://media.guardian.co.uk/broadcast/story/0,,1695701,00.html ).
Blair, of course, has many a blemish. His handling of the Menezes case was contemptible. Yet he has surprised me with his willingness to go out on a limb over the "Institutional Racism" issue.
It's been a week when this secular atheist has found himself torn between the principle of tolerance & respect (specifically against the backdrop of the BNP trial & the Danish cartoons) & a Dawkinsesque urge to point out the inherent irrationality & anti-intellectual bias of all religious belief. What to do? Defend the right of a group of people to worship a dogma which condemns gays, women's rights, etc., or revive my somewhat dormant secular zeal, dismissing all theistic belief systems?

This blogging business, as anyone over 30 would say, grows in importance & influence. I've never subscribed to the view that blogging spells the end of journalism. Quite the opposite, in fact. It can & should be a useful supplement to what is, after all a skilled trade. Ruminating on this, I was pleased to see the issue fleshed out a little more (http://media.guardian.co.uk/mediaguardian/story/0,,1697633,00.html ).

Desperate to stay in the spotlight after his mini-holiday in the Big Brother house, George Galloway was arrested in Cairo & thrown into a cell for the night. Then the Egyptian authorities realised that another stay in unusual accommodation was probably what Galloway craved. So they quickly evicted him from their rather less salubrious "house".

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