Governments should call for an end to Middle-East mayhem
ANDREW J Shaw (May 2) has added blinkers to his rose-tinted glasses in his perception of the horrific actions of the Israeli army on the edge of the open-air prison camp (as described by ex-UK prime minister David Cameron) that is Gaza.
Encyclopaedia Britannica defines a concentration camp as an ‘internment centre for political prisoners and members of national or minority groups who are confined for reasons of state security, exploitation, or punishment usually by executive decree or military order... and without benefit of either indictment or fair trial’.
Does this sound familiar to Mr Shaw and if so how does he explain the action of Israel with the construction of the Gaza camp where the inmates are penned in on all sides, by land sea and air, unable to leave and murdered at will every few years by what Israel officials describe as “mowing the lawn”. The most recent invasion in 2014 was described by a senior US military officer as “removing the topsoil”, so horrified was he by the actions of the self-described “most moral army in the world”. And “mowing the lawn” is not a one-off but must be repeated often.
It is not generally known that 11 years ago, when Israel enclosed the unfortunate Palestinians in their concentration camp, their experts worked out the minimum number of calories the inmates would need to avoid starvation, which would (we hope) have brought world attention to this horrendous crime. Over the intervening years Israel has reduced the amount of food and water supplied by the occupiers to Gaza and electric power is now available for only four hours per day to these largely forgotten people.
Repeat ‘Hamas terrorists’ often enough and Palestinians become fair game. The recent atrocities, where thousands of unarmed men women and children have been mown down, was lamented by the IDF spokesman Brigadier General Ronen Manelis for the damage to Israel’s image.
Hospitals in Gaza, normally overrun, are now unable to help the huge number of badly injured people and, because of the complete blockade, are bereft of the necessary medical supplies to deal with them.
Life is so bleak and hopeless in the camp that the protesters at the fence prefer to face death or serious injury than continue the slow death in the concentration camp.
When are so-called civilised western governments and their Arab allies going to condemn and call an end to this shocking mayhem?
EUGENE F PARTE
Presbyterian edict an insult to ‘gay’ Christians
Equality, tolerance and understanding of others, no matter what their creed, colour or sexual orientation should be the guiding principles of morality, no matter where, in the 21 century.
Judging by the ‘great and good’ within the Presbyterian Church Assembly they have now gone about dragging us back beyond the 18th century by voting last week to forbid same-sex couples having their children baptised. The next step might be to say that a child is not worth an education, or hospital treatment, if its parents are not married – and since the Presbyterians have also refused marriage to same-sex couples the child will be caught in that pernicious cycle as well. The Doctrinal Committee has come to this generous conclusion based on their interpretation of the Bible, as they are charged to do, even though this is an ancient polemic that offers unsavoury advice on a lot of things that no-one in their right mind would inflict on anyone, never mind an innocent child.
Although I regard myself as a humanist, and gay man, I do sympathise with those committed Christians who also happen to be LGBTG. If their Christian profession is to be respected, they are entitled therefore to claim a right to the compassion and care of the Presbyterian Church in all its sacraments and ceremonies. I can only say that this Presbyterian doctrinal edict smacks of an insult to the ‘gay’ Christians sitting in the next pew – and the shunning of their children.
All is not lost, however; the delegates at the General Assembly need not fear that this LGBTG contagion is likely to spread among them as it would seem that the representatives of their fellow Presbyterians from Scotland were denied entry to the building on the grounds that at least one of them is a lesbian. I suppose it is akin to catching mumps.
Suffer the little children, indeed – but surely only if they are to blame for any of it. I wonder who, in the Doctrinal Committee, will feel empowered by God to throw the first stone at a child in their midst.
RICHARD P CRAIG
Bangor, Co Down
SF would do deal with anyone to gain power
Fionnuala O Connor (June 5) lauds Mary Lou McDonald for being the most prominent Yes campaigner in the recent abortion referendum. She says: “Recognising the wrongs done to women is at last a vote winner for Sinn Féin.” Fionnuala certainly hit the nail on the head there. That’s really what it was all about as far as Sinn Féin was concerned. Recognising just how emotive and divisive the abortion issue was as well as gauging the mood of the country, Sinn Féin saw their opportunity to capitalise from it. Everybody knows that Sinn Féin would do a deal with anyone, never mind with Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil, in order to get their hands on the reins of power in the Dáil.
Under the prevailing circumstances it wasn’t surprising that Sinn Féin chose not to recognise the wrongs that will be done to God only knows how many unborn Irish babies when the Eighth Amendment to Ireland’s constitution is repealed and abortion on demand is legalised.
Sinn Féin has already signalled their intention to lead the charge for abortion in the north as well. So much for the promise contained in the Proclamation that all the children of the nation shall be cherished equally. Does Sinn Féin now intend to omit that part whenever the Proclamation is read out at all future Easter commemorations?
Delusional view of most sacred act of worship
Free Presbyterian minister Rev Peter McIntyre is delusional in his view that prior to Luther’s “reformation” there was only “darkness” in Church history (June 11).
The Lord Jesus promised to be with His Church until the end of the world (Matthew 28:20). He did not say to His apostles, when He was returning to His Father, “there will be an absence now for 1,500 years until Martin Luther comes along with his novel additions to revealed truth”.
For 1,500 years, before Luther, God’s Light was in His Church as a host of martyrs, confessors, holy men, women and children, bore faithful witness.
Then in the 16th century, Luther came along and injected his own brand of darkness into Christian history, with his additions to the Word of God, his own psychosis and the resulting fragmentation of the Church right up to the present.
Rev McIntyre should look to the darkness in his heart and sect, which blinds him to such an extent that, in ignorance, he insults the most sacred act of Catholic worship as “evil”.
The catholic clergy, a totally male dominated religion, are quick to tell us all about the right of the unborn in the womb no matter the circumstances of the pregnancy. How could any man know what a woman must go through before she contemplates abortion. However, these men of the cloth have now it seems taken a decision that anyone supporting abortion cannot be married in church and their children cannot be baptised. What crime against the Church have any of these children committed?
I cannot see the logic in punishing the children for their guardians’ so-called sins.
Dunmurry, Co Antrim