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Thursday, 25 January, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 25 Jan 07, 05:22 PM

scotland_bbc_203.jpgYou may remember our reporter Angus Stickler's film which exposed the behaviour of Pastor Dieudonne Tukala who accuses children at his church of witchcraft. Tukala preaches his self styled gospel - and in his own words - it's a gospel of brutality. One boy whom he diagnosed as a witch was later branded with an iron by his father because he believed his son was a witch. But after a ten month investigation, the police said they are unable to charge the pastor. Campaigners are calling for new laws to make it a criminal offence to demonise children.

Also, should TV phone-in quizzes be better regulated? And would scrapping GMT cut carbon emissions?

Join Kirsty at 2230GMT on BBC Two and on the website for Thursday's programme and leave your thoughts below.

Comments  Post your comment

Bit difficult for us to do that while we are busy demonising every teenager who wears a hood.

Until this country becomes a little less paedophobic, and invests some money in the welfare of the next generation of taxpayers, we should be very careful about lecturing others on the morality of their fear of children - however appalling it may be.

  • 2.
  • At 07:20 PM on 25 Jan 2007,
  • David Meikle wrote:

Should the South dictate to the North?

  • 3.
  • At 10:21 PM on 25 Jan 2007,
  • Adrian wrote:

The reports suggest that there is nothing in UK law to prevent the witchcraft accusations and, in your words, "demonisation" of a child.

As a pagan, I beg to differ.

Witchraft is a religion. Witchcraft is a religion free of demons. Witches do not believe in Satan, whereas Christians do believe in Satan.

As a peaceful, loving, nature-revering religion, witches would believe that the laws prohibiting incitement to religious hatred would be used against those calling for the death of anyone on the basis of witchcraft - whether those suggestions are true or otherwise.

So, it's in the police's hands. Incitement to religious hatred is already a crime. Witchcraft is a religion. Where's the problem? Go arrest the guy.

  • 4.
  • At 11:18 PM on 25 Jan 2007,
  • doc bob wrote:

i found it very worrying that Lord Falconer could deny the obvious with such ease.

Take the Newsnight 'tv phone in-style' quiz: http://tinyurl.com/2ml2u3

QUESTIONS:

Following on the government myopic & unsubtle forced pace of Gay/Lesbian parenting into the adoption arena (in respect of Christian agencies) placing this minorities issues above the concerns of the majority (religious communities offering the service outnumber the people in Gay/Lesbian communities demanding the service).

Q.1 does a child awaiting adoption get a choice in the sexual orientation of the couple proposing to adopt them?

Q.2 if a child objects to being placed with Gay/Lesbian couple, will it count against them, the child in effect going to the back of the queue?

Q.3 if a child objects to being placed with Gay/Lesbian couple, will they be marked as homophonic deemed in need of re-education ?

Q.4 can heterosexual guardian/s, legally sign into their will that if their child ends being a Ward of the State/Court, that they can opt out of having Gay/Lesbian foster & adoptive parents for said child (& it will be upheld)?

The reason I am asking, is too follow the logical exceptions & consequence that will have too be considered, since this ill paced law is being expanded.

In the long term, believe such expansion/demand of rights, will do the Gay Rights movement no good, it’s a regressive step.

We have exceptions in other areas (health, animals) so the unwillingness to accommodate a world religions 2,000+ history on such matters (family & children) is more a intentional & deliberate militant move ref societal change, regardless of consequence & impact.

To be clear, Christian adoption agencies are not preventing adoptions by Gay/Lesbian couple, they seek to continue with the practice to pass such requests they receive onto other agencies.

Some people are denied deal treatment (despite their taxes & laws supposedly there to enable this via the NHS) … so have to go private - is that prejudice or common sense?

Ref to Goods & Services part of act.

Q. what next, Gay Christian in confessional * sues priest for penalising them for a lifestyle choice by having to do penance & calling it a sin?

* judged as a service

vikingar

  • 7.
  • At 02:16 AM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • mr wallace wrote:

doc bob @ 4 says"lord falconer could deny the obvious"was worrying.let me explain.Falconer is a trained lawyer and has been through all the nesassary education,learning all the skills to be an effective debater in the courts.Its an adverserial system born on winning arguments to convince a jury/judge/magistrate.It is commonly excepted that to be a good lawyer you must not have any scruples what so ever,and to speak untruths with ease and impunity.Some will say that the next least honourable profession after being a criminal is to be a lawyer .Falconer finds himself at the highest position of the judiciary,as the lord chancellor not on merit but by his association with another wily tricky lawyer namely Tony Blair.Cronyism is rampant in this labour govt and laywers are rather prominent scattered with hacks of below average trained lawyers like Geoff Hoon to that ramberling"any way the wind blows"jack straw,who if they had continued their original profession would not even get a post answering the phones at the crown prosecution service.A law should be made to outlaw any individual who is or was a lawyer to enter the political arena as that profession makes them unsuitable because traits such as honesty, integrity,fair judgement ectera is absent from them.They lie with ease due to years of practice. and sleep like babies.. there are exceptions such as ming campbell,but they are rare.post script.i am not a lib dem voter

  • 8.
  • At 08:59 AM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • Ivo Susolik wrote:

There were no signs of Christianity. Instead of that, we could se charismatic people stretching ideology into exremes. There may be signs of sect but it needs to be investigated not ignored. Those african communities are easily inlfuenced by their religion leaders, who benefit financially. Therefore it must be a good business. Unfortunately, children and their parents suffer. We have people, professional, intelligent and educated enough to look into those communities in order to ensure people's identities are not abused. Police should have rigts to tackle those cases and we need a law to protect innocent children.

  • 9.
  • At 10:21 AM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • A. Havinga, The Netherlands wrote:

Dear Newsnight, I spent a lot of time drafting a largely positive comment for this section of your website, only to have it rejected and deleted because of the fear of malicious practice. I understand the latter, but the price is that your platform for readers' comments actually turns out to be quite inaccessible, which is a pity.

  • 10.
  • At 11:03 AM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • chris wrote:

Dieudonne Tukala - this kinda spooked me out, switched over, french film and matt damon, then back to see kirsty resplendent in red/black against rich blue lighting, then had thoughts of solution to middle east hatred - they all loose memory of violence towards each other ! Back to paul mason, lovelly tacky red telephones, back on the PC review Nikola Tamindzic photos and email him questions on his technique, then look at photos by Otto Snoek before falling asleep.

  • 11.
  • At 11:21 AM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • Richard Battersby wrote:

Itis perhaps a true sign that MPs at Westminster, since most of the major legislation at Westminster comes from Brussels and is merely nodded through without any debate, have very little to do other than churn out the same owas just as dark as it would have been at 8.30ld chestnuts which have been rejected before.

"Carbon emission" are being used as a reasons for all sorts of daft ideas with very little, usually no, proof that they will make any difference at all.

We live in a tewnty four hour a day society. Fiddling with the clocks does not change the amount of daylight available it merely means that different people see less of it. London this morning at 7.30 (GMT) was just as dark as it would have been at 8.30 (BST).

Leave it alone and find something more useful to do!

A Havinga (9),

A hint: If you get the malicious malicious posting message, DO NOT FOLLOW THE LINK PROVIDED. You will lose (as you have learned) your carefully crafted messsage.

USE THE "BACK" Button on your browser,
and try again.

TEAM: You really should do something about the malicious malicious posting message, which often appears when no attempt to post has occurred in hours or even days.

MORAL PANIC AT THE HOME OFFICE

It must have seemed a good idea at the time. By the Millennium New Labour had won, or so it thought, the arguments over education and health; the areas where it was traditionally strong and fortunately the areas which led the list of issues which the electorate rated most important; hence the 2005 election result. So, to win even more convincingly, New Labour moved in on the one area where the Tories still had a slight lead; that of law and order.

This seemed an even better decision after 9/11, especially when the neo-cons in the US demonstrated that fear of crime, and in particular terror, could be made a vote winner; even if the fear was irrational.
The result was the race to be the most macho, hard-men in politics. The government tried to cap every (hard-right) promise by the Tories; though, of course, the latter could promise as much as they wanted since they were never in any danger of having to implement their promises. The clamour for actions on crime, and then anti-social behaviour and, of course, that old whipping boy – immigration, steadily grew; until, fed by alarmist stories in the media (which sensed that readers and viewers wanted to read sensationalist items about it), this ‘amplification spiral’ – beloved of sociologists – grew into the ‘moral panic’ even more beloved of these sociologists.

We now have the Home Office at the focus of this ‘panic’, paradoxically where its ministers more than any others have nourished the process; adding ever more laws to – as they thought - tighten their grip on undesirables. Thus ASBOs were inflicted at one extreme and longer prison sentences handed out to ever more ‘criminals’; even though the crime rates were falling overall and the evidence was that prison was an ineffective, and very costly, way of correcting behavior.

In political practice the even worse practical problem was that, fed by their own slogans about the need to ‘crack down’, this only set new standards of intolerance which the public then adopted as their new position – and demanded even more. Ultimately the Home Office has now reached the point where it can no longer deliver success in meeting its own targets in most areas it covers.
Thus, New Labour has presented a gift to the Tories, by swamping its own traditional vote winners in education and health with the morass they have created in the Home Office. They have set the new priority agenda for political success which only the Tories able to promise, giving us just what is supposedly needed without the requirement to deliver it.

Fortunately there are still three or more years for New Labour to put moral panic behind it – but Gordon Brown does not seem minded to do that!

  • 14.
  • At 02:33 PM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • Albertini Small wrote:

To NO. 7. I couldn’t agree more with your wide generalisations and wild misconceptions about the legal fraternity in this country. Indeed how could we afford a profession so versatile with their use of honesty the position of representing society in a publicly funded Prosecution Service? It would be too much to suggest that they have achieved successful prosecutions of the more subversive elements of British society. How is that we could allow a profession that has so readily abandoned all ethical belief and regard for civil justice to involve itself in the running of a lawful society? Imagine the desperate situation that would occur, civil rights would be enshrined in legislation, wrongful and unjust convictions would be successfully appealed, driving whilst under the influence of alcohol would be a criminal offence, truly it doesn’t bare thinking about. What has the legal profession done for us, what did Lord Denning really achieve?

  • 15.
  • At 05:34 PM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • Bob wrote:

RE Gay/Lesbian adoption;

It is in-arguable that the best family upbringing for a child is a hetrosexual one. Obvisouly there are exceptions ( eg when one of the same sex partners is a parent).

If MPs believe it is of no significance if the adoptive parents are same sex, then i) they are wrong and ii) they are considering the adoptive parents BEFORE the child.

Any law that criminalises good being done is bad law. Any law that restricts freedom for the majority is wrong. Discrimination is when the law prevents a service being given, not when a choice of service is offered.

We can only pray that the best opportunity will be provided to those children that need adoption.

The rest of the bill is so flawed it will have to be repealed sooner or later.

  • 16.
  • At 10:00 PM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • vikingar wrote:

Ref #15

"Discrimination is when the law prevents a service being given, not when a choice of service is offered"

An excellent choice of sentiment & words.

POOR LAW - typically gets circumvented & ignored as its unenforceable & not respected by those who are supposed too impose it on those who are supposed to adhere to it.

BAD LAW - as above, eventually gets repealed.

vikingar

  • 17.
  • At 11:07 PM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • Robert, Brussels wrote:

So according to Newsnight tonight it now looks as though, Blair will have to accept the majority cabinet view that there should be no exceptions to the law on same sex discrimination. If this means that Ruth Kelly resigns then it is high time, and few will miss her.

More importantly, if it means the closure of catholic adoption agencies, so much the better. I find it incredible that this weighty responsibility is assigned to ANY religious grouping.

We criticize the French for a lot, but at least they have got their act together as a secular state, viz the debate about wearing the headscarf in schools.

  • 18.
  • At 03:59 AM on 27 Jan 2007,
  • vikingar wrote:

Ref Robert Brussels #17

" I find it incredible that this weighty responsibility is assigned to ANY religious grouping"

Yep, we should leave all our major decisions to the self elected neo left & liberal supremacists ... 100% secular Europeans atheists, a distinct societal extremist interfering minority *

errr ... just another minority & typical group that history produces, with airs & graces who want too impose a new socialist order on EU societies the majority of whose people live by values & in societies based on the cumulative lessons (good & bad) of history, culture, law & institutions based in religion.

EDUCATION:

After all in the UK, have not the secular state education system (there to eradicate dual influences of 'class' & Christianity in society) done such a great job turning out model citizens, both academically accomplished & sound social values & behaviours … not :(

Good example of typical agenda driven propaganda ref secular via religious schools argument [1a]. *

* Guardian stats wrong 45% of the UK population are not atheist [1a] its approx 23% [1b] [1c] [1d]

The opposite view, secular v religious schools (though do not agree will all views) [2]

RELIGION:

Religion is not the problem, the fundamentalists, radicals & extremists, emanating from the fringes of religious, atheist & political ideologies are.

For example, Christianity is & has learned from its myriad of mistakes & is regarded as being central to world populations, its why it’s the world main religion [0]

Atheists account for 16% of world population, whilst 84% of the rest believe in religion [0]

Q. are atheists that ignorant & arrogant to believe they know best?

In The United Kingdom, Christianity is a force for good. As a religion it makes mistakes (its people based) but it has disproportional good & positive impact (faith, service, education, Charity, NGO etc).

We are a Christian Society, our history, culture, institution & law emanate from it … a reality check for some :)

LIBERAL LEFT:

The vocal, disproportionally active but distinct minority of self appointed 'societal engineers' out to foster radical change in British society, come from two distinct groups:

- The Left
- Liberal Supremacists

Since 1960's, they have embarked on active campaigns (some noble in cause & effect) but majority driven by an inner rage against the history & society of The United Kingdom, & its had dire effect.

1) Our society is less cohesive & respectful.
2) Shared & common values that bind have become frayed
3) Extremism & fundamentalism is the direct consequence of the failed experiment of multiculturalism.
4) Right On & PC agenda is encroaching, seeking to displace established norms & values.

SOCIETY & CULTURE:

As a Liberal Conservative, I applauded the diversity we have in The United Kingdom, that is a direct result of history, politics & decision … both good & bad.

Given globalisation is taking hold, a society with diverse minorities are our 'Ace in The Hole' & this consequence of Empire & Commonwealth is an enabling means to promote British views & values in economny, society & politics back out into a changing world.

However, in celebrating minority cultures at home, the vast majority of people in this country acknowledge that they wish to ensure the dominating culture of mainstream British Society is preserved & enriched by its latest additions.

The very same mainstream British society that has enabled non indigenous emerging & satellite cultures & differing views too exist. The British mainstream acts as both enabler & referee, ensuring no one set of emergent set of ideals undermines the very stability we all enjoy.

British mainstream society is intentionally dominant & the vast majority want it that way, it provides the stability & glue that binds us together, ensuring we have more in common than not.

Furthermore, an increasing number within the mainstream have come to recognise the where the real & greatest threat to British society emanated … the continuing undermining & interfering actions of political extremism embedded in the liberal left, whose inept & misguided interfering has enabled religious extremisms to take root in minority cultures.

btw - in Europe not run by Europe …. care to put it too the vote with the British Electorate?

SUMMARY:

No one of real consequence with a handle on reality, are looking towards the very people who caused the problem for solutions (the liberal left) especially since they remain unreformed, zealots & in denial of their continuing failures

Great Article from Nick Cohen, writing in the Observer …. ' Don't you know your left from your right?' [3]

We don't surmount the challenges of The United Kingdom by throwing away an historical proven faith based system (religion) which the majority embrace & oust it with a newer faith based system (the failing experiment of atheist secularism) which only a distinct minority wish to pursue.

btw - the same distinct minority with agenda & aims of their own, which can only be fostered & strong armed on the majority via legislative stealth (domestic or EU variety) not openly via the ballot box :)

vikingar

SOURCES:

[0] http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html
[1a] http://education.guardian.co.uk/schools/story/0,,590352,00.html
[1b] https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/print/uk.html
[1c] http://www.statistics.gov.uk/census2001/profiles/commentaries/ethnicity.asp
[1d] http://www.religioustolerance.org/uk_rel.htm
[2] http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/peter_franklin/2006/04/secular_supremacists_should_so.html
[3] http://observer.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,,1995096,00.html

  • 19.
  • At 02:15 PM on 27 Jan 2007,
  • Frank Dazely wrote:


I was a bit baffled by the report on witchcraft.Was there really any point in trying to conduct a reasonable conversation with somebody who made no attempt to hide his corruption of innocents,and who didn't even seem to understand that a photograph could constitute evidence?

  • 20.
  • At 07:53 AM on 29 Jan 2007,
  • Jenny wrote:

A most useful piece on the devilish, supposedly named "Godgiven", preacher. Why are men like that allowed to establish themselves here, and come and go so freely? Presumably "freedom of religion" equates with freedom to immigrate, at least for supposed xtians. There were problems with the report. Why was the reporter only concerned with the London area in saying how many such "churches" there might be and how they advertise? Was he intending the piece only for south-east news? Such "churches" are in many British cities, and promote themselves wherever possible - posters, cards dropped into bags at supermarkets, radio stations, the internet. Why, apart from emotional appeal, was he only concerned with demonisation of children? Would demonisation of an adult, or a class of citizens, be fine? Why did he rate that anglican and catholic clergy perform exorcisms (on buildings) was more worthy of mention than the many xtain "pastors" who regularly "drive out spirits" or "devils" from people during services, including services televised worldwide?

I'm reminded of Jeanette Winterson writing of a young girl being violently, unwillingly, and terrifyingly subjected to a exorcism, on the floor of the front room of her home, by the family's pentecostal minister in a northern town in the 1950s in 'Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit'. The devil was supposedly causing her lesbianism. Independent women, single mothers, or lesbians have historically very often been accused of having the devil within, as with the ill and the insane. I doubt these new "churches" believe any different.

It cannot be doubted that money from unregulated American "churches" (most of the preachers are "graduates" of american bible schools and start as franchised "pastors" of those chains), and fraud and corruption in Africa funds them here - they have large premises, expensive vehicles and all the technology they could ever need. And yes, they cause fear and division.

The police letter with which the man was so delighted said there was insufficient evidence. Did the police have all the footage we were shown? Perhaps he had totally lied about the power he claimed to have had over children's lives, as he lied about so much else (he apparently claimed that a child "witch" had tried to restrict the breathing of a baby by tying several very thick video cables around the baby's placenta, which would mean it was still in the mother's womb; a crazy assertion as any woman would know, and yet there were dozens of women in his congregation nodding in agreement)? There isn't a crime of falsely claiming to have harassed children to their death. Perhaps his followers refused to testify against him. Him being such a large and unprincipled man.

The official response was that no new laws were needed, but it would be interesting to know in respect of exactly what complaints that was meant. The police and prosecutors have often avoided taking action that could easily have been taken under existing laws because they felt it was not worth their time, that they did not have the resources (such a black officers who could work undercover in such communities, such congregations), or it might disrupt other work. They have often failed to assist other victims of harassment and bullying for those reasons.

In discussing the adoption topic Vikingar demanded of me how far I thought action should go in preventing religious demonisation of minorities (such as lesbian and gay couples). Just in provision of public services, or in sermons too? Well, thankyou Newsnight for immediately providing the example of why laws apply to speech and publications too.

Just as that renegade Islamic preacher was prosecuted for urging hatred against Jews and non-believers, and indeed death to them (as evidenced by his own recordings), so other religious psychopaths need to be regulated. As Angela Eagle quite rightly said, we cannot have discrimination on grounds of "conscience" or "belief" against people living lawful lives, or else all anti-discrimination law fails. We cannot have impressionable followers of charismatic faiths being instructed to harm, persecute or hate people living lawful lives, whoever they are: members of other religions, or non-believers, or groups or individuals who are selected for some other reason, whether it be their sexuality, or that someone claims they are a "witch". The rhetoric or preaching has to have limits. Past that and it become "religious hatred", further and it become inciting discrimination, violence, even death. Whether it is an a preacher advocating that children believed to be "witches" or "possessed" be beaten, or shipped to some country where they can be "treated", or an archbishop saying, for no reason but "belief", that some people are "intrinsically disordered", incapable of forming relationships worthy of respect, and so must be barred rights others enjoy.

They can believe what they wish, but if they can strongly influence others to act hatefully against other humans living lawful lives or make people feel harassed and fearful then it goes too far. It is going to take some time for that to sink in to people drunk on the power of their faith, and one understands the police and prosecutors thinking that a "light touch" is best in the meantime. But some will take a "light touch" as support (whether from the authorities, or their god), and probably seek to demonstrate their influence. Just as the Archbishops have taken concessions on religious schools as support they can use against homosexuals. The media, the police, and prosecutors must be ready to act. I hope Newsnight will keep following these obnoxious, and harmful people.

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