Religion and Politics

Chat about anything local that doesn't fit elsewhere!
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Richard
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Religion and Politics

Postby Richard » Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:12 pm

I think people, rather generally speaking, whether attending gatherings related to a particular religion or not, would nonetheless acknowledge that some sort of 'service' is rather useful, at least with regard to celebrating marriage and death. We are all born into a designated religious system but that doesn't mean we are hide-bound by its rules and regulations.
In the not-too-distant past, the lives of everyone in this country were very much more tightly bonded, to a Christian belief-system, of some sort.
In Hastings, as elsewhere, if you did not attend religious services, you would be ostracized for not taking part. You had to be part of the system, at least in the quite recent 'Victorian' era.

It is with that background in mind that I am trying to understand the mindset of frequent visits by certain young men, of the Mormon faith, 'Latter Day Saints', often seen, in smart attire, walking about the streets in Hastings, attempting to explain their faith.
From frontier-times in the mid-west of America, where, in the 1840's, the Mormons were just one of many cults, when they, at first, set themselves apart from and then tried to re-integrate into mainstream society.
Mormons believe that Jesus paid for the sins of the world and that all people can be saved through his atonement. Basically they believe in the Bible and its teachings.
At home in Britain, the late Victorians of the 1880's, were probably first made aware of the Mormon faith, by the writings of Sherlock Holmes, in his first major novel, 'A Study in Scarlet, published in the 1880's, in which he, the G.P. novelist, wrote a story, set in the 1840's, about a father and daughter, rescued by a party, led by the second President of the Mormons, Brigham Young, the time of the great exodus of exploration into the American 'Wild West'.
The narrative, of Holmes, suggested that a daughter of a man in peril of starvation, was further obliged to marry into the Mormon faith, after receiving sustenance and shelter and that theme set the tone, regarding a suspected insidious Mormon manipulation and possible religious indoctrination.

We now see other newcomers in Hastings, with Jewish dreadlocks and the Torah, wasting their lives dedicated to studying ancient texts and beliefs, alien to us.
Young people, of certain good intelligence, yet willing to sacrifice their lives in the worship of matters, which are no longer adhered to by the population at large in Britain.
These Jews with dreadlocks, avidly following the Torah faith, are far less pro-active in mingling and communicating with the local populace - I just wonder what they are about.

Whatever changes have occurred, whether with Jews or Mormons, or what any other religion is about, it is clear that Government and current politics have now firmly taken over from the role of religion.
The State provides, in many and more varied ways than ever before, such that we are debating 'Brexit' and its effects on the economy, above all else.
People are, seemingly, only interested in money and the economy or are they just more easily manipulated on that level?
Perhaps that is why we may need to 'review the situation'...

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ColinL
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Re: Religion and Politics

Postby ColinL » Fri Jan 11, 2019 2:49 pm

Richard, You used the terms 'alien to us' towards the end of the piece in relation to the Jewish faith. Who constitutes 'us'?. I am atheist, writing from the heart of the Jewish, Muslim and other groups in Gateshead. The local Jewish community has been established here for over 120 years.

Their religious book is in essence the first bit of the CoE bible. The CoE was created because some bloke wanted male children. Jesus was a Jew who wanted his own group. The Muslim faith apparently worship the same God as everyone else but think their prophet is a better conduit.

I am therefore an incomer to an established Jewish community as I have only been here 20yrs. Again who are 'us' ?

An amusing story. One Saturday morning waiting in the queue for the car-wash 2 Jewish lads were asking drivers in front of me questions and then going to the next car and they eventuaĺly got to me and asked if I could help them with a problem in the Yeshive. They said it would only take a couple of minutes. I agreed and went in and was curious to find that there must have been 20 or 30 lads there. The 2 directed me down to the basement that was flooded with about 3 inches of water. They asked me if I could turn off the stop-cock, which all of them could reach. It was easy to turn. It was only later that I realised that in their world, turning off the water tap would constitute 'work' that they were not allowed to do on their religious day. Bizarre.

Some of the community integrate some don't. There are various Jewish businesses in the next street. There is a property management company that owns and runs a private rented estate of flats in Newcastle that were purpose built by them about 90 yrs ago. My doctor's receptionist until recently, was Modi (Mordecai) lovely guy. Who are 'us'?

I do family history and for a long time had been intriegued by recurrent family forename going back to the 1500s. Solomon. I recently took a DNA test and lo and behold it contains some Ashkenazi Jewish heritage at a level higher than my English percentage. Who are 'us'. Who are the aliens.

Back to the Mormons. For a good night out at the theatre go and see the Book of Mormon in London an entertaining and hilarious show if you are not easily offended.
Last edited by ColinL on Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Richard
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Re: Religion and Politics

Postby Richard » Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:24 pm

Hi Colin,

Thanks for your interesting and heartfelt reply,
I have no problem with Jews, Hindi's, Muslims or Christians, or whatever religion, who are happy to maintain a tradition of their faith, as interpreted in various peaceful ways.
They are 'us' indeed, sorry if I tried to exclude the more fanatical ones (of any faith) who seem to be hidebound by peculiar (to us) observations of their faith to an extreme degree.
Fanatical observance can, however, lead to natural feelings of their seeming to be 'alien' to the rest 'of us', who are not so very interested in dedicating their lives, in strict religious subservience. That was the point I was trying to make, rightly or wrongly.
Jews have their Synagogue and Muslims their Mosques, I don't believe that any visitors to the above would class themselves as Church of England.

Many, like myself, are born into a particular religion, yet have no interest whatsoever in that faith. I know Jews who are not at all 'religious' and of the exactly the same attitude as mine.
I would also say that other 'Jews' feel themselves to have no homeland, in terms of a nation state and hence may advocate the struggle, to establish one in Israel, under 'Zionism'.
Yet not all Israeli's are Jews and advocates of the views of Zionism, namely one of a national liberation movement for the repatriation (to Israel) of a persecuted people, residing as minorities, in a variety of nations, outside their ancestral homeland.
So, certainly many Jews feel themselves to be aliens, displaced and persecuted and with good reason, yet others integrate very well indeed and never cause any trouble on the streets in this country.
My concluding point is that many of us don't care too much about religion but those who take it to extremes seem somehow alien, to the rest 'of us'.
As long as they behave peacefully it matters little, in the scheme of things.

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Richard
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Re: Religion and Politics

Postby Richard » Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:33 pm

A short note on the attitude towards 'Jews':
The persecution of Jews by Hitler was certainly nothing new, except in its shear horror and extreme brutality. The first Jewish communities, of significant size, came to England with William the Conqueror in 1066.
Because Jews were competent in handling finance, this undoubted ability was used to support the foreign wars of various English Monarchs and the Jews were exploited accordingly, as follows:
The Church, in those time, strictly forbade the lending of money for profit, creating a vacuum in the economy of Europe, that Jews willingly filled. Canon law was not considered applicable to Jews, and Judaism does not forbid loans, with interest, between Jews and non-Jews. Taking advantage of their unique status, as his direct subjects, the King could appropriate Jewish assets in the form of taxation. He levied heavy taxes on Jews at will, without having to summon Parliament.

In 1218, Henry III of England proclaimed the 'Edict of the Badge', requiring Jews to wear a marking badge. (just like the Nazi regime in more recent times). In the Duchy of Gascony in 1287, King Edward ordered the local Jews expelled. Their property was seized by the crown and all outstanding debts, payable to Jews, were transferred to the King's name.

So, Jews have been heavily exploited, owing to their 'freedom to lend money', from early times, a status denied to those under the Church control of Christian State religion and they (the Jews) have, subsequently, been stripped of their assets, via heavy taxation and then deported, at the whim of a Monarch, after they had served their purpose.

Of course their were also the 'Pogroms' of the Russian State,in the 1840's, where Jews were persecuted and forced to flee, mainly to the United States. As in England, previously mentioned, debts owing to money-lending were at the back of this persecution.
A much bloodier wave of pogroms broke out from 1903 to 1906, leaving an estimated 2,000 Jews dead and many more wounded, as the Jews took to arms to defend their families and property from the attackers. The 1905 pogrom against Jews in Odessa was the most serious of the period, with reports of up to 2,500 Jews killed.
Many pogroms were incited by authorities and supported by the Tsarist Russian secret police.


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