And we’re back!

So after what seems like an age I finally have my laptop back. It’s been away getting a new lease of life. I can’t remember the last blog I wrote and it feels like a lifetime ago since I put fingers to keys.

I’m sat writing this in a very trendy bar in Rochester just a few hours before a gig. Hopefully I can finish what I want to say before the hoards of Saturday night revelers file in, stinking of lynx and hair gel and looking for a good time.

What do I want to say? The truth is there are so many topics I want to cover but I can’t untangle the mess and matter of my brain and get them out in a concise and articulate way.

I feel a huge weight on my heart. I feel that we as a people are pulling so hard in opposite directions that we’ll never get to rise to the capacity that we are so capable of attaining. There is one topic in particular that I must get off my chest.

I had a recent debate with a friend on the subject of abortion. Abortion is one of those subjects that both sides of the argument are equally valid and both sides require listening to. I’m of the opinion that abortion is a decision that should be made by the parties involved. I’m pro choice as our trans Atlantic cousins choose to pigeon hole. But it’s a grey area as I do not think abortion should be used as a form of contraception. A decision of this magnitude must not be taken lightly or idly. My friend, to protect is identity we’ll call him David, is pro life and a devout Catholic. After a few back and forths stating our positions I put a classic hypothetical to him:

If a child of 13 or 14 fell pregnant after non-consensual intercourse with her father and she wanted to abort the baby would that be ok?

His answer. No.

His reason. God, the father, is a creator. By aborting the baby you are stifling his creations.  He also said that it was his will that this child should fall pregnant.

After picking my jaw up off the floor I asked; should a child have to go through not only the pain and agony of child birth (Remembering that her body is not yet fully developed and would more than likely damage her internally) but being raped by her father? Would a god that loved us let a child go through all that suffering?

He said “Sometimes suffering is good for the soul”

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In my 33 years of floating through space on this green and blue rock I have never ever heard anyone say anything as wicked and evil and further more actually believe that what he was saying was justifiable. His attitude towards the rape, torture and suffering of children was justified because it’s God’s will.

This kind of attitude towards child suffering should be reserved only for the psychotic and the insane. Not the educated, honest and rational thinking members of society. And it certainly shouldn’t be coming from the mouths of people who claim to have a moral superior high ground, something that is apparently denied to me.

I had this debate about 2 months ago and it’s still burning up inside me. I still cannot believe that anyone would put the welfare of a child second to the will of a God that may or may not exist. I can only assume that the message of Jesus has somewhat been lost on David and he’s now more concerned with the teachings of the church, two teachings which I believe massively contradict each other.

I don’t have a religious bone in my body. I don’t think God exists and I don’t think Jesus did either, at least not in the form that Christians do. Religion seems to give people the excuse to behave poorly. Who, but the religious would picket the funerals of dead soldiers? Who, but the religious would mutilate the genitals of new born baby? Who, but the religious would fly planes into buildings and who, but the religious would promote the idea amongst Africans that condoms increase the risk contracting aids?

Now I would never assert that all religious people support any of the ideas that I have just stated. My point is that people will commit the most atrocious acts if they believe they have God on their side. The physicist Steven Weinberg summed it up better than me in just a few words, if not a little crude.

“Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion

 

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The Down’s Delusion

As I read Richard Dawkins apology for his remarks regarding Down’s syndrome/Abortion I could hear a sharp intake of breath through gritted teeth from the Down’s Syndrome community. I could then feel the eyes…. waiting for my (re)action.

I have been a great admirer of Prof. Dawkins for a few years now and It was with great sadness that I read his apology letter.

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My wife and I have a two year old daughter, Chiara, with Down’s. During the pregnancy we didn’t know anything of her condition but my wife and I always said that if we found out that either of our children had Down’s (Or any other condition) we wouldn’t opt for an abortion. I could tell you that having a child with Down’s is no different or how much joy she brings to us. I could go on for hours about how much we love her and the wonderful  dynamic she has added to our family. While all of the above are true and self evident I feel they miss the point slightly.

Prof. Dawkins remarked that “if your morality is based, as mine is, on a desire to increase the sum of happiness and reduce suffering, the decision to deliberately give birth to a Down baby, when you have the choice to abort it early in the pregnancy, might actually be immoral from the point of view of the child’s own welfare”

While I can understand Prof. Dawkins views I certainly do not agree with them.

Is it immoral to purposely give birth to a child with Down’s citing the child’s welfare as your reason? I would have to say no. You could go one further and ask…

Is it immoral to give birth to a child citing the child’s welfare as your reason? After all any child could grow up and be diagnosed with a range of conditions later in life. Autism, Multiple sclerosis, asthma, etc. Of course the answer is no. Having children is a risk, you don’t know what the future will bring.

With the advancement of medical science foetus’ can be diagnosed with a variety of conditions as well as being put in a high risk category for other conditions. Would someone opt for abortion for the latter? Sadly I feel some would. Termination before diagnosis. Execution before trial. Sounds very totalitarian doesn’t it? Something I know Prof. Dawkins is fervidly against.

Since having Chiara I can say that we are happy, as is she, and there is very little in the way of suffering. Except when she’s hungry and she turns into a right little moo cow. Yes I will have to care for her until the day I die… But the same applies to her sister and any future little Loves that may pop along for the ride. Parenting is job that’s 365 days a year, very few breaks, long hours and it lasts until the day you die… and the pay is shit! The parameters have shifted only slightly with extra Doctors appointments, physiotherapy and numerous classes. As for what happens to her after we’re gone… I guess we’ll have to just wait and see what life throws at her. But she will grow up in a stable, happy and loving environment and she will be given every opportunity to live an independent life.

And finally Prof. Dawkins I consider you a champion of the secular movement. Helping society to shed the cloak of religious dogma and bring the truly wonderful world of science and nature to the people. Bringing a shining light to the darkness. I truly hope that one day I can do the same for you… You’re welcome for tea anytime.