Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Humour, obsession and charity

A few days ago I came across this story

According to the Daily Mail:

As the 50 members of the public at the police liaison meeting were handed their electronic handsets to take part in a survey, an official told them: 'Let's start with an easy question to get us going.

'Press A if you're male or B if you're female.'

But it seems nothing is ever that simple. Someone asked: 'What if you're transgendered?'

'You could press A and B together,' quipped Conservative councillor Jonathan Yardley.

A complaint was made  -  and as a result, he was spoken to by police for his ' homophobic' remark.

I have no way of knowing how complete a record of events this is.

My own reaction to Jonathan Yardley’s quip would have been to have smiled and pressed both buttons – though I suspect that the electronics wouldn’t have coped with it. I’m not at all sure how the remark could have been construed to be homophobic. But maybe the story is incomplete

I think that within the transgendered community there people who feel they are men trapped in women's bodies, women trapped in men's bodies and people who feel that they are somewhere in between.

Maybe most people are actually somewhere between?

Either way, maybe the options of button A, button B or button A + button B are adequate.

It seems a really strange kind of thing to have required police involvement.


I had a little think about the Sermon on the Mount … the bit that I quoted yesterday at least:

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed ADULTERY with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into HELL. 

What does it mean? I have the feeling that very few Christians take this at face value. Otherwise there’d be a lot more guys in churches with fewer than two eyes.

Is it meant to mean that anyone who looks at a girl and thinks … wow … she looks fit … has to make a choice between cutting out their right eye or going to hell? What about the left eye?

There are times, though, I can imagine, when a person can get very wrapped up in thoughts that are doing them no good at all. A kind of obsessiveness where the obsession is destructive. Obsessions are not usually good things.

In the end though I’m sure that thinking something is not the same as doing something. And i don’t think that was the idea that Jesus was trying to convey. Not at all.


There was a story on the news today that the government are planning to experiment in making grants to charities that involve themselves in political lobbying as part of what they do.

There was a guy defending the idea, and a lady that was saying how bad it was – that charities should be about providing aid to people in need and not involved in messing about with politics.

The guy convinced me – though I was maybe already convinced. If a charity is involved in helping people and it discovers some kind of injustice that is built into the way that society is structured – then surely the charity needs to get involved in trying to change the way that society works – and that probably involves politics. The people that are being helped by charities are often not in a position to be able to bring about the changes themselves.

The guy seemed ok with the concept that it is ok for the government to supply funding to organisations that actually challenge the government and press for change. I think that’s a nice thought.

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