Get a Witness…

When I went down to Ye Olde Laundromat yesterday I found that the local Jehovah’s Witnesses had left a copy of their vile rag ‘The Watchtower’ for me to read.
This inspiring pamphlet carried an assortment of wholesome articles, one of which was about the importance of marrying only within your own religion. Another item gave brief case histories of people whose lives had been mired in degenerate squalor until the JWs had rescued them. One of these sad individuals was a woman who had spent many years as a slave to alcohol and drugs; the Witnesses rescued her, restored her self-esteem and helped her to raise a healthy family.
The other case featured a man who had been a karate enthusiast and keen cyclist. He imagined that his frequent bouts of exercise were building his health and discipline, but fortunately he fell in with a couple of JWs who showed him the error of his ways, and he was persuaded to abandon physical activities and devote every minute of every day to serving The Lord.
After reading this I wondered how the competitors who ran and jumped and swam and fought during this year’s Paralympic games in London would feel at being told that their achievements were the result of misguided arrogance and selfish pride. For I am a jealous God, saith the Lord; and I will not have deformed blokes with carbon-fibre limbs thinking they can be proper athletes.
Surely it would be better if the Witnesses and their fellow fanatics could regard physical and intellectual prowess as being a divine gift; instead of forcing someone to give up karate, invite them to search for a spiritual dimension in their pastime…

A couple of years ago I studied an Open Uni course entitled ‘Business Functions in Context’, which explained the five basic elements of business in traditional Western capitalism. Very interesting and fairly easy to grasp, the material from this course came to mind when I watched major news stories; for instance, when it was announced that a no-fly zone was to be imposed over the Libyan border, I asked myself about the operations, personnel, funding and information aspects of this campaign. However, I am now studying ‘Strategy: B301’ with the OU, a far more confusing and nebulous course. Any one of a dozen conflicting viewpoints could be harnessed to analyse business strategy, making it difficult to pin down the ideas we are meant to be learning. The difficulty of actually implementing strategy is perfectly illustrated by Abu Hamza, the radical Muslim ‘cleric’ whose extradition to the US has finally taken place after years of legal wrangling and delay.
However, Hamza’s departure now leaves us looking for a new hate-figure to serve as public enemy number one…

Meanwhile, in today’s Times, we find that children’s efforts at reading are miraculously helped by the presence of a dog. Mind you, when they do start reading in earnest, some of the available books are a bit challenging; Murchamore’s Cherub series and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. These two are mentioned in an anxious piece by Clover Stroud, headed ‘Should I let my son read violent books?’ The Times helpfully provides a pull-out-and-keep guide to King Lear, which could easily end up being part of her lad’s English curriculum in a couple of years.
Also in Ye Times, a huge police hunt is underway for the body of April Jones, who disappeared while playing near her home in Machynlleth. The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has declared his support for a reduction in the legal time limit for abortions from 24 to 12 weeks, claiming that his views come from a careful study of the evidence. However, it is more likely that he is anticipating the arrival in the White House of Mitt Romney, devout Mormon, Republican candidate and rabid right-winger. By announcing their anti-abortion credentials like this, Tory party could receive hefty moral and financial support from the US Republicans in the run-up to the next UK General Election.

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