30 September 2006

Emerging/Missional divide

Wow, I only recently learned that there was an "emerging church" (as opposed to the Church emerging from wherever it has been hiding), and now I discover (from Ecelctic Itchings) that there is an Emerging/Missional divide!

The problem with Western theology is that it's so hard to keep up. By the time you discover what a new theological trend is actually about, it's already split into rival factions, and you have to discover what they stand for.

I've seen the term "missional" associated with the "emerging church" movement, but I assumed that it simply meant the church in mission -- and the definition of "missional church" is pretty standard, and seems to support my original assumption. But no, it seems that it's now something else, and well on its way to becoming estblished as a rival movement, or a spin-off or something.

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Two birds with one stone?

Perhaps this would be a good way to solve two intractable problems at once!

26 September 2006

Americans just don't get it

In an article on the Clash of civilizations, James Pinkerton writes:
It's true, of course, that the General Assembly contains many dictatorial and tyrannical governments, but Iran and Venezuela are democracies, more or less. And in their demagogic way, Ahmadinejad and Chavez represent huge constituencies, not only in their countries, but around the world. Those two men don't hate America - and our allies, such as Israel - because they aren't free. They hate America because they hate America and its allies, period.

We live in a world in which not everyone gets along, for a combination of reasons - theological, historical, personal, legitimate, illegitimate. That's politics, because that's human nature.

So of these four leaders - the pope, Ahmadinejad, Chavez and Bush - the odd man out would seem to be ... our own president. He has his faith that he is right, but the others have their faiths, too. Hence, the Clash.
Such ignorance is scary. It is quite clear that many Americans appear to believe, like Pinkerton, that "they hate us because they hate us". Not "they hate us because we (or our our allies) bombed them, or keep threatening to do so". Not "they hate us because we have attempted to overthrow their democratically-elected governments by engineering a coup", but just because they hate us with an irrational uncaused hate.

One of the things about human nature is that if you bomb people out of their homes, destroy their livelihood and kill their friends and relatives they are unlikely to be overflowing with love and gratitude towards the people who do these things. This is not an irrational "they hate us because they hate us" hate. They hate for a reason. And the fact that they do so shows the limits of reason, which points to one of the shortcomings in Roman Pope Benedict's Regensburg address. The Christian injunction to love those who hate you goes well beyond the limits of reason.

This is not how clashes of civilizations start, but it is how clashes of all kinds continue and escalate.

New every morning is the love
with which our ministers approve
devices new and up to date
for fostering the same old hate.

23 September 2006

Deconstructing Pope Benedixt XVI

I've been discussing this topic elsewhere, but it seems useful to try to draw a few threads together here.

The Ochlophobist: in gratitude of grand rhetorical strategies makes some interesting points:
The Pope gave this speech to European secularists knowing full well that Islamic extremists (that is, a sizable portion of Muslims in both Europe and the Middle East) would react to the speech in an uncivil manner. Their uncivil reaction would highlight to those European secularists who heard the speech or read it that the secular European world and the Catholic intellectual world share something in common that is not shared with them by the Islamic world in general - civility and a cultured intellectual reserve. By highlighting this the Pope suggests in a subtle manner that this shared civility may just have something to do with a common intellectual heritage - the synthesis of Christian and hellenic thought which is found in the intellectual patrimony of Europe.
and, even more interesting,
This week, six days after the Pope's speech was given Catholic-Eastern Orthodox dialogue resumes. All of the significant players are meeting in Serbia. Pope Benedict already enjoys much better relations with the Russian Church than did JPII, in part due to relationships Ratzinger has quietly worked on over many years. Note that of all the quotes Pope Benedict could have used to make a point that has been made many times in Christian intellectual history, he chooses to quote a Byzantine emperor. Now, there are substantial differences between the way that many Orthodox view the relationship of faith and reason (and specifically the proper Christian appropriation of classical Greek thought) and the Catholic view of the relationship between faith and reason. Pope Benedict in his speech may have been sending a message to the Eastern Orthodox in which he attempts to convince them that there is common ground with regard to the understanding of the relationship between faith and reason. Furthermore, that message was sent in the context of a quote which refers to what we must now regard (once again) as a real common enemy that is a serious threat to both Churches. The fact that the Pope basis his argument on the sayings of a Byzantine emperor, combined with the fact that this results in violent Muslim over-reaction against Christians everywhere, only serves to build a sense of "us vs. them" between Catholicism and Orthodoxy (the two Churches comprising the us; Islam the them).
I had already commented on the interesting point that militant secularists and militant Islamists appeared to have made common cause in strident calls for apologies from the Roman pope, and there have been interesting discussions about his aversion to de-Hellenisation in the Christianity and society discussion forum. This seems calculated to draw the Orthodox, but I wonder about how that fits in with his connection with the Bavarian Catholic Church, which played a significant role in promoting the Wars of the Yugoslav Succession in the 1990s.

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20 September 2006

Don't know why I bother

I recently pruned my blogroll.

Blogs that looked interesting when I first began to read them became dull, and I found I wasn't looking at them much anymore. Or when I looked at them they hadn't had anything new for a long time. I'm not one of those to apologise when I haven't written anything in my blog for a while. I write if I have something to say, mostly to myself, but also if I'm interested in responses from other people. The trouble is other people don't seem to respond much. There have been no comments on my last I don't know how many entries. As I said in my MySpace blog, I don't know why I bother.

Bah! Humbug!

I've just seen the British Home Secretary on TV admonishing Muslim parents to detect radicalising influences in their children, and to nip these radicalising influences in the bud, and counteract them, because we share the same values.

Bah humbug!

What is radicalising Muslim youth is the values of Tony Blair's government -- remaining silent in the face of the slaughter of hundreds in Lebanon, and making thousands homeless. It is the Blair government that is in denial if it does not realise this.

Muslim youth in Britain saw this unremitting slaughter on TV screens day after day, and they knew that their government, with its much-vaunted "values", did less than any other government, except the USA, to try to stop it. Who is the Home Secretary trying to fool? We can all see the "values" that the British government endorses. And it is that that radicalises Muslim youth and others.

I'm not a Muslim, I'm a Christian, and if I lived in Britain I'd be pretty disgusted with the Blair government too, because Christians also live in Lebanon, and they shared the roads, the bridges, the schools and hospitals and homes that were destroyed.

The British Labour Party once stood for values like housing the homeless. Now they stand for making people homeless. It's up to the British government to change that, not Muslim parents. If the British government wants to avoid the radicalising of Muslim youth, then they'd better stop supporting the injustices that get Muslim youth riled up, or at least appearing to support them. Otherwise their appeal to "common values" will fall on deaf ears. Imagine if a Tory had told the grandparents of the present Labour leaders to watch out for radicalising influences on their children.

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17 September 2006

The State should get out of the marriage business

I recently posted the following paper for discussion in the Christianity and Society forum.

Marriage in South Africa

Marriage and other social and domestic partnerships

Dr Stephen Hayes

1 Introduction

The Constitutional Court in South Africa has ruled that the
Marriage Act is unconstitutional, because it does not make
provision for marriage of persons of the same sex.

There has therefore been a proposal that legislation should be
amended to make provision for this.

The purpose of this paper is to suggest that the Marriage Act be
repealed altogether, and that marriage should cease to be the
concern of the State, but should for the most part be dealt with
by civil society.

One of the main concerns that has led to calls for changes to the
present system is the need for clarity about legal status and
inheritance. In this paper I suggest that these can be dealt with
by new legislation for the registration of social and domestic
partnerships of various kinds.

2 Social & domestic partnerships

Marriage is one of several kinds of social and domestic part-
nerships that can be found in society, and existed in most
societies long before there was any state regulation of it. In
some societies it has religious dimensions, but different
religions have different views about it.

2.1 Different views of marriage

For some, marriage is a union of two people of different sexes.
For others, it can involve more than two people. In both these,
however, one of the purposes of marriage has been the procreation
of children, and this has given marriage a legal and social
dimension with regard to such matters as inheritance. One of the
legal consequences of marriage has been that the parties to a
marriage become "next of kin" to each other. This is important
for such things as intestate succession, and rights of visiting
in hospital when one of the parties is seriously ill, etc.

Because South Africa is a multicultural country, there are many
different views of what constitutes marriage, and any attempt by
the State to regulate marriage too closely will cause dis-
satisfaction among some groups.

2.2 Other social and domestic partnerships

There have been various other kinds of social and domestic part-
nerships that have not enjoyed the legal recognition of marriage.

If the Marriage Act were to be repealed, there should be new
legislation provide for marriage and other social and domestic
partnerships to have similar legal consequences to those that
marriage has had in the past.

Such partnerships include (but are not necessarily limited to)
the following:

* Monogamous marriage

* Polygamous marriage

* Unions of two people of the same sex

* Unions of two or more people of the same or different

* Long-term communities, such as monasteries

* Unmarried siblings who live together

New legislation could provide for the registration of such part-
nerships and spell out some of the legal consequences, which
could, in some cases, be varied as the legal consequences of
marriage can now be varied by ante-nuptial contract.

Registration should be a secular, neutral process, like the
registration of births and deaths. There are no religious birth
or death registration officers. Social and domestic partnerships
should be registered in the same way, and their dissolution, if
it occurs, could be registered in the same way. Provision could
be made, in cases where it might be desirable, for the Master of
the High Court to supervise the winding up of estates of
dissolved partnerships, as is now done for the estates of
deceased, insolvent or mentally incapacitated persons.

Religious or cultural ceremonies could be held to inaugurate any
of these partnerships, some of them, or none of them, Such
ceremonies should not be a prerequisite or a necessary con-
sequence of registration, though evidence that people had par-
ticipated in such a ceremony could, where appropriate, be taken
as evidence that they intended to register their partnership.

Religious and cultural groups should not be obliged to perform
ceremonies in connection with any or all of these partnerships,
nor to approve of all such partnerships, and should be entitled
to urge their members not to participate in some forms of
partnership that they regard as undesirable.

3 Conclusion and recommendations

I therefore suggest that the State should withdraw from the
marriage business altogether, and leave it up to different groups
in civil society, whether religious or cultural, to determine
what marriage is for their members, and what kinds of part-
nerships are acceptable or unacceptable for their members. There
should be no religious "marriage officers" in religious groups
who perform marriage ceremonies on behalf of the state.

The Marriage Act should be repealed, and replaced by legislation
providing for the registration of various kinds of social and
domestic partnerships, and for the legal consequences of such




This post has been linked to the Synchroblog for October 2010: Same-sex marriage synchroblog | Khanya. Click on the link to see the other posts in the synchroblog.

15 September 2006

The moral high ground

Had Saddam Hussein flattened Kuwait and its infrastructure, in the way Israel has done to Lebanon, Blair and Bush would have been charging into the UN with a resolution demanding the right to unlimited war, sequestration of assets and permanent occupation. The morally vacuous nature of New Labour stared people in the face; an opportunist clique with all the qualities of phlegm. Only Foreign Office Minister Kim Howells had the courage to express his outrage, from the streets of Beirut, at the carnage taking place.
from Dead men walking by Alan Simpson.

Tony Blair has been a warmonger for longer than George Bush. He supported the Albright-Clinton bombing of Belgrade. The odd thing is that the last straw for the British public and the Labour Party rank and file seems to have been the recent Lebanon war, in which no British forces were involved.

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13 September 2006

Apologise, apologise, apologise

A couple of days ago I commented on the mixed reaction to Adriaan Vlok's apology to Frank Chikane for the way he had treated him when he was Minister of Police. My comment was to the effect that it was better for people to apologise for their own misdeeds than for those of other people a long time in the past.

And so my attention was drawn to demands that the Roman Pope apologise for the Inquisition, and that led me to this site, Why Shouldn't the Pope Apologize for the Inquisition?

It seems odd.

Why does it seem so fashionable to demand that some people should apologise for other people's sins, usually in the remote past, where both perpetrators and victims are dead? And yet there is so little sign of apology by living people for their misdeeds against the living, and some even find such things offensive on the rare occasions when it does happen?

Yesterday I went to the archives and had a look at my Security Police file; that was before Vlok was in charge, of course, but it does illustrate the kind of thing he was apologising for. I wouldn't expect him to apologise for that, any more than I would expect him to apologise for the atrocities of Julius Caesar or Genghis Khan or Attila the Hun. Apologies from Kurt Dahlmann, Frans van Zyl and Jurgen Meinert (newspaper editors and proprietor of Windhoek) might be appropriate, though.

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12 September 2006

Adventus: Irony is not dead

So what has the Bush-Blair invasion of Iraq achieved?

It's given Al-Qaida a foothold, that's what.

Adventus: Irony is not dead

I suspect that will be Blair's lasting legacy when he goes. And Bush's too, for that matter.

But at least they got rid of Saddam Hussein, so they say.

09 September 2006

Otistolatry - what's your score?

The previous quiz I showed in Notes from underground: Christianists and Otisolatry again dealt with only one aspect of eschatology. This one, however, goes a bit further.

If you're not sure what Otisolatry is, check one of the original posts on the topic: The Gaelic Starover: Otisolatry.

Anyway, here's the quiz:

You scored as Amillenialist. Amillenialism believes that the 1000 year reign is not literal but figurative, and that Christ began to reign at his ascension. People take some prophetic scripture far too literally in your view.



Moltmannian Eschatology








Left Behind




What's your eschatology?
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Repentance, reconciliation and Adriaan Vlok

A few days ago I commented on Adriaan Vlok's repentance and washing of Frank Chikane's feet in my LiveJournal.

Now the Weekly Mail & Guardian has an interview with Vlok, in which he casts additional light on his time as the apartheid regime's chief cop.
And he described former president PW Botha’s "intense interest" in security and central role in getting police to maak ’n plan (sort out) unrest. Botha had congratulated Vlok for police operations, including the bombing of the South African Council of Churches’ Khotso House headquarters in Johannesburg.

And it emerged this week that he had extended his journey of repentance by washing the feet of 10 widows and mothers of the “Mamelodi 10”, who were lured to their deaths by police agent Joe Mamasela. Their bodies were burned and buried in a field in Winterveld, near Pretoria, where the remains were recently found and identified by the National Prosecuting Agency.
But the M&G goes on to say that Vlok's action had sparked off an atonement debate in South Africa.
The thorny issue of white atonement for apartheid has been thrown under the South African spotlight after a former white hard-line minister washed the feet of a black preacher his forces once tried to kill.

The furore erupted last month when it emerged that Adriaan Vlok, a minister of law and order under apartheid, had apologised to Reverend Frank Chikane, a prominent anti-apartheid activist and a trusted adviser to President Thabo Mbeki.

Vlok also washed Chikane's feet, a hugely symbolic act in a country where many people count themselves as devout Christians -- and where the sores of the recent past remain raw.

Chikane accepted Vlok's apology and show of humility but many commentators have been sceptical about the actions of a man they hold responsible for past atrocities.
And it is a debate that should probably go far beyond South Africa. Will we be seeing Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic doing the same for the widows and mothers of the former Yugoslavia, for example? Leaving aside people like Osama bin Laden and Ehud Olmert, for the moment, since they aren't Christian, and presumably Christians have more common ground in such matters than others, how do we respond? As I noted in my LiveJournal post, at least one person found Vlok's action "deeply offensive", and others seem to take a similar view:
"That Chikane allowed this man to wash his feet was the sickest thing ever heard in this new South Africa," wrote columnist Justice Malala in the Sowetan, a leading black daily.

"Our people do not want a man like Vlok to wash one leader's feet and expect absolution. They want the truth," he said, referring to Vlok's alleged failure to tell everything he knew about the actions of his security forces.

Vlok, the only former apartheid Cabinet minister to testify before the country's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, received amnesty from prosecution for a series of bombings.
There is also something rather disturbing in the Mail & Guardian's reporting, when they refer to "white atonement". While Vlok was white, they have still generalised it into a racist assumption. Joe Mamasela, the police agent who lured the "Mamelodi 10" to their deaths, was black. Do people like him not need to repent? It seems that the M&G slips too easily into the assumption that all the victims of the National Party regime were black, and that all the perpetrators were white, and then to go on to imply that all whites were perpetrators, and all blacks were victims. If one does that, the ideology has triumphed after all. As Paolo Freire points out, the oppressed internalises the image of the oppressor, and though the oppressor is overthrown, the image lives on, and oppression triumphs in the end.

And, to paraphrase Alexander Solzhenitsin, the line between good and evil is not drawn between East and West, between communists and capitalists, between black and white, between secularists and Muslims, or between Christians and Wiccans. It is drawn through every human heart.

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07 September 2006

Forty years on - assassination of H.F. Verwoerd

Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd, the Dutchman who was responsible for much of the implementation of the apartheid policy in South Africa, whose passion for linguistic political correctness (though it wasn't called that in his day) changed the language, and gave words like "Bantu" and "homeland" and "own" a stigma that they still haven't fully recovered from.

He could, in fact, be said to have been the architect of apartheid, first as Minister of Native (later Bantu) Affairs, and then, after the death of J.G. Strijdom, as prime minister. He transformed the Department of Native Affairs from a government department into a state within a state that ruled by administrative fiat, and was responsible to no one. The Department of Bantu Administration and Development (as it was later called) removed functions from other government departments and provincial governments, and absorbed them. It took over education, health and welfare services for most South Africans, and dominated their lives for over 40 years.

Perhaps he deserves to be forgotten.

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06 September 2006

The Democratic Alliance's political buffoonery

The Democratic Alliance leaders seem to have an uncanny knack for picking all the wrong issues on which to make a stand, in the process making themselves appear mean, petty, spiteful and vindictive, and unworthy of the support of any fair-minded citizens.

The fuss over President Mbeki's retirement home is only the latest in a long string of instances of "crying 'Wolf!'".

In their 2004 election campaign they made another petty and spiteful attack on President Mbeki by deliberately trying to create the impression that he was seeking a third term of office, when they had no evidence that he was planning to do so. How many terms of office has Tony Leon had as leader of the DA?

In the 1999 election, when our infant democracy was barely five years old, the Democratic Party (predecessor of the DA), pronounced that they were "gatvol" with it, and urged the voters to "fight back". If they were so "gatvol" after only five years, one wonders why they retained the name "Democratic" for their party.

A healthy multi-party democracy needs a principled opposition, but the DA's political buffoonery deprives the term "leader of the opposition" of all dignity.

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05 September 2006

Wilful ignorance?

Adventus: "No one likes us/I don't know why...."
Funny, I've not heard anyone else put it this way:
Far from ending terrorism, George Bush's tactics of using overwhelming military might to fight extremism appear to have rebounded, spawning an epidemic of global terrorism that has claimed an estimated 72,265 lives since 2001, most of them Iraqi civilians.

Back during the Cold War, we used to think that people behind the Iron Curtain were brainwashed by propaganda, and deliberately kept in ignorance by their leaders.

Now, it seems, an iron curtain has descended over the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Rio Grande. Does anything filter through from Canada? Because we have heard it put this way again and again, before and since the US-led invasion of Iraq.

One is somewaht reluctant to say "We told you so..." But we did tell you so, we are telling you so, and we will go on telling you so. George Bush and his henchmen have made the world a much more dangerous place, and they are apparently determined to make it even more dangerous still. Is this the twilight of the gods?

The difference between now and the Cold War is that unlike the time of the old Iron Curtain, Americans have access to the internet. Yet many of them still say "No one likes us/I don't know why...."

Is it a matter of invincible ignorance, or wilful ignorance?

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04 September 2006

What is a trackback?

I keep seeing this term "trackback" in blogs, yet I have no idea what it's supposed to do ot how it's supposed to work.

I found this article on it but I'm still no closer to understanding it.

But I put it here for reference so i can find it again when I need it.

But when I try to use these track back things this is what I get

This XML file does not appear to have any style information associated with it. The document tree is shown below.

Trackback pings must use HTTP POST

So HOW on earth does one use them? Where do you get this "style information", and how do you "associate it" with the XML file?

02 September 2006

Psychotherapy as the faith for the 3rd millennium

Poverty and work are what make most of us miserable - and therapy is not the solution, writes Paul Moloney, a counselling psychologist.
Recent months have seen the science and politics of "happiness" endorsed by commentators of all persuasions. Richard Layard - a consultant to the government - called for a huge increase in the number of publicly funded psychological therapists. These therapists, he suggests, would help to combat the personal and social malaise that seems to be afflicting us at record levels, and their cost will be more than recovered by savings in benefit payments to depressed individuals who will be encouraged to return to work.
Moloney goes on to say:
The "happiness on prescription" argument rests upon three key assumptions: that the causes of psychological distress lie in the way that we see the world, not in the way that it is; that psychotherapy and counselling are reliable and proven methods for solving our problems; and that unhappiness is necessarily a bad thing. However, the likelihood is that these assumptions are simply wrong.
and again:
These issues are nowhere more sharply revealed than in the world of work. During the past 20 years, coercive control - in the form of stringent targets, performance appraisal, increased monitoring and surveillance in the workplace - has been matched by a culture of long hours and contractual and financial insecurity, even for middle-class professionals. For many, the prospects of falling into chronic debt or poverty are more threatening than ever, especially for the 20% of British citizens who live on or below the poverty line.
My wife has personal experience of this. About 8 years ago she took a job with a local security firm. She had been working in a job she enjoyed, but it was 50km from home on a traffic congested route. So she took a job closer to home. As a bookkeeper, her job as initially to combine the accounting systems of rapidly amalgamating security companies. After South Africa's first democratic elections in 1994, many government security forces were disbanded, and there was a rapid growth of "one man and his dog" security companies, which tended to expand as South Africa, previously protected from international crime by economic sanctions, was exposed to a growing crime problem. But the small "armed response" security outfits could not cope with increased administration, and so they tended to get taken over by bigger ones.

Eventually my wife became financial manager of the Pretoria branch, and the firm itself was taken over by an international conglomerate, and the work pressure increased because there was a deadline for reporting to the British subsidiary, which in turn had a deadline for reporting to its American holding company. My wife and most of the staff in her office were working 16 hours a day, and often seven days a week. Suddenly the meaning of that obscene term of modern bizspeak, "human resources", became clear. The work environment had become depersonalised. One no longer works to live, but lives to work, like battery hens. My wife was then transferred to the head office in Sandton, and four of her 16 hours of work a day became devoted to commuting. A few weeks ago she resigned and took a job at lower pay in a smaller firm closer to home. where she can be a person and not just part of an amorphous mass of "human resources".

I give this example because I simply cannot conceive of any way in which psychotherapy could help my wife or any of the millions of others who find themselves in a similar position. Apart from anything else, when would she find time to do it? As Moloney points out, the problem is not so much in the way that we see the world, but in the way the world is.

It seems that psychotherapy is replacing Christianity as the opium of the people in the West and elsewhere. Karl Marx, in his analysis of 19th-century capitalism, ascribed this role to religion. Religion, in his view, provided the "flowers on the chains" to keep the workers oppressed and enslaved to Mr Gradgrind. But in the 21st century Mr Gradgrind has himself become a "human resource" in a multinational corporation.

This switch is also reflected in literature.

One of my favourite fiction authors is Phil Rickman, who has written a series of novels, mostly set in the English-Welsh border country, with an overlapping cast of characters. At first sight Rickman appears to be the British Stephen King, a writer of supernatural horror stories. King's novels, however are pretty one-dimensional. The supernatural evil in them is nihilistic, and the main dramatic tension is the struggle of the individual characters to fight the evil or be overwhelmed by it.

Rickman's novels, especially those featuring the Revd Merrily Watkins, diocesan exorcist (but called a "deliverance consultant" to sound more trendy) for the Diocese of Hereford, show the confusion and sometimes conflict between the role of the church and the role of psychotherapy. And in his novels evil is not just something alien, out there, for human characters to struggle against or be overwhelmed by. In Rickman's novels evil is enmeshed in the human world itself, where ambition, greed, lust and cruelty form part of the fabric of human society. Evil is not just individual, but social, economic and political.

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The final place of refuge for Christians in the Middle East is under threat

As Iraq and Lebanon are torn apart by sectarian mayhem and war, only Syria's religious tolerance offers refugees shelter, writes William Dalrymple, author of From the Holy Mountain.
This summer, as Baghdad spiralled out of control, with more violent deaths in one fortnight than in Israel and Lebanon together in nearly a month of warfare, Syria responded by providing asylum (though not work permits) to all Iraqis who were forced to flee, as well as free education for their children.

Talk to the refugees in Damascus, however, and you soon find that one group predominates: the Iraqi Christians. Although they made up only about 3% of the population of prewar Iraq - 700,000 people - under Saddam they were a prosperous minority, symbolised by the high profile of Tariq Aziz, Saddam's Christian foreign minister. Highly educated and overwhelmingly middle class, the Christians were heavily concentrated in Mosul, Basra and especially Baghdad, which before the war had the largest Christian population of any Middle Eastern town or city.

Like the Western Crusades of a millennium ago, one of the main effects of the Bush-Blair Crusade of the 21st century will probably be the destruction of Christianity in the region where it started, and has survived for two millennia.


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