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Unlimited One-Day Delivery and more. The building in question is not, as some might imagine, a fundamentalist mosque. It is not a way-out church in the USA calling on its members to bomb abortion clinics. It is Westminster Abbey, a prominent Christian church in the centre of London and at the heart of the British establishment. Each warhead on the Trident nuclear submarines owned by the UK government has about eight times as much destructive power as the atomic bomb that flattened Hiroshima in There are five warheads on each Trident missile, and each submarine carries up to eight missiles.
There are four Trident submarines. The Hiroshima bomb killed at least , people. This is the weapons system that Westminster Abbey will be thanking God for on Friday. Instead, the Abbey describes the service as:. With this statement, the Abbey has adopted a clear political position in favour of Trident. I recognise that there are arguments in favour of Trident, unconvincing though I find them to be. But these arguments make no sense in Christian contexts. As Christian s , we can all too easily fall back on the habit of reaching conclusions on the basis of the principles that dominate in the secular world.
What my mother’s death means for Brexit
I admit I have fallen for this trap at times, as have many other Christians. However, surely our aim is to begin with a different starting-point, to seek to base our decisions and choices on Jesus — his teachings, actions, life, death and resurrection. Fundamental to such a faith — and shared with many other religions — is the notion that our ultimate trust is in God, not in earthly institutions and inventions that promise to protect us if we submit ourselves to their power.
Such submission is the essence of idolatry: putting our ultimate trust in things that we have made, rather than in the God who made us. As Jesus said, no-one can serve two masters.
We can either trust in God or in the powers of weapons, money and nation-states. We cannot worship both. I accept that in the Hebrew Bible which Christians tend to call the Old Testament there are several examples of God endorsing violence. But Jesus taught something different. Furthermore, even in the Old Testament, the Israelite armies are instructed to trust God, not their own might. Gideon was even told to reduce the size of his army so that they wo uld not think they ha d won through their own strength.
The idea of an invitation-only act of worship angers me almost as much as the fact that the service is celebrating nuclear weapons. I respect many people, including many Christians, who reach different conclusions to mine on a variety of subjects. I appreciate that many Christia n churches differ from my own outlook and preferences, and I am glad that such churches are worshipping God and proclaiming the good news of Jesus. T his service at Westminster Abbey is different.
By promoting weapons of mass destruction, by encouraging trust in military might, by proclaiming loyalty to a nation-state ahead of the Gospel and by excluding those who are not invited from an act of worship, Westminster Abbey will be championing outright blasphemy and idolatry on Friday 3 rd May. I am glad that there will be many protests going on near the Abbey , as well as alternative acts of worship and genuine prayers for peace.
As a supposedly Christian church champions military idolatry, I cannot help but conclude that to nonviolently challeng e , prevent, delay or disrupt this service c ould be a profoundly moral and Christian act. I found that they had nearly always voted for the more militaristic of any two options placed in front of them. You can read it on the Morning Star website. Recent days have seen a succession of ex-MPs, commentators, absurdly posh people and people-who-used-to-be-famous unveiled as candidates for the forthcoming European elections.
These candidates are all standing for either the Brexit Party or Change UK, both of which have been launched only in the last few weeks. On the surface, these two parties might seem very different. They insist that leaving the European Union is more important than any other issue. She talks as if remaining in the European Union was more important than any other issue. Despite being respectively strongly pro-leave and strongly pro-remain, these two new parties have much in common.
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Firstly, they both talk as if Brexit were the only issue that mattered. They want us to put aside other concerns in order either to achieve Brexit or to stop it. Secondly, neither of them are interested in any fundamental change to the social and economic structures of the UK. Change UK have said they would back Theresa May in a no-confidence vote. A glance at the candidates announced this week reveals that Change UK and the Brexit Party are united in their loyalties to the interests of the wealthy. Anne Widdecombe once called for anti-capitalist demonstrations to be banned.
She now spouts equally vile, but far more right-wing, views on Radio 4. When I appeared on The Moral Maze some years ago, Fox suggested to me that young unemployed men should be deprived of literally all benefits. But I have nothing in common with those whose reasons for supporting EU membership are about making it easier to manage the international movement of finance and people in the interests of capitalism. I am as far away from right-wing remainers are as I am from right-wing leavers. And while I may profoundly disagree with socialist leavers, I probably have more in common with them than I do with the sort of remain-voting MPs who cheer austerity, fracking and arms exports.
Thankfully, I can vote for a left-wing anti-Brexit party by voting Green. As such, however radical the people who make such a claim, they tend in effect to be people upholding the status quo. The left needs to resist any party that offers no challenge to the injustices of capitalism — whatever their position on Brexit.
As you can see, each stage is worse than the last. The radicals were known as the Fifth Monarchists. They took their name from a prophecy in the Book of Daniel suggesting that the four major monarchies of the world would be succeeded by a fifth monarchy, which in the seventeenth century was interpreted as meaning the Kingdom of Jesus. The group had been more active around a decade earlier, when the overthrow of Charles I encouraged them to believe that more radical political and economic change was possible. They combined passionately apocalyptic language with a commitment to equality and economic justice.
Many, perhaps most, of their active members were women. With Charles II on the throne from , radicals generally were disheartened. It took the authorities several days to suppress the rising, despite the relatively small numbers involved. The leaders, including Venner, were hanged for high treason. Over 4, other radicals were rounded up and imprisoned without due process.
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