Wednesday, September 17, 2008

British faith schools `will hinder fight against terrorism'?

Lumping all faith schools together is deliberately obtuse. Faiths that are hostile to Western civilization and faiths that support it are DIFFERENT! Islam and Christianity are NOT the same

The expansion of faith schools in Britain will hinder the fight against terrorism by fostering a belief in separate identity, says a psychologist who has studied the causes of violent religious extremism. Professor David Canter, director of the Centre for Investigative Psychology at Liverpool University, said: "Faith schools are terribly dangerous. Setting up these divisions based on faith is the starting point for people thinking of themselves as separate, and identifying an 'out-group' that you are not part of. "Identifying yourself as part of a group with power is a well-established notion in social psychology - social identity. Social identity is in part defined by an out-group distinct from yours."

A division of schools based on religion fostered separate identity between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland, and expansion of faith schools in England and Wales is likely to do the same, Professor Canter said. "It will create the possibility of people considering their significance in terms of religion."

Professor Canter has overseen psychological interviews with 49 convicted terrorists in India. "They seem to [have] got really hooked into a very intensive religious framework early on," Professor Canter said at the British Association's science festival in Liverpool. "Schools with a mixture of faiths seems psychologically more healthy."


His Grace Michael Nazir-Ali: Britons suffer 'cultural amnesia' about Christian art

Britons are suffering from "cultural amnesia" about the Christian origins of the country's art, music and language, a senior bishop has warned

The Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali said the works of Shakespeare or Milton could not have been written without the English translation of the Bible and the publication of the Book of Common Prayer, while great paintings and pieces of music were inspired by Christianity and made to be showcased in churches and cathedrals. Yet he claimed many people are now ignorant of the religious background to our culture.

The bishop, a prominent conservative in the Church of England who boycotted this year's gathering of Anglican Communion leaders in the ongoing row over homosexuality, said the church should do more to ensure schools, television companies and radio channels educate their audiences. His comments, part of a speech he gave to members of the Prayer Book Society, come after he warned that Britishness itself is being destroyed by the decline of Christian values, creating a "moral vacuum" that is being filled by radical Islam.

Dr Nazir-Ali, who was born in Pakistan, said: "What amazes me is how people in this country don't take account of the brute fact that the Bible and the prayer book have shaped so much of its literary and cultural achievements. "Without the translation of the Bible into English and the creation of the prayer book, it would have been impossible to have a Donne or a Shakespeare or a Milton. "Certainly with art, poetry and music, people aren't exposed to the Biblical root of what has inspired people to create these themes. There should be better interpretation of things. "With music, you can listen to hour upon hour of Classic FM but nobody tells you what the piece means. A lot of this music was written for worship. "Some reference to the fact that it was written in the context of worship would be very welcome, otherwise this amnesia will make the culture more and more shallow."

The bishop also pointed out that many modern artists and authors, regardless of their personal beliefs, use religious themes in their work. He cited as an example the Ian McEwan novel Atonement, later made into a film starring Keira Knightley, which takes its title from the Christian idea of humans being reconciled with God through the death of Jesus Christ. "So much of the inspiration for art was Christian - even the radical ones have been reacting to the Christian story," Dr Nazir-Ali said. "So often the classic themes are used and re-used and it's very important for people to know about them."

He added that the church should make sure schools, the Government and media organisations know about the Biblical basis behind works of culture so they can communicate them to their audiences. "We need a partnership between the church and schools and the state to make sure that the Christian story is known. "The church should work in partnership with television, with radio and with the media in general to enable people to understand where these things are coming from. Even if they don't agree with it, at least they have the information."


NHS productivity falls as spending rises by billions under Labour

The National Health Service has become less efficient despite Labour pumping millions into its budget. Official figures compiled by the Office for National Statistics show that the amount of treatment the NHS delivers is lagging behind the pace of increase in the service's budget. Critics said the statistics showed the NHS had absorbed huge amounts of money with very little to show for it and the Government must reform its management instead of pumping in ever more funding.

NHS productivity fell by 2.0 per cent a year between 2001 and 2005, according to the Centre for the Measurement of Government Activity, the ONS unit that monitors public spending. That was the period of the biggest funding increase in NHS history. From 2005 to 2006, productivity fell less quickly, by 0.2 per cent. From 1995 to 2006, the NHS annual budget more than doubled from 39 billion to 89.7 billion.

Andrew Lansley, the Conservative shadow health secretary, said the figures proved that Labour's approach to the NHS had failed. "Spending more money if it's not spent well doesn't necessarily deliver the services you are looking for," he said, accusing Labour's use of centralised targets and management of undermining the delivery of healthcare. As an example, Mr Lansley cited the latest central NHS contract for GPs' surgeries. A Whitehall audit earlier this year found that the contract had lead to family doctors earning 58 per cent more for doing 5 per cent less work.

The Department of Health said it was more important to focus on improvements in the quality and availability of treatment. A spokesman said: "Ten years ago people died waiting for operations, today waiting lists are at the lowest ever. The NHS is treating more patients, treating them faster and treating them more safely "It is also easier to access NHS treatment - through NHS Direct, walk in centres and at A&E where over 97% of people are now seen within four hours. And it is easier to see your GP because of extended opening hours in the evening or at weekends "There are 280,000 more doctors, nurses and other essential staff working for the NHS than in 1997 and all NHS staff have enjoyed well deserved pay rises. "Most importantly when people are asked, their experience of the NHS has improved.


There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.

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