Michæl McFarland Campbell

Always telling the story

Archive for June, 2020

Religious freedom is important

without comments

All religions are not the same

It is common in today’s world to run into people who believe that all religions are basically the same. In fact, it is even becoming common to run into Anglicans or Catholics who have adopted this viewpoint. It is considered the tolerant, open-minded point of view. But in reality, it is just the opposite: it is the most close-minded and intolerant viewpoint someone could have in regards to religion. 

Human nature is the same wherever we find human beings. Human nature always has the same basic needs and problems—biological, emotional, and spiritual. Every religion tries to address those basic needs—for happiness and meaning, for example. Every religion tries to solve those basic problems—sin and forgiveness, and life after death, for example. In other words, all religions have to deal with the same basic human condition. This is why some people try to claim that all religions are the same. 

The interesting thing is that different religions actually deal with those basic problems and needs in different ways. Atheistic religions say there is no god at all. Pantheistic religions say that everything in the universe is part of god and identical to god. Polytheistic religions say that the divine realms is full of numerous, competing gods. Monotheistic religions, like Christianity, believe in one, all-powerful, eternal God. 

The differences don’t stop there. Inside each of those groups are different variations. Each variation presents its own view about the nature of God, the nature of salvation and happiness, and how salvation can be found. This is why it is a sign of close-mindedness or laziness to simply say that all religions are the same: it is a refusal to show any respect at all to what religious people really believe.

✠ ✠ ✠ ✠ ✠

Christianity comes to ancient England

In the history of Christian missionary activity, there are many great examples of what true open-mindedness really is. When St Francis of Assisi set out to evangelise the Muslims, he did not use violence and accusations, or threats and tricks. He listened sincerely and explained patiently. His dream of converting them all did not come true, but one of the Muslim leaders he befriended became a Christian on his deathbed. 

When Christian missionaries first came to the pagan kingdoms of ancient England, Edwin, the King of the Angles, met with his royal counsellors to discuss how the missionaries should be received. One of the King’s wise advisors gave the following speech:

“The present life of man, O king, seems to me, in comparison of that time which is unknown to us, like to the swift of a sparrow through the [banquet] room wherein you sit at supper in winter, with your commanders and ministers, and a good fire in the midst, whilst the storms of rain and snow prevail abroad. The sparrow, I say, flying in, at one door, and immediately out at another, whilst he is within, is safe from the wintry storm. But after a short space of fair weather, he immediately vanishes out of your sight, into the dark winter from which he had emerged. So this life of man appears for a short space, but of what went before, or what is to follow, we are utterly ignorant. If therefore, this new doctrine contains something more certain, it seems justly to deserve to be followed.”

St Bede the Venerable, Ecclesiastical History of the English People, (Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum), Penguin Classics 1990, first published 731. 

All religions are not the same. If they were, our Lord Jesus Christ would never have come to earth to teach us the truth. But He did come, and His answers to life’s biggest questions are the greatest treasure we possess. 

✠ ✠ ✠ ✠ ✠

Christianity defends religious freedom

It is because we, as Christians, recognise that all religions do not offer the same explanations and solutions to the human condition that we, as Christians, are so firmly committed to religious freedom. 

The Church teaches that religious freedom, the freedom to believe, worship, and live in accordance with one’s religious beliefs, is a basic human right. This is because a relations with God is one of the most basic human needs and duties—it is as basic for the human mind and soul as food and water are for the human body. Christians defend this right not because we think all religions are equally true, but because we recognise that every human heart must be free to search for God without being forced. 

If all religions were the same, then religious freedom would have no meaning. Religion itself, in fact, would have no meaning. It would be nothing more than a personal hobby, with no real truth or relevance for society. This is exactly what many lawmakers (and even some Scouters) say at the moment. They want to take religion out of social life (or out of Scouting) and keep it behind closed doors. But that policy backfires: it turns atheism into the required public religion—violating the human right to religious liberty. 

Of course, freedom of religion is not limitless. It is not the only human right. No one has a right to use religion as an excuse for injustice. 

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

As Benedict XVI said in a meeting with leaders from different religions:

“In the face of a world torn apart by conflicts, where violence in God’s Name is at times justified, it is important to reaffirm that religions can never become vehicles of hatred; it is never possible, invoking God’s Name, to succeed in justifying evil and violence.”

Greeting of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the Meeting of the Heads of the Delegations taking part in the International Encounter for Peace, 21 October 2007, Archdiocesan Seminary at Capodimonte, Naples. http://www.vatican.va/ [accessed 2020-06-06]

All religions are not the same. They give different answers to life’s biggest questions. Today, as we profess our faith in the one, true God, the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity, let us thank God for showing us the true answer to all those questions: Our Lord Jesus Christ. And let us renew our commitment to live as true Christians, so that those around us who are still looking for answers, will find Jesus Christ in us. 

✠ ✠ ✠ ✠ ✠

Written by Michæl McFarland Campbell

June 7th, 2020 at 10:00 am

Police Service NI – a sensible rebranding

without comments

Having grown up with the police service in Northern Ireland known almost universally by its abbreviation of RUC, for Royal Ulster Constabulary, it was probably inevitable that its successor the Police Service of Northern Ireland would become known by its four intial letters, the PSNI. I am pleased that the Chief Constable has said that he wants the service to be rebranded as “Police Service NI”. It puts their role back to the forefront of their brand. I think that is very important.

Agreed in 2001, the badge of the Police Service of Northern Ireland,

features a Saint Patrick’s Cross surrounded by six symbols – a harp, crown, shamrock, laurel leaf, torch and scales of justice.

BBC News, “Board Agrees on NI police badge”, http://news.bbc.co.uk/ [accessed 2020-06-06]

Whilst the rebranding of the Royal Ulster Constabulary to the Police Service of Northern Ireland was painful for many in Northern Ireland, this rebrand should be painless.

Chief Constable Simon Byrnes said:

Policing is so much more than an acronym – which is why our brand review is focussing on using ‘Police Service NI’ as opposed to ‘PSNI’. Our current brand is simply the crest and we aim to enhance this to better reflect the breadth and depth of what we do and to improve our connection to our communities.

“We are keen to bring consistency and a fresher look to the Police Service NI brand and imagery across our digital platforms, publications, building signage, livery and our website. Alongside this, we are reviewing our uniform and our vehicle fleet signage. It is important to highlight that we are not changing the crest or the name of the Service as both are representative of the service we deliver and are set in law.

“We have already briefed the Northern Ireland Policing Board, the Justice Minister and the Police Federation on our plans and will be starting a consultation process over the summer months that will continue into the Autumn to get your views before returning to the Policing Board with an update on the final proposals.

Police Service NI, Chief Constable introduces draft visuals for new Police Service NI branding, https://www.psni.police.uk/news/ [accessed 2020-06-06]

I notice that in the reversed version of the proposed new brand, the name of the organisation has been removed from the circle around the badge. I presume this is because the name is alongside the badge. The symbols that are so important to the badge are now clearer in the white version of the badge so I hope that this rebrand will get the support and go ahead following consultation.

Rebrands often seem to cost huge amounts of money, I am glad to hear that all work done thus far has been done by the inhouse designer so thus far it is cost neutral. Obviously, organisations rebranding have to invest in new signage and in new livery for vehicles, but as we all know signage and livery has to be redone regularly to look the best, so I am sure that it will be done at the approriate time.

Well done for the proposed brand refresh.

Written by Michæl McFarland Campbell

June 6th, 2020 at 11:16 am