Good riddance to Anthony Priddis

The Bishop of Hereford Anthony Priddis announced his resignation this week. He has cited, in part, the refusal of the Church of England to accept women bishops in his making this decision. On the surface he appears to be painting himself as a liberal minded Christian and has received sympathy and respect in standing up against the Church establishment.

Priddis, likes women, hates gays!

But Mr Priddis seems to think we have short memories. Back in 2007 he was voted Bigot of the Year by Stonewall. This was after he was found guilty of ‘discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation’ following his refusal to employ an openly gay youth worker. During a so-called job interview Priddis subjected the applicant to a series of humiliating questions about his past relationships. Clearly his ‘liberal’ views don’t extend to gay people.

But it comes as no surprise that a religious leader is a hypocrite. Just look at the Catholic church. You could laugh at this sex-obsessed fear-mongering religion if it wasn’t for the pain and suffering caused by those in power. Christian leaders don’t have the the monopoly on hypocrisy. Both Jewish and Islamic leaders will preach love and tolerance while suppressing the rights of women in the name of religion.

We are in no way claiming that all religious people are closet bigots like Priddis. On the contrary, the vast majority of people who subscribe to organised religions are probably lovely tolerant people. But they are lovely and tolerant in spite of their religion, not because of it. And it’s because of them that people like Priddis or Keith O’Brian, or even Abu Hamza and Rabbi Noson Leiter can continue to chat their shit.

We look forward to the day when people realise they can be decent human beings without needing the crutch of religion to prop up their morals. But until that day people like Priddis deserve to be shown for the charlatans they are.

What makes a war?

Heads are rolling at the BBC this week as the falsely accused Alistair McAlpine pursues the BBC for misinforming the public by alleging he was a paedophile. Well over £150,000 will be paid in compensation, and the BBC Director General, George Entwistle, has already resigned following the fiasco.

However, something quite different is happening in the BBC’s reporting of the events in Palestine.  The BBC have been carrying out a systematic manipulation and misinformation campaign since the launch of Operation Pillar of Cloud last week. And for those who followed the reporting of Cast Lead 4 years ago, it seems oh so familiar.

Phosphorus shells hit Gaza

So before people race to regurgitate the tripe the BBC manage to palm in to their ‘reporting’, know that before Israel launched Operation Pillar of Cloud, not 1 Israeli had been killed in 2012 by a Palestinian rocket. On the other hand, over 70 Palestinians have been killed in the last 11 months by Israeli jets, tanks and drones.1

Know that many of those who reside in Gaza are refugees who’s ancestors were driven from their homes by violence and force. Many have lived under Israeli military occupation their whole life and since 2007 have been blockaded in the worlds largest open-air prison, with Israel patrolling the seas, the land and the skies.

Know that what is happening is not a ‘religious war’. In fact it is not a war at all. What is happening right now is a slaughter of men, women and children by one side which has stolen and occupied the others land, imprisoned and tortured it’s people and uses the memory of all those who suffered through the anti-semitism in Europe 70 years ago to justify these actions.

Protest against Isreali aggression by Rabbis in New York

Last week, Israeli forces shot a 13 year old boy in his head as he was playing football in the Gaza strip. Following that instigation of violence, the Palestinian resistance responded by returning fire onto a military vehicle on the Eastern border. On Monday 5th November, Palestinian groups agreed to an informal truce which was again broken by Israel on Wednesday by the assassination of Ahmed Jabari, the head of Hamas’ military wing.

The BBC bare some responsibility for the ongoing atrocities in Gaza. Unlike the case of McAlpine, where money can settle a grievance, Gazans will die today, tomorrow and everyday Israel continues it’s offensive. By denying the context of what is happening now and deliberately misinforming the public, the BBC have become an important cog in Israel’s military machine. The BBC are complicit, not because they pay for the bombs or because they pull the triggers, but because they speak of a war when it is not. Because they speak of a Qassam rocket landing in the middle of nowhere, whilst at the same time a pregnant Palestinian women is blown in half by an Israeli F-16 attack.

This article finishes today as Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu threatens another escalation of force. The UK Foreign Secretary’s response to that is to announce that ‘Hamas bare the principle responsibility’ for what is happening and that de-escalation can happen only if ‘Hamas stop firing rockets’.

Content without context is meaningless. By refusing to report the context of what is happening in Gaza today, the BBC distort the true meaning behind every rocket. This is not a fight between 2 equal sides, nor is it a war between 2 neighbouring states. This is a decades old military occupation. There is a resistance to that occupation. But unless pressure is put on Israel to stop the slaughter now, there will be another massacre in Gaza in the coming weeks.

By Moqlieh


UNITED NATIONS Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs occupied Palestinian territory Protection of Civilians Weekly Report, 31 October – 6 November 2012

A Right Old Christian Ruckus

Five footballers are facing year long bans after a match between two church sides descended into a mass brawl. Zion Athletic and Common Ground United are both members of the West Midlands Christian League, a league set up to promote peace and understanding!

Trouble flared up early in the second half of the match with Zion leading 5-1. Zion players have been accused of bating United players after a penalty decision went their way. As a fight ensued a United player who had earlier been sent off ran back onto the pitch to get stuck in.

Common Ground United, Jesus told them to fight!

In a league where bad language is a sending off offence and spitting and arguing are ‘frowned upon’, last weekends game was abandoned with five United players on ‘violent conduct’ charges.

Tony Sadia, Common Grounds founder, has claimed that his players were provoked. “It’s devastating and shocking” he told reporters ”we don’t condone this sort of behaviour.”

But investigations by the Heckler suggest that the league as a whole DOES condone this behaviour. The leagues mission statement reads that players are expected to behave “both on and off the pitch in a manner morally, decently and ethically sound of action and speech, honouring the name of Jesus Christ”.

Anyone whose read anything of the Bible would be aware that the levels of violence on that football pitch last Saturday falls well below what is expected of a good Christian.

 Mr Sadia went on to say that “Some of our players have had a bad course in life. By going to church, you don’t expect it to change overnight. Sometimes they go off the rails”.

While it may seem laudable to help these vulnerable young men, you have to wonder if they are spoiling the beautiful game by bringing religion into it. Football and Christianity, in particular, have never made good bed fellows, and besides, science is yet to prove that having an imaginary friend increases your goal keeping skills!!


Mosque to be built in Hereford

Muslims in Herefordshire are firmly on the way to building the county’s first mosque.

The Herefordshire Muslim Society has been renting the Kindle Centre for prayer for a number of years but feels it is outgrowing the space and needs a centre of its own.

The society has so far raised around £40,000 through individual donations. They aim to register as a charity and to find a suitable location in the centre of Hereford.

Despite the fact that the society has been getting on with its business peacefully for years, this move will be controversial.

So let’s lay our cards on the table: as anarchists we don’t believe in a god–whether a Christian, Muslim, Jewish or whatever god–and we reject the teachings of their disciples on earth.

What’s more, religions have proved divisive and destructive and great atrocities have been committed by their followers throughout history.

Islam is no exception and the beginning of this century alone has seen Muslim fanatics commit numerous attacks on innocent people resulting in the death of thousands.

All religions have their lunatic fringes as well as the conservative movements that are discriminatory, intolerant and in some cases abusive. These must be opposed (including Hereford’s own).

Yet these people are in the minority and whilst a few sick and twisted nutjobs have been stealing the headlines, millions of other Muslims have been disgusted by what has been carried out in their name. The vast majority of followers–although believing in something we find hard to see any sense in–are peaceful and compassionate individuals.

Our objections to any realised mosque in Hereford–if any–must be based on genuine fact and not suspicion, idle gossip or a fear of something we don’t understand.

Intelligence and rationality are the order of the day here.

Religious fundamentalists target Hereford youth

There is growing concern amongst parents and youth workers in Hereford about the increasing influence of Christian fundamentalists on young people. In particular the growing influence of Freedom Church who, through the work carried out by their youth group 2XL, are being openly promoted and funded by Herefordshire Council, as seen with the free two-page advert in this month’s ‘Herefordshire Matters.’

Christian fanatics like Freedom Church hide behind the veneer of forward thinking, welcoming, new-age acceptability. But look beyond the shiny PR and you’ll find a group that disregards science in favour of ‘creationism’, thinks of contraception and homosexuality as unholy and believe that women should be subservient to dominant males. In all a narrow minded and unethical, fundamentalist cult.

Of course like all religious groups Freedom Church promote the work they do here and abroad as the positive work of god, and any youth work that 2XL is involved in is heavily regulated. But what many people are asking is how a church with such extreme views can get paid to deliver sexual health work in schools. How do they approach subjects like abortion, homosexuality and gender issues?

Freedom Church is not the only organisation causing concern. Questions are being asked about the work done by the Closed House in Hereford. What is the real agenda of these people? Are they simply trying to recruit more members? We have religious freedom in this country but we also have a duty to protect young people from the damaging influence of religious groups. We can only imagine the uproar if these groups were part of the Muslim faith.

We at Hereford Solidarity League believe there is no place for religion in education, but it should be up to every student, parent and teacher to decide who is involved in schools and youth groups.  Choices can only be made if groups like Freedom Church and Close House are forced to make it clear who they are and what they stand for.


Veterans from the Falkland Islands and Northern Ireland have criticised the use of the red poppy to support current wars and conflicts.

In a letter printed in today’s Guardian they write: “The Poppy Appeal is once again subverting Armistice Day. A day that should be about peace and remembrance is turned into a month-long drum roll of support for current wars. This year’s campaign has been launched with showbiz hype. The true horror and futility of war is forgotten and ignored.”

The public are being urged to wear a poppy in support of “our Heroes”. There is nothing heroic about being blown up in a vehicle. There is nothing heroic about being shot in an ambush and there is nothing heroic about fighting in an unnecessary conflict.”

Remembrance should be marked with the sentiment ‘Never Again.’ Since the 1920s, some people have worn white poppies rather than red ones, in the belief that the best way to honour those who have died is to commit to active peacemaking.

The white poppy was made by women who had lost loved ones in World War One. They approached the makers of red poppies, and asked them to print ?no more war? in the centre of the poppies. Their request was refused, so they made white ones instead.

The British Legion insists that red poppies are ‘neutral’. However, they also say that the poppy is about remembering soldiers not civilians, only British soldiers and not ‘enemy’ soldiers, and states that they are about remembering those ‘who died for our freedom.’

Robert Lee, the British Legion’s spokesman, told the Guardian: “I am glad that they have noticed the change in campaigning. It’s a fair cop. There have been criticisms, mainly from older veterans.

“We are the national custodians of remembrance but we are living in contemporary society. Not everything we do with the poppy appeal has to be static and serious, or conducted with a frown. It was very generous of the X Factor wearing poppies, that’s caused quite a stir of Twitter, with people asking what they are.

“There is nothing in our appeal or campaigning which supports, or does not support, war: we are totally neutral. We are not a warmongering organisation. We don’t have a position on war in Iraq or anywhere else. These boys don’t send themselves to Iraq, that’s a decision for the politicians.”