Sunday Priorities

At church this morning we had a visitor from the Leprosy Mission Scotland. The speaker spoke movingly of the people – mainly in developing countries – who are afflicted with this disease today. There is a cure but because of ignorance and fear, sufferers delay going for help. It is a disease of poverty – spread rather like TB – and made worse by poor housing and hygiene. I’ve written about leprosy briefly here, and certainly have learned far more about the history of the illness worldwide than I had known.

Poor housing, poverty, fear, ignorance, lack of discipline…… all endemic in areas where leprosy flourishes. All equally present in our own society as instanced by the riots/looters and sheer violence and criminality over the past week. The Sunday Papers and pundits are voicing all sorts of theories, some of them every bit as violent in their vitriole, as the original participants themselves.

The theories include the following:

  • Greed
  • Lack of Education
  • Poverty
  • Gang culture
  • Laziness
  • Unemployment
  • Benefits “trap”
  • Drugs and alcohol
  • Single parenting
  • Lack of good role-model
  • No male influence in the household

You can probably add in many more ideas of your own. What strikes me today is the way that people are struggling to make sense of what happened. It is clear that many of the supposed reasons have their roots in the same culture as for leprosy. I suspect that the Leprosy Mission is supported like other charities, by both regular and one off contributions of money, and also through legacies. It’s not so easy to know what to do to make things better about our young people.

It is also much more difficult to try and fix people, as it were, especially when Human Rights can be so misused. What on earth are women thinking of when they march in scanty clothes declaring the right to be sluts? Or am I just getting past my sell-by date?

I long to see speakers visiting churches, politicians, local groups, with concrete ideas for ways to make things better amongst disaffected young people. This coming week thousands of children will be starting school for the first time, here in Scotland, the biggest thing we can do is to ensure that they leave school able to read, write and do standard arithmetic. That way everybody can engage in discussion and in working together to ensure a fairer society.

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