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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6 Responses to Sunday Priorities

  1. Ray Barnes says:

    Like you Freda, I’m saddened, perplexed, and not a little frightened by the events of the past week in this supposedly settled part of the world.
    Who can say what is the trigger for every grievance and deprivation real or imagined to suddenly errupt into extreme violence.
    Perhaps your last paragraph has more to do with this than most things.
    Certainly there is a very large section of society which, possibly due to lack of basic literacy, feels not only marginalised, but unable to express their feeling of ‘third-class-citizenship.
    How we can educate, include and improve the status of these people without patronising them is the big question.
    We may not have all the answers, but if we can at least agree on the questions we are making progress.

  2. freda says:

    Ray, your point about helping without patronising is very important. Let’s hope politicians have had such a fright that they take the “third-class citizenship” seriously.

  3. Dianne says:

    From what I read in our papers, the Washington Post and New York Times, most of those arrested had no idea why they did what they did. The stolen goods ranged from a pack of chewing gum to bottled water. The gal who was supposed to represent Britain at the Olympics was turned in by her own parents. Of course, both the left and the right will have a field day advancing every wrong theory under the sun. The truth is most of us can get caught up in the moment. Do you suppose this is what is meant by ‘original sin?”

    As for leprosy, I wish we spent more of our tax dollars on medican outreach and less on armament.

  4. Anne Gibert says:

    I suspect that, though there are many contributing factors, an underlying problem of overcrowding and migrating populations brings together cultures with clashing values. It will get worse as time goes on because there are just too many people in the world and its population is increasing with alarming speed. Early education may help to provide some sort of stability, but until humans learn to control reproductive rates these things will continue to happen all too often.

  5. LC says:

    It is hard for me to “walk in their shoes” with no knowledge of the lives of the rioters and looters. There are so many decisions today that people make that make no sense to me whether they are in positions of respnsibility or are unemployable. Maybe reaching a point of love and compassion, as you mentioned in your earlier post is more practical than most pundits would admit, but also most difficult.

  6. Mina says:

    I find it most interesting that it appears to be only the leaders of the Sikh religion who are being very vocal in the need for greater religious bodies support in bringing values back to the general population. The general values of religion, no matter what faith, are similar and at present appear to be sadly lacking. Somehow I don’t think our politicians have any real idea of how to work though this problem other than by ‘policing’ – very sad all round.

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