Originally posted by The Realist
Last night I felt obliged to endure some of Comic Relief. Pious, c-list celebrities using the show as a career-defibrillator, piggybacking on the ill and the dying. I know I shouldn’t be so disparaging and I accept that my antagonism may be due to the BBC’s assertion that ‘funnyman’ Lenny Henry be wheeled out for his annual luvvie-fest, but it struck me that this is largely a way of making the British Public feel better about themselves. I remember feeling exactly the same about Live Aid - and I was only nine then. That said, I was (as anyone with a pulse would be) deeply affected by the pictures of suffering and death in Sub-Saharan Africa. Now, where I differ from other people is that they do not make me sad. They make me angry. The images cause sadness amongst people in Bovis homes in dull cul-de-sacs with dull lives, looking at the suffering of brown, skeletal children. These people then phone and pledge £10 to save them. Job done. Conscience clear. Nothing else can be done to help, surely?
There are, in fact, two ways of making a difference to this appalling state of affairs. Stopping political apathy and stopping religion.
I am by no means a friend of everything Labour do. But yesterday’s announcement of a debt cancellation, aid and anti-corruption package is one of the bravest and most positive things this Government has ever done. This proclamation (worth a billion red noses) should register on the radar of the Bovis-couple, though I fear it will elude them much as it will elude leaders of other Western countries, who will probably not ratify Blair’s plan.
So, that would help tackle the symptoms, but what about the cause? I in no way throw all of the blame at religion. Corruption and greed have a massive part to play (and indeed would be tackled by the Blair plan), however, the dogged resistance by the Catholic church against moving away from their idiotic and dangerous policies has caused suffering, death, disease, ignorance, pain, bankruptcy, abject poverty and misery. The church has condemned a whole generation of a whole continent. Read that sentence back.
The church was recently exposed as promoting the idea in the developing world, that condoms cause HIV/AIDS and, despite Rome’s protestations, this is the message that Africa is getting. My only hope is that, as access to (secular) education expands, that the church is exposed as the ridiculous and dangerous organisation that it is.