Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Good Samaritan

On Sunday Anglican, Roman Catholic and other churches heard the parable of the Good Samaritan read as the gospel (Luke 10: 25-37) message. It relates to advice given to a lawyer who wants to know what he must do to inherit eternal life. He refers himself the old Jewish scripture "you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself." This the lawyer already knew but wanted clarification as to who his neighbour was. The answer was illustrated by a man who "fell into the hands of brigands" who took all he had and left him for dead.

First a priest arrived but passed by on the other side when he saw the man who had been mugged and was near to death. Similarly another priest, this time a Levite, passed by without going to the aid of the badly injured man. A Samaritan (a man from Samaria) came along and bandaged up the injured man, put him on the Samaritan's beast of burden and took him to an inn where he stayed with the mugged man till the following morning. He then paid the landlord to care for the man saying that he would settle any outstanding debt when he returned.

You can be the Archbishop of Canterbury and not do the right thing in cases where your neighbour has been injured. It might even be harder for the Archbishop of Canterbury because he is so steeped in pomp and jewels it is hardly possible for him to see what is actually needed at a basic level. Unless he chooses to ignore these problems in which case he is no different from the priests in the parable who pass by on the other side. His silence on matters of international concern is undignified. Today the brigands are the US and UK and other NATO countries who vilify and persecute Muslims and steal the oil and other resources from predominantly Muslim countries by portraying them as enemies.

Talha Ahsan and Babar Ahmad, and others, are victims of the creation of an imaginary enemy to justify invasion to steal. The Bush and Blair 'war on terror' created a new enemy similar to the Soviet Union in the cold war years. Talha and Babar have been imprisoned without charge and without trial for years on end. Not having a case against them Theresa May thought the best option was to extradite them to the United States, to high-security prisons called Supermax prisons. John Pilger has written how 90% of prisoners in Supermax prisons plead guilty regardless of whether they have committed a crime just to be free from 23 hours a day in solitary confinement. The US probably has no case against them.

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, has made no effort to seek the release of these men, and others like them. One can only assume he is a tool of government, a priest who walks by on the other side.

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