Weekly Round up: religion, politics and biodiversity

your guide to to intriguing little stories which may yet run

We at LSS are far from anti religion. Trouble is, when it goes wrong or you concentrate too much on purity over everything else, you can get problems, as the following cautionary tales illustrate

Thrashing out the issues: John Smyth QC was quite a guy. He was a relentless moral crusader, a committed Christian activist and a Recorder Judge. Yet according to allegations reported by Harriet Sherwood of the Guardian, Smyth was implicated in lurid abuse scandals at a whole series of summer camps run for the education of young men from Britain’s elite schools. Remember Bleeding for Jesus is the case for the prosecution, and we have yet to hear from the Smyth family (Smyth died in 2018), Whatever the final truth, it’s a sobering reminder of the psychological currents that flow through the more exclusive and righteous organisations.


Bleeding for Jesus: John Smyth and the Cult of Iwerne Camps by Andrew Graystone will be published on 2 September.

Rifts in the family According to our more nervous and excitable commentators the Fall of Kabul is a triumph for the forces of Islam over a morally decadent, cowardly West. Except that the truth is never that simple. For one thing the Taliban are militant Sunnis with strong links to Saudi Arabia, while their huge neighbour Iran is staunchly Shi’ite. it gets even more complicated, as Jason Burke Why not all Islamists Extremists are buoyed by the Taliban’s victory for the Guardian, shows. Jason takes you through a lot of names and groups, so you’ll learn a lot. Let this be a taster:

……the Islamic State (Isis), which considers the Taliban “apostates” because of their willingness to negotiate with the US, their apparent pragmatism and their failure to apply Islamic law with sufficient rigour.

Seems that however hard you try, there’s always someone who thinks you could be doing better!


Biodiversity: it’s not all gloom. On the better theme, the media are full of declining habitats, dead animals and burning forests. But herculean efforts are being made to resore the wounds somewhere, as Nature Briefings reminds us Seeking Biodiversity winners and losers

Globally, we are experiencing a biodiversity crisis: a landmark report shows that some one million animal and plant species face extinction. But in some locations, the variety of species is increasing. In others, some types of plant and animal are thriving while others struggle. Scientists are scrambling for data that will help them to better understand the well-being of rapidly changing ecosystems and where conservation efforts can best be targeted. At the forefront is a European network, called EuropaBON, that will combine research plots, community scientists, satellite sensors, models and other methods to generate a continuous stream of biodiversity data for the continent.Nature | 14 min read
Reference: Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IBPES) Global Assessment report

We are ourselves busy reporting on biodiversity projects on the south coast of England, and hope to bring you more news soon. In the meantime, have a good weekend

#christianity #islam #taliban #johnsmyth #biodiversity

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