Tag Archives: Nelson Mandela

Pope Francis tribute to Nelson Mandela

Pope Francis paid tribute to Nelson Mandela on Friday, as he joins the world in grieving the death of one of the world’s most ardent fighters for equality.
He sent a telegram to South African President Jacob Zuma that said:

It was with sadness that I learned of the death of former President Nelson Mandela, and I send prayerful condolences to all the Mandela family, to the members of the Government and to all the people of South Africa. In commending the soul of the deceased to the infinite mercy of Almighty God, I ask the Lord to console and strengthen all who mourn his loss. Paying tribute to the steadfast commitment shown by Nelson Mandela in promoting the human dignity of all the nation’s citizens and in forging a new South Africa built on the firm foundations of non-violence, reconciliation and truth, I pray that the late President’s example will inspire generations of South Africans to put justice and the common good at the forefront of their political aspirations. With these sentiments, I invoke upon all the people of South Africa divine gifts of peace and prosperity.

Pope Francis and Mandela shared a strong belief in the injustice of poverty. The Pontiff’s most recent apostolic exhortation, “Evangelii Gaudium,” slammed the evils of unfettered capitalism and the world’s responsibility towards the poor, stating, “As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems.”
Similarly, Mandela once said, “Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life. While poverty persists, there is no true freedom.”
pope mandela
Nelson Mandela welcomed Pope John Paul II to South Africa in 1995, and was appreciative of their mutual concern for the poor, commitment to equality, and undying fight for liberation from oppression. On the occasion of Pope John Paul II’s funeral, Mandela said, “Pope John Paul II was a consistent voice articulating the need for moral regeneration and caring for the poor and marginalized.”

Obit Nelson Mandela

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Hate and Love

Hate and Love

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December 6, 2013 · 19:59

School Days are the happiest of your life?

Council pays out in school religion row – Herald Scotland

AN atheist living on a Scottish island has been awarded £1000 compensation from his local council after a protracted wrangle over religious education at his eight-year-old son’s primary school.

David Michael, from Great Bernera off the west coast of the Isle of Lewis, accepted the payment from Western Isles Council.

It was made after he claimed he was victimised on the grounds of religion in the way officials dealt with his complaint.

The row started in 2008 when Mr Michael raised concerns about religious elements in lessons on Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King at Bernera Primary School, where his son was a pupil.

He was also concerned about a proposed trip to a Bible exhibition.

In a subsequent letter from Kirsteen Maclean, the school’s headteacher, he was told that removing his son, Anton, from religious education would have wider implications.

“Withdrawal from RE would also include him being withdrawn from all school assembly occasions and Christmas activities,” she said.

After lengthy discussions with the local authority – and subsequent legal action on the way his complaints were handled – the council has agreed to pay Mr Michael £1000 compensation and costs of more than £1400.

The out-of-court settlement means no ruling has been made in the case and therefore no liability has been accepted by the local authority.

It is believed to be the first case of its kind in Scotland.

Mr Michael intends to donate the compensation money to the school.

He said he welcomed the settlement.

“We had concerns over the religious overtone to lessons that we felt was inappropriate given our own views,” he said.

“The school has now accepted it needs to be more flexible over the way it deals with this issue.”

Mr Michael was also angered by the attitude of local authority officials who dealt with his complaint.

“In my view, the department has serious organisational culture problems and I call upon the director to address these urgently,” he added.

Iain Nisbet, head of education law at Govan Law Centre, which took the case with support from the Equality and Human Rights Commission in Scotland, welcomed the outcome.

“This is a tremendously important case,” he said.

“Not only is it the first time a religion and belief discrimination case has been brought to court in relation to a pupil’s education, it underlines the breadth of anti-discrimination duties which schools now have to comply with.”

However, the council refuted any suggestion of discrimination and said that the action of the parent had been “unreasonable”.

“The school was flexible with how it dealt with this issue throughout, but what we were adamant we would not do was change the curriculum on the basis of one parent’s views,” said a spokesman.

“The parent did not want to have his child removed from religious education.

“He wanted to change the curriculum specifically in relation to the importance of faith to public figures such as Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, and we argue that was unreasonable.

“We agreed to settle the court action by this parent on purely economic grounds.”

He said that the cost to the taxpayer of having a civil hearing in court would be far in excess of the cost of settling the action.

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June 30, 2013 · 11:20

Stand Up and be Counted

How sad that today it so often appears that people will not stand up and be counted. Even the Church so often seems to prefer compromise to principle.  Yet it has not always been so.

Little has been said about the role of the churches in the fall of the Iron Curtain. From September to November of 1989 East Germany experienced what became known as the October revolution in which the 40-year-old communist government fell with remarkably little violence. The church played an important role in encouraging the peaceful demonstrations that followed evening prayer services. On October 9 of that year it appeared as if things night get very brutal especially since Erich Honecker ordered a fierce and violent crackdown on the demonstrations.

The Lutheran Bishop warned of a blood bath and doctors cleared hospital wards in order to treat the casualties. The church decided not to cancel the prayer services however and appealed for calm. After the service the demonstrators numbered over 150,000. In a courageous act of defiance and insubordination, Egon Krenz, the politbureau member in charge of security, refused to carry our Honecker’s orders and the demonstration remained peaceful. That night became a turning point in the revolution. Some weeks later demonstrators hung a banner across a Leipzig street: saying Wir Danken Dir Kirche which means Thank You Church.

Sometimes we fail to realize just how important these acts of courage and political and religious defiance can be in the history of the world.

Remember many of these folks who stood up for their beliefs against enormous odds. Thomas More, the 16th century Oxford educated statesman, opposed two of the Kings of his day. He stood up to Henry VII and suffered for his opposition. He then became a favourite of Henry VIII who knighted him and who also often sought his companionship in philosophical conversations. The friendship was not to last!, for when Henry VIII became disenchanted with his wife, Catherine of Aragon he planned to divorce her in clear defiance of the Pope. More decided that his first loyalty was to the church and he was eventually executed by Henry VIII. 400 years later More was canonized by the Catholic Church.

Oliver Tyndale; who translated the Bible from Latin to English. was executed by the Kingdom for doing so.

Martin Luther; confronted the powers of the world with what he perceived was the fundamental truths of Christianity and when attacked was forced to leave the church he loved to start the Protestant Movement.

John Wesley; was condemned for preaching salvation by Grace and almost killed several times, and continually ridiculed for his faith.

Of course there are others: Joan of Arc, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela  all people who stood up to those in power and proclaimed the truth – no matter what the cost.

What is more important: the favour of the world or the integrity of following the way we feel to be the way of God?

The Bible asks us to make a choice: We can be “successful” or we can be like the disciples – and Jesus, —–“significant”, trying to make a difference in spite of the power of this world.

Which is more important? If we are honest with ourselves and with our faith we know the answer.

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