Topic / Op-ed

Is a fascist Christian theocracy REALLY the stuff of paranoia?

When Hulu launched its highly-acclaimed dramatisation of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale earlier this year, Barbara Kay, writing for The National Post, had this to say: Atwood chose evangelical Christians as her villains, because their family structures are patriarchal. But patriarchy doesn’t necessarily imply misogyny. In fact, I found Atwood’s demonizing scenario rather […]

What does Dr Manners think?

We live in a chronically boorish and uncivil world, and in the spirit of the great Miss Manners, above, I’m going to set up as an advisor on how to be not quite so unpleasant to each other. You can call me Doctor Manners. (Remember: I’m not a real doctor.) I’ve heard from some correspondents […]

A Clash of the Uncivilised

Trump, Muslim Profiling and the Far-Right’s Assault Donald Trump’s suspension of new refugee admissions for 120 days and the barring of nationals from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia for 90 days (likely to be extended) is fundamentally about a far-right restructuring of US society under the guise of ‘stopping terrorism’ and defending […]

Sharia courts pose a growing threat to women’s rights

This week more than 300 women who have faced abuse issued a warning of the growing threat to their rights by Sharia courts and parallel legal systems. Also this week, One Law for All submitted devastating new evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee Inquiry into Sharia Councils on how violence and gender inequality lie […]

The rise of university ‘faith warriors’

The protagonists of the anti-communist hysteria were commonly referred to as ‘cold warriors’. The trademark of the cold warrior was the obsession with their ideology, and the ideology of the respective other. The only lens through which the cold warrior could see the world was ‘with us or against us’, communist or anti-communist. The far-right […]

My Family

It is easy, looking around us, to believe that humans are the pinnacle of evolution, the masters of the world. We have developed tools with which we have spilt atoms, put probes on other planets and cured diseases amongst many thousands of other incredible achievements. We drive to work in super-efficient cars, take calls on […]

Wrong, Mr Trudeau!

On April 10 the satirical cartoonist Garry Trudeau, creator of Doonesbury, gave a speech at the George Polk Awards in Journalism ceremony where he received a lifetime achievement award. In that speech he spat in the eye of satirical cartoons as a genre and satirical cartoonists as colleagues and comrades. I’ve been a fan of […]

Gita Sahgal was right

Five years ago Gita Sahgal, head of the gender unit at Amnesty International, told the Amnesty bosses that it was a mistake to collaborate with Moazzem Begg, a mistake that would damage Amnesty’s reputation. The Sunday Times reported at the time:  Sahgal describes Begg as ‘Britain’s most famous supporter of the Taliban’. He has championed […]

Making Jesus ‘cool’

Christianity’s Suicidal Embracing Of Pop Culture Churches change. The Catholics threw over neo-Platonism when Aristotelianism turned trendy. The Southern Baptists gave up – evennnnn….tuallllllllly – the overt racism that defined them for a century and more. Anybody who thinks of religion as a bastion of stability as against the temporal flux of modernity is willfully […]

Joey Barton says ‘privatise religion’

In the run-up to the General Election in the UK, the Independent is publishing the views of 100 people, none of whom are politicians. Last Friday it published a piece by footballer and philosophy student Joey Barton, who said that if he were Prime Minister he would ‘privatise religion’. Barton, who plays as a midfielder […]