Remember you could be me in another life
Peter Burns (Chronicle, March 7) has slated a minister of the church for merely speaking up (in the true spirit of Christianity) on behalf of the disenfranchised, asking for an empathetic – not condemnatory – response to their plight.
The Rev Bryan Rippin says that the media's use of words like 'skivers' and 'scroungers', which incite disdain, doesn't help.
I'd have thought this point would be hard to argue with, but sure enough someone did just that. There are people who will express opinions about anything and everything, no matter how loosely attached to the issue they might be, and mindless of the influence their arguments might have on others.
Of course, Mr Burns has every right to put across his point of view as, thankfully, we do still have a free press – well, largely free, at least. However, it's sad he has to speak of 'religious compassion' in a cynical tone, effectively endorsing the tarring of 'people adversely affected by rising prices, government cuts and unemployment' with the same brush as a tiny unscrupulous minority.
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Even those few, however, are fellow human beings, shaped by the vicissitudes of their individual fortunes and the inequalities created and exacerbated by our capitalist system of government.
Life definitely does not deal us all an even hand.
I am reminded of Sting's lines: "Don't judge me. You could be me, in another life; in another chain of circumstances".
Surely we're far more likely to lose our basic freedoms in a society run by an uncaring, discriminatory elite, which is where we're progressively heading; where everybody is looking after number one and the open expression of prejudice and 'us' and 'them' value judgements isn't routinely challenged? I believe this is all the humble reverend was trying to say.
Nicky Hayward Rose Terrace Combe Down, Bath