Letters, Tuesday, January 11th, 2010

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Religion keeping people in ignorance

I DIDN’T write this letter over the Christmas period because it is supposed to be the time of goodwill, although religious people continued to kill each other in the Middle East in the name of God.

Last month researchers at Newcastle University were studying the inner workings of neurons in the brain when they saw an image that bore a remarkable likeness to Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. This was laughed off as coincidence, which it is.

However, if that image had been of Jesus or Mary it would have been regarded as a “sign”. Christmas shoppers in Newcastle would have been engulfed by Catholics and other assorted rag-bag Christians on a pilgrimage to the Toon.

While I was laughing at this juxtaposition, I realised just how far organised religion will go to keep people in ignorance to maintain its power and wealth.

Last month in Wisconsin, in the United States, the Catholic church (as decreed by a bishop and the Pope) officially recognised a spot where a Belgian-born nun, Sister Brise, in 1859 “saw” the Virgin Mary, who spoke to her.

You’d have thought the conversation would have gone along the lines of Mary telling Sister Brise how grumpy Joseph is these days and how well her son was doing, but no, this vision said the profound words: “I am the Queen of Heaven who prays for the conversion of sinners.”

With no proof or substantiated documentary evidence, and more than 150 years after the event, it’s patent nonsense. But in context it’s perfectly understandable: organised religion has been conning us for 2,000 years (a virgin birth, I ask you!) and all of the biblical reports of the birth of so-called Jesus of Nazareth were written long after his supposed nativity and, more tellingly, they all conflict.

Richard Davies, Struan Terrace, East Boldon

Long-time fan

IN reply to Mick the Pen, I am not a recent SAFC supporter. I was probably watching football before he was born.

I acquired my knowledge when I was 14 years old from my uncle Bobby Best (before your time and mine) who used to play for “the Lads”, so I know all about off-side etc, and I saw some of the greats from all teams, not out of books. As for beating me at a quiz, who cares?

Sadly football and the supporters have changed somewhat but, thankfully, not all of them.

Diamond earrings, designer haircuts, jewellery and woollen gloves! Oh yes, Mick, it is indeed a man’s game.

Joyce Brown, Roker, Sunderland

Socialist Party

THE Socialist Party was formed in 1904, out of the split in The Social Democratic Federation and out of a conviction and belief that the reformists of this organisation were wrong.

We have used the abbreviation of our name, which you correctly assert as The Socialist Party GB, for some 40 years but which you incorrectly state has a membership of 100.

In the last decade, Militant Tendency, obviously in an attempt to hide from their inglorious, past have used the name, “Socialist Party”, to continue their attempt at entreeism.

We do not, as others do, attempt to curry favour by jumping on the bandwagon of every campaign and reformist organisation going. We exist for one reason and one reason alone: to advocate an alternative to capitalism, not to reform it.

Our stance on the likes of the USSR, China, Cuba et al, is well documented in our journal, The Socialist Standard.

As such, we cannot, as various left-wing groups can, be accused of historical or political revisionism.

The evidence of our principled stance is there for all to see.

We are not an elitist party. We have no leaders, nor wish to lead anyone. Indeed, we state quite unequivocally that the working-class must achieve their own emancipation.

When and if a societal change comes about, The Socialist Party will cease to exist.

Also, unlike the hodge-podge of left organisation, the revolution we are trying to bring about is a revolution in thought and understanding. The history of societies, is one of change, or revolution, if you will.

Whether one considers a revolution from capitalism to an alternative system of human organisation is possible is a moot point. The Socialist Party consider it to be an imperative, if a fair society is to come about.

We have always urged people to read and understand, to question all political parties, and most especially us, to find out for themselves and to not put their faith in self-serving leaders or elitists.

Steve Colborn, Ivy Avenue, Deneside, Seaham

Magical park

I WISH to say well done Sunderland Council. Mowbray Park was magic. My grandchildren had me there day and night.

Also, the Rocket the Reindeer show was great, the elves, Santa and helpers were first class and had time for every child.

My grandchildren now want a real reindeer as a pet.

Granny Ann, Stansfield Street, Roker, Sunderland