Tuesday, 17 July 2007

UK School wins right to ban Christian ‘purity’ ring

The Millais School in Horsham, West Sussex in the UK banned a pupil from wearing a ‘purity’ ring as it contravened the schools uniform policy.

She was one of a dozen girls who wore the ring, engraved with a verse from the Bible, as a sign of their intention to abstain from sex until they married.

She took the school to court on the grounds that it was as "unlawful interference" with her fundamental rights to express her Christian faith, but the court rejected this.

A school that banned a teenage girl from wearing a "purity" ring to symbolise her opposition to sex before marriage did not discriminate against her religious beliefs, the High Court ruled today.

The judge ruled, that the ring could not be regarded as ‘a proper Christian symbol’, and so the school had not breached the Human Rights Act. The decision does seem a little perverse and one wonders at how qualified he was to make the decision and what advice he may have taken.

This is the same school that had no problem allowing Moslem girls to wear headscarves. These scarves are clearly no more a (in the words of the court) ‘proper’ Moslem symbol, originating as they do with certain Middle Eastern ethnicities and not necessary to all Moslem women.

The Koran talks about modesty, but there is no specifically prescribed dress code for Muslim men and women.

The details regarding women's dress differ in various Muslim countries according to local cultural traditions. It ranges from any form of modest but not specifically Moslem dress to the extreme, all-covering chador, or burqa.

In fact the scarves when they are worn are worn to symbolise their ‘modesty and purity’ fulfilling much the same roll as the ring albeit far more overtly - and with just as much, or as little, ‘proper ness’ as the ring. Modesty might be regarded as a requirement but not the wearing of the scarf

Some in the Moslem world regard the headscarf and other more extreme versions of dress for Moslem women as an agenda being pushed by the more the ‘fundamentalist’ to assert a strict Middle Eastern homogenising control over Muslims in Europe.

Surely to be fare it should be one rule for all - and it does not look all that much like one rule for all at the moment.

Will the school, having won it’s argument on this basis, now be banning headscarves on the same basis? Or will they reconsider allowing the rings?

How likely is that?

It's the truth Jim - But not as we know it.

How the media (in this case the BBC) misdirect, even as they present the facts. The main 6 pm UK BBC News on Monday the 16th ran the story of Dr Andrew Wakefield who raised questions over the safety of the Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine.

He is in trouble with the UK General Medical Council (GMC) over the matter and is up on charges brought by them of acting ‘unethically and dishonestly’. Something he and his colleagues strenuously deny.

The background is: He, together with two colleagues, published a research paper in the Lancet in 1998 that raised the possibility that the new MMR vaccine was linked to both autism and the bowel disorder Crohn's disease.

The Government and medical establishment have repeatedly rejected the suggestion that there was any increased risk to the new vaccine.

Now regardless, of the merits, or not, of the current case, for the moment let’s look at the BBC reporting of it. Really look at the way it was put together.

The BBC report showed a graph indicating the drop in the take up of the MMR vaccine against an increase in the incidence of measles and explained it in these terms, the strong implication being that Dr Wakefield and his colleagues had been responsible for what amounted to almost a measles epidemic and a child had died. Practically a mass murderer then…

I shall not go into the careful phrasing of the propaganda report, that suggested that there could be no question the vaccine was not safe as houses and had a certain hint of ‘scientific consensus’ about it in a massive body of evidence.

They even trotted out a Mother (and indeed, who should know better?) who told us all that her G.P. (General Practitioner, or Dr) had ‘assured her the MMR vaccine was perfectly safe’. Much more convincing than all those parents who had turned out demonstrating in Dr Wakefield’s favour.

It may be the BBC were only repeating what they had been told. In that case the researcher in this case may also be interested in purchasing some attractively fancy looking shares in a Bolivian gold mine I can make available to them at short notice - as soon as the ink has dried.

The fact is those who had concerns about the new joint vaccine had wanted to ensure that the previous single vaccines continued to be available for parents to request, precisely in order to avoid any risk of epidemic.

It was actually the Government and the medical establishment that made it almost impossibly difficult to obtain the single vaccines and effectively forced parents to choose between the new MMR vaccine, or no vaccine at all.

Despite strong campaigning from parents to be able to choose, in August 1999, the government de-licensed the single measles vaccine and banned the widespread importation of the vaccine into the UK. Such a fine example of patient choice and the free market in action. Some parents who could afford it even took their children abroad to be vaccinated using the single jab.

After that, the old vaccine was and may still be, available in this country - but only if parents were able to persuade a doctor to organise importation "for personal use", then administer it, even if newly unlicensed, in the face of massive official disapproval.

In 2001, the heavy guns of the World Health Organization (WHO) waded in, issuing a fatwa statement, "strongly supporting the use of MMR vaccine on the grounds of its convincing record of safety and efficacy."

It may, or may not, be relevant that a significant number of members of the Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM) and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, two Department of Health committees responsible for reviewing the safety and efficacy of the MMR vaccine, are reported to have had links with companies that manufacture it including some as actual as share holders.

One could also be forgiven for thinking that if the authorities had ever really been concerned about the possibility of an increase in the number of cases of Measles they would have allowed parental choice between the original viable alternative and the MMR vaccine, rather than trying to bully them with an all, or nothing, choice.

So, that rise the BBC mentioned in the number of measles cases, can be squarely laid at the door of the government and the medical establishment for effectively banning any alternative to MMR.

That is what the BBC failed to mention and by doing so is effectively actually covering up. A work of art using only actual facts, Jo Goebbels would have been proud.

Talk about show trials and rewriting history to suit. It all has a certain worrying familiarity,