The death of Billy Graham reminded me of how terrified I had once been of being brainwashed.
I remember deciding to go on a quest to discover If Christianity was true or not and walking into an Anglican Cathedral to hear an evangelist talk about Jesus. His day job was being a vicar in York. He wanted to help people examine who Jesus actually claimed to be.
“What if they try to brain wash me” I found myself thinking? Someone, at some time had managed to plant that thought in my head and it had stuck.
What I didn’t know was that these mild Anglicans were the last people on earth to want to do any brainwashing, but that other people and other ideologies would be along shortly who would be much more likely to try.
This week, Archbishop Welby refreshingly broke with what had been described as ‘the quisling culture’ of the Church of England. He reversed his predecessor’s stance on Sharia law. He writes in his new book that sharia law is not after all, compatible with British laws and culture.
Indeed. Not many people know what sharia law entails or commands in practice. Here are some of its requirements:
Theft is punishable by amputation of the hands, criticizing or denying any part of the Koran is punishable by death, as is criticizing Mohammed, or leaving Islam, or being found guilty of adultery if you are a woman. Homosexuality is punished by death. Muslim men have sexual rights to any woman/girl not wearing a hijab. A man can marry a girl and consummate a marriage from aged 9 and above. Girls’ should be genitally cut; a man can beat his wife for insubordination; a man can unilaterally divorce his wife; a woman’s testimony in court carries ½ the weight of a man’s; meat to eat must come from animals that have had their throats cut un-stunned (halal).
The real brainwashing came from the educationalists who made it a principle of our education that one value system could not be thought to be better than any other- ‘relativism’.
This has worked so well, that our society has been afraid to face the reality of sharia law and evaluate it.
Our feminists seem to have no great problem with the dehumanising denigration of women. Our animal rights activists don’t seem worried about the unnecessary suffering to animals. Yet most of our major supermarkets now stock halal meat. Is it better to kill an animal by cutting its throat while it is fully conscious, or better to stun it so it doesn’t suffer? You may feel you don’t like sharia law for yourself or your family. You might even feel it is so dehumanising you don’t think any of its precepts ought to be practised in a non-Muslim society. Dare you say so, or has the cultural brain-washing gone too deep?
In Bristol this week, some parents fought back against the brainwashing of their children in infant school. The national campaign to destabilise childrens’ understanding of their own sexuality has now reached down deep into our childrens’ childhoods. Drag queens have been recruited to do workshops on gender identity for our 5-10 year olds. ‘Diversity’ is the propaganda cover mantra. Confusion is what the parents fear.
Already self-cutting and self-harming amongst our children has reached epidemic proportions as an expression of being ill at ease with who they are. So this insecurity is now being ratcheted up by the drag queens attempt to re-educate our children and undermine their understanding of themselves as male and female. The headmaster, knowing his professional security is at stake, tried to silence the parents. Brainwashing doesn’t like to be called out.
James Damore was fired from Google for writing a memo in which he addressed the fact that the Hitech coding industry only had 20% of women employees (mirroring the number of women graduating in computer sciences.) He objected to Google holding ‘unconscious bias training’. He said the evidence was that there was no discrimination but innate gender differences at work.
He suggested that this 20% reflected women’s choice about where they worked, not unconscious discrimination against them. He though the evidence was that while greater proportions of men preferred taking risks and dealing with numbers, greater proportions of women preferred other kinds of values He might be right- he might be wrong, but he was fired for expressing his opinion. He didn’t use the term brain-washing for the Google culture. He called it ‘the echo chamber’.
It seems our easy going vague humanism isn’t coping with the brainwashing, but has given way before it. Something stronger is needed to give an alternative to withstand the ideological pressure to accept Islamic sharia’s treatment of women, gays and animals, or the assault on gender distinction in our infant schools, or the assault on free speech and free thought in giant Tech companies.
It turns out that neither Billy Graham or any of the other mainstream evangelists were remotely brainwashing people. What they were doing was to helping people make an informed choice, and presenting a faith and a world view that taken seriously, was strong enough to stand up to the ideological culture wars that were coming.
It seems we urgently need both the information, and the freedom to choose more than ever. What you choose is up to you. But keeping our collective space free to choose, and to value that freedom, requires all of us.