Your Interview: Send us your questions for Brighton and Hove councillor Christina Summers

The Argus: Christina Summers (centre) with community activists Christina Summers (centre) with community activists

From being expelled from the Green group of councillors to becoming Brighton and Hove’s first ever faith champion, the last 18 months have been quite eventful for Christina Summers.

Now it’s your opportunity to ask questions to the independent Brighton and Hove city councillor for Hollingdean and Stanmer.

It could be about her being the only independent member on the local authority.

Or it could focus on what her plans are to bring the faith community closer to politics.

Leave your questions below.

Alternatively, email tim.ridgway@theargus.co.uk or call 01273 544527.

Comments (14)

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12:10pm Tue 3 Dec 13

JumboJimbo says...

Dear Councillor Summers, Considering the massive benefits that allotments bring to over 5000 people in the city, including mental and physical health benefits,
( http://www.theargus.
co.uk/news/10847954.
Allotments_improve_m
ental_health__claim_
Brighton_and_Hove_gr
owers/ )
will you be trying to stop the current Council from damaging the service any further? As you know, the Council are presently chopping all plots in half and attempting to squeez double the number of people onto each site. The chopping of plots in half is causing border disputes, it is doubling the number of sheds, and it is doubling the administration work all for the same revenue ! A half plot may be all that some people want, but is not big enough for proper safe crop rotation.. let alone serious food production. If something is not done soon to stop this Council vandalism on our allotments, the damage will soon be irreversible. Please encourage and support local food food growers rather than penalise them. If we need more allotments, open more sites.. Dont chop all the allotments in half and break a system that has worked perfectly well for 200 years. All the best.
Dear Councillor Summers, Considering the massive benefits that allotments bring to over 5000 people in the city, including mental and physical health benefits, ( http://www.theargus. co.uk/news/10847954. Allotments_improve_m ental_health__claim_ Brighton_and_Hove_gr owers/ ) will you be trying to stop the current Council from damaging the service any further? As you know, the Council are presently chopping all plots in half and attempting to squeez double the number of people onto each site. The chopping of plots in half is causing border disputes, it is doubling the number of sheds, and it is doubling the administration work all for the same revenue ! A half plot may be all that some people want, but is not big enough for proper safe crop rotation.. let alone serious food production. If something is not done soon to stop this Council vandalism on our allotments, the damage will soon be irreversible. Please encourage and support local food food growers rather than penalise them. If we need more allotments, open more sites.. Dont chop all the allotments in half and break a system that has worked perfectly well for 200 years. All the best. JumboJimbo

12:26pm Tue 3 Dec 13

fredaj says...

Quote from a letter to The Argus written by Christina Summers -

Thirdly, when nearly half our population identifies with a faith (as per the 2011 census) and are, therefore, personally motivated to give and to serve their communities as well as show a deep concern for the city as a whole from the most vulnerable to those with heavy responsibilities in local government, it is madness to keep these groups at arms length as some have felt the council has done, rather than actively acknowledge, support and equip them.

Question --

First, why do you think that people who do not beleive in a god are not equally as concerned about their communites as those that do? And second, do you really not appreciate how offensive such a position is to all those people who support charity, and the community in general, who's contribution is being summarily dismissed because they do not happen to beleive in a god?
Quote from a letter to The Argus written by Christina Summers - Thirdly, when nearly half our population identifies with a faith (as per the 2011 census) and are, therefore, personally motivated to give and to serve their communities as well as show a deep concern for the city as a whole from the most vulnerable to those with heavy responsibilities in local government, it is madness to keep these groups at arms length as some have felt the council has done, rather than actively acknowledge, support and equip them. Question -- First, why do you think that people who do not beleive in a god are not equally as concerned about their communites as those that do? And second, do you really not appreciate how offensive such a position is to all those people who support charity, and the community in general, who's contribution is being summarily dismissed because they do not happen to beleive in a god? fredaj

12:51pm Tue 3 Dec 13

Valerie Paynter says...

Religions come in many forms and not all of them involve having a God or gods. There is usually a philosophy as well as any God. And codes of behaviour and practice. Value as a way to live as much as addressing any greater power. Can you agree that a political party can amount to being a religious faith with beliefs and practices it promotes? Even a fundamentalist one of great intolerance?
Religions come in many forms and not all of them involve having a God or gods. There is usually a philosophy as well as any God. And codes of behaviour and practice. Value as a way to live as much as addressing any greater power. Can you agree that a political party can amount to being a religious faith with beliefs and practices it promotes? Even a fundamentalist one of great intolerance? Valerie Paynter

1:11pm Tue 3 Dec 13

Quiterie says...

Can you either confirm or deny that you're related to Donna Summers? This speculation must be put to bed once and for all.
Can you either confirm or deny that you're related to Donna Summers? This speculation must be put to bed once and for all. Quiterie

5:15pm Tue 3 Dec 13

nocando says...

Would the green party have dismissed a muslim councillor for not following the party line on the same issue?
Would the green party have dismissed a muslim councillor for not following the party line on the same issue? nocando

6:01pm Tue 3 Dec 13

LeonBIank666 says...

Regarding your chums in the photo, do you ever all swap spectacles for a laugh?
Regarding your chums in the photo, do you ever all swap spectacles for a laugh? LeonBIank666

7:55pm Tue 3 Dec 13

Gourd_Master says...

Although I would very much like to seek liberty, equality, and fraternity, there are several obstacles that make it difficult to give peace a chance. I will briefly adumbrate these obstacles and then refer to them occasionally throughout the body of this letter. Before I begin, let me point out that I have a dream, a mission, a set path that I would like to travel down. Specifically, my goal is to place blame where it belongs—in the hands of Christina Summers and his closed-minded plenipotentiaries. Of course, he wants nothing less than to shatter other people's lives and dreams. His bootlickers then wonder, "What's wrong with that?" Well, there's not much to be done with demented chawbacons who can't figure out what's wrong with that, but the rest of us can plainly see that I have in fact told Christina that those who think that the future of the entire world rests in his hands should think again. Unfortunately, there really wasn't anything to his response. I suppose Christina just doesn't want to admit that we must help people help themselves. Only then can a society free of his intellectually challenged theories blossom forth from the roots of the past. And only then will people come to understand that he does, occasionally, make a valid point. But when he says that it's okay to leave the educational and emotional needs of our children in the scornful hands of temerarious gutter-dwellers, that's where the facts end and the ludicrousness begins.

I like to say that our conception of vandalism still remains a good deal less clear than we would wish. He never directly acknowledges such truisms but instead tries to turn them around to make it sound like I'm saying that people prefer "cultural integrity" and "multicultural sensitivity" to health, food, safety, and the opportunity to choose their own course through life. I guess that version better fits his style—or should I say, "agenda"?

As the adherents of Randian objectivism believe, few people realize that as Christina feels less and less need to conceal his hastily mounted campaigns, he makes increasingly open moves towards splenetic boosterism. Furthermore, as the adherents of empiricism observe, none of what Christina says carries any weight. For proof of this fact I must point out that many people who follow Christina's sermons have come to the erroneous conclusion that Christina answers to no one. The stark truth of the matter is that he backstabs his admirers. An equal but opposite observation is that the first lies that he told us were relatively benign. Still, they have been progressing. And they will continue to progress until there is no more truth; Christina's lies will grow until they blot out the sun.

There are some temperamental, debauched yutzes who are inarticulate. There are also some who are slatternly. Which category does Christina fall into? If the question overwhelms you, I suggest you check "both". He should stop calling me a foolhardy jobbernowl. Although I've been called worse things by better people, if you study Christina's unimaginative methods of interpretation long enough, you'll come to the inescapable conclusion that he is a small part of a large movement that seeks to capitalize on our needs and vulnerabilities. In view of that, it is not surprising that he has an uncanny ability to entirely miss the point of any given issue. But what, you may ask, does any of that have to do with the theme of this letter, viz., that he is a lifelong member of the Church of Abominable Tuchungism? The answer is almost totally obvious—this isn't rocket science, you know. The key is that Christina's claim that larrikinism is the key to world peace is factually unsupported and politically motivated.

It's not just the lunatic fringe that's in Christina's corner; a number of previously respectable people have begun backing him. You might have heard the story that Christina once agreed to help us get us out of the hammerlock in which he is holding us. No one has located the document in which Christina said that. No one has identified when or where Christina said that. That's because he never said it. As you might have suspected, Christina snorts around like a truffle pig in search of proof that he can absorb mana by devouring his critics' brains. I suspect that the only thing that Christina will find from such a search is that his aeipathy for exhibitionism borders on the pathological. Let me rephrase that: His plaints are built on lies, and they depend on make-believe for their continuation. I'll now end this letter by reminding you that it should scarcely seem questionable to anyone that Christina Summers expects people to bow and scrape before him. That may not be the profoundest of insights to take away from such a long letter, but Christina is a bad egg.
Although I would very much like to seek liberty, equality, and fraternity, there are several obstacles that make it difficult to give peace a chance. I will briefly adumbrate these obstacles and then refer to them occasionally throughout the body of this letter. Before I begin, let me point out that I have a dream, a mission, a set path that I would like to travel down. Specifically, my goal is to place blame where it belongs—in the hands of Christina Summers and his closed-minded plenipotentiaries. Of course, he wants nothing less than to shatter other people's lives and dreams. His bootlickers then wonder, "What's wrong with that?" Well, there's not much to be done with demented chawbacons who can't figure out what's wrong with that, but the rest of us can plainly see that I have in fact told Christina that those who think that the future of the entire world rests in his hands should think again. Unfortunately, there really wasn't anything to his response. I suppose Christina just doesn't want to admit that we must help people help themselves. Only then can a society free of his intellectually challenged theories blossom forth from the roots of the past. And only then will people come to understand that he does, occasionally, make a valid point. But when he says that it's okay to leave the educational and emotional needs of our children in the scornful hands of temerarious gutter-dwellers, that's where the facts end and the ludicrousness begins. I like to say that our conception of vandalism still remains a good deal less clear than we would wish. He never directly acknowledges such truisms but instead tries to turn them around to make it sound like I'm saying that people prefer "cultural integrity" and "multicultural sensitivity" to health, food, safety, and the opportunity to choose their own course through life. I guess that version better fits his style—or should I say, "agenda"? As the adherents of Randian objectivism believe, few people realize that as Christina feels less and less need to conceal his hastily mounted campaigns, he makes increasingly open moves towards splenetic boosterism. Furthermore, as the adherents of empiricism observe, none of what Christina says carries any weight. For proof of this fact I must point out that many people who follow Christina's sermons have come to the erroneous conclusion that Christina answers to no one. The stark truth of the matter is that he backstabs his admirers. An equal but opposite observation is that the first lies that he told us were relatively benign. Still, they have been progressing. And they will continue to progress until there is no more truth; Christina's lies will grow until they blot out the sun. There are some temperamental, debauched yutzes who are inarticulate. There are also some who are slatternly. Which category does Christina fall into? If the question overwhelms you, I suggest you check "both". He should stop calling me a foolhardy jobbernowl. Although I've been called worse things by better people, if you study Christina's unimaginative methods of interpretation long enough, you'll come to the inescapable conclusion that he is a small part of a large movement that seeks to capitalize on our needs and vulnerabilities. In view of that, it is not surprising that he has an uncanny ability to entirely miss the point of any given issue. But what, you may ask, does any of that have to do with the theme of this letter, viz., that he is a lifelong member of the Church of Abominable Tuchungism? The answer is almost totally obvious—this isn't rocket science, you know. The key is that Christina's claim that larrikinism is the key to world peace is factually unsupported and politically motivated. It's not just the lunatic fringe that's in Christina's corner; a number of previously respectable people have begun backing him. You might have heard the story that Christina once agreed to help us get us out of the hammerlock in which he is holding us. No one has located the document in which Christina said that. No one has identified when or where Christina said that. That's because he never said it. As you might have suspected, Christina snorts around like a truffle pig in search of proof that he can absorb mana by devouring his critics' brains. I suspect that the only thing that Christina will find from such a search is that his aeipathy for exhibitionism borders on the pathological. Let me rephrase that: His plaints are built on lies, and they depend on make-believe for their continuation. I'll now end this letter by reminding you that it should scarcely seem questionable to anyone that Christina Summers expects people to bow and scrape before him. That may not be the profoundest of insights to take away from such a long letter, but Christina is a bad egg. Gourd_Master

8:34am Wed 4 Dec 13

Quiterie says...

Gourd_Master wrote:
Although I would very much like to seek liberty, equality, and fraternity, there are several obstacles that make it difficult to give peace a chance. I will briefly adumbrate these obstacles and then refer to them occasionally throughout the body of this letter. Before I begin, let me point out that I have a dream, a mission, a set path that I would like to travel down. Specifically, my goal is to place blame where it belongs—in the hands of Christina Summers and his closed-minded plenipotentiaries. Of course, he wants nothing less than to shatter other people's lives and dreams. His bootlickers then wonder, "What's wrong with that?" Well, there's not much to be done with demented chawbacons who can't figure out what's wrong with that, but the rest of us can plainly see that I have in fact told Christina that those who think that the future of the entire world rests in his hands should think again. Unfortunately, there really wasn't anything to his response. I suppose Christina just doesn't want to admit that we must help people help themselves. Only then can a society free of his intellectually challenged theories blossom forth from the roots of the past. And only then will people come to understand that he does, occasionally, make a valid point. But when he says that it's okay to leave the educational and emotional needs of our children in the scornful hands of temerarious gutter-dwellers, that's where the facts end and the ludicrousness begins.

I like to say that our conception of vandalism still remains a good deal less clear than we would wish. He never directly acknowledges such truisms but instead tries to turn them around to make it sound like I'm saying that people prefer "cultural integrity" and "multicultural sensitivity" to health, food, safety, and the opportunity to choose their own course through life. I guess that version better fits his style—or should I say, "agenda"?

As the adherents of Randian objectivism believe, few people realize that as Christina feels less and less need to conceal his hastily mounted campaigns, he makes increasingly open moves towards splenetic boosterism. Furthermore, as the adherents of empiricism observe, none of what Christina says carries any weight. For proof of this fact I must point out that many people who follow Christina's sermons have come to the erroneous conclusion that Christina answers to no one. The stark truth of the matter is that he backstabs his admirers. An equal but opposite observation is that the first lies that he told us were relatively benign. Still, they have been progressing. And they will continue to progress until there is no more truth; Christina's lies will grow until they blot out the sun.

There are some temperamental, debauched yutzes who are inarticulate. There are also some who are slatternly. Which category does Christina fall into? If the question overwhelms you, I suggest you check "both". He should stop calling me a foolhardy jobbernowl. Although I've been called worse things by better people, if you study Christina's unimaginative methods of interpretation long enough, you'll come to the inescapable conclusion that he is a small part of a large movement that seeks to capitalize on our needs and vulnerabilities. In view of that, it is not surprising that he has an uncanny ability to entirely miss the point of any given issue. But what, you may ask, does any of that have to do with the theme of this letter, viz., that he is a lifelong member of the Church of Abominable Tuchungism? The answer is almost totally obvious—this isn't rocket science, you know. The key is that Christina's claim that larrikinism is the key to world peace is factually unsupported and politically motivated.

It's not just the lunatic fringe that's in Christina's corner; a number of previously respectable people have begun backing him. You might have heard the story that Christina once agreed to help us get us out of the hammerlock in which he is holding us. No one has located the document in which Christina said that. No one has identified when or where Christina said that. That's because he never said it. As you might have suspected, Christina snorts around like a truffle pig in search of proof that he can absorb mana by devouring his critics' brains. I suspect that the only thing that Christina will find from such a search is that his aeipathy for exhibitionism borders on the pathological. Let me rephrase that: His plaints are built on lies, and they depend on make-believe for their continuation. I'll now end this letter by reminding you that it should scarcely seem questionable to anyone that Christina Summers expects people to bow and scrape before him. That may not be the profoundest of insights to take away from such a long letter, but Christina is a bad egg.
Look I know she's not likely to win FHM's 'Hottie of the Year', but Christina is clearly a 'she' and not a 'he'.
[quote][p][bold]Gourd_Master[/bold] wrote: Although I would very much like to seek liberty, equality, and fraternity, there are several obstacles that make it difficult to give peace a chance. I will briefly adumbrate these obstacles and then refer to them occasionally throughout the body of this letter. Before I begin, let me point out that I have a dream, a mission, a set path that I would like to travel down. Specifically, my goal is to place blame where it belongs—in the hands of Christina Summers and his closed-minded plenipotentiaries. Of course, he wants nothing less than to shatter other people's lives and dreams. His bootlickers then wonder, "What's wrong with that?" Well, there's not much to be done with demented chawbacons who can't figure out what's wrong with that, but the rest of us can plainly see that I have in fact told Christina that those who think that the future of the entire world rests in his hands should think again. Unfortunately, there really wasn't anything to his response. I suppose Christina just doesn't want to admit that we must help people help themselves. Only then can a society free of his intellectually challenged theories blossom forth from the roots of the past. And only then will people come to understand that he does, occasionally, make a valid point. But when he says that it's okay to leave the educational and emotional needs of our children in the scornful hands of temerarious gutter-dwellers, that's where the facts end and the ludicrousness begins. I like to say that our conception of vandalism still remains a good deal less clear than we would wish. He never directly acknowledges such truisms but instead tries to turn them around to make it sound like I'm saying that people prefer "cultural integrity" and "multicultural sensitivity" to health, food, safety, and the opportunity to choose their own course through life. I guess that version better fits his style—or should I say, "agenda"? As the adherents of Randian objectivism believe, few people realize that as Christina feels less and less need to conceal his hastily mounted campaigns, he makes increasingly open moves towards splenetic boosterism. Furthermore, as the adherents of empiricism observe, none of what Christina says carries any weight. For proof of this fact I must point out that many people who follow Christina's sermons have come to the erroneous conclusion that Christina answers to no one. The stark truth of the matter is that he backstabs his admirers. An equal but opposite observation is that the first lies that he told us were relatively benign. Still, they have been progressing. And they will continue to progress until there is no more truth; Christina's lies will grow until they blot out the sun. There are some temperamental, debauched yutzes who are inarticulate. There are also some who are slatternly. Which category does Christina fall into? If the question overwhelms you, I suggest you check "both". He should stop calling me a foolhardy jobbernowl. Although I've been called worse things by better people, if you study Christina's unimaginative methods of interpretation long enough, you'll come to the inescapable conclusion that he is a small part of a large movement that seeks to capitalize on our needs and vulnerabilities. In view of that, it is not surprising that he has an uncanny ability to entirely miss the point of any given issue. But what, you may ask, does any of that have to do with the theme of this letter, viz., that he is a lifelong member of the Church of Abominable Tuchungism? The answer is almost totally obvious—this isn't rocket science, you know. The key is that Christina's claim that larrikinism is the key to world peace is factually unsupported and politically motivated. It's not just the lunatic fringe that's in Christina's corner; a number of previously respectable people have begun backing him. You might have heard the story that Christina once agreed to help us get us out of the hammerlock in which he is holding us. No one has located the document in which Christina said that. No one has identified when or where Christina said that. That's because he never said it. As you might have suspected, Christina snorts around like a truffle pig in search of proof that he can absorb mana by devouring his critics' brains. I suspect that the only thing that Christina will find from such a search is that his aeipathy for exhibitionism borders on the pathological. Let me rephrase that: His plaints are built on lies, and they depend on make-believe for their continuation. I'll now end this letter by reminding you that it should scarcely seem questionable to anyone that Christina Summers expects people to bow and scrape before him. That may not be the profoundest of insights to take away from such a long letter, but Christina is a bad egg.[/p][/quote]Look I know she's not likely to win FHM's 'Hottie of the Year', but Christina is clearly a 'she' and not a 'he'. Quiterie

8:05am Thu 5 Dec 13

Angryoldman says...

Christina. Isnt it wonderful that hatred and intolerance of others is allowed as long as you wrap it up in the protective cloak of religion and your belief in the supernatural.
Have you thought of joining the Westboro Baptist Church?
Christina. Isnt it wonderful that hatred and intolerance of others is allowed as long as you wrap it up in the protective cloak of religion and your belief in the supernatural. Have you thought of joining the Westboro Baptist Church? Angryoldman

8:52am Sun 15 Dec 13

CSummers says...

JumboJimbo wrote:
Dear Councillor Summers, Considering the massive benefits that allotments bring to over 5000 people in the city, including mental and physical health benefits,
( http://www.theargus.

co.uk/news/10847954.

Allotments_improve_m

ental_health__claim_

Brighton_and_Hove_gr

owers/ )
will you be trying to stop the current Council from damaging the service any further? As you know, the Council are presently chopping all plots in half and attempting to squeez double the number of people onto each site. The chopping of plots in half is causing border disputes, it is doubling the number of sheds, and it is doubling the administration work all for the same revenue ! A half plot may be all that some people want, but is not big enough for proper safe crop rotation.. let alone serious food production. If something is not done soon to stop this Council vandalism on our allotments, the damage will soon be irreversible. Please encourage and support local food food growers rather than penalise them. If we need more allotments, open more sites.. Dont chop all the allotments in half and break a system that has worked perfectly well for 200 years. All the best.
I don't think any one of the 54 councillors denies the benefits of allotments, so any changes to this provision should be to create greater efficiency which is surely simply good stewardship. It's budget-setting time and users of all our services will be wondering where on earth we are going to make £22.5m of "savings" or "cuts". I am not aware that the council has "damaged" the allotment service but I will keep an eye on it as with everything else acutely conscious that our options are increasingly to do with prioritising WHAT services to keep and less about how to keep them
[quote][p][bold]JumboJimbo[/bold] wrote: Dear Councillor Summers, Considering the massive benefits that allotments bring to over 5000 people in the city, including mental and physical health benefits, ( http://www.theargus. co.uk/news/10847954. Allotments_improve_m ental_health__claim_ Brighton_and_Hove_gr owers/ ) will you be trying to stop the current Council from damaging the service any further? As you know, the Council are presently chopping all plots in half and attempting to squeez double the number of people onto each site. The chopping of plots in half is causing border disputes, it is doubling the number of sheds, and it is doubling the administration work all for the same revenue ! A half plot may be all that some people want, but is not big enough for proper safe crop rotation.. let alone serious food production. If something is not done soon to stop this Council vandalism on our allotments, the damage will soon be irreversible. Please encourage and support local food food growers rather than penalise them. If we need more allotments, open more sites.. Dont chop all the allotments in half and break a system that has worked perfectly well for 200 years. All the best.[/p][/quote]I don't think any one of the 54 councillors denies the benefits of allotments, so any changes to this provision should be to create greater efficiency which is surely simply good stewardship. It's budget-setting time and users of all our services will be wondering where on earth we are going to make £22.5m of "savings" or "cuts". I am not aware that the council has "damaged" the allotment service but I will keep an eye on it as with everything else acutely conscious that our options are increasingly to do with prioritising WHAT services to keep and less about how to keep them CSummers

8:54am Sun 15 Dec 13

CSummers says...

fredaj wrote:
Quote from a letter to The Argus written by Christina Summers -

Thirdly, when nearly half our population identifies with a faith (as per the 2011 census) and are, therefore, personally motivated to give and to serve their communities as well as show a deep concern for the city as a whole from the most vulnerable to those with heavy responsibilities in local government, it is madness to keep these groups at arms length as some have felt the council has done, rather than actively acknowledge, support and equip them.

Question --

First, why do you think that people who do not beleive in a god are not equally as concerned about their communites as those that do? And second, do you really not appreciate how offensive such a position is to all those people who support charity, and the community in general, who's contribution is being summarily dismissed because they do not happen to beleive in a god?
Firstly, that is not a belief I hold at all and I have never expressed or implied such an idea. I’ve worked with many community groups even before I was a councillor and am very well aware of the care and generosity shown by people of all dispositions. Secondly, I imagine there are people all over who take offence by the opinions or actions of others, whether offence was intended or not. The relative freedom we live in would be scarily under threat if causing offence (as opposed to physical harm, for example) becomes grounds for silencing or punishing the “offender”. My champion role is principally to help create a more even playing field for all community groups since that has not been the case for various faith groups that have felt side-lined. In this case, then, it could be argued that their contribution has been “summarily dismissed” because they DO happen to believe in a god.
[quote][p][bold]fredaj[/bold] wrote: Quote from a letter to The Argus written by Christina Summers - Thirdly, when nearly half our population identifies with a faith (as per the 2011 census) and are, therefore, personally motivated to give and to serve their communities as well as show a deep concern for the city as a whole from the most vulnerable to those with heavy responsibilities in local government, it is madness to keep these groups at arms length as some have felt the council has done, rather than actively acknowledge, support and equip them. Question -- First, why do you think that people who do not beleive in a god are not equally as concerned about their communites as those that do? And second, do you really not appreciate how offensive such a position is to all those people who support charity, and the community in general, who's contribution is being summarily dismissed because they do not happen to beleive in a god?[/p][/quote]Firstly, that is not a belief I hold at all and I have never expressed or implied such an idea. I’ve worked with many community groups even before I was a councillor and am very well aware of the care and generosity shown by people of all dispositions. Secondly, I imagine there are people all over who take offence by the opinions or actions of others, whether offence was intended or not. The relative freedom we live in would be scarily under threat if causing offence (as opposed to physical harm, for example) becomes grounds for silencing or punishing the “offender”. My champion role is principally to help create a more even playing field for all community groups since that has not been the case for various faith groups that have felt side-lined. In this case, then, it could be argued that their contribution has been “summarily dismissed” because they DO happen to believe in a god. CSummers

8:57am Sun 15 Dec 13

CSummers says...

Valerie Paynter wrote:
Religions come in many forms and not all of them involve having a God or gods. There is usually a philosophy as well as any God. And codes of behaviour and practice. Value as a way to live as much as addressing any greater power. Can you agree that a political party can amount to being a religious faith with beliefs and practices it promotes? Even a fundamentalist one of great intolerance?
Very good question. Whatever the intentions of both the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Equality Act 2010 when it comes to defining what is meant by ‘religion’ the attempt to do so has progressively worsened so that, as you say, it simply means beliefs and principles by which to live. The Human Rights Act though does refer to ‘conscience’ so there is a clear moral inference in a positive sense. But the Equality Act in my view is nonsensical since it defines religion as being any religion including ‘lack of religion’! Legislation is, therefore, little help and your comments quite valid. However, if religion (or faith, which I prefer to use as it sounds less regulatory and more personal) is to mean anything at all in terms of a “protected characteristic” then we have to put in some reasonable boundaries. I am in dialogue with officers about what we mean at BHCC by “faith groups” so we’re not there yet but I am confident it will not include political parties (as an independent myself how could it?) nor will it include those with clear doctrines that contradict the law or promote harm. My personal view, also, is that it would be meaningless to include groups that actively oppose ‘religion’.
[quote][p][bold]Valerie Paynter[/bold] wrote: Religions come in many forms and not all of them involve having a God or gods. There is usually a philosophy as well as any God. And codes of behaviour and practice. Value as a way to live as much as addressing any greater power. Can you agree that a political party can amount to being a religious faith with beliefs and practices it promotes? Even a fundamentalist one of great intolerance?[/p][/quote]Very good question. Whatever the intentions of both the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Equality Act 2010 when it comes to defining what is meant by ‘religion’ the attempt to do so has progressively worsened so that, as you say, it simply means beliefs and principles by which to live. The Human Rights Act though does refer to ‘conscience’ so there is a clear moral inference in a positive sense. But the Equality Act in my view is nonsensical since it defines religion as being any religion including ‘lack of religion’! Legislation is, therefore, little help and your comments quite valid. However, if religion (or faith, which I prefer to use as it sounds less regulatory and more personal) is to mean anything at all in terms of a “protected characteristic” then we have to put in some reasonable boundaries. I am in dialogue with officers about what we mean at BHCC by “faith groups” so we’re not there yet but I am confident it will not include political parties (as an independent myself how could it?) nor will it include those with clear doctrines that contradict the law or promote harm. My personal view, also, is that it would be meaningless to include groups that actively oppose ‘religion’. CSummers

8:59am Sun 15 Dec 13

CSummers says...

Quiterie wrote:
Can you either confirm or deny that you're related to Donna Summers? This speculation must be put to bed once and for all.
If you’re referring to the 1970s “Disco Queen” I can confidently deny any family connection on the basis that her surname has no‘s’ on the end. While we’re at it I can also categorically deny any relation whatsoever with the lingerie chain, Ann Summers. Glad we've cleared that one up!
[quote][p][bold]Quiterie[/bold] wrote: Can you either confirm or deny that you're related to Donna Summers? This speculation must be put to bed once and for all.[/p][/quote]If you’re referring to the 1970s “Disco Queen” I can confidently deny any family connection on the basis that her surname has no‘s’ on the end. While we’re at it I can also categorically deny any relation whatsoever with the lingerie chain, Ann Summers. Glad we've cleared that one up! CSummers

9:02am Sun 15 Dec 13

CSummers says...

nocando wrote:
Would the green party have dismissed a muslim councillor for not following the party line on the same issue?
We shall never know the answer to that, of course. The official reason given for my dismissal, in the end, was a pattern of behaviour deemed to have put the party in disrepute and not because of voting against same-sex marriage. So, presumably, as long as a Muslim member of the Green Group behaves him or herself (whatever that means) they would be free to express their own view on the issue with impunity.
[quote][p][bold]nocando[/bold] wrote: Would the green party have dismissed a muslim councillor for not following the party line on the same issue?[/p][/quote]We shall never know the answer to that, of course. The official reason given for my dismissal, in the end, was a pattern of behaviour deemed to have put the party in disrepute and not because of voting against same-sex marriage. So, presumably, as long as a Muslim member of the Green Group behaves him or herself (whatever that means) they would be free to express their own view on the issue with impunity. CSummers

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