/ BMC promoting religion on the hillside?

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winhill - on 18 Mar 2014
Has anyone noticed the BMC BME symposium?

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=581831

Workshops during the day are divided into indoor and outdoor sessions, with indoor sessions tackling a diverse range of subjects from funding and families to spirituality and heritage...

There will also be a keynote speech and plenary discussion on spirituality and the outdoors led by UK Forum Against Islamophobia and Racism (FAIR) founder Jeremy Henzell-Thomas.


Plus a workshop on 'Islam and Nature'.

I would have thought promoting religion (especially using representatives from only one religion) was erecting barriers rather than Breaking Down the Barriers.

Also if the decision has been made that the BMC is now going to be promoting religion then it begs the question what the religious affiliations are of those who made the decision (especially if only one religion is being promoted).

So whereas previously most of us would have probably thought that the religious affiliations of BMC Officers and volunteers was a private matter and nothing to do with the members, now it seems that we have a reasonable expectation that in fact BMC Officers and volunteers will be required to make their affiliations known, to avoid suspicions of partiality etc.

The symposium is being funded by Sport England but there doesn't seem to be much (anything) from Sport England on the idea of promoting religion or funding the promotion of religion nor 'celebrating' religion, certainly it doesn't feature in the Sports Councils Equality Group literature.
funsized on 18 Mar 2014
In reply to winhill:
"The BMC Equity Symposium aims to celebrate and support ethnic minority adventure in the great outdoors"

I don't see the problem. Maybe send your concerns to the letters page of the Daily Mail?

Edit: Also, shouldn't this sort of tosh be in the pub forum?
Post edited at 22:21
winhill - on 18 Mar 2014
In reply to funsized:

> "The BMC Equity Symposium aims to celebrate and support ethnic minority adventure in the great outdoors"

> I don't see the problem. Maybe send your concerns to the letters page of the Daily Mail?

> Edit: Also, shouldn't this sort of tosh be in the pub forum?

Assuming you have an interest in the subject, when was the last time that the BMC was promoting religion?

Or are you just interested in toxic comments? In that case keep that in the pub and leave this to actual discussion.
Tim Chappell - on 18 Mar 2014
In reply to funsized:

Erm, you know what, there might be a difference between ethnicity and religion?

> "The BMC Equity Symposium aims to celebrate and support ethnic minority adventure in the great outdoors"
bullybones - on 18 Mar 2014
In reply to winhill:

Looks to me like the aim is more to promote the hillside to religious people. Hard to see how that can be a bad thing.
dek - on 18 Mar 2014
In reply to Tim Chappell:

For 'Balance'... Coel and you ought to be there too,Shirley? :-)
stroppygob - on 18 Mar 2014
In reply to winhill:

Sounds like the usual "well meaning but divisive" lefty claptrap/b0ll0cks to me.
winhill - on 18 Mar 2014
In reply to stroppygob:

> Sounds like the usual "well meaning but divisive" lefty claptrap/b0ll0cks to me.

I don't think it's any more helpful to describe it as lefty, than is funsized's (sic) characterisation of any objection as being Daily Mail material.

I'm more interested in the change of direction the BMC has taken and how this is going to be administered in the future.

I doubt that Glenn Hoddle is going to be invited to the Disability symposium to present his religious views nor is Cardinal Vincent Nichols going to the Women's symposium to lecture them with his views on abortion and contraception.

Someone must be deciding the Religious Content that the BMC is going to promote but it's not clear who.
Chris the Tall - on 18 Mar 2014
In reply to bullybones:

> Looks to me like the aim is more to promote the hillside to religious people. Hard to see how that can be a bad thing.

Yep, that's pretty obvious to anyone without an axe to grind. As to Sport England, this is precisely the sort of thing that they want their funding to be used for. We all know that climbing and hill walking are very much white dominated, and a bit more diversity would be a good thing, but that cultural prejudices can be hard to overcome.
winhill - on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to Chris the Tall:

> Yep, that's pretty obvious to anyone without an axe to grind. As to Sport England, this is precisely the sort of thing that they want their funding to be used for. We all know that climbing and hill walking are very much white dominated, and a bit more diversity would be a good thing, but that cultural prejudices can be hard to overcome.

Talk of axe grinding is the same as the lefty/bollocks, Daily Mail stuff, it's value free, adds nothing to the discussion. Take it to the pub.

Can you show where Sport England have been calling for religious content, as opposed to religious groups to be involved?

Can you demonstrate which content they've been calling for?
stroppygob - on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to winhill:
> (In reply to stroppygob)
>
> [...]
>
> I don't think it's any more helpful to describe it as lefty, than is funsized's (sic) characterisation of any objection as being Daily Mail material.

I cannot imagine it being seen as right of centre, can you? Somebody at the BMC has decided that as outdoor activity is seen as a predominatly "white" activity, it's funds should be spent encouraging non-christian people to come and join us. (Nannying as it's oft known.)The fact that they see fit to include a "plenary discussion on spirituality and the outdoors led by UK Forum Against Islamophobia and Racism (FAIR) founder Jeremy Henzell-Thomas" plus a workshop on 'Islam and Nature', just goes to show how this can, and probably will, betaken as more evidence of it being "lefty".

Timmd on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to stroppygob:
Since when was it left wing to be against racism or Islamophobia?


Post edited at 00:33
stroppygob - on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to Timmd:
> (In reply to stroppygob) Since when was it left wing to be against racism or Islamophobia?

It isn't.
winhill - on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to stroppygob:

> I cannot imagine it being seen as right of centre, can you?

Yes, in fact it's pretty right wing, just not the type of right wing we're maybe used to talking about.

There was a witty pice in the New Statesman today about why Cameron can't dump Baroness Warsi, Identity politics is a problem for everyone.

Jeremy Henzell-Thomas, when he was at FAIR was very critical of Ted Cantle's report into the northern riots. Cantle's lefty credentials established over several decades of public service, have now moved to a critique of communal 'gatekeepers' and his concept of 'Interculturalism'. I would definitely say that the left critique would be about limiting the power of those supposed gatekeepers, the right wing being those who try to establish power through those claims. Which party they happen to inhabit is much less interesting.

Simon - on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to winhill:

>
> So whereas previously most of us would have probably thought that the religious affiliations of BMC Officers and volunteers was a private matter and nothing to do with the members, now it seems that we have a reasonable expectation that in fact BMC Officers and volunteers will be required to make their affiliations known, to avoid suspicions of partiality etc.

>


Eh? Come again? ...
marsbar - on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to winhill:

It seems to me that you are confusing promoting the outdoors to the religious types with promoting religion to the outdoor types.

It would seem to be the former to me.

Bruce Hooker - on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to winhill:

It's bureaucracy gone mad I tell you! :-)

If I had ever had anything to do with the BMC or thought it's existence was of any use to man or dog then I'd probably be upset by this, but as I haven't I'm not. That's the problem with such organisations they feel this unstoppable urge to organise, and when they run out of sensible things to organise they start on the absolute nonsense, like here.
JLS on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to winhill:

I can see the problem, I'm not so sure this is the solution.
dave657 on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to winhill:

I really don't see the problem, except that some people on here like to get their knickers in a twist over nothing.
JayPee630 - on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to dave657:

I was ready to be outraged as I hate religion, but honestly, it seems that there's one workshop in Islam and Nature, which seems fair enough, hardly 'promoting religion' - I think you're just looking to be outraged.
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JayPee630 - on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to stroppygob:

"Somebody at the BMC has decided that as outdoor activity is seen as a predominatly "white" activity"

Honestly, you really do have a bee in your bonnet. Nobody at the BMC has decided this, regular surveys and research prove it to be the case. It's not a lefty conspiracy, it's a fact. Get over yourself.
Timmd on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to stroppygob:
> It isn't.

That's kind of my point. Rather than just using 'lefty' as a short hand for something, when it's not entirely clear what it means, it'd be more informative if you actually typed what you're thinking...ie what your problem is with something, and why.

Post edited at 15:46
winhill - on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to marsbar:

> It seems to me that you are confusing promoting the outdoors to the religious types with promoting religion to the outdoor types.

> It would seem to be the former to me.

I'm not sure you can tell the difference.

It's the Content that's the difference.

The Conservative Christian Fellowship is currently organising a sponsored walk up Kili.

If one of their members were invited the content of the talk could vary between

Organising a Sponsored Walk in Africa
or
What Baby jesus Did For You
or
Why Michael Gove is the best thing ever.

If the BMC invited them to do a talk the first option is clearly different from the other two, which are partisan.

The BMC hasn't invited people to talk about religion before, that I know of, so this is a radical change in policy. As this is a contentious issue, rarely inclusive and more likely to be exclusive, the question So What? is just pretending there are no issues around how the policy is managed.

(If there is indeed a new policy, rather than some mess made up on the hoof).
winhill - on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to JayPee630:

> I was ready to be outraged as I hate religion, but honestly, it seems that there's one workshop in Islam and Nature, which seems fair enough, hardly 'promoting religion' - I think you're just looking to be outraged.

The plenary is on Spirituality.
JayPee630 - on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to winhill:

An hour discussing that? Is that really a problem?
winhill - on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to JayPee630:

> An hour discussing that? Is that really a problem?

The question is What's the Policy, not What's the Problem.
JayPee630 - on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to winhill:

I'd be surprised if they had or needed a policy on having a workshop on that topic. Do you think they need one?
winhill - on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to JayPee630:

I thought you would have read what I said above:

As this is a contentious issue, rarely inclusive and more likely to be exclusive, the question So What? is just pretending there are no issues around how the policy is managed.
dave657 on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to winhill:
> (In reply to JayPee630)
>
>
> As this is a contentious issue, rarely inclusive and more likely to be exclusive, the question So What? is just pretending there are no issues around how the policy is managed.

I don't think this is a contentious issue, in fact I don't think it's an issue at all. It seems to be just a small minority who think it is...
Coel Hellier - on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to the thread:

> ... led by UK Forum Against Islamophobia and Racism (FAIR) ...

FAIR are a political pressure-group with an agenda. While genuine prejudice against Muslims certainly exists, the term "Islamophobia" is quite often used in an attempt to disallow entirely legitimate and sensible criticism of the Islamic religion. Thus groups such as FAIR can tend to see all criticism of Islam, however valid, as resulting from "Islamophobia", which they then group with "racism" and cry "foul".

Now, there's nothing wrong with a pressure-groups such as this existing and promoting their view. However, an organisation such as the BMC should be wary about aligning itself with them.
winhill - on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to dave657:

> I don't think this is a contentious issue, in fact I don't think it's an issue at all. It seems to be just a small minority who think it is...

Religion not contentious? Seriously?

I think you need some diversity training.
andyathome - on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to winhill:


> Workshops during the day are divided into indoor and outdoor sessions, with indoor sessions tackling a diverse range of subjects from funding and families to spirituality and heritage...

> There will also be a keynote speech and plenary discussion on spirituality and the outdoors led by UK Forum Against Islamophobia and Racism (FAIR) founder Jeremy Henzell-Thomas.

> Plus a workshop on 'Islam and Nature'.

Now the only use of the word 'religion' in your original post is yours.

You really think that mountaineering and the 'spirit' are mutually exclusive? Get back to the Bill Murray books and you will discover plenty of 'spirituality.
highclimber - on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to andyathome:
The use of the term spirituality is to make it seem less religious even though it's far from secular.
Post edited at 18:23
andyathome - on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to winhill:


> Can you show where Sport England have been calling for religious content, as opposed to religious groups to be involved?

> Can you demonstrate which content they've been calling for?

Can you demonstrate the 'religious content' of an event that hasn't even happened yet? Sure it seems that this event is involving a high proportion of Muslims. Held on the outskirts of Bradford and Halifax I'm not too sure what you expect.

Why don't you volunteer to help out so that you can see exactly what is involved?
andyathome - on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to highclimber:

> The use of the term spirituality is to make it seem less religious even though it's far from secular.

?Que?
andyathome - on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to winhill:

I would suggest that what you, and everyone else that has problems with this event, do is volunteer to run some sessions on hillwalking / navigation / basic first aid / etc.

Get in touch with carey@thebmc.co.uk and offer your time. That way you can see exactly what happens instead of getting wound up about 'religious content' being thrust down people's throats.

And go back and read Bill Murray on the spiritual aspect of mountaineering in the UK....
winhill - on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to andyathome:

I'm too busy praying for Fred Phelps.
andyathome - on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to winhill:

Yep. He REALLY needs your prayers.
But if, instead, you'd like to support some non-bigots who don't get out on the hills much then the BMC needs you.
Bruce Hooker - on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to andyathome:

> Now the only use of the word 'religion' in your original post is yours.

> You really think that mountaineering and the 'spirit' are mutually exclusive?

Don't you think the word "Islam" has fairly strong religious connotations?

And please don't bring W H Murray into this, assuming he is the Bill Murray you mention, he was no religious fanatic, romantic yes but you shouldn't tar him with the nauseous brush of religion.
andyathome - on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

FFS Bruce. I used the word 'spirituality' NOT 'religion'. Do you really think that W H (Bill to his mates) Murray had no spiritual side? Go back and read the books!

Islam is a religion. So I'd guess the word has religious connotations.

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andyathome - on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to winhill:

My personal take on this is that the BMC is running an event to introduce people who don't get out on the hills much to some of the skills to ....get out on the hills.


'Black'* people don't get on the mountains and the crags as much as 'white'* people. I am completely comfortable that a tinsy-winsy amount of my BMC membership goes on this event.

I'm even comfortable that a tinsier-winsier bit of my taxes gets passed through Sport England to support this event.

Cheers.

*Cant be arsed to get into the semantics here - you know what I mean.
stroppygob - on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to andyathome:


> 'Black'* people don't get on the mountains and the crags as much as 'white'* people. I am completely comfortable that a tinsy-winsy amount of my BMC membership goes on this event.

But the money is not being spent on "black" people, it's being spent on religion.

As I've said ad nauseum, we spent hundreds of years de-shackling ourselves from the Christian cult, why is the BMC promoting the Islamic cult in our hills?
winhill - on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> FAIR are a political pressure-group with an agenda. While genuine prejudice against Muslims certainly exists, the term "Islamophobia" is quite often used in an attempt to disallow entirely legitimate and sensible criticism of the Islamic religion. Thus groups such as FAIR can tend to see all criticism of Islam, however valid, as resulting from "Islamophobia", which they then group with "racism" and cry "foul".

> Now, there's nothing wrong with a pressure-groups such as this existing and promoting their view. However, an organisation such as the BMC should be wary about aligning itself with them.

Henzell-Thomas left FAIR in 2003, he's just lifted this off his CV for the kudos, probably helps to deflect a bit of criticism too. (BTW check the 2004 document on Education on the web site, came up last week in the current school takeover furore).

But if he were to present himself as an expert on discrimination and racism (rather than boilerplate identity politics), that would be an entirely relevant and useful topic for a BME symposium, especially if it related to experiences of the outdoors and adventures in banjoland (as a white convert I suspect he doesn't actually have any such experience to share).

If that were the case then people might question the speaker but not the topic.

The problem here is the topic, not necessarily the speaker.
andyathome - on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to stroppygob:

> But the money is not being spent on "black" people, it's being spent on religion.

Justify that statement. Please.
pec on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

> If I had ever had anything to do with the BMC or thought it's existence was of any use to man or dog then I'd probably be upset by this, but as I haven't I'm not. That's the problem with such organisations they feel this unstoppable urge to organise, and when they run out of sensible things to organise they start on the absolute nonsense, like here. >

Pleased to find something I can find common ground with you on.

Since when was the job of the BMC to promote anything? They are supposed to be a representative organisation and represent the interests of their members whoever they may be not indulge in politically correct bollocks to manipulate the make up of their membership to whatever is currently deemed "better".

This is the trouble with the committee mentality. You set one up to solve a problem and before they've done that they've found 10 other "problems" that need to be solved and so the whole bureaucracy goes on expanding ad infinitum.
I think the BMC would be a lot healthier if lost all Sport England funding and got back to the bare basics of its original remit, I might rejoin if it did.


Bruce Hooker - on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to andyathome:

> Go back and read the books!

I just have, for the second time, once 45 years ago and again when I was given the books (two in one volume) for Christmas. Excellent books but nothing related to religion, or spirituality in the religious sense, so nothing much to do with this thread IMO.
stroppygob - on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to andyathome:
> Justify that statement. Please.

> Workshop Option 3: A: Islam and nature

Oh, and reading the itinerary, what do we find? That bastion inclusiveness

> Saturday 29 March D: Female only option: general skills/leading groups

> Sunday 30 March D: Female only option: general skills/leading groups

and just in case there wasn't sufficient hippy-dippyness for you;

> D: Mindfulness and the outdoors
Post edited at 22:45
winhill - on 19 Mar 2014
In reply to andyathome:

> My personal take on this is that the BMC is running an event to introduce people who don't get out on the hills much to some of the skills to ....get out on the hills.

Yes, that is precisely why you should object to the religious stuff.
butteredfrog - on 20 Mar 2014
In reply to winhill:

How many catholic masses do you have to sit through before you eat a full Jesus?

.........Sorry I have nothing constructive to say, its just a question that has always bugged me.

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