Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Is the supernatural significant?

Blood and Property asked Hackney politicians for their views on the supernatural and their answers will be on this blog sometime before Halloween.

This was not meant to be serious exercise. Those asked to respond included MPs Meg Hillier and Diane Abbott. A spokesperson for Meg Hillier said that she was on maternity leave while Diane Abbott was not able to give a full answer. Her reply, via a researcher, was that she had never had a supernatural experience and that she would not say if she thought the issue of the supernatural was significant.

Back in 2005 the supernatural - or what other people thought about it - was higher on her agenda. In an article in the Evening Standard: Ban these witchcraft churches (not the original) she said: "Multiculturalism is one thing, but I draw the line at being asked to respect the views of people who believe in demonic possession." She said that "fringe churches", specifically African ones, were "a serious problem" in some London Boroughs - most notably Hackney.

So her views on the significance of the supernatural would have been interesting to hear.

There was a backlash of sorts against the impulsive reaction of the media to 'possessed' African children allegedly being tortured in large numbers. The Independent investigated: "A blizzard of lurid newspaper stories which reached their high point in the London Evening Standard's front page splash: "Children Sacrificed in London Churches, Say Police"

It said: "On the back of all this commentators like the black MP Diane Abbott rushed to judgement with a call to "ban these witchcraft churches". Who could argue in the face of such facts?"

And apart from the "witchcraft churches" she has been supportive of religion. In 1999 she introduced a spiritualist to an audience at the House of Commons: Guardian story from 1999, The Heal Thing.

Diane Abbott MP held a welcome reception for the American spiritual counsellor, lecturer and bestselling author Iyanla Vanzant. Abbott heard about Vanzant through friends a year ago. "She's started an underground movement," she says, "almost like a religion. People feel very, very passionately about her."

And in June this year she said the church is sometimes the only bastion of order in places like Hackney

But the supernatural does seem to be pretty serious stuff for some of her constituents:
BBC court report: "Voodoo-cursed woman in jailed":

A woman who produced human fingers in court in a bid to explain her involvement in a £925,000 tax credit fraud has been jailed for five years.Remi Fakorede, 46, from Hackney, east London, told Snaresbrook Crown Court, she had been forced into crime by a voodoo curse on her and her family.

For my own reference: Haunted council house? (hoping its not my ex-council flat! )

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