Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Thought for the Day

One of today's topics on the Breakfast show at BBC Radio Bristol (I am beginning to feel obliged to mention BBC Radio Bristol every other sentence) was the suggestion that parents might be fined for smoking in cars containing children. So, as delivered an hour ago:

Do I have the freedom to decide what to do with my body?

Recently this programme has applauded the remarkable physical achievements of those who have persuaded their bodies to do extraordinary things. Row the Atlantic? Tick. Walk to the the South Pole. No problem. Astonishing mental and physical control.

But it has discussed the opposite. I can allow my body to get out of condition. I can over-eat or smoke. I have these freedoms too.

I smoked cigarettes for ten years, from age 14 to 24. It was the arrival of a child which persuaded me to stop. I managed it. I know it is hard. I was helped by my wife's hatred of the smell of cigarettes during pregnancy. I furtively puffed away in the garage, anticipating smoking dens by many years.

I was banned from the school sixth form centre for a month for smoking. I'm not proud.

I worked in an open-plan office where lots of people smoked. I could smoke in pubs, restaurants, the cinema and football matches. Culture has changed now. We now know more about the harm smoking can do.

But those who defend civil liberties wonder where it will all end, anticipating the day when BBC Radio Bristol Breakfast is visited by the diet-police, confiscating your flap-jacks and cakes. For your own good.

St Paul had things to say about bodies. He felt we should honour God with them. In this context he said 'Everything is permissible ... but not everything is beneficial.' He summarised that our bodies are a temple. We should treat them as such.

So I have the freedom to train my body for physical achievement, or to spoil my body and treat it mean. But not at your expense.

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