When religion is invoked as a reason to stand up against injustice, a cynic might say that religion really has nothing to do with it, that the people involved would have taken the same political action anyway. So does religion really have the power to be an effective force for social change? A brief look at mysticism can help us to answer this question.
In the current debates over House of Lords reform, there is one factor that the media seem to have overlooked. It's a factor that makes this year a particular suitable one for finally replacing the Lords with a democratic second chamber.
Supporters of the monarchy seek to persuade us of the Windsor family's virtues, missing the point that monarchy is about appointing the next person in line - whether or not he or she is any good at the job. Monarchy celebrates inequality not as an injustice to be tackled but as something natural and irremovable.
Attempts to give the royal household complete exemption from the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act are facing strong opposition, with MPs, campaigners and members of the public criticising the proposal.
Politicians of all parties are coming under pressure to reduce the Civil List in the light of the recession. The Civil List, which consists of public money awarded to the royal family each year, currently stands at around £7.9million.
There has been a shocked response to news that the royal family is seeking to negotiate an increase in the Civil List - the money they are granted each year from public funds - despite the public spending cuts that are likely due to the recession.