I know that I keep banging on intermittently and vociferously about religious privilege that now goes under the banner of religious freedom. There seem to be more of us making the same point. This is good and to be applauded.
Several things have happened over the past little while:
Firstly – the Catholic educational establishments in parts of America are falling foul of the National Labor Relations Board that made a ruling in favour of adjunct professors in a Catholic tertiary institution asking for their first pay rise in 5 years. The NLRB’s statement included the observation that ‘neither the university, nor its faculty, nor their courses were actually religious in any meaningful sense.’
Never the less St Xavier’s University in Chicago opposed the effort of the professors to unionise and lobby for a pay rise on the grounds that St Xavier’s was a religious institution and was allowed special powers that exempt them from laws of the land. The University will not win this one; the adjunct professors will. Good!
I note this bleating by the religious that their ‘freedom is in jeopardy’ is occurring with increased regularity and tedious repetition all over the post-industrial religious world. Of course, America is by far the most religious of all western democracies and the impact of its nutty religious views is becoming glaringly obvious.
While public (and private, privileged) education is being reinvented in the western world, America has a big problem. Educational standards are slipping in America; as the biggest slave to capitalism it is losing the race. Its paranoia that it is in danger of misplacing the American dream (as Carlin pointed out, you have to be asleep to believe in the American dream anyway) and that it is entitled to plunder the lion’s share of everything the planet has on tap is further diminishing the country. Its slowing innovative capacity is a problem; America is in danger of disappearing up its own fundament. It would seem that its citizens have little if any idea of what lies outside the shores of America which increases its predilection to greater isolation and self imposed dangerous insularity.
Secondly– Germany has made circumcision for religious reasons illegal. Well, great! It is about time. Desert dust, unsanitary conditions, control over sexuality and thousands of years of inappropriate rubbish promoted and adhered to by a barbaric group of uneducated people needs to be disbanded. Good. I am glad. However the religious organisations are up in arms screaming lack of religious freedom. If religious freedom means the legally sanctioned practice of cutting off the foreskin of young boys’ penises, then all I can say is that such barbarism needs to be banned and good on Germany. Other countries (all European, I bet) will follow. Good.
There is an argument that circumcision doesn’t hurt baby boys within the first day or so of life. If you have ever heard a baby scream while this ‘operation’ is carried out, you know that that is utter rot. Some baby boys have died from blood loss as well. The circumcision of boys at later stages of their early lives is horrendous. There are Jewish sects where the ‘holy man’ uses his teeth to rip the foreskin from the boy’s penis. Nice! The Muslims are protesting their religious freedom as well. Tough. Good on Germany.
Thirdly – Bavaria has issued a statement that Islam will not be able to run its parallel legal system called Sharia law in concert with the law of the land. Good. Unfortunately, the use of Sharia law is likely to be driven underground which is always a problem. Here in Britain, the devout Muslims use their self styled Imams to instruct them on behaviour that sometimes includes female genital mutilation, honour killings and forced marriages together with polygamy and divorce procedures. This is not good. Young pubescent girls still get sent to Pakistan by their families into arranged but not agreed to marriages. Some suicides result, some facial mutilation occurs, often by the throwing of acid, if the girls dissent and some honour killings are perpetrated if the girls refuse.
Please don’t try to tell me or any other person who has grown into this century that these things are right. They are not. Not under any circumstances.
Fourthly – The City of Edinburgh has cancelled prayers and made asking guidance from the sky daddy a private thing to be exercised outside the chamber. This is good. A number of other councils in both Scotland and the rest of Britain are doing the same. Ireland has suffered through the Catholic paedophilia scandals and the Irish are turning away from religion in droves. In hind sight (always a good, if biased way to turn one’s neck), Ireland may just save itself from the current religiosity earlier than the rest of us.
Finally! Good grief – now I have just read of a group of Sikhs in Wiltshire who occupied their community’s temple called a gurdwara in order to halt a marriage ceremony between a Sikh woman of their community and a Christian man – who just happens to be of West African background. What I noticed in the news reports is that these protesters are being referred to as ‘hardliners’ not religious fanatics or fundamentalists. Just racial bigots I guess.
“This new trend of interfaith marriages in Sikh places of worship directly breaks the Sikh code of conduct and tenants (sic)…”, they claimed, adding that they held a “peaceful protest” to stop the “beadbi ” (insult) of the gurdwara.”
And apparently protesting is hungry work – the protesters are reported as having eaten the wedding feast that had been laid out in advance of the ceremony that was eventually solemnised in the Registry Office, sans wedding breakfast.
It is hard not to laugh and snigger at the idiocy that is religious belief and the adherence to some silly dogma or three. Like the Mormons and their magic underpants to protect their precious genetic material from radiation damage. Or the suicide bombers who wrap their family jewels in kitchen foil to ensure their intactness when they get to their 72 virgins in paradise. Never mind they will never find their eyes scattered all over the place so they can never feast them on the beauty of their allotted virgins. Let alone their fingers – so no touchy touchy either.
I mean really! Am I supposed to respect this crap and be smiley polite to people who actually believe this sort of rubbish? Like virgin births? Levitation? Angels? Fishes and loaves? Winged horses? Devils and magi? Resurrections?
What we do need now is the banning of religious indoctrination in any and all educational establishments anywhere in the world and we may have a hope of survival in this century. I can’t really see it myself. We have a deep flaw that has us scrabbling to outdo each other in the magic that we imagine and turn into our own hubris. And expect others to believe obvious nuttery.
Not this little duck, I am glad to say.
- Jews, Muslims increase calls for circumcision law (thelocal.de)
- Sikh fanatics import sectarian militancy into Wiltshire (secularnewsdaily.com)
- How Corrupt Catholics and Evangelicals Abuse Religious Freedom (alternet.org)