Thursday, 15 February 2007

Blasphemer !

Why is it permissible to use religion as a trump card that effectively says: 'What I believe may be stupid, bigoted and reactionary but it is my sincerely held belief and therefore you are not allowed to argue with what I believe or even worse to take the piss out of it .' ?

But this is precisely the argument that religious people of all descriptions use all the time. It is the foundation of the blasphemy laws in this country.

By some bizarre kind of double-speak, Catholics can defend their view that homosexuality is a sinful abomination and threaten to close down their adoption agencies rather than comply with perfectly reasonable anti-discriminatory legislation. And also complain that anyone who challenges their bigotry is somehow denying them their sincerely-held convictions.

The latest such lunacy strikes even closer to home - a student journalist at my old college faces disciplinary action because of the publication of a newspaper that ridiculed all faiths and re-published the notorious Danish Mohamed cartons. Unsurprisingly there has been a back lash from all those who have vested interests - like the Student Islamic society. It appals me that an academic institution that is supposed to be based on a liberal tradition of free enquiry and expression should yield to such pressure.

And accusations of racism are being thrown in to muddy the waters. But let's be clear about this criticism of Islam is NOT racism. Nor is criticism of the state of Israel. I do both this things regularly and yet I have also (literally on some occasions) fought real racists.

Why do religious people want special protection anyway ? - Surely if they are right we atheists are all going to burn for eternity.

I'll take my chances, though and so without malice to the many sincere individuals who subscribe to these faith here goes:

• The Catholic Church has been involved in a conspiracy to cover up paedophile priests.
• Evangelical Protestants in the religious right have manoeuvred the US into an insane reactionary foreign policy.
• Islamic fundamentalism practices the most barbaric repression of women imaginable.
• Judaism acts as a moral fig-leaf for the racist state of Israel.
• Hindu separatists in India wage pogroms against their Muslim neighbours.
• Buddhists in Sri Lanka do the same against Hindus.

So there you are. Religion is stupid,bigoted and reactionary - over the centuries it has on balance caused far more harm than it ever has good. Now sue me.

1 comment:

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