Found this in today’s Sunday Herald, and thought I’d share some of it with you guys.
For the government of a secular country such as ours to treat religion as if it had real merit instead of regarding it as a ridiculous anachronism, which education, wisdom and experience can hopefully overcome in time, is one of the most depressing developments of the 21st century. Religious people must be treated with the same respect as non-religious people, but their religions should quite properly be regarded with the weary contempt they deserve. Instead we have debates on TV news shows between hardline Muslim scholars and moderate Muslim politicians without any intervening voice of scepticism suggesting that the whole darned thing might be just as invented as virgin births and Mormon tablets.
We have bishops arguing with Christian women about ordination as if this is an important issue, again without the obvious interjection that it is unlikely in the extreme that there exists any god at all, never mind a peculiar one who cares what sex wears the cassock. And there goes old nutty Ruth Kelly using taxpayers’ money to introduce a whole new clutch of assorted religious schools that will abuse the innocence of trusting children by teaching them superstition alongside facts to ensure they cannot separate the two.
The defence of any attacked faith is always to say: “You don’t understand our religion.” It’s considerably more likely that those defenders of their rrational beliefs have failed to understand Montesquieu, Hume, Rousseau and Diderot. The tattooed drunken morons attending an Orange walk are hardly theologians.
Since these are dark days, it’s time to stop all this polite tiptoeing around religion and harden up accordingly. Our elected leaders constantly bleating their respect for religion is not political correctness but a public declaration that intellect, tolerance, democracy, reason and enlightenment are of less value than dogma and delusion. Now’s the moment for a clear, definite, distinct line to be drawn between state and religion, one that defends the individual’s right to follow whatever ideology he or she wishes within the law, but also firmly declares and vigorously defends our collective ideals of gender equality, respect for differing sexual orientations and reinforces the message that there is no room whatsoever for the supernatural and the irrational. No bishops, mullahs, Presbyterian ministers, rabbis, or Scientologists should be gifted special hearings at Downing Street, but should confine themselves to wielding their power and freedom as the rest of us do, namely as ordinary voters, and the state-funded faith schools that shame us all with their manipulation of young minds must cease. We have all been mugged, but the shock must take us back to reason and as far away from religion as we can get.
What do you think?