Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
One of the consistent issues I have with accomodationists, is that they tend to schmooze the ‘other side’ quite a bit, whinging on about civil discourse, the familiar nasal twang of ‘why can’t we all just get along, please?’, etc.
I have serious issues with this fellow, one Julian Baggini. He’s one of those guys that goes around saying ‘but look what wonderful things religion had done!’, which makes him an utter ass in my book, as religion is an ideology, not a person, landing that ‘argument’ directly in the obtuse world of reification.
And this article really just proves my point:
People with faith say secularism has become an aggressive and intolerant force in Britain. What has gone wrong? It should bring society together.
Should it? It’s not really a rallying cry, it’s a principle of fairness. Let’s look at the definition:
Secularism is the principle of separation of government institutions, and the persons mandated to represent the State, from religious institutions and religious dignitaries. In one sense, secularism may assert the right to be free from religious rule and teachings, and the right to freedom from governmental imposition of religion upon the people within a state that is neutral on matters of belief. (See also separation of church and state and Laïcité.) In another sense, it refers to the view that human activities and decisions, especially political ones, should be unbiased by religious influence.
Should we be all on the same page? Of course. But sadly, few people are.
A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of secularism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: the pope, politicians from both the Conservative and Labour parties, Melanie Phillips ...
A fucking lie right out the gate: the actual quote is as follows:
A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Pope and Tsar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police-spies.
So – this is published on a public venue, right there on the Interwebs, and either this douchebag is intellectually honest, or just plain stupid. You decide.
And of course, he rolls with the lie:
It seems odd to borrow the opening words of Marx and Engel's the Communist Manifesto to describe secularism and to find them so apt. For someone such as myself who has always seen the secularist ideal as the most benign legacy of the Enlightenment, it's a bit like discovering that your cuddly teddy bear is being portrayed as a rampaging grizzly.
Not too good with the the metaphors, that’s for sure. And of course, he cites some boo-hooing to prove his point:
But there is no doubt that secularism is increasingly seen as a threat to liberty rather than its stoutest defender. Conservative party chairman Lady Warsi is the latest to raise the alarm, speaking of her "fear" that "a militant secularisation is taking hold of our societies". She pulls no punches in claiming that "at its core and in its instincts it is deeply intolerant" and that it "demonstrates similar traits to totalitarian regimes".
Hey sorry – that’s the price the religious pay for having a choke hold on public opinion, anti-intellectualism, and the general oppressive atmosphere one submits a minority (ideological or otherwise) to. So my heart bleeds peanut butter for ya – get a thicker skin.
In a speech on Tuesday she will say: "My fear is that, today, militant secularisation is taking hold of our societies. We see it in a number of things: when signs of religion cannot be displayed or worn in government buildings, and where religion is sidelined and downgraded in the public sphere.
Hey, these things happen when you wear your delusions on your sleeve.
"For me one of the most worrying aspects about this militant secularisation is that at its core and in its instincts it is deeply intolerant. It demonstrates similar traits to totalitarian regimes – denying people the right to a religious identity because they were frightened of the concept of multiple identities."
Because hey! Religion’s always been tolerant of ‘multiple identities’. Are you joking?
During the visit, held to celebrate the 30-year anniversary of the establishment of full diplomatic relations between the UK and the papacy, she will stress she is not calling for a theocracy but a more explicit role for religion in public life.
She shouldn’t be calling for any such thing. But the mark of the truly incompetent politician is the obvious crutch of piety.
Some of the recent attempts by Christians to become involved in contemporary politics have been uneasy, including the near implosion of the administration of St Paul's Cathedral over the presence of the Occupy movement on its doorstep. There has also been sharp disagreements with the Church of England over secular issues such as bonuses and the role of banks.
Why is the CoE even involved in this?
Implicitly rejecting multiculturalism, Warsi, the first female Muslim to serve as a minister, will say that the best way to encourage social harmony is to put Christianity at the centre of public life.
I don’t care that she’s a Muslim – in fact, I could care less what delusion she practices in private. What she ‘believes’ has no bearing on the matter, nor does it lend her words extra weight.
She is taking six ministers to Rome, including Jeremy Hunt, the culture secretary, and Michael Moore, the Scottish secretary.
She will speak to the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, the school for the next generation of papal diplomats, at which she will argue Europe needs to be more confident in its Christianity.
Hard to be confident about something so silly.
"Too often there is suspicion of faith in our continent hinging on a basic misconception – that to create equality and space for minorities we need to erase our religious heritage," she will say.
That’s a huge misconception – nobody wants to erase anything. That would be tantamount to denying history. No rational person would do such a thing.
She will argue "people need to feel stronger in their religious identities, more confident in their beliefs". While individuals should not dilute their nations, nor should nations deny their religious heritages.
Neither should they suck up to them.
She will say that, "You cannot and should not extract these Christian foundations from the evolution of our nations any more than you should or could erase the spires from our landscapes".
Problem is, most Western civilization has developed in spite of Christianity, not because of it.
She will deride the way in which across Europe and in the UK, "spirituality is suppressed divinity downgraded and where in the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury faith is looked down upon as the hobby of oddities, foreigners and minorities".
Spirituality is not necessarily religious anyways. Divinity is piety without proof, belief without evidence, craziness with a stamp of approval.
And she will say politicians "need to give faith a seat at the table in public life", saying "intolerant secularisation has to be held back by reaffirming the religious foundations on which our societies are built" .
I find these ridiculous forays of the religious into our lives tiresome. We are the few who don’t applaud when someone blurts out stupidity, or hand out badges to the weak-minded for opening their mouths. Either you have proof or you don’t. And I for one don’t recognize any of these bizarre ‘holy texts’ as any kind of authority on anything – so I’d prefer that someone’s faith be left firmly out of the equation, thank you very much. Because religious people have had a long and terrible track record for making rational decisions.
This is a last gasp, a grasping at straws, and a not very good one at that. Both the author and the protagonist of this article are milquetoasts at the very least.
Till the next post then.