Maajid Nawaz is one of many reformist Muslims taking a tricky route through the quick sands of Islam. Danger is all around. I don’t think it helps is case if he’s not completely honest and consistent with his words. I support his efforts, but sometimes I think he’s in danger of playing the rhetorical games that make Islam such a mess.
No, I’m not referring to the up-coming England match. It’s a much more serious issue than that. Or at least Christians think so.
Even my very fair minded liberal Christian friend Lesley is concerned, after reading this article in GQ
When saying ‘damning’, who or what does Lesley think is being damned? The nation, for it’s loss of faith? Or those that remain Christians, for this reason, “Their case was too weak, their opposition to divorce and abortion and gay people too cruel, their evidence for their claims nonexistent.” It does sound a little like role reversal; you know, the rapture of irreligion, and the left behind of the faithful, stuck at the bus stop on a cold wintery day not knowing the last bus has been cancelled.
This point is right, “…it’s only natural that we should dismantle the massive amounts of tax money and state power that are given to the religious. It’s a necessary process of building a secular state, where all citizens are free to make up their own minds.”, which will make it fair for all. But I can understand the fear in the CoE at losing privilege.
When I read this and what followed, “Really? Let’s list some of the ways in which Christians and other religious groups are given special privileges,…” I realised that it was religious privilege that the article was damning after all.
This was particularly damning of Mormons in ’78, “Until 1978, the Mormon Church said black people didn’t have souls. (They only changed their mind the day this was made illegal, and God niftily appeared to their leader to say they were ensouled after all.)”
This “In response, Carey and the Church of England demanded Christians be allowed to break the law” and the recent nonsense at the Gen Synod continues to be damning of the CoE now. And don’t get me started on RC and Islam.
Why do we have to resort to law to demand equality from religions? Christians are often quick to tell us of their valiant role in the abolition of slavery and their many other fights against injustice. OK all Christians, put up or shut up. Stop all prejudice and privilege – voluntarily! Let the ABC call for this now (I won’t hold my breath – he’d rather have Sharia). Let’s move to a secular nation, in education and government, that’s equal to all. You’ll be surprised how quickly atheists lose interest in your religion. Hold on. That’s precisely what Christians are afraid of isn’t it. Silly me.
The feelings of persecution even extend to the repeated mistake of thinking atheists want to abolish religion. This is from a comment by Chris, “The New Atheists seem to think a secular society is one that rejects religion” – No, quite wrong. That’s what Christians think New Atheists seem to think. You being a case in point 🙂 We (atheists new and old) know what it means, and you too would know that we know, if only you knew more about New Atheists, and old atheists.
Chris, “In fact, most countries with a secular constitution see secularism as protecting religion.” – Try telling that to Christians in America, with it’s very purposeful secular constitution. I can’t figure out why even having such a specific constitution isn’t clear enough. Oh, hold on. Got it. After centuries of selectively reading the Bible Christians are primed to read a constitution and see in it the very opposite of what is written.
And, what’s more Chris, when you’ve figured this out, could you let Tony Blair know: “Tony Blair warns that Christians must speak out in ‘aggressively secularist’ age” – The problem is, Tone, Christians and other faithful have been speaking out all too loudly for centuries now. “But he has since converted to Roman Catholicism and set up the Tony Blair Faith Foundation to “promote respect and understanding about the world’s major religions”. “ – Well, Tone, religions might have earned a little respect if they hadn’t been partying on so loudly themselves, indulging to excess in privileges, and then hypocritically protesting as the hurt and offended when the neighbours open a window and shout at them to be quiet while everyone gets some peace.
Preacherwoman isn’t keen on Johann Hari from GQ (God Quits? God’s Quiet?, Garrulus Quadrigae?), pointing out his selective use of data. She makes a fair point. We do have to be careful not to impart our bias. But wasn’t that the main point that the article went on to make, i.e. the whining by Carey and others about persecution, when religion has so many privileges? Hasn’t religion always been biased?
It’s not just Carey. This is from Cristina Odone, “Afraid to be a Christian? Who can blame you? The authorities, the media and the chattering classes are forever trying to run you down. We don’t have to brave the Colosseum, with its rapacious lions; we don’t have to wear an identifying badge; or meet in secret – yet.” – What?! Let’s form two queues – one of atheists who want a secular nation with freedom to think and choose our world view without favour to any, and another one of atheists who want to ban religion. I’m sure Carey and Odone think we’re all in the near empty latter. They’re confused by this secular call for freedom. Being so familiar with the centuries of persecution by the religious they think that once they lose power they’ll be burned at the stake.
“Christians need to be as strident as Muslims” she says. Well, that makes a change from Christians bemoaning how strident a few atheists are. But again she makes the mistake of bias again. The strident atheists are calling for freedom for all, and would protect the rights of Christians and Muslims alike – we’re just saying we won’t protect the current privilege of Christians or Muslims, and won’t give in to the strident calls for privilege. The stridency isn’t the problem, it’s what one is calling for that counts.
“But there is no doubt that many are afraid to be Christian. They will watch anxiously today as Shirley Chaplin will fight the NHS in an employment tribunal.” – For heaven’s sake, is there no end to the whining. Thankfully the tribunal saw sense.
But Chaplin “…had the support of a number of bishops who claim that Christians are being persecuted in an increasingly secular society.” How very Christian. I really do think some won’t be satisfied until there’s a Colosseum in Trafalgar Square, “Ha! to a mosque at Ground Zero. We Brits will show you how to be persecuted. Bring on the lions.”