Hang on a sec...
Until now the key religion and state had operated in this country with give and take, pull and push - for the most part it (christianity) had kept its head down in a sort of gentlemans agreement. I say this because I was brought up and educated a catholic (not the State religion) but at no time in my life have ever received direct instruction from the church I regularly attended, and the school for that matter, that issued direct requests to compete with the accepted norms of society or insist.
My father is a devout catholic and i grew up to love this faith. My mother by contrast an atheist with a respectful but forthright view of religion that countered hard at the ideas that women are generally looked down upon in any of the Great World Religions. An opinion equally cherished. This give and take worked well in modern Britain and it was something of which I was proud. I felt i was able to criticise, respect, see both sides of the religious vs non religious argument and accept both its flaws and respect its pretty decent outlook.
I think I recognise a zealot when I see one. Growing up with a religion as a big part of your life and holding untypical ('lapsed'...'moderate' whatever you want to define it as) views means ive had my fair share of experience facing up to some on both sides of the argument. There are some Christians with deeply held convictions who will go for the throat if you mention the unmentionables. Occasionally they pop out of all corners of the blogosphere now and make their Judgements and threads get, lets say, interesting! But by and large I respect their deeply held views. If that balance were wholesale inversed somehow then Id be inclined to fight back. Equally you get those who will sneer and look down their noses and think your views highly suspect. But people living here with deeply held views either way have in listening to opinions, come to take less harsh views, adjust their thinking, sometimes move away from religion altogether or accept that beliefs vary in their devotion. Mainly because christianity has accepted Reason for the most part and Criticism for the rest and it is wound into our society with a bond that worked well up til now.
I disagree with Steve here. I see this as idiots who pop out of situations of the governments own mishandling and meddling. They are emboldened purely by Islams antics and the lack of government 'zeal' to condemn them or get a grip. The people he describes as zealots are not. Zealots are the kind of people who rock up at Waco and proclaim themselves the son of God reborn for whom a group of people wish to die. Or bomb abortion clinics. These people he describes are idiots in a harmless minority who probably shouldnt even have been employed. The reason they have, has a dotted line back to the governments and their agencies enforcing of quotas without thinking it through properly and leaving idiots to pop up into the current media friendly limelight. It isnt about making concessions. Its about not allowing them to crop up in the first place and become an issue. The 'dangerous precedent' was set by this government and its pussyfooting around a fanatical version of Islam, indulging the likes of the MCB and stating them as 'moderate', along with 'community leaders' (ive never had one of these as a catholic) and media spokespeople (again, never one for catholics). And yet - my religion is a foreign religion.
There is only one religion where religious zeal is gaining momentum at a terrific pace unchallenged at the moment. And so for many of its adherents any action, idiotic or otherwise, will justifiably be met with either a raised eyebrow or outright condemnation. Until such time where they measure up to the respectful give and take established through years of change that has come about for christianity Ill happily point it out -and no- I wont feel in the least bit like I should be applying equal eyebrow raising zeal to other religions to counter it.
If you treat all religious groups as the same you will create more issues than you solve and generate reflex conservatism. Theyll band together at the top and the issues of Islam where it needs to reform and adapt will dissipate.
Some religions have a lot of basic catching up to do.
Don’t threaten agencies acting for years without problems in a diverse adoption environment and reward them with closure. Don’t throw positive discrimination for ethnic and religious groups into the bargain without thinking through how it will play out and deciding how to handle it first given the huge differences in the faiths and the socio political impact of some.
The quick fix answer isn’t to then constantly legislate against social problems and issues of consicience across the board. (Even less so when that legislation is so utterly flawed that it purports to be in favour of reducing discrimination but is anything but. eg Equal rights for gays at the expense of catholic beliefs when Id wager no single gay couple ever faced a discriminatory issue in that regard. Meanwhile women’s equality gets a bypass and a SSSHHHH! when it comes to discussion on the burqa where there is good reason to believe women in this country are forced and abused)
Labels: Religion - General