This Easter saw a rather distasteful little issue rear its ugly head. It’s no real secret that the UK is a Christian nation on paper, but that it has made massive and useful strides towards a multicultural and secular society.
But this is not enough for David Cameron and Eric Pickles. David Cameron decided to claim divine inspiration for his “Big Society” plan. A plan that from the outside seems to be “Let’s Cut Funding and Expect the people who paid Taxes to directly cover the slack”. And Mr. Pickles was rather more vehement in his demand that atheists shut up and be part of the “Christian” country and to stop trying to change things towards secularism.
We Brits abhor religious politics Mr. Cameron and Mr. Pickles. We abhor it because we saw what it did to Ireland and indeed the street battles it created there and in Scotland. Let the Vicar remain in his parsonage because he makes for an ill leader. Let songs of praise not dictate our politics.
We have long since surpassed the moral code of Christianity as humans. We are kinder, more educated, more knowledgeable and indeed.
More Moral. We may hold absolute morality of Christianity to a high level but remember this was a book that wants to stone gays but encourages slavery. It is not a moral code and nor must we let it lead us. We must judge each law by it’s effect on society and what it means to the people rather than what it means to a hypothetical super being.
At it’s core this backlash comes from the notion that we wish to ban Christianity and fire bishops at walls from catapults or some other pointless fear. No, we wish to remove Christianity and indeed all religion from their special pedestals that give them a free ride.
Imagine if you will a discussion about Abortion. On the one side experts in the fields of women’s health. On the other side? Priests?
Are we to say that hard won knowledge and skill and real world experience is equal to a a cloistered existence, a 2000 year old book of religious morals that are laughably out of date and no idea about the biology? And you want these have a special say in dictating what we do as a population and what laws we pass?
No. I am afraid these are the last people who should be in charge. In no place has a religiously entrenched government been anything but dictatorial and not progressive.
Secularism is about a balanced stage. A level playing field. Where ideas are posited and discussed rather than held to be unassailable due to the beliefs of 3500 year old Jewish tribesmen.
There are difficult topics to discuss. Gay Marriage and the Equality of the GLBT was a hard won issue but the homophobia still exists and a large part of it is entrenched in religious dialogue. There are people who oppose abortions and even the right to die with dignity based on what their specific imaginary friend and let us face it? Christians themselves consider the gods of Muslims and Hindus to be “Imaginary” if they are being charitable and satanic if they are not.
We all are sailing in the same boat, it worries us when there are people who insist on hammering holes and jumping up and down because their imaginary friend tells them to do so. If the ideas being posited have some merit then surely the crucible of voting should support those rather than a government enforced protection?
One should note that it is not atheists telling Christians to be silent but Mr. Pickles telling atheists to stop complaining because this country’s god of choice is Jehovah with Jesus.
We should hold ourselves to higher goals. The UK may have been Christian, but now we are Human and we hold those values to be true..