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Lebanon struggles for civil rights

How can people think that religion advances the cause of humanity? At every major milestone of the past century – women’s rights, black civil rights, gay rights – have been vigorously opposed by religious groups. And then, as though we’re all collectively the guy from Memento, Christian groups turn around and start talking about “Christian ideals of tolerance and acceptance.” Nope, sorry, some of us actually read the history books instead of just skimming through the pictures. You don’t get to claim the advances of secular society as religious accomplishments; particularly those done over your strong objections.

Right now a similar fight is happening in Lebanon:

Lebanon’s parliament has, after long delay, passed a law which allows Palestinian refugees to work legally. There are an estimated 400,000 Palestinians living in Lebanon and, given its delicate sectarian balance, their status is a sensitive issue.

Ah, good. People are being granted the right to make an honest living rather than being forced to either live in squalor or return to a homeland where their lives are under constant threat. And where’s our Christian spirit of tolerance and acceptance?

But the law is unlikely to transform their lives, as they will not be able to work in the public sector or for certain professions, nor buy property. To meet objections from a number of Christian factions, the legislation was heavily diluted from the version proposed earlier in the summer by the Druze leader, Walid Jumblatt.

Ah, there it is. There’s the bigotry and intolerance that we’ve come to expect whenever a religious group is granted any kind of political influence. Similar to what Catholics have done in the Phillipines, Christian groups have gutted the legislation so that it barely has a hope of working. Then, in 6 months time, they will come back and say “see? It doesn’t work! Scrap the whole thing!”

Incidentally, we’re not talking about a fringe group here, or radical extremists. These are your so-called “moderate” Christians. What does it say when you are the right-wing opposition to liberal Muslims in the middle-east? It says that something has seriously fucked up.

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