Regular readers will know that I am not above my practice of occasionally quoting Christian scripture in the service of a point. While I’m sure I’ve mentioned this here and there, I don’t have any problem with using the Bible as a literary resource. I view the Old and New testaments in the same way I view Chaucer or Nabokov or Neruda – as a work of fiction from which interesting points can be gleaned. The only difference is that, unlike Chaucer, Nabokov and Neruda, I’ve actually read the Bible.
The title of this post is a reference to a sermon by the Jesus character in the Bible, in which he decries hypocrisy in a variety of forms. I enjoy this particular passage a great deal because of how unremittingly hypocritical religious adherents are when it comes to issues regarding their own beliefs. I explored that topic a bit this morning, but I failed to make an important point. While I am disgusted with the actions and arrogance of the Roman Catholic Church, and while I find their particular brand of hypocrisy to be the most blatant and offensive, I do not ascribe to them exclusive ownership of religious hypocrisy:
Rights groups have expressed outrage after an Indonesian court jailed a Muslim sect member for defending himself from a brutal mob attack. The court jailed Ahmadiyah member Deden Sudjana for six months, a heavier term than many of the attackers received. Three Ahmadiyah members were bludgeoned to death in an attack by a 1,000-strong mob of hardliners in February. No-one was charged with murder.
Sudjana was hit with a machete and almost had his hand severed during the attack, which pitted about 20 Ahmadiyah followers against more than 1,000 fanatics in the village of Cikeusik, west Java. But the court ruled that he had disobeyed a police order to leave the scene, and had been filmed punching another man.
Video footage of the attack shows crowds of hardliners beating a small group of Ahmadis as police watch. So far 12 of the attackers have been found guilty of minor offences and sentenced to between three and six months.
I first talked about the Ahmadiyah back in March, using their situation to make a point about what actual religious persecution looks like. It’s something quite distinct from merely not having exceptions made for your bigotry because your religious beliefs make you an asshole. It is when the force of law is not only brought to bear to bar you from engaging in what would otherwise be legal activity, but also prevents you from realizing your legal rights. I also talked about this attack over at Canadian Atheist to illustrate why a secular state is to the benefit even of believers.
I honestly don’t know what makes the Venn diagram of ‘religion’ and ‘hypocrisy’ so tight, but it seems as though this tendency is not relegated to simply the Pope. The courts in Indonesia have given a big ol’ middle finger to the very concepts of fairness and equality under the law and have begun punishing people for being the victims of brutalization at the hands of a mob, simply because that mob believes in the ‘correct’ version of YahwAlladdha. The personal beliefs of the attackers, or how justified those who would assault non-combatant people may feel in perpetrating violence, is entirely immaterial when it comes to judging their actions. I would have the same contempt and outrage at a crowd of pro-science feminist atheists who physically attacked a white supremacist group as I would for the reverse. Violence is never an option in defense of ideology.
Like this article? Follow me on Twitter!