Monday, September 04, 2006


I must not let it grind me down, I must not let it grind me down...

There are times when the religious madness that's sweeping the world makes you so furious it makes you want to spit. Times when the very idea of not venting your spleen feels like it's going to give you cancer. Then there are other times when the sheer weight of it all leaves you feeling so depressed you can't form the words to say how it makes you feel. Hence my relative silence over the past few weeks.

Oh, don't get me wrong. There has been plenty of provocation from the usual suspects. Ruth Kelly and her mad assertion that faith schools have no place in the discussion about integration in Britain, for a start — just the latest, of course, in a long line of bonkers pronouncements that have got to mark her out as borderline sociopathic, at the very least.

I mean, this woman's supposed to be intelligent, for goodness' sake. School, until recently, was the one place where you were guaranteed to have to mix with a rich and varied cross-section of the community we lived in. That was A GOOD THING. Separating children off to be educated exclusively with people from their own religious background (and we all know that usually means ethnic background) is A BAD THING. And if anyone out there reading this (if there is anyone out there reading this) feels tempted to point out that faith schools are going to be ordered to be 'inclusive' — don't bother. Read this instead, and then give me 500 words answering the question: "If faith schools are to be forced to be inclusive and open to everyone, what exactly is THE BLOODY POINT?'

Then there was the terribly sad story of the 11-year-old Colombian girl, raped and made pregnant by her stepfather, who was granted a legal abortion, only for the team who carried out the termination to be told that they were to be excommunicated from the catholic church. The cardinal who reportedly told the team they were to be excommunicated has now denied that he made the comments, but let's face it, was anyone surprised at the news in the first place? I certainly wasn't.

And what about the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Rowan Williams declaring that gays are not welcome in his church unless they are willing to 'change their ways'? When you recall the optimism that greeted the appointed of the liberal, bearded, sandal-wearing one, it’s even more upsetting to think that he's now thrown in his lot with the religious right, and deeply, deeply depressing to think that of the boost that his announcement will have given the bigoted pastors preaching homophobic hatred as we speak, at a tabernacle near you.

And just how are the government going to react to all this? Well, we already know where they stand on faith schools, and Ruth Kelly seems to be on a career trajectory which has so far seen her in one job where she got to introduce dodgy legislation, and now she’s in another, which will see her consolidate that legislation. If, as I'm reliably informed by someone I know who works in the Home Office, she is in the frame for chancellor if or when Gordon Brown accepts the poison chalice that is the PM's job — bingo! She can fund the whole evil, retrograde project too. It's enough to make you weep with frustration.

As for the catholics… well, we all know where we would be if they got their way, so it was a relief to see that they got short shrift when they popped in for a cosy chat with Patricia Hewitt a couple of months ago. But let us not forget that they did get through the door, which is further than most secular special interest groups get. Let's hope it's not a revolving one.

Of course we're regularly assured by the government that the hard-won rights of gay and lesbian citizens are not under threat, but with so many religious nuts in charge, along with countless non-believers who are happy to keep paying lip-service to it all, how can we really be sure that this is the case, especially now that the nasty campaigns by so-called christians to maintain their right to openly preach hatred of gays have the backing of the Anglicans' high heid yin?

Well, it seems I've managed to shake myself out of my torpor and back into furious spleen-venting once more. Hallelujah! I'm off to meet the London Brights.

Let us know how it goes with the Brights. I believe they're filming it??
I know exactly how you feel - Kelly's refusal to look at faith schools' divisive influence, Angela Merkel meeting with Pope Ratzinger to ensure Christianity is drafted into any future European Constitution,the teaching of creationism in academies and above all everyone from every religion playing the "I am offended game" and pushing for legislation to stifle criticism of their faith. Web sites such as yours demonstrate there are people around who are not taken in by the organized superstition that goes by the name of religion, best wishes Ross W Sargent
Nicely put. To be taken seriously by politicians means you have to believe in really big supernatural things. If you believe in little things like fairies or ghosts that's just plain silly, but if you claim your preferred choice of mystical entity created the world and everything in it you can get government cash (that's our cash) to fund it and spread the word.

The world's going nuts. It's time for Bright's to get political.
Just posted something about last night's meeting, Bob. I was expecting you to be there — are you based out of London?

Thanks for your kind words, Ross and Tony. Good to know that somebody, somewhere is reading me!
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