Monday 25 April 2011

Agressive secularism?

Yesterday, I was not so surprised to read that a Catholic priest had again complained about secularism in this country, this time by Scottish cardinal Keith O'Brien. More here and here.

Now, where to begin. I have heard these accusations before, it quickly gets old. Cardinal O'Brien used very strong words, not only did he accused "agressive secularists", the label he puts basically on secular humanists, of destroying this country, but he talked of us as "enemies" and accused us of persecuting Christians. Yes, in a country where the sharia law is applied, where religious schools can teach Creationism as if it was facts, when Christian fundamentalists try to censor a humanist billboard advert, secularists like myself are the the threat, the Enemy, one could even say Satan. Of course, the cardinal, while fiery in his accusations, remains vague when making his case. O'Brien seem to have complained mainly that homosexuals cannot be legally treated as second class citizens by religious people like himself. He aluded to this story. What O'Brien did is downright cowardly: he draped himself and other fundamentalists (because that is what he is) in the cloak of the martyr, by doing so hoping to avoid criticism in the same time for more questionable aspects of his faith: his homophobia among other things, and his wish to have the right to be fully opressive towards gays, lesbians, free thinkers, etc. This is what he is pleading for really, a passeist view of a society that changed and which he did not follow.

And asking Christians to abide by the law is not persecution. Telling them their belief is wrong and in this case amoral is not persecution: it is criticism. Keith O'Brien hs the right to believe anything he wants and to hate homosexuals, secularists and so on. But he can be called on that, he can be criticised on that. I am not a Christian anymore, I am not a Catholic anymore, I have not to accept its moral code. And I will go further by saying that if this moral code is opressive, it is in effect immoral and should be fought. It should certainly be separated from the public sphere by a wall of fire.

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