Thursday, 6 December 2007

The false paranoia of Christianophobia -a new tradition?

Another silly neologism and one that is annoyingly spreading in use and by an elected MP no less, I read today on the BBC news site.

Mark Pritchard said "Christianophobia" of the
"politically correct brigade" also ran the risk of Christianity being
hijacked by extremist parties...
Mr Pritchard, Conservative MP for The Wrekin, Shropshire, has called a Westminster debate on Christianophobia for Wednesday

Really, why?

He told the BBC: "The debate is not about doing God or
theocracy. It's about ensuring that the Christian tradition of our
nation is recognised.

Aha always be aware when the word "tradition" is being used. Tradition is not a justification for allowing double standards to persist in a modern, supposedly enlightened, society. One could call this the fallacy of inertia. Is such tradition relevant today and if not what needs to be done about it?  Interestingly  he seems to be worried about the opposite in a peculiar way.

"If mainstream political parties do not recognise and
protect the Christian tradition of this nation then other more
extremist parties will.

So it appears he is advocating government and politics intervening to protect christianity? It can't stand up for itself?

Mr Pritchard said the debate was particularly topical,
as recent findings suggested four fifths of schools were not staging
Nativity plays this year.

Oh dear. Now I have no problem with any religioun, or other, whether "tradition" or not celebrating their special days. The variety of traditions in this country only adds to the diversity of possible celebrations and I see nothing wrong with that. I do draw the line when it is funded by us tax payers when a very small minority are active members of any of these so-called "traditions". What is the justification for this?

He added: "I'm not saying there shouldn't be choice
within theatrical provision on schools. But Christmas time would be a
highly appropriate time to do Nativity plays, with its message of hope
and love and light.

Do not assume because that is how you sees it Mark  that everyone else does. To be deliberately contrary  many other traditions have been suppressed and worse by your tradition and celebrating the birth of its founder would not be welcome amongst everyone. This only becomes an issue when the government endorses it. Now contrary to the past there are many more traditions here, still even they are probably not at all bothered by positive celebrations, regardless of what I just noted. Anyway Christmas is pretty much an commercial opportunity and not much else. Then again why should the government or schools act so as to benefit certain businesses? No particular reason at all.

"Freedom of speech and of religion are fundamental principles of any liberal democracy.

Ah but for whatever reason schools are not doing nativity plays. Freedom of speech has spoken and you do not like the result. So lets get parliament in on the action and interfere possibly? And this is in the name of freedom of speech?

I hope this debate will put down a marker to the government and public bodies."

And what marker would that be then?

He added: "Some people seem to want to forget the
Christian tradition going back to the first century and its
contribution to arts, culture and science.

"It's gone far enough. If there are those who want to
see the Christian church reduced to the margins in this nation they
should have the courage to say so, rather than using the rights of
other religions as an excuse."

I think  the Christian Church and its membership should be a private decision not interfered with by government and public bodies - the opposite of what he wants - and this is the best way to ensure freedom of speech and conscience for everyone, not just a select few. What Mark Pritchard wants contrary to his claim that (talking about nativity plays here but I am generalising)

This would be a positive contribution for children. This isn't criticising people of other faiths or of no faith.

I am sorry if you want government and public bodies to get involved in defending the christian tradition who are you protecting it against other than  those of other faiths and no faith and how else are you mean to do it other than by keeping or imposing double standards?

The BBC were wise enough, in this case, to add a few thoughts of reason from Ketih Porteous Wood of the NSS such as:

"Christians have absolutely nothing to complain about in this country."

Mr Porteous Wood cited the fact that 26 bishops sit in the House of Lords and that England has an established church.

He added: "The head of state is a Christian, the prime
minister is a Christian and almost all the cabinet are self-identified
Christians. How on earth can anyone imagine that Christians are
disadvantaged or pushed to the margins?"

Mr Porteous Wood also said: "Christians are not being pushed out of public life, if anything they are over-represented."

Hear, hear!!

What we really need is a proper debate about the incumbent double standards that are being abused in the name of equality by other more minority religions. The only likely and certainly simplest solution  is to abolish such privileges for everyone and then this becomes a non-issue and certainly something that would be inappropriate to discuss in parliament. Instead Parliament will waste time on this when there any many many more important issues that we should be concerned. There is so much noise being generated in dealing with these  traditions and, indeed, causing harm by distracting everyone from facing reality - whether it is climate change, energy, economic and foreign policy, food, safety, health or education etc.  These archaic, antiquated and anachronistic traditions whether from the 1st century christinatiy or others,  are completely incapable of helping solve these challenges and indeed harming everyone by making it harder to solve or even start to solve such real issues today.

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