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Silence Exile and Crumpets
 
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Sunday, October 15th, 2006

Time Event
3:51p
More bloody god-bothering
I am appalled by this. Not just by the predictable line taken by Blair and Kelly - and who thought it would be a good idea for Kelly's number two at Equality to be another Christian? - but by Johnson's remark that it would be OK if they were talking about stopping Satanists hiring church halls. Actually, it really would not be OK - tolerance is not just about the 'major' religions putting up with each other. I certainly do not want to see a situation in which Christians and Muslims can gang up on e.g. worshippers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster or the Lord Odin.

I say this from the position of someone who dislikes all religion because I feel it to be untrue, but am slightly softer in my dislike of those religions which have done comparatively little harm recently. I also acknowledge some sympathy for the element with paganism which says, as I understand it, 'OK, let's agree to call our spiritual yearnings and respect for the natural world worship of the old gods because it annoys the Christians, and makes the point that we are a distinct world view, and after all it's a viable way of having a community of spirituality'.

In the context of the recent rows about Islamic dress, I am as worried by the idea that faith schools will be able to be horrible to pupils, teachers and neighbours of other faiths as by the undoubted fact that they will be bad places for queers and the godless. I noticed somewhere this week that one Islamic school announced that it was imposing the jillibab as school uniform; this may have been a response to provocation by e.g. Straw, but may, on the other hand, have been what they wanted to do anyway.

It worries me that non-believing, or differently believing, pupils at faith schools will be subjected to the worst kind of moral bullying by teachers and clerics; it may prove to be the case that the emphasis on faith schools will be one of the more disastrous legacies of Blair in terms of inflicting horrible wounds on young people's lives that will be with us forever.

And, let us be clear, this applies to all the different varieties of monotheism; I worry that I am liable to be accused of Islamophobia when I am equally hostile to most Christian god-bothering.

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