(The following is a contribution by Freethought Nation guestwriter Brian Schmied.)
After witnessing the holocaust, Western governments slowly began to hang up their age old religious hatreds in favor of peace, advocating instead for secular government. People, however, did not hang up their religious biases. Governments are unfortunately made up of people, including people who declared in April 2013 that the state religion of North Carolina is Christianity.
You see, in the Western world, religious tolerance has always meant tolerance between Protestant Christians and Catholic Christians. Now that atheists, pagans, Scientologists and Muslims want to exercise their own moral codes without first bowing to Christian religious law, they are being met with titanic resistance.
In an attempt to exercise famed American religious pluralism, students in Colorado said the pledge of allegiance in Arabic, which obviously substitutes the word Allah for God. Suddenly all the Christian parents who couldn’t begin to see the problem with making Muslims or Atheists pledge allegiance to a nation under God, exploded into frothing outrage. Welcome to religious pluralism.
Rather than making laws protecting individual choice and consent, Christian governments insist on imposing their religious laws. Gay marriage and polygamy are both extremely pertinent examples of this. Technically, both should be governed by laws that stress individual liberty and consent. Both bans have no rational basis outside of religious law. On this subject, Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, and right wing politicians generally demonstrate very strong concern about the striking down of the Defense of Marriage Act.
Rick Santorum went so far as to blame the downfall of America on the deterioration of the moral convictions of his religion in mainstream culture. This is because his powerful political faction wants the government to enforce religious law. Granted, without the punishments outlined within their holy book, but they are not shy at all about stating their contempt for secular law.
Somehow, the same people are warning about the encroachment of Islam and warning us of the coming takeover which will result in the imposition of Sharia Law. We are already living under it! We just call it our “Judeo-Christian tradition” instead.
Last week, the British government asked the Church of England to take over thousands of state schools. Imagine the reaction if thousands of British state schools were handed over to mosques to be converted into madrasas or to Scientologist sponsors of local politicians. On what planet does compulsory attendance in a state funded religious school add up to religious liberty?
Meanwhile, Swiss officials are having a panic attack because one of their instructional materials in their history curriculum was produced by Scientologists; that in a school system which funds religious indoctrination by both protestant and catholic clergy with mandatory attendance in their state schools.
Scientology’s move into schools is part of their giant PR campaign under David Miscavige, their Global Humanitarian Initiatives, which includes an “Applied Scholastics” section. Swiss government, which embraces compulsory religious education as a necessary part of building a moral society, is freaking out over an institution that is trying to gain public acceptance by doing exactly that. Welcome to Western religious pluralism.
If institutions with unsubstantiated and dangerous beliefs are not allowed influence in education, then it is time for European schools to remove Islam and Christianity as well.
Brian Schmied enjoys learning about religion and politics and the horrible ways in which they interact. As an atheist he thinks that he is more or less neutral in these conflicts, and therefore likes to spread his view of things to the public in the hope of giving everyone a broader perspective.