I read an article on Stuff.co.nz about the furore over the saying of prayers in Wanganui District Council and it made me furious. It made me furious for a number of reasons, paramount being the ridiculous amount entitlement that a lot of Christians feel and the outright hypocrisy many of them display.
The drama began with a suggestion made by mayor Anette Main which was that the references to god should be removed from the prayer used to open each meeting . Apparently this sparked a furore about whether or not praying was an appropriate item of business for the council. The issue ended up as a complaint at the Human Rights Commission. It turns out that Councillor Clive Solomon laid the complaint with the commission to get a neutral voice to mediate the situation.
Apparently mediation failed and now the Office of Human Rights Proceedings has been asked to consider taking the issue to a tribunal. Dr Solomon indicated that should the office decline, he would take the case there himself. If the tribunal heard the case and ruled that discrimination took place the judgement would be akin to that of a district court.
You can read the full sorry story here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/5438985/Prayer-row-heads-to-tribunal
To illustrate the level of entitlement the rest of us non Christians have to deal with, here is a quote from a Christian on this very blog:
You choose to believe what you want, how can you possibly be afraid that I am “enforcing” my opinion on you?
And one answer is, obviously, by doing things like trying to force people to pray as part of a governmental agenda. Christians feel so entitled to privilege that it seems they are physically unable to consider religion from another’s perspective. This is, I suppose unsurprising, since if they had to, briefly, consider the viewpoint of others and look at what they believe they probably wouldn’t be Christians for much longer after that. I know this to be true since that’s how most atheists become atheists after all.
The government has no place supporting one religion or indeed any religion over another or over no religion at all. It seems though, that Christians here in New Zealand and many other places feel that they have a right to espouse their ridiculous fairy tales and insist on the public uttering of their magical spells whenever and however they choose, even in the course of working for people who do not hold similar beliefs; those people’s opinion be damned.
I’m pretty sure the pious council members would take massive umbrage if they were instructed to take out their musallah, point it towards Mecca, get down on their hands and knees and open the council meeting by performing a nice decent and appropriately pious Salah. The way I see it is if somebody in a governmental capacity insists on including one religion in governmental business, they should include ALL religions in government business. Perhaps each meeting should be opened by praying to a different deity? Or perhaps we should just leave religion out of governmental business entirely.
Government and governmental bodies have no place in dictating to anybody what they should believe and has even less of a place supporting one belief system over another. Government should work for all people equally all the time.
Religion should be handled like a dirty family secret with the appropriate amount of embarrassment. It should only be talked about in hushed voices behind closed doors and should be kept as far away from the rest of us as possible.
This is the bit in the article that really annoy me:
Dr Solomon said his stance had come at a personal cost, with patients leaving his Whanganui surgery and his children being hassled at school.
I would like to remind these Christians who feel they can no longer support a man who is working for the greater good of everybody and who are hassling his children of what they allege to believe. I would like to quote their God Himself, Jesus Christ, from the New Testament (the bit without the horrors of slavery and genocide and child murder… hah, kidding, there’s still slavery) from the gospel of Matthew, chapter 22:
22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Hassling children? Nice one Christians, nice one. Hypocrisy much? Christian love? More like a petulant tantrum over their magic spells being taken away.
A great man once said these two things which sums everything up nicely:
“ Intolerance betrays want of faith in one’s cause.”
“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
The first one I would like to point out to the Christians who are ‘retaliating’ against Dr. Solomon’s quest, by leaving his medical practise and hassling his children, to rid his council meetings of prayer. Think about that quote for a second.
The second one, I think, sums up the vast majority of Christians. What you say and what you do should match. If you say you follow Jesus, why then do you not do as you believe he did?
Unlike Jesus of course, Mahatma Gandhi actually existed; we have empirical evidence for his existence and we have a pretty clear record of the good he did.