Communicator (communicator) wrote,

Religious protest

I think I've reached a coherent point of view on the Mohammed-cartoon protests at last, thanks to the comments on the last post. I think we have to allow religious people to observe their taboos without harm (simple example - official uniforms have been modified so Sikhs can wear turbans) but we don't need to observe them ourselves, and they should not be encoded in law. This simple principle of course leads to multiple difficult cases, for instance regarding children, but I think the principle is a good one. By this principle, we do not have to impose a ban on images of Mohammed (or women's faces etc.) in the western media.

However, I think racism and similar hatred of whole groups of people is shite, and I think these particular images were 'racist' in that sense. rparvaaz suggests we need a new term to refer to hatred of a group which isn't strictly a race, but until that day I'll call it racist. I think western people need to see the images to see that they are racist in this sense.

I think, and here I am quite different from more right-wing friends like hardrada, that the emotion behind religion is intimately related to social and economic drivers. Catholicism for instance and irish nationalism, and conversely anti-Catholicism and the oppression of Irish people. I think the social and emotional impetus behind Moslem extremism is the dehumanisation of people in the third world by our global culture. People who are treated like animals will rise up, and religion provides them with the pretext, and the self confidence to do so.

And last of all I think liberal humanists like myself are quite mistaken to say that 'religion is not like race' because people can choose to leave a religion but not a race. Only a small proportion of humans are socially and psychologically positioned to be able to reject the religious culture in which they grew up. You may not like it, but that's the world we live in. Us rejecters are not better than other people, and we aren't allowed to hate religious people just because technically they have the choice of changing their beliefs. No matter how daft we think those beliefs are.
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