Damien on… Religious Tolerance
These days, many people call for more religious tolerance. I believe we have too MUCH. Allow me to elucidate…
If a doctor or psychiatrist has an affair with a patient, we frown on it. Likewise, if a teacher or lecturer has a tryst with a student. Why? Because we rely on these professionals to care for us – sometimes, when we are particularly vulnerable.
In times past, a medic or educator who betrayed that trust was just canned – or struck off. These days, even if the other person is “of age”, they might find themselves in the DOCK.
But given the above, why do we tolerate religious leaders who tell their followers what to wear, eat, drink and THINK – who dictate how citizens must lead their lives – make judgements on people’s sex-lives, sexual orientation and lifestyles – and decisions about issues they are TOTALLY unqualified to speak on – birth-control, health?
Of course, some would say, “But people have free choice. They do not HAVE to listen to these religious nut-jobs.”
Well sure, that’s fine if you’re a WESTERNER. Here, these days, the church has little power. But in many parts of the World, religious leaders are the LAW. There, local people could no sooner go up against THEM than you or I could go up against the ARMY.
Even here, certain extremes are tolerated. The bris is a religious tradition that goes back thousands of years – but it involves the mutilation of eight-day-old babies’ penises. And until very recently, it was not unusual for old men to take brides down to the age of twelve in America’s Deep South. And whilst that practise has now OFFICIALLY been curtailed…
The thing is, a person should be free to believe what they will, based on observation and experience. And a church that teaches people to observe basic humanitarian values is obviously a good thing.
But when an organised religion forces people to behave in a manner that defies reason, it is time for religious tolerance to be put ASIDE.