Today in an episode of Witness they recounted a story of child abuse and cover-up in the Catholic Church. I wonder how many people would continue to stick with and support a secular organization with a deep rooted and dark history of child abuse like that? After that I read about the White House being mad at Israel for deciding to build more settlements in occupied land and just after they closed the deal on 38 billion dollars in military aid. I wonder how much money the U.S. would give Israel and how Israel would justify it’s settlements if it weren’t a Jewish state that based its territorial claims on religious text? I also wonder how strong U.S. support for Israel would be if so much of the U.S. electorate didn’t identify as Christian?
Today I also read a story about a Dutch tourist in Myanmar where it’s illegal to “insult religion” who just got sentenced to 3 months hard labor for unplugging a loudspeaker near his hotel which was blasting a Buddhist sermon in the darkness of the late night or early morning. I wonder how much hard labor he would’ve been sentenced to if he unplugged the loudspeaker a group of people blasting a secular sermon about the threat of climate change and the role and animal agriculture plays in it? I’m guessing the people blasting such a much needed sermon into the darkness of the early morning would be the ones arrested and sentenced to hard labor for disturbing the peace and disrupting the much needed sleep of hundreds of people.
Religion should not be elevated above morality, exempt from laws, or protected from constructive criticism the same way secular ideas and activities aren’t.
P.S. Yesterday I was speaking with a couple from the States who were visiting from China where they had been living for the past few years. The husband was teaching English in a school and the wife taught English at home via the bible. She told me her students all thought that the bible was just some mythology and didn’t know its truth and I smilingly told her I agreed with the students. She seemed a bit surprised that I’d politely just slam it on the table like that as I stretched my wrists after a bouldering session on the beach. I still find it funny when people assume that since I’m white and speak English I must be Christian and talk to me like I’m on team Jesus when the only team I’m on is team Earth.
After she responded by telling me how she was born into a god loving faithful Christian family and disagreed with my assessment of the bible we went on chatting and she told me they had nine children and she made sure to add that they were all theirs, none of that silly adoption stuff for this fertile couple. As if having one or two kids isn’t bad enough they had nine! Moreover they were all home schooled by a faithful Christian mother so I expect those nine will produce many more. Genesis 1:28 “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” With so many people with an arrogant and anthropocentric attitude like that no wonder humanity along with the rest of the biosphere is in the ecological mess it’s in.
P.P.S. Today I saw a monk on the bus who refused to hand his ticket to the ticket lady. Instead he handed it to a random five year old boy who was seated with his mother and then the ticket lady took it from him. It reminded me of a Swiss handshake story earlier this year in which a teenage student refused to shake hands with his teacher because she was a women. I wouldn’t try to force or even encourage anyone to shake hands with anyone else but could some of you devout men please stop acting like any contact or interaction with a women such as a handshake or simply handing something over to them has to have some kind of an underlying inappropriate sexual meaning to it. Grow up, because if I become a bus driver and there’s a lady collecting tickets for me and you refuse to hand yours directly to her because it violates your religious beliefs then you will not ride on my bus.