21 February 2008

How about "NO?" Does "NO" work for you?

The UN's new secretary general, Ban Ki-moon is following his predecessor's lead in asking that religion should be respected.

This is in reference to the latest developments in the row over the Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad. Last month, a concrete plot was discovered to murder one of the cartoonists, and five people, all Muslims, were arrested on terrorism charges. The cartoonist in question, Kurt Westergaard, who drew the cartoon of Muhammad with a lit bomb in his turban, is now homeless because the hotel where he had been placed under police protection has evicted him because he is too much of a security risk.

But this brings the issue of the cartoons back, and Secretary General Ki-moon is, like Kofi Annan before him, trying to assuage the Muslim world by insisting that religious beliefs must be respected.

Well, fuck that.

Excuse me, but if you believe that you have a divine warrant to commit murder, then I will not respect that. It's time we stop pussy-footing around. Religion in general, not just Islam, promotes violence and oppression with an authority that cannot be appealed to, much less questioned. It's dangerous, nay, DEADLY, and those beliefs that encourage or justify this kind of malicious behaviour should be denounced and condemned from all sides.

Free speech isn't free if you have to worry about being lynched just for voicing a criticism. If Muslims don't like having the mirror held up to their faces so they can see the ugliness and depravity that is allowed under the tenets of the Koran, well...that's just too fucking bad!

Christians, Jews, Hindus, and other theists should take note too: if there's something unseemly or offensive about your religious beliefs (and rest assured, there is), don't go crying about disrespect or intolerance when people call a spade a spade.

Religion is too rooted in the dark ages of our primitive past to provide us with a way forward, because no matter how "moderate" or "peaceful" a majority of believers in a particular faith may be, there will ALWAYS be a violent and despotic fringe that will violently promote a narrow and fundamentalist view of the faith. And when the faithful number into the billions, that translates into several hundred thousand, if not millions of those "fringe" kooks who think that murder and discrimination are a divine mandate. And actually, "kooks" is not the right word; these people are not insane, delusional maybe, but they are deadly serious when it comes to their religious beliefs. And that's what makes them so terrifyingly dangerous.

We cannot ignore this problem. It MUST be confronted with the same vehemence with which we confront apologists for Nazism or Stalinism. Put simply, how can we possibly respect something which is the PRIMARY impetus to violence for so many terrorists and murderers throughout the world, both today and in the past?

The answer is we shouldn't. We can't. And, at least for my part, we won't. If a belief promotes violence, it MUST be repudiated and condemned, not respected.

[Thanks to Charlayne Bozak over at AANR on Facebook for posting these two news stories.]

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