Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Religious bigotry backfires!

The "Good People" (for which read, religious zealots) of Indiana, USA, have just passed something called the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) ".  Their objective was to allow businesses and individuals to deny services to gays on religious grounds - a classic piece of legal bigotry that could only have been allowed in the USA.

But their hastily constructed legislation has a flaw.  And that flaw has been exploited.  By the "First Church of Cannabis Inc." - an organisation which 'believes' that smoking pot is part of its religion.  Smoking pot is illegal in Indiana, but under the new law that can be overridden in the case of a religious observance.

So while attempting to legalise discrimination against gays, the zealots have actually opened the door to legal pot smoking.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Religion gets in the way

On Friday 3rd April a cruise ship is visiting St. Helena. Normally all the shops would be open to meet the tourists' demand for souvenirs. Moonbeams Shop certainly would have been.  But not this time, because Friday 3rd April is Good Friday, and therefore a Public Holiday, and the Public Holidays Ordinance says that all "shops, offices, workshops and factories" must be closed.

The Governor could, under the Public Holidays Ordinance, have moved the date on which Good Friday was celebrated.  The Ordinance explicitly mentions him doing so for "ship visits".  But he decided not to, presumably because of the outcry from the Church that would have resulted.

So once again, religion is standing in the way of ordinary people going about their ordinary lives.

I hope the tourists enjoy their souvenir-free day.  Those who are Christians may understand - the Muslims, Jews, Atheists, etc. may feel somewhat hard done by, being forced to observe a religious rite that is not their own.  No wonder Christianity is held with such suspicion by all non-Christians.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Presbyterian Church (USA) changes its constitution to include gay marriage

The Presbyterian Church (USA), the largest body of Presbyterians in the country, approved a change in the wording of its constitution to allow gay and lesbian weddings within the church.


A small gleam of intelligence in an otherwise dim religious world?

The nation’s largest denominations, including the Roman Catholic Church and most evangelical churches, recognize marriage only as between a man and a woman. The Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Church of Christ allow same-sex marriage. The debate has roiled the United Methodist Church, another mainline denomination. Property disputes and litigation that have occupied the Episcopal Church in the past decade are now taking place among some Presbyterian churches.