Our Dutch correspondent H. Numan weighs in with a lucid argument for the absolute separation of religion and state.
We’re doing it wrong!
by H. Numan
Folks, we’re doing it wrong. Barking upon the wrong tree. That sort of thing. We are already in the midst of a war without realizing it, and defend ourselves with the wrong strategy at that. It’s all about freedom FROM religion. Not freedom OF religion (to do whatever they want).
I’m not religious in any way. Yes, I do believe. I believe I’ll have another cup of coffee. With regard to religion, the Baron and I are diametrically opposite. However, that doesn’t prevent us being friends and have lively debates. I respect him, and he respects me. We normally do not touch this touchy subject. But I have some strong thoughts that I would like to share with you all. Please bear with me, and read it to the end. I’m not ranting against your religion. Unless you’re mohammedan*.
America is a bit of an exception in the western world. Today it’s the most religious western nation with the exception of Vatican City. This wasn’t always the case. Around 1900 America was a shining beacon of religious freedom, years ahead of Europe. Robert Ingersoll was one of the most avowed atheists of his day, and highly respected. His speeches are preserved and well worth reading. I’ve read them all. Your faith (or lack of it) shouldn’t matter. I rarely read something over a century old that looks like it was written today: it’s that good.
Back then atheism was the biggest single religious grouping in the US. Stating openly you’re an atheist didn’t ruin your chances to get elected. Not so for undesired denominations, though. A politicians who said he was Roman Catholic effectively said he didn’t want to run for office. Kennedy made Roman Catholicism acceptable and respectable. After him, during the ’70s, conservative Christians put aside their differences and formed one front. They became a really strong very conservative force within the Republican Party. That’s when they got strong enough to force, for example, the State of Kansas to include religious doctrine in schoolbooks.
So let’s begin by looking what religion actually is. That’s not easy, because we don’t have a real definition of it. Is Mormonism a religion? Currently, it is. Jehovah’s Witnesses? Fringe. Some consider them a religion, others do not. For the sake of argument, they are, but barely. Scientology? Not quite yet, but working hard on it. Expect when Tom Cruise runs for president it might just have reached that divine status. Judaism, Christianity (all +33.000 variations of it) and mohammedanism* are religions, of course. So are Shintoism, Buddhism and Hinduism. Jedism or Pastafarians are not a religion. Give me a good reason why they are not but Mormonism is.
But … what about the Thuggees?
Aren’t they a religion, too? The fact that they practice human sacrifice shouldn’t really bother us that much. Mohammedanism does that too, though in a different manner. Try to leave that religion, or say to a mohammedan mohammed was a child molester and see what happens next. Or try to burn a koran. Not in front of a mosque, of course. That would be “inciting hatred”. But in the privacy of your own backyard. Just let them know you’re doing it on YouTube. Or don’t burn a koran, but pretend you just did. Watch their response. Preferably from a distance, that’s much safer!
That is where we go wrong: not all religions are the same. Not all religions are peaceful, though they practically all claim that. Despite massive proof of the contrary. Thuggee is not a peaceful religion, but you can rest assured that they would claim they are. Supposing they were to rear their ugly heads again.
Mohammedanism is not a peaceful religion, and never was. It was mainly spread by the sword, and doesn’t mince words about it. Yes, if there was a way of peacefully converting the heathens, they did. But that’s more an exception then the rule. We all know that, and you can read all about it on GoV.
It doesn’t matter if most adherents are peaceful. Most Roman Catholics or Protestants are very peaceful. It’s the official doctrine that matters. It doesn’t matter if your priest or minister turns a blind eye if you use condoms. It matters that your bishop and higher up in the church condemn it, and actively campaign against it. It doesn’t matter that Volkswagen users want a green car. What matters is that the top of the VW concern willfully broke the law. Exactly the same applies to religion.
Some political parties and non-religious ideologies come very close in being a religion. It’s quite understandable one has to follow the party line. But when debate becomes impossible because dogma forbids it, you’re entering the world of religion. For example global warming. Does it happen? Yes. Is man the cause of it? We do not know. Can we change it? If man is the cause if it, possibly. But if mother nature does it all by herself, we cannot. In that case the enormous amounts of money (your money, not theirs!) Global Warming adherents happily want to spend on it are wasted. Go to a scientific debate about that topic and try to debate against the official dogma, and you’ll most likely be ostracized. That’s painfully close to religion.
My suggestion is strict separation between church and state. Really strict. Believe whatever you want. Practice it within your church community as you want. But NOT outside. The state is to represent all the people, not just those who believe. Usually believe something that the government of the day happens to believe in. President G. W. Bush said he didn’t consider atheists even to be American citizens. That’s wrong. Very wrong. Lots of Christians loved it, though. But what if for example president Obama would say the same, but adds that Christians are atheists too? They are, with respect to mohammedanism.
Or what if Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders get elected and they start to promote their doctrines? (global warming, multicult, feminism, etc.) What if they would say they consider a man who doesn’t accept higher wages for women a US citizen?
Religion and politics have a gray area where the two meet. And in that vague area mohammedanism operates. Sometimes they are a religion, when it suits them. Sometimes they are not, when it suites them.
An example from Dutch history: De Schoolstrijd — the school-struggle
Getting the state to pay for (your religious) education had been a hot item since we became a kingdom. Until 1920, if you wanted your kids to go to a Roman Catholic or Calvinist school, you paid for it yourself. The state paid only for non religious education. Something both denominations found horrible. Up to 1900 Roman Catholics and Protestant denominations fought each other tooth and nail. But they discovered that working together to get free education would probably work. And it did. Yes, they hated each other. Yes, they fought tooth and nail. But with regard to education they agreed that the state should pay for all forms of education, regardless of the religion or lack of it. In 1920, they got it.
They still have it, to this very day. And guess what … mohammedans demand and get exactly the same privileges. And rightly so! One simply cannot say: we pay for Roman Catholic and Protestant schools, but if you want a Buddhist or Mohammedan school, you pay for it yourself. All religions are equal in our country. So mohammedan schools can demand and claim exactly the same privileges. Which they more than happily do.
Strict separation between church and state is the ONLY solution to our current crisis. Really strict separation. It shouldn’t be possible to demand fish-less meals on Fridays or halal meals in public places just because your religion requires it. Bring your own sandwiches! Or simply select something that is acceptable. Public cafeterias normally have ample choice. Plenty of public hospitals and other buildings now have ‘silence centers’ which is a politically correct disguise for mosques. Separation of church and state should explicitly forbid this.
Yes, it would mean that established religions have to give up some of their privileges. Which they absolutely refuse. There are plenty of protestant ministers in Holland who have no problem at all that their ‘school with the bible’ is surround by four madrassas. As long as they get their school funded by the state. If that means those four madrassas gets state support as well, so be it. Their pupils are bullied, harassed or even raped by pupils of the madrassa? Oh dear, how sad. Never mind! (As long as we get the money, that is.)
We have a Supreme Court verdict, the ‘arrest Goeree’ (Dutch only) that actually provides the legal jurisprudence for it. The Goerees were a very strict Calvinist couple of preachers, and they spoke strongly against Jews and homosexuality. So strong that they were sued for anti-Semitism and slander. The court initially ruled that freedom of religion applied, as the Goerees claimed they only preached what the bible said. In appeal, this was rejected. The Supreme Court said in 1985 that it doesn’t matter what your religious book says about something. You are responsible for your own actions and words. What a religious book says cannot be used to justify yourself.
With this piece of jurisprudence the PVV can simply get almost their complete agenda fulfilled. Scarves/burkas in public? Impossible. Common law forbids it, as it is unsafe. Unsafe to drive vehicles, for example and covering your face in public is illegal anyway. Bank robbers would love that privilege. No need to demand a head rag tax infuriating 60% of the country and embarrassing the remainder. A mohammedan school doesn’t produce up to standards? We shut it down, just as the ministry would shut down any other non-performing school.
You burn a koran in your own backyard? That’s up to you. Mohammedans file a complaint about it? As long as you do it in your backyard, it isn’t their problem. You file a complaint for (‘minder, minder, minder’; the current Wilders trial) racial discrimination? Rejected. A religion is not a race.
Mohammedans preach hatred against infidels/enemies, and claim the koran or the prophet demands it? That’s not legal, so go to jail (where special halal meals are not served, no mohammedan chaplain is employed and no time off for prayers is allowed) and serve your time.
You want a mohammedan-only burial ground or build a gigantic mosque? Perfect! As long as you have the money to pay for it, that is. And where does that money come from? If a small poor Catholic community suddenly wants to build a enormous cathedral in Peanutville, Alabama, we’d ask exactly the same.
Oh, you want to preach in a language the security services of our country don’t understand? Because it’s the only language your deity understands? Not really a supreme being, what? You can only preach in any language our security services can understand. Provide a nice private translation after service to your deity. I’m sure he (or she) will understand. Or don’t preach at all. Just say the required prayers in your deity’s preferred language, as long as those prayers are within the law.
You want to get married by your religious pastor only (legal in the US; illegal in Europe)? That has severe consequences. The law will not see you as married. No special benefits for you. Also (in Europe) you will have to explain yourself in court for that. You ignore this law (as currently happens in Europe)? That means we do not enforce it strongly enough.
As you can see, nothing of the above is discriminatory at all. No abolition of Christmas, Easter or any other religious festival. Simply said, they have the privilege of being first. Most people today don’t really celebrate Christmas as a religious festival per se, just as a nice holiday. There is no ‘war on Christmas’ as some religious groups claim. In that case they should openly demand compulsory church service, forbid advertising, shopping and above all set limits to what can be served at a Christmas dinner.
Sadly, we are rapidly moving in a very different direction. Because of ignorance (most people have absolutely no idea why separation between church and state is so important) and greed (as long as my church gets free money, I don’t care). Yes, I do see problems, but that’s mainly related to not willing to give up a privileged position. Sorry folks. You can’t have the cake and eat it too. If your religion is that important to you, pay for it. I pay for what I find important myself, too.
The current trend it to place freedom of religion above freedom of speech. That is very wrong, very dangerous and a slippery slope towards defeat. With freedom of speech in hand, we will disarm our pork-hating f(r)iends almost completely.
— H. Numan
|*||You probably noticed I never mention Islam wherever possible, and always use the word mohammedanism instead. I despise this religion. I will not acknowledge them for what they prefer to be named. As long as mohammedanism is a correct word for Islam I will use that. There isn’t much mohammedans hate more than being called for what they truly are: worshipers of the (demi)god mohammed. Without a capital letter — they certainly don’t deserve that much respect.