November 19, 2009

Born With A Crucifix?

No child is born a Christian, Hindu, or Muslim. Just as Milton Friedman's daughter was not born with free market written on her forehead, and Mao Zedong's son did not come into this world with a "Red Book" attached to his umbilical cord. The last time I played around with the genetic alphabet of A[denine], G[uanine], C[ytosine], and T[hymine], I somehow couldn't get a Brahmin out of it, can you?

Hence this billboard, that was put up by the British Humanist Association in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, coinciding with the Universal Children's Day on Friday:

Richard Dawkins, BHA vice president, said this about the campaign:

Nobody would seriously describe a tiny child as a 'Marxist child”, an 'anarchist child' or a 'post-modernist' child.

Yet children are routinely labelled with the religion of their parents. We need to encourage people to think carefully before labelling any child too young to know their own opinions and our adverts will help to do that.

Religion reacted swiftly to the campaign. Sheikh Anwar Mady from the Belfast Islamic Centre made this absurd claim, when asked about the billboard:

We believe that every child is born as a Muslim. Religion is not given by the family, but it is a natural religion given by our God at birth. The role of the family is to teach the traditions of the faith. But that faith is implanted at birth.

Yup, a baby who cannot tell the color of her mother's lips, knows quite well that allah is the one and only god, that the polytheists will burn in hell, and that an adulteress deserves to be stoned to death! Then, when they are 11-years old, they'll take on their class mates who deviate from their allah's rule:

Muslim student to Antonios: Why are you eating ham, it's Ramadan?
Antonios: My mum packed this for lunch today.
Muslim student: Don't eat that. How can you eat pig, it's disgusting.

During the confrontation a Muslim boy allegedly accused Antonios of saying: "Fuck the Muslims" but Antonios denied swearing. Mr Grigoriou said he removed his son and a younger child from the school after the boy was punched in the eye and kicked in the legs by a Muslim student. "It has broken my heart to see this happening to my boy." He said that Antonios, who wrote about his experiences in words and drawings, still has nightmares.

Reverend David McIlveen from the Free Presbyterian Church stepped up to defend his business:

It is none of their business how people bring up their children. It is the height of arrogance that the BHA would even assume to tell people not to instruct their children in the religion.

The church, of course, reserves the right to instruct everyone of its parishioners' children to recite wonderful psalms such as this one that will appear in their bumper stickers when they grow to be adults:

Pray for Obama — Psalm 109:8

What does Psalm 109:8 say? "Let his days be few; and let another take his office". Sounds like a great one liner for the 2012 election, so what? Well, if only you looked up some of the following verses of Psalm 109:

  • May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow.
  • May his children be wandering beggars; may they be driven from their ruined homes.
  • ...
  • May no one extend kindness to him or take pity on his fatherless children. May his descendants be cut off, their names blotted out from the next generation.
  • ...

Anyone who disagrees with me is an enemy. Not only to me, but also to you whom I pray to. They have no right to live. Where did we hear this recently?

Please, say no to religulous parenting before it is too late.

2 comments :
  1. You are trying to undo a thing which loder than any established religion. People should be made to understand that religious leaders and zealots earn their bread from this type of selfish statements. Only sceintific innovations and inventions and ofcourse correct use of these will change this world, especially a religion free world.
    Raja

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  2. May be you forget the basic fact that there is no such thing in any language as an 'individualized self'. Even when we are born,we are born to a 'mother', who is the 'wife' of our 'father' (generally), and they, along with our 'siblings', constitute the 'family' and there is an 'extended family' of 'relatives' by blood or through 'marriage'. The family is part of a cultural milieu called the 'community', which is part of a larger group called 'society', which in turn forms a part of a political entity called a 'nation' and the 'family of nations' constitute this world, as we know it. 'Religion' that you decry as the 'citadel of superstitions' of yore, was, and still continues to be, to the modern times, the only civilizing influence of any given society and not the so-called secular institutions like 'law', which is normally reflective of the 'customs and traditions' of any given society, which in turn is derived from the religious tenets and practices of that society. It is easier to say that 'organized religions' are just self-perpetuating institutions, where the 'truth' is lost in 'rituals', but difficult to replace them with any other 'ideology', which in turn has a founder, book, symbols and rituals, or simply, what you seem to advocate, 'freedom of choice', because in the 'nature of things' we are members of a group and bound by the beliefs, attitudes, values, norms or the 'mores' of that group. We, as 'very highly conscious individuals',analyzing, reasoning, discriminating and determining the correct response to any kind of situations, do not exist anywhere. We are always part of a group and our responses are always determined by what we have learned as members of a group. If a person happens to belong to more than one group in the course of a lifetime, his response may be 'varied' according to the intensity of his exposure to those groups, but no one exists as a 'rational island' by himself uninfluenced by the thinking or the 'culture' of the group to which he belongs. As we are born in a family, we die as a member of a group -- even though 'birth' and 'death' appear like individual events. That is the paradox of this transient life, even as human beings, quite apart from animals, with whom we share our existence on this planet called 'Earth'.

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