I’d like to begin by stressing my credentials. I took a GCSE in religious studies which covered the two modules of ‘Ethics’ and ‘Islam.’ I cared so passionately about the subject that I changed school at sixth form in order to take an A Level in religious studies and covered modules in ‘Ethics’ and ‘Philosophy.’ It was my favourite subject and I became fascinated by how society ought to be ordered. I took a BA in politics and sociology at Durham University and revelled in political philosophy. I moved to single honours politics and found my niche in international political economy but it always came back to how society ought to be ordered. I did an MA by research looking at confidence and perception and came full circle for the PhD where I look at rentier state economies (which are often Islamic). I spent a year living in a Muslim country and ‘enjoyed’ the casual racism to be expected of a white whore wilfully ignorant of the greatest of all sky pixies...

I don’t expect this to count for much but at least I can say I’ve been thinking about this stuff for some fourteen years. The scary thing is how the more I read, see and experience, the more passionately I believe in the absolute necessity of separation of politics and religion.

In this week’s Observer there was a piece on a Dr Hans-Christian Raabe who argues that society is in danger of believing “that if you are a Christian you are not fit for public office or you are biased or a bigot.” Incidentally, he is a member of the Council for Health and Wellness which seeks to highlight that “the homosexual lifestyle is associated with a large number of very serious physical and emotional health issues.” Naturally, Raabe argues that his views on homosexuality are irrelevant to his ability to discuss drug policy.

I’m gnawing my knuckles in frustration but at least that distracts me from the stomach curdling fear that not only does this awful person believe what he says but that it might sound reasonable to some. Let us be clear, the reason he doesn’t like gay people is because someone wrote a story about a sky pixie saying being gay was bad. Of course he isn’t fit for public office – he has an imaginary friend!

But let’s put that aside for a moment. Let’s imagine that in Sky Pixies Dancing on Ice (Global edition) the Muslims were able to use their vigorous conversion methods to win and have Allah crowned the spangliest sky pixie to ever smite infidels in spandex. Then we’d at least have consensus and I for one would have to duly concede that when it came to sequins, yes Allah was the one true God. It might be a touch controversial but it has been demonstrated that phone votes reflect what ought to be (with the exceptions of the Jews who you just know would be complaining that they were robbed).

Yes I’m joking! I’m deliberately writing for effect but my point is that religion is better suited to Deities got Talent than the grown up stuff of government. I’m all for people watching what entertains them but Gillian McKeith is better suited to being bullied in the jungle than being taken seriously in anything bordering on health advice. I’m just saying that the Christian god is better suited to chilly churches than Whitehall. Sure, feel better with your fairy stories but please don’t force them on those that don’t need them. More significantly, don’t use them as justification for you being a weak nasty person seeking vindication to put others down to bolster your own self esteem.

But back to the point which is that matters of faith are down to interpretation. I could well be wrong but more importantly, going by their own “pitch” (eg. vote Yahweh, we have bagels) the pantheistic god’s are all about them being the only one (a curious argument given that saying they are the only god raises the question of other gods – no wonder the poor religious types are so confused!). So, a whole load of people are wrong.

What better reason to take it out of the equation? From sheer uncertainty, lets just keep it separate.

Because I am the work of the devil is probably the argument. With my logic and reason I am trying to take you to the dark side (for the record, there absolutely are cookies when you’re with me – this week I made Linge di Gatto). How then can I defend my godless stand point.

I vote consistency. So if I’m speaking on behalf of the devil (I cannot honestly tell you that the younger stepchild has no arrangement with the dark lord, the pitch at which he can shriek has hints of the inhuman) at least I’m on the same wavelengths for all religions that have sky pixie mortal enemies. You don’t need to be a Time Lord to not like daleks. Bottom line, nobody seems to argue over who has the worst sky pixie nemesis.

It’s all theoretical (there are no sky pixies - you do know that right?) but the separation of politics and religion at least works somewhat if taken from a negative.

Incidentally the Bishop of Oxford, the Right Rev John Pritchard has a point of sorts to make this week as he argues for religious studies to be a core humanities subject although he rather misses the point that while religious studies is as academic and rigorous as other humanity subjects (for the record I got an A in history as well as scoring the highest grade in the school in religious studies) it doesn’t create good little followers. I’d argue the opposite that nurturing an understanding of religion is important so that the atheists have the necessary tools to discredit the mental illness going by the name of religious faith. 

1/27/2011 03:45:03 am

The segregation of church and state is written in the constitution of the United States of America. It's a wonderful piece of foresight.

In the house of Lords in the UK, we have the Lords Templar. The head of State is the head of the Church of England (Motto: Divorce is OK and we have cakes and jam!).

For all that you equate mental illness with faith, if you have to subscribe to a certain set of standards that are not in line with the tolerance of today's society, perhaps your decision making is impaired. Rather like being a Sun "reader".

1/27/2011 03:52:20 am

I don't have to subscribe to a certain set of beliefs. It's always about choice for me.

If one person believes that a chocolate teapot (I borrow from Dawkins) determines the pathway of the universe, that person is deemed crazy and we section them if they start to get violence.

But when many people start to believe in a chocolate teapot of destiny, I'm expected to respect that and if they get violent for my pointing out the absurdity there is a sense that I brought it on myself.

I'd say I'm an equal opportunist. I give every believer in a sky pixie or similar the same respect.


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