It’s long been a curiosity to me that the religions of the world all claim to be about peace and brotherly love while at the same time, being the basis for groups to assert their higher status as members of the one true faith; which in turn justifies the oppression, genocide and lesser status of anyone not at least publically conforming to the religious observance of appropriate gender roles, clothing, behaviours and ritual.
Apparently, lasting peace on earth can occur only when when everyone is converted to the one true religion or dispatched to their afterlife destination.
If you live in a theocratic society, then your options of which religion is the one to gamble on are limited to whichever sect is in charge this month.
But, living in a secular and democratic nation, your option of which faith to cast your vote for – well, before it’s dictated to you by the sword, anyway, is limited only by one’s motivation and research. You can pick a standard, delve into a breakaway sect, or cherry pick from a variety and/or start your very own.
It’s often a good idea to borrow from familiar ideas when you are first starting out and you’re still starting to attract followers.
But, in secular democratic nations, there’s civil rights. The idea that people are equal under the law. Deserving of fair treatment and dignity.
These are not religious ideas. Religions are not about equality, dignity or fairness.
Religions are about defining a group and circling the wagons while asserting specialness of the members just because they are members.
That religious attitude and the religious demand for conformity, underlies a lot of unnecessary social problems.
Because people who think that they are singled out because they are members of an organized religion as being better than non-members in society, that following a list of rules and conforming to behavior and gender roles somehow reflects their morality or quality as a person, is disturbing.
It is not surprising that the people who are discriminated against in society have a lot of overlap with people who are bullied in schools and workplaces.
After all, when secular society enshrines minority rights protections, it is a statement that people should not be mistreated because of their appearance, abilities, gender, sexuality or beliefs.
Worse, when secular society refuses to enshrine minority rights protections, it’s almost like declaring open season. Being called fag, queer or dyke remains the top schoolyard taunts – even when the labels don’t fit. Just not entirely conforming to male and female gender roles is enough for the tormenting to begin.
It’s merely compounded if the target child or teen actually is gay or lesbian.
It seems that in North America, that bullying has stepped up to dominate where broader social discrimination is being pushed back by secular law and more importantly, the courts and human rights tribunals or commissions upholding secular law of equality and equal treatment under the law.
As if, by bullying teens and children to death; a whole future category of people will disappear and not be a future concern or accommodation.
It is curious to me that at the point where a society has recognized historic wrongs and corrected them or stopped persecuting as hard as before or reached the apology and compensation phase – that it hasn’t seemed to occur to people that continuing to deny gays and lesbians a chance to marry and be equal now – is only setting up future reconciliation commissions.
It is more cost effective to not discriminate and not have to apologize or compensate later than to discriminate and compensate later.
Although, the glacial pace of First Nations treaties in British Columbia, and residential school resolution process across Canada, does suggest that the Federal Government is continuing with the original European arrivals’ genocide program. Just clinging to that claims die with the claimants and ignoring that First Nations are one of the few population groups that is breeding above replacement levels.
I can’t help but think that First Nation individuals would fare better in society as full Canadian citizens and collectively as a voter block with a strong youth component, than the current reservation and band council model under which, many First Nation communities enjoy neither the benefits of modern society nor the benefits of hunter/gatherer existence, but remain largely marginalized economically and existing in a constant flux of conflict, discrimination and public misunderstanding.
It’s enough to drive anyone to drink; realizing that bullying is applied discrimination.