Church and State: October 2003 Archives

October 27, 2003

Hallowe'en ethnically-cleansed from Moscow schools

Russia: Education authorites have banned the celebration of Hallowe'en in schools because Schools should celebrate holidays according to the basic values of the Russian culture. It seems that authorities are most worried that the festival acknowledges the existence of death, which is apparantly a bad thing to remind children of.

The very fact that Halloween activities contain religious elements (the cult of death, scoffing at death, personification of death and evil spirits, and so on) contradicts the temporal character of education in the state-run educational institutions and produces a destructive effect upon the psychological, moral and spiritual health of students.

There have been a small number of cases of juvenile delinquents using it as an excuse to do things they would have done anyway. Halloween Banned in Russian Schools - Pravda, 27th October 2003.

October 21, 2003

Green candles are your friends

Norway: A witch has received a business grant worth £5000 to enable her to develop a trade visiting clients in their homes and selling creams and potions.

Skarning said has always been a witch, but needed seed money for her business to take root. She attended a seminar on entrepreneurship and then applied for the grant.
Ove Gahren of the SND insisted the agency wasn't under a spell when it gave her the money.
He said money was awarded for applications that were exceptional, very innovative, and very importantly, offered a new service or created a job.

Witch wins government grant to mix magic potions - Ananova, 21st October 2003.

October 19, 2003

Christmas is not religious - official

The Department of Trade and Industry plans to ban all large stores from opening on Chirstmas Day, and insists the move is not religious in intent. Ostensibly to protect workers, and allow them at least one day a year with their families, a DTI representative paid lip service to the truth that there are very few Christian nuclear families in the UK today:

There is a diversity of religious groups in this country. But Christmas Day is a major part of the UK's holiday culture, he added.

And just to reassure us,

Employment Relations Minister Alan Johnson said then: Regulation will ensure that the special nature of Christmas Day is preserved and that shop workers in large stores are protected from being forced to work.

The legislation will affect any retail outlet more than 3000 sq. ft. in size which, if that's as small as I think it is*, would force at least two supermarkets I know of in Bradford, and one in Golders Green to observe the festivals of a religion followed by neither the owners, the staff nor the bulk of their customers. Perhaps, to be fair, for perfectly non-religious reasons, and for the sake of the workers, other shops should be forced to close for Eid-al-Fitr, Yom Kippur, Diwali, Chinese New Year, the Birthday of Guru Nanak, Ridvan, Kwaanza, Hogmanay and Hallowe'en. Plan to ban Christmas Day opening, BBC News, 19th October 2003.

* Sorry, I'm crap with Imperial measures (except 568ml, which I know intimately), but this useful site tells me it's 270 sq. m., which is pretty small.

October 16, 2003

Religious schools and intolerance.

In a recent Guardian editorial, Francis Beckett calls for the abolition of faith schools because they breed only intolerance and isolation.

At the orthodox Jewish school near my home, the playground jokes are often racist ones, mostly about Arab Muslims. At the Catholic school where I was educated, we were especially contemptuous of the Church of England, whose minions, we were taught, had tortured and executed our martyrs under Elizabeth I. We were not taught that, during the previous reign, our priests had done the torturing.

He contrasts this with the education his daughter is getting:

The better alternative is the comprehensive school my daughter attends, whose intake reflects the rich cultural mix of north London. She might find herself sitting beside a Muslim in one lesson, a Sikh in the next, a Catholic in the next. She will grow up understanding and respecting all faiths - except, perhaps, one. Though orthodox Jews form a strong faith community where I live, none of them are at my daughter's school. They are segregated in the faith school down the road, where they mix only with other orthodox Jews.

Teaching tolerance - The Guardian, 14th October 2003.

October 15, 2003

Hallowe'en banned in Wrexham

Wrexham Council has banned hallowe'en displays in libraries, and prohibited hallowe'en related activities in schools after what looks like an orchestrated campaign. The council says it has received a number of complaints but insists they only banned the ancient festival because it doesn't relate to any mainstream faith. Christians who mark All Souls' and All Saints' Day will be surprised. Halloween on the shelf - BBC News, 15th October 2003.

October 13, 2003

Astroturf

The Observer discovers that the campaign against gay priests in the Anglican church is being bankrolled by rich American fundies. US millionaire bankrolls crusade against gay Anglican priests - The Observer, 12th October 2003.

October 7, 2003

Gay Sex Protection Week

United States: George W. Bush has declared Marriage Protection Week on behalf of insecure married people everywhere, but in a beautiful example of the separation of church and state, it only refers to the Christian model of marriage. Muslims and Mormons, for example, can piss off.

Marriage is a union between a man and a woman, and my Administration is working to support the institution of marriage by helping couples build successful marriages and be good parents.

In response, Nick of morons.org has declared Gay Sex Protection Week:

Gay sex Is a Sacred Institution, and Its Protection Is Essential to the continued strength of our society. Gay Sex Protection Week provides an opportunity to focus our efforts on preserving the sanctity of gay sex and on engaging in hot and wet gay sex in America.
We must support the institution of gay sex and help gays have multiple orgasms. And we must continue our work to create a compassionate, welcoming society, where all people are treated with dignity and respect (unless they're not into that).
During Gay Sex Protection Week, I call on all Americans to join me in expressing support for the institution of gay sex with all its benefits to our porno, our culture, and our society.

But play safe now, and remember to use condoms, dams and other appropriate forms of protection.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Church and State category from October 2003.

Church and State: September 2003 is the previous archive.

Church and State: November 2003 is the next archive.

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