Church and State: May 2010 Archives

May 26, 2010

Small, but influential, pockets of insanity remain in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland: A government minister is calling for a Belfast museum to treat fairy stories as science, and claims their failure to do so is a human rights issue. Culture minister Nelson McCausland, wrote to the trustees of the Ulster Museum demanding their exhibitions reflect his belief that his imaginary friend made the universe in less than a week. And he claimed a substantial proportion of the Northern Irish population shared his insanity.

McCausland defended a letter he wrote to the trustees calling for anti-evolution exhibitions at the museum. He claimed that around one third of Northern Ireland's population believed either in intelligent design or the creationist view that the universe was created about 6,000 years ago.

I have had more letters from the public on this issue than any other issue, he said.

So clearly, the museum, as an educational establishment, needs to correct their misconceptions, not encourage them. McCausland has some other insane ideas: he believes that Ulster Protestants are one of the Lost Tribes of Israel! One suspects that deporting them there would only cause more trouble.

The Guardian does not indicate whether he was writing in his official capacity, but indicates there is an orchestrated campaign against Northern Irish museums who wish their exhibitions to reflect reality. He's also not the only lunatic in the Northern Irish Assembly. Fellow party- and Assembly- member Mervyn Storey insists that publicity for one of Northern Ireland's few tourist attractions, the Giant's Causeway, reflect his belief that it is only 6000 years old, rather than the millions indicated by the evidence. He did not indicate whether equal space should be given to the just as convincing belief that the Causeway was created by legendary warrior Fionn mac Cumhaill so he could get to Scotland for a fight.

Northern Ireland minister calls on Ulster Museum to promote creationismThe Guardian, 26th May 2010.

May 19, 2010

'Ello 'Ello 'Ello...

United Kingdom: About a week ago, the Pagan Police Association received official recognition from the Home Office as a diversity staff support association. Whether this is the case is up in the air, but assuming it is, the main advantage that this confers is summed up most neatly by The Times: Endorsement would mean that chief constables could not refuse a pagan officer’s request to take feast days as part of his or her annual leave. (emphasis mine). There's certainly no funding involved, but that hasn't stopped the usual suspects from mouthing off before they got to the end of the sentence.

First up is Paul Nuttall, an MEP for the English xenophobic far-right party UKIP, who claimed:

It is politically correct madness of high order for the Home Office to give this approval. Everyone is entitled to their own religious belief and if they want to use their holiday entitlement to be off for their festivals that's fine but it should not be a legal right.

You see I added some emphasis there? He appears to be complaining about something while simultaneously declaring it to be fine. Unfortunately, Pat Regan of the Pagan Anti-Defamation Network felt the need to issue a rather bizarre statement, rather than a simple correction, and then failed to get a second pair of eyes to proofread it first. Here's an extract, copied and pasted:

Nuttall's disgraceful language belongs to a radical 1930s Germany and not a free and democratic UK 21st century society. I fully intend to expose and complain about Mr Nuttalls blatant ignorance and apparent bigotry, which may affect many ordinary Pagan families in society. After Pagans who will Mr Nuttall single out on next?

After that, I was terribly disappointed to discover that the Christian Concern for Our Nation press release was a simple re-telling of the story.

Pagan police get right to take festivals as holidayThe Times, 11th May 2010; Sefton and West Lancashire Pagans hit out at UKIP attack over holidaysChampion, 19th May 2010.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Church and State category from May 2010.

Church and State: December 2009 is the previous archive.

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