Rare Common Sense: February 2004 Archives

February 26, 2004

A matter of national pride

The UK is one of the world's most atheist countries, according to research commissioned by the BBC, and a quarter of us think the world would be a more peaceful place if no-one believed in God.

The programme producers said: Overall, the results of our poll show that levels of belief and religious activity in the UK are consistently lower than in most of the other countries polled.

Only Russia and South Korea produced results similar to the UK. The highest levels of belief are found in the poorer nations of Nigeria, India and Indonesia.

Only the United States bucked the trend, being an eceonomically-developed nation with Third World attitudes. UK among most secular nationsBBC News, 25th February 2004.

February 23, 2004

"Scotland would be a better place without faith schools"

Six Scottish Labour MPs have called for an end to segregated schooling in Scotland. Dr. Lewis Moonie said that separate schooling of children from Catholic families was divisive and added There should be no state-funded faith schools.

Providing faith schools is not the job of the state, as religion has nothing to do with education.

Why should we pay for the Roman Catholic Church to indoctrinate our children? I apply the same logic to separate schools for other faiths.

The Kirkcaldy MP added: Are faith schools divisive? Bloody right they are divisive.

It is not the job of the state at all to do this; it is the job of the church.

Ochil MP Martin O'Neill also called for an integrated, secular education system.

Mr O'Neill said: Personally, I feel there is no place for faith schools in modern society, and I think we are getting near the time where we will have to move on.

I want a secular system of education without any nod towards the direction of religion.

We won't get that just now, because we have a minority that feel it has rights to which it is entitled.

I壇 far rather we address whether religion is a necessary part of the school curriculum.

Others in favour of integrated education included Ian Davidson (Glasgow Pollok), Calum MacDonald (Western Isles), Frank Doran (Aberdeen Central) and Malcolm Savidge (Aberdeen North) who pointed out that Aberdeen had ended segregation 30 years ago and the city had much improved community relations as a result. Labour MPs Call for Catholic Schools to Be Scrapped Scotland on Sunday, 22nd February 2004.

February 20, 2004

It's all so romantic... sniff!

United States: Following San Francisco's example, a surprising local authority has started issuing marriage licences to same-sex couples. Two women were first to exchange vows in Sandoval County (population: about 90,000) near Albuquerque, New Mexico. State law defines marriage as a civil contract between two people, and makes no reference to sex.

When [County Clerk Victoria] Dunlop made her decision she said she had not been approached by any same-sex couple seeking a license but after reading about the recent court decision in Massachusetts which has similar laws she became concerned that a refusal could end up in a lengthy and expensive court battle which the county would not win.

This office won't say no until shown it's not permissible, said Dunlap.

Chicago mayor Richard Daley said he would have no problem whatsoever if the county'clerk's office followed in San Francisco's footsteps, and had strong words for those who claim it would undermine marriage:

Marriage has been undermined by divorce, so don't tell me about marriage, he said. You're not going to lecture me about marriage. People should look at their own life and look in their own mirror. Marriage has been undermined for a number of years if you look at the facts and figures on it. Don't blame the gay and lesbian, transgender and transsexual community. Please don't blame them for it.

Cambodia: Much further afield, the Cambodian king has said he has absolutely no problem with same-sex couples getting married.

The king said that as a liberal democracy, Cambodia should allow marriage between man and man... or between woman and woman.

He said he had respect for homosexual and lesbians and said they were as they were because God loved a wide range of tastes.

Sihanouk, who is currently in Beijing for medical treatment, also said that transvestites should be accepted and well-treated in our national community.

Such views do not represent the mainstream opinion in Cambodia, but will hopefully prove influential with both parliament (King Norodom Sihanouk is a constitutional monarch, like Queen Elizabeth, with no executive power) and the population as a whole. New Mexico Clerk Issues Gay Marriage Licenses365gay.com, 20th February 2004; Another US state for gay marriage?Gay.com News, 20th February 2004; Cambodian king backs gay marriageBBC News, 20th February 2004.

February 19, 2004

Mayor Gavin Newsom and Same-Sex Marriages

United States: San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has shown that he has the biggest bollocks in the United States with his move to grant same-sex marriages and in doing so gives the royal salute to Christian fundies and indignant homophobic conservatives everywhere.

No matter what the final outcome, this past week will go down as one of those defining moments, a seminal point in American history. It hearkens back to the civil rights movement and to women's suffrage, though with less screaming chanting effigy-burning marches and beatings by angry cops, and more roses and warm-hearted grins and life-affirming smooches on the steps of city hall.
It was a delicious and heartwarming historic spectacle indeed, and there was simply no way for any person of any elevated consciousness or spiritual awareness — anyone with any heart whatsoever — to witness the huge line of happy, eager same-sex couples snaking around city hall and not be deeply moved, profoundly touched.

February 18, 2004

Hate Speech Is Not Free Speech

Canada: A fundie teacher has had his homophobic rant denied the protection of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by British Columbia's Supreme Court.

Chris Kempling, a teacher and guidance counsellor in a Quesnel high school said the ruling by the B.C. Supreme Court is a significant blow to freedom of speech and freedom of religion, denying Christian teachers the right to speak out on controversial issues. Kempling says he intends to appeal the ruling.

February 15, 2004

Teaching Children to Question Indoctrination

England: A UK Government report by the Institute For Public Policy Research has suggested that religious education in schools should be renamed spiritual education, with children being taught more about atheism and less about the life of Jesus and the ten commandments. And in doing so, educate children to question their indoctrination into one fundie group or another.

The lessons should be widened to include non-religious belief systems, a report by the Institute For Public Policy Research says. It calls for equal weight to be given to agnosticism and humanism as is given to Christianity. Children should also be taught about cults such as the Baha'i, made famous by the government scientist Dr David Kelly, paganism and even environmentalism...

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Rare Common Sense category from February 2004.

Rare Common Sense: January 2004 is the previous archive.

Rare Common Sense: March 2004 is the next archive.

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