I’m not an atheist, but religious advertising mostly annoys me. In fact most people who talk about religion annoy me because they’re rarely well informed on the subject. So I was particularly amused by this recent piece by Ariane Sherine, who by the way blogs here and is now added to our ‘in-laws’ blogroll because she’s a great writer, which proposed that atheists should band together and take out an ad on a bus advertising atheism. (yes, should have blogged earlier but better late than never).
I’d contribute to that, especially given the recent controversy over a Heinz ad that got taken off air because it featured a gay kiss. People who lack compassion and tolerance are bad enough, but those who use religion as their excuse while piously informing everyone their religion is about compassion are particularly annoying. Anyway, sign the pledge for Ariane’s idea (started by Jon Worth, who I met yesterday and is also a nice guy)!
Saying all that, I’m not convinced by Johann Hari that its right to discriminate against the religious. The problems here are several.
Firstly, the Bushra Noah case wasn’t so clear cut (excuse the pun). Secondly, what if religious discrimination is used as a proxy? If someone said they didn’t hire a Muslim person because he might turn out to be a suicide bomber, wouldn’t you think that was xenophobic? After all, it’s not a theological disagreement is it?
Lastly, Johann says: “Are there all these bigots out there saying, ‘I hate those Muslims â€“ but I love Sikhs?’ Of course not.” – Erm, sorry to burst your bubble Johann but yes there are quite a few people I’ve met who have said that (and vice versa from Muslims who assumed I was one). My point is, religious discrimination isn’t always because people hate their theology or hate them just because they choose to believe in some all powerful alien civilisation that is breeding us as an experiment and might get bored with us any minute (like I do of course…). Sometimes it’s just bigotry in a different guise.
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