First off, I’d like to be upfront about my attitude: I am an atheist, and a proud one. These last two weeks, however, I’ve been reading Christopher Hitchens’ “God is not Great”, which has upped my ‘militancy’ factor a bit. Having thus disclosed, I continue…
Yesterday’s Globe & Mail had a story about a community of Hutterites in Alberta who seek the right to possess drivers’ licenses without photographs, as that will violate their beliefs in regard to idolatry. Apparently, they had won their dispute on this issue back in May 2007, but Alberta has seen fit to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada on this issue.
Ahem. “Idolatry”. Right. An interpretation of the term, apparently, that is not shared by the balance of Christianity (that I know of), and in any case derived from an inconsistent piece of badly-written fiction. To suggest that the superstitions of a small minority gives them some status not inherent in the remainder of the population is absurd, and frankly insulting. Other citizens of the province adhere to the rules, why should this or any other religious group be exempt?
The questionable practice of being ‘flexible’ in applying the law based on religious belief is offensive. The law is just that, the law. The Alberta Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of Canada are independently established, legally recognized authorities in determining what must and must not be done within Canada. The abstract concept of ‘god’ has no legal validity and does not constitute a defense or excuse, to my mind. If religious belief can be used as a ‘get out of jail free’ card in this case, could we not consider a precedent to be set?
Tell you what: Zeus called me the other day and told me I don’t have to pay taxes any more. By ‘called’, of course I mean appeared in the form of a… swan, yeah, that’s it. He wanted to sleep with my wife, too, but I said no. That Zeus and his mortal women, I tell ya.
As I pointed out in a previous post, I am against religion as a concept, because it discriminates (and yes, I believe allowing concessions or privileges to a minority is discriminatory). The law, at least ideally, does and should not. Religion is about how certain people are special and preferred over other people, and that some omnipotent being is taking a personal interest in someone’s well-being and happiness. This idea alone should be sufficient to convince people that religion is a selfish and arrogant viewpoint. As a society that prides itself on helping others and having empathy for others, doesn’t religion seem out of place in this context?
Humanity needs to move past outdated, tribal superstitions, and to remove any religious justifications for ignoring or bypassing the law. As I pointed out here, I have exactly as much evidence as the religious zealots to support my Zeus story or any other argument I may choose to make.
If the law does not apply to everyone equally, without prejudice, or even try to do so, then it is of little use, in a practical, order-keeping sense.
It’s a Faithless Flash Fact.