Monday, April 21, 2008

The the award to the new big social evil goes to . . .

Religion! According to a poll taking in Great Britain by Joseph Rowntree Foundation, a Quaker institution that in 1904 created a list of the biggest social evils (at the time, slavery was on top of the list) decided to update it. Nowadays? The biggest social evil, as seen by the 3500 Britons who participated in their poll, is religion.

"The researchers found that the 'dominant opinion' was that religion was a social evil'. Many participants said religion divided society, fueled intolerance and spawned 'irrational' educational and other policies." And, "A poll by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation uncovered a widespread belief that faith - not just in its extreme form - was intolerant, irrational and used to justify persecution."

Obviously, I think that's true. I mean, right now, Europe is going through a new phase of religious intolerance. Right wing forces are aligning to introduce new immigration policies, including making it harder for foreign residents to gain citizenship, in large measure because of fears that Muslims are going to trash the country. The response is strongest in European fundamentalist religious circles (often leeches on big business, of course - that's the traditional fascist methodology in Europe) against this "Muslim threat". Or, rather, again, we have religion tearing apart society. Who knew? And it isn't like the US' war in Iraq doesn't have powerful religious components, and obviously 911 was primarily a religious act, and it isn't like anti-Semitism has gone anywhere.

Still, it's interesting to see England - a country that still has an official Christian religion - basically just going, "Yeah, religion is a problem." I approve, I approve.

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