Religious tolerance is on everyone’s lips nowadays, yet increasingly difficult to sustain, depending on the circumstances. Tolerance is far more easily attained when equality is present – when a religious group cannot push back the rights of others, justifying it as a crusade and needing no other reason than that.
For me personally, as an agnostic (regarding the possibility of a universal order, yet not regarding the artificiality of existing dogmas), this is not directed at one in particular, but rather at the concept of having a state religion, whether officially consecrated in laws or not.
This comes in the context of my country of origin, Romania, being in the process of “defending the traditional family” by modifying the Constitution to have it state that marriage is “between a man and a woman”, by this making sure that any attempt of legalising gay marriage will not be successful in the near future. As things are now, 70 to 80% of voters agree to this measure, partly driven by the feeling that there is an international conspiracy to subvert Christian nations. This is disseminated through part of the media and on a large scale, in churches.
And I can say, not without a fair amount of shame, that a few years ago I used to think like them, when this delusion added to the Christian base of my education. In order to see religion realistically, one must step outside of it and look at it from a distance, just like one has to when wanting to see the whole mountain and cannot do so while sitting under a tree at the foot of it.
In order to see the poison, the distortion and brainwashing one is subjected to when growing up in a religious country.
In this political context, of the need for a culture shift in order for everyone to have equal rights, a false need for preservation is foisted in people by propaganda, which makes them think a so-called soulless western world seeks to upturn their values and impose a Neo-Marxist tyranny upon them. Nothing could be more false.
They are arguing for a fossilised ideal, which was never a reality and can never be – the so-called sacredness of the traditional family, which is, as we speak, laden with a large number of divorces, child abandonment, infidelity and insecurity, on every level.
Moreover, their views on gay people are even more divorced from reality. Their main argument resides in the Bible, in a country which is not a theocracy, yet has managed to maintain a level of religiosity and ignorance enviable by Middle-Eastern theocracies.
For a member of Parliament to cite the Bible as a reason for discriminating against part of the population they are representing seems unreal in 2017, yet that is the reality.
And this reality is quite grim. Because gay people cannot wait for a few generations to enlighten themselves. They need these rights now. In this day and age, they are living as couples in secrecy, because of the risk of facing a backlash if found out. In the current year, in Europe, this is totally out of place. And yet, when this is debated by politicians, Biblical views are cited as relevant.
It’s quite baffling, really, the influence these archaic, unfounded views continue to have.
That other people’s sky goblins have to be shown reverence, or at least a modicum of respect, by those who do not believe in them.
That anyone should think an infringement on their presumed right to discriminate is an infringement on their “freedom of religion”.
Religious brainwashing is not limited to the countries where violence against infidels is encouraged. Christians lead their own “holy wars”. And some of them explicitly target people who are born with a different sexual orientation, and who have done so throughout history.