October 27, 2010

Additional Thoughts on Offending Others

christian oppressionWhile watching college football the other day, I noticed at least one kicker who crossed himself Catholic-style just before each kick. It did not matter than he was playing for a state university. Sure, plenty of athletes are known to have their superstitious rituals, but I found this one particularly annoying. Why? I suppose it reminds me of child rape, a conspiracy of silence, and African genocide. But that is my perception, and I'm reasonably confident that he didn't mean to promote any of this by doing it.

And then I read that the Archbishop of Westminster has been encouraging Catholics to make even more of a spectacle of their ridiculous faith than normal.
The Archbishop of Westminster says Catholics should be more ready to make the sign of the cross and say "God bless you" to people.
Great. Because more religion is always the answer to...well...pretty much everything.

Promoting superstition is offensive because it degrades reason. But I want Catholics to have the right to cross themselves and utter whatever religious nonsense they so desire. And I defend their right to do so even when they must do it right in my face (assuming I'm in a public place). But where this breaks down is that many of them refuse to extend anything like the same courtesy to me. That's why much of this public religion stuff falls apart.

If the Catholic gets to go around crossing himself and muttering various incantations and if the evangelical Protestant gets to wear her "Adam and Steve" t-shirt and go around threatening everyone with hell, then I need to be allowed to exercise my rights too. If my version of crossing myself looks more like pointing and laughing, if my utterances promote atheism, and if my t-shirt says "Imagine no religion," then the religious can damn well deal with it.

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