So this morning I was searching the news and found a fun little article on the Telegraph website, entitled bodly:
After a quick read I have determined that a more appropriate title would be:
‘THE IRRATIONAL CHRISTIANS NEVER PRESENT A FAIR ANALYSIS OF A SITUATION, AND INSTEAD JUMP TO ACCUSATIONS OF RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION’
Or there should at least be a little disclaimer in there. But of course, the writer of this ridiculous anti-atheist tirade is entitled to express her opinion, and in response, I’m going to express why she’s wrong.
So she opens her article by explaining that:
‘Celebrating a holiday in Britain is like trying to celebrate it in an unhappy family. The best-laid plans for reviving much-loved traditions quickly blow up in an almighty row. There’s no embarrassing uncle in his cups or stroppy in-laws; just schools that drop Nativity plays, shopping centres that phase out carols, and offices that shun Christmas trees. When Christians meekly complain that their Christmas is being ruined, the powers-that-be shout them down: “It’s in the name of diversity, stupid!”’
..whilst not actually pointing to any examples of where this has happened. I personally know of no atheists that would like to see Christmas disappear, and whilst for many it has lost its religious significance, indeed it is a tradition that many of us have grown up with, that is very close to our hearts; not least because it gives us all time off work, is an excuse to get PRESENTS, and is one of the rare times of year that families can all get together and let their hair down. Having said all that, if someone wants to protest Christmas or other religious holidays, then they are entitled to do so, and I honestly don’t care if it upsets people. After all, it seems that what this woman is saying is that atheists should shut up and submit to what Christians say for no good reason. Surely there’s a double standard going on here? Sorry Cristina, but your rights end where others’ begin. I’m all for religious freedom, as this is what allows me to express my atheism. I for one would hate to live in a country where people risk hefty fines for ‘crimes’ of blasphemy, and face being cast out by their families or even being murdered for simply not accepting the existence of a deity.
But to the main point of the article:
‘Now there’s a new rumpus, and just in time for Easter. The Wakefield and District Housing Association in West Yorkshire has ordered one of its electricians to remove a palm cross from the dashboard of his company van. *Colin Atkinson, a grandfather and former soldier, faces the sack for refusing to follow orders.’
*not too sure why that part is relevant to her article…
The first thing to point out is that on the large scale of things, this really has absolutely nothing to do with Easter; she is just using this case as an excuse to atheist-bash, when there is actually no evidence to support her claim that the company boss (pictured right) is an atheist at all. Secondly, company policy prohibits employees from displaying personal items in the company’s vehicles. Thirdly, the company is completely within its rights and within the law to demand that he removes the cross, and if he doesn’t he should absolutely face disciplinary action. This is called consistency.
The law states that:
Discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief is prohibited by the Equality Act 2010. Under the Act, it is unlawful for an employer to:
(a) directly discriminate against an employee by treating him or her less favourably than it would treat others because of religion or belief; and
(b) indirectly discriminate against an employee by applying a policy/provision, criterion or practice that disadvantages employees of a particular religion (unless the employer can objectively justify that policy).
The company is quite clearly doing neither of these things, and I suspect that if another employee were to display a symbol representing another religion, they would be asked to remove it as well. The reason for this is quite simple. The cross may be interpreted as representing company values, and the company would rather not be associated with any particular religion because it causes controversies like this one! Furthermore, the company is a housing association, and I’m pretty sure they’re targeting their services at everyone, not just Christians, and they risk alienating people of other faiths if their employees are allowed to display crosses in their vans.
The writer goes on to state that:
‘Clearly, in the eyes of this publicly funded body, Mr Atkinson’s palm cross is on a par with a swastika, or a racist slogan. The symbol of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice strikes Mr Atkinson’s bosses as offensive: any show of Christian allegiance could drive a divisive wedge into this multicultural society.’
Which is literally the most stupid thing I’ve read today, for the reasons previously stated. Ms. Odone is clearly in dire need of a lesson in Logic one-oh-one. They’re not ‘offended’, it’s just against company policy. Simple as that. Making reference to ‘Christ’s ultimate sacrifice’ just shows what pathetic propaganda her article is. We all know what Christians believe, and sadly for them (I can’t believe I’m saying this again) it is completely irrelevant to 1) the law, and 2) the company’s policy.
Now we reach the slippery slope conclusion of the article:
‘At stake is not just a happy holiday. Once banning Christian symbols becomes accepted practice, the rejection of Christian beliefs is next. Already, social services have stopped a Christian couple from fostering children lest they infect their charges with an anti-gay attitude. Soon, the authorities will forbid conscientious objection: Christian doctors, for instance, will be forced to carry out elective abortions, which they regard as a sin.Where will it end? I fear intolerant atheists will not be satisfied until they’ve driven faith underground: Christians, Jews and Muslims will be forced to resort to Masonic handshakes and hush-hush gatherings. Meet you in the catacombs.’
Seriously? This stuff is laughable. For a start, no one is banning religious symbols, and nope, Christian beliefs haven’t been rejected across the board either. Although she has yet to make the case as to why they shouldn’t be rejected. They are extraneous to modern society, even stunting it; causing people to (as she points out) have archaic anti-gay attitudes, misogynistic attitudes, and anti-progress attitudes (to name but a few); warping people’s minds to the extent that, like this woman, they think it’s OK to have homophobic people fostering vulnerable kids. I’ve written an article on this particular case before, which unfortunately was lost with my last blog, but as I pointed out then, what would happen if one of their foster-children turned out to be gay? I suspect they’d be tossed straight back into the orphanage and the so-called caring foster parents wouldn’t look back.
Cristina Odone is apparently ‘a journalist, novelist and broadcaster specialising in the relationship between society, families and faith.’ It seems that once again, religion has produced someone who is incapable of producing a logical argument, or seeing the perfectly good reasons behind a decision if it comes into conflict with her faith. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised.
Now surely if her writing is getting published, mine should?! What do you guys think?!