The big match tomorrow will be Christians versus soccer fans (we often wish it were the Roman tradition of Christians versus lions, but you can’t have everything!) – and the religious types are up in arms about it.
They don’t want the UK’s Premier League to show what they claim is “disdain” for Christians by holding big games on Easter Sunday.
A number of bishops, according to the Daily Telegraph, say there will be chaos as Christians struggle to get to church.
Perhaps they have a point, but without knowing just how difficult it would be to get to church it’s hard to say, and it sounds a bit like a throwback to the Lord’s Day Observance Society.
One point the bishops raise is a valid one – even if not really relevant to their concerns for worshippers’ safety – and it’s this: why should the big shops, such as garden centres, not be allowed to open on Easter Sunday (just as they can’t on Christmas Day) while soccer matches (just as commercial) can go ahead?
I’m not one for defending religion just because it’s religion, but find myself agreeing with it on a point of fairness. No doubt they’d like to see no soccer and no garden centres. But why not the other way round: have both garden centres and soccer games?
One has to ask, though, why should these restrictions apply only at Easter and Christmas and not other days? In other words, why favour one activity – religion – over others merely by recognising the days religion holds as anniversaries of impossible events in a belief system that has outlived its worth as an explanatory model?
And what is it to the religionists whether garden centres can open or not, while 22 men kick a ball around a field? Why are they making this comparison if it’s the football games and churchgoers’ safety they’re worried about? How does the restriction on one outlet bolster their argument for restricting another?
Their main concerns, though, seem to be about elderly and disabled people who would want to go to church on Easter Sunday, but, if a soccer game is being staged near them, they may not be able to get out – or may feel too intimidated to do so.
We have to create safe space for everyone, and often the roads around soccer games are not all that safe – whether to the Deluded Herd or to others.
Oh, didn’t really mean that bit about the lions. Only the virulently bigoted and homophobic ones deserve that. Anyway, where can you find lions on a Sunday?