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Tuesday, 18 August 2009

When religions rule

If you want to see just what an almighty shitty mess religion can make of society, you need look no further than this story from WorldWide Religious News.

Singapore’s prime minister has warned how “aggressive preaching” and attempts to convert people can threaten the city-state’s stability.

The story goes on:

Singapore’s majority Buddhist Chinese, Malay Muslims and Indian Hindus have largely avoided conflict since race riots between Chinese and Malays left about 40 dead in the 1960s.

“Christians can’t expect this to be a Christian society,” he said. “Muslims can’t expect this to be a Muslim society, ditto with the Buddhists, the Hindus and the other groups.”

In the most recent census in 2000, 43 percent of Singaporeans said they were Buddhist, 15 percent Muslim, 15 percent Christian, 8.5 percent Taoist and 4 percent Hindu.

Lee cited the case of a Christian couple who were jailed earlier this year for distributing religious pamphlets deemed offensive to adherents to other faiths, and he condemned those who try to convert ailing hospital patients “who don’t want to be converted.”

“You push your religion on others, you cause nuisance and offense,” he said.

Just what secularists have been saying since time immemorial.

Lee also cited a group from an evangelical Christian church “who briefly took control of a women’s association in April and said they opposed what they claimed was the association’s advocacy of homosexuality. They were voted out soon after.”

He clearly didn’t like what they were trying to do: “This was an attempt by a religiously motivated group to enter civil space, take over an NGO they don’t approve of and impose their agenda. This risked a broader spillover into relations between different religions.”

He says by advocating the “live and let live” principle. Try telling that to obdurate and arrogant religionists the world over. Since organised religion is a system of control, it wants to control. That’s what it does.

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