The most shocking news story this week has been that of the honour killing inquest. Though it is clear a young British girl (lets not forget this is a British schoolgirl we are talking about) was murdered either by or at the command of members of her own family, probably because of a friendship with a boy not approved of by her father and brothers.
What the hearing has uncovered is that there are several such killings each year, that are known of. This excludes the British girls of Asian families who refuse an arranged marriage and are shipped off to the ancestral homeland and simply never seen by their British friends again.
It is easy to point the finger at one religion here, but religions tend to be tribal in their nature and most ancient mythologies, including European paganism, include a story in which the primary God asks a leader to sacrifice their own child to save the tribe from destruction. Myths are not meant to be read literally however, and the symbolism is clear, that sometimes we are going to have to choose between self interest and the good of the community. Personal honour does not enter into it.
Unfortunately the three Abrahamic religions do have this foolish tendency to read their holy scriptures, in all cases a hotch potch of myths culled from other cultures and silly fairy stories invented to make the God of these religions look good. In the more extreme forms of these religions, great emphasis is put on the necessity of putting god first, in other words placing more importance on kissing gods arse than on doing the decent and human thing.
Now if we all carried on by killing our daughters because they dishonoured us and our families by having flings with totally inappropriate boys, believe me there would be very few women over twenty five in the world (and most of them mingers.) But most of us, be we Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist or Atheist do not carry on like that. We support our children, tolerate their follies and are always on hand with a big tube of Ego-stik to put them back together when they are in pieces. This is because most of us are not ruled by religion. As William Blake or someone of that era said, Religion wages war on human nature.
So if that young woman from Warrington is to be granted justice and we are to continue to call ourselves a civilised nation, we must now bring religions (including Scientology and other American crackpot cults) under the scrutiny of the law. Under British law nobody should be pressured to dress in a way they do not wish to, nobody should be pressured into marrying somebody they do not want to, nobody should be controlled or brainwashed by religious authority figures and we should never as a nation be willing to accept you dont understand our religion as an excuse for lawbreaking.
Some of my friends have argued the case for religious freedom in the past. Its a fine principle but the problem is once religionists are granted freedom, they immediately use it to restrict the freedom of their followers. In our zeal to protect the rights and freedoms of monority groups, it seems we often allow ourselves to be suckered into protecting the righs and freedoms of those who think they have a right to abuse others. Where is the honour in that?
Atheist Civilization Condemned