One question often asked both here and in face to face discussions is why the nonreligious keep on about those who believe and their beliefs.
There are many reasons but one of the most important is that the religious use their beliefs to interfere in the lives of all, both believers and nonbelievers. Examples of this are in many of the blue laws that restrict the freedom to act on a Sunday as one may on the other days of the week. The restrictions to the availability of alcohol in some circumstances, the interference and attempted interference in the sex lives of people and in the paternalistic and often misogynistic attempts to control women and their bodies are all examples.
There is one insidious example most people will not be fully aware of and that is the degree to which the food we buy and eat has been subjected to inspection to be accepted as being suitable for the consumption of those of one particular belief. The food so labeled and the institutions that produce it are subject to inspection and all have to pay for this right. These costs are written down to production costs and will be recovered from the consumer. Many of the major supermarkets do not in some cases stock an alternative to the religiously certified foodstuffs. Fresh chickens are a good example, Checkers and P&P do not stock non Halal chickens in the area where we live. Mayonnaise, canned fruit, packets of crisps and other snacks, instant coffee and a large number of other products are all marked as passing muster and being approved as suitable for the religious to consume, all with a surcharge for inspection and certification?
Those belonging to the Muslim religion were listed as being 1.5% of the population of the land yet through this certification process the other 98.5% are contributing to the coffers of their religious authorities! Many of the following chains are either all or have numbers of outlets that are advertised as being halal; KFC, Chicken Licken, Steers, MCds, Nandos, Cape Town Fish Market, Burger King, Spur, Wimpy, Mikes Kitchen, Jimmy’s Fish n Chips it is conceivable that a percentage of their turnover goes to maintaining certification that is aimed at 1.5% of the population!
Most of us do not have any choice in these matters. Food must be bought, religious lobbying and pressure appears to allow many of the unsavory aspects of religion to interfere in the lives of even those who hold differing views.
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