Over the past week or two there have been a number of people who have expressed negative feelings on the numbers of articles posted that are or have led to religious discussions. In most cases they have called for a reduction in these articles and restraint on the part of those taking part. Twenty, thirty years back this type of discussion would have been impossible and anyone expressing the anti-religion views we see would have been ostracized and could very likely have suffered in real terms.
After the better part of two thousand years of control the churches are now facing increasing numbers of apostates and atheists questioning their teachings and even the basis of their existence. The so-called “holy book” is being questioned, derided and dismissed as being less than the religious would have people believe. If the calls for restraint in the debates and production of articles questioning religion are accepted then the religious will be spared the awkward questions and those with questions will have nowhere to get answers.
Science is making great strides in the quest to explain the world as we know it but the more this happens the greater the threat is to religion. With the courts in the USA finding against the creationists and forcing them to remove all traces of religion from state schools a new strategy had to be found and one of the leaders in this was the Discovery Institute with its offshoot the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture. In 1998 this Center produced a secret document laying out a long term strategy for the introduction of Intelligent Design to the schools and other centers of education. This document was leaked and published on the web in 1999. The “wedge strategy” was designed with both five-year and twenty-year goals in mind in order to achieve the conversion of the mainstream. One notable component of the work was its desire to address perceived social consequences and to promote a social conservative agenda on a wide range of issues including abortion, euthanasia, sexuality, and other social reform movements. It criticized "materialist reformers [who] advocated coercive government programs" which it referred to as "a virulent strain of utopianism". When ID was declared to be creationism dressed up in a tuxedo by the courts the center moved to a campaign of “Teach the Controversy” These are events happening in the USA but here the conservative religious lobby with foreign funding is influencing decisions that affect the majority. The publications board rating of the Spear, the refusal to allow the closed broadcasting of a pay for view porn channel, the pandering to health professionals who refuse to do their work because it impinges on their belief systems and the uncensored refusal by teachers to teach evolution because it goes against their beliefs are all indications of the interference of religion in secular life here in South Africa. Those who have agitated for these restrictions will not rest on these successes; they are the thin edge of the wedge of the attack on many of our hard won freedoms.
The middle of the road majority who in many cases out of misguided respect for the beliefs of the fundamentalist do not object to their rights being eroded by these actions allow these people to erode freedoms as it appears that the majority are in agreement with their actions. All rational thinkers need to do what they can to oppose and reverse these restrictions to the rights of the majority. Everyone has the right to his or her beliefs but has no right to impose those beliefs on anyone else!
To read the Wedge Document: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Wedge_Document
The Discovery Institute: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discovery_Institute
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