Got a comment?
Against reaction not religion
Ben Drake replies to Dave Landau
Ta to Dave for comradely response. Still disagree though!
The key to me is that we face an urgent battle against a resurgence of racism,
stoked up by the War On Terror and anti-asylum hype. In this context,
well-intentioned secularist arguments risk being co-opted to reinforce suspicion
and hostility against ethnic minority faith groups. I agree entirely that the
French headscarf ban is racism not secularism, but elements of the French Left
have chosen to back it for supposed secularist reasons, and that's what dismays
and worries me.
There's also a tremendous danger of appearing to arrogantly cast all reaction at
the feet of religious minorities, as though eg. women's equality is all sorted
and fine and dandy in the secular mainstream. As if! (Religious Misogyny
Exposed, exclusive report in this week's Zoo/Nuts/Loaded/FHM...)
Of course we should campaign for abortion rights, the right to divorce, free
speech. But directly, not through some sort of struggle by proxy that
substitutes the abstract ideal of a secular state for concrete demands. I tend
to think it's best to say just what we mean, not more or less.
(And yes, one of those demands has to be for school students to be taught
evolution. I'm less fussed whether the school where they learn about it is
labelled 'C of E' or not.)
At the same time, people under siege are the most likely to entrench their
ideas, whereas debate and change comes with interaction and solidarity. Who in
the meeja would've predicted Respect conference passing a motion committing us
to defend abortion rights? But we did and without friction.
Respect in practice is a movement where people of various faiths and none work
together, just like in the Palestinian struggle. I don't see that a formal
declaration of secularism would add anything beyond that.
Final note: I can only speak with sense about the current context in the UK.
Comrades in the US face a different situation, resisting a Christian Right
takeover is a whole different ball game and it may be the secularist case has
more value there. I don't know.
to this debate:
Socialist Unity ~ For Internationalism ~ For Peace ~ For Justice ~ For Unity ~