One bonobo's view of the world...and stuff.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Never return to a god once lit.

More of the headline story in a minute.

First of all...

There has been a pernicious rise in religious extremism of late. The Minister for Women and Equality, Ruth Kelly, is responsible for nursing through the Equality Act, which aims to outlaw discrimination in the provision of goods and services for the LGBT* community. She is also a member of the crypto-fascist Catholic autoflagellant group, Opus Dei. The bill has already been delayed due to meddling by religious groups, and Kelly is pushing for exemptions for faith-based groups. This has caused rows in the cabinet, but she is being supported by Tony Blair, an in-yer-face Christian who is widely rumoured to be a Catholic convert. More information here and here.

Obviously one gruesome aspect of this is the grubby homophobia that so frequently goes with religion. But as a certain George O'Dowd once said, "If God didn't want men to shag each other up the arse, then why did he put the male clitoris up there? It must be some sort of divine plan."

At an even more basic level, I fail to understand why the religious might think they have a special right to be exempted from democratically-agreed laws. This law is intended to limit the effects of individual bigotry on others. What Kelly and her ilk are saying is "Ah, but our bigotry is divinely inspired."

Shit on 'em.

* Sorry - but this always comes out as "LGBLT". My bad!

But back to the title....

I don't usually 'do' religious ceremonies, obviously, but at the weekend I was fortunate to be a bystander at a Hindu ceremony for Dussehra. It marks the triumph of Rama over the 10-headed god Ravana - or the triumph of good over evil. It's conducted around sundown at a time considered to be a new start. First of all we watched a (much abridged!) enactment of the Ramayana in which kiddies in brightly-coloured costumes and monkey tails (Rama's army of monkey soldiers, see?) rescued Rama's wife Sita from Ravana. It was a lot more exciting than yer average nativity play, involving much charging back and forth and brandishing of toy swords. (One of the monkeys had a light sabre!). This was accompanied by evocative hindu hymns, drumming, rhythmic clapping, a pandit spraying the crowd with scented water, and much blowing of a conch shell. Then, as night fell, they torched a giant papier maché effigy of Ravana and let loose with the fireworks. By this time we'd wandered over to a small hill overlooking the site, so we were on a level with all the crackles, pops and wheeees. Only a few shells landed near us.

If you must have religious ceremonies, then let 'em involve fireworks, I say.


echomikeromeo said...

Heehee, LGBLT. I find that unreasonably entertaining.

Edward the Bonobo said...

I' still struggling to make a joke around the theme of 'Meat in the sandwich'.

alji said...

In my grandson's Church in Wales school one of the girls did a Divali Dance today.

psychocandy said...

LGBLT *is* really funny. Gives new meaning to makin' bacon!

The ceremony does sound like it was pretty cool. Especially the fireworks (I agree with you on that sentiment!).