No Atheists Wanted

Freedom of religion still does not mean freedom from religion. The BBC has a news item today about a an atheist in Co Donegal (Republic of Ireland) having to be buried in Co Londonderry (United Kingdom) because all the graveyards in Donegal are church owned.

A Donegal atheist had to be buried in Londonderry because the county has no facilities for non-religious burials.
Journalist Roy Greenslade’s mother was buried in Ballyowen cemetery in Derry on Tuesday after a humanist service.
He said he was told atheists could not be buried in Donegal because the graveyards are church-owned.

Strikes me as being a touch petty and very strange that this appears to have been the first atheist / humanist burial in Co Donegal. I know the Republic of Ireland teeters on theocracy, but surely…

Once I got over the farce of a whole county being unable to bury the non-religious, I did wonder a touch. Why did an “atheist” family want a Church burial in the first place? I certainly dont. And, reading the article something else struck me as slightly odd:

“Therefore unless one is willing to compromise one’s beliefs by agreeing to a religious service, it is impossible to be buried,” [Roy Greenslade] said.

Here we see atheism described as a belief system again. I find it hard to compromise my lack of belief, simply because it is a lack. If I wanted to bury my atheist mother in a church graveyard, I would pretend she was what ever religion is required. If I want my children to go to a church shool, I will pretend to be what ever religion is required. This is not immoral – if I needed to get my kids into Santa’s school I would pretend to belive in Father Christmas. It is all the same to me. Dying for your religious beliefs is the act of a religious believer.

Where there is a difference is the issue of choice. Should, for example, a law be passed saying I have to belive in Faeries, I will stand up against it. To me, these are two very different things.

On a final note of black comedy, the BBC have a delightful example of Irish (Northern Irish in this example) reasoning regarding religions:

“When I [Roy Greenslade] rang up and asked Derry City Council’s cemeteries department if it was possible to bury an atheist in a municipal cemetery they said it was possible because there were different sections for Catholics, Protestants and Muslims.

“My wife asked if it meant they were going to start an atheist section and the woman said, ‘oh no, she can go in with the Protestants’.”

It really is a joke that just keeps giving.

Disconnected from society

I will keep it short for now because it is late and I am tired having covered what feels like the entire length of the United Kingdom today (in a traffic jam).

The BBC have reported, in a news item titled “‘Islamic duty’ to help UK police” that:

Muslims have been told it is their “Islamic duty” to co-operate with the police to ensure Britain’s safety.

This blog has previously been accused of concentrating its attacks on Christianity, and often Atheism in general is accused of being “anti-Christian” rather than “anti-Deity” largely because it concentrates on the dominant religions in the English speaking world. There is no reason, however, why Islam should get off lightly and this brings to mind a startling example of what is really, really wrong with both the religion and how its adherents see themselves within the UK. (I can only assume this is valid elsewhere).

Basically, this statement (is it an edict?) from the Muslim Council of Britain (*) admits that “Muslims” within the United Kingdom see themselves as separate from society. The MCB are basically saying that unless told to do so by authority figures within Islam, Muslims living here will not function as members of the “British” society.

For centuries the “British” (OK, mainly the English) have been worried about Catholics coming to power here, as it was assumed they would place the authority of Rome over the needs, wants and laws of the People of Britain. While this is still a real concern (try to become king if you are Catholic for example), it seems no where near as much of a problem as this portrayal of Islam.

It is sad that a large segment of people born and bred in the United Kingdom feel patriotic towards another nation and will only behave as citizens of their homeland when ordered to do so by their Church. I am constantly amazed that so many people who dislike the lifestyles and behaviours of this (or any country) continue to live here, maybe they are some variation on the flagellants… 🙂

Isn’t the 21st century wonderful.

(*) Does Northern Ireland have its own? Do people forget that the UK is not just Britain? Does the MCB not like Northern Ireland – you could hardly blame them… 🙂 (and it would explain the B rather than MCUK…)