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Posts Tagged ‘religion’

One Nation Under Zeus, Odin and Ra

March 7, 2011 Leave a comment

 Historian Donald E. Smith, who pioneered of the study of secularism in democratic India, noted that “Democracy and secularism are tightly bonded.” If one goes, so does the other.

It’s considered a foundational pillar of the liberal democratic ideology – the first building block on a nation’s way to democracy. So what does it say when the United States of America, arguably the world’s greatest democracy, certainly the most power and the most symbolic, asks its citizens, when pledging allegiance to the flag, must to so as “one nation under God” ?

 If you look through American history it’s not hard to find that Christianity, specifically Protestantism, defines American foreign and social policies and has since the nation’s inception. You really need look no further than the office of the President. To date the U.S., who heavily criticize religious regimes has had 43 Protestant Presidents of its 44 total, John F. Kennedy being the lone exception, a Catholic.

The addition of “under god” came in 1954, and has been heavily criticized and judicially challenged numerous times and continues to be a hot-button topic in the U.S., this isn’t really anything new. But as congress holds committee hearings on “Islamic radicalism” the issue has begun to come back to the forefront, with many predominant Muslims and Islamic scholars noting that it’d go a long way with the large religious communities (both Islamic and other non-Christian based) to abolish the words “under god” With an increasing diversity in the religion of Americans should “under god” and any other reference to “God” be removed from American (or any secular democracy for that matter) legislation?

I’m not sure how to look at this, on one hand they’re just words, on the other hand, to the more religiously inclined, they’re awfully meaningful words…

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Quebec National Assembly Moves to ban Scissors, Sharp Pencils From Schools

January 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Only two days after banning four representatives of the Word Sikh Organization from the floor of the National Assembly because they refused to surrender their kirpans (a ceremonial dagger carried by men of the Sikh religion) to security; the Assembly has motion for the ban of scissors, pens and sharpened pencils from Quebec’s schools.

Head of the National Assembly security Pierre Duchesnes stands by the decision, noting that “if it can be used to stab, to me it’s a knife.” Explaining why he’s routinely cutting his steak with his car keys.

“It’s a safety measure that’s been long due” noted one Assembly member, a survivor of the great paper-cut outbreak of ’79 through his bubble-wrap facemask.  “Children, like adults, cannot be trusted with any sharp objects.”  the member conceded that the conversion to safety scissors and pre-used crayons (duller colours only) will likely cause a drop in the efficiency rating of Quebec schools; however, he expects a favourable decrease in pokings, proddings and pony-tail cuttings, as well as an increase in the colourful whimsy and overall waxy-ness of student essays.

Hearings will resume later this week.  Assembly security officials advise anyone with long finger-nails, brightly coloured eyes and/or an acuminous wit will be turned away at the door.