Maybe it’s time to nationalise all religious worship

RELIGIONS NEWS AGENCY (REDNA) – IT’S all getting a bit fractious in Scotland’s politics/religion interface. The contest to succeed Nicola Sturgeon as leader of the SNP has been dominated by one issue: how many lies are you allowed to get away with if you want to become First Minister?

Many of the SNP’s Holyrood contingent think that the ability to tell porkies under intense pressure is the true mark of leadership and key to plotting a route towards independence. It was entirely reasonable for them to condemn Kate Forbes, Holyrood’s Finance Minister, for her worrying honesty over matters pertaining to her personal religious convictions.

In a world dominated by the banking cartels and global hedge fund predators, telling the truth about where the public’s cash is being spent is naïve at best and extremely dangerous at worst. Closer to home, Ms Forbes, if she were elected, might even be forced to tell the police about the whereabouts of the missing £600k.

That’s the thing about religionistas: they think the eighth commandment says we shouldn’t be telling lies. Yet all it really says is: don’t tell lies about your neighbour. Other lies then are all on the table and, depending on circumstances, may be encouraged. What was Ms Forbes thinking when she answered questions truthfully and openly about her religious beliefs?

Little wonder then that her leadership rival Humza Yousaf has secured the backing of so many of his professional colleagues. The ability to misremember what you were doing at any given time and to do it under intense scrutiny is a major asset in modern politics and ought to be cherished. To facilitate this by planning for it weeks in advance so that you don’t offend people unnecessarily, well … that requires an exquisite level of deviousness that bodes well for the SNP.

The party headquarters – aka the Bone Factory – has gathered many skeletons in Nicola Sturgeon’s eight years in power. The last thing it needs at this sensitive time in Scotland’s history is a sanctimonious First Minister who wants to dig them all up by clinging to an out-dated, reactionary and regressive concept such as the truth. Forbes’ failure to embrace dishonesty should preclude her from leading any party.

I support the common ownership of all the means of production, distribution and exchange and I think it’s time to extend this to religion. The Chinese have been doing this for years and it’s not prevented them building one of the world’s most robust economies. If we had state-approved churches we could have had a leadership contest free from the insidious creep of deep-rooted personal convictions.

And besides, in modern, enlightened and diverse Scotland there exists a significant and growing number of Satanists and other related diabolically-inspired groups. Why shouldn’t they be invited into the folds of progressive Scotland’s warm embrace?

What must they feel when they go to their work only to be greeted by the sight of people wearing crucifixes? This must surely also be a trigger event for those who have recently seen loved ones nailed to a cross, bled white and then asphyxiated.

Take last Wednesday, for example. In the Catholic Church this is known as Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. It’s long been a source of discomfort for those of us who work in the secular marketplace. There you are trying to look all modern and sleek in your Versace, but with a big black smudge on the middle of your forehead.

This can also be triggering for atheists and heathens who simply don’t quite know where to put themselves when confronted by this bizarre religious pantomime. In the past, I’ve attempted to lighten the moment by channelling my inner David Bowie: “Ashes to ashes, fun to funky, we know Major Tom’s a Junkie …” But that’s beginning to wear a bit thin now.

Ordering the fish option in the staff canteen every week may also become a trigger for staff, while rosary beads; miraculous medals and sprigs of shamrock may risk causing offence to your workmates. Posting pictures of family holy communions on Facebook would also discouraged but judged on a case-by-case basis.

State-regulated Christianity would allow adherents – especially those seeking high public office or working in the media – to leave out the gnarly and bumpy bits of their faith without worrying about the 2am knock.

A new cabinet position of Minister for Religious Thought and Practice would be established. Humza Yousaf’s failed hate crime legislation could be revived and then extended. This might include children being compelled to attend special summer schools. There they would be taught how to shop their parents should they ever discuss unsanctioned religious issues at the dinner table.

A national regulator of religion would also be appointed who’d organise teams of political officers to be embedded within local churches to ensure that the dogma of the state wasn’t being undermined. Stonewall, a beacon of diversity, would be given a contract to supply permanent staff in this programme, following their success in rolling out similar ones across the Scottish and UK public sectors.

Obviously, this would present some problems in the Highlands and Islands where many services of the Free Church of Scotland and its stony-faced offshoots persist in having their worship in Gaelic. I mean who knows what the hell they’re all chanting? There shouldn’t be any room for this in a smart, modern Scotland committed to openness and full disclosure. So all that would have to go too.

There would be a special Commissar for TikTok and Twitter to ensure circumspection and rectitude on the socials. Prominent state-approved Catholics (there are several in the Scottish parliament) would front advertising campaigns to tell their co-religionists that no one’s got anything to worry about.

As in China, a state-approved Catholic hierarchy would be installed, and Archbishop Leo (The Silent) Cushley would remain in his post as a reward for never having previously rocked the boat.

Cultural Awareness camps would be set up for Catholics and other Christians who persisted in the old ways. Ankle tags could be issued that bleep every time you utter hateful imprecations like: “God rest you”; “Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the wee donkey” and “The Good Lord save us”. These are all trigger phrases that can cause distress to others.

Persistent and egregious naming your children Sean, Kevin, Declan, Veronica or Theresa is also ill-advised. A full list of similarly irresponsibly Irish names would be provided.

We’re striving to promote Scotland as a progressive and forward-thinking nation and you can’t do that by persistently using the names associated with another country. And it causes confusion for visitors.

Source: The Herald

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