By James A. Robins
The term 'league tables' is being bandied about by the National Government as a swapsie for their pathetic and flaccid attempt at education reform. The prospect prompted a re-read of my quite-vitriolic column of two weeks ago.
As I scanned over it today, a thought occurred that could have been used as an example amongst the others in that piece. Now I'm thinking it's worthy of its own tirade...
There's been awful lot of talk about gay marriage recently (which is all very well and good, alas aren't there a few more important issues on the agenda? It all reeks of distraction). Inevitable criticism follows from those who believe that a warrant for preaching hate against other human beings (for their nature) can be derived from the Bible. Or the Torah. Or the Qur'an.
I'll touch on Biblical morality just briefly, as it forms a quaint framework for a later anecdote.
In the Old Testament of your average, bog-standard Christian Bible, there are too many incidences of disgusting actions that would never have been performed had it been written and informed by a more humanistic perspective: Lot offering his virgin daughters to a mob (and the subsequent incest), Abraham willing to disembowel his own son on the orders of an unseen tyrant, the genocide and pillaging required to inhabit a 'Promised Land', the constant degradation of women as worth no more than cattle, each of them bound by the simple sado-masochism of Christ-worship - loving something you must also fear.
Most crucial to my example is the supposedly infallible and God-given 'Ten Commandments', which contain no mandate against genocide, nor a promise of equality for women, and the implication that only through God can there be true morality. But my focus is on the lack of condemnation of slavery.
Each year of my attendance of a fundamentalist school in Christchurch, New Zealand would carry out, under the banner of Christian charity World Vision, what was known as a 'Slave Auction'.
In order to raise money for the charity, Seventh Form students would offer themselves to be sold at a school-wide auction. In return for the purchase price being donated to World Vision, said student(s) would act at the bidding of the 'slave owner' for a few hours of one day in the week.
'Mother of the Nation' Judy Bailey once hosted the auction.
I can hear the voices hollering now: "It's political correctness gone mad!" they say. "It's just a bit of fun!" they chant. And I would agree had my old stomping-ground been entirely secular and void of religious doctrine. At least then, there's an understanding of the evils of slavery and the connotations of human ownership. Once that's acknowledged, then we can mock the act and chortle about choosing to be under the authority of another person.
Satire is one of the few positive releases allowed from disheartening things.
But this is a school preaching the Gospel as a basis for a 'wholesome' life, to poke fun at slavery and imagine that it's somehow acceptable without insisting that it's immoral is highly hypocritical. These are the pure and marvelous followers of the Creator of the entire universe - shouldn't they know better?
It's also morally void for such a school to preach vitriol against homosexuals, but also refuse to stone women to death for having sex out of marriage. Either follow the Bible to its core, and adhere to it as the infallible text they claim it to be, and gain some vague recognition for being true to a cause, or don't follow it at all.
On a side note, I refuse to worship the vindictive bastard that designed me with an allergy to both eggs and peanuts. No cake. No peanut butter. All-loving indeed!
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