Between two oughts

Joan Smith in amusing vein.

[O]ne of the jobs I most fancy is poster-girl for a strictly rational approach to human affairs.

Hey I want that job! Me, me, me. I dibs it. It’s mine.

[R]ecent events show that it isn’t just sceptics who are worried by the inroads which other people’s imaginary friends have been making in secular states…[I]n a blow to the Islamophobia industry which has tried to silence critics of Islam through strident accusations of racism, the Education Secretary Alan Johnson issued guidelines which will allow schools to ban paranoid forms of religious dress.

The Islamophobia industry hasn’t just tried to silence critics of Islam via accusations of racism, to a considerable extent it’s succeeded. Lots of people do indeed refuse to criticise Islam precisely on the grounds that doing so amounts to persecuting minorities. That’s certainly not a universal view, but it’s not a vanishingly small one, either.

“What do we want? Discrimination! When do we want it? Now!” has never seemed to me a persuasive platform for any religion to fight on…[T]he Archbishop of York and two Anglican bishops found themselves criticised by peers who wanted to know what had happened to the notion of Christian love…The Anglican hierarchy needs to do some soul-searching about why they joined this doomed cause, placing themselves on the same side as monstrously prejudiced bishops from Latin America and Africa.

Well, it’s partly precisely because those bishops are from Latin America and Africa. See item about what amounts to persecuting minorities, above. The Anglican hierarchy apparently feels uncomfortable and unhappy about simply contradicting or ignoring bishops from Latin America and Africa; it feels too much like white skin privilege or colonialism or both. They’ve pretty much said as much, I think – in slightly more roundabout terms, but that is the gist. They feel caught between two oughts, is what it boils down to. Unfortunately, they’ve chosen the wrong ought. It’s a powerful ought, and a lot of people choose it, with rather dreadful consequences.

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