How humanists are like the Taliban

The British Humanist Association got a grant from the Equality and Human Rights Commission to hold a series of debates about the place of religion in public life.

The four events will include speakers from faith groups but one of the keynote addresses is being delivered by the prominent atheist Professor AC Grayling…

But? Why but? What do they mean ‘but’? That a series of debates about the place of religion in public life should include nothing but ‘speakers from faith groups’? But that would be kind of a stupid ‘debate,’ wouldn’t it? More like a prayer meeting, or a preaching to the choir session? More like a complete waste of time in fact? Why would a series of debates about the place of religion in public life not include atheists, even prominent atheists?

Critics say it is wrong for the Equality and Human Rights Commission to give taxpayers’ money to a controversial organisation whose stance would be found objectionable by many members of the public. Neil Addison, a Roman Catholic barrister who specialises in religious discrimination, said: “It’s a bit like paying the Taliban to lecture on women’s rights.”

Oh is it. Is it really. Because the British Humanist Association has so much in common with the Taliban? Or simply because in both cases the idea is that the thing discussed is not such a good idea. But the equivalency of course is 1) absurd and 2) vicious. You might as well say that abolitionists holding debates on slavery is a bit like the Taliban lecturing on women’s rights. In both cases the parties are opposed to the thing under discussion, but the morality of each position is hardly equivalent. Of course Neil Addison the Catholic barrister knows that perfectly well, but he also knows that his outrageous comment will leave the desired impression. Very Catholic, that is; downright Jesuit, that is.

No actually Mr Addison the Catholic church has a hell of a lot more in common with the Taliban than any humanist group does. Both tell women what to do, both tell women they are subordinate to men, both try to keep women pregnant and dependent. Both hate women unless they are meek and ‘devout’ and mostly out of sight. There’s some ecumenical ‘religious discrimination’ for you. Go tell the UN on me.

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