Humanism Betrayed - The BHA exposed
Secularism is a movement towards the separation of religion and government. Religious laws based on scriptures such as Christian doctrines or Sharia law will be replaced by civil laws in a Secular State. Yet this will only work if the religions founded in a country would comply to such.
Islam is more than just a religion. It is a legal system that gets involved in politics. Naturally we therefore observe that Muslims who dominate their countries are labelling their nations as "Islamic state of....”.
If a state is secular, its government would not accept laws and court systems set up in parallel sub societies, like the ones we are seeing in the UK in the form of Sharia Courts. Sharia deals with many issues, including crime, politics, marriage contracts, trade regulations, religious prescriptions, and economics, as well as personal matters such as sexual intercourse, hygiene, diet, prayer, everyday etiquette and fasting. Adherence to sharia has served as one of the distinguishing characteristics of the Muslim faith historically. In its strictest definition, sharia is considered in Islam as the infallible law of the Muslim god. A secular state, on the other hand, calls for a "one law for all", and would not allow setting up of zones where different laws apply whose aim is heading towards a society that would follow religious laws.
Humanism is a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings individually and collectively, and it would generally prefer critical thinking and evidence based rationalism, empiricism over the acceptance of dogma or superstition. In modern times, humanist movements are typically aligned with secularism, and today humanism typically refers to a non-theistic life stance centred on human agency which looks to science rather than to the revelation from a supernatural source to understand the world; so it is not really aligned with religion.
Secularism is often associated with the Age of Enlightenment in Europe and plays a major role in Western society. The principles, but not necessarily the practices, of separation of church and state in the United States and Laïcité in France draw heavily on secularism. Due in part to the belief in the separation of church and state, secularists tend to prefer that politicians make decisions for secular rather than religious reasons. In this respect, policy decisions pertaining to topics like abortion, contraception, embryonic stem cell research, same-sex marriage, and sex education are prominently focused upon.
The British Humanists Association (BHA) again have proven to have left their path of promoting a religious free society by hypocritically opposing Christianity when they can, but ironically supporting Islam by defending it. From a political point of view, we can see that the BHA, which is claiming to be a-political, leftist and Labour Party supporting, are being underlined by its leaders who are basically only accepting Labour Party politics and views. But it exactly shows the opposite when it comes to Islam.
In a recent newsletter, the BHA provides evidence in what direction it goes and that new path betrays and threatens freedom, humanism and secularism of UK and Europe. The newsletter’s title: "Affirming the principles of secularism" is misleading and wrong as it does not affirm the principles of secularism but the new principles that the BHA wants to point out in their interest would save them from attacks or repression of a religion that uses force and violence where it can. The proof lays with the BHA stance on Christianity, as in that regard, it dares to oppose. If Christianity is a religion and Islam is also a religion, then an organisation that promotes non religion and opposes religion interfering in state matters should deal with Islam the same way it deals with Christianity.
It starts with the introduction: "French secularism was the subject of sustained attention last week following an incident in which armed police were photographed ordering a woman to remove layers of her clothing on a beach in Nice."
'Burkini' beachwear bans were introduced following the terror attacks in France. Quickly the article of the BHA concluded: "We were glad when, on Friday, France's highest administrative court ruled that the bans were incompatible with French human rights legislation. We hailed the decision as a victory for secularism."
It says further: "For secularism's ideological opponents in Britain – such as the religious organisations which run a third of our schools – these bans were a perfect opportunity to decry secularism as 'intolerant' or 'militant'. But as we argued in the Independent and other places last week, only secularism can guarantee the equal treatment, by the state, of people of different religions or beliefs."
This is a very critical statement. First, the British Humanists oppose faith schools as shown in the following article: "We want to see an end to the proliferation of state-funded ‘faith’ schools. We want a progressive withdrawal of their privileges and exemptions so that religious schools are eventually absorbed back into the wider schools sector, becoming inclusive schools for all the community."
"We are also concerned with the curricula of religious schools. The Majority of these religious schools are permitted to teach their own syllabus of Religious Education (RE), unlike community schools which must follow a locally agreed syllabus and Academies with no religious character which must teach a syllabus that is equivalent in its balance."
Yes, secularism should guarantee equal treatment, but in a way that religion is kept private and not exposed to public life, to public schools and, I would even say, to children. As stated before in this article, secularism will only work if the participating religious bodies comply and are not political, both of which we cannot find in Islam. Tolerance towards an intolerant totalitarian regime is basically absurd.
And it continues: "When we argue for the secular state, we are arguing for a level playing field. For people of all religions and none to be treated equally by the state, without fear of persecution or sanction for their viewpoints, and without special privileges being afforded to any particular group. This includes the right to manifest religion, and the right to criticise religions and religious customs."
It is easy to observe that Islam wouldn’t like to be called something on a "level playing field", they are damn serious and do not promote equality at all means with other religions, women and LGBT's. The right to criticise religions and religious customs will never be allowed in Islam; Worse, it will be followed up with threats, death threats and rejections.
Regarding the Burkini, the article says: "For those who feel the Burkini is a backwards step for women's rights within Islam, the answer is not to emulate the religious authorities of Saudi Arabiaand Iran which rigorously police women's clothing. It is, instead, to champion freedom. France, whose motto is 'Liberté, égalité, fraternité!', has a special responsibility to uphold those basic underpinnings of secularism even in trying times."
France was first to introduce the separation of religion and state. Religion should be private and should not be seen on public grounds. The Burka and Burkini are clearly symbols showing the religious affiliation. The concept of equality of women is not recognised in the Islamic religion as only women are enforced to wear it and not men. The Burkini is surely not a sign of women’s liberation but a form of textile prison, suppression and hiding.
Finally we can read: "In an example closer to home of why we need secularism, young women were banned from going to university by the decree of one ultra-religious strictly Orthodox sect on the basis that women's education 'is against the Torah'. Our blog Faith Schoolers Anonymous, which acts as an outlet for people within these communities to share their experiences, was informed about the story. We continue to push for greater action against those running illegal Charedi schools in London."
If the BHA opposes Charedi schools in London as written in this article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35928801); why do the BHA officials not push against sharia courts, no go zones and patriarchist doctrines supressing women and abusing children? Is it fear and cowardice? What does the BHA want? "We campaign for a secular state, challenge religious privilege, and promote equal treatment in law and policy of everyone regardless of religion or belief."
Obviously Islam is constantly pushing for religious privileges, be it in education, law, politics and special rights in regards to exemptions due to the belief system and dress codes. If the BHA truly opposes religious privileges it should oppose what Islam is doing in the West. The BHA also wishes to build itself as a sustainable and nationally-recognised organisation as a voice for non-religious people. Why does it then voice for Islam?
By Thomas Fleckner