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 Religious privilege 
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Joined: November 13th, 2007, 3:55 pm
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Location: Kirkham, Lancs, UK
Mr Carey's recent bleatings have served to remind me of the extent of the privileges accorded to the religious in the UK.

There are many things which are widely regarded as "normal", which are far from normal when viewed objectively.

For people brought-up in this country it is difficult to be objective. We become inured to the all-pervading religiosity. So we need something to increase our awareness.

Can we concoct a comprehensive list of such privileges and concessions? And then categorise, and prioritise for counter-action.

Maybe this has already been done?

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Peter Angus


April 19th, 2010, 8:36 pm
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peterangus
Can we concoct a comprehensive list of such privileges and concessions? And then categorise, and prioritise for counter-action.
Christ! Where to start?

Top of my list would be their ridiculous tax exempt status, especially in the current economic climate.
Next their control of tax funded sectarian schools.
Then there are the unelected bishops in the House of Lords (lower case b intended)
Their ( albeit diminishing) right to prejudicial treatment of gays, women, et al.
Their apparent ability to hold back scientific research (stem cell etc)
Their being allowed to interfere in the government of the UK.

Muslim nurses not having to bare their arms.
Sikhs not having to wear crash helmets.
Muslim men coming here with three wives and claiming social security for them all.
The slaughter of animals by both Jews and Muslims, that goes against UK law.

Chaplains in prisons, hospitals, and the military, not paid by the religions but by me and you.

Prayer rooms in the workplace (wtf?)
Disturbing the peace with "calls to prayer" at 5.30 and often through loudspeakers!
I could go on but my head hurts now.

Others I'm sure will point out lots more.

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April 19th, 2010, 9:53 pm
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The various faith councils that invariably get set up to advise the government, usually on such things as economics and climate change for some reason.
Upkeep of religious buildings.
Getting invited onto the news when anything is remotely to do with morality.

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April 19th, 2010, 10:29 pm
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grammar king wrote:
Getting invited onto the news when anything is remotely to do with morality.
Or death.


April 20th, 2010, 12:25 am
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I'd also add the establishment of the Church of England, and having the head of state as titular head of the established church, and "defender of the faith". I know that the monarch's supreme governorship of the C of E is largely symbolic, but it's a fundamentally unjust anachronism, not least because it requires that the head of state (and his or her spouse) should practise Anglican Christianity. (Of course, I think the monarchy itself is a fundamentally unjust anachronism, but that's another issue.)

Another thing that particularly bugs me is compulsory collective worship in state schools. (Section 70 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 states that, subject to the parental right of excusal or other special arrangements, "…each pupil in attendance at a community, foundation or voluntary school shall on each school day take part in an act of collective worship". And that the majority of these acts of worship should be "wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character".)

And related to that, there's the fact that religious education is a compulsory subject for (I think) 5- to 14-year-olds, and that the curriculum for RE is decided locally, unlike the curriculum for any other subject apart from sex and relationship education, which itself can be subject to religious constraints.

And following on from the comments above about religious people getting on the news to spout about morality and death, more generally there's the privileged status of religious broadcasting by the BBC. And more specifically, there's "Thought for the Day".

Emma


April 20th, 2010, 11:04 am
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And following on from the comments above about religious people getting on the news to spout about morality and death, more generally there's the privileged status of religious broadcasting by the BBC. And more specifically, there's "Thought for the Day".
I never used to switch on radio 2 till after 9.30 (can't stand Wogan) When Wogan left I thought it would be safe to switch on earlier but what did I find? every bloody morning at around 9.15 there is a religious slot :angry:

I have gone back to waiting till 9.30 and Ken Bruce.

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April 20th, 2010, 12:54 pm
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when peterangus started this thread, I coudn't come up with anything except the clergy's presence in the House of Lords. Wow! Did I underestimate their influence!!

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April 20th, 2010, 1:39 pm
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One interesting perspective is this. Maybe it is because the C of E is the establishment church that it is so comparatively benign. Is it possible that in a religious free-for-all, the situation might be worse? Is this what has happened in the USA?

I'm not defending religion or religious belief, of course, but wonder if there is any justification for this view.


April 20th, 2010, 2:00 pm
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Alan C. wrote:
Chaplains in prisons, hospitals, and the military, not paid by the religions but by me and you.

Interesting this. I work for the NHS and often walked past the hospital priest. It never even dawned on me that he might be receiving a salary via the NHS.


April 20th, 2010, 8:56 pm
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Manuel, there were letters in the NSS newsline a few months ago on this issue - incidentally I understand from a comment on my blog that the situation is much better in Scotland than the rest of the UK.

(From memory) a reader wrote into newsline and quoted a letter that he'd sent to his local NHS trust calling for the redundancy of the hospital chaplains. This letter seemed quite unreasonable even to me. The trust wrote back and gave its usual excuses, and then the reader wrote back to explain how he'd come to position he had. His wife had some kind of illness, but when they went into the hospital there wasn't a specialist to do some kind of scan, and his wife died. He went to the chapel to get some quiet and when he was there, the chaplain came and spoke to him, and it was then that he realised that the chaplain was taking the valuable space of the specialist that could have saved his wife's life.

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April 20th, 2010, 9:15 pm
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Interesting this. I work for the NHS and often walked past the hospital priest. It never even dawned on me that he might be receiving a salary via the NHS.
Manuel, the NHS spend £4,000,000 a year on chaplains wages alone, on top of that there is the money it costs to provide and maintain the actual chapels within the hospitals.

If a godbotherer is in hospital and needs a Priest, Vicar, Imam, Rabi, Shaman or whatever, why can't they just call on their local one to go and visit as a normal part of their pastoral duties? Isn't that what these "faith leaders" are supposed to do?

See here for the NSS articles re hospital Chaplains.
And next time you see one on the wards, ask him how he feels about being paid around twice as much as a nurse or three times as much as a cleaner, you know................people who make a real contribution to the welfare of the patients.

Oops! Cross posting with grammarKing.

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April 20th, 2010, 9:33 pm
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Does all this include Scotland? When I see the dept. of health mentioned, I usually take this to mean england and wales only.
If my memory serves me correctly, when I was a student nurse in a large Glasgow teaching hospital, patients who were Jewish (which was quite a few as the hospital served an area with a high Jewish population) were visited by their own rabbis (? that doesn't look right and I'm sure someone here has corrected me on this before. The shame of it!) and C of S patients were also visited by their own parish minister. I may be wrong and perhaps there were dedicated chaplins. If there were, though, their presence was clearly not advertised well, as I spent 5 years working in that hospital and wasn't aware we had chaplinsl!!

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April 20th, 2010, 10:21 pm
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A commenter on my blog identifying himself as Terry said that in Scotland the NHS runs the chaplaincy service itself and the chaplains are not denominational. Maybe these patients preferred to have their own ministers?

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April 20th, 2010, 10:40 pm
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Thanks, GK. This was a long while ago (late 70s/early 80s) and I'm sure thing have changed.

I have found this on the NHS Scotland website.

Quote:
There are at least four levels of chaplain recognised within the NHS: Entry Level Chaplain, Chaplain, Senior Chaplain, and Chaplain Manager or Advanced Practitioner/Specialist. Entry level is considered as a transition between work as a faith community minister and that of a healthcare chaplain.


:supershock:

WTF!!?? A career structure for chaplins????? How do they justify this?

Oh wait a minute. It's the NHS we're talking about here. The organisation who employ Directors of Unscheduled Care (WTF is that??) and have Directors of Knowledge Management (actually the head libraian, in plain english. I was looked at with incredulity when I asked where the Department of Knowledge Management was. How was I supposed to know it was the library? I live in a strange non-NHS world, where a library is called a library and the people working in them are called librarians. Oh! Don't get me started!!)

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April 20th, 2010, 11:06 pm
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getreal wrote:
.....were visited by their own rabbis (? that doesn't look right and I'm sure someone here has corrected me on this before. The shame of it!)


Correction: ".....were visited by their own rabbits. "


There. Makes much more sense.


April 21st, 2010, 9:36 am
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Hey! You read my mind! When I was writing it, I almost typed "rabbits". Is that proof of ESP?

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April 21st, 2010, 10:37 pm
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Quite possibly.


D'ya know? A couple of rabbits escaped from the local pet shop. So far they've re-captured fourteen......


April 21st, 2010, 11:57 pm
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The bishops would have us believe that all that is good in our British way of life is due to "our precious Christian heritage".

They have been remarkably successful in implanting this travesty as the normal view of our history.

To their great advantage.

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April 24th, 2010, 7:28 pm
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What bugs Emma re. collective (Christian) worhsip in schools also bugs me.
Part of the blame is down to the fact that teachers without belief do nothing about it.
I am pretty sure that the only person responsible for ensuring that the worship takes place is the Head Teacher - whether he has belief or not.
No teacher is forced to attend a religious assembly and they can opt out. Can you imagine a school assembly with no teachers standing around the edges to keep order. Matter solved at a stroke!

As a Head of Year for some 15 years in Leeds I took year assemblies once a week and never a religious one - I just refused (of course). The school did not have 'whole school assemblies' - it was too big.


April 25th, 2010, 7:52 am
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Ban all bell ringing practice.My first flat was next door to a paris church the sound on a wednesday evening was enough to loosen the fillings in my teeth.There is no chance to stop or quiet them down.Machinery woild never be allowed to make as much noise as that. In fact I have worked in factories that had to modify machinery that was not as loud as that.


April 25th, 2010, 10:50 am
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