Monday, February 19, 2018

Not my school

Following the school shooting in Florida last week there's been a lot of banter on the inter-webs between the usual polarised factions. On the (soft) right we have the "thoughts and prayers" brigade, some of whom are well meaning but as a group are totally impotent (because praying doesn't work). On the (soft) left we have the "whole world is going to hell in a hand-basket" brigade who are incandescent with rage but lack the political-clout and organisational competence to get anything done. Both sides have positions based on fallacies, prayer is demonstrably pointless and from the point of view of violence we live in the most peaceful times there have ever been. However, it should be trivial to make an argument that there shouldn't even be a single school shooting, let alone one a week. There is simply no need to exaggerate or make-up anything to make the case for gun controls.

Then we have the religious (hard) right who want to conflate all kinds of mindless God-bothering into the mix (see tee-shirt above), this is a political tactic and cynical exploitation of a tragedy but as we all know, these guys only seem to care about kids before they're born. I saw this slogan and it amused me to think that these people believe their God is so weak that he's constrained by the US constitution's separation of Church and State in the case of schools, and yet, is unable to prevent kids being molested in churches by priests where one assumes he most certainly IS allowed to operate? Make your mind up Christians, is your deity omnipotent or not? To the rest of us it seems like bad stuff happens to good people all the time, just like you'd expect it to if Yahweh didn't exist at all. So he is either impotent or capricious (take your pick) or, if you don't fancy either of those choices, non-existent (which is most probable).

In Britain we have a Government who seem hell-bent on reintroducing religious segregation into our schools (because that worked so well in places like Northern-Ireland) The Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, is planning to scrap the 50% cap on faith-school admissions which has until now prevented such schools selecting their entire intake based on the religion of the parents of the children. This kind of tribal thinking will lead to disaster, it always has; we'll see how long it now takes before some moon-faced, smug, Conservative Christian appears on our screens telling us how good faith-schools are at drilling their constituents to pass exams and the lunacy-cycle will be complete.

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