Friday, November 28, 2008

Misuse Of The Journalists Prefix

I think it's safe to say that the two weeks encompassing all of the hustings for your party's leadership election are a pretty bad time for a blogger to be distinctly unwell and in the middle of moving house. At such times, what you really need to get your blogging energy flowing is for a journalist to say something pathetically, moronically insulting.

Matt Withers of The Western Mail, you are the weakest link, goodbye.

In fairness to Matt, the offending article has the whiff of sub-editorial incompetence to it. With Patrick Jones' poetry and its non-reading still a live issue, I'll forgive him for taking a press release from an insignificant “religious discrimination” (read: institutionalisation of religious hatred) campaigner and turning it into a “controversy” over an appearance by Brian Gibbons AM, Minister for Social Justice, at a conference on religious equality organised by the British Humanist Association and funded by way of a £35,000 grant from the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Then again, the press release is clearly a classic of blinkered stupidity, as the fuller quote reported in the Torygraph demonstrates;

"It's a bit like paying the Taliban to lecture on women's rights. There's nothing wrong with the British Humanist Association organising seminars, but it's the fact that they're getting public money. There is the question of whether this is what Government money should be going for, particularly in a time of recession. If we're having a debate on religion, should we be paying one side of the argument to hold it, especially with public money?"

I'll let the National Secular Society's fairly extensive list of government handouts to faith groups for propaganda purposes do the job of rebutting the “controversy” itself. I'll even allow the casual propagating of the Dr Death moniker for our own Evan Harris slide (but way to go cribbing from the Daily Mail there!) No, what got my hackles up was the opening paragraph;

"The Assembly Government has defended the decision of a senior Minister to speak at a controversial conference organised by an anti-religious group."

Let's be absolutely clear; neither the BHA nor the many thousands of humanists across the country (myself included) have any problem with any individual practising any religion of their choice. We do however have serious concerns about the institutionalisation of religious privilege in service provision and in law. Summarising such a position as flat-out anti-religious is nothing short of insulting, both to the BHA and to humanists nationwide.

1 comment:

Jennie said...

Hear, hear!