Wednesday, February 13

Subsidies for Pilgrimages? What a crock!

The big blow-up in the UK about the Archbishop talking about Sharia Law has not died down at all. And with due reason! It is because that kind of commentary goes deep into all what we know and love about secular life. So instead of standing up for liberalism, reformation, enlightenment and all the modern aspects of life, the Archbishop actually gave credence to the fact that there are some backward people out there who still want their lives to be governed by some medieval laws written and administered by old wrinkly beards. Oh!, I forgot he is one as well, so it makes perfect sense for him to agree, no? (and before you complain, I am also an old wrinkly beard)

But guess what? On the other side of the world, India actually provides and gives subsidies to Muslims who go on Hajj (See here, here, here and here). Can you actually imagine doing that? I mean, if I went to Gordon Brown and said, I am a Jedi and I want a subsidy to go visit Alpha Centauri as my light sabre needs a fix, and, oh!, by the way, I also want to do a pilgrimage to where Jabba the Hutt was martyred and I also want to do a swing by Tatooine to worship Princess Leah 's statue and burn ox meat offerings at her feet. Would be kind of weird and I might get locked up for strange behaviour and the moronic thing is, all the Muslim grand poo bah's have clearly said that going on Hajj under subsidy is not very much kosher (if you excuse the pun), because you would then be violating the strictures which ask you to perform the pilgrimage only if you can afford it!!

To top it all off, there is another idiocy from the Chief Minister who has decided to get on this same bandwagon by offering subsidies to Christians who want to visit holy places in Israel. Can you imagine? I cannot! This is bizarre! So what if my holy place is Rome? How about that? What about my holy place being Lourdes? Can I go to France, Mr. Chief Minister? Hey, one of my holy places is on this lovely island in Hawaii. How about a holy place in Ethiopia? No? Why only Israel?

Will this be extended to the Jews? Oh! God no! Of course now, that would be a Zionist plot, no? What about me as a Pastafarian? I want a subsidy to visit Bologna in Italy, which is where the great flying spaghetti monster lives and I want to go worship him.

For those who talk about giving security to pilgrimages in India, next time you complain about a state wanting to protect its citizens on its own land, we will withdraw police protection to your mosques, temples and churches. Deal? If you do not understand the difference between providing security on a state's own land and providing subsidy to individuals to go gallivant around foreign countries, then I suggest you go check it out. A State HAS to provide security. A state does not have to provide subsidies. If there is a terrorist attack in Mecca and the government has to subsidise Air India to go pick up the pilgrims, absolutely, no problems, that is the state's job. If the ship or plane carrying Hajj passengers is threatened by terrorists, then an IAF plane can and will be tasked to protect it. But to explicitly give subsidies for you to carry out your own private religious tasks?? No Sir.

While you are at it, get out of the temple administration business and give it over to a transparent public board run by the people who belong to that faith. It is none of the government's business to worry about how the temples are run. Let us at least try to be secular, shall we?

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