Broken Bay Writers – Stories of NSW Central Coast and beyond

Scribbles on life, the universe and everything… Woy Woy, Ettalong, Umina and teh Central Coast that is!

Tag Archives: discrimination

Martin Luther King had a Dream

How much change can one person experience in their lifetime?
As a young child, I didn’t put much thought into change.  I can remember having  8-track tapes and the change that happened when cassettes came on the scene.  At the time they were amazing.  I was very young when Kennedy was assassinated.   I remember much more vividly the day John Lennon was assassinated because I was much older.
Then came computers.  With computers came DVD and CD’s.  No longer was the cassette tape needed.  Also with computers came a new understanding of the world.  In fact computers or more accurately the internet has opened up the entire world to us.  We now have access to information on any subject we can think of. We also now have access to words and pictures that also show us the hatred, hardship, discrimination and suffering in the world.
Then came Sept 11, 2001.  I remember it well.  I remember where I was when I heard the news.  I remember watching the television with horror.  I remember looking up all the information I could on the internet.  I remember the fear.
Religion, race and fear are most often the catalyst used to promote hatred and discrimination.  Today January 20, 2009 offers the world a new hope for peace amongst all regardless of your race, regardless of your religion, regardless of your culture.  Today is the day that Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States.  Today is a day for renewed hope.  Today is the day the fearmongers can go home and leave the world to the people that want change.  Barrack Obama wants change.  Barrack Obama is change.
Can president Obama step up to the plate?  If you were like me and listened to his inauguration speech today (for me it was at 4 a.m.), then yes, I believe that he is the man that will lead the world into the 21st century.  Where we as a world can live together and respect one another regardless of race or religion.  Where we as a world will lend a helping hand to those less fortunate than us.  Where we as a world can start rebuilding  the trust that has been lost since 9/11.  Where we as a world will stop living with the fear that has been conditioned into us for the last 8 years.
In the words of Martin Luther King… I have a dream.  Today I believe that President Obama with the help of the world can help make that dream come true.  I believe that I experienced change today, a global change,  a change that President Obama believes, a renewed hope in the world. I believe  that today I experienced history in the making.
I believe that if Martin Luther King were alive today, he would say “today my dream has come true”.  I believe…

Discrimination against Atheists!

January 20, 2009

I arose this morning at 3:40 am to witness a great moment in history. I refer, of course, to the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America. As a student of public speaking, I was not disappointed. President Obama is a great orator. He seems a great man. Time will tell.

His speech was laced with words chosen carefully for their symbolism. Positive messages for the whole world. I was struck by one line in particular. America is a hard place to live as an atheist. Many have written about this. Support organisations exist in the “land of the free” for “non-believers”. President Obama embraced people of all beliefs and included the words, “Christians, Muslims, Jews and non-believers”. This is a rare inclusion by an American President.

I find it amazing that people who do not believe in fairy stories, fables that are not supported by any creditable evidence, need to even have a name for their “non-belief”. To me, “non-believer” is insulting. There are still people who believe in a flat earth, does that make everyone else a “non-believer”? Is a person who does not believe in alien abductions a “non-believer”?

My point is, religion enjoys a level of acceptance, priority and importance that is above most other beliefs and issues in our society. Why is it elevated? I find this attitude particularly hard to understand in, so called, free societies. You are free to practice and believe in a religion if you choose to. No problem there. The problem comes when certain freedoms are granted only to people who are claiming a religious significance to their request.

In Australia today there is controversy over the wearing of burqas and hijabs. As they are Islamic traditions, it is considered a breech of religious freedom to prevent the wearing of these garments. There have been cases where these people have worn them for identity photos and into places like banks.

The problem with this situation is, why is the “freedom” only considered if you practice a certain religion? The question should be, as a free society should we allow “anybody” to wear these things if they choose to. That is freedom!!!

Freedom is indivisible! As soon as you give a right only to one group of people, you discriminate against the rest. Atheists are discriminated against commonly. Last week an advertising company refused a campaign of messages on buses from an Atheist group in Adelaide. Imagine that happening to the Catholic Church.

When Barack Obama mentioned “non-believers” today, he opened the door another small way to genuine freedom. He took a step towards correcting a form of discrimination that has survived for centuries. I am a believer! In the question of a god, just show me the credible evidence and I will consider it. In the mean time, I would like to wear my motorcycle helmet where I please. Do I need an imaginary friend to justify this?