For better for worse …
One of the functions of government is to ensure the existence of an adequate supply of the next generation of workers; suitably trained to know their place, and with no aspirations for anything more fulfilling in life than a place on the capitalist machine’s profit production line.
And if a state mis-education alone is not enough to guarantee young workers a job stacking shelves in the local pound shop, politicians assume that regular religious interference in their lives to further confuse and demoralise them will help.
It’s no surprise then that the state takes an interest in the institution of marriage and legislates on where parents of the next generation of workers can get hitched. Register Office weddings are no problem, nor are the mainstream church weddings or those carried out in synagogues or mosques. Some of the premises of the lesser known, and the more bizarre gods however, just don’t come up to scratch, however luxurious or opulent they are.
It shouldn’t really matter these days which god workers are indoctrinated in, you might think. One non-existent god is as good as another, but no, it’s not that simple. The next generation of workers need to be born to parents who, if believers, are only married in the premises of a properly government approved god. At least, this has been the position until now.
In December, however, there was a court case where for some unknown reason a couple decided they wanted to get married in the Church of Scientology. Unfortunately there was a 1970 High Court ruling in the way which said that Scientology services were not ‘acts of worship’.
However after duly reflecting on the nature of the gods and their need to be suitably worshipped, the Supreme Court Justices decided that the 1970 ruling was out of date. It was not the job of the Registrar General of Births, Marriages and Deaths to venture into ‘fine theological or liturgical niceties’ they said. Which is fine as far as it goes. Less state interference in our lives is always welcome.
But, unleashing a can of theological worms they added, ‘Religion should not be confined to religions which recognise a supreme deity’. What’s that? Jesus Christ! The God bothering business is overloaded with self-proclaimed prophets and Holy Joes jumping on the Jesus bandwagon already. Are L Ron Hubbard and his ilk going to be allowed to officially join this con-man’s circus as well?
There may be more to this story than meets the eye. Religious establishments are exempted from paying business rates. Is it possible that this is why the ‘Church’ of Scientology, with its vast property holdings is so keen to conduct marriages? Local Government minister Brandon Lewis said he was ‘very concerned’ about the ruling and its implications for business rates. We bet he was.
Signs that religious mumbo-jumbo is becoming a free for all are appearing in the USA as well. Following the installation of a monument inscribed with the Ten Commandments at the Oklahoma state Capitol, a Satanic group have submitted an application to erect a seven foot tall statue of Satan on a throne complete with horns, wings and a beard. ‘The statue will have a functional purpose as a chair where people of all ages may sit on the lap of Satan for inspiration and contemplation’ they said.
Requests to install a monument have also been made by the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. This won’t end well, will it?