Lunacy over moonie WFP head
US undersecretary of state for economic, business and agricultural affairs Josette Sheeran will be appointed as the executive director of the UN’s World Food Programme. She has beaten out rival candidates from Canada and several European countries to do so, with strong vocal and financial backing from the US government. And it seems that the only thing that the world papers have to say about this is that she’s a former Moonie. For those not in the know, a “Moonie” is a member of Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church, yet another offshoot of Christianity.
What irritates me is that people are so ready to use “former Moonie” in a pejorative sense, but are unremarking on the fact that she’s a current Episcopalian. One UN official called the views of Reverend Moon “bizzare”, but I don’t see them to be any more bizarre than the views of any other Christian subset, or any other religion for that matter. So they say that the second Messiah is alive and well and performing mass marriages today, how is that any stranger than Jesus walking the shores of Galilee 2000 years ago, or the Dalai Lama reincarnating ad infinitum? Why don’t we see headlines like “Former Mormon elected as Utah Senator” or “Practising Christian elected as President of United States”?
I find it unbelievably hypocritical that people can think support of one religion makes someone a poor candidate for public office, but support of another either goes unremarked or is celebrated. Who gets to decide what religions are acceptable? More importantly, how is it acceptable for anyone in office in a secular organisation to openly hold a religious view? The US state department spokesperson claimed that Sheeran’s religion has no bearing on her appointment, and that “in America, we regard religion as a private matter.” This would be a noble statement, if it were in any way true. US Politicians campaign based on their religion, and win votes based on their religion, which I find frankly appalling in a system that claims to support religious freedom. It is not a society of religious freedom if your religion can affect your public standing, be it positively or negatively.
I’ll tell you what it is… it’s complacency. It’s familiarity. Some people have become so accustomed to the myths told by their own local religion that they no longer see it in an objective context. But I do not see that belief in a big beard in the sky sending his son to die for our sins is any less ridiculous than Athena springing fully-formed and armed from the forehead of Zeus, or Xenu strapping helpless Thetans to volcanoes and blowing them up with nuclear bombs, or Joseph Smith translating the Book of Mormon using magic spectacles.
I think what I’m trying to say is this: either disparage all religious beliefs equally (for they are all equally deserving of disparagement), or don’t disparage them at all.