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Welcome to the world of the Vincent D'Onofrio obsessed - and a bit of real life thrown in.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Who gives a damn?

The papers have been full lately of things about the new leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband, that they obviously think will damage his reputation.

First, though proud of his Jewish heritage (both parents escaped capture by the Nazis from different European countries) he is an atheist.

Second, the partner with whom he has one child, and another on the way, is not his wife.

The right-wing, Murdoch-owned press thinks people will be reluctant to elect a man with what it sees as these controversial qualities.

But the voters have only spoken of admiring his honesty. The only criticism they will accede to is that his name is not on his son's birth certificate.

I am not the only one to have been wondering how Obama would have fared if he had not been married, or had proclaimed himself an atheist. I'm not the only one.

Lionel Shriver is a US-born novelist and journalist. In Saturday's Guardian newspaper, he is quoted as saying that Miliband's advisers would have bullied him into getting married long ago if he had aspirations to lead a political party in the US. He says, "The cultural contrast intrigues me even more in relation to his cheerful declaration on Newsnight that he doesn't believe in God. That footage would destroy his political career in perpetuity where I come from. The fact that he could win last week's election as both an unmarried father and an atheist means to me that the British public is streets ahead of America. No wonder I live here."

Well, it's true. We are an irreligious bunch, many (or even most) of us who are in relationships haven't bothered with the marriage ceremony even with kids in the picture.

This national attitude is why we find it so hard to understand the religious right in the US. We don't really have any equivalent. I expect there are a few religious nutters around, but no one listens to them.

Does this make us more, or less, tolerant? What do you think, folks?


JoJo said...

Well again, just like the gun argument, the USA is so much larger than England. Your country is only about the size of Alabama. So of course we have more people and more laws, and 50 states with laws that fall under one federal government with their own's sort of like comparing apples to oranges. Do you guys get to elect your parliamentary representatives like we get to elect the Senate and House members?

But I do not believe that Obama would have been, or could have been, elected if he didn't subscribe to some kind of religious belief. Look at the moron 'Birthers' who are adamant that Obama wasn't even born in America! Um, last time I checked, Hawai'i was indeed a state when Obama was born in the early 60's

Careful Val, you might piss 'someone' off and spark another nasty blog post about you. ;p

SnarkAngel said...

Congratulations, Val, on having a populace with some actual common sense. I am no fan of organized religion. It has been/is the root cause of so much war, death, and destruction. Frankly, the religious right in this country is an embarrassment.

Eliza said...

Not sure if more tolerant is the thing..maybe just more laid back? Doesn't bother me if someone we elect is married, gay, single or a green-eyed purple spotted long as they have reasonably sensible ideas :-)

As to his name not being on his sons birth an unwed mother with a partner, J had to come with me when I registered the kids so his name could be on their brith certificates..maybe he was busy and she was impatient..none of our business really ( shame the press don't see it like that)

jojo: No expert, but we elect our local government officers as well as our Members Of Parliament..we can even elect our parish councillors if we're that way inclined

jazzy said...

Like in many European countries, in Germany the Church has no power at all. And I'm very grateful for that.
Have to agree with Eliza's 'more laid back'.

potzina said...

I'm not religious at all and in France, Church has no power. I'm happy for that. But I'm sure that French aren't more tolerant! French can be very reactionary.

Ruby said...

"Frankly, the religious right in this country is an embarrassment." I totally agree, Snark!!

sixtwosue said...

Just a minor correction: Lionel Shriver is a woman. I am currently reading "The Post-Birthday World" on a friend's recommendation.

We're still learning as a country; we are mere infants compared to how long you've been at it in England. You had some wackadoodles a few centuries ago, so we're getting ours out of our system now.

And I'm off to stare at your "Albatross" photos ...

val said...

OMG, sixtwosue, I had no idea! I've never come across the name Lionel used for a woman before. THanks for the info.

I know you're a new nation, but your legal and political systems have ours as part of their history, so I wish those who run them could learn from our (many)mistakes. I bet you do too.

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