Friday, September 18, 2009

Religion Not Allowed on Library Noticeboards

Well, the great white-washers of religion have struck again. The latest place to be hit in their attempt to remove all visible trace of religion from the public area is a library notice-board in Camden, North London. They told The Roman Catholic Our Lady Help of Christians parish church that it could not put up posters about climate change, because they mentioned Christianity and God.

You mustn't mention God... council bans church from putting up notices about its

In July, the Sunday school at St Mary’s Church was told that it could not put up posters advertising a craft, singing and drama day for children, because it had religious content.

Library bans Sunday school’s ‘religious’ poster

One wonders whether the two libraries in question have any books that mention God. I certainly hope so. Because if not, they’ll be left with a very small library. Even you get rid of the religion section, there’s still travel, culture, holidays and festivals, literature, history, biographies and novels that have to be thrown out.

But even if they did manage to remove all visible traces of God from public libraries, they could not remove all traces of Him completely. Because every time a Christian walked through those library doors, they would be bringing God in with them. And there’s a lot of Christians who visit libraries. Some of them even think of God while they’re there.

But that’s one of the things that makes the removal of faith-based public notices quite ridiculous. I haven’t seen the notice-boards in question, but I’m willing to bet that a notice advertising a fun day for children and a notice that mentions climate change and God would be relevant and interesting to more people than any other notice that is allowed. Not too many people are interested in things like council notices, high school plays, book clubs, tae kwan do classes, pilates or walking groups. Even with declining number, an average weekly church service is going to attract more people than any of these events. And what happens at Christmas time? Remove all notice that say ‘Christmas’ not ‘Xmas’, thereby getting rid of all the notices that people most want to hear about during the festive season.

Another reason why it’s so ridiculous is because library notice-boards are meant to be community notice-boards. And churches, whether we like it or not, a very real and very important part of our communities. But strangely enough, for the most part, society likes them being part of their communities. We like them visiting the sick, feeding the poor, comforting the mourners, welcoming the strangers and volunteering with community organisations. So considering all the wonderful work they do for the community, shouldn’t they be allowed to post a community notice?

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