Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Religious intolerance and Australians: education needed!

Sometimes I despair of the Australian education system.

We need compulsory education on religions.  Now!

And the problem is not just rogue individuals - but the Fairfax media feeding the flames.

Take this appalling story.

Bathers with images of a Hindu goddess...

A Byron Bay swimwear designer (25% of the profits from the label go to saving the whales and dophins) puts the image of a Hindu deity on her swimwear.

It seems to be a case of ignorance and failure to ask a few obvious questions rather than malice as such.  Though quite how a business person could proceed with a project of this kind and not even thing about whether there might be an issue of respect for other religions.  Not to mention the risk of offending Christians who have a slight problem with false idols!  Still, this is Byron Bay we are talking about, Australia's capital of New Age weirdoism.

In any case, not unsurprisingly, Hindus, particularly in India, have reacted rather badly, demanding the Australian Government apologise, and burning our flag in protest.

The swimwear designer herself withdrew the product and suitably apologised.

But to compound the offense Fairfax....

You would think that responsible journalism might end the story there.

You would be mistaken however.

Over at the Sydney Morning Herald, they have actually a picture up of the swimming suit in question, being worn by a model just so we can judge the case for ourselves.

And there is a poll question to answer!

Of course, it is one of those totally rigged poll questions - the options are basically 'it looks: beautiful/attractive/in bad taste/offensive.  In fact of course, it could be beautiful and yet still offensive!

And even worse...

Unsurprisingly, most respondents so far have actually voted in favour of the things!  As at Tuesday lunchtime, 44% thought it beautiful, 18% thought it attractive.  Only 24% thought it offensive, and 14% in a bit of bad taste.

Yep, must be really helping our already disastrously bad image in India...And be so reassuring to migrants.


angeleyes said...

Ok this is a pretty strong opinion you have, I am a Christian myself and I live and grew up around Byron Bay, and Byron is a very alternative place. I think that if this swimwear designer is donating 25% percent of her proceeds towards charity then that is a pretty large amount and I think that this should be applauded, even if you do not like the design I can see what you are saying, but I am sick of seeing such straight laced comments from some Christians on the internet all that it does is gives people a reason to dislike christians by giving them a bad name and God is about showing love and acceptance not judgement on others, whether we agree with what they do in thier lives or not.

Kate said...

Wherever did you read that Christianity was about 'loving acceptance not judgment' Angeleyes? Because actually Christianity is about the pursuit of truth and justice!

And my point was that even from a non-Christian perspective (in fact especially from a non-Christian perspective!) this was a terrible thing to do, in effect mocking and demeaning someone else's beliefs.

Being well-meaning is not enough.