Did you know that in Israel it’s a crime to offend religious sensibilities? Well it is (my emphasis):
Police have arrested an Israeli Arab man who sparked four days of rioting in the town of Acre by driving in a Jewish area during the Yom Kippur holiday.
Tawfik Jamal was remanded in custody on Monday for three days for reckless endangerment, speeding and harming religious sensitivities, police said.
What did he do to offend the religious extremists? He drove a car on a day that they said God didn’t want people to drive cars.
You would have thought that if God really objected to people driving cars on certain days, He would tell Mr Jamal and others so they didn’t do it. This is elementary logic. But of course, religious extremists don’t do logic or rationality; all they care about is forcing non-adherents to conform with their religion. (Actually that last bit isn’t strictly true — some religious nutters also care about other things, for example they like abusing their power by buggering choir boys.)
Some people — for example the bloggers at Harry’s Place — have made a shibboleth of the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. I say this is bullshit, for two reasons. Partly because it’s a category error: rights are to be ascribed to people, not countries. But mostly because there should be no Jewish states anywhere in the world. Why? Because there should be no religious states anywhere in the world, because established religion putrifies and corrupts everything it touches, and in doing so harms human rights.
If there was a secular Israel that treated everyone equally regardless of their religion or ethnic origin, and which didn’t favour religious (i.e. irrational) worldviews over secular, rational ones, then I would welcome the existance of such a state. But the present state of Israel, founded as it is on a religion, intrinsically encourages irrationality (religion is by definition irrational) and bigotry.