What kind of a society asks this question? What business is it of the State? And who assigned my gender??
I sometimes feel like we are beyond hope. The West in general.
A certain faction in western society fails to recognise its part in lecturing us all. I eavesdrop unwillingly on liberal conversations that beggar belief at times. Jon Stewart poster boy champion, high priest, of "sensible politics" against an American right wing which "explodes with hyperbole over any liberal move" - the thread of conversation today in the office. Give me a break? This would be the same Jon Stewart who gave a stage to a hate mongering fundamentalist who backed a fatwa against one Salman Rushdie because he wrote a book about Islam. That whole unsavoury debacle in the history of relations with Islamic fundamentalism was a precursor to 9/11 and shapes our pathetic response today. Mr Stewart shrugs when politely challenged by Mr Rushdie. Yet that same Mr Stewart would never contemplate giving the stage over to a Christian fundamentalist who called for the murder of abortionists or say who has appallingly ugly views on gay people which he felt the need to share with us all.
In the West we live in a fractured, broken, weird ugly hypocritical finger waggingly lecturing societies and there are days when I wonder what it is we are trying to achieve. It feels oppressive. Conservative values and Christianity is sneered at, basic family values are old fashioned and unnecessary and if you happen to think otherwise, even mildly so like myself, you find yourself a persona non grata quick enough.. or labeled extreme or a phobe. A word I have come to welcome in that it means I won't indulge the status quo of identity politics. These days social engineering is forced through in legislation in the way that clerical factions could only dream about. I often read atheist and secularist views - they go bat shit crazy at christians and chalk them up along side Islamic fundies deploring the Christian way of life as in some way connected. Really? And so what in the hell have they all got to be so smug about? What's so splendid and balanced and wonderful about secular society?
Society needs and craves a level of decency and community to function brilliantly. It has been at the heart of the western success story. A good number of people enjoy christian faith, they find community in it, they enjoy the shared values that stems from family - which is at the heart of the whole message. They do not broadcast their religious values but they take strength from them (Unless of course they are pushed into a corner). This good natured sense of unity ripples outwards into society. That we have stripped this out of main stream society – and by that I refer to our culture, education and media – means we have lost that sense of community rooted in a shared identity and value based understanding which stretched not just around this country but throughout the West. None of that means you have to have faith to value the result of it. I grew up with an atheists mother and a devout father. It doesn't mean you should have religious beliefs foisted onto you. Equally I grew up with people of different faiths who respected mine and at least valued the conservativism found at the heart of it all. These days as christianity is pilloried out of society, they are to be found adopting burqas and niqabs. A rejection of failing secular society. And frankly when questions like the ones above become the norm in the simple business of applying to be a "London Ambassador" to the Olympics, a volunteer position, I question which intrudes ever more creepily into our lives and carves society up into sections it can judge from some quango pulpit?
Identity politics is about the exercise of overt and legitimate hate. The holier than thou can preach at the plebs and call them ugly names. To generalise about their views. They get to ask them unnecessary questions about their private lives. And treat everyone differently. Then, after decades of agitating and demonstrating and forcing radical agendas where they carpet bombed politics with words like fascist and racist, they stand up there and have the nerve to pretend to be the arbiters of good balanced non extreme political discourse.