If there is one general feature of North American psyche that does not appeal to me, it would be our inability to see how privileged we are, and the small things we take for granted that other people are fighting for right now.  Take Lebanon a state riddled with sectarian violence and all the divisiveness that comes with running a country on religious principles.  Al Jazeera reports:

“Thousands of protestors have gathered in Beirut to demand a separation of politics and religion in Lebanon.

The demonstrators marched on parliament on Sunday chanting “secularism” and waving placards calling for the recognition of civil marriage in the Mediterranean country.”

Wow.  A secular state not ruled by the wisdom of 2000 year old magic books and the delusional rantings of assorted high priests and mullahs.  We take it for granted that we can keep the tomfoolery out of state affairs and run a marginally rational state and by that extension a marginally rational society.

“The idea of a secular political system has faced stiff opposition from ruling politicians who fear an erosion of power if the complex power sharing system between the different religious communities is abandoned.

Power.  Control.  Influence.  Make no mistake, religion rules by no heavenly mandate; only the lowly aspirations of pernicious, greedy men who value power over any so called ‘ethical’ pronouncements their assorted magic books may make.

“What is missing is the political support. In the last election in 2009, all the main political parties paid lip service to the sectarian system,” Elias Muhanna, a Boston-based political analyst and blogger, told Al Jazeera.”

The Lebanese people are rallying for a secular nation.  This should be front page news here in the North America where we purport to hold the institutions of Liberal Democracy and personal freedom so dear to our collective identity as a nation.  Of course the religious nuttery of  the USA precludes covering any movement so clearly geared toward freeing a country from religious rule.  Depending on the news cycle it can look like the US is regressing toward some flavour of a theocratic state, where delusional behaviour is openly celebrated.

“Lebanon is home to 18 religious sects, and is deeply divided between Christians and Muslims.

Its sectarian system was soldified in a 1943 national accord in a bid to avoid religious conflict, but the country was torn apart by a brutal 15 year civil war that started in 1975.

The agreement that ended the conflict called for the abolition of sectarianism, but the system has endured.

Under the complicated rules, public sector jobs are subject to religious quotas that change year-on-year in a bid to maintain the delicate balance.”

Such a waste of time and resources all just to keep the people who wear funny hats and irrational attitudes happy and in check.

North Americans should take notice and see what a religious state is like and realize it is not a good outcome if we are interested in maintaining the liberal democratic society which we seem to regularly take pride in while at the same neglecting the institutions that maintain it.