Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Police State?

Now, at last check I considered myself an atheist but I find the extreme objections to World Youth Day kind of petty. 

This is a WORLD event.  Not too different from  APEC, the Olympics or the World Cup - there is a great deal of attention to the fact that Christians (and Catholics at that) only represent a fraction of the population yet the city is being shut down on behalf of them.  I have to say I was pretty annoyed at the security measures that took away several of my City-North Sydney routes when Dick Cheney came to visit but I understood that these were measures designed to protect a high profile figure (annoying as it was). 

Whenever a world event comes to a city there's always a great deal of resistance from groups who just don't have any interest in the subject.  When the Olympics came to Sydney in 2000 there was a great deal of community backlash from those who weren't too interested in sport - there was whining about the crowds who were inevitably going to crush the city, the pressures on the public transport system and the sections of the city that were going to be closed off for the various events.  In the end a fair number of Sydney siders ended up vacating the city for the period - when they came back a fair swathe of them were rather disappointed that they missed the party.  I don't even like watching sport but I can tell you that in the end I had a pretty fantastic time.

Christians invading a city is a pretty harmless event - it's not as if we're living in the dark age of Jerusalem or the Spanish invasion of South America when a Christian invasion was something to really worry about.  I can't imagine that the pilgrims are going to be much pillaging or cause social unrest - at worst, their singing could stretch the patience somewhat.  I'd much prefer happy-clappers to the football hooligans we're aiming to invite for World Cup Sydney in 20XX.

The anti-annoyance laws are a fair call as long as they're being implemented fairly (of which there is no legal guarantee that is for sure) but one can only hope that the people who will be charged under these "draconian" laws will be those who deserve it.  And there will be protesters deliberately trying to be as annoying as possible in order to get arrested (thus vindicating their cause).  Yes, there are legitimate protests against Christianity (not the least of which is that the entire operation is one HUGE scam) and they will be conducted but deliberate interruption of the event can and should be prevented.  Like it or not, the city and the country has invited these people and they deserve to be treated like guests.  Even if we are allowed to laugh at the delusions.

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