I have no religion, not even atheism. I don't believe in anything and I see no need to convince anyone else of my view on the subject because, well, I don't have one. I'm a devout don't-care.
Sometimes religious people have offered to pray for my soul. I respond to this with 'If you like' because I don't believe I have a soul and I don't believe their prayers will affect my life one jot, so there's no harm done and no reason to be offended. If it makes them feel better, where's the harm?
It is often said that this is a Christian country. I have seen little evidence of this. To me, it looks like the country is filled with self-important, arrogant, incompetent arseholes in middle management jobs they think are equivalent to being God's right hand. That might just be because I have to deal with such people every day. Perhaps the Christians are passed over for such jobs because they're not sufficiently pompous. I don't know.
Still, it came as something of a surprise to find that Christianity is rapidly becoming illegal in a country that refers to itself as Christian. The tale of a nurse who faces disciplinary action for the heinous crime of offering to pray for patients made me think maybe there is a new Witchfinder in town. This time, the witches get a free ride. It's the Christians he's after.
Some of the more feeble out there might take offence at someone else saying a few words aimed at a being they don't believe in even though it can't possibly do any harm to anyone and they don't even have to listen to it. The nurse in question asked the patients whether she could pray for them, and if they said no, she didn't. So, who was offended this time? Who has raised Hell at the mention of Heaven? Who has been so incensed at the thought of someone muttering meaningless words that they have called for this nurse's dismissal?
That's right. She is in trouble for offending nobody. She is in trouble because one of those patients, who wasn't offended, hinted that maybe someone else might be. This particular patient canot even claim offence-by-proxy because there is no sign of any potentially offended party, anywhere.
This non-offence is taken seriously by certain self-important, arrogant, incompetent arseholes in middle management:
North Somerset Primary Care Trust said in a statement: 'Caroline Petrie has been suspended pending an investigation into the matter.
'She is a bank nurse and she has been told we will not be using her in this capacity until the outcome of our investigation is known.
'We always take any concerns raised by our patients most seriously and conscientiously investigate any matter of this nature brought to our attention.
'We are always keen to be respectful of our patients' views and sensitivity as well as those of our staff.'
They wish to be respectful of patient's sensitivities. Good. So whose sensitivities have been bruised here? Who has been offended? Who has complained of malpractice or rude behaviour by this nurse? Who lies dying in despair at the nurse's actions?
It's no longer necessary to offend someone to face disciplinary action. There need only be the hint that one day, you might. In my case I'd say it's a certainty that someone will be offended by me in the next few days at most. Luckily I'm my own boss, and my boss doesn't give a damn. Too many out there are hampered by bosses whose sole aim seems to be to make their employees suffer for all the sins of the world, real or imagined.
There are not enough lampposts in this country.
Update: Longrider is of similar mind.