Nanny's chums in the legislature of the People's Republic of Scotland, the protectors of free speech and tolerance (so long as you don't smoke and aren't English), have caused something of a minor storm in a wine chalice by banning the "good old" Catholic practice of crossing oneself.
Needless to say the trouble erupted during a football match between those two stalwarts of religious tolerance, Celtic (the Catholics) and Rangers (the Protestants). Those of you not familiar with some parts of Scotland need to appreciate that in certain areas, the feud between Catholic and Protestant is just one step away from erupting into Belfast in the 1970's.
Anyhoo, way back in February of this year Artur Boruc (goalkeeper) was playing for Celtic in a match against Rangers when he decided to make the sign of the cross.
To the religious scholars of Rangers this was a red rag to a bull, and needless to say there was a barrage of complaints. The police launched an investigation. Last week "judgement" was handed down, and Scottish prosecutors cautioned the hapless Boruc for a breach of the peace.
A Crown Office spokesman said Boruc's actions had "provoked alarm and crowd trouble".
The procurator fiscal had issued the caution as an alternative to prosecution; Boruc now has a criminal record.
Needless to say, Holy Mother Church is none too pleased over this result, and called it "worrying and alarming"; they argue that the sign of the cross was globally accepted as a "gesture of religious reverence".
Peter Kearney, spokesman for the Catholic Church, said:
"It's a worrying and alarming development,
especially since the sign of the cross is globally accepted
as a gesture of religious reverence
It's also very common in international football
and was commonplace throughout the World Cup.
It is extremely regrettable that Scotland
seems to have made itself one of the few countries in the world
where this simply religious gesture is considered an offence."
Even Ruth "Old Puss Dei" Kelly has waded in, saying she was none too happy with this result.
Now here I must declare an interest, for reasons that are totally unclear to me, my mother persuaded my father that I should be christened a Catholic. Three miserable years at a Catholic school, a system designed to destroy any vestiges of free thought and creativity, convinced me that this was not the path to follow; therefore I can assure you all that I am now a very lapsed ex Catholic.
Anyhoo, I have to say a wry smile crossed my lips when I read of Holy Mother Church's bleating about the ban; you will recall that Holy Mother Church has been more than happy over the centuries to ban all manner of books, films and people. It seems that whilst Holy Mother Church is happy to dish out bans, it is not so happy to be on the receiving end of them!
Hypocrisy, in the church?
However, as with all things involving Nanny nothing is ever as clear cut as it first may appear. Whilst banning the sign of the cross is to some an over reaction, and to others a necessary ploy to avoid brawls on the streets, there is a more worrying problem here. Nanny on the one hand bans this "inflammatory" gesture, yet all around us (were we inclined to feel offended) we see religious symbolism and gestures from a whole host of differing faiths that could, were one so inclined, be labelled as inflammatory.
Surely Nanny should be banning these as well?
The trouble is, Nanny is selective when she issues her banning orders; ie she is a hypocrite.
This whole sorry story is proof, if ever it were needed, that religion is the cause of most of the trouble in the world today.
I would personally ban all religion, and its symbolism.
God, if he exists, does not need a flawed man made religion to validate his existence.