Sent to "The Star", Johannesburg, on Mon 09/03/2009, never published.
I refer to The Star's front-page lead on Friday 6 March ("Mom Excommunicated") about a 9-year old Brazilian girl who had been raped by her stepfather, and was given an abortion. Her mother and the doctors were then excommunicated by the Catholic Church. This highlights the bad influence that superstition, in this case the Catholic superstition, has on the lives of people.
Religions make wild unverifiable –and often contradictory– claims about gods, heaven and hell. They are usually accompanied by threats towards non-believers that are plainly hate-speech and intimidation. It is time to admit that religion is nothing more than superstition, a strange irrational behaviour. People are free to believe what they like, but the State, public institutions, and sensible people should not dignify such silly ideas.
The good thing about excommunication is that those involved no longer have to take part in primitive practices like the ritual symbolic cannibalism called Mass.