Before Christ? No, how about Before Common Era?
Religious influence is everywhere, and all we have to do is scratch the surface of our daily lives to see it. In America their money is emblazoned with the phrase “In God We Trust” on every coin and note. In courts we swear to tell the truth by pledging on a holy book, and pseudo-religious bigotry seeps into every corner of our lives in the forms of homophobia, gender bias and even in the words we use to exclaim. Our seven day week is based upon the seven day creation myth of Christian and Islamic beliefs, even down to the point that we are supposed to rest on the seventh day in veneration for God.
On the cars of religious folks we see messages like “Pray the rosary” on stickers next to Jesus-fish and crucifixes. The dashboards of taxi drivers are either emblazoned with pictures of Mary and crosses on rosary beads, or mini Korans hang from the rear-view mirror, as if in constant reminder for these folk that they believe. There is a church or mosque on every third street corner, and we see people mill about outside the doors of these establishments on Saturdays and Sundays, all hoping to get a piece of the “God action” that is promised within these doors.
Even the system we use to keep track of the years is based upon the supposed time of Jesus’ life. “AD” means “Anno Domini”, which is Latin for “In the year of our Lord”, with “BC” meaning “Before Christ”.
But in Australia, these terms for our calendar system seem to breathing their last breaths. An intentionally inflammatory headline from Miranda Divine from the Daily Telegraph exclaims “The PC brigade kills off Jesus Christ”. The article goes on to say how the “PC brigade” would have the terms AD and BC stricken form the curriculum to be replaced by the terms BCE (Before Common Era), BP (Before Present) and CE (Common Era). Priests and Preachers are outraged, seeing this as an “intellectually absurd attempt to write Christ out of human history” (Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen).
Rightly so I say, we are constantly reminded that Christianity is about, and we should take it out of secular society where we can. The proposed terms are secular, and while they still refer to the time of Jesus Christ, they don’t mention him and his life directly.
Why is this good? Because history is not dependent upon the birth and life of Christ, and nor should it be promoted as such. History belongs to everyone, not just the Christians, and our planet’s history is far richer and more interesting than just humanity and its effects on the place. The Christians see this as an attempt to take them out of the picture? Well maybe for some it is, but it is also right to do this. From the article:
“The Reverend Fred Nile said the deletion was “an absolute disgrace … the direction of the national curriculum is towards almost a Christian cleansing to remove from our history any references to the role Christianity had in the formation of Australia and still has today. This is the final insult to remove BC and AD which are still recognised around the world,” he said.”
Oh if only that were true. Sorry to say this Fred, but this is small fry compared to the evil that you and your contemptuous boy’s club serve up, and you should get ready because there will be more “final insults” in the future.
The article concudes with a statement from Federal Opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne.
“Australia is what it is today because of the foundations of our nation in the Judeo-Christian heritage that we inherited from Western civilisation. Kowtowing to political correctness by the embarrassing removal of AD and BC in our national curriculum is of a piece with the fundamental flaw of trying to deny who we are as a people.”
Oh cry me a river, Pyne! What he fails to recognise is that sometimes correctness is mislabeled as “political correctness”simply because you don’t agree with it. This is not PC, this is simply the correct way to do things. Would anyone say that teaching that the world is an elliptical spheroid is politically correct, rather than simply being the truth? Well some may, but we know they are wrong. There will come a day when thing like this storm in a teacup about the terminology of our calendar will make us look like pious fools, and I look forward to that day.