Religion and totalitarianism

Wait, didn’t Christopher Hitchens write about how it’s the Buddhists who are the totalitarians?

Twenty thousand people, including nuns, monks and ordinary Burmese, marched through the streets of Rangoon yesterday demanding freedom for Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel laureate, in a dramatic escalation of the country’s Buddhist-led “Saffron Revolution”.

Ten thousand monks, joined by about the same number of ordinary supporters, marched from the gold-covered Shwedagon Pagoda through the centre of Burma’s largest city in the biggest anti-government demonstration since the bloody suppression of the first democracy movement in 1988….

“We want the people to join us,” the monks chanted. One leader shouted through a megaphone: “We want national reconciliation, we want dialogue with the military, we want freedom for Aung San Sun Kyi and other political prisoners.”

The marchers responded by raising their hands in the air, and shouting: “Our God!”

The Buddhist god is not my God, but I note that as it so often is, religion in Burma is the primary focal point for opposing secular government repression, not supporting or reinforcing it.

It’s always interesting to witness how atheists always complain about past or imaginary oppression, while theists are constantly battling the real thing in real time.