Category: Freethinker Sermonettes
Posted on: August 3, 2008 7:00 AM, by revere
Birmingham, England is not a little country burg. The Greater Birmingham area has about a million people. It also has a city council to run the place and a computer web access monitoring system to help the people who run the people who run the place "control internet access." Not so unusual. Mrs. R. works in a state health department where they seem obsessed with preventing staff from accessing sites not related to work, although a lot of sites get blocked inappropriately because the filters are "stupid." She has had her access to CDC blocked on occasion because some word triggered a block (e.g., "breast" as in "breast cancer") or a site had a non-standard address. Pretty much, though, it's fruitless and often counterproductive to try to control internet access unless you make access limited to only a few sites strictly related to a particular activity. The Birmingham city council, though, has decided to pick and choose in broad categories. You can go to a site dealing with almost any religion (except, apparently, Wicca) but not to a site advocating atheism:
The authority's Bluecoat WebFilter computer system allows staff to look at websites relating to Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and other religions but blocks sites to do with "witchcraft or Satanism" and "occult practices, atheistic views, voodoo rituals or any other form of mysticism".(BBC)
here is a profound silliness in lumping atheism, most often based on an explicitly rational world view, with voodoo rituals, whose character is closer to certain practices involving symbolic cannibalism (don't worry, we won't go there in this post). Unfortunately it's symptomatic of the deluded and confused thinking typical of too many guardians of our public morals.