Monday, September 25, 2023
HomeLifestyleReligious Public Holidays Discriminate Against Non-Believers and Religious Minorities

Religious Public Holidays Discriminate Against Non-Believers and Religious Minorities

Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world

Observance of religious public holidays in Nigeria is discriminatory and highlights the official exclusion of nonbelievers and religious minorities. Every year, the government declares several days are work-free days for Nigerians of all faiths and none. Incidentally, these are mostly Christian and Islamic religious public holidays.

These are days to mark key Christian and Islamic religious feasts, Christmas, Easter, Good Friday, Eid el Kabir, Eid el Fitr, Eid el Maulud, etc. In many cases, these holidays go with additional work-free days. So every year, national religious holidays will run into weeks. For instance, the Federal government has declared August 12 and 13 as public holidays to mark the Muslim feast, Eid el Kabir. These days, Nigerians of all faiths and none will stay at home and not go to work. State offices and banks will not open as Muslim Nigerians celebrate.

Unfortunately, no national public holidays exist to mark minority religious celebrations in the country. No atheist or humanist public holidays exist. Meanwhile, millions of Nigerians are neither Christians nor Muslims. Millions of Nigerians are atheists, agnostics, and freethinkers. So, state observance of religious public holidays is discriminatory.

The constitution of Nigeria prohibits the adoption of a state religion or discrimination based on religious belief or unbelief. So state observance of Christian and Islamic public holidays violates the constitution. It makes Christianity and Islam state religions, and Nigerians who do not belong to these religions, second-class citizens.

Otherwise, why are minority religions excluded? Why are religious minorities and nonbelievers made to observe the majority religious public holidays? Why are national holidays not declared to mark freethought or atheistic landmarks?

This situation is unacceptable and must change. Nigerians of all faiths and none are equal before the law. The state should not privilege a religion or some religions. The government should be an impartial guarantor of the rights of all Nigerians, and should not adopt policies and programs that discriminate against Nigerians on grounds of religious belief or unbelief.

To this end, two options are open to Nigeria- the separationist or the inclusionist option. The separationist option requires the Nigerian government to stop declaring or observing all religious public holidays. It leaves observance of these holidays to the religious establishments. Obviously, given the religious and political realities in Nigeria, this idea will not fly. This proposal will be stiffly opposed especially in Northern Nigeria where sharia is in force and separation of mosque and state is sometimes violently resisted.

However, Nigeria could tow another path. The government could adopt the inclusionist policy. In this case, the government would observe all religious and freethought holidays as national holidays. There will be national holidays to mark key religious and freethought landmarks.

So concerning national public holidays, the Nigerian government needs to show that it excludes none; that it does not discriminate against anyone based on religion or lack thereof. And it can demonstrate its neutrality in religious matters by adopting a separationist or an inclusionist approach to the observance of religious public holidays. Anything short of this is discriminatory.

Leo Igwe
Leo Igwehttps://www.maravipost.com
Leo Igwe (born July 26, 1970) is a Nigerian human rights advocate and humanist. Igwe is a former Western and Southern African representative of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, and has specialized in campaigning against and documenting the impacts of child witchcraft accusations. He holds a Ph.D from the Bayreuth International School of African Studies at the University of Bayreuth in Germany, having earned a graduate degree in Philosophy from the University of Calabar in Nigeria. Igwe's human rights advocacy has brought him into conflict with high-profile witchcraft believers, such as Liberty Foundation Gospel Ministries, because of his criticism of what he describes as their role in the violence and child abandonment that sometimes result from accusations of witchcraft. His human rights fieldwork has led to his arrest on several occasions in Nigeria. Igwe has held leadership roles in the Nigerian Humanist Movement, Atheist Alliance International, and the Center For Inquiry—Nigeria. In 2012, Igwe was appointed as a Research Fellow of the James Randi Educational Foundation, where he continues working toward the goal of responding to what he sees as the deleterious effects of superstition, advancing skepticism throughout Africa and around the world. In 2014, Igwe was chosen as a laureate of the International Academy of Humanism and in 2017 received the Distinguished Services to Humanism Award from the International Humanist and Ethical Union. Igwe was raised in southeastern Nigeria, and describes his household as being strictly Catholic in the midst of a "highly superstitious community," according to an interview in the Gold Coast Bulletin.[1] At age twelve, Igwe entered the seminary, beginning to study for the Catholic priesthood, but later was confused by conflicting beliefs between Christian theology and the beliefs in witches and wizards that are "entrenched in Nigerian society."[1] After a period of research and internal conflict due to doubts about the "odd blend of tribalism and fundamentalist Christianity he believes is stunting African development," a 24-year-old Igwe resigned from the seminary and relocated to Ibadan, Nigeria
RELATED ARTICLES
- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments

James Hastings Chidule on Malawi’ fistula recovery at 86%
WELLINGTON WITMAN MOSELIJAH LUNDUKA on The history of Ngoni Maseko in Malawi
Lisa Frank on Home
azw3 on Home
Define Regtech on Home
Tobias Kunkumbira on Malawi to roll out Typhoid vaccine
arena plus nba standings 2022 to 2023 ph on Home
David on Home
마산출장 on Home
Cristina Thomas on Home
Alicia Alvarado on Home
The History of online Casinos – Agora Poker – hao029 on The History of online Casinos
Five factors that will determine #NigeriaDecides2023 - NEWSCABAL on Leadership Is Difficult Because Governance Is Very Stubborn, By Owei Lakemfa
Asal Usul Texas Holdem Poker – Agora Poker – hao029 on The Origins of Texas Holdem Poker
Malawi has asked Mike Tyson to be its cannabis ambassador - Techio on Malawi lawmaker Chomanika against Mike Tyson’s appointment as Cannabis Brand Ambassador over sex offence
Finley Mbella on Brand Chakwera leaks Part 1
Maria Eduarda Bernardo on The 2021 Guide to Trading Forex Online
Atsogo Kemso, Political Foot Soldier on Why MCP and UTM Alliance Will Fail
Em. Prof. Willem Van Cotthem - Ghent University, Belgium on Malawi army, National bank cover Chilumba barrack with trees
Christopher Murdock on Why dating older woman is dangerous?
Samantha The Hammer on Why dating older woman is dangerous?
Muhindo Isevahani on The Cold War Against TB Joshua
JCON/SCOAN/BKN(888/8885/8808) on The Cold War Against TB Joshua
Keen Observer on Jesse Kabwila, Then and Now
Francesco Sinibaldi on Advertising in 2020 and beyond
VICTORIA NAMENE FILLIPUS on Is TB Joshua not another religious fraudster?
Andrew Jisaba on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
Roseline Ariaga on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
Edmore Tembo on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
Arvind Mohan Dass. T on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
Francis zvomuya on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
Julius Bolokwe on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
Esther lotha on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
Okechukwu Cletus Igwe on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
Justin sahando on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
Samson orubor john on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
Lizzie Tendayi on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
AKAMAH ANDREWS on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
AKAMAH ANDREWS on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
AKAMAH ANDREWS on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
Judith Wingo on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
Hlohonolofatso on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
Jantie Lupaji Lupaji on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
Phillimon Kgasago on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
Ferdinand Parangan on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
Natasha Oloishiro on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
Anthony Orimolade on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
Anthony Orimolade on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
Kelly Chisulo on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
Orville Raposo on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
Elizabeth Van Niekerk on Black Rhino Moved from SA to Eswatini!
hbt on