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Church figures criticise rulings

simon gray 2010-04-15, 11:30:20
Read this article aloud — 456 words

The former Archbishop of Canterbury and other church leaders will urge senior judges to stand down from Court of Appeal hearings involving religious discrimination because of ‘disturbing’ and ‘dangerous’ rulings handed down in recent cases, it has emerged. Lord Carey and other senior church figures are said to want them replaced with a panel of five judges who have a proven understanding of religious issues”.

There’s been a rash of late of stories about Christians claiming to be persecuted in the UK. Notwithstanding the irony of the one religion which has a (for the time being, at least) constitutionally guaranteed right to take part in shaping the law of the land claiming persecution, it’s a curious usage of the term ‘persecution’ – to my mind, ‘persecution’ is having bricks thrown through one’s windows, being beaten up in the street, and being hauled off to jail for years on end. Not being told you can’t wear your cross on a dingly-dangly chain in an environment where wearing chains is considered hazardous. By claiming persecution, these people degrade those elsewhere who are genuinely persecuted for their religious and political beliefs.

But in truth, it’s not Christians generically who are claiming persecution – just one, rather small, subset of Christianity – the evangelical wing. This demonstrates the supreme arrogance of evangelicalism, a theologically bankrupt form of religion which claims that their and their alone interpretation of religious text is the one true way, and that other forms of that religion which don’t follow them are as set for hell as people who follow other religions or none. More so, in fact.

The event which has prompted this call for judges to stand aside is the upcoming Court of Appeal hearing of a relationship counsellor who refuses to give relationship counselling to gay couples, together with the previous ruling against a registrar who refused to register the civil partnerships of gay people.

The evangelicals claim this means their right to express their religion is being undermined by rights protecting gay people from discrimination.

Well, these evangelicals do have a simple choice – they can choose not to do jobs in which they might be required to do something which goes against their religious convictions.

Maybe I as a Quaker should join the army, and then bring about a discrimination case against them on the grounds that being a soldier would require me to kill people?


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