Here’s one reason we don’t want to pretend that morality and the meaning of life are the work of religion and only religion – the bishops.
The Archbishop of Canterbury will lead the opposition in the House of Lords this week to a bill that aims to allow voluntary euthanasia…The bishops of Oxford, Portsmouth and St Albans are among senior figures who will back the archbishop in the debate.
Senior. Meaning what. They’re old? Or they have some kind of elevated standing? But elevated standing in and on what? The Anglican church – which has no special expertise in the subject, and is in some ways handicapped for discussing it or thinking about it sensibly, by the fact that it takes orders from a supernatural being who probably isn’t there.
The Catholic Church in England has been campaigning against the bill and has urged members to write to MPs and peers expressing their opposition to voluntary euthanasia.
Thus making Peter Fosl’s point for him.
Like other ideologies, religion instructs and even commands people about what they should value and how they should conduct themselves…Many clerics actually tell their congregations how to vote. It’s simply not acceptable for a participant to enter public debate, have such a powerful effect upon it, and then claim immunity from the sort of treatment to which other participants are subject.
It’s simply not acceptable, and yet it is exactly how things are. Religion gets special protection and immunity, and it is casually granted monopoly rights over all sorts of fundamentally important questions which concern everyone and which religion often makes a mess of. Bad situation.
Lord Joffe says the campaign has turned nasty. He has received bags of hate mail including letters accusing him of being a Nazi and comparing his euthanasia bill to actions during the Holocaust. “Malice and aggression pervades (some of) these letters without any wish by the authors to debate,” he said. “It is a matter of faith but there is no Christian compassion and plenty of blind hatred.”
Matters of faith are all too susceptible to this vice of blind hatred. Hence the need to be cautious about ‘faith’.