You may think our rules are crap, but that’s tough
How obliging of Simon Sarmiento, right on the heels of Bunting’s incomprehension at my claim that laws handed down by an unaccountable god can be oppressive and difficult to change.
Anglican and RC church representatives, giving evidence to a parliamentary committee on Tuesday, were very concerned that a new definition of “the purposes of an organised religion” would curtail their own existing right to discriminate against lay people for reasons other than religious belief.
Oh were they. And yet I thought ‘that in any religious tradition there is interpretation’ and ‘the way Christian teaching has changed over two thousand years is enormous and it continues to change’ so surely there can’t be a problem with Christian teaching not having changed enough, because if there were such a problem then Bunting would have understood what I was talking about, and she said she didn’t, so there must not be a problem. Right? Or perhaps not.
Fittall said: “You might believe that some of our rules and disciplines are wrong, but our view is that that is a matter of religious liberty – a matter for the Church of England, Roman Catholics, the Jews or whoever.”
Right, and that’s how you get away with it – you talk pious boilerplate about ‘religious liberty’ so that you can go on treating people unequally. Well – this is what I was saying. Religious laws are very hard to change because religions get this kind of special dispensation called ‘religious liberty’ and because the rule-giver does not answer requests for judicial review. That’s not an unmixed blessing.
And whaddya know – a colleague of Humera Khan’s has a lot more sense than Humera Khan seems to have –
There also seemed to be little support for the churches from their religious colleagues on the witness panel. Indeed Maleiha Malik, speaking for the Muslim Women’s Network said:
“I do not think that there is any evidence that there is a narrowing, but, like the British Humanist Association, we would very much welcome and strongly support any narrowing of the exemptions, for the following reason. The way the exemptions strike the balance between the rights of organised religion to discriminate and the rights of individuals to be free from discrimination is deeply unfair. It gives too much power to organised religions to police their internal members.”
Well said Maleiha Malik.