Trevor Phillips of the UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission talks a lot of sinister crap to the Telegraph.
“The thing I’ve become anxious about in recent times is this – there is certainly a feeling amongst some people of belief that they are under siege, that they are often disadvantaged, that they are looked at and considered in some way different and their faith makes them less worthy of regard,” he said.
That could be so, but it could also be inevitable given that their beliefs are not well supported. The conspiracy of silence about that incovenient fact has been broken lately. That’s as it should be.
I understand why a lot of people in faith groups feel a bit under siege. They’re in a world where there are a lot of very clever people who have a lot of access to the airwaves and write endlessly in the newspapers knocking religion and mocking God. The people who want to drive religion underground are much more active, much more vocal.
Yes, we are, and people in faith groups will just have to learn to put up with it. (And note that those people too have a lot of access to the airwaves and write endlessly in the newspapers knocking atheism and mocking atheists.) We are allowed to be both active and vocal. People in faith groups don’t get to veto us.
There is no doubt there’s quite a lot of intolerance towards people of faith and towards belief. There’s a great deal of polemic which is anti-religious, which is quite fashionable.
And there’s quite a lot of intolerance towards people of no faith, and towards unbelief. There’s a great deal of polemic which is anti-atheism, which is quite fashionable.
Being an Anglican, being a Muslim or being a Methodist or being a Jew is just as much part of your identity and you should not be penalised or treated in a discriminatory way because of that. That’s part of the settlement of a liberal democracy.
“Just as much part of your identity” as what? He doesn’t say. Either the Telegraph cut that bit, or he never did say. If he said “as race or sex” he’s wrong; he’s also wrong even if he didn’t. Religious beliefs can’t have a total, blanket protection order, because some of them are murderous or otherwise dangerous.
“It’s perfectly fair that you can’t be a Roman Catholic priest unless you’re a man,” he said.
Oh jeez. I give up.