All religions are good and kind

On the one hand, it’s a very good thing that Cherie Booth QC is saying that culture and religion cannot be used as an excuse for discriminating against women. (Mind you, she could have waited for JS and me to write our book saying that and then used the opportunity to plug our book, but never mind.) On the other hand she says some absurd counter-factual things in the process.

The human rights lawyer, wife of former PM Tony Blair, said all the major world faiths shared “an insistence on the dignity of all God’s people”.

The hell they do. They share the opposite, that’s what they share. Yes, Christianity too – there are places where it decidedly fails to insist on the dignity of Jews or women. All the ‘holy books’ have passages commanding the smiting of those other people over there; none of them forbids slavery; all of them carve up the world into the good people who Believe and the bad people who don’t. If all the major world ‘faiths’ did share an insistence on the dignity of all God’s people, then why did the first genuine idea of human equality coincide with the Enlightenment? Why, not to put too fine a point on it, did it take so long? Why have all theocratic societies throughout history been so extremely hierarchical?

In a speech, she said discrimination on religious grounds was a “distortion” of the true message of some faiths.

No, it isn’t; it’s obedience of the literal, written-down message of all ‘faiths.’ It’s no good divining what the ‘true message’ is by matching it up to what you want it to be; it is what it is, and that doesn’t happen to be egalitarian or rights-based.

“It is not laid down in the Koran that women can be beaten by their husbands or that their evidence should be devalued, as it is in some Islamic courts,” she said.

Uh…yes it is. Has she been reading a prettied-up version? Is she just deluding herself?

II.282 “Call in two male witnesses from among you but if two men cannot be found, then one man & two women whom you judge fit to act as witnesses; so that if either of them commit an error the other will remember.” IV.34: “Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and send them to beds apart and beat them. Then if they obey you, take no further action against them. God is high, supreme.”

And then there’s Sharia.

“It is important for judges and political leaders to remind everyone that the philosophical purpose of the Sharia is to protect and promote human welfare.”

No it isn’t. It is important for judges and political leaders to remind everyone that Sharia is a nightmare and we want none of it.

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