It’s a matter of ‘religious conscience’

And while we’re on the subject…more religious interference.

A civil registrar who refuses to officiate at partnerships between same-sex couples, claiming that it is “sinful” and against her religion, has brought a legal case that could have implications for ceremonies conducted throughout the country. Lillian Ladele, 47, a Christian, said yesterday that “as a matter of religious conscience” she could not perform civil partnerships for gay couples…[S]he told the employment tribunal in Central London: “I hold the orthodox Christian view that marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life to the exclusion of all others and that this is the God-ordained place for sexual relations. It creates a problem for any Christian if they are expected to do or condone something that they see as sinful. I feel unable to facilitate directly the formation of a union that I sincerely believe is contrary to God’s law.”

It doesn’t matter how ‘orthodox’ the view is, it doesn’t matter how ‘sincerely’ she believes something is ‘contrary to God’s law.’ If she chooses to see harmless things as ‘sinful’ because somebody told her that God said it was sinful, that should be her problem, not her employer’s.

“There was no respect whatsoever for my religious beliefs,” she said.

Good, I’m glad to hear it. There shouldn’t be. Even religious people ought to be able to sort genuinely wrong, harmful, cruel actions from morally neutral ones that are not a problem unless one decides to make them a problem. Mere settled prejudices adorned with the name of the local god don’t deserve respect, so I’m glad Ladele’s didn’t get any. (I’m not glad she was shunned, if it’s true that she was, because that’s painful, but respect for beliefs is a different kind of thing.)

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