Universal declaration of bishops’ rights

You wouldn’t think people would be in a hurry to say stuff like this.

[Bishops] warned that Harriet Harman’s Equality Bill suggests some rights are considered “more important than others”. They backed calls for a “conscience clause” to be added to the law so that the rights of religious worshippers are not ignored by attempts to protect minorities.

You wouldn’t really think they would want to say quite so bluntly and clearly that they think ‘the rights of religious worshippers’ are in conflict with attempts to protect minorities. In fact, you would think, or at least I would think, they would want to shy right away from saying that. Haven’t they read their Karen Armstrong? Aren’t they aware of the lifeline she’s sending them by rushing around the world announcing that compassion is at the heart of every great religion? Don’t they realize they’re taking a machete to that lifeline by hopping up and down and squalling to the newspapers that their rights demand that they be able to pick on minorities?

Labour’s flagship equality legislation, currently in committee stage in the House of Lords, seeks to outlaw any form of discrimination against disadvantaged groups in the office or the market place. However, there are fears that it could undermine the ability of worshippers to express the traditional teachings of their religions, many of which believe that homosexuality is a sin; that only men and women can marry; and that sex outside marriage is wrong.

There’s that agentless ‘there are fears’ again – the same one we saw when ‘there were fears’ that Does God Hate Women? would anger Muslims. Could that be because the content is so nasty? Could the reporter feel more squeamish than the bishops do about linking bishops with dread of people being unable to shout in the office or market place that homosexuality is a sin? But why don’t the bishops feel more squeamish about that? Because they’re all 106 and were brought up to hate poofters and just can’t get over it?

The Bishop of Chichester, the Rt Rev John Hind, warned that the Government was wrong to make people separate their personal religious beliefs from their behaviour in the workplace. He said: “The attempt to privatise belief, whether philosophical or religious, is a profoundly dangerous tendency and one that we need to address as we consider not only this but later amendments.”

That depends, bub. It depends on what the belief is. If the belief is, for instance, that children can be possessed by devils or turned into witches, then that belief really does need to be kept out of the workplace.

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