Human rights and justice, Christian-style

  (04 February 10)
  by Greg Spearritt

The Pope (along with Anglican bishops in the UK) apparently has a problem with new legislation reform concerning human rights and equality in Britain. Churches and schools under these reforms would no longer be able to use arguments based on religious freedom to justify their refusal to employ gay people.


The  Sydney Morning Herald tells us:


The Pope urged Catholics in Britain to fight back against the legislation with ''missionary zeal'' in a speech delivered on Monday during a visit to Rome of the 35 Catholic bishops of England and Wales.


The article goes on to quote from Pope Benedict’s oration:


“Your country is well known for its firm commitment to equality of opportunity for all members of society. Yet, as you have rightly pointed out, the effect of some of the legislation designed to achieve this goal has been to impose unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs.”


It’s true, of course. This legislation would impose such limitations, in the same way that the ability of white supremacists to “act in accordance with their beliefs” by not employing people of colour is limited. An “unjust” limitation, though? Surely not.


It’s yet another example of Don Cupitt’s point from his 2008 book, The Meaning of the West (SCM, p.34):


The Church clings to its old inefficiencies, discriminations and injustices, and repeatedly demands for itself opt-outs from legislation that would require it to get its treatment of its own employees, women, gays and other groups up to decent contemporary secular standards. (34)




According to the SMH, "The British government has caved in to pressure from the Pope and churches...":

Posted by Greg

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