Thursday, 29 April 2010

Laying down the Laws

I'd like to introduce you to my new hero, Lord Justice Laws. Despite looking like Elton John (albeit with a slightly more convincing wig), the man speaks common sense, and has no problem ruffling the Daily Mail's feathers.

In the High Court today, he ruled against Gary McFarlane, who was appealing the decision of an earlier tribunal which had dismissed his claims of religious discrimination. McFarlane had been sacked for refusing to work with same-sex couples in his capacity as a therapist.

Whilst he had no problem helping straight couples overcome their issues with sexual intimacy, he drew the line at encouraging gays to light the scented candles and practice their sensual touching. Because that went against his religious beliefs.

Lord Justice Law threw out McFarlane's case, stating that "We do not live in a society where all the people share uniform religious beliefs. The precepts of any one religion - any belief system - cannot, by force of their religious origins, sound any louder in the general law than the precepts of any other... The individual conscience is free to accept such dictated law, but the State, if its people are to be free, has the burdensome duty of thinking for itself."

Sadly, logic and organised religion are all-too-often mutually exclusive. Which is probably why former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey, weighed in on the debate, appealing for "a specially constituted panel of judges with a 'proven sensitivity and understanding of religious issues' to hear the case."

Carey feels that recent court decisions involving Christians had used "dangerous" reasoning, which might lead to civil unrest, arguing “The description of religious faith in relation to sexual ethics as ‘discriminatory’ is crude and illuminates a lack of sensitivity to religious belief.”

The problem is, McFarlane worked as a sexual therapist. Applying a highly subjective Biblically-inspired 'code of ethics' to this kind of a role is an attempt to legitimise intolerance.

So we should all be thankful that Laws put the needs of society above the personal preferences of any special interest groups. He said "In a free constitution such as ours there is an important distinction to be drawn between the law's protection of the right to hold and express a belief and the law's protection of that belief's substance or content."

Science has yet to isolate the cause of homosexuality - even confocal microscopy isn't sophisticated enough to identify the leather-clad gay gene. But it's generally agreed that same-sex attraction is biologically ingrained, rather than the result of one too many mojitos. Religious belief, on the other hand, is most definitely a lifestyle choice.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad justice Elton has ruled against this guy. I get pretty fed up of people trying to use religious excuses (cause society has a soft spot for this intolerence if its dressed up as "respecting my faith") to justify thier bigotry. Which is essentially all that they are doing.