Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Prejudicial concerns byAC Grayling

reposted from:
Chris Street comments are in bright green; highlights in blockquotes (yellow).
AC Grayling

Religious observance must be consistent and accept the inevitable consequences of clashing with society's inclusivity.

October 22, 2007 12:30 PM

Mr Andrew McClintock, Christian and ex-magistrate, is appealing against an employment tribunal decision which went against him earlier this year when he sought redress for having, as he claimed, been forced to resign because he was not granted exemption from sitting in hearings in which children might be given into the care of gay couples, something that offends his religious scruples.

He wished to be allowed to keep his job and his prejudices simultaneously, and to be allowed not to comply with the law of the land, because the sexual morality of shepherds 3,000 years ago, keen on the increase of their flocks, made it taboo for sex ever to be about anything other than reproduction. This principle resulted in the murder of Onan by God, and the Catholic church's long-time view that rape is less bad than masturbation because it can result in pregnancy. It also resulted in the millennia-long oppression and persecution of gays, who were put to death by the devotees of gentle Jesus meek and mild, an oppression and persecution that Mr McClintock wishes to keep alive.

Well: Mr McClintock did exactly the right thing by resigning. If his prejudices interfere with his responsibility to serve the law as one of its officers, he is evidently much better employed elsewhere. Think of a votary of any other religion allowing his personal beliefs to prevent him from carrying out his public duties in the UK: an orthodox Jewish fireman who would not carry a woman down a ladder from a burning house because he is allowed to touch no other woman than his wife and daughters; a devout Muslim in a council education department refusing to let girls into a certain school because there are boys there, or working for an adoption agency and refusing to countenance applications from gay couples; a doctor of either faith refusing to help a woman at the scene of an accident for the same kind of scruples - odd how all the examples that spring most readily to mind involve prejudices about women and gays.

The point is an entirely general one. When individuals cannot allow their religious loyalties to be trumped by their public responsibilities, they should resign; the alternative is for the public domain to be invaded and disrupted by a Babel of claimed individual religious sensitivities, or even worse, by various religious organisations whose prejudices, taboos, anxieties and antipathies distort the overall public endeavour for a decent and equitable social order which is as inclusive as possible. The McClintock case is another powerful argument for saying:

if you are serious about your religion, be consistent and honest and accept the consequences, as Mr McClintock has rightly done by resigning. What he has done wrong (apart from allowing his life to be controlled by ancient superstition and prejudice) is to complain about the rest of us thinking he has done the right thing.

No comments:

Post a Comment