Wednesday 26 November 2014

Christian Fundamentalist - No Cake for Gays!

Equality law 'conscience clause' bid - UTV Live News

You have to hand it to Christians, they are relentless in their determination to get their special privileges back and to be permitted to carry on victimising and bullying minorities. Even though they've been knocked down and defeated in every court in the UK and Europe, still they whinge and grizzle and demand changes to the law when they are found yet again to have been bullying gays and denying them the same basic human rights that they enjoy.

This particular example comes from Northern Ireland, from a DUP MLA, Paul Givan.

Paul Givan DUP.jpg
Paul Givan, MLA
Givan was reacting to news that Asher's Bakers had been threatened by the Equality and Human Rights Commission with prosecution for their refusal to bake and decorate a cake for a gay rights activist with a slogan supporting gay marriage. Asher's had declined to make the cake because it went against their Christian belief about marriage.

Givan is now calling for legislation to insert a 'conscience clause' into equalities legislation which would, in effect, exempt anyone from the legal obligation to treat people equally in the provision of goods and services if they could claim it went against their 'conscience' to do so. A bullies' and bigots charter in effect.

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission is the statutory body charged by the UK Parliament with challenging discrimination and promoting human rights throughout the UK, of which Northern Ireland is a part. They gave Asher's the option of paying compensation to avoid going to court.

Paul Jonathan Givan is a creationist who, when a member of Lisburn City Council tried to get creationism taught as science in Lisburn's schools. He is on the board of governors of two primary schools. Earlier this year a formal complaint was made against him when, as Chair of Stormont's Justice Committee, he is alleged to have abused a prostitute invited to give evidence to the committee on proposed changes to legislation. He asked her how much she charged and accused her of discriminating against disabled people by not offering them a discount.

Fundamentalist Protestant Christians in Northern Ireland who, until recently, had their own theocracy in the form of, in Sir Edward Carson's words, a 'Protestant state for a Protestant People', run by senior Presbyterian clerics through the Masonic Orange Orders, feel aggrieved enough about having to treat Catholics as normal human beings without having to extend the same courtesy to homosexuals and so feel distinctly underprivileged.

The degree to which Christians in Northern Ireland are losing their power and privileges can be gauged from the fact that Givan's fellow creationist fundamentalist Protestant MLA colleague, Jim Wells, who, like Givan, has no background is science but never-the-less feels qualified to dismiss an entire body of it, was recently appointed to head up the province's highest spending public body, the devolved National Health Service.

But of course the fact that they run practically everything of any importance in the province is nothing compared to the loss of their right to bully and victimise the minorities of their choice. Clearly, the equalities legislation needs correcting. It's giving too much equality and not enough privilege.

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  1. Wouldn't such a "conscience clause" mean, in practical effect, that nobody has to obey the law if they don't feel like it? What's the point of having laws if people are allowed to disobey them if they feel strongly enough about it? Maybe there should be a "conscience" exception to the law against murder? "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" and all that. It's right there in the Bible they believe in.

    I'm getting the feeling that Northern Ireland is somewhat the UK's equivalent of our deep South -- the most religious, ignorant, and prejudiced part of the country. If they are putting creationists in such positions of authority, maybe local government should be suspended again for a while and a committee of gay Catholic prostitutes appointed to straighten the place out. It would serve them right.

  2. I'm afraid that creationists wanting a conscience clause legislation may have come into fashion. Here in Sweden we have the same problem. The anti-abortion movement demands more loud-voicedly than ever that midwives must be allowed to refuse assisting in anything that is related to abortions. And many Muslim women working at our hospitals want to wear scrub suits with long sleeves covering their arms wholly, since their religion teaches them to show as little as possible of their skin in places there also men are present. But the health authorities say no, telling them that having long sleeves increases the risk of spreading infections. So some of these Muslim women have stopped working at hospitals and now call themselves victims of religious persecution, threatening to sue the health authorities here in (mostly) secular Sweden. The fundamentalists are really advancing their positions.

  3. It's an amazing predicament. I mean, thousands of years ago, the the moral codes represented by these faiths were sort of progressive in many ways. Innovative. Certainly, Islam looked progressive compared to some of the alternatives on the peninsula in those days. Same for Christianity's acknowledgement of women and slaves.

    But what was progressive in 1500 BCE or 700 CE is not progressive now, and ironically, those same codes are nowe being used to explain horrible, unacceptable treatment of other people.

    The idea that people can't comply with the law because it doesn't say they have to in some Iron Age code is shockingly bad logic.


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