Category Archives: religion

March on, Christian Doctors…

We’ve had religious zealotry turning up in art galleries, registry offices, Stormont, counselling organisations – now we can add paediatric medicine to the list of areas of work which Christian fundamentalists seem desperate to colonise:

Sheila Matthews, who sat on an adoption panel in Northamptonshire, lost the job when she asked to abstain from voting in cases where same-sex couples were planning to adopt.

Now she has been reinstated, although Northamptonshire County Council will not allow Dr Matthews to vote on future cases.

Dr Matthews, 50, is a community paediatrician with more than 18 years’ experience advising parents and children. She had worked on the adoption panel for five years, before she was removed earlier this month.

Dr Matthews said: “As a professional I have done a lot of reading around the subject and am satisfied that there are research findings which support my position that a same-sex partnership is not the best family setting to bring up children. As a Christian and a paediatrician I believe that children do best with a mother and father in a committed, long-term relationship.

“I cannot recommend a same-sex household to be in the best interest of a child, despite what politicians may have legislated for, and as those on the panel have a legal obligation to do what is in the best interest of the child, then I am not able to vote in favour of such placements.”

Fine, perhaps firing her from the adoption panel was wrong under the law. It’s right however that she not be able to vote in cases where same-sex couples are planning to adopt, given that her ‘belief’ is based entirely on bigotry and not the rule of law. I’m sure that she can find research findings hostile to same-sex adoption – it doesn’t make them reliable though, particularly if written from a religiously zealous perspective. Ultimately it’s reassuring that although she’s managed to keep her job, she’s been prevented from behaving in a homophobic way towards gay couples who are objectively as good at parenting as heterosexual ones. You don’t need research findings to prove that one.

Advertisements

Gay People to Repent? Ridiculous!

Curious timing for the Anglican Church to tack back towards blatant homophobia:

Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester called on gay people to “repent and be changed” saying the Church of England must not be “rolled over by culture.” Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell called on the Bishop to “repent his homophobia.”

Dr Nazir-Ali told the Sunday Telegraph: “We want to uphold the traditional teaching of the Bible. We believe that God has revealed his purpose about how we are made.

“People who depart from this don’t share the same faith. They are acting in a way that is not normative according to what God has revealed in the Bible.

“The Bible’s teaching shows that marriage is between a man and a woman. That is the way to express our sexual nature.

“We welcome homosexuals, we don’t want to exclude people, but we want them to repent and be changed.”

He added: “We want to hold on to the traditional teaching of the Church. We don’t want to be rolled over by culture and trends in the Church. We want a movement for renewal. We need a reformation of the Church and the life of the Communion.”

‘We welcome homosexuals – we want to stop them being homosexuals.’ Anyone else see what’s wrong with this picture? I think it’s shocking that such a senior Churchman should actually admit he rejects social change. He doesn’t want to be rolled over by culture? Sounds to me like he picks and chooses which culture he accepts and which he doesn’t – not very Godly if you ask me. He has no choice – the clock can’t be turned back to a repressive time when gay people couldn’t be out, nor are we living in a society as Iris Robinson would wish, where we could fix people’s natures as they suit us. Is either option what Christianity is supposed to be about? An Asian man who must understand discrimination should be ashamed of himself to preach homophobia, particularly when his religion does nothing of the sort.

A New Lillian Ladele

Lillian Ladele may be defeated, but she was never alone. In fact it turns out she wasn’t even alone at Islington Council:

Theresa Davies, a registrar for Islington Council, has claimed she was forced out of her post as registrar because of her religious beliefs against civil partnerships.

Davies, who had worked for Islington Council for 18 years, said she had asked to opt out of performing civil partnerships in 2006.

While her request was being considered, Davies took four months off work due to stress. On her return she was told that she would either be demoted or dismissed.

Instead of leaving the council, Davies chose to take on the offered position of receptionist, which she described as “humiliating”.

Last July, she was put back on the general rota. However, in January this year she failed to turn up to a ceremony she was supposed to be overseeing. Consequently, she was told that unless she presided over civil partnerships she would be demoted from her position.

“I know of other councils that have allowed Christian registrars to carry on by ensuring that colleagues are given civil partnerships,” said Davies. “But I was told this was not Islington’s policy.”

No, we know that Islington Council’s policy was, in the case of Lillian Ladele, to offer different work for the same pay, when she decided that she wanted to breach their policy of providing an equal service for all members of the community, rather than ones that she wanted to pick and choose. Davies may not have liked the ‘humiliating’ new work, but this has already been established not to be discrimination on the grounds of religion. The devoutly religious do not have the right under the law to behave as though they are a special case in who they provide services for. I look forward to her grievance failing equally badly.

C’Mon You Homosexual Demon

(via Towleroad)

It would be very easy to dismiss the content of this video as the actions of a few crackpots whose ideas about the world haven’t moved on past the Middle Ages. I personally think it’s horrific, and find it hard to understand why the Christianist culprits haven’t been investigated by police. “We don’t hate them, we just do not believe in their lifestyle,” – such an innocuous justification on the surface of things, yet if carried to its logical extent able to bring about terrible violence. I personally would rather like to cast out their homophobic spirits and see what they were left with. You do not have to be homophobic in order to be spiritual.

Proposition 8 to Stay

So the California State Supreme Court has ruled that Proposition 8 can stand. I’m not going to rehash old arguments – I think we all know which side we sit on, so I’ll show you dissenting Justice Moreno’s opinion instead:

The question before us is not whether the language inserted into the California Constitution by Proposition 8 discriminates against same-sex couples and denies them equal protection of the law; we already decided in the Marriage Cases that it does.  The question before us today is whether such a change to one of the core values upon which our state Constitution is founded can be accomplished by amending the Constitution through an initiative measure placed upon the ballot by the signatures of 8 percent of the number of persons who voted in the last gubernatorial election and passed by a simple majority of the voters. (Cal. Const., art. II, § 8.)  Or is this limitation on the scope of the equal protection clause to deny the full protection of the law to a minority group based upon a suspect classification such a fundamental change that it can only be accomplished by revising the California Constitution, either through a constitutional convention or by a measure passed by a two-thirds vote of both houses of the Legislature and approved by the voters?  (Cal. Const., art. XVIII.)

For reasons elaborated below, I conclude that requiring discrimination against a minority group on the basis of a suspect classification strikes at the core of the promise of equality that underlies our California Constitution and thus “represents such a drastic and far-reaching change in the nature and operation of our governmental structure that it must be considered a ‘revision’ of the state Constitution rather than a mere ‘amendment’ thereof.”  (Amador Valley Joint Union High Sch. Dist. v. State Bd. of Equalization (1978) 22 Cal.3d 208, 221 (Amador Valley).)  The rule the majority crafts today not only allows same-sex couples to be stripped of the right to marry that this court recognized in the Marriage Cases, it places at risk the state constitutional rights of all disfavored minorities.  It weakens the status of our state Constitution as a bulwark of fundamental rights for minorities protected from the will of the majority.  I therefore dissent.

I too fail to understand how the will of a hostile majority can be more important than the equality provision of the state’s constitution, but for now we’ve sadly moved beyond that argument. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is entirely right when he says:

It is up to every single one of us who supports marriage equality to reach out to those who still disagree with our position and have a personal conversation about why it is so important to treat every Californian equally.

So get on with it, and explain why equality before the law trumps ‘God’s law’ every time. Harvey Milk showed the way – we must all live up to his example!

More Ironic Catholic Hilarity

So secularism is more dangerous than child abuse eh, Archbishop Nichols?

At the installation of the Most Rev Vincent Nichols at Westminster Cathedral, his predecessor, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, described a lack of faith as “the greatest of evils” and blamed atheism for war and destruction, implying that it was a greater evil even than sin itself.

furious reaction to comments that Archbishop Nichols had made about child abuse in Ireland threatened to cast a shadow over the installation. Referring to the report published on Wednesday that exposed decades of child abuse by Catholic priests and nuns in Ireland, the Archbishop had said that it took courage for religious orders and clergy to “face the facts from their past”. He also warned that the report threatened to overshadow the good done by the religious orders, chiefly the Christian Brothers and Sisters of Mercy.

So the faith which has acted as a cover for child abuse, faith which is continuing to fuel regional wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel and Iraq, which is fueling discrimination and brutality in Iran, the faith which is…hang on, see the paradoxes here? Is atheism really the cause of war and destruction? I guess the Catholic Church doesn’t have a good recent track record at statements which are founded on reason, with the former Hitler Youth Pope decrying gay people for being the cause of the destruction of the environment, and saying that condoms were part of the problem in tackling HIV/AIDS, but this really is quite appalling. For Nichols there’s nothing more damaging to social cohesion than secularism, yet it’s social cohesion on his terms – he’s not exactly ‘tolerant’ of gay people. Reason’s not really that bad a thing after all, is it?

Benedict XVI Goes For Maximum Irony

Pope Benedict XVI has preached against hatred and prejudice, not remotely appreciating the irony of him doing so:

“I urge people of goodwill in both communities to repair the damage that has been done, and in fidelity to our common belief in one God, the father of the human family, to work to build bridges and find the way to a peaceful coexistence,” he said.

Let everyone reject the destructive power of hatred and prejudice, which kills men’s souls before it kills their bodies.”

Says the arch homophobe who says that condoms are part of the problem in dealing with HIV, and that gay people are responsible for environmental destruction. Quite, quite mad.