We want equality, but a little more than you!
Cases of the Religious communities feeling as if they’re the victims of prejudice abound in the world. You know, the 5 billion or so believers that constitute the majority of the world’s population yet constantly act like a down trodden minority when challenged on anything. Is it any wonder when people try to cling to their antiquated opinions in an increasingly enlightened (allow for geography here) world, expecting not to be challenged that they feel persecuted when they are? Current cases just show that these beliefs held for Millenia aren’t compatible with an evolving psychology and adaptive understanding of what constitutes a Human Right.
Human rights should be universal but they aren’t, just look at the Cario Declaration for example, created to make Human Rights more friendly to the Islamic world. The Religious right to freedom of expression is one such right that is often used to assert the believers need (want) over that of others. Just believing you hold a trump card, due to the fact you believe you do, and a story book backing it up seems to have been enough of a justification for as they say “millenia”. To many though, it is no longer enough of a reason to make your belief worthy of respect or that it be taken seriously. It seems at least some judges are waking up to the fact that today outdated beliefs (opinions) based on archaic books should no longer neccessarily be accepted based on Human Rights grounds. People who choose polarising, divisive, prejudice and self-serving opinions are doing exactly that, choosing. Surely it stands to reason that others should be allowed to choose to oppose them and by extension the troublesome book from whence such beliefs came.
Human rights for Religious beliefs were enacted to stop prejudice on the grounds of Religious identity, this is fine, but shouldn’t be the be all and end all when those beliefs are clearly prejudice against great swathes of homosapiens. It is not, however, fine to protect and enable the opinions that come from that chosen identity through law and legislature just because people hold them, nor give them privileged position or power over other people. Classical Religion should no longer be allowed this charmed status that allows individuals and groups to assert pressure onto other groups and individuals just because of their difference in particular text choice.
Choosing a belief especially an incorrect one (sinful homosexuals, women worth half of a man, take no friends from the unbeliever, black skin being a curse, etc) based on nothing more than prejudice and scripture, should definitely be enough to get you dismissed if you try to use it to shirk commitments, or feel you should be the exception to the rules in the workplace. No reasonable clinician could say: “I won’t treat that client because they’re religious”. By some Religious people’s logic that’s exactly what they could do though, but they don’t, because their Religion does not matter, the fact that they’re our fellow humans in need of care does. Another curious case within Religious communities (remember they don’t even get along between themselves) is don’t take blood from the un/different believer. Again a choice designed to register aversion to, and elucidate difference on the grounds of an opinion. You could insert: black, white, yellow skinned or homosexual instead of non-believer here too and many readily do. This is less of an affront to equality but again still a personal choice, albeit a choice bereft of any Scientific knowledge and piled high with bigotry and prejudice. Has it ever occured to such people that the only reason not to get a blood transfusion from anyone is a medically sound disease based one that would affect most humans? Probably, but it seems treating people as equals under humanity isn’t what matters, not wanting “their” dirty blood is.
Taking examples like these as prescedents of which sadly there are many more, I wouldn’t be surprised if the next thing that happens in UK society is the adoption of another equal but not so equal practice as a social norm such as gendered seating in public places. It’s self-evident that many people want us to regress that far and it’s even practiced in faith schools already. I wonder what form of linguistic gymnastics would be employed to achieve this? Probably something like: we need to separate men and women on the grounds of faith due to freedom of expression – so long as nobody is at ‘the back’ – and so everyone has the right to sit where they want… but we have that already without needing to enforce segregation, it’s called equality.
That’s the point really, equality should be under humanity, what we are, hard won understanding of it, based on reasoned, intellectual discussion, and facts about the species. Not equality based on completely unequal belief systems, each desiring “equality” but wait, a little more equality for their own communities views…. see the paradox? TReligious people have a social licence to treat people differently because they’re gay, because of what they are no less, not what they choose and this seems to be acceptable to them. It’s time they were educated, and this backwards protection of Religious beliefs be ousted from the privileged position it seems to enjoy presently.
Update: 1629, 28/05/2013; European Court of Human Rights refuses to hear appeals in “Christian persecution” cases. A positive outcome for those that put reasonable concerns above the petty wants of the Religious community.
Posted on April 21, 2013, in Humanism and tagged equality, gay, Gay rights, homosexuality, humanism, law politics, prejudice, Religion, religious freedom, religious privilege, science. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.