Saturday, February 11, 2012

Live and Let Live or Conform?

If the Daily Mail is to be believed Christianity in the UK is under attack to the extent that religious freedoms are being trumped by every other kind of human right so far as English court tribunal and politicians' decisions are concerned.

Although there are worrying trends in recent court and tribunal decisions some examples given by the Daily Mail could just as easily be described as an individual's rights to personal private life being upheld by the courts over third party interference or self righteous indignation. Why should a B&B proprietor seek to impose his or her personal religious beliefs on people who book and pay for accommodation on offer to the public? Equally I am not sure if Devon council members who are disinterested in if not actually disbelieve in Christianity, should be compelled to sit through formal prayers at council meetings led by a local vicar.

Much better for the media to concentrate on more serious looking worrying trends in law making by courts and politicians under the guise of laying down Caesar's laws, which in truth are areas which believers should be entitled to regard as encompassing the laws of God. Making individuals' private lives conform with a religious ideology with which they do not agree seems to me to be quite wrong and probably counter-productive as regards the religion in question. However trying to make those who adhere to a particular religious belief conform to some secular ideology in deep conflict with their consciences is wrong subject to fundamental exceptions, such as murder (which in my view includes the human foetus).

A recent example of a real worrying trend is the outlawing of the previous practice of catholic adoption agencies of placing babies and children for adoption with families where the parents are married (or widowed) in the catholic sacramental sense. Interestingly the catholic adoption agencies were widely admired for their achieving placements of some infants regarded as hard to place. Then politicians aided and abetted by the Charity Commission, decreed that limiting the placing of catholic children with such families to the exclusion of those comprising live in lovers would be illegal despite the availability of secular agencies who were happy to cater for live in lovers.

The result was that most catholic adoption agencies closed down and hard to place children became even harder to place. In almost every other sphere of society the welfare of the child is given paramountcy over other considerations yet not with the selection of his or her family. The question of why not cannot be answered fairly and the outcome is in my view both anti-Catholic and anti-child welfare.

The latest concern arises from the attempts by politicians to extend the concept of marriage beyond those seeking union within the traditional Christian nuclear family concept. The affording of similar civil legal rights to live in lovers as are afforded to those who have undertaken the sacrament of matrimony may or may not be sad but is of itself a legitimate development of Caesar's (civil) law. The concern is that the politicians and courts will as they always seem to do these days, extend that development to seek to re-define what is meant by the sacrament of matrimony. Such an extension would be an attempt to legislate over what many regard as God's laws; for defining what is or is not Sacramental must be the province of religious rather than political leaders.

The next logical step in such civil legal/political attempt at interfering in Christian belief could then be that of penalising ministers of religion who decline to officiate in ceremonies performed in conformity to the state definition of matrimony.

1 comment:

  1. The Catholic bishops in England perhaps following the Scottish lead have now set up an online petition opposing the secular attempt to redefine marriage at:


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