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Tuesday, 4 September 2012

The Great Enabler

For any of this to make sense, one needs to read and be aware of this article right here:

Christians take 'beliefs' fight to European Court of Human Rights

Let us for illustrative purposes remove the actual concept of Christianity from what is going on here...

- Two individuals feel their human rights are being violated because they will not adhere to the dress code of jobs with (dare I say widely known) very specific and highly regulated dress codes.

- Two more individuals feel their human rights are being violated because they are expected to keep their bigotry out of their workplace.

To address the first two? I'm sorry, but there's a dress code. Unless you have a very compelling reason to not adhere to it - and this will be in your employment contract - you adhere to it. Airline staff are the face of the company, a company that is meant to put forward a unified face to their customers; nursing staff have hygiene considerations on top of needing to appear clinical and professional. Whatever my personal feeling on the subject of employment dress codes, you go into such a situation with your eyes open; and if you can't deal with the restrictions, then I'm sorry, but you're probably in the wrong job.

To address the latter pair...

I'm sorry. But you don't have the human right to impinge on other people's human rights. You are not entitled to prevent other people from having things they are entitled to. That's not how it works. The Convention of Human Rights is there to defend the rights of all, not take away the rights of some.

All four of these cases going forward to the Court of Human Rights are, patently, ridiculous...the moment you remove the language of faith and belief from their discussion. However, all of a sudden, things seem to be a lot less cut-and-dried the moment we factor in their respective religious beliefs.


We shouldn't allow people's beliefs to become enablers for illegal behaviour - we don't let suicide cults ill off hundreds because they believe they will be subsumed in some kind of alien uplifting, we don't let racial supremacists that truly believe white English people are the master race (yes, they do exist, and yes, it is as mad as it sounds) burn down shops belonging to people who happen to not fit into their template. So why permit another set of beliefs to allow someone to break the law?

It is a sorry state of affairs that I feel I may be looked upon unkindly for suggesting that the laws of a land should be secular. Strictly secular. Based on best practice, and ethics relevant to today, not to a book of dubious provenance. It's why we have a justice system, rather than more priests.

It is my belief that people should be allowed to believe whatever they wish. Beliefs are like teeth - they are very useful, some would say absolutely essential...but they should stay inside your head. If your beliefs lend you comfort in hard times, that is all well and good; just remember that they are beliefs. Not laws, not rights, not priviledges, not entitlements - beliefs.

If you can't tell the difference, maybe you should stay out of any kind of legal situation until you do.

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