Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks says the attempt to impose an equality “template” on religious organisations is eroding religious liberty.
He warned that such moves mean Britain is in danger of returning to a time when people fled abroad to find greater freedom.
Lord Sacks’ comments were welcomed by a Christian religious liberty organisation but attacked by the head of a secularist group.
The Chief Rabbi was speaking to a House of Commons Select Committee alongside a representative from the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church and the head of the British Humanist Association.
He has“real concern that the attempt to impose the current prevailing template of equality and anti-discrimination on religious organisations is an erosion of religious liberty”. The Chief Rabbi went on to raise concerns that the UK was “beginning to move back” to the time of the Mayflower when many left to “find religious liberty elsewhere”.
And Bernard Jenkin MP, who chairs the Committee, also warned that a “humanist absolutism” would be “tyrannical”. Amen to that, Bernard.
Andrea Minichiello Williams of Christian Concern welcomed the Chief Rabbi’s comments…
There has been a significant curtailing of religious freedom in this nation, due to the ‘equalities’ culture and the imposition of political correctness on the public. This is an inevitable consequence of secularism, which promises a utopia but pushes our society towards the beginnings of tyranny. Secularism is not neutral and punishes dissenters.
But Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society (NSS), said the equality laws that Lord Sacks “disparages are a wonderful achievement and something that most people – including many Jews – welcome as progressive, just and long overdue”. He claimed that Chief Rabbi’s statement was “selfish, self-serving and politically motivated”.
Writing on the NSS’ website he also commented:
My message to Lord Sacks, Andrea Minichiello Williams, Lord Carey, the Christian Institute and all the other whingers is this: if you really think life in this country is intolerable and want to go somewhere else where your prejudices — sorry, religious freedom — can be expressed unfettered, let me quote the song from West Side Story: ‘I know a boat you can get on. Bye-bye.
Oh I say! Mr Sanderson didn’t like Lord Sack’s view did he? I wonder whether he would change his mind if he were asked to step down as President of the NSS and let a Christian take his place (something which University Christian Union’s have been asked to do in the past; all in the name of equality. By this, I mean CU’s have been asked to allow atheists and people of other religions to be the president of their CU).
Yes, equality is all the rage at the moment. But equality and political correctness can be very good partners in crime. I’m guessing that the prejudices that Mr Sanderson talks about are things such as gay marriage, homosexuality, the role of women and so on; at least within the realms of Christianity. I wouldn’t see them as prejudices, more like issues that the Church is always trying to battle with and sort out, by being both loyal to Scripture and being all inclusive. But wearing a cross or showing one in your van… should we move to another country to do that, or can we do that in the UK?
Dean is a Minister in the Anglican Church. Currently he is Curate in the parishes of Bedwas, Machen, Michaelston-y-Fedw and Rudry in South Wales. He was born and bred in Wales, is married to Megan, and has two dogs called Taliesin and Melyn, and two cats named Sinsir and Hâf. He graduated from Cardiff University with a BA Hons. in Theology & Religious Studies, and has studied for an MA in Theology, Ministry & Mission at Trinity College Bristol. He also holds a Cert.RSCM from the Royal School of Church Music. He loves playing music, walking, reading, blogging and horse riding as well as going to the cinema and theatre.
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No one has ever banned anyone from wearing a cross or displaying one in their van. This is flat out nonsense.
Of course some companies have forbidden the display of religious symbols in the companies vans or banned religious icons from their dress code. This is perfectly acceptable. When i call a plumber, i don’ want a christian plumber, i want a plumber. A professional who will come and fix my pipes, take my money and leave. Asking to bring your religion into it is deeply unprofessional. Private companies should not be forced to help their employees promote their faith
Now this changes somewhat for religions that REQUIRE certain items such as turbans for Sihks. I still think this is nonsense but i can see the rational. Christians however are NOT required to wear a crucifix or put a cross in their van.
What this really comes down to is special pleading, an excuse for bigotry. The most obvious example is the catholics anti-gay stance. Its harmful, serves no secular purpose and is wrong and now they are kicking up one hell of a stink and threatening to close orphanages and all sorts. Bigots. Pure and simple.
And Bernard Jenkin seems to have it backwards. A land that enforces equality and human rights would be tyrannical? Say what? Humanist absolutism? Who proposed that? No one is threatening to stop religous people practicing their religion. They are only trying to stop religious people using their faith as an excuse for bigotry and discrimination.
As for people fleeing abroad for religious liberty, i honestly don’t think we’d lose anyone we’ll miss. The more fundamentalists that insist on privilege for their faith that leavethe happier the rest of us will be.
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