Posts Tagged ‘Human Rights’

Recently there has been a lot of chatter in the news about the age old issue of religious discrimination. This week a Christian relationship counsellor is in court after losing his job for refusing to counsel gay couples. He is claiming it is discriminating to force him to give advice in contradiction to his beliefs. And not long ago a Christian nurse lost her case when she tried to claim she was being discriminated against after she was forced to remove her cross from her neck. The court decided the cross wasn’t “essential” to her faith and therefore she couldn’t wear it as jewellery is banned. She claimed that she’d worn it for years and there’d been no problem.

It may seem ludicrously bureaucratic to some to force a change now if it has caused no problems. But it’s important to remember that the no jewellery rule was created to combat the spread of bacteria and MRSA. Therefore a ban should include all jewellery, full stop.

On the surface this looks like yet another religious person wanting special treatment. But this issue is a little bit more complicated. Christians are not the only ones wanting to wear jewellery. Sikhs wear bangles, bangles incidentally, which are still permitted. These bangles are obviously on wrists where they pose a much greater risk of spreading disease than a cross around a neck.

Exceptions are not only being made for Sikhs though. Muslim women are resisting new rules requiring people to be bare sleeved from the elbow down. Again this is aimed at curbing the spread of bugs and allows hands and arms to be kept much cleaner. Sleeves are a big potential breeding ground for bacteria. The Muslim defence is that women must not show their arms and they reel out their usual ‘modesty’ rubbish. We’ve even gone to the length of buying disposable sleeve covers to keep the complainers happy. Doctors have resigned and medical students are quitting, all because they’re being asked to show their arms.

This is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard. We have a hygiene standard aimed at making our hospitals as safe as possible, but we give some people special privileges because they think if they show their arms, or remove some rings of metal, they’ll go to hell. Not only that but we’ll even charge the taxpayer the bill for indulging their ridiculous fantasy.

Whilst making these exceptions for Sikhs and Muslims we’ll refuse to budge on the rules for Christians who want to hide a small cross under their clothes. I can understand the frustration of Christians who feel they are being singled out. It certainly poses questions about underlying motives in the justice system. I fear the system has become petrified of appearing racist; so makes such stupid rulings regarding cases involving ‘Eastern’ religions; while sticking to the rules when dealing with ‘Western’ religions. Why do so many of the religious fight for equality but happily accept a little special treatment if it’s offered? We’re heading into the territory of discriminating against the non-religious to keep the religious happy.

However, singling out the Christians is not the main issue here. We shouldn’t be allowing anybody to flout the rules. This country needs a backbone. Hygiene is the number one priority in our hospitals and it needs to stay number one. Keeping the religious happy should not be a higher priority and clearly it is.

Those who wish to work in a profession which asks things of them that their religion doesn’t allow need to ask which is more important: their job, or their religion. A Muslim woman who must cover her body could not be, for example, a lifeguard. She would have to accept that she couldn’t do this job because it requires that she remove her veil. A Muslim man could not insist on being allowed to wear his traditional dress and be a fireman. Neither could a Sikh refuse to wear breathing apparatus because he’d have to remove his turban. He’d have to accept that he’d have to sacrifice his religious ‘rules’ in order to be a fireman. This silly idea that we’re doing something horrific if we impose an occupational standard and ask a Muslim to bare her arms needs to end. Are we genuinely saying that if an aspect of a religious person’s job conflicts with their religion the rules should always be bent, otherwise we’re discriminating against them? And do we really think that we can operate every organisation, work place, school etc in harmony with every single religion? Especially when EVERY single religious ‘rule’ relies on the interpretation of a human being and so is always different.

Nobody is being discriminated against by the NHS. No religion was purposefully targeted in a bid to persecute and penalise its followers. It simply happened that a new rule change conflicted with their personal beliefs. This should not be grounds to grant special privileges.

The liberal world we now live in has come full circle. We created the concept of freedom and liberty and granted people the freedom to believe whatever religion they wanted. This is an important freedom to have and prevents government persecuting the religious. Despite its intended purpose this freedom has been hijacked by the religious. They have turned it into a weapon to fight a war they have started themselves. It is a war against the modern world and a fight against common sense. Instead of using it to prevent discrimination they are using it to halt any change which conflicts with their religion, insisting on the right to veto such changes. In doing so it is actually the non-religious who are being discriminated against. We are being held hostage by the religious who are slowly turning the country into a religious state.

Whilst freedom of religion is a vitally important freedom to possess, we need to forget this new found idea that religious ‘customs’ can never be infringed.

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I read a story today that cheered me up a lot. Shawn Hole was on a tour with his Christian mates and took it upon himself to engage in a spot of street preaching. Whilst doing this he was asked by a gay member of the public what his views on homosexuality were. “Homosexuals are deserving of the wrath of God – and so are all other sinners – and they are going to a place called hell” was his response.

He was then arrested, taken away in a police van, kept overnight in a cell and charged with breaching the peace and “uttering homophobic remarks” that were “aggravated by religious prejudice”. He plead guilty.

On the one hand this is a slight overreaction on the part of the police. All this idiot did was have a conversation with someone about his retarded religious opinion. Plus, there is an argument to be made for how it is offensive to say gay people are going to a fictional place. His views do prove his complete lack of sanity, but I think freedom of speech is important, more important than trying to silence every mentally ill person who preaches nonsense. It’s important we don’t tell people what they can and can’t say. Nobody has the right to not be offended. Everyone does, however, have the right to freedom of speech. Only when they step into the realm of inciting people to commit crime and violence should we stop them.

On the other hand, it serves him right! Lets remember that while the specific words he used on this occasion may not have been that offensive, he clearly thinks that just because someone fancies the same sex they are deserving of an eternity in a horrible place. Regardless of the fact that place doesn’t exist, he still thinks it does. So yeah, he wasn’t offensive in what he said this time, but his attitude towards gay people IS offensive. The fact he thinks he has the right to come the the UK and preach to us on the street makes him deserving of anything he gets. While we do have some street preachers in the UK, generally as a culture, we object to people pushing their religion in our faces. We don’t need Americans like Shawn Hole coming to the UK and trying to ‘save’ us. He’d be much better off trying to fix the hell-on-earth that is the United States Of America. They need his help much more than we do. We have, in astonishing numbers, woken up to reality in the UK and don’t welcome homophobes like this.

I could not be happier that this idiot spent a night in the cells and is a thousand quid worse off. Using religion as an excuse for being homophobic is a pathetic excuse. An excuse which doesn’t wash anymore. Religious racism is not tolerated, this is no different.

When will people realise that just because they decided to believe in a religion full of hatred, it doesn’t give them the absolute right to be as hateful as possible. While we shouldn’t physically stop Sean Holes from saying what he wants it should be made known that his ancient beliefs are not tolerated anymore.

Fuck off back to America. We don’t want your intolerance here.

With the census coming up next year I am reminded of the stupidity of the religion results from the last one. Nearly 400,000 people listed their religion as Jedi in a mocking bid to get it recognised as a bona fide religion. This, not surprisingly, did not work and whilst it provided some light amusement and plenty of press, nobody with half a brain cell would consider it to be a genuine religion.

So many people selected Jedi that they out performed Sikhs. According to the Sikhs however, this is because Sikhism was listed in the religion section and not under ethnicity. Apparently this caused many Sikhs to not report their religion as it was an optional question. Could they not be bothered to answer one final question? Either this, or they had such a strong objection to their religion being classed as a religion that they felt compelled to ignore it. I’d love to know where they think they could live without their religion being called a religion.

It’s this refusal or laziness to answer this question which makes the UK Sikh Federation’s planned ‘human rights’ lawsuit against the Office Of National Statistics completely laughable. Apparently their inability to complete a form justifies the huge expense to the taxpayer such a lawsuit would cost. Their cobbled together claims that they are being denied the services they’re entitled to because of lower-than-accurate results is the lamest thing I’ve heard in a while. They should clearly just get over themselves and tick the bloody box.

The religious using the ‘human rights’ banner to bypass common sense is getting beyond a joke. Just last month a Sikh judge spoke out about how Sikh’s should be able to wear daggers to school or work. I had to check I’d read that right when I saw this story. We should allow children to carry daggers around in school because it’s their religion? Great idea. They themselves point to how these daggers are ‘ceremonial’ and are an important part of their religion; ‘essential’ to their faith. You can stab someone with a pencil, so giving kids daggers can only be stupid and just because they have decided they have to wear such a thing to win a place in eternity, they should not be allowed to walk around with them. Apparently these people think their right to walk around with a dagger is more important than my right to have a dagger free work place.

All this conjured up a question in my mind. If 400,000 people in the UK class themselves as Jedi, and given that recently a Jobcentre manager had to write a letter of apology to a Jedi who refused to remove his hood, shouldn’t we extend the same rights to the Jedi?

Surely in order for us to have an equal world they should be allowed to turn up at the office wearing their lightsaber. It’s really no different from a dagger is it?

I’m being sarcastic here. A Jedi’s insistence that he be allowed to walk around like a yob; just because he doesn’t have a life and watches Star Wars all day, is just as preposterous as a Sikh’s insistence he be allowed to walk around armed to the hilt; just because Guru Nanak decided it was ‘essential’.

Am I the only person who thinks this is going too far now? Maybe I should try and start a religion and see what stupidity I can get away with in the name of religion. I think I might call it “Seventiesism”. Essential to my faith will be the requirement to wear an incredibly large afro wig, bright flares and star shaped sunglasses. Given the logic being laid down by the powers-that-be I should be able to look like this even if I worked on the counter at HSBC.

Could there be a better example of the evils of religion than the sick homosexuality bill Uganda is currently trying to implement? In this country religion is not just a personal choice which every person should have the right to choose. In Uganda, as in many countries in the world, religion is something chosen by the Government and forced upon everybody regardless of whether they want it.

The current Ugandan law is reprehensible enough as it is: having gay sex is already punishable by life imprisonment. The changes would make anybody who is HIV positive, anybody in a gay relationship with someone they have ‘authority’ over, and anybody found having sex with a ‘victim’ under the age of 18 left open to the possibility of the death penalty. It also contains provisions for Uganda to demand the deportation of anyone currently living abroad who is convicted under the law.

This is rooted firmly in Uganda’s Christian beliefs. Most of the population and pretty much all of the government are Christians. American evangelists have been working hard to push their agenda in Uganda, preaching that gay people are ‘recruiting’ school children. This has boosted the fear already existent in many Ugandans.

This is what happens when religion rules a country and where there aren’t any sane people to run for election. Many Christians will be quick to point out that they don’t agree with the death penalty, however, pretty much all of them will still agree with the fundamental issue here: that it is wrong to be gay. Most Christians I have met believe that they have the ‘God given’ right to decide that gay people are gay through choice. There is something wrong with their brain.

My heart goes out to the gay community of Uganda. The world needs to pull together and allow them political asylum in countries where they will be free to be themselves. We need to resist requests by Uganda to deport those living in the West who are convicted, and keep them safe. In addition to this we need to impose tough sanctions on Uganda and show them they are alienating themselves. This may be politically incorrect but as Uganda’s citizen’s are overwhelmingly supporting this, if the act of imposing sanctions causes problems for them as a country, then so be it. They deserve it. At some point in the future these lunatic countries WILL enter the modern age but we should send them a signal that they need to hurry the fuck up.

This is a basic human rights issue. The Ugandan government are openly in breach of the UN’s list of basic human rights. Every person has the right to ‘freedom of thought, conscience and religion’. That surely means that each and every person in Uganda has the right to choose Christian principles or, more importantly, to reject those principles. For the government to legislate in accordance with those principles they are clearly squashing the rights of those who choose to ignore them. Religion should stay in the home and not in the halls of power.

The rights of the insane, who blindly follow a piece of fictional text from thousands of years ago, are less important than those who have done nothing other than be attracted to someone of the same sex. Why is it the west is happy to try and ‘fix’ the east where Islam is ruining the lives of so many, but never do anything when stuff like this happens?

Is it because Uganda doesn’t have shit loads of oil perhaps?