Why should religion be used as an excuse to be a bigot ?

I am constantly at a loss to understand the motivation of extremists in a range of religions who feel that their "deeply held views" give them the right to ignore laws or basic human rights.

Whether it be those extremist muslims who mis-interpret, often deliberately, the writings of the prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) in order to preach hatred, or extremist Jews who claim that they have the right to persecute muslims in Israel. So when I read that extremist Christians want to amend Sexual Orientation regulations in the UK, I get annoyed. Read about it HERE.

When I read quotes such as:

"Christians have no desire to discriminate unjustly on the grounds of sexual orientation, but they cannot and must not be forced to actively condone and promote sexual practices which the Bible teaches are wrong."

What I think they are saying to me is

We want to discriminate unjustly on the grounds of sexual orientation and we want the right to treat people like second class citizens"

I was always led to believe that Christianity was about turning the other cheek, being virtuous, forgiving sinners (and I am not suggesting homosexuals are sinners, but some Christians believe they are) and welcoming people. Fortunately all the major Churches and religious groups (Jewish Board of Deputies, the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church and Muslim groups) have distanced themselves from the attempts to overturn equality laws.

I work with and know many Christians who are thoroughly decent, caring people who would hold their hands up with horror if they were linked to the views of the Christians opposing equal rights for gay people.

Such a shame. Another argument for secularism ?

P.S. Anglican priest, Simon Wilson, posted an excellent piece on his blog today about this topic. Well worth a read.


Jonny Wright said...

Good post, I agree with it very strongly.

Just one personal gripe - it winds me up a lot when people "Orthodox Jews" when really they should say "Jews with extremist views" or somesuch. Orthodox Judaism is just a denomination, rather like being a Protestant or Catholic. Orthodox Jews can have views on Middle East politics ranging from very moderate through to very extreme, just like any other Jewish denomination, or anyone at all. Orthodox isn't remotely the same as fundamentalist or extremist, and it bugs me when they get used interchangeably.

Successive Israeli governments have comprised Orthodox Jews, Reform Jews, Liberal Jews, entirely secular Jews, as well as non-Jewish citizens of Israel.

Norfolk Blogger said...

I have amended the original posting to get rid of "orthodox" and replace it with "extremist".

Thanks for your comment.

Justin said...

Excellent post. Read some of the posts on ConHome - I feel quite embarrassed to be a Conservative.

Tristan said...

Good post.

If they want to discriminate then I will discriminate against them on the basis they wear two types of cloth at the same time (its not allowed according to Leviticus), or perhaps just because they're Christian, that amounts to what they want to be able to do.

Then again, discrimination harms them more than it does those discriminated against in the long run... I'm almost tempted to say let them make fools of themselves and be idiots, they'll lose respect and trade.