I do, I don’t…

I’ve recently been following with interest the case of Lilian Ladele, the North London registrar taking Islington Council to court over her right to opt out of registering same-sex unions on the grounds of it clashing with her religious beliefs. I’ve actually been trying to find out when we can expect a verdict on this case but my attempts have been frustratingly unsuccessful.

Anyone who knows me will have guessed that I find myself very unsympathetic to the woman’s position. In fact, the issue has put me face to face with my own brand of intolerant secularism, something I’m not sure I like about myself. 

Like most other Romans I know, I’m very unappreciative of any religious interference in secular matters. Being raised with the Vatican in my backyard, I have experienced firsthand what it is like for a country’s institutions to be crippled by religious fanatics that take it upon themselves to influence state politics to fit their anachronistic religious ideologies. A little forceful, but you get the idea. 

The case is about a clash of rights, apparently, and will determine whether it is acceptable to discriminate against somebody to uphold one’s religious beliefs. Well, excuse me but I don’t get it. Personally, I don’t understand what religious freedom is about. To me, faith equals ideology: you’re entitled to your own beliefs but not to impose them on someone else, and certainly not to discriminate on the basis of them. Pure and simple. 

This idea that faith is somehow superior to other belief systems is, quite frankly, offensive to people like me who don’t believe in superhuman beings. I feel like I’m missing out on my opportunity to discriminate on somebody. 

Ms Ladele is a civil servant. If her beliefs prevent her from carrying out her duty she should quite simply step down. Maybe she could consider a career as a doctor where she could refuse treatment to patients who have contracted diseases doing something she deems naughty.

What do we do when she decides she doesn’t want to marry divorced people? And what if she decides that getting married outside of a religious institution at all is sinful. I suppose she’ll opt out of all weddings, effectively halving her workload. 

I say, Ms Ladele, please ask yourself if this is the job for you. Nobody wants a disgruntled bigot officiating at their civil partnership, anyway.  

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4 Comments

Filed under BloodyBrits

4 responses to “I do, I don’t…

  1. Quentin

    Totally agree with you. I’m an Islington resident and have been following the case with interest.
    I hope and trust that Ladele’s case is thrown out on its ear.

    By the way, although the tribunal is now over, the result apparently is not due until September.

  2. cosmodaddy

    Now that the odious woman has won, I’m curious what your thoughts are. Mine are littered across my own recent blog posts, but you may be able to judge my position based on my thoughts of her…

    The ruling was flawed – the law requires her to fulfil her job description, based on providing what is after all a secular service for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or any other factors she may be able to discriminate on. The council in turn is allowed to discriminate against her ‘religious views’ (hah!) because it’s allowed to under the law.

  3. Chuckles-Hart

    “To me, faith equals ideology: you’re entitled to your own beliefs but not to impose them on someone else, and certainly not to discriminate on the basis of them. Pure and simple. ”
    You have said people are not entitled to impose their beliefs on someone else. That is a belief. So, by saying this you are imposing your belief on other people which is something you say we should not do. Odd, isn’t it.

    Is the state allowed to impose its belief that we should pay tax? or that burglary is wrong? Some people believe they should not pay tax or that burglary is fine. Is it right to impose the beliefs of others upon them?
    Isn’t it odd that another comment says it is right for the council to impose its beliefs on her. You can’t agree with that, can you, since you say it is wrong to impose your beliefs on another. You can’t have it both ways.

    Is one person allowed to state that homosexuality is right and yet another person is not allowed to state that homsexuality is wrong? Isn’t that imposition, too?

    It comes down to a very serious question. Who decides what is right or wrong, and far more importantly, on what basis can that decision be made? On what basis would a secularist make his judgments?

    I am glad that we read that this case has brought into the open your own intolerance. There is hope of a rational discussion since you recognise your own nature and there is no need for any abuse whatsoever.

    May I point out to cosmos daddy that Miss Ladele’s job description was probably to conduct marriages between a man and a woman. Being asked to do something other than this would be breaking the terms of her contract of employment.

  4. valerio

    I’m sorry but on this one you’ve gone way too deconstructive for us to have anything like a… constructive debate. What is right or wrong… Of course if you take things to these extremes we can’t easily find any common ground for the simple reason that there isn’t any ground left to stand on.

    If, on the other hand, we choose to remain on more of a day-to-day level, you can’t really compare a state’s impositions on its citizens with an individual imposing on another. The state is the way our societies are organised and is leant legitimacy through the democratic process that is at its base. By participating in our society we accept, or are made to accept, to abide by the laws of the state.

    This means no, unfortunately it doesn’t really matter if you think burglary is right, taxes are wrong and homosexuality is sinful. Those are your personal opinions and you are not granted a right to burgle, commit tax fraud or discriminate.

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