Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Human rights vs. Religious beliefs.
    written by Rich.

Four Anglo-Christians yesterday traveled to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in order to present why they should have religious freedom in their workplaces. According to them UK law restricts them from exercising their religious beliefs.

So does Religious belief trump Human rights? Here are the Frighfully Fatuous Four. 

Nadia Eweida, 60, a British Airways flight stewardess told to go home after refusing to remove a cross from around her neck.

Shirley Chaplin, 56, was moved to an NHS desk job after refusing to remove a crucifix from around her neck, asked to do so in order to prevent injury to patients. A reasonable request considering the crosses corners could cause injury whilst lifting patients, and also of the high risk of atheists, and vampires, skin dissolving if it were to come into contact.

Gary McFarlane, 50, a former marriage counselor after being fired for refusing to provide counsel to homosexual couples, as not being a prejudiced bigot contradicted his Christian beliefs. 

Lillian Ladele, 51, who was also reprimanded after refusing to conduct same-sex civil ceremonies whilst strangely willing to conduct marriages outside of the houses of God?   

Apparently these four believers, and especially the last two Shirley and Gary, definitely believed everything they were told and have not looked for themselves and observed the pure love that humans can have for each other, regardless of gender.

Speaking of Pure Love, for those keen historians buckle up for what you are about to read. Personally I find this 14th century festival rather odd but I recently learnt read about in Alan de Botton's Religion for Atheists. A charming book with the original premise of God and the supernatural obviously not existing and, what now? Well he takes the multitude of great aspects that religion have invented and woven into many societies, for example communal spirit, and describes how they can be picked, chosen and edited to fit into a secular society. We at Neuroatheist say that this is a nice step forward in the debate.

Alan graciously describes an event that used to occur in the 14th century, the festum fatuorum, The Feast of Fools. For four days (by the way Four is our magic number today) at the beginning of the year the world and its rules regarding acceptable behaviour were inverted. These peoples knew how to let their hair down, way down. This is a quote from Allan's book pages 63-65
        "...members of the clergy would play dice on top of the altar, bray like donkeys instead of saying 'Amen', engage in drinking competitions...deliver spoof sermons based on parodies of the gospels (the gospel according to the chicken Arse, the gospel according to Luke's toenail)....hold their holy books upside down, address prayers to vegetables and urinate out of bell towers."

Absolutely manic behaviour that sounded like great fun because after drinking tankards of ale they would marry donkeys and sought to have sex with anyone of any gender that would let them and this was all done in order to face up to human incapability of behaving. The logic went that if for just Four days a year you can let out your "blasphemic" urges then for the rest of the year you can worship God that much better. The merit lies in the efforts to recognise our own nature and that if God says you cannot entertain yourself with your fellow brothers appendage, then you should wait for the next festum fatourum.

Bringing this back to today, the festival of fools suggests that a homophobic belief may not be quite in line with christianity, yer sure God says its a sin but ya know we can suspend our fear of his eternal gaze on us for the greater good, and that for respected representatives of God to engage in homosexual acts for a long weekend, then maybe it isn't so sinful after all.

The Fatuous Four at the ECHR, well the this really applies to the Punctilious Pair, in my opinion are not having their religious freedoms cut short because they signed up for the jobs that may expose them to people that hold perfectly opposite beliefs about human life to them and they should accept that this is okay. When becoming a counselor or registrar of human relations, you should expect hetero and homo clientele. Perhaps you should readdress your prejudices. 

Thank goodness the European Court of Human Rights does not view religious belief as a trump card.

For Allen de Botton's Book, follow this link.