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End legal privilege of religious over non-religious views

Comment 30th July 2010

Laws and regulations which give special privelege and protection to religious beliefs should be amended, such as Article 13 of the Treaty of Amsterdam and 2003 Employment Equality regulations.

The argument is not that discrimination against religious views should be lawful, but privilege given to  religious views over others, is wrong.

Why does this matter?

Religious views, customs and preferences are at best equal to non-religious. Despite coming from blind faith with no reasoning or logic  to back up them up, religious views and traditions are legally superior.

Under current regulation which protects it, religion or belief is defined as, “ any religion, religious belief, or similar philosophical belief”. Excluded are “any philosophical or political belief unless that belief is similar to a religious belief”

 

Examples provided by ACAS in guidance on employment law:

"Example: A worker who, for religious reasons, (emphasis added) is vegetarian felt unable to store her lunch in a refrigerator next to the meat sandwiches belonging to a co-worker. Following consultation with the staff and their representatives, the organisation introduced a policy by which all food
must be stored in sealed containers and shelves were separately designated ‘meat’ and ‘vegetarian’. This arrangement met the needs of all staff and at no cost to the employer."

Someone who is vegetarian for ethical, political, or personal non-religious reasons is not protected in the way that a religious person is.

"Example: Some religions require their female followers to dress
particularly modestly. A dress code which requires a blouse to be tucked
inside a skirt may conflict with that requirement as it accentuates body
shape. However, if the individual is allowed to wear the blouse over the
outside of the skirt it may be quite acceptable."

A female who is self conscious about her body shape, or even believes non-religously that women should dress modestly, has no legal protection of her views.

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