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Equal rights to the free exercise of conscience

Comment 2nd July 2010

Equality laws have gone too far in enforcing the particular equalities best supported by various noisy minorities, lobby groups and political pressure groups.  During the election campaign, the disproportionate political influence of certain groups, and the weakness of many politicians to stand up for true equality in the face of political intimidation, were eloquently demonstrated:

George Osborne says Tories will 'consider gay marriage'

We rightly defend the equal rights of homosexuals, religious and ethnic minorities, and other human beings – and their acts of personal conscience have rightly been decriminalised and increasingly tolerated in civic society.  However in terms of the implementation and enforcement of "equality" laws, we now respect the conscience of the homosexual to pursue their sexual preferences, yet contempt the conscience of the religious person to practise their religion.  As demonstrated by the recent successful litigation against a perfectly reasonable Christian couple, Francis and Susanne Wilkinson, by a pair of gay activist provocateurs; religious people are now being persecuted for doing none other than living according to their conscience – and all in the name of "equality" and respect for the conscience and sensitivies of people who happen to feel differently, who happen to be members of a politically favoured group.

Why does this matter?

Our laws must not express a bias toward any particular group, in respecting their rights to the free exercise of conscience.  Our laws must never infringe upon individual conscience, except strictly where the law can evidently be applied equitably toward all parties.

I have written more extensively on this subject here:

Equal Opportunities vs. Duty to Conscience

I know the subject is controversial from both angles, but I would welcome any feedback – whether supportive or contradictory.  I just cannot see, personally, why we should have more respect for the sexual preferences/instincts of homosexuals than for the conscience of conscientious religious people, especially in an obvious case of deliberate provocation for political and personal advantage.  If our laws support this kind of persecution, then obviously our laws must be changed.  It is no wonder, in light of this kind of activism and persecution against religious people and ideas, that political groups like the "Christian Party" are being started – I can understand why people are doing this but I don't like sectarian politics and it is vital that we bring reasonable balance back into our laws, so we can avoid the kind of divisive sectarian politics that can destroy the peace of whole countries.  I have no sympathy for religiously affiliated political parties and I hope we can preempt them from gaining any traction by bringing matters of conscience back into the political mainstream.

Our laws have been corrupted by a cock-eyed and over-zealous approach to "equality", and we must reverse this imbalance.


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