In a confused article by Trevor Phillips, Chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission,which appeared in the Telegraph last week we find the limits of state power in its drive to 'equalise'everything and everyone.
There is an admission by Mr Phillips that there is a popular anti-religious sentiment prevalent in society and that some people of faith are feeling under siege. However the E.H.R.C. is not party to it and will defend people of faith providing that they adhere to the law, they cannot be a special case. They should also keep politics behind the church door and not 'politicise' faith,remember they are providing a public service, and just for good measure, remember that their charitable status depends on the government.
All well and good. But then we find that while it is wrong for ordinary employers and service providers to discriminate on the grounds of race , gender, sexuality e.t.c. when it comes to religious institutions it is a different matter. Different rules apply.
Apparently it is not for the Commission to be telling Churches how they should organise themselves and that a decision has been made not to pursue equality issues beyond the Church door.
In other words, Churches and other faith organisations can continue with practices,-women Bishops,gay Bishops,e.t.c. which, in other contexts would probably land them with a Tribunal or a Court appearance.
I rather suspect that it wasn't so much a decision to stop at the church door as finding that the 'church door,' far from being some charity, providing some kind of public service, is in fact, a very powerful organisation and that the door was too thick for the state to kick open.
So where does this lead the drive for equality, a supposedly universal principle to be universally applied?
If faith groups can opt-out why not others. To take the E.H.R.C policy to its logical conclusion it should be perfectly possible for an employer to discriminate in its recruitment of employees regards race, gender,e.t.c. providing they do not discriminate against customers!
Should having a religious belief exempt people from complying with laws the rest of us have to adhere to. Does it really matter?
Well,I don't know but, I suppose it's one definition of equality-ONLY GO FOR THE WEAK DOORS-
- There seems to be no area of our lives, whether public or private,that is not subject to the scrutiny of the 'Equality People' Yet, no one ever defines Equality. So, how will we know it when we see it? Is it definable? And are the principles of equality, however we define them, attainable?.Is the ever extending range of government regulation over our lives 'progress'Or,are we on the road to totalitarianism. Are we hindered or helped in our quest for rights and justice through membership of the E.U., U.N.,e.t.c. or, would a strengthening of our own Parliamentary Democracy serve us better. This Blog will comment on equality and related issues with the hope of making some small contribution to the debate. Feel free to post your opinions and share your thoughts and experiences. That way we can get a better idea of how we, the little people really feel about things. And,just maybe,we might even influence the debate!