Friday, October 28, 2011

Lucia Labour's Policy on Religion and my thoughts

David Farrar has been very busy today on his blog, quite a few political posts. Probably something to do with the upcoming election here in New Zealand.  Here is the beginning of his post on the Labour Party's Interfaith Policy:
Labour’s interfaith policy is mainly harmless platitudes such as:
Labour will commit to building harmonious relationships between communities of different faiths as intrinsic to ensuring strong, healthy and safe communities of understanding and tolerance in Aotearoa, New Zealand.
Hard to disagree with that!
I did appreciate the irony that the policy sites approvingly the ratification of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, considering Labour in Government refused to ratify it!
But one section grates with me:
Labour will work collaboratively across all government sectors to ensure that New Zealand’s diverse cultures and communities of faiths will be protected from racism, discrimination, prejudice and injustices.
First of all Labour conflates race with religion. You can not be racist against a religion. You do not choose your race but you do choose your religion. One can have a negative view of a particular religion, and this does not make you racist. Labour’s policy suggests that people who do not like certain religions are racists.

I've bolded the parts I want to come back to before I take a slight meander into a related topic - the increasing clash between religion and gay rights in the developed world.

I felt the need to point out that in the Western world there is now growing serious clash between religious discrimination and gay rights.  Because Labour have traditionally been the champions of gay rights here in New Zealand, it's a bit rich that they talk about protecting communities of faiths when they are behind setting up systems which will allow these rights to come into conflict. It's not bad here yet, but people of faith in other countries in the West, mostly Christians, are increasingly not able to practice their beliefs or even in some cases talk about them without fear of persecution, because of this clash with gay rights.

Here are some of the more recent cases of in one of the more extreme Western countries, Britain, that I could remember off the top of my head, that I searched on and listed as comments on Kiwiblog.

Gay couple wins discrimination case against Christian hoteliers, who refused to give the men a double room in their hotel because they weren’t married. Were ordered by the courts to pay the men compensation.
Last British Catholic adoption agency closes, because Catholic agencies were going to be forced to adopt children to same-sex couples.
Judges ruling against devout foster couple, banned from fostering any more children because of their views on sexual morality. The Equality and Human Rights Commission had argued during their trial, “that children risk being ‘infected’ by Christian moral views.”

And then there was the most recent thought crime in Britain, which was covered by ZenTiger in his recent post, Intolerance, I’ll give you Intolerance.  He wrote about a man who was demoted and given a 40% pay cut, because he dared to utter the following words, which could not be read by the general public, on his private FaceBook page, :
I don’t understand why people who have no faith and don’t believe in Christ would want to get hitched in church. The Bible is quite specific that marriage is for men and women. If the State wants to offer civil marriages to the same sex then that is up to the State; but the State shouldn’t impose its rules on places of faith and conscience.

And then the irony is that a commenter starts comparing sexuality with race, which was David's whole point on religion and race that I bolded above. The problem with that is (as I said on Kiwiblog), sexual orientation and religion is something that is learned, something that a person chooses to act upon. When a baby is born, they have no sexual orientation, nor do they have a religion, but every single person on this earth has a genetic structure which links them to particular racial groupings. Race is a physical characteristic and cannot be changed, your sexual preferences and your religion are not physical and [therefore] can be changed.

Could what is happening in Britain happen here in New Zealand as well? Can't see why not. The only way to stop it is for New Zealanders to be aware of what has been happening in the world, no matter how insane sounding and realise that we too are not immune from idiocy. Think of this issue as the canary in the coalmine for freedom of opinion and expression - if the Christians go down, how long until you are next?  And looking at the policy above, could Labour be thinking about ensuring only particular religions that are more tied to particular ethnicities have preference over other rights as well?

Related link: Labour's interfaith policy ~ KiwiBlog

7 comment(s):

leftrightout said...

Ah yes, the Christians, the last group its OK to discriminate against. Or at least that's what you'd like us to believe, but where is the real discrimination?

Case 1 - The prosecution would be succesful against any business that discrinminates on the grounds of sexual orientation or marital status. The religion of the hoteliers is a red herring as any business ownwer, be that chsristian, muslim, atheist, or even homosexual, has to abide by this law. It is not discriminating against christians, it is preventing them discriminating against others.

Case 2 - As above. The law relating to adoption is a secular law and must be obeyed by all. Why should catholics expect special treatment over and above everyone else?

case 3 - Again the couple are not being discriminated against, they are being prevented from discriminating against others. Imagine the harm they could do to a gay ward by preaching homosexuality is a sin.

Not one of these people are being prevented from observing their religion, they are just being prevented from enforcing their religion on others.

How odd too that your examples are from Britain, a country with an established church and unelected members of parlaiment based on nothing more than their religion.

Only 2 countries in the world appoint unelected clerics to their parlaiment.

Andrei said...

LRO there is nothing wrong with discrimination - everybody does it all the time.

If for example a person just released from prison for theft as a servant gets declined for a job as a cashier they have been discriminated against but nobody would feel that the employer who did this did anything wrong.

However those with specific left wing agendas have succeeded in getting "anti-discrimination laws" passed in order to advance those agendas. These laws can and have been be used as a club to persecute those who do not subscribe to that agenda.

There are many many things culturally disapproved of e.g. the modern attitudes to smoking which are mediated by discrimination - I believe Auckland Hospital Board no longer hires smokers - say.

If smoking were deemed a "human right" then they could be hauled over the coals for this and while Christianity, does not despite your fizzing force its views on others - left wing activists do, as do militant atheists when they go after public prayers etc

Lucia Maria said...

LRO,

In Case 1, the hoteliers were willing to give the men single rooms - as they would for unmarried hetro couples - but, no, that wasn't good enough. Unmarried hetro couples don't tend to cry discrimination, so we don't hear about all the situations where they are unable to get a room together.

In Case 2, the law in question was a very recent secular law, while as the last Catholic agency to close in Britain had a 100 year history of adopting children out to married couples. Yes, the law is the law, but now a very successful adoption agency has closed, creating a loss in the whole system, and just because a law exists doesn't mean that it is right.

In Case 3, the couple will no longer be able to care for children, who, most likely found a wonderful welcoming home with these people who have an old-fashioned morality. That's not being stopped from discriminating against any one else.

You say: "Not one of these people are being prevented from observing their religion, they are just being prevented from enforcing their religion on others."

Oh crap. Religion is not a private thing, where you believe one thing, but act in the way that society pressures you to act. If it were, if a person like myself were to live that way - the ban against you commenting on this blog would have been enforced once I realised who you were under the guise of that user-name.

leftrightout said...

In Case 1, the hoteliers were willing to give the men single rooms - as they would for unmarried hetro couples

How do they know who the unmarried hetro couples are? If I was denied a room with my partner because of my (un)marital status, I assure you I would "cry discrimination".

just because a law exists doesn't mean that it is right.

Well, that's what I've always said about "god's laws".

In Case 3, the couple will no longer be able to care for children, who, most likely found a wonderful welcoming home with these people who have an old-fashioned morality. That's not being stopped from discriminating against any one else.

Bullcrap! What would they do to a child in their "care" who was feeling his way about sexuality? Beat the poof out of hm? Tell him he is damned for eternity for acting out the way he was born?

the ban against you commenting on this blog would have been enforced once I realised who you were under the guise of that user-name.


OK, this has goy my interest? Who am I? Take this as my explicit permission to reveal who you think I am. I give you my promise that I will hold you blameless for any consequences accruing to me by this revelation.

ZenTiger said...

I think you and Fugley are one and the same. I also think you also use the handle MyNameIsJack.

Have I got it wrong?

ZenTiger said...

Bullcrap! What would they do to a child in their "care" who was feeling his way about sexuality? Beat the poof out of hm?

I thought your whole point was Christians are displaying prejudice and bias specifically against gays?

Seems you have no compunction about making generalisations about how Christians would behave.

leftrightout said...

think you and Fugley are one and the same. I also think you also use the handle MyNameIsJack

Well I was hoping for a Lucia Mari answer as I thought she had genuinely unmasked me. Many have tried, all have failed. And no, my initials are not PP, no matter what some kiwiblogidiots aver.

I do not think I have ever made any attemot tohid the fact that I post at Kiwiblog as MNIJ. LRO came later, and as Mr Farrar detests multis, I chose to abide by his rule and remain MNIJ there.

Now, I have been called many things in my life, but Fucking Ugly ahs never been one of them. Have you seen my photo?

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