Cross montage
European Union

EU Court moves toward a ban on Christians wearing crosses in the workplace

 

This isn’t the headline in most of the UK media, for some reason, which appears to prefer singling out Muslims and hijabs. There’s nothing quite like a bit of Islamomania in a morning to go with your toast and marmalade, is there? ‘Top EU court adviser backs workplace Muslim headscarf ban‘, says the BBC. ‘EU’s top judge backs workplace ban on headscarves‘, writes the Independent. ‘Senior EU lawyer backs workplace ban on Muslim headscarves‘, proclaims the Guardian., above a picture of Muslim women wearing sky-blue burqas (which the Guardian calls a ‘headscarf’) emblazoned with the stars of the EU flag. ‘Top European Union court adviser says employers should be allowed to ban Islamic headscarves‘, says the Evening Standard, while the Express goes with: ‘Bosses can ban Muslims wearing headscarves at work‘.

It’s left to the Telegraph to take a more equitable and accurate approach to headlines: ‘Bosses can ban headscarves and crucifixes, EU judge says‘, they write (noting that ‘crucifix’ sounds a bit meatier than ‘cross’ in the spectrum of hallowed bling). But even this doesn’t extend to kippahs, tichels, turbans or karas. Why not just say: ‘Bosses can ban religious clothing and jewellery in the workplace’? Or does that leave hanging the fuzzy question of facial hair? Should hirsute tendencies be exempt? If so, why?

The legal opinion (HERE in full) was issued by Juliane Kokott, an Advocate General to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), in response to clarification sought by a Belgian court on what precisely is banned under anti-discrimination laws, following the dismissal of a receptionist who refused her employer’s request not to wear her hijab at work.

Samira Achbita worked for G4S, a Belgian security company. She claimed the ban on her wearing a hijab amounted to discrimination on the grounds of her religion, especially since the company had no written dress-code policy asserting any kind of ‘neutrality’. The opinion issued by Juliane Kokott is that such a ban is not discriminatory, provided that the employer prohibits all employees from wearing any articles of religious clothing or other visible symbols. This seems such an obvious argument that it hardly needs a 14,000-word legal opinion to make it. The point is that a ban on wearing a hijab in the workplace may be admissible if the ban is based on a general company rule to ensure “religious and ideological neutrality”: if no religious symbols are permitted, the ethos becomes one of political, religious and philosophical non-expression.

The ECJ will now consider what final guidance to issue, and whether the legal anti-discrimination principle trumps the freedom of religion enshrined in Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 10 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. After all, if everyone has “the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion”, and that right includes the “freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance”, how can that manifestation practically extend to the public realm but not to the place of employment? Will a Muslim woman walk along the street in a hijab but be required to remove it as she enters through her workplace door? Will a Sikh gentleman be required to unravel his turban and shave on the pavement? We’re not talking about those cases where religious clothing may present an obvious endangerment to health and safety, such as hygiene in hospitals: this is about benign practice and observance. You can see millions of euros now heading toward lawyers’ coffers as they argue whether hijabs, turbans and beards are mandatory observances, while crosses and crucifixes are nothing but expendable trinkets.

But Advocate General Kokkot offers an interesting comparative point:

While an employee cannot ‘leave’ his sex, skin colour, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age or disability ‘at the door’ upon entering his employer’s premises, he may be expected to moderate the exercise of his religion in the workplace, be this in relation to religious practices, religiously motivated behaviour or (as in the present case) his clothing.

Setting aside the contentious science/religion nature/nurture dispute over whether sexual orientation is innate and fixed or moral choice and mutable, is she saying that a Sikh may not wear a kara, and a Muslim may not wear a hijab, but a gay person may wear (say) a rainbow bracelet, pink-power T-shirts or a Terence Higgins Trust lapel badge? If “discrimination may be justified in order to enforce a policy of religious and ideological neutrality”, why does that extend only to religious clothing and jewellery? In order to ban hijabs, is an employer not also obliged to ban the wearing of poppies or ‘end-cancer-now’ advocacy jewellery? Surely a ban founded on a general rule must be applied generally? If employers are no longer to be required to show flexibility in matters of political or philosophical expression, or in religious manifestation, why should they tolerate any employee who manifests or expresses anything political, philosophical or religious which contravenes the ‘neutrality’ (which is no neutrality at all) of the secular, apolitical, amoral workplace?

And what if religious belief is no more a matter of choice than sex, ethnicity or sexuality? There is a considerable body of evidence in the field of cognitive science which suggests that the propensity toward religious belief may be genetic and inescapable. This being so, the mandatory demand to renounce or deny a cultural manifestation of that innate belief becomes an offence to identity and diversity.

Juliane Kokott’s legal opinion is not binding on the ECJ, but the Court does tend to take such opinions very seriously and rule in accordance with them. It certainly gives an indication of how the EU’s supreme court will rule in similar cases from now on, which ought not to surprise us: indeed, it ought to spur us on toward ever-further Brexit. How long before the Established Church is ruled discriminatory? How long before the Monarch’s Coronation Oath is ruled inequitable? How long before Bibles are banned from state schools under the guise of political, philosophical and religious ‘neutrality’?

The EU is a product of secular Enlightenment idealism. It is becoming aggressively anti-Christian because it is pathologically anti-religious, under the guise of rationalism and an assertion of the necessary truths of reason. It is intolerant of the Cross of Christ and the Star of David because it cannot brook any revelation which might challenge its infallible and immutable creeds. Human rights and equality and are its archai kai exousiai. In order to guard the European Union from Islamification, it has to eradicate the residues of Christendom, for that is equitable and ‘neutral’. If we remain subject to its legal authority, we will witness a prohibition upon Christians not to worship in private, for that is guaranteed by the Charter, but to walk in spirit and in truth, for the gospel is a scandal and the Cross an offence.

While politicians wrangle over issues of economics and hypnotise us with how the merchants of the earth may or may not trade, we are being taken captive by judicial activism. The prophetic vision is blurred by the political reality. The EU is no community of faith: it is no home to Christian values or sacred virtues. Vote to remain on 23rd June, and it will mean the end of centuries of hard-won rights and incrementally-gained liberties. The witness of history cries out.

  • EUARK33

    It’s nice to be in the legal profession – we can introduce all sorts of laws that contradict each other, and use a never-ending stream of tax payers money to resolve those contradictions.

    Kerching!

    • Anton

      The legal profession does not make laws, as the Legislature and the Judiciary are formally separate. There are an awful lot of lawyers in Parliament, though…

      • EUARK33

        Good point – it’s all a bit incestuous.

      • Royinsouthwest

        Actually the legal profession does make laws by the way it interprets the laws made by the legislature. You are right about Parliament being riddled with lawyers, however. If Parliament were full of engineers and our bridges, buildings etc. kept falling down there would be an outcry against the engineering profession. It does not matter what problems the legal profession cause, e.g. in preventing foreign criminals from being deported, the money still rolls in.

  • Sigfridiii

    Laïcité – or liberty? Brexit is the only hope of saving the UK from the rationalist madness.

  • Anton

    There are ironies in this debate. Not many generations ago you would not have seen a factory girl in the north of England walking round without her shawl, a garment indistinguishable in practice from the hijab. And in the 1990s it was a fashion statement for macho cricketers to wear a silver cross, no matter how secular they were.

    This ruling is indeed a sign that the EU is against all revealed religion. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Since not all revealed religions are the same, the answer is mixed. But the historical aspect of the debate should not be ignored: Europe has been the traditional home of institutional Christianity, at least.

    I agree with His Grace that Brexit is vital. But Christians should take heart no matter what. During the church’s first three centuries we did not and could not safely wear our faith anywhere but in our hearts, yet Christianity spread like wildfire throughout the Roman Empire (and beyond, to Persia, Ireland and Ethiopia).

  • Dreadnaught

    Wearing a cross or star under clothing when at work would be a small price to pay.

  • The EU is a product of secular Enlightenment idealism. It is becoming aggressively anti-Christian because it is pathologically anti-religious

    If the EU were anti-religious, it would not have thrown its doors open to Islam, a religion that eats the anti-religious for breakfast. An anti-religious EU would have thanked its lucky stars for a Christianity in decline, and it would have defended its borders against Islam. No, the EU is anti-Christian, full stop.

    As for the ECJ, the thinking Muslim recognizes that a burqa ban is a very small price to pay for the conquest of Europe.

    • Anton

      An anti-religious EU would have thanked its lucky stars for a Christianity in decline, and it would have defended its borders against Islam. No, the EU is anti-Christian, full stop.

      Absolutely right. It’s enough to make one think that anti-Christian forces might even be spiritually coordinated…

    • The Explorer

      After all, once you’ve conquered Europe you can do away with the ECJ and all its works.

    • Coniston

      The EU is anti-religious, but it cannot be seen to be opposed to Islam for that would be ‘islamophobic’, which would never do.

  • As someone contemplating gender fluidity, Jack is offended by people dressing as male or female. They should leave their clothes ‘at the door’.

    • Anton

      Toga! Toga! Toga!

      • Burqa! Burqa! Burqa!

        • Anton

          Well, Burqa King, you started the references to cinema! Can you spot two films in my Toga comment?

          • Up Pompeii?

          • Anton

            50%! Pubcrawler got them.

          • You didn’t catch my late edit(s).

          • Pubcrawler

            *preens*

          • Pubcrawler

            Animal House

            Tora! Tora! Tora!

          • Animal House?

    • Then if they are naked they will have to have their distinctive genitals removed in order to not upset any one. How far do you go with this rubbish.
      Or hide in one of those awful baggy old boiler suits so that everyone is equal.

      • Hmmm …. Health and Safety would require some of one’s ‘bits’ being protected. Jack likes the idea of a genderless boiler suit for all.

        • It won’t be popular. Wasn’t it reminiscent of the past, why do you want to go backwards? Companies spend a lot of money on branded uniforms for male and female.

    • The Explorer

      Contemplating gender fluidity, eh? Happy Jacqui.

      • How traditional of you, Explorer. Why does Jack have to restrict choice to either male or female?

        • The Explorer

          Indeed. You can post in 56 different gender modes. Linus, eat your heart out: so far there’s only been eight of you!

        • Why indeed, have a set of both and swap over your hormone treatment yearly. What are you this year Jack or Jacqui? What fun!

    • Inspector General

      You too! Then you might like Pink News today. Yet another article on why we segregate toilets at all. Segregation is so so wrong, it seems.

      • It does make life difficult when one is experiencing gender fluidity. Why should Jack have to decide if s/he is male or female before peeing?

        • Pubcrawler

          Just have a pot to hand and go with whatever feels right at the time.

          • Now, what was that film where a chap had a tube ‘fitted’ and leading to a vestibule in his lower trousers?

          • It was Kid Shelleen in Cat Ballou.

          • Pubcrawler

            Fine film.

            “He did it! He missed the barn!”

          • “I smell a water hole!”

          • Pubcrawler

            A man after my own heart.

          • Gathered that from the ID.

        • Inspector General

          Have you considered a catheter leg bag…

          • Great minds! That’s rather drastic and Jack has a less intrusive option in mind. It involves a length of hose pipe (well expanded) and a water flask.

          • Inspector General

            The Inspector wears a leg bag. They’re great! No more queues for the toilet for him, I can tell you. Of course, leakage can be a bit of a problem…

          • Wouldn’t want to have to run for a bus either …..

          • Inspector General

            As a Guinness drinker, one finds the bag excellent for the ‘perfect head’…

          • Inspector, that expression is way too provocative for the Linus’ of this world. He’ll think you’re boasting.

          • Inspector General

            Oh dear…

          • Anton

            Handy for regimental dinners?

  • The Explorer

    If an established church still meant anything, it would be possible to say yes to a crucifix and no to a hijab. As it is, the only way to get rid of the one is to get rid of the other: we have the multi-faith society without having officially got rid of the established church. The situation contradicts itself, but the EU thrives on doublethink.

    Does it mean that the only way to rid ourselves of Muslim schools is by ridding ourselves of Christian, Sikh and Jewish schools as well?

    • Coniston

      Yes.

      • Anton

        Not if society is willing to view some religions as intrinsically political. Our society knows how to deal with subversive political movements.

    • One can understand an employer objecting to the niqab, but what’s wrong with the hijab?

      • The Explorer

        I was citing paragraph 4.

  • Inspector General

    The Inspector is absolutely in favour of individuals wearing whatever they like. Of course, in the workplace there is such a thing as a uniform approach and that is acceptable, within reason. But one finds these days that ‘within reason’ is / was purely a British laissez faire. It seems for our continental masters who rule us from Brussels ‘within reason’ has to be defined to atomic level. What could be decided at Industrial Tribunal level now becomes a matter of state importance with highly paid lawyers, well, being highly paid from it.

    If only we had the chance to leave the EU to argue amongst themselves and get ourselves back to normal and concentrate on the essential – to wit, trading with the world. A world that wants to do business with us!

    • jsampson45

      I doubt if we would escape from this sort of stuff by leaving the EU. Now the Scots have dental receptionists being bullied by “named persons” to divulge confidential information about their patients. All the same, we can now choose to free ourselves from *some* of our godless masters.

      • Inspector General

        The Inspector is convinced that before he bids goodbye to this world, a new age of reason will prevail…

  • David

    Are we surprised by these anti-Christian moves from that tyranny the EU ?
    I doubt it !

    I can foresee anti-Christian activist judges, full of centralising pro-EU zeal, finding ways to accommodate other faiths – after all “beards and the long hair under turbans cannot be removed easily at the workplace door, whilst crosses and crucifixes are mere “accessories” and easily set aside” etc etc.

    Yes, it is obvious now, even to the slow witted, that the Humanist based EU hates Christianity. After all Humanism, being but a pale shadow of its “parent” source, Christianity, is far more malleable in its advice for living, than firm Christian morality. It is therefore a more “useful” faith, in the Bentham utilitarian sense, than stubborn and principled sincere Christianity. For to remake a continent in the economically efficient image desired by the international corporates, and their captive politicos, they must stamp out the source of liberties like freedom of thought, speech, conscience and religion; for all these things spring from the Judaeo-Christian belief of the dignity of human beings, made in the image of God. So yes they must crush the troublesome, ancestral faith which created ideas around liberty and human dignity. Once Christianity is squashed then Humanism can be reworked, “freed’ from its outdated ties with earlier faiths, to create a more “flexible and dynamic culture”. Oh no, totalitarian rulers have never liked competition from distant deities.

    Pray God that the a majority can be persuaded to walk towards the light and away from the darkness.

  • len

    There are some issues that common sense should decree that we observe regardless of any religion . Wearing necklaces could be a health and safety issue in some professions ie getting electrocuted or strangled by same necklace. Also matters of security by people wearing head coverings which only leave slits for eyes to peer out off(could be anybody under such garments?)
    But blanket bands on jewellery or garments are where we depart from common sense and wander into the realms of Political Correctness.

  • DanJ0

    Good employers make allowances for religious garb and accoutrements where practical, and for religious activities such as praying or trips to the mosque on Friday lunchtimes. There is surely scope for a good employer to (say) allow a hijab but not allow a nicab without being on the wrong side of undue discrimination or triggering a case at an employment tribunal on the basis of religious rights? If so then we need to bottle that scope and sell it on.

    • Anton

      That is the problem: there isn’t.

      • DanJ0

        I’d be happy for a court to set out a list of religious stuff which is generally thought to be mandatory in a religion, and allow the rest to be restricted or not according to an individual employer’s policy. Turbans, hijabs, magic underpants, kippas, etc, presumably qualify. Crucifixes, taqiyahs, khet partugs, etc, do not.

        • Anton

          The problem is in compiling the list. If the State does it then the various religions will cry foul, while if the religions do it then each will suffer internal dissent as subsects fight for government imprimatur, and every religion will push the envelope.

        • CliveM

          Thing is there is no external symbol obligatory for Christians. Not even a crucifix.

  • David

    One of the problems with these illiberal controls is to ascertain where faith ends and culture begins. It is a minefield.
    I would ban nothing except where there are genuine and demonstrable safety issues, problems of communication and “readability” of a person’s face or body language, or where the clothing or accruement seriously impairs efficiency.

  • DanJ0

    It seems to me that opening the workplace up to a religious right to manifest one’s religion in general will inevitably mean that employers such as supermarkets must allow Muslim checkout staff to refuse to sell or handle alcohol.

    • Inspector General

      Oh Lord! Not you bringing out that one again. Are you in a Civil Partnership with it, per chance….

    • William Lewis

      Refusing to handle certain goods in a supermarket is clearly a hindrance in performing the job. Wearing a crucifix (or hijab even) is neither here nor there except, perhaps, for those offended by public displays of religion.

    • len

      The Muslim staff are merely handling alcohol containers not obliged to pour out drinks or consume the alcohol themselves.IF alcohol is that dangerous to be near should Muslims actually be in the same building as alcohol?.

      • Anton

        They are happy to serve it in the local curry house.

      • DanJ0

        One of my Muslim colleagues refuses to pay the whole bill (which the most senior person typically does) when other colleagues have alcohol with their meal. I wondered at that so I looked it up. There are a number of referenced sites which Google immediately pulls up which support his position so it appears that our Muslims citizens who make a strand on this have a reasonable defence.

    • sarky
      • DanJ0

        Supermarkets have different policies on this. As I said, a good employer will make reasonable accommodation for religious stuff. They will all have to give way if a religious right is created.

  • Uncle Brian
  • len

    It would seem somewhat odd for the EU to ban some articles of Muslim clothing when countries within the EU have flung open their gates to the Islamic world and invited all in?
    As for Christians just have a huge cross printed on your T shirts, have marches, get a few celebrities on board, and claim your rights as ‘a minority group'(always works)

    • Anton

      Seen the front page of today’s Daily Star?

  • carl jacobs

    An employer can make reasonable demands, and typically will make reasonable accommodations. This is simply not a hill worth dying on. Especially given the number of people who wear Christian ornaments with no religious purpose.

    Having said that, it’s important that “philosophical neutrality” be enforced as well. This could easily become “No religion allowed, but (ahem) atheism isn’t a religion of course.” Sause for the goose. Sause for the gander.

    • “Sause for the goose. Sause for the gander.”
      Hmm …. another Americanism or a mistake?

      • carl jacobs

        What are you talking about, Jack?

        • That metaphor didn’t work too well !

          • carl jacobs

            You sounded like you were suggesting I misspelled a word. Which is of course inconceivable. One could speculate on potential causes that might make it appear like I misspelled a word. Like for example an autocorrect that produced “cause” and a too quick fix to “sause.” All quite hypothetical, of course.

          • Of course, Carl. One understands you are infallible.
            What?! Is that a pink pig Jack sees flying past his window?

          • carl jacobs

            You are seeing pink elephants? Now what would induce that? Well, that explains why you mistyped the quote from my post. You should have used “cut-and-paste.”

          • “You are seeing pink elephants?”
            Hmm ….

          • carl jacobs

            Elephants …pigs … same concept.

          • The phrase “when pigs fly” is an adynaton – a figure of speech so hyperbolic that it describes an impossibility. The implication of such a phrase is that the circumstances in question (the adynaton, and the circumstances to which the adynaton is being applied) will never occur.

            http://www.authorsden.com/PoetryImage/123567.jpg

          • carl jacobs

            But you clearly indicated that you were seeing a “flying pink pig” which is (along with flying pink elephants) associated with a particular overindulgence of alcohol. The phrase “when pigs fly” does not appear in your post.

            What?! Is that a pink pig Jack sees flying past his window?

          • Jack overestimated your ability, Grasshopper. It was unreasonable to expect you to fathom his reference. Jack expected you to possess enough knowledge to spot the allusion and grasp its significance.

            Is this because you are an American; or that you are an engineer; or is it because you are a Calvinist?

          • carl jacobs

            Sorry, Jack. Got distracted.

            These videos are addictive.

          • Expand your mind, Carl.

          • carl jacobs

            Steam engines are far more interesting. And steam expands in the cylinder, you know. I mean, if expansion is some kind of necessary criterion, that is

          • “Steam engines are far (sic) interesting.”

          • carl jacobs

            Jack, you have to give people time to edit their posts – especially when they post by phone. I had that mistake fixed before you finished your cut and paste.

          • Strike while the iron is hot.

            (That’s an idiom, Carl)

          • Anton

            Ever visited Ironbridge and Coalbrookdale in Shropshire, where the Industrial Revolution began, Carl? Amazing places, great museums.

          • Anton

            Inflatable… flying pigs were one of the staple props of [Pink Floyd’s] live shows… The original Pink Floyd pig was designed by Roger Waters and built in December 1976… in preparation for shooting the cover of the Animals album. Plans were made to fly the forty-foot, helium-filled balloon over Battersea Power Station on the first day’s photo-shoot, with a marksman prepared to shoot the pig down if it broke free. However, the pig was not launched. On the second day, the marksman wasn’t present because no one had told him to return. The pig broke free due to a strong gust of wind on the third day… It disappeared from sight within five minutes, and was spotted by airline pilots at thirty thousand feet in the air. Flights at Heathrow Airport were cancelled as the huge inflatable pig flew through the path of aircraft, eastwards from Britain and out over the English Channel, finally landing on a rural farm in Kent that night.

            From:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pink_Floyd_pigs

          • Anton

            Listening to Pink Floyd again?

  • Jon Sorensen

    Christians are explaining again how they are oppressed and there is discrimination against Christians, while Churches got their own exemption in the Equality Act. It’s a great to see churches complaining about discrimination while they demand to have a right to discriminate! Christians showing their true colours…

    • Phil R

      Good Jon

      I hope to see you campaign for the removal of all women or all-gay shortlists and the restrictions on Employment where there are cultural sensitivities. E.g. Providing gay counseling services.

      • Jon Sorensen

        Hi Phil, are you sure you are not projecting churches need to continue to discriminate against women and gays? But don’t worry, once religions stop discriminating against women and gays they don’t need their exemptions either. Just like if religions disappear we will not need Recovering from Religion hotlines.

        • Phil R

          Christians do not discriminate

          • Jon Sorensen

            LOL. You look outside you Christian-only web sites. Since when do Churches hire openly gay bible teachers or Muslim organ players or women pastors in all churches or atheist Salvation army workers or evolution accepting humans in Christian Ark Park or… discrimination is just never ending…

          • Anton

            What do you take discrimination to mean?

          • Jon Sorensen

            Privileged Christians requiring religious exemption don’t seem to understand that…

          • Anton

            Would you be so good as to answer the question?

          • Jon Sorensen

            Is it really that hard to find an online dictionary?

          • Anton

            Why are you ducking the question?

          • Jon Sorensen

            The first Google link;
            discrimination noun: “treating a person or particular group of people differently, especially in a worse way from the way in which you treat other people, because of their skin colour, sex, sexuality, etc.

          • Anton

            I’d say treating people differently who are the same.

          • Jon Sorensen

            OMG. Have a think about it again… “the same”.
            Just use the dictionary definition, don’t make a new meaning to discriminate.

          • Anton

            OMG?

          • Phil R

            Your exanples are irrelevant

          • Jon Sorensen

            Of course those are irrelevant to you in your Christian privileged position. We all know that.

          • Phil R

            OK. So you want to object to some discrimination that you thought up in your head and you think the Christians should respond to.

            So lets run with it (although it reminds me of several Monty Python Sketches) we all know that whatever you “feel” discriminated about, even if Christians respond to it you will “feel” differently next week or next month and so we will have different issues to respond to.

            Also why does it matter? There are loads of women and gays in Church, who are not compelled to attend in any way. They could set up their own “non discriminatory” Churches and a very few do, but most do not and interestingly do not flock to the liberal non discriminatory church in town for some reason……!

            You see Jon, I am greedy and selfish. They are sins. However, I still go to a Church that condemns these sins. I could argue that a measure of greed and selfishness is good for society. This view would not be accepted by my Church and I (rightly) would not be given any leadership roles. Am I being discriminated against? Yes I am. But the point is to obey God’s laws, not what I “feel” is right at this point in time.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Phil, I don’t need to “thought up” “in [my] head” discrimination. Christians have come up the ways discriminate. Just two days ago Salvos asked money from me. They would be happy to take my money while promoting that they would be happy to discriminate against me on their web site. It’s not how if “feel”. It is how Christian policy is to behave.

            You asked like slave owners:

            “Also why does it matter? There are loads of women and gays in Church, who are not compelled to attend in any way. They could set up their own “non discriminatory” Churches”

            Why can’t we have our slaves while people who don’t like slavery can have their own system? Privileged people like you always want to keep discriminating while acting confused like saying:

            “This view would not be accepted by my Church and I (rightly) would not be given any leadership roles. Am I being discriminated against because my interpretation of scripture is not accepted?”

            As you would not be excluded from leadership roles because of your gender. A woman holding accepted views would never be given any leadership roles because a gender. Your cognitive dissonance is shining bright…

            …as you parrot your inconsistent pick and choose beliefs:

            “The point is to obey God’s laws, not what I “feel” is right at this point in time”

            while you don’t seem to obey your God’s law Lev 20:13. I guess you think that it not “right at this point in time”.

          • Phil R

            “A woman holding accepted views would never be given any leadership roles because of gender”

            This is simply not true. Many women hold leadership roles. Some are high profile and extremely successful. Joyce Meyer for example.

            So go and tell Joyce Meyer that she is a slave.

            It may surprise you that she will probably agree with you Jon.

            As will my wife, my daughters, my sons,

            and also me.

          • Jon Sorensen

            You claimed that:
            “A woman holding accepted views would never be given any leadership roles because of gender”… is simply not true

            So how many bishops or cardinals Catholic church have promoted from Catholic women? I attended couple of years ago an Anglican run Bible study. They would not let a woman teach there if a male pastor was not present in the room, and their pastor confirm that they will “never” have female pastors or bishops in their area. And what about if you are a female Mormon or JW… how are your opportunities for leadership position? Is Joyce Meyer now in leadership position in your church?

            You might not have understood the slave analogy. Please read it again.

            Of course you don’t enforcing Lev 20:13 anytime soon either. Your God’s never changing morals change so fast is hard to keep track of it. But amuse me and tell me where Jesus said in NT that God’s moral code in OT is no longer valid. I think you just made it up and will now run away from this problem.

            You said that Christians did not invent the rules God laid down? How do you know this? Are you really saying Mormons did not invent God’s rules? Are you saying that the ordination of women in the Anglican Communion are now God’s rules? Sound like invented rules.

          • Phil R

            Just a few facts.

            Joyce Meyer is a hugely successful Evangelist. Her message is for women. Her husband is always present and she preaches under his authority.

            There are numerous examples of where Jesus changed the OT law. Probably the most famous are in relation to marriage and food. But the real message was that we had a new covenant and we were not saved by following the law.

            Christians are slaves to Christ. That means exactly what it says. We are willing slaves. Christ told us to keep the law, but we are not saved by the law. Salvation does not depend on us keeping it.

            “Are you saying that the ordination of women in the Anglican Communion are now God’s rules, sounds like invented rules”. That is exactly what they are. As you can see worldwide, the Anglican Church is doing so well in areas that it makes up its own rules. (The last bit was irony in case like Carl here you don’t get irony)

          • Jon Sorensen

            Just a few facts.

            Joyce Meyer made it herself. Not in sexist Catholic and Anglican church. Her success does not take away the fact that other churches discriminate so this is a non sequitur.

            You said: “There are numerous examples of where Jesus changed the OT law”
            So tell me already where he changed Lev 20:13. Like I said… you will just run away from the problem with excuses.

            You still don’t get the slave analogy.

            “Salvation does not depend on us keeping [the law].”
            This is just your Johnny come late opinion. People who wrote the law book do not agree with your much later re-interpretation.

            I agree with you that Anglican Communion invented rules. I just think they might have invented all of them…

          • Phil R

            “Salvation does not depend on us keeping [the law].”
            This is just your Johnny come late opinion. People who wrote the law book do not agree with your much later re-interpretation”

            Not my reinterpretation. It is called the New Covenant.

            If you understand what the New Covenant is, you will start to get the rest of the argument.

            The point about Joyce Meyer is that she is theologically conservative as they come when it comes to gender roles and the authority of scripture. Far more conservative than the the Catholic and the “sexist” (LOL!) Anglican Church.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “New” Covenant is the late reinterpretation just like book of Mormon. You are like Mormons saying “If you understand what the New Testimony is, you will start to get the rest of the argument… Riiiight

            Notice how you run away from the straight question “So tell me already where Jesus changed Lev 20:13”. This always happens when you ask an Anglican a biblical question.

            Nice to see that you don’t recognize sexism when pointed out to you.

          • Phil R

            Sexism?

            Christians believe that all are all, men and women, “sons of God”. (Obviously not literally, but in status)

            Lev 20:13?

            Jesus did not overrule Lev 20:13 you right. But he made it very difficult to carry it out. Read about the woman caught in adultery and his response to those who wanted to apply the letter of the law

          • Jon Sorensen

            Sexism?

            Yes, Sexism in Anglican/Catholic/JW/Mormon church
            “Sexism or gender discrimination is prejudice or discrimination based on a person’s sex or gender”
            So when some jobs like being a bishop is only reserved of one gender that is sexism.

            Funny how you think that all “sons of God” status people are not eligible for “sons of God” jobs. Strong cognitive dissonance you have.

            Lev 20:13?

            I’m glad you now agree that Jesus didn’t change that even when he had a chance to do it. As we know he confirmed it by saying that:
            “until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”

            First you said that New Testament suggest not to enforce it. Now you say Jesus didn’t change it, but he made it very difficult to carry it out. Christians don’t seem to have any problem convicting murders and robber.. so selective is their morality. Funniest thing is that you offer “woman caught in adultery” as an explanation while everyone knows that was added to the bible hundreds of year later. What ever happened to the rule not to change the scripture?

          • carl jacobs

            Christians do not discriminate

            Sure we do. We do it all the time. People are sinful and we are not excluded. The difference is that he can call us hypocrites by our own standard. What standard governs him? Who told him it was wrong?

            It should also be mentioned that discrimination is not by definition bad. We must practice discrimination in daily life. That’s how job candidates are separated. We must practice moral discrimination in real life. That’s how laws are made, and punishments determined.

            What people generally mean by discrimination is “You are judging according to a criteria that I reject.” That is really Jon’s complaint. It’s a disguised attack on a standard of morality he rejects. Nothing more. By what authority does he reject it? He’ll never say.

          • Phil R

            Agreed Carl

            However I was referring to our belief that we do not determine who is saved. In essence we do not discriminate in any way that really matters.

    • The Explorer

      Welcome back, Jon

      • Jon Sorensen

        Thanks Explorer, I thought this village was missing the idiot so here I am….

  • Eustace

    It seems eminently sensible to me to ban religious expression in the workplace. Religion is a private matter. Unless it’s specifically written into their job description, employers don’t pay their workers to proselytize their colleagues or to foist their religious opinions on them.

    • Then answer this:
      ” …. is she saying that a Sikh may not wear a kara, and a Muslim may not wear a hijab, but a gay person may wear (say) a rainbow bracelet, pink-power T-shirts or a Terence Higgins Trust lapel badge? If “discrimination may be justified in order to enforce a policy of religious and ideological neutrality”, why does that extend only to religious clothing and jewellery?”

      • Teresa Carmel Gresswell

        Now your getting rediclious!!!.a pink braclet is just a fashion item girlie stuff!!!.nothing to do with religion.

      • Eustace

        Religion excludes and condemns therefore the expression of religious belief by its very nature discriminates against those who do not live their lives according to that belief.

        Wearing an LGBT symbol does not say anything about anyone except the person who wears it. It discriminates against nobody.

        In saying that however, depending on the job, an employer might be quite justified in asking his employees to refrain from wearing any kind of symbol or badge. If the job entails wearing a uniform, for example, then a rainbow bracelet or lapel badge might be just as unacceptable as a cross or a headscarf.

        If however the employer has no objection to personal embellishment, then LGBT symbols, along with any other kind of symbol that defines an individual without making a political statement about what others should or shouldn’t do is quite acceptable as far as I’m concerned.

        Want to wear a “straight pride” badge. Go right ahead. There’s nothing wrong with being straight and being straight doesn’t impose a value judgment on those who are not. But a cross, well that says that the Bible is God’s law, and God’s law discriminates against many different minorities, so wearing a cross is tantamount to saying that women and gays should be discriminated against. It’s a statement of political intent designed to promote the belittlement and oppression of others. That’s why it should be banned in work environments, where each individual should have the right to go about his business unmolested.

        • ” … wearing a cross is tantamount to saying that women and gays should be discriminated against. It’s a statement of political intent designed to promote the belittlement and oppression of others.”

          Certainly a Cross ought to represent certain views about the relationship between men and women and proclaim a belief in the Gospel. But how terribly illiberal and intolerant – not to say mealy mouthed of you. Are you so incapable of answering Christian moral objections to homosexuality that you insist their ideas be outlawed?

        • The Explorer

          ‘Religion excludes and condemns.’ Not necessarily. Aztec religion was inclusive: it would sacrifice anybody.

          • Eustace

            The Aztec religion was not inclusive. Enemies were excluded, and if they could be captured, were then enslaved and condemned to a gruesome death.

            That’s how blood cults work. Look at the history of your own religion.

          • The Explorer

            It was pretty hard to enslave and sacrifice enemies UNLESS you captured them first.

    • The Explorer

      “Religion is a private matter” is factually inaccurate. Aztec religion was very public. So was Soviet communism (which Bertrand Russell deemed a religion) with its public parades.

      What you mean is, religion OUGHT to be a private matter because no one should have the right to foist opinions on others.

      It’s tricky. A counsellor declines to counsel a gay couple. He’s foisting his opinions on them. (Although if he DID counsel them he would arguably still be foisting opinions.) He’s dismissed as a result. So other people have foisted their opinions on him.

      One could argue that he had been breaking the law. But what is the law if not somebody’s opinion backed up by the power of the state? Under Nazism, you were supposed to report Jews in hiding; certainly, not hide them yourself. That was the law.

      • Anton

        Have you a source for Russell deeming communism a religion, please?

        • The Explorer

          ‘Scylla or Charybdis: Communism or Fascism’. The fullest treatment is the chapter on Marx in ‘A History Of Western Philosophy’ where he compares Marxism to a secularised version of Christian escatology.

          “In our day a new and dogmatic religion, namely communism, has arisen.” I remember the statement, but can’t remember the exact essay in which it occurs.

          • Anton

            Thank you! The quote is accurate, and googlable for the source.

          • The Explorer

            Googled it. From the interview, ‘What is an agnostic?’ The section ‘..if you abandoned religious principles could mankind exist?’

          • Anton

            Indeed.

            In a classical Greek milieu, agnosticism is fairly reasonable; why care about one deity more than another in view of how capricious they are said to be? But if you are talking about an omnipotent creator, agnosticism is far crazier than atheism, because supposing such a deity exists then nothing can matter more than one’s relationship to him.

      • Eustace

        A counselor who refuses to counsel a gay couple is denying them a service on the basis of their sexual orientation.

        He can believe anything he likes. But if he wants to be a counselor working for the State, and that State views gay relationships as being just as valid as any other kind, then his work will involve counselling gay couples. If he refuses to do this, he’s refusing to fulfill the terms of his employment contract, which can therefore be legally terminated.

        In such a case the right of an employer to expect his employees to do their job without discriminating outweighs the right of the employee to act on his religious principles. He’s free to believe what he wants. He’s free to worship whatever or whoever he worships. He is not however free to use his religion as an excuse to discriminate against those he doesn’t approve of.

        These are the limits of freedom of religion in our society that have recently been defined by case law. The myth that religious belief gives you the right to act as you please is just that: a myth.

        • The Explorer

          “The State views gay relationships as being just as valid as any other kind.” Absolutely. But that was not the State’s view pre-Wolfenden. The State changed its mind. It could change its mind again.

          As I said, what is law if not somebody’s opinion backed up by the power of the State? Those with access to the guns and the prisons control the rules.

          PS. Religious belief does not give you the right to act as you please. Quite the contrary. You are constrained by the rules of your belief system, which probably contains many prohibitions. Acting as you like is a product of hedonism.

          • Eustace

            Religious belief comes with a conviction that any act demanded by the religion should not be constrained by the law, and vice versa, which is very much acting as you please.

            For example, Christians want to act as they please by banning gay marriage. It pleases them to deny others what they want, therefore they demanding the right to act as they please.

            Luckily the law doesn’t see things that way. A Christian’s pleasure does not invalidate a man’s right to live his life unmolested. And once the right to live unmolested has been granted, it can never be withdrawn. Name one minority accorded a right in modern British history who then had that right rescinded. It’s never happened. When it comes to rights legislation, we can move forward, but we can never go back. If we did by, for example, rescinding the right of gay people to marry, no minority would be safe. Women could lose to vote. Signs reading “no Blacks or Irish” would appear in shop, restaurant and pub windows. Catholics could find themselves newly subject to recusancy laws and general persecution. The principle that rights can be rescinded would have been established in law, so after the gays, who’d be next to get it in the neck?

            It won’t happen though. No party is campaigning on a “get rid of gay marriage” platform. They know that to target the LGBT community would cause all minorities to start asking serious questions about their motives and intentions.

            Equal marriage is here to stay. Only the fall of our entire democratic system and the rise of some kind of totalitarian regime can change that.

          • The Explorer

            Name one minority accorded a right in modern Britsh history. I wasn’t confining myself to the British state, or to sexual rights. Thus German Jews were a minority who had their rights rescinded.

            In British terms, I suppose the proposal to confine future welfare support to the first two children might count as an example.

          • Eustace

            Name one example in modern Britain where a right has been rescinded. I’m not interested in examples from Nazi Germany. We’re not ruled by a fascist regime so such examples are not pertinent to our situation. And proposals that haven’t been discussed or passed don’t count either. What I’d like is a concrete example. If you can’t give me one then you have to admit that no right accorded to a minority has ever been rescinded, therefore the likelihood of equal marriage being abolished is non-existent.

            Of course you’d clearly like to see our country take a leaf out of fascism’s book and start to rescind the rights of all the minorities you don’t like. That’s what you’re hoping Brexit will bring: a bright new dawn for British fascism.

            Let’s see, shall we? If you’re right, you may soon have the joy of seeing me and many others depart from these shores. I won’t live in a fascist country, and neither will my assets. You can’t even begin to imagine the impact a victory for the Leave campaign would have on foreign investment in this country. Capital flight surpassing the worst years of the 1970s will paralyze the economy and send the country spiralling into a recession it won’t be able to trade its way out of for many, many years. That’s what awaits us if your lot wins – or rather, what awaits you. People like me will just pick up sticks and move to a location more conducive to freedom and the ability to do business. And we’ll take our money with us.

            I don’t think that will happen. If there was any danger of the Leave camp winning, preparations would be underway and an army of investors and their cash would aready have left our shores. Which is the most reliable indicator of the final result that I can think of. The markets don’t often get it wrong. We’re staying in, and Sharia law will remain an extra-legal private arrangement between consenting individuals. So scaremonger away. You won’t make any difference.

          • The Explorer

            “And proposals that haven’t been discussed or passed don’t count either.” Limiting welfare support to the first two children was proposed by IDS in 2013. It was not passed, but that does not mean it was not discussed.

            “What I’d like is a concrete example. If you can’t give me one then you have to admit that no right accorded to a minority has ever been rescinded,” That doesn’t follow. There might be plenty of examples I don’t know about. But it’s you who insists on confining the discussion to Britain. I was talking about the State, and since Britain is not the only state in the world, I do not feel bound by your attempted restrictions.

          • Eustace

            Oh, so there may be instances of rights being rescinded that you don’t know about, might there? If you know nothing about them, you cannot assume they exist. Or is this another example of a Christian making up it as he goes along?

            I repeat, show me some examples of rights rescinded. And not examples from Nazi Germany, which was a dictatorship and cannot therefore be compared with our democracy.

            The Swedish example you give is not a valid one as no Swedish citizens were affected. The rights granted to visitors are necessarily more restricted than those enjoyed by citizens and can be curtailed when there’s a conflict of interest between the two groups. But no democratic government will restrict the rights of one group of citizens in order to appease another.

            Britain has restricted the rights of certain minorities in the past, but has never taken away a right once it’s been given, at least not in the modern era. To do so would destabilise our democracy on a most fundamental level. If groups realised that their rights depended on the whims of mob rule and shifting, transitory majorities, democracy would cease to have any real meaning.

            If we can’t rely on our rights as British citizens and must always be looking over our shoulders worrying that we’ll be turned into second class citizens every time there’s an election, what happened in Nazi Germany will happen here and we’ll no longer be a democracy. First the gays will have their rights curtailed. Then women. Then who knows?

            If that’s the kind of Britain you want to see then you were born in the wrong era. You should have been born in the early years of the century and been around to vote for Mosley. And also to see the kind of regime he advocated bring a once proud nation to its knees and blacken its reputation for years to come. That’s what you may want for Britain. I do not. And I think there are more like me than there are like you.

            So what rights should we take away from you, then? If we vote for it democratically, you can’t possibly object. All Christian symbols to be expunged from the landscape? Christians to be forced out of business? How about making you wear yellow crosses on your clothing so that everyone knows a Christian when they see one and can ostentatiously cross the street or spit on you as you walk past?

            All these things have been done in the past by the sort of “democracies” you support, i.e. the tyranny of the majority and guaranteed rights for no-one. So how will you act when it’s your turn?

            You’ll probably to what Christians always do when they can’t have their way: you’ll whine and play the martyr. Only this time, who’ll feel sorry for you. You wouldn’t support the gays when they came to take their rights away. So who will support you?

          • The Explorer

            “there may be instances of rights being rescinded that you don’t know about, might there?” My original point was that if the State had changed its mind once, it could do so again. Not that it had, but that it could. And not necessarily the British State since there are lots of states in the world.

            “But no democratic government will restrict the rights of one group of citizens in order to appease another.” Taxation? Budgets?

            Your method of argument. Suppose I make the statement ‘Certain mosquitoes cause malaria.’ It’s a factual statement without qualifying adjectives to express opinion. You would turn it into my approval for both mosquitoes and malaria provided they infect the right group of people.

    • len

      ‘Religion is a private matter.’

      Try telling that to the Muslims who are making inroads into EU law and culture. And there is nothing secularists can do to stop them..

      • Eustace

        Try looking over the Channel where Muslim headscarves are banned in public buildings, schools etc. So are ostenatiously displayed crosses and crucifixes, which is as it should be. Equality for all is a founding principle of the French Republic, after all.

        Much of the hysteria surrounding Islam in Britain is a figment of the right wing Christian imagination. Muslims are subject to the very same laws as everyone else. There is no Sharia law in the UK. There’s no special treatment for any minority. It’s a level playing field for all, which is exactly what Christians can’t stand because they think the system should favour them as if by some kind of birthright.

        If we’re all to be equal then we all have to submit to the same laws. Want to ban hijabs? Then you’ll have to ban crosses too. Or permit crosses and stop bellyaching when Muslim women wear their headscarves. There’s no reason why society should accord you any special privileges.

        • Anton

          See Machteld Zee’s book Choosing Sharia for the privileged legal status of Sharia (and some Jewish) courts in England, which should not be the case. The book is based on a doctoral dissertation and fully referenced and obviously by a secular feminist author.

          • Eustace

            Sharia arbitration tribunals exist, but these can only intervene in civil cases where individuals freely agree to abide by their judgments, which do not have force of law but are merely private agreements between individuals.

            Sharia marriages have no force of law. Sharia punishments cannot be exacted on any individual who does not agree to be thus punished. Your Muslim neighbour cannot sue you before a Sharia court. Yet still sensationalist tabloid journalists and various racists and xenophobes perpetuate the lie that the law allows Muslims to impose their law on us.

            It just isn’t true. And those who claim it is reveal their true colours for all to see.

          • Anton

            “Sharia arbitration tribunals exist, but these can only intervene in civil cases where individuals freely agree to abide by their judgments, which do not have force of law but are merely private agreements between individuals.”

            That’s a half-truth. Your first sentence here is correct (although tremble for any wife who insists on civil rather than Sharia courts), but these courts then register their judgements in the civil courts where those judgements are formally recognised.

            Jewish courts can do this too in England. They should not be able to do so either.

          • Correct.

          • Oh dear, that about wraps it up for that author, then – secular AND feminist! How dare she have an opinion? Back to the kitchen with you, woman.

        • The Explorer

          There are 85 sharia courts in the UK. There is sharia-compliant banking.

          • Anton

            I remember a certain Archbishop saying that that was inevitable and in no way condemning it.

          • Eustace

            There are calls from Muslim extremists who want to see their customs made obligatory for all. But just because they’re calling for it, doesn’t mean it will happen.

            Many vegans call for a ban on the sale of all animal produce. Do you think that just because of a few crackpot voices, meat and milk’s days are numbered?

            You’re confusing the democratic right of all citizens to call for all manner of change with the inevitability of such change. And you’re doing this on purpose. It’s common garden scaremongering and political agitation 101, drawn directly from fascist tactics of the 1920s and 1930s.

            So we know where you stand politically, then. Divide and rule, eh? Pity nobody takes you seriously enough to give any credence to what you say. The tactics of a bygone era may not be the most appropriate way forward for a political movement today.

            Buy just so you can have another spurious threat to frighten the stupid and ignorant with, I met a man the other day who wants to abolish marriage and family altogether. In his perfect world, all babies would be removed from their parents and raised in State-run institutions where they wouldn’t form emotive connections with their unsuitable genitors and at a stroke all inherited privilege and psychological formatting would end.

            Now, just because he’s calling for it, according to your logic, it must be going to happen. So lock up your children. The State is coming for them…!!!

            In your dreams, or nightmares perhaps. But nowhere else. Still, if a Christian can’t be paranoid about something, what point is there in him ca

          • The Explorer

            There are maybe 150 000 Vegans in the UK. There 3.2 million Muslims. Allowing for a doubling of numbers per decade ( a reasonable rule of thumb) there will still be only 300 000 Vegans in the UK in 2025, but there will be 6.4 million Muslims, give or take. That number will have an impact. Danny Lockwood’s ‘The Islamic Republic’ of Dewsbury’ gives reasonable anecdotal examples of how the Islamification process works. Regrettably, there is no companion volume on the Vegan republic.

            The abolition of the family is, of course as old as Plato’s ‘Republic’. Georg Lukac made a fair stab at implementing it, but was halted by the collapse of Bela Kun’s Government. But the dream remains. Scotland seems to be going some way towards reviving it.

          • Eustace

            If numbers double every decade then the number of non-Muslims must also double, meaning that overall numbers will count for little because the percentages will stay essentially the same.

            All the indications are that Muslim numbers will plateau out long before they reach anywhere near 10% of the overall population. And 1 in 10 does not set the agenda for the other 9.

            It can of course appeal to the majority’s sense of justice and persuade it to support measures that make its life easier while not impinging on the rights of others. The equal marriage act is a good example of this. But it can impose nothing. And claiming that it can is mere scaremongering, usually accompanied by casual racism in the form of “if we let them keep on breeding like rabbits we’ll be swamped in 10 years time!”

            It’s this that transforms your position from a mere political stance into something that so many of us find so contemptible. Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells lives on into the 21st century. Will he ever be eradicated or is the old bigot here to stay?

          • The Explorer

            I was drawing a loose comparison between Vegans and Muslims, not either with the indigenous British population.
            We’ve had this discussion before in one of your previous incarnations, but the average indigenous British woman has 1.6 children (below replacement level) and the average Muslim British woman has 4 children, and at an earlier age.

            Even if Muslim British women regress towards the norm, there are two other factors:

            1. brides from Pakistan who maintain a high birth-rate.

            2. the relative ages of the indigenous and Muslim populations. As elderly Brits die off, youthful Mulsims will become a higher percentage of the population. 18% Muslim is projected somewhere between 2035 and 2050, with parity at some point beyond that.

            Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells was actually Joe Orton. He died when Joe Orton did.

          • You are one of the few (possibly unique) voices of sanity on this page, keep it up! It is refreshing after all the Blimps and Disgusteds.

          • Eustace

            Thanks for the props!

            Blimps and Disgusteds will always be with us. And they’ll never change their minds. Their certainties are rooted in a self-worship so profound that any attempt to remove or cure it would kill the patient.

            The latest opinion polls are puffing them up like Scottish cybernats a week before the last referendum. And we all know how that turned out.

            History is about to repeat itself. The British electorate has shown time and time again its deep distaste for taking leaps in the dark based on the promises of untrustworthy politicians. The New Elizabethan Age of wealth and prosperity promised by self-serving and unscrupulous figures like Farage, Johnson and Gove will be seen for the mirage it is. As polling day approaches, sober reflection will set in, and as always, sober reflection favours the maintenance of the status quo.

            The explosion of impotent rage and disappointment that will fill the pages of this blog when that happens should be rather amusing. It will certainly provide rich pickings for those who, like me, use these lairs of hurt feelings and outrage to illustrate the harm caused by religion and the hatred it engenders. Allowing the Blimps and Disgusteds to reveal themselves for what they really are is the best way of undermining the power of their cult to influence and convert.

            That’s why I haven’t been saying much lately. I don’t need to. The triumphalism sweeping across these boards in the wake of the latest opinion polls speaks for itself, in words much more powerful than anything I can write. They’re heading for a fall even more painful than their defeat over equal marriage. All their prayer and belief did them no good then. Let’s see how much good it does them now.

          • People make a lot of fuss about Sharia law – this is
            basically mediation, as in family cases, all parties involved must agree with the verdict, and, in case of conflict, it is overruled by the law of the country in which it takes place. Muslim women often prefer family matters to be decided in a Sharia court, as they feel they get a fairer deal.

          • The Explorer

            Eustace made the statement, “There is no Sharia law in the UK.” That is not true. It may not be significant, but that is another matter.

          • Yes, you are correct – there are some, mainly used for family matters, and not binding under UK law – all the participants must agree that the verdict is fair and they will abide by it.

        • Hear hear, very well said.

    • Merchantman

      A few years ago the boss tried to seriously curtail Christmas decs in our retail business workplace. We stood together and forced him to backdown but he soon introduced compulsory working on Christmas day and getting rid of most who opposed him.

      • Why was he trying to do that? Surely not fear fear of offending people of other religions, such as Muslims? I have NEVER heard any Muslim (if that’s who you mean) say anything negative about Christmas – for one thing, they revere Jesus, not perhaps as the son of God, but certainly as a saint, a prophet and a great teacher; and as for the Virgin Mary, did you know she has more space – a whole chapter – about her in the Q’uranthan she has in the Bible? Muslims don’t quite agree with us about the date o f the Nativity, but they have no problem whatever with our celebrating it. Ask a few, if you don’t believe me!

    • William Lewis

      Christianity is clearly not a private matter.

      • Eustace

        Christianity is a private matter that has no place in public debate.

        Believe what you like, but don’t bore the rest of us with it.

        • William Lewis

          ” Christianity is a private matter that has no place in public debate.”

          Well, keep your private thoughts on Christianity to yourself then!

          “Don’t do as I do, do as I say” has ever been the refuge of the autocrat. Luckily, you don’t get to dictate the terms of public debate and contrary to your view of your own importance in proscribing the debate, no one is obliged to manage your boredom for you.

          • Eustace

            It’s perfectly legitimate to express the wish that public policy should not be influenced by the devotees of a minority death cult. I don’t want Scientologists making laws in line with their outlandish beliefs. And I don’t want Christians doing the same. Expressing that wish, especially when Christians are so vocal about their political aims, is perfectly legitimate.

          • William Lewis

            You have shifted from public debate to public policy. They are not the same things.

    • Inspector General

      You seem to consider the employee as some obedient automaton.

      Why?

      • Eustace

        Employees are paid to do a job. If they use the hours that have been bought and paid for by their employer to push their own private agenda, they are failing to honour their employment contract and can be disciplined or, in the case of repeat offenders and/or incorrigibles, dismissed.

        Do what you like on your own time. But in office hours, do your job. If you don’t want to, find another one.

        • Inspector General

          Good. We seem to be getting somewhere. So it’s alright to wear a cross at work so long as you only speak if you are spoken to on the subject…

          • Eustace

            Wear all the crosses you like. As long as you keep them out of sight under your shirt, they’re nobody’s business but yours.

            If you want to display your religious affiliation openly, I personally have no problem with that, as long as you don’t try to ban other people from doing it too. If you want to flaunt a cross, you can hardly object if a Muslim wears a headscarf or a Sikh a turban.

            I have no real issue with religious exhibitionism, except when it becomes intentionally abusive. But if you want to proclaim your beliefs to the world, why stop at wearing a cross? Why not wear a t-shirt with “Become a Christian or go to hell” emblazoned across it? Or, in the specific cases of Fraser and Widdecombe, “Hell for all who do not repent! Except for unrepentant gluttons like us, of course.”

            Admittedly not a succinct message for a t-shirt, however given the ample display space provided by each of the “personalities” in question, a large font size should still be possible.

          • Inspector General

            Who wants to ban other faiths religious attire? Not this man. By their dress shall ye know them.

          • Eustace

            The clothes maketh the man, eh?

            Now why am I not surprised to hear that coming from you?

            Could you BE any more of a Colonel Blimp stereotype? Quite frankly, I don’t think you can be real. I rather suspect you’re a mousy housewife living in a soulless Barratt home on a housing estate somewhere God-awful like Swindon. This blog is the safety valve that keeps you from knifing your husband, or setting fire to the cat, or doing whatever it is that neurotic housewives do when they’re having a nervous breakdown.

            There’s a distinctly feminine voice under all that faux masculine bluster and inexpert use of 1920s Boys’ Own Annual jargon. And your recent disappearance from this blog can probably be accounted for by a spell in a residential care home of some description.

            You’re not the FtM answer to Lily Savage, by any chance? That would be interesting. I’ve never met a real live drag king before.

          • Inspector General

            The inspector can assure you, dear fellow, that he is as real as those black eyes your ‘husband’ keeps giving you…

    • Agreed.

      • Inspector General

        Good grief! A woman’s opinion…on Cranmer of all places

        • Is that unusual? I wouldn’t know, I only came across it recently, my attention being caught by the silly article at the beginning.

          • Inspector General

            We have some excellent lady commentators on Cranmer. Marie and Magnolia and Busy Mum to mention three. They are all rather splendid. We certainly don’t need anymore…Now away to your motherly duties and leave us deep thinkers to the business in hand …

  • len

    Lets face it ‘Christians’ are no threat to anyone except the Powers of Darkness who rule our Planet at this present moment in time.(That is all practising Christians under the authority of Jesus Christ not just those who subscribe to the christian religion with a tick in a box on a form or joining ‘The church’.

    The real threat to world peace is radical Islam we all know that so lets drop the pretence because ‘Political Correctness’ (which secularists dreamed up to replace Gods Moral Law) is a two edged sword being used to attack the West…

    • Dreadnaught

      https://news.vice.com/video/righteous-defiance-in-mississippi

      It would seen that European Christians are not alone in feeling persecuted but other Christians are more vociferous in the Southern US.

      • len

        Interesting article and raises a lot of important questions for our society today,do we all have freedom of speech or is that just for some?

        • Dreadnaught

          We kid ourselves in thinking we have freedom of speech. With the recent ‘hate’ laws that right was criminalised to appease Muslim sensitivities. The only group that can be criticised is the white European.

          • The hate speech laws were brought in to protect many groups. They forbid racism, sexism, homophobia et al. Surely you cannot genuinely object to that?

          • Dreadnaught

            Its a question of degree as to whether ‘hate speech’ is actually hateful. What is fundamental is that the spoken words are not indicating to others to act out what has been said. The Koran is full of hatred and directives how to execute them.
            We have lost freedom of expression when open criticism or comment is labelled with any of the random ‘isms or ‘phobias that are currently in vogue.
            Many universities that have cancelled speakers in case they ‘offend’ minorities have set the tone, where instead of banning they should be encouraging gloves off debate – this is fundamental to democracy in action.
            What liberal left-wingers have achieved is illiberal censorship.

      • IanCad

        Must also remember they are blessed with the Second Amendment. Don’t push those good ol’ Southern boys too far.

    • Total bigoted rubbish. You should be ashamed of yourself.

      • Pubcrawler

        “Honestly, the level of debate on here is so pathetic, I can’t be bothered with it any more.”

        • CliveM

          Have you noticed how the self righteous lack a sense of irony?

          • Pubcrawler

            Well at least Eust-us has got a new fan.

          • CliveM

            Hmm, but he doesn’t like women.

          • Pubcrawler

            Amusing, isn’t it?

      • len

        Don`t think Cranmer like anyone using the ‘B’ word anyway its a sure sign they have lost the argument ….

        • I don’t recollect saying anybody’s argument was a “load of bollocks”, but if the cap fits …

          • len

            ‘Bigot’ far worse than your assumption..

          • Indeed it is a far worse thing and, alas, this thread is rife with it.

          • len

            Not you though sally?

    • “Christians’ are no threat to anyone ” – I think you’ll find that not everyone has forgotten the Crusades! (Or the Inquisition, or the general persecution of the Jews … )

      • len

        Do not confuse’ Christians’ with’ followers of Christ’ because they are not always the same thing…
        For example what did Jesus say regarding how we treat our enemies?.

        • They’re not? What’s the difference? As for what Jesus said, do you mean, ““Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”? (Yes, I went through – and out the other side of – a devout Christian phase myself, and I can still remember a lot of quotes – including the one about how the Devil can quote scripture, before you chuck that one at me!)

          • Pubcrawler

            “the one about how the Devil can quote scripture”

            Which is from Shakespeare, not Scripture.

          • You’re absolutely right, “Merchant of Venice”. I stand corrected. In my defence, I haven’t read that since I was at school, and that was quite a while ago! Note to self: check quotes before quoting them. I usually do, but I was in a bit of a rush, on my way out. I did check the “Love your enemies” one, though!

          • len

            Cannot understand how someone can be Christian then throw that away.I assume you were’ a born again believer’ and not just ‘a pew warmer’ because that would be understandable?.

            How can a born again believer redeemed from what could only be described as ‘the condemned cell’ then say ‘i liked it so much in the condemned cell I want to go back in?. Just doesn`t make sense to me….can you explain please?

          • I’ll try. I was recruited into an evangelical Christian youth organisation by a good schoolfriend (the very same friend whose father chucked me out for talking about fossils). My Dad was disgusted, especially when my sister joined me and we decided to get ourselves baptised and confirmed (on principle, he did not have us baptised as babies). He said, “I thought I brought you up to think for yourselves?” To which we cheekily replied, “We did, and we thought we’d go to church!” It was the exact opposite of the classic teenage rebellion where the stroppy kid starts refusing to go to church! Being a nice Dad, he did agree to attend the ceremony, though he said it was “out of anthropological interest”. My Dad was the most intelligent, the best and kindest man, with the most integrity, of anyone I have ever known; his oft-repeated personal motto, by which he lived, was, “You have to help people”, and it soon started to trouble me that, according to my new friends in the evangelical movement, my Dad was going to Hell because he could not accept this particular set of beliefs. He said the Bible contained some good lessons about human nature and so on, but he could not accept the “supernatural” aspect; and, gradually, by the time I was fully adult, I had reverted to his point of view,

        • “Do not confuse’ Christians’ with’ followers of Christ’ because they are not always the same thing…” Explain, please?

          • len

            The Crusades is a typical example.Jesus said’ love your enemies ‘ the Crusades was anything but ‘loving your enemies’ it was all out war against them. But the Crusaders called themselves Christians.

      • Pubcrawler

        It’s the 21st century now, not the 15th.

        Tell me about these ‘Crusades’.

        • Sure, you could start here? file:///C:/Users/Sally/AppData/Local/Temp/cr01-1.pdf

      • Inspector General

        Ah, the Crusades! Yes, to put Islam under control then for the cruelty it was causing to Christian pilgrims a thousand years ago. Much the same as the new crusade against ISIS now. Nothing changes, what! Well impressed you remember them – one was of the opinion you are a mere plain looking silly thing…

  • Albert

    The European Court of Justice ought to have no jurisdiction in this realm of England. Hopefully it won’t after the referendum.

    There are those who think the EU is just a Catholic plot to take over Protestant England. I trust this decisions means that theory has been falsified. The real position is well stated here:

    The EU is a product of secular Enlightenment idealism. It is becoming aggressively anti-Christian because it is pathologically anti-religious, under the guise of rationalism and an assertion of the necessary truths of reason. It is intolerant of the Cross of Christ and the Star of David because it cannot brook any revelation which might challenge its infallible and immutable creeds. Human rights and equality and are its archai kai exousiai. In order to guard the European Union from Islamification, it has to eradicate the residues of Christendom, for that is equitable and ‘neutral’. If we remain subject to its legal authority, we will witness a prohibition upon Christians not to worship in private, for that is guaranteed by the Charter, but to walk in spirit and in truth, for the gospel is a scandal and the Cross an offence.

    • Anton

      The European Court of Justice ought to have no jurisdiction in this realm of England. Hopefully it won’t after the referendum.

      I doubt that Cameron or even his successor would be willing to declare that Britain simply ceases to recognises the ECJ as of June 23rd in the event of a vote for Brexit. But we can hope…

      • Albert

        I’m sure that’s right, but it will become possible, should we vote out.

    • You people really want to have it all ways! The article begins with the claim that the EU wants to stop people wearing Christian crosses at work (no, it isn’t particularly about crosses, it’s applied to other religious symbols too). Then you go on to say that the EU may be a Catholic plot to take over Protestant Britain! In that case, I would think they would be insisting that people DO wear a cross, whether they like it or not! Honestly, the level of debate on here is so pathetic, I can’t be bothered with it any more.

      • CliveM

        Good bye

      • Albert

        Sally,

        Yours is one of the more amusing posts I’ve seen down here. I did not complain that the EU may be a Catholic plot to take over Protestant Britain. I am a Catholic. What I said was:

        There are those who think the EU is just a Catholic plot to take over Protestant England. I trust this decision means that theory has been falsified.

        What part of that is not clear?

        (no, it isn’t particularly about crosses, it’s applied to other religious symbols too)

        Is that supposed to make it sound acceptable?

        • Pubcrawler

          Not exactly the level of reading comprehension one would hope for from a freelance proofreader and copy-editor, wouldn’t you say?

          • Albert

            Fascinating. One thing’s for sure, when I read Sally’s remark, it never occurred to me that she might be a proofreader and copy-editor.

          • Yes, all right, your mate a little further up the page already put the boot in about that. I can only plead bad temper induced by silly posts as the cause of my lack of attention to detail in that instance. When working on a manuscript, I am normally calm, happy and punctilious – but I’m only human, and annoyance doesn’t aid concentration.

          • Albert

            It’s no good blaming everyone else’s posts because you think they are silly. I think some of your posts are silly. What matters is the quality of the reasoning and evidence.

          • OK, fair comment, I did miss that distinction in Albert’s post – that SOME people think it’s a Catholic plot, not necessarily the writer. It’s still a daft conspiracy theory, no matter who came up with it..

        • Actually, yes, I do think it makes it more acceptable. These symbols should be kept out of the workplace (unless you happen to be a vicar, a rabbi, an imam or whatever, I guess!), no matter which religion they represent. Same with political ones. It’s just asking for trouble.

          • Albert

            These symbols should be kept out of the workplace

            You state this as a fact. Is it a fact?

          • It is a conclusion – the only sensible one.

          • Albert

            A conclusion without an argument. How is that supposed to convince me?

          • My argument was, “It’s just asking for trouble”. I think this whole thread demonstrates that.

          • Albert

            I’m inclined to agree that there is something imprudent about it in some circumstances. But four questions naturally arise then: firstly, why is it imprudent? Is it because there are enough intolerant people – particularly secularists – who are are so intolerant that they wish to determine other people’s self-expression in the public sphere, even to the degree of determining how other people dress? Secondly, does the fact that something is imprudent make it right for the state to make it illegal, particularly if the intolerant attitudes of others that make it imprudent are so regressive? After all, lots of things are imprudent, but they are not illegal. Thirdly, is there really any parity between say, a woman wearing a burka or even a head scarf, which is very intrusive and not part of our culture, and a woman wearing a cross, which is not intrusive and is part of our culture? It looks like special pleading to me – or else an inability to think clearly. And that raises a further problem: people will again be blaming Islam for a loss of traditional Western freedoms. That seems imprudent in itself, since it causes even more tension.

            Therefore, I do not think you have provided an argument for why “these symbols should be kept out of the workplace”. I think you’ve simply given cover for regressive and intolerant attitudes, which are themselves destabilising when turned into regulation.

  • Dominic Stockford

    Excellent article, well argued, with a cogent conclusion.

  • len

    In the supposed move towards liberty, equality, and fraternity, we seem to be moving into one of the most authoritarian States known outside Communist or Fascist Regimes. The EU has become a bureaucratic monster churning out endless regulations until finally when all our freedom has been through the EU meat grinder there will be nothing left.
    The youth today have been brainwashed in those ‘cathedrals of atheism’ our education system and have no memory of the liberty that their predecessors had fought so much to preserve.When I see the people in North Korea so willingly accept the bondage they are under I cannot but wonder how the human spirit can be so conditioned to accept so lovingly the chains that bind them?.

    • Dreadnaught

      Although I don’t agree that the education establishments are cathedrals of atheism (the multifaith societies and centres being euphemisms for Islamic recruitment offices) the thrust of your post is right on the money.

    • Anton

      North Koreans behave as they do out of fear.

  • len

    The concept of those behind the EU is to build a secular Kingdom and the aims and ambitions of the EU are secular aims.Quite why any Christians want to be part of this secular enterprise is a mystery to me.
    Secular philosophy views that man has the answer to all of his problems within himself and only needs an ‘enlightened’ attitude to solve these problems. Secularism views ‘religion’ as regressive and ‘anti -enlightenment’ and wishes to destroy all faith in religion and make religion ‘a thing of the past’.Religion is the enemy of secular ‘enlightenment’.
    Secularism misses the point in the respect that the problem within mankind is not in education or changed attitudes but much deeper than that the problem with mankind is that it has a flaw buried deep within the very nature of mankind that only God Himself can rectify.
    But meantime we carry on regardless building this secular empire that has within itself the seeds of its own destruction and wait for the inevitable…..Christians are still talking and warning but who is listening?.

    • What a load of nonsense. Muddying the remain / leave discussion with this spurious rubbish. All the top British economists are in agreement that we need to stay IN the EU: https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/oecd-brexit-wreck-uk-economy-112308172.html

      • len

        We should have joined the Euro too(according to ‘the best economists’) Well madam ,Is that your best shot…………or is there more to come?

        • Indeed we should (and, ultimately, will).

          • CliveM

            Fortunately their are enough people willing to face the evidence and learn by the experience to date of the Euro, to ensure that most people understand that we were right not to have and that we won’t in the future.

          • I have spent a good deal of my life, including the last 12 years, living across the Channel in the Eurozone. Also, I am old enough to remember how things were pre our membership, and things are far better now, as I think most of the country is experienced and educated enough to appreciate..

          • CliveM

            With the exception of the ME, most places in the world are better then they were at the time the UK joined the EEC. So your point proves nothing.

            However it is also clear that with the possible exception of Germany, the Euro has been damaging for the members of the Eurozone.

          • Albert

            It’s a pity that Sally’s decided not to post down here any more. I’m finding her comments rather fascinating. Especially her view that Britain should join the Euro. Truly fascinating.

          • CliveM

            Not simply that we should join, but that we SHOULD have joined.

            Fascinating is one word for it.

          • Albert

            Or may be “bizarre”.

          • CliveM

            Yes I think that’s better.

          • Pubcrawler

            “peculiar”

          • Tempted back, probably temporarily, by talk of money! Of course we should, and ultimately will, join the Euro. People cling sentimentally to our Great British Pound, but let’s face it, since we decimalised in the very early 70s, what we have is Toytown money. I was approached, as a very young woman, by an American, while sailing (briefly) back from France to the UK, and he asked me to explain “your new British currency”. I said, “Don’t ask me, I’ve been living in France.” We used to have enormous fun explaining the old system to foreigners, with its farthings, ha’pennies, threepenny bits, threepenny joeys (the silver ones, that we saved to put in the Christmas pudding), tanners, bobs, florins, half-crowns, quids, guineas … ; now that fun has been stolen away from us, we may as well go over to the Euro and be done with it.

          • William Lewis

            ” now that fun has been stolen away from us, we may as well go over to the Euro and be done with it.”

            I think we should use Monopoly money. They are such pretty colours.

          • Indeed. Oh wait – we do!

          • CliveM

            So apart from a heart warming anecdote about how much fun the old system was, you have no supporting argument for either your support for the Euro or it’s inevitable implementation.

            Despite the fact the Euro has crippled the Greek, Portugese, Spanish and Italian economies (to name but a few) you think we should still be in it!

          • len

            Unbelievable , you want the UK to join you in the Euro the certain path to Euro bankruptcy whatever did we do to make you hate us so much?

      • magnolia

        Are your first five words and your “spurious rubbish” a decent debating model, do you think?

        This is close to ad hominem. And the assertion, note assertion only, that all respectable people of x or y or z think this doesn’t bear any debating weight. I can point you to hosts of economists who think Britain should get the heck out, from a variety of nations at that. You are choosing to notice only some, the ones ceaselessly promoted and publicized by pro-EU forces.

        Meanwhile whole nations are being wrecked, and quantative easing continues apace, regardless of the consequences and beyond what even the academic economist who notably recently promoted it ever envisaged himself.

        • Albert

          Some comments from Sally:

          All the top British economists are in agreement that we need to stay IN the EU

          In the next post:

          we should [join the Euro]

          So in one post she appeals to “all the top economists”as an authority and in the next post she says something that almost no top economist would endorse.

          Then she says to me (having misread my post):

          Honestly, the level of debate on here is so pathetic, I can’t be bothered with it any more.

          Shame.

        • Lies, damned lies and … the Out brigade:

          http://infacts.org/sinful-6/

    • This post is a perfect example of why we need “a secular kingdom”.Humanity is endlessly resourceful and, at the end of the day, ‘morality’ stems from an understanding of what is best for the species, which is why we KNOW it is wrong to kill, steal and so on. If some of you think you need an invisible friend to point these things out to you, there’s something very wrong with you.

      • len

        Have you noticed that in this secular dominated world that killing stealing &corruption is as bad if not worse than it has ever been…which totally destroys your argument.
        As for’ my invisible friend’ you have really lost the argument if that is ‘your best shot’ if I had far better insults on a daily basis.
        Please return we need to fully understand the secular mind and how it has been conditioned to accept almost anything except truth as’ fact’.

        • Regarding your first statement, certainly those evils are still with us; but other evils, such as slavery, racism, sexism, homophobia and pollution of the environment, which used to be considered perfectly normal, while not yet obliterated, are now widely condemned and, at least in some countries, illegal. I don’t understand the comment about the secular mind being conditioned to accept anything as truth except fact. What is science except secular and factual? I have dined out many a time on the tale of how, as a young teenager, I was ejected from the house of my best friend by her father, an evangelical Christian, because, when asked what I’d done at the weekend, I enthusiastically replied that my Dad had taken me up on the South Downs to hunt for fossils. He yelled at me, “Don’t you know that all those ‘fossils’ are planted in the ground by wicked scientists, to undermine people’s faith?” My Dad had a good laugh when I got home and told him about this. Those ‘wicked scientists’ must have been darn clever, crawling all over the Downs – which we could see from our house – without being spotted, and burying all those fossils without disturbing the turf on top! This man, incidentally, was a bank manager and, you would have thought, an intelligent man … another nail in the coffin of my respect for the religious mind.

          • alternative_perspective

            Is that your argument? My dad and I had a laugh at an uneducated Christian so I must be right?

            Answer me this and we’ll see how we go:

            Is the rape, murder and dismemberment of a baby wrong irrespective of who believes it or when it is believed? In other words is it objectively wrong to perform such acts OR is it a matter of subjective opinion and person / group relative, i.e. not really bad but a bit yucky?

            a) If objective moral values exists, God exists.
            b) Objective moral values do exist.
            c) God therefore exists.

            This is an accepted philosophical principle. Without a moral law giver independent to humanity there can be no objective moral laws and everything is relative.

            Your personal dilemma now is this:

            1. accept theism is true and affirm rape and murder are objectively wrong
            or
            2. accept atheism and affirm that murder and rape are not inherently wrongly.
            I was faced with this dilemma 20 years ago and chose point 1. What will you do?
            Most atheists choose to live in contradiction, using language and affirming beliefs that only make sense if theism is true, whilst denying the existence of the god who makes such beliefs possible. I’m happy for you to continue in this belief but I do kindly ask that you acknowledge to yourself, that your belief system is grounded in choice; not logic and rationality. And I also ask that given the irrationality of this “middle way” that you would give others a bit more slack before you condemn them as being irrational.

          • This is a completely false dilemma. As I mentioned (very obviously) before, we all know that these horrific acts that you describe, if allowed to become commonplace, would be extremely injurious to our species, thus it is part of our survival instinct for any normal, sane, rational person to reject and abominate them. Even C S Lewis, that great advocate for Christianity, agreed that this is where ‘morality’ comes from. By the way, I do genuinely apologise for some of the harsh and impolite things I have said about believers. I dislike the idea of people being comforted by a delusion, but hey, whatever gets you through.

  • M. Kreko

    Another reason to leave the EU. How many more before we come to our senses?

  • alternative_perspective

    If naturalism is true then determinism is true.
    In which case we have no freewill and the brain is merely a “meat” computer.
    Under such circumstances all behaviours are the product of preceding biochemical processes described by chemical and physical principles acting upon various biological “constants”.
    Thus all behaviour is biological and we have no more choice over religion than say sexuality. Thus the basis of this judgement is wrong. Moreover, the basis of this judgement is merely then a biochemical reaction to a given stimulus, NOT the product of reason or rational thought: thoughts merely being biochemical brain states.
    In order for this judgement to be classed as reasoned or rational one must then deny that brain states = thoughts, which implies mind / body duality and the existence of a non-physical mind: extra/super-naturalism.
    So the dilemma is: impose de facto naturalism and in doing so undermine rationality, and offer a philosophically contradictory argument or enforce the UN Declaration of Human Rights, uphold rationality and freewill but accept religio-cultural diversity in public.