Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Equality Bill under attack

There have been some rather odd articles about this bill recently.

Telegraph Simon Caldwell and Martin Beckford Minister predicts legal battles between churches and atheists over Equality Bill and later George Pitcher Equality legislation means our very right to believe is under fire

Catholic Herald Simon Caldwell Get ready to be sued, Minister tells Christians

And various repeats in the blogosphere, of which this is perhaps the most extreme headline: The Equality Bill: Will A New Law Essentially Outlaw Evangelical Christianity And Roman Catholicism In The U.K.?

Leading to items from the lobbying organisations:

Christian Institute MP: Equality Bill will lead to legal action against churches and Equality Bill could drive faith from ‘public sphere’

Christian Concern for our Nation Act to protect employment freedom for Churches

Much of this criticism is unjustified by the facts (I was present at the press briefing with Michael Foster), and I will write more about this soon.

Meanwhile, the BBC has published a helpful reminder of the main objectives of the bill: What the new Equality Bill means for employers

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 23 December 2009 at 10:53am GMT | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: equality legislation
Comments

I've just blogged about conservative hysteria here: http://changingattitude-england.blogspot.com/2009/12/conservative-christian-desperation-2-in.html

It follows a blog about the reaction from conservative Christians in Uganda. Ethics Minister Nsaba Buturo is claiming that three civil society organisations promoting homosexual activities in Uganda, Sexual Minorities Uganda, Integrity Uganda and Gay Uganda had been given $20m to promote the practice. Gug, Gay Uganda, a lone blogger, wishes it were true.

Why the need to lie, and invent such falsehoods? Are conservatives in Africa and the UK united in their paranoia and insecurity? Do they really fear, despite their claims to the contrary, that their brand of Christian extremism is doomed - we can but hope and pray.

Posted by: Colin Coward on Wednesday, 23 December 2009 at 11:45am GMT

These latest religious right narratives involve typical themes.

Spin doctoring stands out; or, to put it more biblically, false witness against neighbors.

Samples, patently typical, if not ubiquitous. Speaking of religion-phobia, by which 'conservative flat earth religion phobia' is clearly meant, once any reader does a common sense decode. When, if... we notice common sense terms being spin doctored right at the start, we probably have clues that a fishy, odd business is at hand.

Conservative narrative neatly sidesteps the real, red hot intellectual-scholarship question: Why should any modern living religious person stake everything, simply everything (including imprisonment, death penalties, and garden variety antigay violence), on some flat earth bit allegedly read directly from any holy text?

We're hardly done hearing about this categorical need to read our scriptures in a flat earth and false manner, so don't get worn out yet.

A second spin is typical for spin doctors who prefer what modern marketing gurus call a bait and switch gambit. This simultaneously urges us to mistake ideas, people, reality on several levels, all at once.

The first bait-switch is that we are supposed to stop focusing on the bad public policy deal that conservative religious ideas are trying to hard sell us about queer folks; and instead switch over to the traditional dirt and danger tracks of majority folk antigay prejudice. A common sense decode tells us that, gasp, once again, dirty and dangerous people are trying to throw dirt on the shining white institutional and doctrinal purities of conservative religious life. This is a very old bait-switch theme. Even Jesus mentions it in the New Testament gospels where Jesus calls out some strict Jewish leaders of his day, as Whitened Sepulchres.

More, on a feeling level this bait-switch is meant to deflect us from Live And Let Live to Hysteria-Alarm. Common sense asks: Should all citizens who seek information or services first have to pass scrutiny in order to be deemed sufficiently antigay to qualify as customers?

Yet a third flip operates in this bait-switch.

The narrative simply presumes that all outcomes in public policy and law must be win/lose; so stirred up (fire alarms clanging) audiences are being secretly invited to imagine themselves as Grand Losers. Suffering under the high-mighty force of Grandly Evil Homosexuality. Is this really a covertly spin doctored rape narrative? Watch out, then, gasp, yet again queer folks are incipient perps?

Posted by: drdanfee on Wednesday, 23 December 2009 at 8:57pm GMT

"Why the need to lie, and invent such falsehoods? - Colin Coward, Changing Attitude -

Because, Colin, in the current climate of hypocrisy in the Churches, lying seems to be the conservative factions' only way to convince ordinary Christians (and others) that there are 'gays under the bed' in every secular organisation - seeking whom they may devour. This partly derives from sheer ignorance of the true situation, but also from a desire to perpetuate the myth of 'homosexual cockroaches' which are apparently infecting Uganda - and blocking out from public scrutiny the more serious problems of graft, disease and poverty in that country.

The LGBT fraternity is used, by now to the culture of homophobia being aggravated and financed by the very people who accuse gays of financing their own propaganda. Lies and more lies seems to be the first and last resort of a culture of fear and oppression. This should not be what the Church is all about - not should the Press cultivate such rubbish.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 23 December 2009 at 9:13pm GMT
Post a comment









Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.